What is it that drives you to do what you do? For Monica Froese, this week’s guest, it’s about making sure that women have the power to make decisions and be independent. She started her first business as a blog to rant about something that lit her up. That led to being in the room with President Obama and him asking her, “What are you going to do about it?”
Fast forward a few years and Monica has done a lot.
This week on the podcast, we’re talking about the impact digital products can have and why we can’t rely on ads or organic content to drive traffic anymore. There’s something missing in traditional funnels, and that missing piece is connection and community–two essentials to building an online business today.
Mentioned In This Episode
About Monica Froese
Monica is a digital product coach for women business owners and host of the popular podcast, Empowered Business. She has an MBA degree in finance and marketing and runs two brands Redefining Mom, a site for helping women thrive in both motherhood and business, and Empowered Business, where she empowers women to create financial independence through building 6-figure digital product businesses. She spent 11 years working for a Fortune 100 company running multi-million dollar marketing campaigns with large brands like Microsoft and HP. Now she provides online marketing education to small businesses that are looking to build a profitable revenue stream through digital products through her online programs and podcast. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there, and welcome to episode 178 of the Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for podcasters that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time, you have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content, to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience and what grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you. I’m Abby Herman, a content strategist and consultant for podcasting, business owners who want to make their podcast their primary content marketing tool, feel easier and more streamlined, so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. Because your podcast is your primary marketing tool, and you want to leverage it to grow your audience authority and business. I’ll show you how well you do business in a way that works for you. I can help by supporting you through building a content and marketing strategy, taking care of the podcast management for you, or giving you the tools and resources to take this on yourself. No, do you know what your end goal is with what you’re creating in your business without knowing your end goal, it’s hard to build the content and the business that leads you there.
Abby Herman 1:26
This week on the podcast, I’m talking to Monica Froese of redefining mom and empowered business, the conversation was supposed to be around digital products, and we do talk about that. But I think even more powerful is the conversation we have around why digital marketing isn’t working the way it used to, or maybe the way we expect it to and what we could and should do to change that. These last few years have been weird. And so much has changed. And it will continue to change as we navigate the new technologies and new ways of living that we are all discovering. If we want our businesses to succeed now and in the future, we need to keep up. This is such a great episode covering so many different topics from Facebook and Pinterest ads, to the stressors of the last few years to Monica’s real life running with President Obama super cool to being consistent online, and so much more. All of this helped Monica discover her own end goal, her own purpose to continue doing what she does. One of the things that we talk about is knowing what your audience needs and wants.
Abby Herman 2:38
And while I didn’t mention this in the meat of the episode, you know that you can always find that out by serving your audience, you can grab my free ask your audience challenge to find out how to do that at thecontentexperiment.com/ask. And let me tell you a little bit more about Monica before I share the interview with you in case you don’t know who she is. Monica Froese is a digital product coach for women business owners and host of the popular podcast and powered business. She has an MBA degree in finance and marketing and runs two brands redefining mom, a site for helping women thrive and both motherhood and business and empowered business where she empowers women to create financial independence through building six figure digital product businesses. She spent 11 years working for a fortune 100 company running multimillion dollar marketing campaigns with large brands like Microsoft and HP. Now she provides online marketing education to small businesses that are looking to build a profitable revenue stream through digital products through her online programs and podcast. And now here is our conversation. Hi, Monica, thank you so much for joining me today.
Monica Froese 3:56
Well, thank you so much for having me.
Abby Herman 3:58
I am so excited to chat today and to talk all things digital products and a bunch of other really juicy stuff that we just kind of previewed before we hit record. But before we get started, can you share with listeners what you do and who you do it for?
Monica Froese 4:15
Yeah, so the main I actually do have two sides of my business. Right now the main side of my business is what we call empowered business. And that’s where we empower women to build six figure digital product businesses so that they can achieve financial independence, which is something I’m super passionate about that all women should have equal access to money. And without equal access to money. It’s very hard to have equal decision making power in pretty much all areas of life.
Abby Herman 4:44
So yes, what’s the other side of your business?
Monica Froese 4:47
The other side is how I actually got started online. It’s called redefining mom which that was born out of I was very severely postpartum PTSD with my first daughter, I almost died in labor. I’ll actually do my C section after so Only two hours or whatever. And I was in corporate, and I was working for a fortune 100 company and I got the standard 12 weeks off 66 and a half percent of my pay. And it really opened my eyes to the fact that I couldn’t believe that that was like, considered exceptionally good. And I was like, Whoa, I was totally thrown off my axis when I had my daughter. And I was mad. So I just started a blog to rant about it. And it led to some really cool opportunities like going to the White House. And that once I quit my corporate job after I went to the White House, and I met President Obama, and he called me a Spitfire. Whoo, love it. He was, I mean, I figure when you’re gonna get in front of the leader of the free world to say what you really think. And he asked my opinion, so I mean, you got it. I don’t know what to tell you. So he called me Spitfire. But what he said to me was, okay, okay, Spitfire. Now, where are you going to do about it? And I’m like, looking at him like, hi, leader of the free world who like, what are you gonna do about it? Isn’t that why I’m supposed to be telling you? And like, my answer, I shot back at him. I said, I’m not going into politics, if that’s what you’re suggesting, because a holy cow, no way. So basically, I laughed, and at the time I blogged, it wasn’t really like making money. I had a very demanding corporate marketing job. And like, my daughter was still a toddler and stuff. And it was like, it never occurred to me, it actually could be like a moneymaker. But I could not let it go. And he said, What are you going to do about it? And I thought, well, I don’t know if like the White House could find me, just by having this blog on the internet, maybe it could be something that could create like a bigger impact and other women’s lives. And that’s kind of the road I went down. And then through that I stumbled across digital products before anyone called them digital products. It was just very, like a very natural progression. And that was 2016. So the very first product I when I quit my corporate job, all my moms were like, Excuse me, didn’t isn’t your whole blog founded on like the right to work for women and like supporting working moms, and you just quit your job. And they were very confused. And I said, Whoa, I’m going to build a business though. Like, that’s what I’m doing, which is very weird. In hindsight, I am not a risk taker, really. And so then they were asking me questions like, Well, how do I do this? Well, I was still new to doing it myself. And so you can’t really teach something that you haven’t really done, right? I mean, I’m not that person. So the very first thing I realized that what, because they were like, what, what’s the first step I have to take, which that’s all digital product is, is somebody has a problem, you provide the solution, the solutions, the digital product, couldn’t have articulated that then because I didn’t know this, but what they really need it and what I did before I quit, my corporate job was we came we have a very elaborate budget spreadsheet. So I call it the family budget spreadsheet, I had been using it with my husband for years. It was basically how we made sure that well, one that we paid our bills on time and knew the money that’s coming in and out. And so I could quit my corporate job. So I packaged this into what is actually a digital product, not knowing that, and my ladies loved it. And I was like, Oh, well, what else can I create? And this just led like, over the last six years I’ve created, I’ve created and launched hundreds of digital products, all sorts everything from like, memberships to spreadsheets, ebooks, uh, you name it, I’ve pretty much done it at this point. So that’s, that’s how it all happened.
Abby Herman 8:19
And And wow, I love that. So that’s what led into power business and to what you do now what you call like, kind of what you’re focusing on right now.
Monica Froese 8:28
Yeah, there was a, there’s a stint in there a four years, which is not a small stint where what happened was when I started when redefining mom really started taking off. There’s always a channel out there. And I would argue, right now it’s tick tock, there’s always a channel that can give you a big pop, right? It’s like the new place to be. Well, when I was really taking off, I’m redefining mom, it was free Pinterest traffic. And so as the marketer in me because this is my corporate background, in marketing, I would take in large in my corporate background, I took in millions of dollars from very large brands like Microsoft, and you don’t just take millions of dollars from Microsoft and not explain the return on investment to them, like very complicated, detailed spreadsheets had to go back to them with this is the money that you made off of investing into our marketing campaign. So I saw all these bloggers getting insane amounts of traffic from Pinterest, and I was never like an insane amount of traffic person. But I always I would sit back, I made lots of friends in the blogging space. And I would ask, why do we care about these pageviews? I’m not I don’t understand. So you spend all this time curating your Pinterest account to get people from Pinterest to your blog. Now they’re there, and they’re gonna click off on your display ads, which it cannot stand or to a 4% affiliate commission on Amazon that they might buy and you have no control over and you’ll never see them again. Because at that time, people weren’t aware of pixels, really in the blogging world being able to retarget on an ad platform. And what ended up happening was right around the same time, Pinterest launched there advertising system and they call the promoted pins. And me as the marketer and me it was like, whoa, okay, this is going to be important because I already you already knew what happened with Facebook, Facebook free traffic, they become publicly traded, pay to play, this is how every company’s gonna go. So back in 2016, I was sitting there with my internet upgoing. If I don’t learn promoted pins, then my, the free traffic is going to end eventually. And it did because I stuck with I stuck with it through them going public in April 2019. Read the whole IPO which is 185 pages and then distilled it down into a blog post for everyone. But the thing is, is that basically all my blogging friends were like, Whoa, look at all this targeted traffic that you’re converting into sales. How are you doing this? I was about to have my second baby. They’re five and a half years apart, that that postpartum, I didn’t know I was going to have another baby. And really, the business allowed me to do it, I would not have done it in corporate. If I’d stayed. So I’m hugely pregnant. And everyone’s bothering me to basically do a course they were asking for like videos on how to do promoted pins. But like, of course, right? That’s what they’re asking. And it was like, No way I’m going into hibernation mode and having a baby, but the overachiever in me was like, Okay, I’ll do a beta and 20 people can come in while it blew up. And so while I went on maternity leave, I was getting it close. Here’s the good business owner. I’m like, Okay, here’s the thing, everyone can buy it. But now I’m closing it because I’m going to have a baby and I’ll talk to anyone. Well, my DMs and stuff are blowing up, I got I ended up going to Pinterest 11 weeks postpartum. And basically, I became known as the Pinterest ads girl. Now the good thing about this is one I didn’t know what I was talking about, and to being super niche about a topic that nobody else was talking about. Put me on the map, in the online space. I mean, talk about like, accidentally finding a blue ocean and it was very blue are most things not only in space are very red, meaning that you have a lot of competition, I had none to the fact that I will tell you I’ve strong opinions that no competition can also be as equally detrimental. For example, copycats, I assume a lot of people, I had people that I had someone take my entire course. And the course that led into the big course. We they stripped the audio from my slides. And once they got it transcribed, recreated my slides tell stories about my kids as if they were me. I mean, I Oh, my God, nutty things happened to me. And that was that one I got to settlement from because that’s just like, please, you’ve taken that to a whole new level. It was hard actually being the only person it was it was amazing, because it put me on the map, it grew my business, I do not regret it. But it was also there were a lot of challenges that came with it. And ultimately, what ended up happening was at the end of 2020, I sat there and thought I didn’t get into this to just teach people how to do Pinterest advertising, like, I came into this with such a bigger calling, like a like, if it had to be bigger than me, like, it was great in the beginning to make a really awesome paycheck for myself. And don’t get me wrong, this business has afforded my family things that I never could have thought were going to be in our grasp. And I’m very fortunate for that. It still wasn’t at some point, it just wasn’t enough, it really had to be bigger, I had to make a bigger impact. And I just couldn’t do that with being the Pinterest ads girl. So I, we built a house in 2020. And then I looked at my husband and said, so I’m going to blow up our number one revenue stream like tomorrow. And he looked at me terrified, but also knew that I don’t do failure. Hence the sweatshirt I’m wearing right now I don’t do failure. And so he knew enough to know because he was terrified when I quit my corporate job. And I made good on that. So he was like she’s probably gonna be good on this, hopefully, because we just built this house and it was definitely based on both of our incomes.
Monica Froese 13:48
So I blew it up and spun up empowered business because what I teaching women how to create a revenue stream is something that is I can do on a much larger scale and I feel have a much larger impact. And so that’s what I do now.
Abby Herman 14:05
I love it. Yes. Well, and obviously it’s worked for you and and blowing up an income stream has done well for you. Right?
Monica Froese 14:13
Yes, we did. 2021 was our full first full year doing empowered business and we we grew, but I will say we grew I was like 22% year over year, which might mean considering was a whole new product suite from scratch. You know, but I have I have an audience I’ve been building for years. And you know, when you have a warm audience, you have a start off point and all of that stuff. But still I will say I felt 2021 was still very difficult if everything felt harder. And I think it’s this bigger conversation of how the online world is shifting, because like trends that I could rely on before you just couldn’t like the summer always had a slump but it was like crickets because everyone got vaccinated and then they’re like I am getting out of here and just even messaging like I’ve always had a messaging towards moms. And then then we moved to like the broader like women. But what I could say in the redefining mom days of like, for example, flexibility with your children, like that was a big thing. my corporate job, like I missed a lot of the first three years, my oldest life because of my corporate job, and flexibility was pitched me. But now all these moms have been in the house with their kids for two years. And they’re like, Hey, don’t talk to me about how you’re going to give me more time with my kids. Because really, they can go back to school now. Like, so like, even messaging is just vastly different. And then you layer that at the same time with iOS, Facebook, and Apple fighting and Facebook ads, frankly, just, I’ve always been the one who would say, I can’t stand when people are skies falling, and I’m not a sky falling person, even in this regard. But you know, every time Facebook ads would have a change, and like the six previous years that I’ve been in online business, I’d be like, yeah, we’ll adapt, we always adapt. Here’s the thing, iOS 14 really did impact Facebook ads, like hard stop, it just did. And it’s not the same as what it was. So you have that. And then they with iOS 15, they went after email privacy and email marketing is like the backbone of not just online business, but a lot of brick and mortars, like I think of Old Navy, for example, I mean, Old Navy doesn’t just rely on foot traffic to get you in, or large print ads, or national commercials, they rely on their email list, you know, that is how they get you to shop online. That’s how they get you back to their, whether it’s their digital footprint, or their, you know, physical footprint. And so at the end of the day, like 2021 was, I think, since I’ve had my blog since 2013 2021, in my opinion, was the most like, transformational changing year that I’ve experienced. And I’m like, holistically and not just like for me, just like the landscape in general.
Abby Herman 16:58
Do you think that that a lot of that was because of COVID? Because of all of the changes that the iOS? And because and because Facebook again, I mean, was it all of that do you think all just kind of combined for this perfect implosion of all things online,
Monica Froese 17:18
I do feel like it was a pretty perfect storm, because a lot of people will tell you in 2020. And of course, we have to be every niche is going to have a nuanced, right, like, some people just by nature of how the pandemic went, some niches were going to explode, some are gonna get knocked off the map. And so I’m talking more in a generalized sphere here. 2020, a lot of online business owners would tell you that when we think about the amount of people that suddenly we’re at home on the internet, online business was, for the most part very well poised in 2020, enter 2021, or nobody wants to be in their house near their kids or on a computer. Well, if you have an online business, you just entered weird territory there. And then you couple that with, you know, crippling ads not being a good volume avenue to get new leads, what ended up happening for us is we had to rely very heavily on our warm audience. And we are very fortunate that we have a good warm audience, because one of the things that I’ve done over the years, even if I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but luckily I did it. A lot of people ran Facebook ads made a bunch of money. And then they’re like peace out. Like it was just like they didn’t do anything on the back end. Whereas I was actually building a community talking to my people. And because of that I do have a good warm audience. And without that I don’t think my pivot into impart business would have been as smooth as it was. Yeah,
Abby Herman 18:47
let’s talk about that. But I want to talk about the community piece, because you and I were talking before we hit record, about the importance of that connection in the community. And a lot of people I have noticed, have put things out there to the world and kind of expected them to sell either either they’re expecting to sell through organic traffic, or they’re expecting to sell directly to cold audiences from ads. And let’s talk about like, why that’s not working? And how if you’re going to use ads to sell or you’re going to use or whatever you’re going to use to sell organic traffic ads, whatever. How do you build that community up front? So let’s start with why that doesn’t work. To just put something out there and expect it to like people are expecting to be millionaires after just you know, a couple of Facebook posts or a couple of podcast episodes or a couple of beds and that’s the way it works
Monica Froese 19:41
weird. I don’t know how we entered some sort of weird continuum where people actually think that’s the thing.
Abby Herman 19:48
I you my guess is just pure laziness. I say lazy because I because things were 2022 Things Who’s oftentimes because of technology, things feel easier now than they did 10 years ago, 20 years ago, because we have everything at our fingertips all the time. And so I think that that’s just people have just gotten complaints complacent. And they’re just not. They just don’t think that they have to do the work. And I also think, and I’m so generalizing here too, by the way, of course, I’m not talking to any of the listeners. I’m not talking about any of our listeners. But I do think, too, that when I went into online business, but I left my day job in 2013, it was a lot easier to get noticed online, it was a lot easier to find people and to make connections with people then than it is now. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m talking to different people now, or if it’s just so noisy now. So I think that, personally, that’s kind of what I think the difference is, and why people think that it should be super easy, but it’s just not. So I totally interrupted you. So tell us like, where is this coming from? And how do we establish that connection?
Monica Froese 21:10
Yeah. So I have a lot of thoughts here. So first of all, I do think it’s also way more noisy than when we got started. And I think it’s fair to acknowledge and be realistic, especially as someone who’s teaching people that like, ever when I started it in a different time. So one of the questions I often pose to my students is like, I tried to put myself in the mindset of what would Monica do now if she was starting over? Because that’s really the question I need to ask. I need to ask and then answer because it’s not the same thing. And there’s, like I mentioned earlier, there’s always a different medium that taught at any given time. Right now, there’s just no doubt about it. If you want to explode organically, Tik Tok, like, that’s your quickest avenue to do it, it won’t always be your quickest avenue to do it. But if you were just looking to go like in hot, but a lot of people who are new are not looking to explode like that, that scares them. That’s intimidating to them. And sometimes I sit back and I think whatever happened to this idea that it’s okay, slow and steady growth, like, this just does not happen overnight. And sometimes when you talk in hindsight, there’s this level of even myself, I’m like, in some ways, this just seems so crazy where I’m at. But in other ways, it was just blood, sweat and tears along the way, too. It was all so much work. Consistency is a big thing. I noticed there’s a huge lack of consistency in the online space. Like I can just jump in and jump out and somehow it’s going to I never was like that. And that might be my programmed from corporate but holy cow I have consistency with building a community is maybe I would argue the most important thing that there is like, for years, I was insanely consistent with sending my emails to the point where I have people, this is the most bonkers thing. I go to conferences. I is on it. I truly mean the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me. And first time i happened was in 2018, go to a conference, not my niche. I know a very small amount of people there. And at the first happy hour, I had people walking up to me talking to me, like I was their best friend. They knew everything about my life. They were telling me stories from emails I sent three years ago. Like, apparently I’ve said some very things that stick with people like I’ve talked about my migraines, and I have a vertigo issue from being on a cruise ship, and then my postpartum and people tell me my stories back to me and how much it changed that they could relate. And this is all because I just was being me. And even I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, I was just being me, and being very consistent with sending emails, and I was always very vulnerable in my emails. And that built a camaraderie. And here’s the thing, I was doing that with 400 people on my list and 60,000 people on my list. And that is just something a lot of people don’t stick with. It’s like, or they think what’s the point of doing it to the 400 people? Well, apparently there’s a point. And if anything, what I did find along in my own journey is just when you’re building a business, and it kind of takes off, there’s only so much you can do you have to pick your battles. So part of like the teaching in the b2b spaces, I ended up having to spend a lot of my creation time, community time behind a paid firewall is what I call it, I I had to let’s look where my energy went. So even my emails are even though it’s not paid firewall, in essence, like 20 to 30% open rate, I was still missing a big gap of people. But for years, it’s all I could manage to get out. That wasn’t you paid me for this content. And eventually we got better with like repurposing my good emails and blog posts and similar things. But really, eventually we ended up launching a podcast which was became my in front of the paid firewall, like content machine, essentially. But, you know, that took years to get to that point and I wouldn’t have gotten to the point of watching the podcast. Had I not been consistent for all Was yours talking to people to the point where now they walk up to me, I just was at a conference last week. And the same thing happened. I mean, it is like, it is like really nuts. When someone walks up to you and is talks to you, like you’re, like we know each other on it. And it’s actually a really big privilege to let you know that someone pays attention that much that they they know that much about you and, and that they care about your message that much. But that just does not happen overnight. I mean, the first time that was in 2019, and I’ve been doing this since 2013. So
Abby Herman 25:33
that’s pretty cool. But yeah, it’s, I want to get back to something that you said about, like the point of doing this to a small list, like to send it to, you have to start somewhere. And and that list, if you’re consistent, and you’re talking to them on a regular basis, or you’re publishing a podcast, and you have a small following on your podcast, and you’re consistent about it, they will stick around, they will tell their friends, and it will continue to glow and grow and it will go up grow slowly. And that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing wrong with it. I like the idea of slow growth, just because especially when you’re talking like digital products, there’s a lot of like, behind the scenes, stuff that has to happen to make sure that everything triggers properly. And that people actually get the thing that they paid for, and that you have follow up to go along with it. And so having slow growth is nice, because you can find those things that are wrong and fix them before the masses go to buy the thing.
Monica Froese 26:33
Yeah, and like customer service, like the family budget spreadsheet, surprisingly, had a lot of customer service, people type their email addresses wrong, and then you scam them, then you know, like people simply would have questions about how the spreadsheet worked. And then you even get better at your product delivery, then because then you’re like, Well, if I get enough questions about this, then maybe I should edit this part of the product. So I don’t have to answer the same question 50 times. But that’s customer service that goes into it. And it’s just, it’s a process. It really I don’t, and I’m all about I, I’m very much about sustainability. I do. I’ve seen so many people come in, blow up, hire a bunch of people, and they’re nowhere to be seen now. And I just always my personality is just a very longevity sustainable approach. Because I think that that is what ends up making a change, like, my change might not be at the level of what President Obama could do, you know, but I do believe that you can make a lot of effectual change around you, like I think of, I call it like my micro economy, I hire people, I have people I hire, I have a full time nanny that’s on payroll, I have employees that are on payroll, that right there is contributing to the and I pay them fairly. And they’re women and and that part of my mission to help women be financially independent, to be paid fairly. And then they can go back and support their families. And I give them lots of flex time. And I don’t make them choose between their kids or their job. That is the kind of change that I’ve always been passionate about. So it doesn’t need to be at the scale that it’s a million people, but it could get there and 20 years, we couldn’t be having this conversation. I could be like, because I took this sustained. Because here’s the thing, I cannot help anyone if I don’t have a business. So that’s how I always looked at it.
Abby Herman 28:17
Yeah. So I think that that I want to talk about empowered business and what that means to you like, what does that your brand that your podcast, like? And you’ve kind of already you’ve kind of already touched on it. But I want to make sure that it’s just really clear to people listening, what does what does that mean? And then what does that mean? Or what does that look like in practice?
Monica Froese 28:38
Yeah, so I have a lot of personal experiences where I saw what I would, at this point, the word to use for it is basically financial abuse, specifically in marriages, where women did not have equal access to money. If they weren’t, let’s say if they weren’t working, then their husbands would have complete and utter control over all the decisions that were being made. And what was she going to do about it because she didn’t have that economic access to the point where I saw abusive situations where they could not leave, and it really makes me mad. I I’m an anagram type eight. So I’m the Challenger and I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut this is true and it’s gotten me in trouble many times my life however, the flip side of my personality is we My personality is the type that will stand up and speak out for people who don’t have the ability to do it in the moment themselves. And so I just got to this point in my life after I had my second kid where I was I really felt this drive to everyone should have equal access to money like no matter what like some women would get offended like as if I was like preaching about divorce or something and I’m like wait a minute here because i i And I get that that can be a sensitive topic but I’m I have another personal sister Reshma, I watched someone very close to me lose their husband while they were pregnant. And it doesn’t, there’s so many situations in life where it’s important that you are able to stand financially on your own two feet and be able to support yourself. So many things can happen that are unpredictable. And it is really difficult to have any sort of personal autonomy if you don’t have the ability to make money. And so I’m simply suggesting that even if you want to stay home full time with your kids, that does not mean that you cannot have access to your own money. That’s so that’s pretty much where it was born out of.
Abby Herman 30:36
Yeah. And so you’re teaching people to do that, using digital products? And where does that start? Like, if someone wants to get started selling digital products, they want to have that, that freedom in their life financially, and, and even time? Where did they get started?
Monica Froese 30:53
I mean, so here’s the thing, I have this exercise that I send people through. So especially if it’s someone who doesn’t already have like, a corporate career, or some income already coming in their own name, if they have no income, in their own name, at this point, they’re very doubtful that they can that they know anything that can generate an income. And so we always go through this exercise of identifying our hobbies, our life skills, or our professional skills, and like, we write down all these things we have interest in, and then we go through, and then through this exercise, basically, women will come out of it and be like, Oh, my gosh, I know so much more about a topic that I realized. And it can be anything from meal planning to reading devotionals, like, I’ve seen women package their knowledge of like, their, like their morning routine with devotionals and package that up and sell it to women in their church, you know, like, it’s, there’s so many ways to generate an income from because because remember, at the end of the day, a digital product is simply somebody has a problem. And you have a solution. And I always say the best example I could give of this is go Google family budget spreadsheet, and tell me how many free ones you could download off the internet. And then tell me why my $17 one has made me $300,000. And if I had never put it on the internet, I’d be $300,000 Poor, all because when I went to Google, and there’s free ones, so I should not do it. And that’s the thing, we always underestimate how much we something we’re good at. We just assume everyone’s good at like, to me, to me, it seems obvious, we should all have a budget spreadsheet. And formulas come natural to me. And like, isn’t this just what everyone does? You know, don’t we all have cash flow projections and all this? No, that doesn’t come naturally to other people. But then you find out that if you help other people be able to do that same skill that just comes so naturally to you, it changes their lives. It and we just underestimate that, especially women are the worst at under estimating our our skills and abilities and like our knowledge we’re and we’re so used to giving everything away for free. Like, yeah, well boss away.
Abby Herman 33:05
I was just gonna ask about that. So we all I mean, you have a podcast, obviously, I have a podcast, we have things we give away for free. How do you decide so in your business, we and we have freebies that we use to attract people and to give them you know, more value, as you know, as we go along? And how do you decide like, I’m going to give this away for free? And then I’m going to sell this as a digital product. How do you decide which one should be free and which is paid?
Monica Froese 33:34
So we always start, I always start everyone with we have to have the end in mind. So what is the end? In a business transaction? You need to get paid? Right? Like because you’re not I always tell my my, my students, you are not in business, if you are not making money. And PS, when you’re selling someone the solution to their problem, you’re doing them a favor, because everyone has autonomy to say no. So you’re not forcing anyone to buy anything from you. So selling is not bad. That’s another thing we have to overcome. But the end of the day is we have to start with the end in mind. So you start with what are you actually going to sell that? So what does that mean? Well, what I’m selling is the solution to their problem. So now I have to identify what their problem is, then come up with the solution. We have to start there. So once we know what our solution is, we can back in to tons of different things we can get for free because here’s the thing, when someone has a problem, they usually also have an objection to why they can’t fix their problem. And those are all great free content you put out there and guess what all roads lead to the thing you’re selling, which is your digital product. Mm hmm. And it’s like, I don’t know where I got this ability to explain this. But most people overcomplicate this. Like really they overcomplicated. They think it’s just it’s really not. When I say it like that doesn’t even seem like it’s that difficult, right? It’s like okay, like so I can just think of something I’m really good at productize it and then explain to everyone Why it’s going to solve their problem and get them over any objections that they have? Yeah, it’s really actually not that difficult in practice.
Abby Herman 35:07
Yes, No, I totally agree. And I love the idea of, yeah, create content around those objections. Because that is where because because they’re actually telling you what content to create. They are when they’re giving you those objections.
Monica Froese 35:23
So and like, we start, we do everything. So when you’re brand new, obviously, if you don’t have an audience that you can go out and temperature pulse, you know, whatever you want to call it, search engines, search engines, people go to search engines, with a problem. That’s all search engineers. By the way, when you go to Google, you’re going with a problem, you need an answer to something. So you go and you type in your topic. And when we do reverse, that’s another thing that happens. So I’ll have people come in and say, I mean, I know a lot about this topic, but I have no idea what I could possibly create. Well do reverse engineering and they went from, they have nothing to create, to I want to create all the things and now I’m all again, then I have to rein them back in. And I make my students like on repeat about this. But the first digital product, you do one problem, one solution, I do not let you do anything else, because I like my mom always said, in throwing the kitchen sink, that’s what everyone wants to do. But when you’re attracting new people to you, like with your first digital product, if you overwhelm them, or complicated or confuse them or don’t give them that clear direction of the problem you’re solving. They won’t buy from you anyway. So you’re actually shooting yourself in the foot by putting everything into that first to get momentum.
Abby Herman 36:39
Yeah, yes, totally. I want to go back to the connection and community because I don’t think because we started down that path. And then and then we got off track. And I’ve asked you I totally off topic question. But I want to talk about that, like how do you build that community? How do you build that community so that when you do send the ads out when you do create content, organic content that people will actually buy and go down that funnel.
Unknown Speaker 37:04
So this is like the hardest thing because like, when you like my example, with when I had 400 people on my email list, I still email. So the hardest part about showing up in the beginning is it’s hard, it feels silly to show up when there’s two or three people. And that’s where everyone’s got it the end of the day, everyone starting with two or three people. And then two and three leads to 10. And then 20. And because my sister who is a physical therapist started, I’m trying to think it must, she must be like two years into this. We had the same discussion. It was right around the pandemic. And she’s like, she’s burned out. She has five kids. And she’s just like, I can’t keep doing this. I want to take all this knowledge I have from practicing for 20 years, and create digital products like what you do. And she had, she is not a computer user. So I’m like, like I’m talking she didn’t know what a what a bookmark on a browser was. And I’m like, oh boy, this is going to be I don’t even know like how this is going to work. But she’s done remarkably well. And but in the beginning stages, it was the same conversation. She’s like, I don’t understand how to get people to buy this. And I it’s funny, now that I’m thinking about it, I kept telling her, you have to pick one medium, one way to connect and stick with it. So for her, she picked a Facebook group. And if it was a free Facebook group, it was great if searchability on Facebook for her topic, which your topic was pretty niche. So it worked out well. And in the beginning, it was just about constantly showing up and offering value even when there were only 10 people in that group. And she still offers the same value now that there are 1000s of people in the group. But consistency and showing up in the one medium and not stretching yourself too thin, is probably the most important thing and understanding that like everyone starts from zero. So doing it even on the ground level is important. And it’s not like an overnight cure. It just it just isn’t. But that’s essentially what I chose to do an email I had various free Facebook groups throughout the years that came and went not necessarily like my favorite, medium, I guess, Facebook groups for me, it wasn’t my favorite medium to show up in and you learn those things too. And don’t be afraid to like if it’s not your favorite way of nurturing people then move on. So for me it ended up just being email like I was great at writing, highly charged, like emotionally charged connection emails. It apparently is a skill I didn’t know I had but I’ve done good with it. And then I also before I had my podcast, I networked with a lot of people and I got on a lot of a lot of podcasts just by forming relationships. So I had a guy in the airport recently trying to I was trying to explain to him what I did and I I am very used to especially corporate men looking at me and kind of Pooh poohing what I do, which let me tell you the eight and he comes out and I really want to like teach them a lesson when they do that. But I keep it under control. And this guy was like very critical of what I was telling him. And in front of me, he Googles me. I’m like, Cool, cool, so he Googles me and It’s just podcast interview after podcast interview, and he’s like, suddenly it clicked to him. Oh, there’s credibility here. I’m like, yeah. But that’s how I got credibility. You know, like you Google my name and I come up on hundreds of podcasts that are not mine.
Abby Herman 40:14
Yes. Getting in front of other people’s audiences. Yeah, we talked about that before we hit record how important that is. And yeah, it builds, it builds so much credibility, because the person the host, is vouching for you by having you on there. And, and as such as podcasts, either it’s getting on, you know, doing workshops, and other people’s Facebook groups or in their membership communities is speaking on stages, being a speaker at a on a summit or you know, whatever. Like, there’s so many things that you can do to get in front of other people’s audiences. I want to talk about your sweatshirt that you mentioned. And I had this written down already that I wanted to talk about it that I want to talk and people obviously can’t see your sweatshirt, but it says, I don’t do failure. Can you so clearly you sitting in the airport and telling this guy to Google us? I think that that’s a really good example of that. Like, No, you’re not going to discount me and what I do, can you tell me about about that? And what that means? And where did you get that sweatshirt? Did you have that made?
Monica Froese 41:13
Oh, I had it made? Yeah. I always am like posting, I have this one. And then I also have one that says I am empowered. And I’m always posting on Instagram, what can I buy it? Like, no, I don’t do sales tax at this point in my business, we’ll just we could ship you one if you want to. But I don’t sell them right now. Plus, I didn’t look into trademarks or anything like that either. But so I don’t do failure. I always say, of course I fail. I say I don’t do failure. And then I look at people I’m like, of course I fail. The point is that’s the whole point of me saying it. But the point is, is that every time I fail, I take it as a learning opportunity. Because that’s all failure is is a gigantic learning opportunity. And people are so afraid of failure. And I’m like why? Like the best things in life. I tell my daughter this because like literally almost diverse. So when she says when she gets snarky with me about anything, I’m like, yo, you can take that up with someone else who didn’t almost die for you. Like just going to point that out there. You know, and we have this Converse. Like I’m I’m snarky about it now. But like we have a dialogue about the hardest things in life often breed the best things. And I would argue that that’s kids, right? In a nutshell, right? Like they are. Well, they can almost kill you. And they are a lot of work. And you the most sacrificial I’ve ever been in my life raising my children. And they
Abby Herman 42:29
tell us you that cause your hair to all turn gray.
Monica Froese 42:32
I mean, like, you have little gremlins. And you’re like, What was I thinking when I did this, because the flip side is just amazing reward to grow these little human beings into like actual people who are going to contribute to the world and love you most of the time, you know, and like, but like that greatness, that feeling you have for your kid that’s like that all encompassing love, would that come without pain and hardship? Probably not. I mean, it’s like, that’s just how everything in my opinion, is in life. So if I never failed, I would never succeed. It’s just they go hand in hand. And so that’s why I always say I don’t, I don’t do failure. I don’t because I take every failure as learning lesson to then go and succeed. That’s all. I’m just like, very matter of fact about it. I gotta tell ya,
Abby Herman 43:21
I totally agree. I mean, you and I have been in business for about the same amount of time. And you look at all of the things that you did back in the early days. And you think, to get to where we are today, we’ve had to make changes and tweaks and, and experimented with different things and done things differently. And our audiences have changed. And it’s all because and the market changes in the world changes. And so we have to do things different. And we have to see that what we did two years ago, it’s not going to work the same now, if it works at all. And so we need to Yeah, learn from seeing things not work, and do things different to continue to grow. So I totally, totally agree.
Monica Froese 44:09
Yeah, it’s, it’s just I think a lot of people take failure. So personally, yeah. And it’s like, but everyone fails. I just had I actually am this presentation I’m putting together right now i on Twitter, I just come across a quote from Thomas Edison. And I feel like I need to pull it up to actually read it because it really stuck with me. And I felt like it made my point very well. Okay, it says I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Mm hmm. And it’s like, exactly, that’s that is not everything is going to be a slam dunk that you do. And you might have a disastrously wrong the first time. But you know, when people get started to that’s when they’re like the most afraid of failure, which is kind of funny because as you’re further along, you have way more on the line like right now, failing in the beginning was much easier than it is now. I have to pay people’s payroll Like it’s a big deal. If something doesn’t go as planned, like, you’re talking about people’s livelihoods now, it’s like way bigger deal to fail now, you know, and yet in the beginning, we’re the scariest. And that’s because we want we haven’t had the validation yet. Failing is scarier for other reasons. But now I’m also validated it like and I like I know, I know what I’m doing. Now. I don’t know, it’s just, it’s a funny thing. It’s a really funny thing to watch people grow in online business, or in especially in the early stages and just see how scared of failure they’re really came out of the fact because I do teach a lot of new people who are getting started with digital products. So that’s where it kind of got coined with empowered business, I kept saying, I just naturally kept saying, I don’t like because I get asked, like, how do you deal with impostor syndrome? Or how do you deal with failure? And I would say, just matter of factly I don’t fail and that would throw people off. And then I would have to explain and then it really helped them get over that, like, that hurdle of being scared themselves.
Abby Herman 45:59
Yeah. So good. Monica, thank you so much for being here and sharing all your expertise and your your story and can you share with listeners how to find you and how to get more from you? I mean, obviously, your podcast where else can we find you?
Monica Froese 46:18
So my podcast is empowered business. We are temporarily on a hiatus but actually by the time you listen, we might be back we took like a short two month break. Okay, but I put everything on a link for you that you can give to everyone Monica proz.com For slash Abby so it will be very easy to find me and whatever we’re doing basically we keep the link updated so whatever’s going on currently in the business whether you know we have an opening into our membership at that point or a new freebie or new training it will be there. And then also I do actually interact and engage with people on Instagram and my Instagram handle is Monica.froese.
Abby Herman 46:57
Love it and I will have all of those links in the show notes so people can make sure that they get your get your last name spelled correctly, because it’s our Oh Eazy E SC sorry. Fri ESC? Yes.
Monica Froese 47:09
Yes, it sounds like froze, but it’s spelled like for froze a people say a lot.
Abby Herman 47:16
Awesome. Thank you so much, Monica.
Monica Froese 47:18
Abby Herman 47:20
Of course. I love the validation I felt when Monica talked about consistency in what you’re doing and showing up no matter if you have 20 followers or 220 1000 followers. They’re paying attention and everyone starts somewhere so you might as well start right where you are. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. You can tag me on Instagram at thecontentexperiment and be sure to tag Monica at Monica.froese that’s mo N ICA and her last name is spelled f ro e s e. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care
Transcribed by https://otter.ai