Rachel Ngom is our guest for the 263rd episode of The Copywriter Club podcast. Rachel is a Pinterest Strategist and Expert who teaches her clients how to utilize Pinterest to build their pipeline of leads. She plans to retire by 40 and has made investments and an action plan to make it happen.
Here’s how the conversation breaks down:
- How Africa changed Rachel’s life for the better.
- How Rachel built a 6-figure business with -$400 and a new baby.
- The reality of selling on social media and the pivots that come along the way.
- Getting 1.8 million people to find your blog by utilizing Pinterest.
- Growing your list to 20k and having to pivot again and again.
- Living the digital nomad lifestyle while running multiple successful businesses.
- How to make investments from a profitable business.
- Why you absolutely need to put yourself in uncomfortable positions repeatedly.
- Building the courage to do the basic things in life when you’re in a different country and culture.
- How to visualize your success and take action.
- Taking your life lessons and translating them into your current business and lifestyle.
- Consistency. Is it really necessary?
- The secret to building up personal discipline and the perfect morning routine.
- How to do with what you have.
- Why everyone can and should be using Pinterest as a lead generation tool and SEO platform.
- Mistakes you could be making on Pinterest and how to fix them.
- The systems and processes needed to run a multiple 6-figure business.
- Why you need to start teaching duplication with your team.
- How to shift your mindset around failure.
- The right time to invest in other businesses, so you can set yourself up to retire young.
- How to know an idea is worth pursuing.
If you need inspiration around investments, retiring, or where your next lead is coming from, this is the episode to tune into.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Kira’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Ask by Ryan Levesque
Kira: Build the business, scale the business, run the business on autopilot, and retire by 40. No biggie. That’s a dream for many business owners. But how does it actually happen? What steps or events need to take place to make it a reality? Well, we’ll dive into all the steps in today’s 263rd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast with Rachel Ngom. Rachel is a Pinterest marketer and serial entrepreneur. During this interview, we talk about how to use Pinterest for lead generation, how to pivot your business, and how to get really uncomfortable in your life and business.
I’m joined today by my co-host and Think Tank alumni member, Annie Bacher. Annie, thank you so much for co-hosting with me today. Can you just kick it off with just a quick intro, if anyone hasn’t heard your interview on the podcast which is episode 218. So we can all check out, revisit your interview on the podcast. But can you just provide a quick intro? Who are you, Annie? Who are you?
Annie: Thanks, Kira. So I’m Annie. I am a B2B SaaS copywriter. And I am obsessed with using copy to help tech companies make the internet a friendlier and more human sounding place.
Kira: All right. Well, thanks for joining me today. And before we dive in, this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by the Think Tank. Annie as a former member of the Think Tank, can you share just what type of impact the mastermind had on your business and your life?
Annie: Oh, where to start? Well, I didn’t call myself a B2B SaaS copywriter before I joined the Think Tank. I didn’t have a lot of focus, and I honestly didn’t even know it was possible for me. So since being in the Think Tank for a year, I hit six figures in my business, I started building a team, and I’ve been working with clients I never would have dreamed I could work with like ConvertKit, Pitch, and some other well-known SaaS companies.
Kira: All right. Well, thanks, Annie for sharing that. And let’s kick this off and find out where Rachel’s journey began.
Rachel: I like to call myself an accidental entrepreneur. So I lived in Africa for a while, moved back and got my master’s in social work. And when I graduated, I went to the top program in the country and I couldn’t find a job even with my master’s. And my husband was starting a brand-new business, we had a brand-new baby. We ended up broke on food stamps, negative $400 in our checking account. And I was like, “All right. So what are we going to do? Got to figure something out.” And I was a part of a network marketing company at the time, and I saw other people having success. And I was like, “If they can do it, I can do it, I got to figure it out.”
So, I failed forward, failed a lot, and eventually really understood how to use social media to grow that business back in 2012, 2013. And created a six-figure business within two years. And that was primarily in the beginning using Facebook and Instagram. I had 50,000 followers on Facebook, 20,000 on Instagram, and back then it was so easy to post, and get comments, and make sales. I would get thousands of comments on some post. It was awesome. Then the algorithm changed. And I was like, “Oh, got to figure something out.” That’s the life of an entrepreneur. You got to pivot and figure something out because nothing is going to last or work forever.
So, I moved to my blog and Pinterest, and I just started creating content, and putting stuff up on Pinterest, and I did not have an elaborate strategy or anything like that. But I was like, “We’ll just see what happens.” And I noticed my traffic was increasing, and I was like, “Where are these people coming from? Is Facebook working again?” I looked at my Google Analytics, and I had 34,000 people every month coming to that blog from Pinterest. And since then 1.8 million people have been on that blog, which is crazy. And so my email list was growing. I had 20,000 subscribers on my email list from Pinterest. And I started teaching my network marketing company, people on my team and other teams how I was using Pinterest to grow that business. And that company restructured. Again, nothing lasts forever. My income was cut in half, and I was left thinking, “Okay. I’m an entrepreneur, but I’m not in control.”
The company is in control because they made the switch from DVDs to digital, and I was working harder and harder and harder, and still nothing was working. And so I was like, “I have to do something on my own.” So I hired a business coach. Couldn’t afford it but figured it out. And she helped me see Pinterest was my sweet spot of this is how it can really serve entrepreneurs that are struggling on Facebook and Instagram that need to generate new leads and sales on autopilot, and I can teach them how to do that. So we launched Pin with Purpose. That’s my program. I’m teaching entrepreneurs how to generate leads through Pinterest, and we’ve had over 2,000 students go through that program. And it has been wild to see them triple their sales in 60 days.
And it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve had the freedom. We lived in France for two years. We lived in Senegal the first six months of this year. My husband is coming back from Senegal today, I’m so excited. And we’ve been able to take money from this business and then invest into other businesses. So my husband has been in Senegal setting up a chicken coop. We bought land, and doing car rentals, and all kinds of things with the plan to retire by 40. So that’s the story in a nutshell.
Rob: And thank you for joining us for the podcast. That was an awesome episode. Okay. You covered a lot of ground there. And we definitely want to come back to, for sure, Pinterest, all the things you’re doing to retire before 40. But before we do that, I’m curious what took you to Africa in the first place? Before all of this started, how did you end up there?
Rachel: Good question. So I played volleyball in college at the University of Illinois. I was on a full-ride scholarship. And it was there that I became a Christian. And I was at this… We had all campus worship, and I was at worship. And it was like this Holy Spirit moment of God being like, “You need to go to Africa.” And I was like, “Huh, how is that going to work? I don’t know anybody on the continent. I play volleyball, I can’t take more than a week off.” And it was all these things fell into place of, I met my professor who intimidated the crap out of me. And I never would have gone to talk to her if my grandfather hadn’t passed away. And she thought I was a dumb athlete that was lying to get out of taking the midterm. So I had a meet with her. And she was like, “What do you want to do? You’re getting your degree in sociology, you’re never going to get a job.”
And I told her I wanted to join the Peace Corps, and she was like, “I can get you an internship in Africa.” And I was like, “Huh. Okay. But I play volleyball, how is that going to work.” And at that time I actually got injured. I tore a cartilage in my ribcage that never healed. And so I was able to take six months and live in Kenya, and it completely transformed my life. I came back, I finished college, and then I wanted to go back to Africa and work on my French. And I chose Senegal, and that’s where I met my husband. Took him back to America with me, and we’ve been all over the world since we’ve been married for 11 years now. I think we’ve moved 10 times in the past 11 years. It’s been wild. And yeah, so that’s what took me to Africa in the first place.
Kira: Let’s talk about those lessons from Kenya, and the life changing six months, what were some specific lessons you learned that may show up in your business today? Maybe you go back to those moments and think about it.
Rachel: Put yourself in uncomfortable situations, because that’s where the growth happens. I was so uncomfortable every single second of every day. I remember one instance in particular, I had just got in there and I needed to go out into the village and get food. I was hungry, and I didn’t have any food. And as soon as I walked out, I was just so intimidated. I’m this White chick from the suburbs of Chicago in the middle of this village in Kenya, and there’s like 100,000 people there. There’s, I think, five White people in the entire village. And so you walk out and everyone just stares at you, and I’m like, “Oh. Okay.” And then people come up to you, and I was just so intimidated. And I had to learn how to get confidence to actually go out and live.
And so, I would come in, and I’d be praying over Ephesians where it talks about putting on the armor of God. And as I stepped out, I just got more confident to do more things. And so by the time I left, I had traveled all over Kenya. I think I’ve been to every city I took matatus which is the public transportation to get everywhere. Went whitewater rafting down the Nile, went to Lamu, spent a week there, which is an island off the coast of Kenya and Somalia. Went to Morocco, jumped off a mountain. Went to Egypt climbed Mount Sinai at sunrise, went scuba diving in the Red Sea. Just these things that were on my bucket list. And I got over so many of those fears.
And so, when it came to business, I always think about, “What’s the thing that scares me, and how can I lean into that, and how can I pursue that?” And so public speaking was one of the things that really made me uncomfortable. And so I was like, “Okay. I got to sign up for Toastmasters. I’m going to become a fitness instructor, so I have to put myself in that situation.” I have to go live, create YouTube videos, do a webinar. Those are all the things that back in the day made me uncomfortable. And now I’m in a place where it doesn’t make me uncomfortable anymore. So I’m like, “All right. What’s my next level of growth?” But I think the biggest lesson of Kenya was, pursue discomfort because that’s where growth happens. I came back a completely different person. I used to have so much anxiety, of fear of people looking at me and judging me. And it wasn’t till I was in Kenya that I was like, “People were never looking at me, now they’re looking at me.” Yeah. It was incredible. I miss it. I loved it there.
Rob: I love this whole discussion. I have a daughter who’s taking a gap year and her whole goal is to go to Africa.
Rachel: Yes. We need to talk about that. I can help her.
Rob: We should. We’re going to have to connect afterwards because, yeah, this is one of the… And she struggled with it because of COVID. Travel restrictions and all that. So it’s put some of her dreams on hold. But yeah, we definitely need to connect afterwards, Rachel, about how to do all of this stuff. And before we leave this part of your life, I’m also curious. You mentioned you played as volleyballer. Are there lessons from that sports experience that apply to your business today?
Rachel: Oh, yeah. A million. Wow. One big one is to visualize your success, and to visualize it happening. And so we actually won the Junior Olympics my senior year. That was our big, big goal. I was an all-American. I was one of the top five best players in the country. We played in China, I ended up playing in Italy. We busted our butts, we were the hardest working team in the country. That’s why we won. We were not the most talented. I would never consider myself the most athletic, the most talented player by any means, but I had one of the strongest work ethics. I was the first person in the gym, the last person to leave. I did extra cardio, I was really strict with my diet.
And one of the things our coach taught us is, we had quiet time before big matches when we were at qualifiers or nationals. And we will just be visualizing ourselves. Like visualize yourself get the kill, visualize yourself getting the ace, visualize yourself winning. And so I remember I’d be doing cardio, and it’d be so hard and I wouldn’t want to do it. But I do it anyways, because you don’t do the things that you always feel like doing. You got to show up. You can’t wait for motivation to come to you, you got to take action anyways. And so I’d be doing that cardio and it would be so hard, and I would just be visualizing myself standing on the podium then putting the gold medal around my neck because we won. And I saw it over and over and over again in my mind. So when it actually happened in real life, it was one of the wildest experiences because I had rehearsed it. And I already saw it. That was one of the biggest ones.
Discipline, obviously. The club I played at it was like boot camp military style of, you were very, very disciplined. We’re 13, 14 years old, and if our bags were not lined up perfectly without gaps in between the bags, we’d be doing sprints. Or I left my workout binder in the weight room one time and I had to run 100 flights of stairs after a four-hour practice. Yeah. So you better believe I never left my workout binder again. Attention to detail was a big thing. Attention to detail, and teamwork. How can you rely on your team and not 100% in yourself? There’s so many, but those are some of the ones that come to my head right now.
Kira: How does that show up in your business today? Let’s go with attention to detail and teamwork. Yeah. How is that present in the business you’ve built today?
Rachel: Attention to detail of looking at what are the little things that can help us increase conversions? What are the little things that we can do to make a difference for our clients? The little details of they sign up, okay, instead of waiting for onboarding or anything, we have a solid onboarding process in place to really support them. Sending them little gifts, or letters, or books, or stuff like that. Attention to detail that way. Teamwork, I would not have this business if it were not for our team. I do not work that many hours. I am really focused on family first, and having a lot of fun, and taking care of myself. So I work probably no more than 20 hours a week. And I take Friday’s off for fun Friday. Like my husband and I are getting a couples massage tomorrow. Which wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for the power of team, and learning how to delegate effectively.
Rob: So, as you were talking about the process of reinventing your business, you mentioned that moment when you had negative $400 in your checking account. And I think that probably resonates with at least part of our audience. Maybe they don’t have negative checking accounts, but the struggle, and showing up and feeling like things aren’t moving, and just trying to figure out what’s the thing that’s going to kick this over the hump. And I’m curious, if maybe you can just talk about that moment in time, how you felt, and what it was that you did in order to… I know you started doing things in your business, but mentally what was it that helped you get through that?
Rachel: I made the decision that I refuse to stay where we are. I remember pushing my son in the stroller, and we were going from a pawn shop to pawn shop selling stuff to get our bank account out of the negative. And I remember I was trying to sell jewelry, and them turning it down because they’re like, “This is only worth like 20 bucks. This is costume jewelry.” And just feeling completely deflated. And then looking at my son and being like, “You’re not being raised in this kind of environment. I refuse.” And so, a lot of times people might feel, again, deflated. And instead of telling myself the story of like, “Well, this is the best it’s going to get.” I just looked around, and I was like, “What can I create out of this?”
And I saw a program that came out that was teaching social media, which I knew I really needed to grow my business. And it was $450 a month for six months. And that was like a million dollars a month at the time. It was so expensive. But I had that feeling in my gut of, “I have to do this.” And I’m a big believer, you got to follow that gut feeling. So when I had that feeling. I was like, “Okay. Now, how?” I didn’t tell myself a story of I can’t afford it. I looked around, I was like, “How can I afford this? How can I make this happen?” And so I was like, “I can sell our TV. I can sell our dining room table. We don’t need a dresser, that can go.” We sold our Xbox. I sold anything that I could, so that I could do that program.
And it was that program that completely transformed my business, because when you invest, you’re invested. I was the best student. I showed up, I did everything they told me to do. And I saw, it went from $20,000 a year to $100,000 a year within two years. And I attribute most of that success to that specific program that I went through. It radically transformed my business. And I think a lot of people when they’re struggling, and they just tell themselves a story of a thing that could come. A coaching program, or something that could help them. They tell themselves a story of, “I can’t afford it.” And that keeps them stuck. And they stay small instead of looking around and asking themselves the question of, how can I? Because money is everywhere. If you look around, you can find the money.
Pretty much everyone that I’ve learned from, they didn’t start off successful. They started off broke. I think about Tony Robbins, and Dean Graziosi, and Danny Johnson, and Shanda Sumpter, all these people that I’ve learned from they started off broke, but they figured it out, because they asked themselves, “How? How can I do this?” And then you just figure it out.
Kira: Let’s fast forward to 2012, the year when you hit your six figures within the two years. When I hear that, I’m like, “That sounds great. I want that.” A lot of our listeners might want that as well. Can you talk about the ingredients, the combination that really helped you get to that six-figure mark?
Rachel: Investing in myself, and being incredibly consistent. That’s one of my superpowers, is the power of consistency. So that program that I learned social media from, she said, “You need to post every hour on the hour on Facebook from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.” So I did over and over and over again. And there was not me missing a day. I remember specifically, I was in the hospital giving birth to my son. And it wasn’t a surprise, I’m like 40 weeks pregnant, so I scheduled that my posts using HootSuite or whatever it was at the time. And so I’m in the hospital giving birth, I still am posting on Facebook because I’m so focused on I got to be consistent, I got to be consistent.
So that is one of the things that it has to happen. You can’t just show up when you feel like it every once in a while, you’ve got to show up… We do that to this day. We just had our 300th podcast episode go out. We have not missed a single episode. I have not missed emailing my list since I started this business, every single week. Every week I’ve had an email go out, that’s through having a baby, that’s through going through a pandemic, that’s through moving overseas multiple times. You have to make that commitment to show up for your audience. And consistency is one of the big keys there.
Rob: If this is something that I’m personally really interested in, not just your approach to this, but my own personal discipline. And it seems like when we talk to athletes, or former athletes on the podcast, they seem to have this thing that, I don’t know if it’s built through athletic competition and practice and all of that stuff. But if you were not an athlete, or if you were talking to somebody who doesn’t have that background, what advice would you give them in order to build personal discipline so that they can show up consistently, and they can do the things that start moving their business forward?
Rachel: Yeah. I would say the discipline of having a routine. So I’m thinking about the routine of getting ready for practice, the routine of showing up to practice every day, and how I have that in my life now. So I think about, I wake up early, I was up at 5:15 this morning, and I’m typically up between 4:30 and 6:00. I don’t set an alarm, but I go to bed early enough so I get enough sleep, and I wake up before the baby. And I have my routine, and I live by my routine. So I’m in bed early, and then I wake up, I read the Bible, I pray, I meditate, I visualize, we go for a walk, we walk for about 40 minutes. And it’s still dark out. I literally just bought a headlamp, so I can look for snakes, and armadillos, and alligators. And I do that because otherwise it’s going to be too hot, and then I’m not going to want to feel like it.
But if I want to feel my best, perform my best, show up as my best self, that’s the routine and the discipline that needs to happen. Yeah. I would say, have a morning routine. If you haven’t read The Miracle Morning or something like that, do that. And have a set morning routine. And you don’t have to wake up at 5:00 if you don’t want to. But I would wake up before the children, so you have a little bit of time where you can focus on your mindset, so you show up strong.
Kira: Yeah. I think that’s a great, great advice around, okay, work on the morning routine. That’s a great book to read. I wonder if this is more of a mindset shift, even in order to be able to create that routine, and stick to the routine, and ultimately have consistency and growth in your business? Is there a mindset shift that we need to experience before we even get to that point, or anything that you had to go through in order to really step in and be like, “I’m going to do this. This is going to happen. I’m committed.” Because I think that’s where we struggle. The mindset shift to get to that point.
Rachel: Don’t have it be all or nothing. Don’t tell yourself you have to be perfect, because there are days… I would say I do my morning routine 90% of the… I always go for a walk. That’s non-negotiable. But waking up before Gabrielle and getting my prayer, meditation, all that stuff in, I would say it happens 90% of the time. The other percentage, maybe I just needed more sleep. So give yourself grace. My goal is to work out six days a week. Does that mean I work out for an hour every time? No. Sometimes it’s like, “I got 15 minutes to get on the bike. I got to make this happen.” And it’s that consistency, instead of having an all or nothing mentality.
A good book to support people with that is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Just get rid of the all or nothing mentality, give yourself grace and tell yourself, “I’m just going to do five minutes. I don’t have to go for an hour, I’ll just do five minutes.” And then that’s how you start to build a habit, and show up day after day after day. It doesn’t have to be an hour, it can be five minutes.
Rob: I love all the book recommendations too, Rachel. You like bring up-
Rachel: I read a lot.
Rob: … a lot of my favorites. In fact, my son just came home with Compound Effect. He’s like, “Have you ever heard of this?” I’m like, “Yes. As a matter of fact I have. It’s a fantastic book.” So yeah, it’s great. Okay. So I don’t necessarily want to shorten our conversation about mindset, and discipline, and all that stuff. But I am really curious about the Pinterest side of your business, and the impact that that’s had. Because like you said, going from this consistent posting to millions of visitors to your site, that seems incredible, especially for someone like me, who sees my kids playing on Pinterest. And I’m saying playing because that’s what it feels like to me. It doesn’t even in some ways feel like a serious business tool. So talk to us about Pinterest, and what we would need to do in order to make that a lead generation tool?
Rachel: So, think of it like a visual search engine, like a visual Google. Okay. That’s the easiest way to describe it. And so you got to treat it like a search engine. It’s not a social media platform. And if you get niched down enough, that’s when you have the ability to show up and to dominate long term. That fitness blog that I created still has thousands of people coming to it every single month, and I haven’t touched it in four years. Imagine being able to get traffic, and make sales, and build your email list four years after you actually did the work. That just blows my mind. One of the biggest things you need to understand, it’s a search engine, and you got to niche down.
And so, some of my most popular blog posts that still generate traffic. How to do intermittent fasting for women, and endomorph diet tips for women. It’s so niche, so specific, and that’s the thing. I was creating content and I was all over the place. I was like, “I want to help people with everything.” And when I looked at my Google Analytics, I saw my content that was about intermittent fasting and keto was the content that was getting the most traffic and so I just asked myself, “What if I niche down only focused on that?” And that’s when things took off, is when I became known as that go to expert. And people came from Pinterest, and they’re like, “Oh my goodness, she has a free keto meal plan. She has a Keto eBook that I can buy.” And when I launched my eBook, I actually crashed my website because I had so many people that wanted to buy it. And that’s the power of niching down, and doing it correctly through Pinterest.
Kira: Could you break it down for us with another example? Maybe it could be an example of a copywriter and how a copywriter could just think through how to use Pinterest and create content for Pinterest. I mean we could even use Rob Marsh as an example for his copywriting business.
Rob: Yeah. And Rob on Pinterest, that would be awesome. And I say that tongue in cheek because like I said, I barely know anything other than my kids play on Pinterest.
Rachel: Okay. So one of the things that you can actually do is to open up Pinterest, and just start typing in different long-tail keywords. So a long-tail keyword is a short phrase that someone might search. And one keyword would be like weight loss, or copywriting. A long-tail keyword might be how to do copywriting. So it depends on what kind of copywriting you’re doing, or what they want to attract. But if I do, how to do copywriting? That pops up as a long-tail keyword. And so that’s an example of something that they could use. So when you upload a Pin, you include that long-tail keyword in the Pin description. And that’s one of the ways that you can show up. And so just depends on who they want to attract, and get inside the head of that person they want to attract and think, “Okay. When they’re on Pinterest, what are they searching for? And can I show up as that person to solve that problem for them?”
Rob: And obviously, this is a visual medium. So how do I connect those keywords to images? What should I be thinking about? Is it pictures of me, is it quotes? What should I be doing there?
Rachel: So good homework for you to do is actually open up Pinterest and start scrolling and see what kind of Pins stop your scroll, because that’s what you want to create. And typically when I have people do this, the things that stop the scroll, it has big bold text on it. It doesn’t necessarily have to have an image, it can. These are things that you could test. Pinterest and marketing in general, you got to test and see what works. A big bold text, that’s easy to read. We call it a headline. So we test our headlines out as a copywriter. It should be pretty easy to write a compelling headline that wants to stop people scroll. It has a bold color. So we use red, strategically. You could use pink or blue. Just think about a bold color that’ll grab their attention.
Those are the biggest things, and it’s on brand. So if you go to our Pinterest account, you’ll see we definitely have our Pins on brand. So we have our logo on there, and we also have a call to action. And then you could also test out other things too. You could test out video Pins. We use Canva to create our Pins, which is so easy, you don’t have to be a designer or anything because I am not. They have easy templates that you can use. And you could test out animated Pins, video Pins. And those are fun to create because they stand out a little bit more in the feed.
Kira: Okay. This is basic, basic question because similar to Rob, this is not a place I hang out often, at least for marketing purposes for our business. So are we focusing on lead magnets, as I’m looking at all the different pop ups for copywriting when I type copywriting in. It looks like these are mostly lead magnets. Or are we sending people directly to landing pages and selling? Do you have tips around the best way to guide them through a funnel?
Rachel: Yep. So I want you to think about the psychology of the Piner and what they’re going through. And so when they’re on Pinterest, they’re searching for something that’s going to help them solve a problem. They don’t know you yet, they’re cold traffic. And so I would send them to a blog post where you’re adding value. So it could be a how to post, a tutorial post, a list post, or something like that, where it’s solving a problem. And then within that post, you have a call to action for them to get on your email list and go even further. So it could be a content upgrade or something like that that’s going to dive in even deeper to that post that they just read. They’re going to be way more likely to actually take action on that, as opposed to if you send them from Pinterest directly to a lead magnet or a sales page.
Rob: And Rachel, as I think about doing this are there any niches, or industries, or markets that maybe wouldn’t be a good fit for Pinterest? And the reason I ask is, a lot of the clients that I personally would write for are in the SaaS space. So it’s software, technology, that kind of stuff. Pinterest doesn’t feel like it’s a place where that person is hanging out. But I could be completely wrong because obviously they may be there looking for other things. Recipes for marshmallow pie, or images for something else. So I’m just curious, should some people avoid Pinterest, or is it good for everyone?
Rachel: I’ve never seen a business that I would say, “No, you shouldn’t be on Pinterest.” I’ve even spoken at real estate conferences teaching realtors how they can use Pinterest. One of the things too to remember is that Pins show up on Google images. And so even if you think your person isn’t on Pinterest, they are. I’ve seen my husband. My husband, a man from West Africa that did not grow up with the internet was on Pinterest searching for stuff. So if he’s on Pinterest, everyone is. But they’re on Google, for sure. So yeah, I haven’t seen a niche or an industry that I would say they shouldn’t use Pinterest.
Kira: So, before we wrap and move on from Pinterest, what are some other mistakes that we should avoid? Let’s just say I’m listening… I am listening. This does sound like a great opportunity, I want to jump in and test it. What other mistakes should I avoid?
Rachel: Being too broad. So we talked about being niche. Don’t be too broad. Don’t be afraid to add value. So don’t be afraid with your content to add value. Some people they have that scarcity mindset, “If I add too much value, then why would they buy for me?” It’s when you add value that they’re going to think, “Wow, what else can I learn from this person?” We’ve sold 10,000, $20,000 clients that found me on Pinterest, and it’s because they learned something and they’re thinking, “Wow, what else could I learn from this person?” So that’s one of the big ones. And then the other one is going for the sale too soon. So the whole goal of Pinterest is to use it to build your email list, and then through your email list you can market your offer. So don’t go for the sale right away.
Rob: And to be clear, this isn’t something that, if we’re going to take it seriously that we can dabble in. Like a couple of posts now, and then taking a month or two off, then a couple of posts is probably not a great strategy.
Rachel: That’s not a strategy for anything. You can’t dabble and expect to see results in anything that you do. You got to go all in.
Kira: All right. Let’s break in here and talk about a few things that stood out. Annie, what stood out to you in this portion of the interview?
Annie: Yeah. So of course the first thing that stood out to me was how Rachel talks about living abroad, and the uncomfortable situations that you put yourself in. And so I’ve lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the past eight years, and I think about this constantly how being uncomfortable and being in a country that you didn’t grow up in, it really forces you to look at things around you differently. And yeah, just pursuing discomfort. I was also thinking of… I don’t know if she said it on this podcast, but Jereshia Hawk talks about her daily discomfort as the price of success. And that phrase popped into my head when Rachel was talking about pursuing discomfort, and that’s where growth happens.
Kira: Yeah. Can you talk a little bit more about that Annie, because you are someone… We talked about trapeze and how you do jump into really uncomfortable situations. What is something you’ve done recently that felt uncomfortable?
Annie: Well, really recently I ran a marathon, and that was really painful and really uncomfortable. And actually, yeah, Rachel talked about sports, and how athletics really helps you to lean into that pain. Not pain, but pain and discomfort that comes with business. But yeah, running a marathon, it’s a good metaphor for just how discomfort… You have to go through a certain amount of discomfort if you want to reach your goals and hit your dreams. And it’s not always pleasant.
Kira: Yeah. Did you crash during the marathon? I know it’s around mile 21, it just gets really tough to continue. What was it like for you?
Annie: I did, and I wasn’t planning on it. This is my fourth marathon. And this is my best training cycle ever, and I thought I was really going to follow the race plan, but it’s really hard not to go out too hard at the beginning. So yeah, I went out a little bit too hard, went a little too fast. And I didn’t crash at mile 21, but it got really, really painful. And my partner Victor was biking alongside me and I was just yelling, “Oh, the pain.” Out loud to him, and he was cheering me on. But it kept going, so I was really proud of that. I didn’t slow down too much.
Kira: Wow. Okay. That’s impressive. I chose the easiest marathon. I’ve only done one. I love running, but-
Annie: I never knew that.
Kira: … it is painful. And so I chose the easiest one because I read somewhere that the Chicago Marathon is technically the easiest because it’s the flattest and it is such a really supportive crowd, so I signed up for that one, because if I’m going to do it, I want the easiest possible marathon.
Annie: Kira, there’s no such thing as an easy marathon.
Kira: That is very true. I definitely crashed too. So Annie, if someone listening wants to do something uncomfortable, and maybe moving or even travel is not an option right now for them. What advice would you give to them? How do you approach it even as you’re looking forward now that the marathon is over, how do you approach finding discomfort in your own life?
Annie: Yeah. I think if you’re interested in doing a sport or some kind of athletic challenge, it’s a really good way to pursue discomfort in a safe way. If you have a coach, it’s controlled discomfort because it’s supposed to happen when you do when you do physical activities. But then another thing I was thinking about is just, even if you can’t travel but putting yourself in a situation that you’re really unfamiliar with. So starting a class or an activity that’s just really outside of your comfort zone. So I like to just sign up for things like a yoga class, or… I don’t know. Or a drawing class, or something where you just have no idea how it’s supposed to work, and how you’re supposed to act. What about you, Kira?
Kira: I like that. Well, I was just thinking, I feel like I haven’t done anything that uncomfortable recently.
Annie: You just had a baby, right?
Kira: Well, yes. Physically, I have been uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable the entire last year. So I think that slowed me down a little bit. But now that that’s over, and the baby is here, now I’m looking forward and thinking a little bit more about it. But yeah, when the physical discomfort is so high, it’s hard to really think about anything else outside of it. But at this point, I’m thinking about, what else could I add to my life each week. And so something like taking and learning French, how to speak French, would be really cool. So I’m looking into that with my kids. And maybe after this conversation, I’ll sign up for something like that.
Annie: Yeah. And I think it’s worth pointing out that this whole past like year and a half has been so uncomfortable, and not fun, and exhausting. And so it’s only now that I’m actually, now I think about it, that I’m actually thinking about, “Oh, I should try something new.” I went to a new class yesterday. But for the past year and a half, I was just trying to try to move forward and survive, and I didn’t need to look very hard to be uncomfortable.
Kira: Right. No, that’s really true. When you’re just trying to manage the day-to-day, you’re not like, “Oh, how can I challenge myself a little bit more?” Most people have been challenged enough over the last year, and continued to be challenged. So I think that’s really a good point to make. What else, Annie, stood out to you?
Annie: When she talks about Pinterest, and… What I liked about Rachel is that it didn’t sound she went into her business with a really clear plan of what was going to happen. She didn’t say, “I’m starting this business, and I’m going to build all these products be a Pinterest specialist.” But she was in her business, and she really focused on what’s working, and then she followed that and got really specific about it too. So I liked… I try to do that in my business. Instead of planning, okay, where I’m going to be a year from now, looking at what’s working right now in my marketing strategy, or in my… Yeah. In marketing or in what I’m selling, and then following that instead of trying to plan everything out ahead of time.
Kira: Yeah. No. I like that. And what stood out to me about a lot of what she shared, whether it was on Pinterest, and showing up on Pinterest, or showing up on Facebook was around consistency. And I think that goes back to the discipline that you mentioned around just having that discipline. What does that look like in your business, Annie? Where are you really consistent, and where do you struggle with consistency?
Annie: Yeah. I think my strength in business is definitely just showing up. But, actually I was talking about this yesterday with someone who asked what I’m excited for moving forward. And I feel like my answers are always pretty boring because right now what I’m excited for is just doing the same things I’ve been doing and not changing my goals week to week. So yeah, my strength of consistency is being persistent for a really long time towards a goal even if it doesn’t sound exciting.
Kira: Yeah. And I was thinking as she mentioned showing up as a student, and being the best student in a program. And I know she was a top student in one of her programs, it made me think of you actually, Annie, because I feel like I’ve worked with you in the accelerator, and then the Think Tank. And you’re one of those people who just fully dive in and show up, and are a star student. That’s something I’ve always struggled with. I feel like I’m always the slacker student, I don’t know time to step it up in the programs I’m in. But how do you approach it, or does that just come naturally to you? Or do you intentionally join courses and programs and you’re like, “I’m going to do everything, and I’m going to show up, and I’m going to just give it 100%.”
Annie: Yeah. Definitely I’ve gotten more savvy about knowing which programs sign up for and which not. But now, my rule for myself is, I don’t want to sign up for a program unless I’m going to go all in and show up to 95% of the calls, and do all the homework because that’s where I get the most value out of it. I know some people have… Like Marie Poulin has this philosophy of she’ll do a course until she gets something really valuable out of it, and then she’s allowed to just stop. Her strategy is clearly working for her. But yeah, I think it’s just who I am. I was the salutatorian in my high school class, and I wanted to get the highest GPA, and I did every single extra credit assignment. So I can’t say it’s like a business strategy that I’ve really worked on, it’s more just like I can’t help but be the suck up and the star student.
Kira: Okay. Well, I love that. Everyone has their own style, and I love that Marie is just like, “you know what, if I got what I need, I’m out.” I lean more that way too. I had joined yearlong programs, and on the first call with the coach or the mentor, they may give me such great advice, that I just focus on that piece of advice for the entire year. And I’m like, “I’m good. I don’t really need anything else because you gave me such great advice, and it’s actually going to take me probably a year to implement that advice. So I definitely have received the value that I needed, and I’m out. I’m good.” But yeah, I think it’s just figuring out what works best for you.
Annie: Yeah. And not feeling guilty. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel guilty about not doing every single piece of homework from a program. But the whole point of a being a student or joining a program, or joining a mastermind is not to check off all the boxes.
Kira: Exactly. Let’s get back to the episode, and find out how Rachel scaled her business to where it is today. All right. Let’s shift and talk a little bit about where you are today. What your business looks like today because I definitely… When you mentioned, “I do not work that many hours.” And then I think you said 20 hours a week. That that grabs my attention. I want that. So can you just talk a little bit about the overall picture of your business? Do you have a team today? What does your team look like? And what are some of those offers in your core business?
Rachel: So, our team looks like… We have Ariana, who is our part time OBM, business manager. Lizzie is our social media manager, Michelle does customer service, Helen is our head coach within Activate. Activate is our group coaching program that we have scaled. So instead of me trading time for money, we have a program that actually has other coaches that are former students that are crushing it in their business that are supporting our students. So we have, I think, four or five coaches within Activate that are being led by our head coach Helen.
We have a sales team as well. And someone doing our Facebook ads, and someone else doing Pinterest management as well. So that’s the team. Oh, and we have Julie doing a lot of the tech behind the scenes stuff as well. As far as our offers, digital courses. So Pin with Purpose is our signature program. We have smaller offers that are anywhere from $47 to $97. And then Activate is our flagship program, it’s around $12,000 for that one, and it’s yearlong program. And then we also do Pinterest management as well.
Rob: And how do you coordinate everything? Does everybody just know what they’re doing, or do you guys meet every week? How do you disseminate the ideas that you have for everybody else to be working on?
Rachel: So, we meet about every week, or every other week, and we use Voxer a lot, and we have systems. And so Ariana our OBM, she is a systems person. And so she has helped our team really systematize everything. So we have an SOP for everything in our business. So it is very systematized. So I can just say, “Hey team, we’re doing this webinar. We’re doing it Wednesday.” And then the wheels are moving, and we already have the entire project broken down into Asana. We notify our ads manager, and then they get to work on that. So I pretty much get to just show up for that webinar and deliver.
And that’s my goal. I look at, “What are the things that only I can do? And then how can I lean into that and focus on that?” So I don’t have to be the person showing up and editing the podcast. I don’t have to be the person responding to emails. I don’t have to be the person doing private coaching inside of Activate. How can I scale it, so it takes me out of that role?
Kira: Yeah. And I love that you’ve scaled, and I think that’s what a lot of copywriters are interested in as well. It’s tough though to go from, let’s say where you started, solopreneur, and then to get to where you are today. I’m just wondering, where did you struggle the most on that path of letting go, and really stepping into the visionary CEO of your business? Where did you struggle, and then how did you work through that struggle?
Rachel: I think in the beginning, making that first hire which was Ariana, because she was expensive. Because she was at the time like $45 an hour. And I remember her telling me like, “I know your business is your baby, and I’ll treat it like that.” So that gave me a lot of confidence in knowing I had the right person. So I think you got to spend time making sure you’re hiring the right people, and putting them into the right role. So we’ve had Ariana, Lizzie, Michelle, Helen. They’ve been on our team for almost since the very beginning. So we have great people that we all enjoy working together, and we know each other, and we work together really well.
So, Ariana even creates a lot of copy for me because she understands my voice so much. Lizzie creates a lot of my Instagram posts for me because she knows my voice so well. When it comes to giving up control, one of the things, I attended Global Leadership Summit, and Craig Groeschel he’s the pastor of one of the most successful churches, if not the most successful church in America said that, “You can either have growth, or you can have control, but you can’t have both.” And that always stuck with me. I’m like, “Okay. I got to let go the control little bit if I want to see growth. And if someone can do something 80% as good as I can, I can let go of it.”
And then John Maxwell has been another big piece of just me learning and growing as a leader of teaching duplication. So first I do it, you watch, then we do it together, then you do it, I watch, then you do it and you teach someone else. And just learning the power of duplication, so I can get out of it. And how can I make things really, really clear, documented, create those SOPs, so I don’t have to be the one doing that thing.
Rob: You’re talking my language here, or maybe you’re telling me all the things that I need to be doing as opposed to things that we do. So I wonder about, baseline systems as you’ve created these systems in your business. A lot of copywriters who are listening maybe don’t even have their first system set up. So I’m curious where you would start? What are the two or three systems that you absolutely need to have in your business to help it to grow, and to be more effective?
Rachel: Well, you got to manage your time. So manage your calendar, Google Calendar, huge. I started off using Trello to manage myself. But as we grew the team, we moved over to Asana. That way you can tag people in those projects. So that would be a big one as well. Communication, we use Voxer for all of that. I try to stay out of email as much as humanly possible, because it’s just a tool of procrastination. So manage your time. So make sure you’re using Google Calendar, you’re using a planner, and you know what you should be doing, and have that overall vision of what you’re trying to accomplish. And then working with your team within Asana. I think those are… If you have those two things dialed down, you’re going to do really good.
Kira: All right. This is where I’m going to get selfish in the interview, and I’m just going to ask them questions because I’m curious about the coaches in your program, and how you’ve brought other coaches into your program. You mentioned they were former students. That’s something that I know we’re interested in doing. Definitely a lot of mindset issues around that. But how has that worked for you? What are some steps for anyone listening who also wants to start to scale and add other team members to the coaching element?
Rachel: Oh, it has been a game changer, because I used to feel like I had to show up every day inside of the Facebook group, and to be there. And now that we have full-time, part-time coaches in the program it takes a lot of that responsibility off my shoulders, so I can take a week off and be with my husband, and all the things I want to do. You created your business to have freedom not to create another job for yourself. And so when you’re building out your business and your offers always think, “How can I scale this so I get out of it?” So the first person was Helen.
And it’s funny, I actually created a video that I put on YouTube and I was teaching my audience how to use Trello for their business. And I showed how I had goals set up for the upcoming year, of how I wanted to have Activate scale with hired coaches. And Helen literally just sent me a message, “Rachel, can I be one of your coaches? I love this program. I want to work with you.” And she has been incredible. I trust Helen so much, she’s been such an integral part of the growth and success of that program. And so me and her work really closely together. She knows me, she knows my vision of what we’re doing together, and she’s the one responsible for hiring other coaches and training them inside of the program.
And so, she’s looking at, “All right. Who has done such a great job, and who could we bring on board?” So we work together in terms of that. And then she has different checkpoints that she has set up. So when it comes to hiring the right person. You want to make sure that they support the way… So they think differently than you. So I’m the visionary, and then Helen is very… And Ariana… These people on our team are very detail oriented. And so I come with, “We’re going to do this.” And then they come back with a list of questions. “Okay. What about this? What timing? What’s this going to look like?” Like really specific.
And so, you want to make sure you’re bringing on people that really understand those details. And they think differently than you. So they balance you out as well. Yeah. Helen has done such a good job of having different checkpoints. We have surveys for our students to see how the coaches are doing. We didn’t have all of this at once when we launched the program. I think if anything is perfect when you launched it, you waited too long to launch it. And so we’ve had this program for a couple years now, and it continues to evolve and get better as time goes on.
Rob: While you’re talking about developing programs and courses, I’m curious about your approach. Obviously, you’ve done it several times. There are people listening who would love to do their own courses, whether it’s in copywriting, or whether it’s something industry specific. Do you have just a few tips for somebody who’s thinking about doing a course where they should start, and how to maximize their first effort?
Rachel: Do not create the course until you have sold it, would be thing number one. I think I see so many entrepreneurs, they spend months creating and perfecting a course, and then they launch it to crickets, and it’s really sad. So what I would do is pre sell it. That’s what I did with every program that I’ve created. I’ve launched it, sold it, and created it with my students. That way I know I’m not teaching over their head. That’s one of the biggest things. And just listen to your audience. Another good book, I’m giving you all the books. Ask by Ryan Levesque.
And so, the reason I was able to crash my website and sell out that eBook, that was one of my very first offers, is because I asked my audience what they wanted, what they needed. What they wanted to see inside the program. They helped me design the cover for it. They helped me edit the book. And so when I launched it, they were ready, they were waiting, and it was everything that they wanted to see inside the program. So don’t be sitting at home by yourself trying to think of what you should create. See if you can work with your audience, do some market research, ask them what they want, deliver it for them, and create it with them.
Kira: Let’s go back to your schedule. I’m clearly hooked on your 20-hour weeks schedule.
Kira: I can’t let it go. And I love that you said you show up when you need to show up and teach in a webinar. Can you just talk through that? You’ve talked through your morning routine, but what else do you do during the week?
Rachel: Yeah. So actually I have my calendar open right now, so we can go through this. So Mondays, I typically don’t have a ton on my calendar, usually. It’s more of meeting with our sales team, and planning out the week, and getting creative stuff done. So it might be creating content, recording podcast episodes, that kind of thing. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, is when I batch any podcast interviews, coaching calls, webinars, anything like that. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Fridays are free days. So tomorrow I’m doing the posture therapy and getting a couples massage. I have repeating things on my calendar. So every morning from 9:00 to 10:00, I have that blocked off as my workout time. I don’t schedule anything typically before 11:00 AM.
And so, Michelle manages my calendar, and she knows she can book podcasts, and other calls between 11:00 and 2:30 Eastern Time, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It’s very specific on what fits my schedule. I also have power hours. Time where I can sit down and like, “What needs to happen?” So maybe I’m batching emails for the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’m working on an affiliate launch that I’m a part of. I have power hour repeating on my calendar Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10:00 to 11:00 Eastern. And so anything that needs to be repeated, I have it repeated, and I just make sure I block off that time. I’m filling up my cup and putting myself first before I schedule anything else. That’s pretty much it. And I always make sure I’m working when the kids are at school. I am picking up Gabrielle by three o’clock. So I’m done by three. I don’t have anything on my calendar after that time. Does that help?
Kira: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Rob: Definitely helps. And Rachel, you’re in Africa now, right?
Rachel: No. We actually came back over the summer. My husband has been there the past three months, and he’s coming back today. He’s on the airplane right now, and I’m so excited. We moved there the day after Christmas, and we came back for the summer with every intention to go back to Senegal. And when we came, my son was just having so much fun in the neighborhood with his friends, and all the camps, and stuff that they just didn’t have in Senegal, so we decided to stay, and then my husband is going back and forth managing the businesses that we have over there.
Rob: Okay. Cool. I mean that leads to my next question, which is, you’ve lived in France, you’ve lived in Senegal, now you’re in the states. The business that you’ve built has been able to support you to do this anywhere. And again, I think a lot of people like that. Kira and I have both talked about moving overseas-
Rachel: Yeah. Do it.
Rob: … at some point in the near future. And something that I’ve done in the past with my family. And so would you have any advice for copywriters who want to be doing the same kind of thing? How do you become location independent?
Rachel: Well, create a business that’s generating income where you don’t have to trade time for money, and you don’t have to have your butt in one spot. So think about, “All right. What can I create? Is it a program? Is it a coaching offer, whatever that is, so I can be anywhere.” Have that vision of what you want to do. So I actually wrote in my journal, I am a big fan of writing down goals. And I wrote this down in 2014 maybe, that we live in France. And that was before we had connections. We were living in Lake City, Florida at the time. And I just wrote it down, “Wouldn’t it be so cool if this happened.” And get yourself in that state like, “Would it be crazy cool if this happened?” And that’s what I wrote down. And then it was like a year later, we were living in France, and it was such a cool experience.
I miss it so much. Maybe we’ll buy a house there do an Airbnb, and we can go over the summers. But create that vision of, what do you want your life to look like? I wrote out, what does my perfect day look like? What does my perfect schedule look like? And I now have my perfect day because I was very intentional in creating my business around what that looks like. A lot of times we get lost into the business, and then it takes over our lives. You got to be really intentional of, what do you want it to look like? What’s that vision that you have for your life? And then create it.
Kira: Yeah. Our families working on a move to France, so I’m going to reach out to you with some questions about that.
Rachel: Of course.
Kira: So, I think listening to this interview, being a part of this interview, there’s so much that you’re doing right. I know it wasn’t an overnight change in your business. But I’m just curious, what do you struggle with these days in your business? Because it sounds like things are going so well? What is the struggle at the level that you’re at right now?
Rachel: Struggle would be. Let’s see. We hired a sales director that did not work out, and I think I kept him on for too long, and he was overpaid. So that was one of the struggles. And as we brought him on like managing cash flow, as we had a lot more expenses going out to scale that part of our business. That was a struggle. What else? I think I actually hit a point where I was over automating too, and I felt like almost out of touch with my students, and out of touch with my audience. And that was specifically last year when Gabrielle was a baby, because I took off the first five months of her life just to be mom and focus on her.
I love automation and I love systems, but I think it over automated and over systematized. And I think there’s power in actually being in the trenches with your audience every once in a while. What else? Those are the big things that I’m thinking about. Like I, of course, always have challenges and struggles, but I think I look at them differently of like, “Oh. That sucks that that happened. What did I learn from it? What was the growth and the lesson from it?” So doing a launch, or doing a webinar, and just the offer didn’t land the way I thought it was going to. And just being curious instead of saying like, “Oh, I failed, I suck, I’m terrible. We didn’t get the results that we wanted.” I’m just curious, I’m like, “I wonder why that didn’t land. What did I do wrong, or what could I learn, or what could I have changed?” So next time we do it, it’s better. So I think just the mindset around those struggles is huge of, you didn’t fail, you just need to learn, and do it differently next time.
Rob: So, Rachel, before we started recording you mentioned your goal of retiring before you’re 40.
Rob: Yeah. Another topic that is really interesting. Obviously, you’ve got a very successful business, but that’s not the only thing you’re relying on to get you to that retirement. We talked a little bit about your plan and how you have basically become an investor in different businesses, different things that you’re doing.
Rachel: Oh, yeah. I love this topic. So basically, we’re taking the money that we’re making from this business, and investing as much as we possibly can. We live pretty cheap. I actually… It was really funny. I created a video when we were in Senegal. It was a Facebook ad or something. And I had someone comment on that video of like, “You think if she was making millions through her blog, she could at least afford nice curtains, oh, my goodness.” I’m like, “We live cheap so can.” A good book that we rode is The Millionaire Next Door, and we’re like, “We are not flashy, we drive a 2007 car that still runs perfectly, and so we make sacrifices to have that vision.”
So, we invest in the stock market, and index funds, and different things there, but we’re also taking a big part of our money and investing in Africa. So we have two different plots of land that we have purchased. We bought four cars in America that we have shipped over to do car rentals. So we bought cars at auctions in America for pretty cheap. Ones that have been in wrecks or had minor damages, and the parts to fix them up, and then we ship them over to Senegal. Got them fixed up, and then putting them up for car rental. We are doing rental arbitrage, where we’re renting an apartment or a house, and then re renting it on Airbnb. And then the land that we bought, my husband is building a chicken coop there, so we’re actually planning on being able to sell 75,000 eggs per month with that-
Kira: A lot of eggs.
Rachel: A lot of eggs. It’s crazy because they don’t do a lot of agriculture in Senegal, so they import a lot of their foods, and when you go to the supermarket they’re always running out of eggs. He’s also growing okra, and peanuts, and mangoes, and all other kinds of stuff. So it’s been pretty cool to see the people who’ve been able to employ through that. And also when that building is done, it should be finished, and we’ll have the chickens in there by January to see some more cashflow come in that way.
Rob: When you said chicken coop, I’m thinking like 12 chickens.
Kira: No, this is not 12 chickens.
Rachel: No. No. No.
Rob: This is not a coop.
Rachel: It is, I think, 5,000 chickens, something like that. Yeah.
Kira: Okay. Cool. I love this entrepreneurial focus in your business. I guess the question is, how do you know when an idea is worth pursuing because so many of us have all these ideas? And clearly you’ve spotted these opportunities and these problems, and you’ve jumped in to fix them. How do you decide when it’s worth pursuing, and when it’s not worth pursuing?
Rachel: It’s funny. I was actually just thinking about this, I was like, “You’re never going to always have a home run.” And I was actually thinking about the Kardashians. Have you seen all the different businesses and things that they have tried in the past, and a lot of them did not work out? Like the Kylie lip kit finally took off, and Kim’s makeup line took off, but they did so many other things before that, that did not work. And so who knows if the chicken coop might not be the home run that gets us to where we want to be, but we’re going to try different things. And we’re being really wise with our investments, so we’re not taking on debt, and we did a lot of research too.
So, our original plan was to buy land into Dakar, and to create an apartment complex and rent it out. And we talk to a lot of people. We try to run our lives and our business through the book of Proverbs. There’s a lot of wisdom in the book of Proverbs of, you got to find wise counsel. So we looked at who’s doing this? What does this look like? How much is it going to cost us? And then as we’re looking at, okay, to buy point 0.6 of an acre, a tiny amount of land is going to cost us over $100,000 into Dakar. And then we’re going to have to take out a loan at the bank at 8% interest, and be in debt. And so we looked at that opportunity, and we’re like, “Huh, is that… Yeah. We’ll be able to generate cash flow, but how long is it going to take for us to recoup that investment?”
So, we looked at a lot of different things, and we’ve been patient. We’ve been sitting on a lot of cash for a couple of years now just waiting for the right opportunity. And my husband has done so much research, we’ve talked to a lot of people. We’ve hired mentors. He found someone that was doing the chicken coop business, and done a lot of research there. So it wasn’t like, “We found this thing. All right, let’s go all in and do it.” It’s, we’ve waited, we’ve been patient, we’ve talked to people to see what would be the wisest use of the money that we’re sitting on right now, so we can invest it and then multiply it.
Kira: My last question, I’ve been wanting to ask you the entire interview. Whitewater rafting down the Nile. Can you just tell me from that experience, maybe what surprised you the most about that whitewater rafting experience down the Nile?
Rachel: Oh, man. It was hard. It was a full two-day trip. I was the leader and I had the most experience. So it was me, and my boyfriend at the time that were in the front leading the entire thing, because we had the most experience which I did not expect to be so sore by day two of being at the front of the boat. I don’t think we flipped over once, and I’m shocked by that with how crazy some of the rapids were. It was crazy when we got there… So we were camping out in Uganda, and we had a tent. And the rain in Uganda during rainy season is insane. So it was a downpour, and we’re taking buckets trying to get the rain out of the tent, and then we’re taking, they have motorcycles as taxis. So we were taking the motorcycles in the rain. Two my friends completely wiped out on the motorcycle into the mud. I think just like, be open to adventure, of you never know what’s going to happen, and just embrace the journey and have fun along the way.
Rob: I love hearing your story from where you started to where you are now. And I’m curious, where are you going from here? What’s next?
Rachel: I have a vision of us retiring by 40, being able to be incredibly generous. We have a nonprofit in Senegal that we’re really working on helping kids get educated there. And my husband’s huge passion is riding horses. And so being able to purchase an equestrian property so he can have his business there. The nice ones are like a million dollars, and so we’re just, again, being wise with our money. And I want him to be able to ride and have that freedom, so that will be amazing and such a good feeling.
Kira: Well, Rachel, I still have so many questions I want to ask you, we’ll have to bring you back again to continue the conversation. But in the meantime, where can our listeners go if they want to connect with you, or learn more about your programs?
Rachel: Yeah. So if you want to learn more about Pinterest, I suggest joining my free Pinterest masterclass. If you just go to freepinterestclass.com, I’ll be there and teaching you my five-step strategy to doubling your leads and sales with Pinterest. So freepinterestclass.com. And then if you want to connect with me on the podcast, we have the She’s Making an Impact Podcast as well.
Kira: Well, thank you Rachel for showing up. I feel really motivated and inspired. So I got so much out of this interview. Thank you.
Rachel: Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Annie: Okay. So that’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club. Let’s wrap up with some takeaways from Rachel.
Kira: Yeah. So I love that Rachel said, you… Well, I think it was advice from one of her mentors where she mentioned you have either growth or control, you can’t have both. And that really stood out to me. Because I mean, of course, many of us want to have control. But it was just such a clear way of looking at it. Especially if you’re someone like me who struggles, and you want both at all times. And so I like the way that she included that in the conversation, and it’s helping me view it in my own business today.
Annie: Yeah. I say that my goal is growth, but then if you look at what I’m doing, I’m definitely taking actions towards control and not towards growth sometimes. So yeah, I need to think about that a lot.
Kira: Yeah. And maybe that’s… It depends on where you are. And you shared earlier, Annie, maybe it’s just you’re in a stage where you’re focusing on continuing to do what you know how to do best in building the business, but you’re not necessarily focused on growth, it’s more about maintenance, and strengthening, and finding more opportunities and time in your own life outside of business. So I’m wondering if the part where we talked about Rachel working 20 hours a week, because I know that caught my attention in the interview, and really stood out to me, if that resonated with you?
Annie: Yes. My ears always perk up when I hear people that are growing these amazing businesses and scaling back. One of my mentors, Nicole Jackson Miller, she talks a lot about how in order… And I still can’t quite wrap my head around this, but she talks about how, in order to build your business you actually have… To be a CEO leader, you have to work less. And I definitely see that in Rachel’s business. In order to build she actually has to create these systems and step back.
Kira: Yeah. How have you done that in your business, Annie?
Annie: So, my September goal was to work 10:00 to 5:00 because that sounded luxurious to me to not start my workday until 10:00, and have the whole morning, and then end the day at 5:00. Because here in Buenos Aires we eat dinner at nine. So if I finish work at 5:00 then I have this whole four-hour afternoon to just, I don’t know, do activities or hang out. But for some reason I thought that was really out of reach for me. Some days I would start work at 7:30, and somehow the whole day would go by, and it would be 7:00 at night and I’d still be on my computer.
So yeah, in September I started writing down the time I started work. So if I started at 10:05, then I had to finish at 5:05. And I couldn’t work longer than seven hours. But then if I did, if I went over that five o’clock deadline I had to write down everything that pushed me over the edge. And usually it was like admin things, or sometimes it was I had too much writing to do. But it really helped me clarify who I needed to hire, and what help I needed to get, instead of just not being aware of what I was actually doing with that extra time. So yeah, I can happily say that I’m now working 10:00 to 5:00 and it’s really great.
Kira: Wow. I love that practice of writing down what pushed you over the edge, and now you’re sticking to it. Does it feel easier at this point just to stick to those hours?
Annie: Yeah. Because if you’re strict for a little while, your capacity eventually adjusts, and then you stop taking on too much work. And I know for some people 10:00 to 5:00 probably doesn’t sound like that great. But for me, I was working, I don’t know, some days 10-hour days. And so starting at 10:00 and ending at 5:00 sounds really wonderful. And it, I’m very relaxed and happy.
Kira: Yeah. And I mean that’s a huge part of the conversation. And what motivated me after this interview was over, I went into my calendar, it might even have been that same day, and I just looked at my calendar, and I am not someone who plans well, and looks into the future. But I looked ahead at my calendar, and started to batch my time and do basically what Rachel had talked about, and just really focusing on building out chunks of time in my own calendar, so I know exactly when I’m going to be doing podcasts, or when I’m on calls in the Think Tank, or when I’m actually doing… Whatever it is, just sorting through it. And I hadn’t really done that before. And so now that I did it, I’m actually more in control of my own schedule for the first time in a long time.
So, I have Rachel to thank for that. And because I work less hours now, because I have a four-month-old baby. This is so important, so it’s just so critical now where I can’t get away with it anymore. I can’t get away with winging it with my schedule, and just making it work, and saying yes to just about anything. So I finally am forced to plan ahead, to think ahead, to batch. It’s only taken me however many years to get here. But thank you Rachel for a kick in the butt during this conversation to make me take action.
Annie: So, you say you’re a batching person. Because I feel like a lot of people give batching advice, but I feel like there’s some people it just doesn’t work for. So it works for me, but I know not everyone is a batch person.
Kira: I think it’s just smart. I think it just helps to… If I can batch two podcast interviews together, rather them keeping separate, or any Think Tank conversations and coaching calls together, it just makes my calendar so much easier for scheduling purposes. So I can send out scheduling links and control it. So I don’t know what type of person I am right now, but I know I have to be a batching person at this stage in my life, so I’m just going to make it work at this stage.
Annie: Yeah. I’m 100% on batching… I started batching days two years ago, and now it’s so baked into my schedule that I forget that I do it. But like if you give me a certain type of task, I just know which day it goes on, because it’s just organized like that.
Kira: Yeah. You’re 10 steps ahead of me. Those are the goals that I can’t rise.
Annie: It’s not a race.
Kira: Okay. So what else stood out to you in this conversation?
Annie: The overall picture of her business, and just the system, I’m just in love with. When Rachel started talking about the systems and how she can just decide that some type of content needs to happen, and there’s a whole system that gets set in motion, I got really excited when she was talking about SOPs. And it made me want to spend more time on building SOPs, and using them with my team.
Kira: And where would you recommend anyone listening could start if they’re listening to that, and maybe it’s someone who is more like me, and not as SOP friendly? Where are the baby steps? What have you done in your business to work towards that?
Annie: Yeah. That’s a good question. I think it’s… Well, I don’t know. What I did, I don’t know if I’d necessarily recommend it, because it can be overwhelming. But I listed out every single thing that I do in my business. So when I get a contact from a lead, what are the steps that happen, and in what order? All the way from there to, how do we schedule an email? I listed out everything, and then I did them all in a day. Which works for me because I like doing things in focused chunks. But if that sounds overwhelming, I would say a really good place to start is to literally look at your to do list today. So say you have, I don’t know, deliver a website copy to this client. And just write down the steps of how that happens.
And it could be in a Google Doc. I know a lot of people have SOPs in Google Docs, I’ve mine in Notion, but you just need a blank doc. Even if you don’t have any team members, just doing it for yourself and writing down in the most granular way you can, just every single step that has to happen. So you record a Loom video, and then write this email, and then you send that email to the client, and then do your follow up. What are all the little things that happen. So yeah, I find it really helpful to do it while I’m actually doing a task, or right after I’ve just done it because it’s fresh in my head.
Kira: Yeah. And if you’re listening, and that feels really overwhelming too, there are people who can help. If this is not how your brain operates, that’s also okay, and you can get support with things like SOPs, so you don’t have to figure it out alone. So that’s what I have done because that is not my area of genius. And I know a lot of the conversation we had with Rachel, I feel like the overall theme was around retiring, and stepping back, and investing, and building wealth, and giving back to the community, and really stepping back, and being able to step back at the age of 40. And that’s the age she gave. That’s her goal. I just am curious to know, Annie for you, if you think about your stage, what you’re working towards? If there is this goal in the horizon out like, “I’m going to retire by this age.” Or anything like that, that you’ve been thinking about?
Annie: Yeah. I’m inspired. So I’m about to turn 30. So 40 is ways off, but I still… I don’t know. I don’t see myself working towards early retirement. But I did really like what Rachel said about just, what do you want your life to look like? And then creating it, and having your business support you anywhere. So I don’t know. I haven’t ever really thought about retiring before I’m 30. Before I’m 40, I mean.
Kira: At 29? I was like, “That’s really ambitious, but-”
Annie: Some people try and do that. I haven’t thought about retiring before I’m 40, but I definitely think about just creating a lot more space in my business, and investing so that I can have more security. And yeah, I know I have this constant pressure of needing income all the time to live a flexible lifestyle. So what about you, Kira, are you going to retire before you’re 40?
Kira: No. I mean I’m thinking about other jobs I can have when I’m 70, and 80, and 100. I’m like, “Oh, what could I do when I’m 80 that would be really fulfilling?” But also I like looking at it in terms of, how can we leverage our business today to build the future we want? Which is what Rachel is saying. And so it’s going to look different for all of us. But I really like the way that she’s approaching business investments, and really feeling entrepreneurial, and tapping into that, to think about where are other opportunities. And I like that she’s doing that with her husband, and they’re both working as a team to find these opportunities, and to test and see what’s working and what’s not working.
And I know she mentioned the Kardashians, and that there were a lot of failures before some of those businesses took off for the Kardashians, that we never heard of, or weren’t mentioned in the press. And so I like that approach of just testing, keeping your eye out, doing your research, and thinking about and finding other opportunities out there. And that’s how I want to approach the future as well, is just looking at where else I could build wealth and other opportunities, other revenue streams, so that, yeah, I’m not dependent on one revenue stream, and if that shuts down you’re stressed and in trouble. And so that’s the way I approach it.
And also thinking about business in terms of how else it can help you achieve other goals outside of that business. So for me, it’s daydreaming about maybe going back to school to work on and pursue other interests too, and building a business that allows you to have that income to pursue some dreams that do require those resources and are not free. And so this is the luxury we have as business owners today. We have those options available, and it’s really exciting. And I think Rachel’s enthusiasm and her excitement is contagious in this interview. Definitely, I felt it in the conversation, and I think that’s what I look forward to.
Annie: Same. I’m really glad she talked about building wealth, because I feel like it’s something we don’t talk enough about. You hear people talking about income and revenue, and recurring income and passive income, and all these things. But yeah, definitely not enough people talk about building wealth, and what we do with the income that we’re creating with our business. So that was a really good reminder for me to really double down on these other systems for my personal wealth.
Kira: Yes. And Jereshia Hawk who you already mentioned, who’s one of my mentors, she talks a lot about building wealth, and what that looks like for her and her business. And so it’s worth checking out our interview with Jereshia which is episode 204 on the podcast. But Jereshia is definitely someone I learn from when thinking about wealth and looking towards the future.
Annie: Okay. That’s the end of this episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. The intro music was composed by copywriter and songwriter Addison Rice. The outro was composed by copywriter and songwriter David Muntner. We love to hear from you. If you like what you’ve heard today, leave a review on Apple Podcasts.
Kira: Need another episode to listen to today? Check out episode 87 with Paul Martinez about losing everything and rebuilding everything from scratch. And you could also check out episode 21, all about starting where you’re at today with Joel Klettke. Thanks for co-hosting with me today, Annie. I appreciate you jumping in here and sharing insights from your business and life. If any of our listeners want to connect with you, where could they go?
Annie: Yeah. So the best place to find out what I’m up to is my email list. So it’s anniebacher.com/email, and that is Annie Bacher. B-A-C-H-E-R. And then other than that twitter, I’m on Twitter a lot.
Kira: Okay. And if you’re ready to invest in yourself and your copywriting business, and achieve your big, audacious, scary, terrifying goals visit copywriterthinktank.com. Thanks for listening we’ll see you next week.