pssst… if you're a web designer who wants to learn how to create a profitable, sustainable, scalable web design business… this is for you.
Krista Miller is on the show this week to talk about:
- Krista’s path from freelance web developer for designers to teaching entrepreneurs how to run a virtual summit.
- Krista’s accidental success when she experimented with an idea and people kept asking for more.
- Why you need an email list, even as a 1:1 service provider.
- Why you don’t need a big audience to host a virtual summit.
- Common obstacles that Krista sees people coming up on again and again that stops them in their tracks.
- Her best advice if you are struggling to get traction in your business.
- The belief Krista had to change about herself to get where she is today.
My favorite quotes from Krista:
- “I knew if I had a bigger list, that means more people that know about me, even if they're not the people directly buy my stuff, they know who I am.”
- “It just depends on your mindset and the way you look at it, who cares if they say no, try the next person. It's cool. It's fun if you let it be fun.”
- “Don't limit yourself based on where you are right now, because that's just going to keep you in that spot”
- “You have something to value even if you are just getting started”
Shannon Mattern: Krista. Thank you so much for being here on pep talks for side hustlers. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?
Krista Miller: Yeah. Hey everybody. And thank you so much for having me Shannon. This is going to be fun. I am with Krista and I, I, there's kind of two different sides of me. So the first version of Krista we'll word it that way. I do WordPress development for Brandon, our designers firstname.lastname@example.org. I have been running that business for about five years now as of the time of this recording. Uh, and it it's just been a lot of fun. That was how I, I use that as my springboard to escape my corporate job. Uh, you know, it was a side hustle for awhile. Got out of that and it was great. And then there's version two Krista. Uh, I run a company called summit and a box where I teach entrepreneurs, how to plan a much profitable virtual summits that aren't gross. Uh, so lots of stuff going on, but a lot of fun. And I'm excited to dive into some with you today.
Shannon Mattern: Okay. So just so I'm clear freelance web designer to teaching people how to do virtual summits. So tell me how that happens. Take me on the journey of, you know, and then we'll then later on, I want to know like quitting the day job. We'll get into that, but I want to know path from, you know, freelance web designer to I'll teach you how to make like run a virtual summit.
Krista Miller: Yeah. So it wasn't, it was a total accident. I'll say that first. So I was like having a great time in my development business. I was, I wasn't booking my schedule out in advance, but I was booking clients when I needed them. So it would be to the point where like, Oh, dang, this project is ending in a couple of days. I don't have a client. Oh, magically there, they are in my inbox. Yay. So like that was like decent and fun and I was making the money I needed, but I was like, okay, now what I am making the money I needed, but I don't want to just stay here. You know, for me that was about $2,000 a month. Maybe, maybe by that point we were at about round three. It's like, how do I have more? How do I grow my list faster?
Krista Miller: It was about the two and a half year Mark and I had an email list of like 500 people. It's like, okay, how do I grow that faster? How do I get more clients consistently? How do I get more visible? That was something that was like really in the front of my mind. I think it was in like a coaching program at the time about visibility. So I really wanted to, I wanted to be the go-to developer for designers. If someone, if there was a designer asking for a developer, I wanted the obvious answer to be me. And at that time it really wasn't. Um, so I was trying to think, okay, what am I going to do? And the idea of a summit kept coming into my mind. Like I knew it would work, but it was one of those things where I was like, I can't host a summit.
Krista Miller: Like I don't even have 500 people on my email list. Like speakers are going to laugh at me when I pitched them, I'm going to launch this thing. And people on social media who see me doing it will be like, who does she think she is to launch a summit? So like that, that conversation played in my head for so long. And then it got to the point where, Oh yeah, I found out I was pregnant. I was like, Oh, okay, well we gotta do something because I can't keep working like 12 hour days, seven days a week with a baby. It's just not a thing. So I need this level up thing that happens sooner rather than later. So I was like, fine. We're going to try. What's the worst that can happen.
Krista Miller: Uh, and the thing that helped me do it was like, I came up with a good idea. You know, an idea that you, you know, you, it's not like a summit for all business owners. So it was something I find did it. My goal was to make between, I was scared to even say that I was scared to tell people that I wanted to make $3,000 stupid thing, but it happened and I made $16,000 instead. And triple my email list with this first summit, I didn't know. I mean, I had come up with a solid strategy, but it was my own. So I was like making it all up as I went. And I was like, Oh, that worked. And apparently other people thought it did too, because afterwards I was like, my inbox was packed. My Facebook messages, Instagram speakers and attendees were asking me to show them how I did it. And I was like, I'm not going to show you how to do that. That was a lot of work go away kind of situation.
Shannon Mattern: I don't have to sign or go away. I don't do this.
Krista Miller: Exactly. I was like, I'm sorry, I can't teach you how to do that. But after getting consistent emails for months, there was one day where I got a Voxer message from my coach. Um, she was like, Krista had a dream last night that you started this summit empire and we're teaching people how to host these awesome events. I just had to tell you, I got a Facebook message from a speaker saying that I should do it. And I got an email from an, a pass attendee saying, how did you do that? I was like, okay, universe, I will, I will do something. So what I did was I took my, the assignment plan I created for hosting my summit. I made it all pretty set up a website and like started selling this thing. I was like, all right, if people like this and actually buy it, I'll keep going.
Krista Miller: But otherwise, um, you know, I'm not going to pursue this. I'm going to keep doing development and people bought it, which I wasn't used to. I was not used to creating a product that people actually bought. Uh, and it just kind of took off from there. So it was a total accident. I did not plan to take this route. Um, but here we are and it's fun. And now I've helped hundreds and hundreds of people launch really awesome summits. And I don't do so much development anymore. You know, it's just something I do when I want a fun little project. So that's how it happened.
Shannon Mattern: So I hope by the time this, um, episode comes out that I will have done a summit or have one in the works, um, that I can like update people on and give people like a little update at the end of this episode about we'll see, because of the timing, everything. But I am like, um, I'm all over this whole concept because, you know, just to kind of go back to one of the things that you said, especially as a service provider, you know, as a web designer, like you knew you needed an email list. And I see so many people who are one-on-one service providers like skip that part. You know, they, they, they don't want to put the work into, um, developing a list of clients. So I just wanna like, kind of ask you, why did you, as a service provider decide that an email list was important for you?
Krista Miller: Oh, I love that question. I actually have always seen a decent majority of my clients come to my email list, either my email list or my Facebook group, and, you know, the two kind of go hand in hand there. So I knew if I had a bigger list, that means more people that know about me, even if they're not the people directly buy my stuff, they know who I am. So if one more person that they know asks for, in my case, a developer, all of these people know who I am and know to recommend me cause I'm showing up in their inboxes week after week. And I mean, it w it worked my server. I don't know if I said this when I was talking about my services were booked out for six months in advance after that summit and stayed that way pretty consistently throughout the next year. So I hosted that, you know, my second summit and, you know, ramped it all up again. So yeah, I've always seen a decent amount of clients come from my email list as much as it's not always fun to have to maintain. I have found that worth it. For sure.
Shannon Mattern: Yes. I can't. I'm so glad that you said that because you know, when you can put time, especially like with the way with the way that you did it with the summit, like let's just like bring a bunch of people in and you can tell me, I don't know, I'd love to know more of like your thought process behind this. Like you put the work into hosting the summit, you grow your email list really fast then are you still spending a bunch of time, a list building? Or are you just kind of hanging out till the next time that you do the big wave of list-building?
Krista Miller: Yeah, so I, after I hosted my summit, I was like, nothing else I'm doing is worth it. Like nothing else I had done to that point to grow my list. Like I had been working for two and a half years to get the 500 people with that. Someone I tripled all that within, you know, three weeks of promoting the summit. So I didn't, I even since then, I have not for that business done any additional type of list building for my summit and the box business. I do throw money at Facebook ads, but I'm planning a summit for that business too. And that beside, alongside my Facebook ads is going to be my primary generator. Like I found that a lot of things people do to grow their email list does it, they don't work unless you have an audience. So creating a freebie. Cool. But who are you promoting that freebie to? If you don't have an audience, same with the blog posts and with the webinar are challenged. Like all these things that you see people doing. If you don't have an audience, it's not going to work because we're a summit brings you the, and then it works.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I just want to like reiterate what you just said. Like you cannot build a website, make a freebie, write a bunch of blog posts and sit back and expect your email list to grow. You just can't like you need. And one of the things that I love about the summit model of, of list-building is, you know, a concept that I teach is like build relationships with people who serve the audience that you want to serve so that you can get in front of other people's audiences. What you're doing is you're like 20, X-ing that all in one little, you know, project, big project project, well, all in one project, you're condensing the amount of time that you're spending on list building into one piece of the year where that's like, Oh, this is my main project for right now. And then I get to go on and do the thing that I do, um, as my business, which is web design, virtual assistant, online business manager, business, coach health coach, like whatever the thing is, you're not like always having to market.
Shannon Mattern: Then you can just go on and like offer your services and fulfill the services and do this. Like it's genius. It's brilliant. And I'm S I can't wait to like, do my own, cause I have a whole idea I got on, I got your freebie for the summit planner. Like before we even had our first conversation about being on the podcast, I was stalking you and I have it all figured out. So I'm going to get my summit in a box and like go through it. And I'll like, be definitely doing an income report where I break down the case study of how that worked, because where I'm at right now, which is really interesting. And I know this podcast is about you, but
Krista Miller: Share this
Shannon Mattern: Where I'm at right now is I have had over 60, 70 people on this show, um, that I've talked to about like different pieces of business and different things that I'm like, well, there's my guest list. Like, let's roll. What am I waiting for? You know? So I don't even have to cold pitch anyone. Like, it's a no brainer. So when you like build these, like when you can like build relationships with other entrepreneurs, like, even, even if you're like, I'm not sure if summits for me start building relationships with people so that when we convince you that it is, you have people that you can reach out to that you already know, like it's hard, it's a harder road to like go alone for
Krista Miller: Sure. Oh, for sure. And I mean, I do have, uh, students in my program who are launching summits from scratch, but it is more difficult for them to get, uh, established speakers. They're doing great things. They're growing, they're growing so much faster than they would otherwise. But that part of it is harder when you don't have those relationships to lean on. So I love what you said there, even if you're just awkwardly reaching out on Instagram every once in a while, like it counts for something, for sure.
Shannon Mattern: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Like make those connections because when it comes time to make an ask, they will like, know at least who you are and what you're doing. And I feel like, I don't know. I would love to hear like what your students, your students who are new say, but they think people know how small they are.
Krista Miller: Right, right. Yeah. That's that is, and that's something that does like freak a lot of them out. They're like, you know, I don't have this social account or that social account. I don't have an email. So I'm like, okay, they look for you on social media. They don't find you. They're not going to ask, like, I've pitched over a hundred speakers at this point. I've never once had someone ask how big my email list is. If you create an event, that's going to serve them and get them in front of their people. Most of the time, they're not going to, they're not going to care. They just want to be a part of this event because it makes them look good. And if it's an awesome event, which it will be because you're listening to us, they'll get leads from it. They'll get sales from it. Like it's beneficial to them, even if you don't have this huge audience.
Shannon Mattern: So I participated in a summit that I think was run by a client of yours. If it wasn't, you can tell me that it wasn't an I'll bleep this part out Eden freed. Oh yeah. Okay. So Eden pitched me to be on her podcast. And then she invited me to be part of her rebel boss summit. And through me participating in that as a guest, um, I built so many new relationships with the other guests that she had, um, on, on her show because I proactively like reached out to the other people. And I was like, had the opportunity to like be on a panel. And that has turned into other opportunities for me. So like, if I'm just looking at as a, as a potential speaker for a summit, if I'm literally just like, what's in it for me, how many email list subscribers can I get from this?
Shannon Mattern: Are you going to like PR like I'm missing the point of participating in an event like that? You know, for me, it's like not only, yes. Do I have, um, the opportunity to establish myself as a thought leader on this topic? Because someone is featuring me as a speaker. I'm not, I can like get my free thing in front of who knows how many people are, everybody's bringing their audience to this summit. And then I get to also meet all of these people who do a similar thing, and we can figure out different ways to collaborate beyond this. Like you as brand newbie person, putting the summit together. For me, I don't care if you have zero people on your email list. Like it matters not to me at all. Like, it's the perfect opportunity for a new person to pull something like that together. Because me as a person participating in that sees massive value for my business beyond just who you are and what your email list is as the summit organizer.
Krista Miller: Exactly. And like, I'm thinking of when I get pitched, what are the things I look at? I don't know if I even click over, I guess I click over to their website to see if it looks like that at least know what they're doing, but if I can tell through the way their summit is positioned and they give me the information I need for like what they need from me, but also how I'm going to benefit if those things sound good to me, like you said, I mean, I don't care how big the person is if they do it the right way and have it set up for a specific audience that I want to get in front of with other experts I want to connect with.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So I just think for new people out there, just with anything that you're doing to put yourself out there to market, like I had this conversation with this student in one of my courses, she's like, but I'm not where the people that I want to connect with are, and I feel like, why would they even pay attention to me? Because I feel like I have to be that at that level to, you know, to get that. And it's like, you just have to provide value in the way that you uniquely provide value, whether that's through the services that you offer, the free trainings that you do, the summit that you're pulling together, whatever that is, you don't have to have your, your value does not come from how many clients you've had or how big are your audiences.
Krista Miller: Yep. Okay. So there's a training I give all the time. And what you were saying made me think of, uh, one of my, like punchlines in that. Uh, and it's basically me telling you that the people you're looking up to the people you're scared to reach out to. They did not get there by playing it safe. They didn't write a great blog post one day and boom. Now they're this big influencer. They got out of their comfort zone. They reached out to people that they thought would tell him to like, get the heck out of here. And they did awesome things. And that's why they are where they are. Not because they were putting it safe, making blog posts and cool opt-ins and stuff like that.
Shannon Mattern: And yeah, and I couldn't agree more and, and you have to not make it about you and your worth as a person, you know, you're going to be ignored. People are going to tell you no more often than not. It has nothing to do with you. And if it does, you don't want to associate with that person anyway. So why like prevent yourself the opportunity to get a yes, because you're afraid of hearing a no. And because you're the only one making that mean something about you. Like no one else is making that mean anything about you.
Krista Miller: That's so true. And that freaked me out so much in my first time, like I told you, I literally had a dream that I was going to pitch speakers and they were going to sit and laugh at their computer, like what even is happening there. And now as I'm working on my fifth summit, my co-host and I were talking about pitching Amy Porterfield. I was like, she'll say no, but that sounds like a lot of fun. Let's do it. You know? Like, it just depends on your mindset and the way you look at it, who cares if they say no, try the next person. It's cool. It's fun if you let it be fun.
Shannon Mattern: Uh, okay. So good. So I want to like switch gears back to like your personal business journey. You're side hustling as a web developer. What is, what is your, what does that look like for you? Full-time job and, and the business.
Krista Miller: That was probably one of the toughest things I've done and like gone through and, you know, I'm guessing a lot of your listeners relate is I started the side hustle because something at work just wasn't right. You know, I was not getting what I needed from that job. So I started looking at other things like, I need to get out of this and what I was, I had a full-time corporate job doing software development. So I was on a software development team of 18 people. I was the only, I was the youngest and the only female
Shannon Mattern: I was going to say, you're probably the only girl. Yeah.
Krista Miller: It was not a good situation. And management just didn't know how to do it. Like they didn't know how to deal with it. It was a T it was the tech department. So it's all dudes. They don't know what to do with one little girl as, as they looked at me in this team and how to make that work well, and it didn't, you know, um, so I let's see what did I do first? Yeah. I just started looking for different, like creative outlets. So I first started a blog about crocheting. I did not know how to crochet, but I had a blog about it. I learned also there's that, then I started a, I was like seeing people do these cool things. So I started another blog about being a woman in the tech industry and just started kind of talking about my problems.
Krista Miller: I didn't get a lot of, I didn't have a lot of followers, but the women who found me were like, Oh my gosh, thank you. And I'm actually still really good friends with one of those people today. And we're both doing way different and way more awesome things. And it's really fun. Uh, and then I found this world of, Oh my gosh, people are like making money through this. I see all these web designers I can do that. I can make a website. So I pivoted again to offering, I started with design and development services and Shannon, I found you, you your course, uh, helped me set up my first website. Crazy, crazy to look back on. Thank you for that, by the way. Um, and yeah, so I really quickly like figured out, okay, I can't design worth anything, so we're going to do to develop and then the same way.
Krista Miller: Yeah. Then that's when I kinda started getting serious because I started making a little money and it wasn't a ton. My first client, I think I charged her 150 bucks to completely rework her homepage. I had no clue what I was doing. Remember, like sitting and crying, asking my friends like, Oh my gosh, can you help me? I don't know how to do this. And they like, had to go do the project for me. So I gave them all the money I got from it. Um, but you know, I started getting more and more clients. So I would work, uh, I don't know, seven 30 to three 30 type thing, go home and go straight to my desk and stay there all night long, as long as I could keep my eyes open every day I was sitting there hustling. Uh, I remember like I on my computer at work, I figured out like incognito Chrome windows.
Krista Miller: So I'd be checking my email, answering clients at work on my phone, on social media, uh, working every weekend, all day long. I remember like not having a social life and my family being like, can we see you sometime? Because it was just like, that was my, that was my life. Like, that was my exit plan. And I had made a goal once I started getting those clients in. Okay. By the end of this year, or by the end of next year, which was 2016, it would have given me a 12 month runway. I'm going to leave this job. Um, and I don't know if I'm going too far, if you want me to like, Oh, I'm like, I'm like, you're telling my life story, like going. Yeah. Okay. So I gave myself a 12 month runway and I sat down with my husband. I'm a very logical person.
Krista Miller: I need plans. So I can't just do something. So I sat down with him. I was like, okay, this is what I want to do. I need to get out of this job. It was to the point where I was coming home every day in tears, because it was so miserable. Um, and we figured out, okay, what do I need to make for my business each month for me to be able to leave? Luckily he was in the tech space too. So he made a decent amount of money. So we figured out if I could pay myself $1,200 a month, that's all I needed. Boom. I had a plan. And from there things picked up quickly. It took me, uh, about four months to hit that. Uh, and then I was like, okay, I just want to make sure. So I made it a couple more months to make sure I was still making that.
Krista Miller: And then I was done. I did ask at work for them to drop me down to part-time like, if I could start working and go from full-time hours to working half days, my boss was for it. But the powers that be above him, wouldn't do it. And I was like, all right, see you later, suckers and away. I went and I am so glad that I took that leap leap of faith. It was, Oh my gosh. I remember being so terrified. Especially those first couple months when it was all off. I'm like, wait, where did the clients go? You guys were here. Um, but life gets better when you can escape those really toxic environments and build something really cool by yourself. And it's funny, like I was working so much more once I did leave, but I was at the corporate job, but it did not matter because I was in charge.
Krista Miller: I was doing what I wanted to do. There wasn't any disgusting, inappropriate talk going on around me. I made my own environment and probably smokes. Am I glad that I trusted myself enough to do that? And despite, you know, family members thinking I was absolutely crazy. I had family members didn't even want to talk to me cause they were so mad. You just went to school for five years. You got a master's degree. You're just going to throw it all away. It's like, Oh no, I'm using the heck out of this. And this is going to be so much better for me. And still to this day, some of them don't get it, but I'm glad that I did not listen to them. And I just did the thing. That's a lot of information.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. Okay. So the reason you mentioned the five day website challenge, the reason that I started that and structured it, the way that I did, because I was tired of being treated like a dumb girl, when it came to web design tech, anything, I was in the tech industry as well, you know? And I was just like, this is the way that you treat people the way that you talk to people, the way like, you know, everything, this is unacceptable. There's not a safe space for women or non-techie people to go to ask questions and not be told that they're stupid, that they shouldn't even be doing it, um, that all of these things. And that is exactly why I created the five day website challenge and set up like the Facebook group was because I was like, WordPress forums are crap. I'm just sorry. Like they're horrible. People are mean and terrible. And this is, I like, I, that's not happening here. And like, I need to like take care of these people because I felt like there was just, no, there was no place for us, you know? And that's just anybody who is not techie, men, women, whatever, who don't want to be chewed apart by people like that. So,
Krista Miller: And I think that's probably exactly why I was attracted to your stuff is like in my job, there was literally a guy that I worked with who would tell me I was stupid. If I had to ask him a question about something and then I found your stuff and it was bright and colorful and happy and nice and bubbly. And you were in your Facebook group and you were helpful and everything was easy to understand, okay, this is way better.
Shannon Mattern: And so I think like when you S when you are in, when you have the opportunity, like to start something entrepreneurial that can like really like help people in that capacity. Like, I had a lot of reasons for doing, starting what I started, but it was also like, I saw a very acute need for there to be a place for people to like, succeed at this, that that was not there. And I don't know that that was really a driver at the time as I have, as I have like really reflected on the journey. Like, that's a core value for, for my business is like creating, creating this, this, this safe space. But the other thing that you, you just basically, I was like, Oh my gosh, that's, that's it? Everything that you said was everything that I experienced from the working 24 seven, but feeling like the work outside of work was worth it, because it was a means to an end to my family saying, like, we never see you.
Shannon Mattern: All you do is work to people being like, you're going to quit your job. You make six figures and you're just going to walk away from that. I'm like, I am miserable. Yes. And so of course, like I had to, like, I had to commit to like reply. I committed to replacing that income. So I side hustled for a lot longer. But what I wanted to point out about you is like, you guys figured out, like, what do we need to make this happen? And what I see a lot of people do is they go so far into the future with, Oh, I have this business goal of making six figures. It's like, great. But what do you need to actually make to live? Let's start there. And that makes it so less overwhelming, so much more doable. And it's just like, Oh, if all I need to do is bring in 12 and I've already like gotten clients. I know I can work my way up to that. And how about that instead of having to be like, have 15 clients and prove myself and all of this stuff before, you know, before I'm like allowed to like, claim that I know anything, right.
Krista Miller: Yeah. It would have been. And I know there are people that that's kind of just the way they think naturally. I don't know if there's necessarily anything wrong with it, but like, if I would avoided, for example, to hit six figures, I would have been working at my corporate job until, uh, late last year it took, you know, I took a few years to build up to that and Holy spot. And if I was still there, I probably wouldn't even have hit it. Cause I would have had to be spending so much more time there it's yeah. Figure out what you actually need. And we lived tight for awhile. We were doing the Dave Ramsey, like money envelope system. We were serious. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Like it was tight for a little bit, but so worth it. So like every single second and moment of uncertainty and little bit of anxiety or a lot, uh, yeah. I would not do it differently. Maybe leave sooner.
Shannon Mattern: Right. Well, I think that preparation, that planning and preparation, it doesn't like make the anxiety go away after you've quit. But like, I mean, we did too. Like I was like, we're Dave Ramsey out of debt before I leave. So that like my actual legit minimum baseline that I need to bring into this house for us to survive is like lower than what I was making my day job. But then I just had this like pride thing that I had to maintain in my mind because my husband was like online business. Like, that's not a thing. Like we get jobs around here. Like we are Midwestern, you know, middle-class people and like this, this does not compute in my brain that you would leave a paycheck and benefits and all of this. And for him, it was like very scary for him to think that, like, you're not going to have a paycheck coming in.
Shannon Mattern: Like, like this is, this is, was not on the realm of like my radar of how our life would work. And so I really, I committed to him. I was like, our bank account will not see a deviation from what's going in with my paycheck. And what's going in with my business. That is the promise I will make to you. And you know, and so he's like his compromised back was like, okay, you don't have to put that much pressure on yourself. How about if it's not working out after a year after quitting, you commit to going back and getting a job. And I'm like, okay. Cause I knew that would never happen. So I was like, I can agree to that a thousand percent, because I know without a shadow of a doubt, you know, I will make this happen. So that's what I did. But you know, having that, I think you like having that plan and that buy-in, and, you know, keeping your part, if you have a partner, keeping them like engaged in your vision and in your dream, makes it a lot easier to do the things, to make the sacrifices, to like do the thing.
Krista Miller: Oh my gosh. So much easier. And especially if people out, other than that person just will like never get, I still have people. How many years later? Four and a half, something like that years later, like for Halloween, it's gotten to the point where I just wear pajamas. Cause people are pretty sure that all I do is sit here and put in pajamas. I'm like, I'm going to own the heck out of that. You know? And it's like, if those people are just never going to get it, no matter how hard you try at least get the people that really believe in you on board. But I've like gotten to the point now where I don't tell my family how much I make, but I'll drop hints. So they know that it's way more than they could even like, kind of imagined like this weekend I was with my mom and grandma, something like that. And they were talking about Facebook ads and about, Oh my gosh, I just hate Facebook ads. I was like, Oh, I spent $15,000 on Facebook ads a month. And it makes me a lot of money. And they're like, wait, you spend what? Like what? Like just drop a little hint. It just kinda feels good after like, you guys don't think I do anything. Here's, here's what I do. So people on board that you can
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And like the thing I'm sure there are a lot of people listening that are like, Oh, I'm going to throw away my college degree or my investment in my education. It's like, there is, there's just so much intangible stuff that you learn just because you're not like trading this degree for a job does not mean that you threw the degree away. Right. Like it's just that line of thinking is just, you know, just very narrow, a very narrow line of thinking.
Krista Miller: Yeah. Even if your degree is not related at all, to what you, which most doing, it's still a stepping stone, right. It's a step you had to take to figure out what you actually wanted to do. And that is okay.
Shannon Mattern: And there are skills that you learn in accomplishing that goal of getting to the end of getting that degree or deciding that it's not for you or like, whatever, like it's all part of the journey. It's like, you, you get to decide what your life looks like, you know?
Krista Miller: Yeah. Oh my goodness. I love this.
Shannon Mattern: So what are, um, you know, I know that you've worked with a lot of business owners, you work with a lot of you, you help a lot of them with your summit in a box. And, um, you know, just even your own business journey, like what is a common obstacle that you see people coming up on again and again, that just like really trips them up and, and stops them in their tracks,
Krista Miller: Um, related to summit specifically or business growth. Hmm. Okay. Well, I guess I'm going to do one that's both. Uh, and I guess it's kind of related to what something you brought up earlier is deciding that where you are now means something about where you're allowed to go. You know, like I have two people on my email list, so I can't reach out to this person for a casual chat. I can't definitely can't host a summit. I can't, uh, you know, I don't know, whatever it is, run a challenge, a webinar, like collaborate with this person, join the mastermind. You, you can't base your decisions on where you are right now. You have to base them on where you want them to be. And it's scary. It's scary to do that, but you do get used to it too. Um, like thinking back a couple of years, comparing some of the investments I've made this year.
Krista Miller: Oh, heck no, I wanted done that awhile back, but now it's like, I know if I invest in this thing, it's going to get me to where I should be. You know, when I'm in that thing or when I'm, you know, in that group, talking to those people, whatever it is. So don't make decisions based on where you are for you to, to start. Maybe it means that you're just skipping a couple of stepping stones. Maybe if you have two people on your email list, which is apparently the example I'm going with, you do something that you would do if you had 200 and then from there, maybe you jumped to, okay. If I had 500 people, I do this and it could be different than email subscribers. It could be the connections you have. You could do it based on the money you're making, but don't limit yourself based on where you are right now, because that's just going to keep you in that spot. Does that make sense?
Shannon Mattern: Yes. A thousand percent. I'm just like the value that you have to anybody it's not based on the size of your email list. It does not matter like that is that's for you to like measure your metrics and do internal decision-making on, you know, um, like how like figure out how much money you can make. If you make an offer, like that's for you, that has nothing to do with your value to anybody else. When you're going out there to, um, to run your business, to build relationships, to pitch people, to put things in front of people and I, and those metrics, like I think we're like misusing them against ourselves a lot of the time to like, keep us from, let that keep us from really putting ourselves out there. I don't know about you, but like in the beginning, like I built my email list, like putting, like putting myself out there, like one link back to my website at a time, like one post in a Facebook group on a freebie day, like linking up my five day challenge.
Shannon Mattern: Like I did not sit back and wait for people to find me, but I built it like post like one thing at a time, one relationship at a time, one opportunity at a time. And I took every single one that I could get. I love that you're teaching that, like, you can do this exponentially all in one fell swoop a lot easier and take the easy road. Um, but you know, if you don't, if you're just starting out and you don't have money to invest, like you can invest your time and the best place to invest your time is like building these relationships with other people. And like your value to them is in like what you can offer them to their audience. Like you said earlier to make them look really good to do something. It's not like, Oh, I'm going to knock on your door and tell you, I have two email list. Subscribers, will you work with me? Like, that's neither here nor there. Like, if that's how you're leading, they're going to be like, Whoa, like, what are you, why are you even like, that's selfish, I guess, is what I'm kind of trying to say. Like, if you're going to like lead on, you know, I have a thousand email subscribers, like, Oh, you're just coming for my audience. You don't really want to build a real relationship.
Krista Miller: Oh my goodness. Yeah. Everything about that is I just want, I just want everyone to, like, I don't know, just give themselves a little more credit. And that's actually something that made me those six months before I launched them in a box. Even though I had all these people being like, how do I host a summit, teach me how to do it. It's like, well, I've only done it once. There's all these, you know, bro marketers who have done it so many times and made so much more money than me. You don't want to learn from me, go on from them. But they're like, no, I want to learn from you because you're more relatable. The level, you know, the levels of stuff I was, you know, I made $16,000 that was reachable to them. And like, I didn't have a ton of experience, but I had the experience I needed and actually the experience they wanted more than the people that have been doing it for years. And like had made a ton more money than I have. So like you have something to value even if you are, just getting started,
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, that's, that's just that's everything. And I think what you said is like, there are people out there for you who are going to be your clients at every level of your business, they wouldn't be looking for you if they wanted to make bro marketer money right out of the gate. They'd be looking, looking at that, you know, and that's okay, that's not your client. Like, that's fine. But there are people out there who, you know, want to learn from someone that they really can trust. And everybody has different motivations for why their, why, why they're doing what they're doing. And they're going to find that person that fits their mission, their values, their motivations, and all those things. And so you don't have to be someone that you're not to, to do the thing.
Krista Miller: This is so fun. This
Shannon Mattern: Is so fun. I'm like, we can't keep going for hours. I want to talk to you though. Um, you know, like your Facebook ad spend made my eyes like just pop open to, because I personally, and I just had this conversation with someone earlier. She's like, why aren't you running Facebook ads? And I'm like, I just, I honestly never, until this year had an offer that I really felt, um, was performing well enough to do that. You know? And I, and I know there are two schools of thought, like use the Facebook ads to validate the offer faster, fail faster, like whatever. Whereas I still am my leg, Dave Ramsey, Midwestern risk averse where I, it like, it feels like going to Vegas sometimes.
Shannon Mattern: And I can't, because I know that I know there's stuff I don't know about how to do them effectively. So when people are like asking me, like, why don't you do Facebook ads? Why don't you teach Facebook ads? It's not because I don't think that they work or whatever. It's just like, I am not there yet in my business. And I'm not going to teach you to do something that like, I haven't successfully done myself. That being said, I love hearing when it works really well for people. And so that's what I want to hear, like hear from you is like kind of what your experience like was with running ads.
Krista Miller: Yeah. So, uh, let's see, October, 2019 is when I really started throwing money at ads. And before that, I had kind of tried every once in a while, you know, I'd see, I'd see an ad about Facebook ads and I do their thing. I was like, Oh, Facebook ads are my answer. And I'd make this freebie and do all the work and start promoting it. And it's like, it's taken me nine bucks to get one person to opt into this freebie. I'd done that. And this is working. Uh, so that's like what it looked like for me for the first many years. So I just didn't know
Shannon Mattern: That
Krista Miller: There is so much that goes into Facebook as in once, you know, the strategy. It's like, it's real exciting. I can get so nerdy about it before then. It's terrifying. And it can feel like you're just throwing your money into a big black hole because you can't do that. Um, but I guess the turning point for me was when the combination of seeing an offer or strategy that felt good to me and working with an ads coach. So I did not figure this out by myself. I worked with, uh, Tony from intentional spark. He has like a group coaching program for Facebook ads. I love Tony cause like he is why I'm, I'm, I'm doing this. And, um, I also have you heard of Allie Bjork? No. Okay. Well she teaches like tiny offers. Um, now, now it's not ringing a bell.
Shannon Mattern: Uh, so I just had a conversation with, um, my partner, my partner on my site, in the step products who I think is that's her, um, her teacher, because she's doing some things in her business related to that. And we literally just had a conversation today, which is in July for anybody listening to this and like later about like what could our tiny offer be like and all that stuff. So, yeah. So tell me more about that.
Krista Miller: Yeah. So that's, that is the strategy I've been using. I'm still using it, but I've started stacking other things on, but that, that's what I started using because I didn't need a big ad spend for it. And it was something I could increase my ad spend as I felt comfortable. So now I'm spending like $400 a day, $500 a day on ads. But I started out with like 30, you know, I was like, okay, for $30, I can make two sales. So that made me $60. Okay. Now I'm going to spend $60 a day and just kind of kept increasing it as I found different audiences, different like, you know, text and copy or texts and images, which is creative in the Facebook ad space. As I found things that worked, I just kept bumping it up over the course of several months. And now that's like, that's where my people come from. That is where, that's how I grow. My email list is through people buying this, uh, $27 offer. That's how I'm funneling people into my higher ticket summit in the box program. Like take all money Facebook because
Krista Miller: When you figure it out, it's just so powerful. And it's, it's like fairly passive other than every once in a while having to switch up what you're using. And recently I have started running a few more opt-in style ads to get more people on my list faster, you know, it's cheaper to generally when you know what you're doing to get people on your list for like an opt-in them giving you 30 bucks for something. So I've kind of started adding that into, but it's been really cool. I was always, I mean, I was sitting, I was skeptical of Facebook ads is I dunno, a little off, cause I knew they worked for some people. I just didn't think they worked for me, but it was literally just a matter of like figuring out how the big machine works kind of and knowing what to play around with. So it's definitely, I don't know. I would consider it a more advanced thing, but it probably just depends on where is your focus? Is that where you want to focus? Okay. Focus on that for a little bit. Don't, don't make Facebook ads this and that. You're like, okay, I'm going to spend an hour on Friday and set up some Facebook ads, no, figure out what you're doing first learn about it, do some testing playing around and it can be awesome, but it can take a little while
Shannon Mattern: I think. Yeah. I think what I'm hearing for me is like, this is kind of, this is a longer term commitment to a process of figuring out what is going to work for you. And it's not just like a one and done like I'm going to, this is I, and I think this is where I have gone wrong in the past or not gone wrong. But like, what I have tried has not worked for me very well in the past is like, it's a, Oh, okay. I'm like opening the cart for this product. Let me just run ads to the webinar for the very first time. What I've never even done this before. And I really don't have anything. And then I'm like, okay, well, like that didn't work. How the webinar that I watched to tell me how to do it set, it would. So like now what, and this isn't even worth my stress or my time or my whatever. So I think, you know, that's what I've done in the past. I know a lot of people have done that in the past. Um, and I, yeah, I wouldn't say skeptical more like I'm kind of tired of banging my head against the wall on this. So I'm going to go in a different direction,
Krista Miller: Susan. That's exactly what I would do. Like I'm going to launch this thing or, Oh, I created this new freebie or, Oh, I have a summit coming up. Let me figure out some ads. And like sitting there banging my head against the desk when it's not working. I was like, no, you just, didn't all you're doing is fine. Just like anything else, any other strategy? You need to understand it, correct. Same with the summit. If you don't run a summit the right way, it's not going to work. Same thing with, with Facebook ads, you know? So I don't know.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, I have one more thing to say on the subject. We'll move on. But one of the other things is that like you, it's a process to even get to the point to getting those working. If you're changing your offer and your products and making new and doing new things the whole time, like you don't get the consistency, the learning experience, the like all of the things that it takes to even like take the first time you make an offer to refine that offer and get that working really well. Like you have to like commit long-term to any of these strategies that you're, or even products or offerings like committing long-term to really seeing them through and not putting it out there. And the first time, not like not performing the way you expect, because it's not going to and putting it out there with the mindset of like, I'm going to learn whatever I can from this first time, putting it out there so that I can make adjustments for the next time and make adjustments for the next time and then get to the, like, everything is that it's all an experiment.
Shannon Mattern: Like it's all a big experiment as you work your way to what works, what works for your customers and what works for you and your business and how you want to run your business. Like, so I just love that. Like you applied that whole concept, even the process of like Facebook ads and that, that, you know, you're investing a lot of time and more time in the beginning and now money. Like, you want to make sure you have that dialed in so that you're not throwing $400 down a black hole. That'd be terrible. Uh, so couple more questions, um, for you for, for my listener, who is like, I just feel stuck. I feel like I've been doing all the things. Nothing is happening for me. What is your advice for that person?
Krista Miller: Uh, so, and I know this, isn't what that person wants to hear. Cause I've been that person, but like figure out this is, I hate saying it because I've heard it and I hate it, but like figure out what, what your people actually want and who you're actually talking to. And I feel like that was an issue. I had a long time in my development business and I heard people say that. And I was like, I don't know how to, I don't know how some, something like that, but in starting something in the box and having something that people do want in need, Holy smokes. Is it a game changer when you have something they truly need? So before you waste your time and money and energy, trying to run Facebook ads, trying to run a summit, trying to do all these strategies, figure that thing out first.
Krista Miller: I know it's not easy. I know that's not what you want to hear. Um, but like, and another thing you wanted to hear, the thing that really helped me is getting on calls with my people. And I'm, again, I hate that. I hate saying all of this, but like getting on a few, uh, 15, 20, 30 minute calls with people, even though I don't want to talk to any human ever seriously, it's such a game when you hear them tell you what they actually want. And you're like, Oh, are you sure you don't want this thing that I've been to finish up on yourself? And I'm like, no, if I really do want this thing and then you fit it and then you have the thing that you've been trying to find. And, but I also think it's okay. Totally okay. To try different things and make shifts. That's okay. If something doesn't work, that is okay. That's how, that's how this entire thing works. Like Shannon and I were both still, Hey, I'm going to try this thing. Nope. It doesn't work. Let's try the next thing. It's always that experiment and you can't let that get you down. And I know it's so hard in the beginning, but keep experimenting, keep talking to people until you find the thing that clicks and you'll know when it does, because it will just get easier after that.
Shannon Mattern: So good. I could, I love that. You're like, I don't want to say too because ah, because it is, and, and that's the it's we thought, we think we know what people need, but, and they, we do, but we're not maybe always saying it in a way that lands with them or work. Yeah. There's so many, so many. I could keep talking about that for a hundred years. So the last question I have for you is one that I ask everyone that comes on the show and that is what belief about yourself. Did you have to change to get where you are today?
Krista Miller: Oh my goodness gracious. I think it was just a constant, underlying hint of self-doubt. That was just always there through the time. I initially had the idea to start a business through the entire time I was writing my development business for sure. And even until a couple months ago, when things really exploded for me, there was always that underlying bit of self doubt. And now that that's not, their decisions are so much easier when I see like a cool thing that I think will help. It's like, yes, I'm gonna throw like this much money at you. There was, uh, and as I talked to someone last week for my podcast and afterwards, I was like, you blew my mind. How can I give you money? She's like, Oh, I have a one day intensive for $5,000. I was like, okay, boom, here it is. And just because I have complete confidence that I can take what she's going to teach me and make three more core sales, which is all I would need to pay for that.
Krista Miller: And because that self-doubt has gone and okay, it comes back sometimes it's not like, Oh my gosh, I'm this magical human that can never fail. It comes back. But when I can be in that place where I'm not doubting myself and I'm looking at it, this is fun. I can do this because look how far I've come. Things just get so much easier because you can make smarter decisions. You're making decisions based on what this thing can do for you. Rather than like the worst case scenario, like what could go wrong. I'm going to base all my decisions on that because that leaves you stuck. So yeah,
Shannon Mattern: I could talk to you another three hours on all of this stuff, but unfortunately I have to wrap up this episode. Can you let everybody know where we can connect with you learn more about you summit in a box, all the things that you do, podcast, all the things.
Krista Miller: Yes. Oh my gosh, you guys, I love to connect with you more, the best place to just like hang out and say, Hey, and let me know. You listen to this episode where we were just kind of, this is just a fun chat, but Instagram is where I love to hang out. So hang out with me. They are somewhat in the box. Definitely send me a DM and just like, let me know and let me know like what resonated with you. That would be so fun. Uh, but if you want to learn more about somebody that you're interested in kind of taking that route for your business, I'm over at summit, in the box.co I have a masterclass I can kind of get, you started with getting over some of these self-doubt hurdles. Like I don't have time. I'm not a big enough deal. I can't get speakers, all of that stuff. And I teach you my summit hosting system. So if you're kind of thinking on that route, head to my website, check that out. I got you. Even if you feel like you can't do it, I will, I will convince you that you can, because I know you can't so
Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Thank you so much for being here. I'll link up everything in the show notes, such a good conversation and just thank you for being like open to sharing, like all of the, you know, all of the, just the journey. Cause I know it's like, it's just, it's a lot, but like it's like, as we can see you guys, it is so worth it. So thank you.
Krista Miller: Thank you so much for having me on this was awesome.
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At Summit In A Box, Krista teaches online business owners to skyrocket their revenue, grow their email lists, become leaders, and make mutually beneficial connections through online summits. These aren’t summits that leave speakers and attendees feeling gross and taken advantage of – her method is focused on strong connections, collaboration, and making a difference in the lives of everyone involved. The best part? She makes it easy! With every strategy, copy template, website template, script, tech tutorial, and resources you'd ever need, your summit prep just got a whole lot easier!