I’ve been so excited about these Where Are They Now episodes that they’ve leaked into 2020. It’s just so thrilling to be able to stay with people and see where they’ve ended up, and I think that for those of you listening in it helps you to see that what we’re doing is a process. There is no silver bullet that’s going to fix everything with your business. You solve the problem you’re immediately faced with, and then you move on to the next thing and go from there.
Today on AskPat, we check in with Erin from ThePetitPlanner.com. When we last spoke, on Episode 1063, she was feeling like her business had stalled out a little bit. She was trying to figure out how to bring what she offered to new audiences and new markets, and specifically, we talked about different channels she could explore. As you’ll hear, she’s done just that and seen some pretty immediate results.
One thing we talk about a lot are the benefits and limitations of Instagram. While it’s definitely a great platform for some creators, you can very easily find yourself on a content treadmill where you’re churning out image after image and post after post and not really seeing an impact on your bottom line. Erin has found that by shifting to YouTube, she’s been able to see a lot more conversions and help a lot more people in the process. We also talk about next steps, like how she can get some help and spend more quality time with her family. There’s a lot there for anyone in that messy middle, so listen in.
Today’s sponsor is Eight Sleep, makers of the Pod, a mattress that helps you regulate your temperature throughout the night and best sleep you’ve ever had. They’ll let you try it for a hundred nights and if you don’t completely love it, they’ll refund your purchase and arrange a free pickup. For a hundred fifty dollars off, go to eightsleep.com/pat.
Pat Flynn: Hey, really quick shout out and thank you to today's sponsor, which is Eight Sleep. They have a product called the Pod, not an iPod but it's just the Pod by Eight Sleep. It's a high tech bed designed specifically to help you achieve optimal sleep and I think we all know how important sleep is, especially as we do what we need to do as entrepreneurs. One of the hardest things to regulate when it comes to sleep is your temperature. It's something that's spoken about in many books and a lot of studies and the cool thing is, you can adjust the temperature and you can have it change throughout the night to optimize your sleep. And this is something that my wife and I both do, we both use it, we've used it for over a month now and we absolutely love it. It also keeps track of your sleep as well so that you can understand how many toss and turns you have, how much more deep sleep have you had, how much is it improving or not improving and all that kind of stuff.
It's a crazy comfortable bed and the cool thing is you can try for a hundred nights and if you aren't in love with it, they're going to refund your purchase and arrange a free pickup. So I am doing it. I am actually talking about a mattress here on the show as a sponsor. Thank you Eight Sleep for creating a great mattress that my wife and I love. And for any of you out there who want to optimize your sleep too, check it out for a hundred fifty dollars off, go to eightsleep.com/pat, that's P-A-T, of course. Eight Sleep is spelled out, eightsleep.com/pat. Check it out. You're going to love it.
What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 1,102 of AskPat 2.0. Now typically we do a coaching call with an entrepreneur just like you, one where I hear about the issues, problems, needs, help and I offer whatever I can to help that person. And we usually do that at the beginning of the year for several months. And then at the end of the year, we bring people back on to chat with them and see how they're doing and see what action they took and what the results were. We're bleeding over a little bit from 2019 because earlier in 2019 we interviewed Erin Demoni from The Petite Planner, and several others and feature them at the end of the year. And there was just so many great stories that we wanted to highlight them all. And this is one of the last ones of the 2019 season. And we're going to begin the 2020 season of regular scheduled AskPat coaching calls next week.
But today's a Where Are They Now with Erin Dimoni from, like I said, The Petite Planner. She came on a while back to talk a little bit about what courses she was going to run and some planning and logistics and just kind of understanding what priorities were at the time. And now she's coming back on to tell us how things are going and where those priorities are and some things are happening, which is great. So make sure you sit back, listen in. Subscribe if you haven't already, now's the time to do that. And sit back here is Erin Dimoni from The Petite Planner.
Hey Erin, welcome back to AskPat, how are you?
Erin: I'm great, Pat. How are you?
Pat: I'm doing excellent. I'm excited to catch up and see how things have been going. Your previous episode was in Episode 1063 where we talked a little bit about your growing business, but it kind of felt like it was stalling out a little bit to you and we kind of talked through that. So I'm interested to know now, months later, how are things going?
Erin: Things are definitely better. I did take some of your advice. I mean, I veered off a little. Priorities are still kind of an issue for me, but it's doing better. I think I've got my priorities better under control in what areas I need to be focused on in which are actually productive towards what I'm working on.
Pat: That's great. And does that mean letting go of other things that you were doing?
Erin: Yes, and I know that there are probably people that totally disagree with this, but I was creating content for Instagram probably for an hour to an hour and a half a day in the past. And now I've kind of just, I don't post as often. My numbers are actually not—they fell—but I'm not too worried because when I was looking at my analytics, I wasn't getting as much from Instagram as I was from other platforms, whether it be Pinterest or Facebook. So I've taken that energy and just put it into other sources where my audience seems to click through or be more engaged.
Pat: That's really great. I think that's really smart of you to look at, okay, where are actually the customers and the audience coming from? And I'm curious, when it came to Instagram, I'm curious why you had felt the need to put an hour to two hours a day into that before learning where your audience was actually coming from.
Erin: Okay. Well in the beginning when I very first started that Instagram account, it blew up and it got really big really fast. So what I do is like drawing and calligraphy and things like that. So it was creating new content physically every single day, whether that be FORCE drawing or different things. So depending on what I was creating dictated how long I would be doing it. But there were days that I was doing it for the sole purpose of Instagram and not for myself or for my business. So it was just this very ugly cycle of, I was doing something that originally brought me a lot of joy and that I really enjoyed doing.
And it turned into this chore of like, I have to do this for Instagram and I'm taking almost two hours a day to sit down and draw out some things just so I can post it on Instagram. And then with all the algorithm changes on Instagram, that was really when I just kind of was like, I'm not going to put this kind of effort in for little to no return. And not that I don't value my audience on Instagram, it's just they're not—they are just there to see pictures. I’ve found that they’re not so much there to be my future customers and maybe I'm just going about that wrong.
Pat: Right. I mean, from my perspective, Instagram does work for some businesses in that way where it is a lead gen and it's a direct platform for selling. And then in other cases, like with myself, it's not that it's more of just, hey, here's for the fans who want to know more about me in my life. That's the platform to go to just to add on to the other things that where I am spending time and actually I have funnels and other things in place too.
Erin: Right. And I think that's where I'm headed. I took it to the extreme and just didn't post hardly at all. And I'd like to get to a happy medium because that's where I'd like to have that more personal connection through stories and posts that I enjoy posting. But I don't want it to be this I have to do it every day kind of a chore. Because I think—and I think maybe that's why my numbers dropped was—I think it was actually showing in my work that maybe that I wasn't as invested as I was previously. Like I was doing it but it was forced.
Pat: Right. And it's not like you don't write a note that says, “Hey, I don't want to do this, but I'm doing it anyway.” But in just the feeling of it and you know, audiences can read that, which is really interesting. So where did you spend more time? Where did you put more effort into?
Erin: So I've been focusing pretty hard on just creating video content, as text will always hold a lot of value but in our digital era, people are becoming much more like, they go and watch a video to learn how to do something, especially if it's something quick. They'd rather watch a video than read a blog post or something like that.
Pat: I mean, I love that decision and the reason why . . . I'm here on your YouTube channel now, The Petite Planner, go subscribe now, you have about eighteen thousand subscribers. I mean I'm seeing some videos here that weren't published that long ago. I mean seven, eight months ago and you've got a hundred thousand views, sixty-six views. Like things are going really well. And I think for something visual like this, and you're an amazing artist and the Instagram play made sense, but the problem with Instagram is like, okay, you do that video and then that video kind of disappears in the ether, right? Like it's in your archive, but nobody goes back into the archive or hardly people do. However, you now have the fine ability and the searching and especially with your bullet journal stuff, that's key. And I think that leaning into that to spend time to create these beautiful looking videos is the right move for sure. And how have the results been on there since you've been putting more effort into it?
Erin: It's been way better with videos. So I recently launched a new online course and in the past, I was really trying to push an older course at Instagram and it just wasn't taking. And that's obviously in those moments it's very disappointing and it's frustrating. But with YouTube, I get this chance to tease a little bit more into what the actual course is because it is video content, they are video lessons. So I can showcase those things in video without giving the whole course away. And I think that it translates better into sales.
Pat: Yeah, I would, I mean you're basically giving people sort of like a Costco sample.
Erin: Right. Well and I feel like I can translate better what the audience, what they've asked for and what they want to see from me in video. And I've been told by so many of my previous students and even just people on YouTube that are like, you're a really great teacher and I really like your methods. And so for me, I take those comments and I think to myself like, “Oh, so this is just what I'm naturally good at.” Even if I don't always feel amazing at it. Even if there are times where I think that I'm really bad like this style, for me, comes naturally.
Pat: I see a video here that you published two weeks ago that seemed to pop a little bit. A pop for those of you who aren't on YouTube is like, you can create these videos and they're going to get sort of a basic level of views. And then there's going to be one or two that just like zoom, get all these views and it's called “September, 2019.” There's a little unicorn emoji, “plan with me.” I don't know this because I'm not in your channel, but is this like a recurring video that you do every single month with people?
Erin: Yes. So I set up, so similar to what you have as a planner except in a journal, you're creating every individual page yourself so you can tailor it to your goals for the month or whatever you want to add. So I do typically like my monthly calendar, a place where I can track my daily habits, like three big goals and then I do daily gratitude. So those are things—and I record that entire setup, which is quite lengthy, but then shorten it down the video editing and voiceover. And when people enjoy them, they enjoy watching them just for fun. There are also a lot of people who are looking for inspiration or insight into things that might work well in their own daily agenda.
Pat: Yeah, that's really neat. Have you been doing that for a while? Because I love that idea, kind of reminds me of when I used to do those income reports every month and people could just look forward to them. And I would imagine that people are subscribed and they can't wait for the October one and the November one.
Erin: Yes. Those are definitely where I get the most views. Where I also get the most subscribers are those videos. And then I obviously fill in between with related content because it's only once a month. But they have been going on, let's see, I think, I don't know, I think I posted my last . . . I got really consistent maybe last year in March, maybe. So since last year in March I do just one video a month and it usually does well. And it's really weird, YouTube fluctuates a lot too. There was a time where I was getting upwards of like fifty thousand views on that video and then like this month and even the month previous it dropped way down and I'm like, I don't know what I'm doing differently. But then all of a sudden I'll have one that spikes way up. So if you have any insight on the way that YouTube works, I'd love to hear it.
Pat: I mean, they're always changing, testing. It's kind of annoying, to be honest.
Erin: Just like every other platform. Right?
Pat: Right, exactly. Cool. So business-wise, how have things changed since then? You said you just released a new course, how have things been going on the income-generating stuff?
Erin: Good. So I'm still, my main sources of income now are going to be my ad company that I run on my blog. And then my course sales are going to be my main sources. And course sales are good, they're always really good right at the beginning and there's this big influx of all the people that want to join and then it kind of tapers off. So I'm working right now on creating—I have it all created, but I'm making video content for a like intro to this course. And it's just an email series, like ten days of emails that summarize and give like a basic intro to this course.
Pat: I love that. I think that's really smart. Was that based on a request or just your understanding of what the gaps were in the marketing?
Erin: Yeah. So the majority of my sales come from my email subscriber list. That's where I have the most leverage, I guess. And so I figured these are just what I'm sending out are just weekly broadcast emails, newsletters and updates and things like that. So if I'm generating those sales from those I thought—and even from the research I've done, just having a funnel of the specific people that are looking for a specific topic to funnel them through and give them . . . I know for me if I'm going to buy something I want, especially online from an untrusting—not untrusted, that's a bad word, but from a source that isn't just some big-name retailer, I like to have a little bit of a lead-up. And it definitely, I know that I'm influenced, the more emails I get, as long as I'm engaged, the more likely to purchase something.
Pat: For sure. This is all great. It sounds like things are going, it's just kind of you're in the motions now, you're making smarter decisions with where to put your time. What's on your mind in terms of what's coming next? Any worries, anything that you have any questions about?
Erin: My biggest struggle is still just prioritizing and blocking out times. I tried this thing where I was like, “Okay, I'm going to set up a weekly schedule and this is what I'm going to do on Mondays.” And maybe Mondays was like create new blog posts, content and then on Tuesdays, it would be like photographing and shooting video and then editing and backend stuff on different days. Right? And it worked for about a week and then it didn't, and I don't really have, my excuse is that I have a family with young children. But it's not an excuse, I just don't know how to work with it. I feel like I have the discipline but I'm not . . . I still find myself sidetracking because I can always look at something and say, “But I could be doing this, because this task seems less important right now.” But it's important, but something else always seems more important.
Pat: Yeah. Productivity is one of those things that, what works for one person may not work for another and the daily blocking thing works really well for me. But I've learned just like with diets, right? It's like, I could say the keto diet’s the best, but then somebody tries it and it literally ruins them. So it's, you have to keep experimenting. I'm just more encouraged by the fact that you tried that and found out that that didn't work because that means you can cross that one off your list.
Erin: Well and I'd like to try something similar just because I'm pretty good at routine with certain things. But when it comes to my business, I think a lot of it is working at home. I find myself constantly torn between like, I am a mom and a wife and a business owner and I'm doing it all in under the same roof.
Pat: Right. Three super important jobs all in one.
Erin: Right. So I find myself sometimes putting family or household things and I'm like, “Oh, I should be writing this,” and then I'm doing something else. But I would like to try the time blocking thing because I think if I could just get into the routine of doing it, it would be better. The other thing is I tend to schedule things around if my daughter has a day off from school, then that would be a day that I would like to just not put in as much work.
Pat: Totally as you should. And that's the benefit of being an entrepreneur. You can make those decisions and you're not tied down to anything. Right? And I remember when I first started my business, it was like freedom, I can do whatever, whenever. But then because of that, I either did way too much work or not enough. And it was just like, hey, I need some boundaries. So I think perhaps giving a second shot to the time blocking and maybe at certain hours within certain days or maybe it's just, you know certain days are for one thing. Knowing that, hey, you have other things to do, but those are meant for other days and kind of just honoring that. It might just take a little bit more time and experimentation and nuancing to do that.
It was very similar when I shifted over to being a morning person from a night person getting inspired by Hal Elrod in his book, The Miracle Morning (Amazon link). [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] He was like, “Okay, wake up this early and do these things.” And I was just like, I tried it for a week and literally it was like, this is the worst thing ever. Because I cannot wake up early, I'm smashing the snooze button. But then I took a break and I went back and tried again because I really knew it would benefit me. And then just kind of got really diligent with it. And now I'm a total morning person so it took a second try and perhaps that's what you need to do. And I would imagine the summer was also tough because your kids are at home all the time and now that we're in the Fall maybe we'll be a little bit easier to try and time locking again.
Erin: Yes. And I do think that's part of it. Summer throws me off . . .
Pat: Throws all of us off.
Erin: —and throws my whole routine off because I'm going to say on top of my daughter being home from school, that's typically when we plan all of our trips and adventures and stuff. So we're away from the house a lot and it's much harder for me to say “No, I have to work,” when my husband works out of the house. And so when he has time off, that's just when we go.
Pat: Yeah, absolutely. How was your—do you have a team helping you at all or is it just you?
Erin: It is just me, my husband sometimes he helps in areas he can. I'm pretty picky. I'm trying to let go of that. And I think this year may be the year that I might bring somebody on to do . . . I don't know, I was thinking maybe like social media. What do you? For somebody who's just hiring maybe as like a VA, is that where you would put them? Like on what kind of tasks?
Pat: Maybe. The tasks that I would recommend for somebody that you hire would be those mundane, repetitive things that you know need to get done, but you just don't want to do or know that your time is better deserved elsewhere. That could be social media. And then this is the trap that many people go in is like, “Oh, I need to do social media so I'm going to hire somebody and they're just going to do it,” which is like a default. “Oh yeah, they'll do social media.” Versus I need them to take the new blog posts that I come out with every Wednesday and tweet it out for me this many times and create this graphic to go along with it so I can put it on my Instagram for me. Stuff that I would normally do myself, but those little tiny things here and there add up to hours and all the transition between one job to another, that eats up our time so much.
Erin: Yes. If I had somebody to create just like Pinterest graphics, oh my gosh, that would save me probably hours.
Pat: That's where I would start. Literally hire just for that and just see what that does. Because it's easy, you have your own system, you teach them your system, and then you're hands-off from that point forward.
Erin: Okay. And I guess that's where I'm like, I have to let go of this idea of only I can do it or only I know what I want and be okay and know that I can just teach somebody. So I think that's where my holdup has been. But I think if I can get there, maybe especially then I can really make the time blocking and be more productive. Because I won't have all these little things that I always feel they interrupt something big that I'm doing. I'll be working on say a new blog post and write it out and work on the editing. And then somewhere along the lines, I get into graphic creation and then next thing I know I'm there for three hours.
Pat: Yeah, I mean exactly. It's so small things that are what you offer a VA to do. And number one, now they have work that they love and you're helping to support them in their life. So don't make it feel like, “Oh, it's crappy work for me and I'm just handing off crappy work to other people.” It's like, this is their job and they love to do it and they're supporting themselves and you're helping that which is great. And then secondly, like you said, this is just going to open up way more brain space for you.
I think more than just time, it's just comfort. And I think starting small with one task first on a micro level will teach you that, hey, this is okay, I'm okay. And more than that it's like, oh. Because I did the same thing. I was like, I'm going to hand off my first piece of work to somebody else to edit my show, AskPat. I wasn't ready for them to edit SPI, my main show or anything else yet. I wanted to start small and once I got a taste of that I was like, “Oh my gosh, I just saved three hours of work every week. What else can I offer?” And I just started like everything I could think of. I was just like, “hire for this, hand that off.” Because our time is valuable, especially as parents.
Erin: Yes. So now my next question that would go along with that, just to ask you, does it pay off? Like, I mean, is the return on investment good on the work, would you say?
Pat: Yeah, this is an excellent question. It's hard to analyze the payoff in terms of I pay this person X dollars and as a result of that, I get X dollars back, right? It's not a one to one equation. The payoff comes in the fact that these things are getting done without me having to do them and my time is worth more than money. And that's where you're going to see, especially as a parent, especially as a wife, especially as a business owner, you're going to go, “Wow, like this amount of money that I was paying was totally worth this extra brain space so that I could accomplish my bigger goal in my business.” Or so that I could have that date night, or so that I could be there with my kids and not worry about those small things while I was with them. Which that was my problem was like I had all those small things to take care of as well. And even when I was with my kid, I was like, “Oh my gosh. But I still had that little thing and if I could just get on my phone right now and take care of that.” That's unfair, and to me, that was worth the payoff.
Erin: Okay. Yep. And that right there, that was probably the point that touched me the most. Because I do, I find myself more often than I want to admit probably checking my phone or checking my email on my phone or responding to an email while it's supposed to be family time.
Pat: Right. So imagine you're with your family and you have that thought of, “Oh, what about that Pinterest graphic?” And you just remember, “Oh yeah, that's why I hired so and so.” That's a proud moment. Like you're taking control and allowing for other people to do this stuff so that you can do what you want to do.
Erin: That makes so much sense. And I definitely now am like more leaning towards doing it where I was very hesitant.
Pat: It can be a great thing. A couple of quick tips when you eventually get to that point to hire somebody, show them how to do what you want them to do via video and share that video. You can't misinterpret visually seeing how things are done. Right? So that's number one. And number two, just be conscious about the fact that you have to kind of, after you train them and really tell them, “I want this at this time and this is how it's done,” let them go. You kind of have to let go a little bit because there are times in my life and I know I've helped others do the same, where they hire somebody and then literally they're spending more time micromanaging that person than they would if they did that job themselves. That's the trap that many people who are first time VA hiring can potentially fall into. So I just wanted to offer this before we finish up.
Erin: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Because I mean, I would hope that I'm not that person, but I can also honestly say that I might be able to see myself being that person.
Pat: Yeah, I mean, and you don't even know sometimes when you're doing it, it's just because you care so much about your work and helping other people and training this person. When you step back and read the label because you were inside the bottle before, it's like, “Whoa, I'm actually spending more time doing this than I was before.” So this is all really encouraging Erin, I think you're ready for some of those next steps and you don't have to go all-in with it. You can take baby steps and just super proud of what you've done and the continual journey of optimizing and being the best mom and wife and business owner you can be. So I'm just all that same proud of you and just keep up the good work.
Erin: Thank you so much.
Pat: Yeah, you're welcome. We'll check in with you a little bit later to see how things are going. But one more time. Where can people go to find out more and learn more from you?
Erin: My website is, ThePetitePlanner.com and I am The Petite Planner across all social media.
Pat: Love it. Thank you so much, Erin. We appreciate you. Good luck.
Erin: Yeah, thanks.
Pat: Alright. I hope you enjoyed that catch up with Erin. Erin, thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate you sharing where you're at now. It sounds like things are going really well. It's just a little bit of prioritization and time management and I'm just so stoked to hear how and what it's like to start hiring people. To even to start off small, kind of remove yourself from some of the work that may be distracting you from some of the bigger things and your family and this is—trust me, you're not alone in this, this is all of us. So I hope this is helpful for everybody else too and thank you again for coming on. You can find Erin at ThePetitePlanner.com and you can find her courses and stuff on Teachable and in other places, too. [Full Disclaimer: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.] You could just find her out on her website and on her YouTube channel, which is growing as well.
So great job, Erin. Thank you so much. Thank you to everybody who listened to the show and make sure you subscribe if you haven't already. I'm super excited. It's a brand new year. We got a lot of big things coming up. Some fun things planned on SPI, patflynn.com is live now. Check that out if you haven't already. My personal site where I'm talking about some other fun things outside of business and business stuff to you. But other things like parenting, education, technology, Tesla, gaming, VR, just all of the things I love that I want to talk about that SPI wasn't really meant for is now on patflynn.com. Check it out and big shout out to the team over at Authentic for the design and just, I love it so much.
For those of you who were at FlynnCon, you might recognize the logo because we actually started there and I borrowed that and took that for my own personal website. And yes, FlynnCon is coming back. FlynnCon2, if you haven't already checked it out, you could see if there are any tickets available because we've been selling them and the prices go up every single month. And that happens in San Diego, July 24 to 26 would love to see you there as a part of the community. And I was once told in an earlier episode that it's probably the most friendliest group of people that you'll ever meet. So if you're an introvert, you don't go to these events very often. Or maybe even because it's the summer, hey, now's your opportunity. Would love to walk me there. Make sure you have a good time and learn and get motivated too. So bring your family, check it out, FlynnCon2.com and I look forward to serving you in the next upcoming coaching sessions here on AskPat 2.0. Thanks for being here. And as always, Team Flynn for the win.