Ep. 351: Finding Success Your Own Way with Annelise Worn

I'm so excited to introduce you to this week's guest on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, Annelise Worn!

Annelise Worn is a Business Strategist, Marketing Mentor, and Marketing Agency CEO. Her work with clients lies in developing and implementing efficient, effective, high converting marketing strategies that actually move the needle. Annelise supports entrepreneurs to transform their business and discover the profit and freedom they started it to achieve.

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Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 351 of Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest Annelise Worn, who is a business strategist, marketing mentor, and marketing agency CEO. She helps her clients develop and implement efficient, effective high converting marketing strategies that actually move the needle. So Annelise, thank you so much for being here this morning. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?

Annelise Worn: Sure. I would love to. Thank you so much for having me. Yes, my name is Annalise and you can probably hear from my accent I'm right down at the bottom of Australia. And just as you said, about four years ago, my husband and I started a marketing agency because I was refused flexi-time from my previous employer and we were moving two hours away down the coast. And that's where we live now. But because it was down the coast and it was regional, I had to start my own business if I wanted to have the freedom that I wanted to have, have the income that I wanted to have. And so slowly we built that. We were living with my in-laws. I worked from my in-laws' kitchen table. It was definitely not perfect and polished. But if you fast forward four and a bit years now, we have a team of 11. I've got a marketing agency. I do a marketing mentor program for small business owners who do DIY and I do some consulting. It's great.

Shannon Mattern: So one of the things that made me want to have you on the show is on your website you talk about how you help people market without ads, without running ads. And that is something that I'm also very passionate about, growing my business organically. Can you share a little bit about why that's like part of your philosophy?

Annelise Worn: Yeah, sure, definitely. So what happened was I started my marketing agency, and I started freelancing at the same time. And I have four children. At the time when we started I had two. And because...you're laughing.

Shannon Mattern: I was just laughing because we were chatting before we started and she said "if my five month old starts crying, we're going to have to press pause so I can go get him and feed him. And I'm like, that's cool. That's why we started these businesses. Right? So that we can have have that life. So anyway, back to your story.

Annelise Worn: Yes, I was freelancing and I was doing Facebook ads for course, creators and I was charging 1,500 US dollars a month just for my services. I had the business that supported me and my family. And I was speaking to other moms who wanted the same thing as me, but they weren't going to go and spend $1,500 on an ad expert because they wanted $500 a week to not have to put their kid in daycare. It wasn't that they wanted to build empires. They just didn't want to have to go to a job they didn't love for three days a week. And so I started mentoring these moms and teaching them how to build their business organically or how to not donate to Facebook along the way. And I think that's what we start, right? We start with not having the funds really to invest thousands of dollars, not knowing what we're doing or what messaging or who we're serving. And so even if you know you want to run ads, start off organically so that you can really know your messaging and you can know what's working before you put the money behind it and take it to the moon.

Shannon Mattern: I resonate with that so much. And especially when you said "donate to Facebook". I used to, you know, because I would follow all of these online business people who would talk about how Facebook ads were this ATM. You put in $1, you get $3 back, blah, blah, blah. And that's all fine and good if you have an offer that's proven, that people buy, that works and you've done a whole lot of testing on these ads and all of the things that you need to do to actually get to the point where you can make that money. And so I would just be like, I feel like I'm just lighting $5 bills on fire every single day because this is not going anywhere. I don't know what I'm doing. Until I realized that Facebook ads aren't going to make my business successful. I have to have the right messaging, the right marketing, the right offer, all of those things. And then you can use them to scale. But even now I have more fun talking to other entrepreneurs that have the audience that I want.

Annelise Worn: Yeah. Yeah. And some of our best investments have been in relationships with people. I mean, in the agency, I started off building relationships with business coaches that have been referral sources of me for three plus years. And that's the thing that you can do when you're getting started. And that's the thing you should do, especially if you've got that long term vision for your business, then you should be connecting and collaborating and building those relationships with people who are going to give you clients, people you can collaborate with on projects and down as well to your potential clients who may not come and buy from you tomorrow, but are going to build that relationship and loyalty with you and potentially become customers down the road. And if not, you're having fun along the way, right? With great people.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. Yes. And I had a really bad habit back in the day of being a lone Wolf. I'm going to do this all myself. I'm going to SEO optimize. I'm going to hide behind my laptop and blog and SEO optimize, and pin, and just do all of these things. And not to say that any tactics that you just really focus in on and zero in on and master and whatever, I do believe those things will work. But what really worked for me was stuff that I didn't even realize that I was doing, which was talking to other entrepreneurs and doing trainings. I wasn't even thinking of those things as marketing. I was thinking these are just extra things that I'm saying yes to because people are asking me to do this.

Shannon Mattern: And yeah, I'll do these favors. But really what ended up happening for me is that's all the stuff that worked. All the other stuff that I was dabbling in and messing around with was just wasting my time. And my business was growing in spite of where I was spending all my time because I was not paying attention to all these other things that were working. So I just find it fascinating that if we actually do build relationships, get out from behind our laptops, so to speak. Not necessarily in person, because you're in Australia and I'm in the United States, but build relationships and talk to people. It happens faster. I think it happens faster.

Annelise Worn: It happens faster. Yeah. I mean, people buy from people. And people buy from people that they know and they like and they trust. And that's what we are. We're humans. We're social beings and we can use that in business.

Shannon Mattern: So tell me about these past four years. You kind of said" fast forward to today and this is where I'm at". But what was that journey like for you along the way? What were some of the challenges that you had along the way and how did you overcome them?

Annelise Worn: Yeah. So I knew I wanted to not work for someone else. And I was managing a training company. I've done a marketing degree. I mean I finished my marketing degree in 2009 without being taught anything about digital marketing. Isn't that crazy? No social media ads. No "this is how to build a website". Just marketing strategy from 20 years ago.

Shannon Mattern: Probably what I learned in college when I graduated in 2002. Direct marketing, direct response marketing and messaging.

Annelise Worn: And Maslow's hierarchy of needs. So I was totally not equipped to actually start a marketing agency. So we started learning and we started doing online courses, my husband and I. My husband was a cop in town. We knew he wanted to build our house. So he couldn't be on the toll for someone else. So he needed to upskill. So he trained as a web developer and SEO and Google and that sort of thing as well. So we're both learning together and then it was just throwing stuff at the wall to see what stuck. And we got our first handful of clients and we really, really niched down in the agency for trades, for construction, knowing that I could help to build it and he could take it over when he quit his job. Because I left mine and just did some consulting because we moved two hours away and I didn't want to not see my children ever.

Annelise Worn: They were little. If I left two hours before being at work, they would be asleep. And if I got home two hours after work, they would be asleep. So that wasn't what I wanted. And it was messy. I mean, it was breastfeeding a baby, and from six until 12 midnight, because they were cluster feeding, and I'd be having my laptop and the baby and hiring the wrong people. Because I had no idea what I was doing and I didn't know what job I actually wanted to do. And a year or two of let's try that. Nope, that's not working. Let's try that. Nope. That's not working. I've just booked myself in for four consultations in a day and I'll hang on there in the U S which means I'm going to be online. I was over here and I was over there and it was just probably nearly two years of just seeing what I liked and what I didn't like and what worked for us as a family and what didn't, and what clients I liked working with and what clients I didn't. We were growing the whole time, but making lots and lots of mistakes, but just allowing ourselves to, because I knew it was what we wanted and it was worth figuring out.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. As you were saying that, it was just a couple years of us doing this and that and kind of figuring out, I wanted to ask, and I think you answered it when you said we were allowing ourselves to. Is it with hindsight that you're describing those two years you were figuring out or was it like an intentional thing? Like 'I am really thinking that this is an experiment and I am kind of figuring it out along the way'. And I ask that because I think my perspective when things weren't working was that something was wrong. Something was wrong. It shouldn't be this way. I must be doing something wrong. Instead of 'this isn't just going the way that I want it to, so I need to fix it'. I very much internalized it and made it some kind of personal failure or something like that. And the way you described it, it seemed very much like we were giving ourselves the space to figure this out. How would you characterize that?

Annelise Worn: Yeah. Really similar to what you said. And that's what I see with a lot of my clients. Because I work with small business owners, and we do that. Because we are our business and we do internalize that. And it is like, 'oh my gosh, that marketing message didn't work and that's a reflection on me'. And we get this downward spiral, our confidence goes down and all of that. And for some reason I didn't. I don't know why that was, but I think I knew how much I didn't know. And I didn't think every time ' this is it, this is the thing'. And then it wouldn't work and I'd be like, 'oh, well, next one'. But I think the resilience was already there. And it doesn't mean it was any less annoying when you've spent a thousand dollars when you really don't have it on a course or a person or ads, anything. And it's not working and you are wasting time and money like no one's business.

Annelise Worn: But I think early on I did a Facebook ads course, which was very expensive. And it was for people who wanted to build Facebook ad agencies. And it was probably about $10,000. So it was a big chunk for us, especially at the time. I mean for course I still think that's pretty expensive. And it was full of people who didn't have children who were really young, who could work 18 hour days, who are scaling their businesses like crazy. And I started comparing myself to others. 'Oh my gosh, we started at the same time and they've got $20K months and I've got $3K months' or whatever it was. And then there was a small period, maybe a few weeks, where I was feeling it's me and why isn't it working?

Annelise Worn: And then it clicked. And I was like, no. Because I started this business to work around my family. And so if I killed myself to get clients, to get it to some magical number that I don't actually need. What is the point? So that taught me pretty early that I had to be on my own journey and that I had to build it in a way that actually resonated with my values and didn't have me working until 2:00 AM and then getting up at 5:00 AM and working around the clock and giving the worst to my family when I've done it for my family.

Shannon Mattern: Yes. So powerful. And what kind of came up for me as you were saying that is, and what I would want everybody to take away from that is, just allow yourself the space to experiment. And then also the lessons we learn from the things that we invest in aren't always the curriculum that was presented to us. Right? I spent a lot of money in the early days searching for answers or trying to fix my business, my broken business when it wasn't broken. I just needed to spend the time experimenting and kind of figuring things out. But with the benefit of hindsight, I could list every single thing that I had spent money on and I could probably pull some lesson out of that experience that led me to the success that I have today, instead of thinking 'oh, I bought that course. And I can see now that it was too advanced for where I was in my business and that's why I had such a hard time implementing or whatever. But I was also able to see what people are charging for this much information and that gives me a benchmark to move forward, or there's something that I learned from that. It sounds like you gave yourself a lot of grace and freedom to move through that process. If we could all just be nicer to ourselves, it does become more fun. We do get to create something that serves and supports us rather than is that vision that is presented to us by whoever it is that we're trying to emulate or whatever we're trying to do with our business.

Annelise Worn: Yeah, exactly. And make sure that we are looking to the people that have what we want and be listening to what we actually want. I didn't do that reflection. I heard recently on a podcast and I think actually it might've even been a Tim Ferriss podcast, and whoever he was interviewing was saying that she was doing a journal prompt, which is my dream day five days in the future. And she would write this whole dream day down. And for her, it was really helpful because after she got to the end of some of them she'd realize actually that wasn't her dream at all. And so to listen and reflect on what it is that we actually want I think is really powerful because not everyone does want a million dollar business. I mean, maybe you do. And maybe, like the mom I spoke about, you just want a few hundred dollars a week so that you can contribute to the family and you don't have to put your kids in daycare. And both are great. You don't have to shoot for the Lamborghini if you don't want the Lamborghini.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. It's defining what you want first, and then making sure your business serves that vision rather than what you think it's supposed to be and not what you see other business owners doing. You could literally go make $500 a week without a website, without any of the things that you see everybody teaching and doing. You get to create that to serve and support you. So I love that. You mentioned a little bit earlier that you niched your agency down into construction. I hear from so many members of my community that they're so afraid to niche down because they're afraid that they won't get any clients. So can you speak to your experience of focusing in on that and what advice you give to people about niching down?

Annelise Worn: Yeah. And I'm actually going through this again, as we speak. So it's really been a lesson for me. A few times I've had to practice what I preach. So yes, we started the agency in construction, mostly because I thought that my husband and I couldn't work together and that he needed his business and then I needed mine. So I was going to do just general consulting work with moms. And he could have the agency when he had the time, like once it was built up and he could speak to the tradies, which is what we call them. But in the end I love it. And we have a team now and we can work together, so it's fine. So that sits on the side, but it didn't fulfill me creatively. And so I did some other work. But I'll talk about that in a minute.

Annelise Worn: The agency is so powerful and it grows without us trying. It literally grows without us doing anything now because we are so niched and we are digital marketing for home builders and trades. And so guess what? When a home builder or a trade needs digital marketing, they will do a Google search or they'll find something. And they are already 70% sold that we are the agency for them before I speak to them. And we don't even do content anymore because I realized it was a waste of my time. I was doing a marketing Monday and all of this stuff. And that wasn't what was getting people in the door. As soon as I spoke to someone who had a need, who was my ideal person, they're like, 'oh, clearly you guys know what you're talking about'. And they wouldn't even entertain the idea of anyone else.

Annelise Worn: We could charge what we want. They were coming to us without us trying. And they stay because we can get really, really, really great at what we're doing, because we're doing really similar things for every person, because they're all doing really similar things. So it works on such a multitude of levels that you attract a customer because they know that you are their person. And then you can do a really great job and get them really great results Ultimately they stay, and then they give you really great testimonials, which helps the loop go around. Right? And so that been amazing. And we stand out from the millions of other agencies, because I think there might be maybe two other that I know of in Australia that do what we do in the way that we kind of run ourselves.

Annelise Worn: But put that aside. I have the team and I just kind of help to do strategy and onboarding. And the rest of that is done with a team. And I was doing consulting and I was doing a marketing mentor program for small business owners who wanted to DIY. So we would log on to zoom with different members of my agency team. I could get in the backend of the ad accounts, whatever it was, and actually help them DIY their marketing without the donating to Facebook, all of that stuff. And then it got to be that there was all of these different people in there. And so I was doing strategies for e-commerce and for yoga teachers and kinesiologists and stylists and across such a broad range that it was taking longer to get the clients results because I was across so many different niches. And so now what we've really done is that we're not advertising it so broadly anymore. Yes, we still take people in who are from wherever, if I think that I can help them or we can help them, they can definitely come in. But now I've niched again, really, really recently to work with virtual assistants and to help them move from solo to agency, because that is what I've done twice. Now we didn't mention, I have a VA agency in there as well, which is mostly self led. It's mostly so fun so I kind of forget about it and we don't advertise it because it's pretty routine. But twice I've moved from solo to agency. And so I know that that's something that I'm really, really good at. I have all of the systems. I mean, I'm a mom of four and I can still have multiple businesses because of the model that I've established, that I've created, that I've allowed myself to work out over the years.

Annelise Worn: Right? And so now that's what we're doing. We're teaching VAs to move from solo to agency and really going all in on that niche again. And it was terrifying again, even though I knew. And now that we've started that in the last few weeks, the group has grown. People are just plummeting into this Facebook group as soon as we tell them about it. I think yesterday we got 15 new people in there because we did two Facebook posts because it's so niched, and because it's a big solution to a big problem, and that's what you need. You need a big solution to a big problem that is really, really specific so that it's a no brainer. People are like, 'oh, that's my person'. And there's what? How many billion people on the planet? There will be enough people, I promise you. I've done this twice now. There will be enough people. You just have to trust in yourself. But again, that's been a four year journey that I've gone through. This is what I need to be doing because this is what I'm really great at. These are the people I love to work with. I'm back working with moms because most of them are moms. And that's what I really want. That's really what I love. And you do need to do the trial and error because if I hadn't worked with 30 different niches, I wouldn't have known that that's the one I love working with, that's the one I can really excel at, that's where I can make the biggest difference, and do it with the most ease and flow and not having to rack my brain creatively and dry it out. And so that's my story about niches.

Shannon Mattern: I'm sorry you guys can't see me, but I'm sitting here like, yes, tell me more! Because I feel like not only does it help you find the people who you want to serve, but when you are so niched in your business that your systems are super specific and repeatable, and you're not reinventing the wheel for every single person, you become more efficient. The time that you spend providing that solution is less and less and less every single time, because, like you said, you're not reinventing the wheel. You're not thinking, 'oh, okay, I had a yoga teacher, but now how do I adapt this to a stylist, and then the kinesiologist?' You have this proven system or solution or way you provide the service that you literally could just repeat over and over like clockwork.

Shannon Mattern: And when you're that niched, not only does it get faster for you, then it's really easy for you to bring team members on and teach them that system because you just know it works. And I mentor web designers in the business side of my business. This podcast is my marketing, right? But I mentor web designers and they are so afraid to niche down because they're like, 'well, I could build a website for anybody'. And I'm like, yeah, but if you can create an end-to-end system that serves one type of business, then you can just repeat that over and over. And it might take you 20 hours to build that system the first time, but then the next time it'll take you 18 and then 16 and then 10. And then you will be churning out these websites in way less time, but you still get to charge the same amount because the value to the client is the same, regardless of how long it took you to create this.

Shannon Mattern: So it makes everything easier to have a really specific niche. And then like you said, people want that. They don't want somebody who's a generalist. When I'm looking for someone to build my website or do my digital marketing, how do I know you can really help me when you're so general?. And then, like you said, they find you. And they're like, 'oh, I know they can help me because they help people like me all the time. I can see my story in their clients. I can see the transformation that I want to go on in their clients.' And so it just opens up so many more doors. People think it closes doors, but it opens up so many more doors than you could ever imagine.

Annelise Worn: It's so much easier. Don't do it the hard way!

Shannon Mattern: Hey, let me take the hard way. And then I'll give you all the shortcuts. And now I'm getting to the point in my business where I'm really tired of doing it the hard way. I'm going to pay someone to help me shortcut. That's truly the transformation I've been on over the past couple of years. Hey, how about we stop doing things the hard way? How about we find people who serve your niche, who can help you get where you want to go? Imagine that! Imagine that it could be easy, right?

Annelise Worn: I think that we don't think that it can be easy because we start out not knowing what we are doing. And so it doesn't work, or it's really hard to push this boulder up the hill. But that's because we don't know what we're doing. Once you know what you're doing, it's like anything, it's easy. It's like you drive the car from your house to your kid's school without even thinking, without even knowing. And you're like, oh, I'm here. And it can be like that. But because our initial experiences aren't like that so often we think that it's not achievable and it's not actually easier. But it really can be. And niching is a really big part of making that easier for yourself. If you just choose. Just try it. Because then with your marketing messaging, you can speak to their exact problem.

Annelise Worn: Because if you're just saying, "are you overwhelmed and stuck", like, blah, blah, blah, whatever it is, right. It's just the same as what everyone else is hearing from everyone else. And it's going to go straight over their mind. It's not going to hit them in the heart. Whereas if you say "are you waking up every morning racking your brain for what social media posts to post?", and you dig into their actual lived experience in your messaging, they're going to go, "yes, that's me!" And they're going to go, "she's talking to me" or "he's talking to me". And then they're going to connect because you understand them. But you cannot speak that specifically if you don't know who you are speaking to or that you need to get inside of their brain. And it's just one person. And I don't mean one person in like she's a woman and she's 25, etc. Get inside the psychographics of that problem, help fix one problem.

Annelise Worn: And it doesn't matter the demographics so much unless you know you want to work with 25 year old moms or whatever it is. But get inside that problem and really get specific with that language. Because it's words that sell. It's words that connect people. And you need to speak specifically to them if you want to cut through the noise. And the barrier to entry is so low. We can have a business up and running in like 30 minutes now. Like a Facebook page and a templated website or whatever. And so you have to stand out. And you can stand out with your messaging and by being you. But you have to be specific. You have to be polarizing and pick a hill to stand on, because otherwise you're just going to blend into the nothingness and you're going to have a really hard time building and getting to the level you want to get to quickly.

Shannon Mattern: That's my favorite thing to talk about, the messaging piece. And I think what I see a lot of people struggle with is a) like you said, thinking about the age, the gender, the income level, all of those superficial things that don't really tell you anything about what's really going on, what's this person's lived experience. But the other thing that I see people struggle with is that they want to talk about themselves. They think they should talk about themselves and why they're qualified and what their solution is and how their solution is different than all the other solutions out there. And that gets them stuck for a lot of reasons. They feel like an imposter. They're not sure that their solution is better than everybody else's, all of these things. And my perspective, and I'm curious to hear yours, is you don't need to talk about any of that. You really don't need to talk about any of that.

Shannon Mattern: You need to talk about exactly what you said. What is the problem that they are having now? What are their dreams and desires. What's the transformation that you can take them through to get those things? But it's all about them. It's not about me. Marketing becomes so much easier when it literally has nothing to do with me. And it has everything to do with my person that I want to lead through this journey and the transformation and how I do that. And I'm an afterthought. Who cares? I am not the most important part of that equation.

Annelise Worn: I totally agree with you. Yes. Helping guide people through that is my favorite thing to talk about because yeah, where do I start? All right. When we are our business, if we've started a business because we love what we do, then we think it's the best thing on the planet, which is great. You need to think that because otherwise you're not going to stick with this. So don't change that thinking. But just because you opened your website doesn't mean that people are going to come flooding in. They're likely not. Unless you already have a million followers on Facebook or Instagram. And so people don't care. People care about themselves. Sorry to be really blunt. But people actually don't care about us.

Annelise Worn: They care about themselves. And so that's what is going to get their attention. So you need to imagine where your client is now and where do they want to be? And what we do is we talk about the bridge from where they are to where they want to be. We just speak about the thing that's going to get them there. But they're at position A, right? They are where they are, feeling the way that they're feeling. And they don't know that you're solution is the bridge. Because if they knew it was the bridge, they probably would have taken the bridge already. But they don't know it's the bridge. So when you talk about it, they don't understand that that's their bridge. They think it has nothing to do with them, because all they know is where they are and where they want to be.

Annelise Worn: That's all that they're thinking about. They're thinking about position A and position B. So we cannot talk about the bridge. They don't care about the bridge. They don't care about your program, that it has five modules and three of this, and it goes for six months. They don't care. They are at position A and they want to go to position B. So that's what we need to talk about. We need to get their attention by talking about where they are, like what we're saying, their lived experience, so they think, "oh my gosh, that's me". Then we need to explain that maybe what they've been trying is X, Y, and Z. And that's not actually the best way to get where they want to go. And clearly they already know that because it's not working for them.

Annelise Worn: And then you can introduce your solution. And once you've introduced your solution, then you can point to where they want to be. So you need to highlight A and B. And then at the end, you can talk about you because you can say this is why I can say that because I X, Y, Z'd. But again, they don't really care. They already know that you're the person for them because in your language you have spoken to them, you have gotten inside their mind. They know that you're the right person, because you understand them and you wouldn't understand them if you couldn't help them is what they've got in their mind." Oh my gosh, they know where I am. They know where I want to be. They're saying what I'm doing isn't working. And they're saying they've got this other way". There must be another way, especially if you've got social proof and all of that. I think on my sales page I've got maybe a paragraph about me. And it's 3000 words long. So that is more the thinking that you need to think about and put yourself out of it because we as humans just care about what's in it for us.

Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. Yes to all of that. And then I was thinking, and then they get to your bio and it's going to be the fact that you have a marketing degree that's going to finally sell them on your program. No! It's not going to be that. Maybe for someone. Maybe there's that one really extra non-trusting person that has to do months and months and months of due diligence and is going to compare you to five other people and make a spreadsheet and line up all your credentials. I do not know that person. I don't know if that person exists, but that person takes a long time to make decisions. And maybe that's not who your ideal client is. Maybe that's not who you're speaking to. And that's okay. So yes, of course, you want to know that you can solve the problem, right?

Shannon Mattern: I'm not saying for you to say you can throw up a sales page or do a marketing strategy for someone when you've literally never done that in your life before and you don't even know what you're doing. Obviously you have to have the skill. Right? But people put so much pressure on themselves to have all of these credentials and all of these things, especially web designers. They think "well, I've never coded a site from scratch and I've not taken a formal class". And I say, "but you've built websites". And so if you've done it before, you can do it for other people. And people don't care that much because they quite frankly don't even know what you're talking about. They don't know what that means. They don't care.

Annelise Worn: Yes. My husband, a carpenter, now gets paid multiple thousands of dollars to build websites and manage Google ads, and hasn't got a formal qualification in the field at all. Yes, he's trained. And he does a really great job. But it would be evident if he didn't because he wouldn't have the testimony. Do you know what I mean? But no one has ever asked him, what qualification do you have? Because he doesn't have any. Even me, my marketing degree that I actually do have was useless. It got me the business degree that meant I could get a job. Thank you very much. Awesome. Now I've got tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Thanks.

Shannon Mattern: And that was also arbitrary because all it did was check a box on my employer's list, "has a degree". Literally everything I did for them was nothing I learned in school. I had to figure it out as I went, just like everybody else. So, I love it.

Annelise Worn: I think it's so funny because my degree was useless. My husband doesn't have one in this field and yet we've built this successful business. We've got this team. And so what's it going to be like for our children? Do you know what I mean? What is that world going to look like when we don't have to go and be in those traditional education systems? It's interesting to think about,

Shannon Mattern: I don't have kids. I have nieces and nephews. And good friends who I consider their kids my nephews and they graduated high school in the past few years. And they were like, we see zero point in going to college. And I'm like, I can't argue with you at all. I went. I wasn't super social in college. I'm like, I cannot argue with you there. And they're entrepreneurs. They're starting businesses and they're trying things and they're figuring out what works and what doesn't and they're having a blast doing it. So it will be interesting. You have young children. Yeah. What is that going to be like? I guess when you want to go into a profession like medicine or law or something. But even then that could get transformed and disrupted in who knows what kind of ways.

Shannon Mattern: It's very interesting. So I could talk to you and geek out with you on marketing stuff for another hour, but I won't keep you that long because I know it's about four o'clock in the afternoon here, but it's about 6:00 AM where you are. So I appreciate you getting up so early to share all of this awesome stuff with our listeners here on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. Just a couple more questions for you. What advice would you give a side hustler who is just struggling to find that first client?

Annelise Worn: I would say start talking to people. Figure out who your ideal client is, the perfect person that you would love to work with, that you know that you can help. And don't settle. Create the idea of that person in your mind because you don't need to settle. You can have that. You CAN have that. It is possible. And then start talking to those people and just start reaching out. So how I literally got our first client was sending out an email, a bulk email. After that I started calling people telling them I was going to start a podcast. And I was and did. I started interviewing the people that I wanted as clients, because then they spent an hour talking to me and then they asked me finally after an hour of speaking to them, they finally asked me about me. And then we built this rapport. And they felt so good about talking about themselves for an hour that a lot of them did become clients, or became referral partners, or became great contacts. And so start talking to people in whatever capacity that is for you, just being authentic and human. We're not trying to sell to them. Just speak to them, understand them so that you can use their words and use those words in your marketing.

Shannon Mattern: So, so good. I love that. And I love that you said you don't have to settle. Because if you talk to someone who said that they would never spend that much for whatever you do, well that's not your person. You can find people who will also pay you whatever it is that you want to get paid to do the thing. And that's part of not settling, right? Part of finding that right person is the person who is also willing to invest to solve the problem. They have to check that box.

Annelise Worn: Yea, because otherwise you are going to undercharge and then you are going to need to have too many clients. And then you are going to get burnt out. Or you are going to realize that it's not sustainable and you're going to shut up shop. And then you're not going to be helping anyone. If you are taking on too many clients, you're not going to be able to get them the results you want to get them, which means you're going to lose clients. So do yourself a favor. I know it's scary. Increase your prices. Figure out how much you want to take home. Then double it because you have to add in for taxes and expenses and all of that. So figure out what you want to take home, double it, and then work backwards from there. If that's a hundred thousand dollars, then how many clients can you have? If you're a photographer and you only want to do one wedding every two weeks, then you can only have 25 clients. So how much do you need to charge each one of those clients to take home the amount that you want to take home. That's where we start. And then don't settle on that number because you're going to otherwise burn yourself out for six months. And then you find out the hard way. Learn from our mistakes.

Shannon Mattern: And then back it down to 15 clients and charge more.

Annelise Worn: Exactly.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. Okay. So this is the last question that I ask everybody that comes on the show. And that is what belief about yourself did you have to change to get where you are today?

Annelise Worn: What belief about myself? Hmmm. I think that it was possible for me to do it my way. What I wanted was valid and possible and that I didn't have to do it a certain way. And I didn't have to change myself. I mean, I'm in marketing and I don't do Reels. Right? Which people find amazing. But I'm busy. It's not my thing. I don't want to. And I don't have to. And it's the same for you. You don't have to 'fill in the blank' to be successful. You can be successful your way. And I think once I learned that it just made things easier so that I could say no to people and I didn't have to fit inside their box for what they wanted. I could release them as a client and move on to the clients that I wanted to.

Annelise Worn: And whenever I don't listen to this and whenever I try and fit myself in..... recently we took on a client that was a referral. She really wanted to work with us. She was like, oh, you're really expensive. And I was like, yeah, we are. I didn't want to work with her. But I took her on. We did a little bit of the work. There was lots of complaining. It was really, really hard work. And I was like, you know what? Here's a full refund. You can have everything we've done so far. Moving on. And it was expensive, right? Because I had to pay people to do that and I never should have taken them on. So don't do things that don't feel right to you because you don't have to. And it won't end well.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. You said "I could do it my way". You didn't have to change myself and just not conforming to what other people think you should do or what you see other people doing. I don't do Reels either. My team has started to make some reels. I'm not involved in that. I don't know. They may or may not work. I have no idea. But don't ask me to actually do one because it's not going to happen. That's not how I want to market my business. And you get to do the things that feel good and fun and easy. This has just been such a good conversation. Next time we talk, we'll flip it. So I'm the early bird.

Annelise Worn: I work a lot with the US and I'm used to the time zone. So it works well. The kids are asleep. No interruptions.

Shannon Mattern: Good. Awesome. Well, where can everyone listening go to connect with you, find you online, learn more about you?

Annelise Worn: Come over to Facebook, it's the best way. My Instagram recently got just deleted. I had a hundred followers. So the social marketing method, Facebook group. So it's just /social marketing method, once you've done the Facebook groups thing. Come and find me there. I'm live in there every single week. With lots of marketing everything. So that's probably the best place to come. DM me on Facebook and say hi.

Shannon Mattern: Awesome. And for all you VA's listening, you heard that Annalise is your girl. So we've got tons of VA's in this audience. So I can't wait for them to connect with you. Thank you so, so much for being here. It was an awesome conversation. I really appreciate it.

Annelise Worn: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. I've I've enjoyed it as well.

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