Ep. 360: Pivoting for Purpose (and Profit) with Monica Froese of Redefining Mom

Monica Froese

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

Monica is a professional blogger and Pinterest marketing expert. She has an MBA degree in finance and marketing and blogs at Redefining Mom, a site for helping women thrive in motherhood and business. She spent 11 years working for a Fortune 100 company running multi-million dollar marketing campaigns with large brands like Microsoft, HP, and Cisco. Now, she provides online marketing education to small businesses that are looking to build a profitable revenue stream through effective sales funnels and Pinterest ads.

Push play to listen to this week's episode, or read the full transcript below!


Monica is one of a small handful of people I trust in the “how to create a profitable digital product business” space who is teaching what ACTUALLY works NOW to create a profitable digital product business.

Not what should work in theory… but what actually works because she's done it herself AND walked hundreds of her clients through the same process (and I used her templates + “triple dip” process to sell Site-in-a-Snap and that's been a total smash hit for me).

So if you plan to sell digital products as part of your online business empire, then you owe it to yourself to sign up for Monica's FREE training on discovering your unique million-dollar formula to easily sell digital products

Sign up here to watch instantly*

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*These are affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you click my link and decide to make a purchase. I only recommend people + companies I trust, and the commissions I earn help me keep the Free 5 Day Website Challenge + FB Group free, so thanks in advance for using my links!

Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 360 of Pep Talks For Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to welcome back today's guest Monica Froese. So Monica was a guest back in episode 278. It came out in March of 2020, but we were just talking. We talked well before that, like months before we actually recorded that episode. And back in that episode, we talked all about her journey and experience building the Redefining Mom brand. And she had like Pinterest coaching going on and all of this stuff. And then I was on episode 25 back in July of her show, the Empowered Business Podcast, which, by the way, you're going to want to go listen to all of this and I'll link it all up in the show notes.

Shannon Mattern: But I was on her show talking about relationship marketing and we were connecting on how much had changed in Monica's business since the last time she was on the show. And I'm like, okay, you got to come back on Pep Talks and talk about this pivot and your new Empowered Business brand, where you empower women to create financial independence through building six figure digital product businesses, which I'm so excited to dig into. We have a lot to talk about. So I will hand it over to you to kind of fill in the gap for us, pick up where we left off the last time you were on Pep Talks For Side Hustlers and just kind of share what's happened in your business in life since then.

Monica Froese: Yeah. So I'm pretty sure we recorded it at the end of 2019. So this is before the world was aware that the world is about to change. And I think a lot of people probably went through quite a massive shift during the pandemic. Although I was the person who was like, well, life didn't change all that much. I worked from home. My husband worked from home. We have a nanny. The hardest shift actually seemed to be on my daughter, who is school-aged. She was having a rough time with it, but like I'm a homebody. So it's sort of funny because for the first six months I thought everything was great. We traveled. My husband has a corporate job. And then when the business started taking off, I was traveling a lot going to conferences and stuff, mastermind events.

Monica Froese: And we had had a kid in 2018 and it was like we were two passing ships in the night. It was insane. Really. It was really, really crazy. We fought a lot about our schedules. It was just really hard balancing a family with how crazy we were. So when the pandemic happened, I was like, this is wonderful. I didn't think I was having any sort of mental health issues going on. I really was in denial about that, severe denial, even when it really became noticeable, I was still in severe denial. So basically what happened when we left off in 2019, I had talked about how Pinterest sort of hijacked the Redefining Mom brand. So Redefining Mom is how I started blogging. It's a working mom blog. It got started because I had really bad postpartum, PTSD with my first daughter. I almost died during childbirth.

Monica Froese: I was really mad at the maternity leave policies and I worked for a Fortune 100 company. So I was looking around thinking if this is what I'm afforded, which was not great, but yet I learned I was at the top 7% of what working women in this country were given. I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You know? And so that's where Redefining Mom and cool opportunities came out of that. I ended up becoming known as the Pinterest advertising girl. Basically I took my corporate marketing background and when every blogger was trying to get free Pinterest traffic, their paid advertising system came out called Promote Pins. And I sat back and thought, this is going to be important. This is going to be pay to play. I mean, the writing was on the wall. Then they became publicly traded in April of 2019.

Monica Froese: If I look back, cause hindsight's always 2020, things started shifting when they became publicly traded. In some ways I could argue it was great for my brand because I taught the paid version of Pinterest. And that's the only way they make money. So all these people are teaching organic Pinterest were kind of getting caught off at the knees. They doubled down on the fact that big brands came in with big budgets. The platform changed. However, there was that side of it. But then the other side was I was teaching people who weren't willing to put up the money but needed to compete on a platform that was moving more to pay to play. So you could be a blogger in the earlier days and do paid advertising at Pinterest and spend $5-$10 a day and actually see results.

Monica Froese: Those days, when they became publicly traded, were gone. And pivoting basically defined a sweet spot of an audience where everyone in the online world knows the value of Facebook ads. They're willing to pay for it. And higher level business owners are willing to invest their time to learn it. When you enter Pinterest ads, I was in this really weird medium where the people who had the money to pay for a very in-depth course, which mine was, they were like, I'm not sure if this is going to work. I'd like to just kind of experiment. So I'm not the one that's going to learn. It I'll let my VA learn it. So there's that, their lack of not wanting to own it. And then also there was a lot of people who are not making a ton of money who wanted to just still put $5 a day in. And it basically became this conundrum where I was in this launch cycle mode, and this is where I learned and I tell people this all the time now that I teach digital products, creating a course that you get paid for once and offering unlimited support is the worst business model on the planet.

Shannon Mattern: I just had to retire that course where I did that because, and I explained all of this in my income report, it's like a Ponzi scheme, right? You're getting new investors to support paying the old investors. Yes, that's illegal. I mean, that's not a legal way to run an investment. It's not a sustainable business model either. And to continue to have to get new students to pay for supporting the new ones and all the old ones, it's not sustainable. So I learned that the hard way. Sorry to interject. Back to you.

Monica Froese: So in 2019, this weird storm was happening where I was still optimistic that oh, great, pay to play is the way they're going. Pinterest is going that way. This is what I teach. Really no one's competing with me. But these two weird, like finding the right audience who were willing to put the time in and had the money, was very difficult. And so now I have this whole backlog of students who are in this free Facebook group, and they come and go as they please. Meaning, sometimes they're focused on their promoted pin, sometimes they're no., But ads is a very difficult topic, just like building websites. It's a technical topic. And plus I don't control Pinterest algorithm and every time they changed a button, it was so much maintenance.

Monica Froese: Basically my business ended up becoming dependent on someone else's platform. If Pinterest changed, it didn't matter what I wanted to do in my business at that moment. I had to keep my students updated. So now I'm supporting people for free, essentially. People who paid me $97 three years prior are still getting my very technical help. Now I have to hire. So I started hiring full-time employees in 2019. Now my expenses are going up. And now I have to keep the course updated because Pinterest is being publicly traded. They started really amplifying their ads engine much more so. So things were changing and I had to keep the course updated. And then on top of that, I still had to sell it so I could pay my employees so we could support the group from people who aren't paying anymore. So this was a very, very bad situation.

Monica Froese: And I think when you're in the midst of it, sometimes it's hard to understand because this was the way courses have been structured in the online world. And it feels like I want to say forever, but in the grand scheme of things like, you know, online business is relative to forever. I mean, this is how basically course creators for a long time were taught to create their courses. And perhaps if you didn't have a very technical topic, it might not be such a burden on your business. But when you're teaching a technical topic that relies on your brain, people want it, my brain, they wanted my eyes on their campaign, it just became bad. So we tried a couple of ways to mitigate this. On top of that, I was also kind of "angsty", I guess, about the fact that my Pinterest teaching had taken over the Redefining Mom brand because I didn't have the bandwidth to have two websites.

Monica Froese: And I felt like my mission and why I got started, my passion for helping women, had sort of been hijacked. So I had that going on. But in an attempt when the pandemic started to not blow up our number one revenue stream, because we also decided to build a house within the first three months of this whole thing starting. It was actually a perfect storm because our house ended up getting 2019 costs and we sold when the market was crazy. So I have to say, I don't regret that decision. But I was in no place to pivot or make a big change when the world was so uncertain. And so we decided, okay, we're getting rid of the free Facebook group and we're going to have, I called it The Amplifier. And it was basically a six-month thing. 11th hour. It was going to be month to month. And I'm like, no, I'm making this time bound. It's going to be a six month group, no matter when they pay into it, it ends on this date. Because, in the back of my mind, I just knew that this was like a saving grace, I want to say a Hail Mary pass. But I guess I knew in the back of my head that the writing was on the wall. I just couldn't come to terms with it. Of course, some of the students threw a fit when I closed the group. It was this whole big thing. Surprisingly though, I was very solid in my message. A couple years ago in my business that really would have bothered me. Instead, I was like No! No! This is all up for you and all down for me. And this doesn't work. And I actually said, if I don't make this pivot, I'm not doing this anymore. So either way, the group is going away. These are your options, you know? And I was very nice about it, but I was very done at that point. So we did that. And then in September of 2020, my mental health started suffering. And I think, now that I have a year of hindsight to look back on this, what I believe it was is my postpartum period is about two and a half to three years. I think there's like a lot of misinformation out there about how long postpartum really lasts and how whacked out our hormones can be. So my daughter was about two and a half last September.

Monica Froese: And it's interesting because I started feeling like myself a decade ago. So I'm 36 now I had my first daughter at 27. So I started feeling like myself at 26. It was almost like a decade haze of having children was lifted off of me. And then I was like, well now who am I? It was like an identity crisis. And because I'm done having kids. We know that for sure. So I was confused. I knew I didn't want to teach Pinterest anymore. But then it was like, what do I do? How do I blow up? We just bought this house. How do I blow up this big revenue stream? How do you even pivot a whole business? And so one day my daughter came home from school, because they actually did go back to school last fall, briefly. And I was watching Outlander in the dark, in my bedroom.

Monica Froese: Now my work hours, my daughter knows, don't mess with mom's work hours. You will not find me outside my office. I am a very hard worker. I don't take days off. Like work time is work time. So she walks in, she thought I had the stomach bug. Because that's like the only time she seen me knocked down, even when I was pregnant, she didn't see me knocked down. So she comes in and she's like, are you okay, mommy? And I was like, yeah, why? She's looking at me like, what do you mean you're okay. Why at 2:00 PM, are you on your back in the dark watching the show? And I guess I was still in denial at that point, but this was like the beginning of what I would call a four month depression. And basically what came out of it was, I started telling my husband thinks I'm like things 10 years ago, you did this that made me mad, you know? And he's like oh, okay. That was a decade ago. Why are you telling me now? And I'm like, because I don't know, I just have to get this off my chest. It was like an explosion happened to me. It was very weird. And one of the things I came to the conclusion about was that if I can't connect and like what I'm doing, I'm not going to do it anymore. I would rather close the business, then keep doing something I am not happy with and being this miserable. And one of the things I realized through admitting that to myself was I started Redefining Mom, never to make money to begin with. I felt very passionate about this topic for women. And I guess making a lot of money in the business is great, and it's afforded my family a lot of awesome things. I get to hire other women, give them a fair salary. I have a full-time nanny. I call this a micro economy. I'm feeding this economy of women around me. Because in corporate, I had some really negative experiences with men. I said, I'm sick of trying to fight for the one seat at the table. I am going to build my own. And what I realized was I could make unlimited amounts of money. I don't doubt my ability to make money on the internet. I think it's actually deceptively easy in some ways. But that alone doesn't make me happy. What makes me happy is making an impact. And how am I going to make an impact? I could not wrap my mind around the impact I could make by teaching Pinterest advertising.

Monica Froese: It just wasn't a mission I could connect with. And once I came to that conclusion, then it was like when I closed the free Facebook group and people were upset, it was like, well, I'm not going to do it. It's either you're going to pay for it or I'm not going to do it. Same thing when I retired the course. I got some really interesting emails when I retired the course. I remember running back to one person, who was particularly very mean, and I was very calm about it, but I was like, if I don't want to teach this anymore, what would you have me do? I don't really understand why you're yelling at me about this. I don't want to do it anymore. I mean, am I not allowed to change my mind?

Monica Froese: It was very bizarre, people's reactions to things. So through this I realized that the most foundationally important thing to me was women having equal access to money. I have been exposed to some things in my life where I've seen basically women being treated like second-class citizens. Definitely not equal. Not having equal say. Not having equal access to money. And that makes me so mad. There's just so much that that gets impacted when women don't have equal access to money. And I've always just been very independent in my life. I've been very fortunate in that regard. When I got married, even though my husband came from a very conservative background, he really is a team player. And I would say, I appreciate that so much about him.

Monica Froese: Also, he didn't understand my need to protect myself. At all. He didn't get it and we fought about it. But there were some things I wouldn't compromise on. One of the things was I will always have credit cards in my own name. I need to build my own credit. I saw so many women get married and let their husbands be in control of everything. And then they weren't building credit, or they didn't even know their credit was being destroyed. And I was like, I'm keeping credit cards. I have a really solid rule around retirement. We each have our own retirement accounts and they have to accumulate the same. So, how much he puts in through his corporate job I put in through the business. There's a third one. So what's the third one that I put my stake in the ground.

Monica Froese: It'll come to me. But those were the two... there is three that's going to bother me. I can't think of the third. It was a really good negotiation, whatever it was. But I am very, very, very adamant. And I came to learn that some other things happened in the business world with some of the people I was masterminding with and that was that their husbands actually had a lot of say in their business, even when they didn't agree with the decision. Oh! I won't give him ownership of the business. And here's why. My sister's husband died in the air force when she was three months pregnant and I witnessed a lot of things in terms of how life insurance works. Lots of legal issues came up when this happened.

Monica Froese: And her son wasn't born yet. So there was a lot of issues that happen with social security. And what it taught me was that my husband could take it as, well are you trying to get divorced? No! You could die. That's just the reality. You could. And then where does that leave me if I have no credit? , Where does that leave me if I don't have a means to make money? Because if you leave me, if you die, your job and your paycheck goes with you. And so my business, if we're not together, that's my earning power. I'm not handing that over. That's mine. Or tying it up legally in an estate. There's a lot of things you can do with like trusts and stuff.

Monica Froese: And here's the thing. My parents were divorced and stuff, and we all come with our different perceptions on life and our own life experiences. His parents are no., And they can't even comprehend the idea of getting divorced. And I saw not very pleasant divorce where my mom ended up very upside down. And my older sister's divorce and stuff. And I just thought no way, like no way! I have two daughters too. So this topic of financial independence and I to fight. This was very much not what my husband wanted. At all. He didn't really care about the credit cards. He didn't really care about the retirement. He didn't really care about the business. But more so than I kept on... ee said I sometimes bludgeoned him. Which I probably do. I'm not gonna deny it.

Shannon Mattern: I swear, you and I, just like everything that you have said are things I have said or done or thought. My husband and I have had these conversations because, you know, I am very independent. I do not meet him for anything. Literally. I could run this whole show solo. I don't want to, but I could. I never would want to, but I could. And he is always just like, you know, he wants to feel needed, right? He wants to feel like part of it. And I'm like, but my need to feel secure is me being able to take care of everything and you being part of this too, obviously. But it's fascinating because I so relate to that. And it's the way I was raised. It's my divorced parents, seeing my mom struggled, deciding that's never going to happen to me. And really just like doing that, you know,

Monica Froese: Even the power dynamic in a relationship when one person has financial power and the other doesn't, the decisions. And you know when I really picked up on it. When I when I quit corporate, there was a gap between me contributing my W2 wages to the family and when the business really started taking off. And I will never forget, I always did a girl's trip with a couple of my friends from my early twenties. And that year when I mentioned it, he said no. And I'm like, excuse me? Like I wasn't really asking. You don't get to tell me no. And he used money as an excuse. But in reality, the thing is, if I'm not contributing, now it's a power thing. And he didn't see it that way. But when that happened, I was like, absolutely not. I will always have access to my own money and I will not be told no. And I also don't ask permission for anything. Like, what is that? I don't even understand that concept.

Shannon Mattern: Same. And I don't ask permission and neither does he. And we decided that we'll discuss something over a certain number. I will ask for opinions, and he will ask for my opinion, and we both are on the same page how we want to manage our money and that type of thing. So we're not so far off, but I don't ask for permission. He doesn't ask for permission. And we communicate about it. We could probably do a whole podcast episode on that topic.

Monica Froese: Basically I believe if I want to make an investment in something, or I want to do something that's going to cost money, we do talk about it. I actually do participate in my marriage. But I believe that the onus on telling me no, essentially, rests on you to prove why it's a bad idea. Like you have to prove it. It's a discussion, not a decision.

Monica Froese: It's a negotiation. And I just have had so many experiences where this has just not been the case for many women that I've been around in my life. Even down to women not being able to leave very abusive situations, which just, oh, sends me through the roof! So when I'm sitting back thinking, okay, so I'm done having kids. And I have this whole plan for Redefining Mom. Redefining Mom has a potential, in my mind, to be my million dollar brand. But that costs money by the way. Right? My business does support my family, it supports my employees and stuff. And so cashflow is very important. And so I am sidelining what I want to do for the bigger vision of Redefining Mom for the cashflow. And so I thought, okay, in the meantime, what can I do? How can I make an impact? And that's where this idea comes in. , Because when I sat back and looked at my business, and we still have to add it up, but we estimate it's right around 75 and a hundred digital products. Everything from $17 spreadsheets up to $3,000 group coaching and everything in between. We've done memberships. I have done so many digital products and I've never not sold one. I'm really great at sales funnels. And I thought, wow, wait a minute. Digital products are highly profitable. And they're a really great way for women in all kinds of different situations, women at home with their children, women working full-time in corporate, they could have a revenue stream for digital products.

Monica Froese: Because here's the thing, digital products or info products at the end of the day. Everyone knows something. Everyone has knowledge. Everyone has something to teach. Something that comes easy to you, doesn't come easy to someone else. This is like my webinars. People want aggregated information to get from point A to point B. I could go on forever. Digital products ingenious, really. And I thought, wow, wait a minute. I can teach this and accomplish both of the things. I teach something I know and I'm good at, and impact the lives of the women around me. That was like, WIN WIN.

Shannon Mattern: And on your terms. Not the whim of the algorithm change.

Monica Froese: So when I decided to make the pivot, the first product dropped last October. So we're almost a full year out. And I have lots of things to say about this. The middle product in the product ladder which, I will say, is the one we spent the majority of the last year focused on. It's called the Empowered Business Lab. When I launched it for the Founders Round, because I always sell everything before I create it, that's like a big thing that I do. And it's just smart. Why are you gonna spend a hundred hours creating something before you validate it and get money for it? So the fourth pillar was ads. Halfway through the Founders Round I was like, absolutely not. I am done. I am never teaching ads again. Because first of all, people put the cart before the horse.

Monica Froese: They don't want to do any of the groundwork. They just want to douse money onto something that won't convert. It doesn't make any sense. It's completely illogical. It's very frustrating. And then there's the other hurdle that with ads, you have to have a different attitude. I understand where people are coming from because you're spending money, and if you don't have a lot of money to spend, you're going to be very hypersensitive to the return. Unfortunately, if you want to be successful with ads, that's not the way it works. You have to really be willing to pay for your data and optimize from there. And that is a hard pill for people to swallow if they don't have the cash flow in their business. So I'm dealing with people who are new to digital products. And so we ended up positioning ads as a bonus. But I make it very clear that this is not the deliverable of my program. I'm glad I'm not teaching it anymore because I really burned out from it. But also it was so evident teaching the new program that still people were missing the point, that that was not the point of the program. Ads are meant to amplify what's already working. And if it's not already working, we can't amplify it. You know? So we positioned it as a bonus. And I will say, and I think my employees will tell you, my husband will definitely tell you, I am so much happier now. And we almost doubled our revenue. I mean, we haven't finished this year out, but run rate we should around double our revenue, which is going to put us very close to the million dollar mark this year. Which I'm very convinced we would not have gotten there with the Pinterest ads course. The math wasn't there to support it. So, all in al,l the pivot, I have really no regrets about it. it's worked out. I even got to launch the podcast, which I had been wanting to launch podcast forever, but what was going to be on? Pinterest ads? Because if I was going to do the podcast, it had to lead. That's marketing, right? You talk about your website challenges on your podcast, you know. It's part of your content strategy. So I just could not do a podcast all about Pinterest. So I kept putting it off and putting it off. And so I got to launch that. So all in all, like I'm very happy with where the business ended up this last year.

Shannon Mattern: I love that story. we were talking about it before we hit record on my interview with you, and I was just like, I cannot wait to hear all of the nuts and bolts behind how and why this happened. Because I feel like so many people, they're not out there telling their real story, right? They put forward this "I only tell about the things that work. And I don't tell about all the hard, messy stuff behind the scenes". And that's why I love you so much because you just lay it all out there. And this is what it really looks like. It is legit that you create something that you fall out of love with for whatever reason, or it stops working for you. And you have to do the hard thing to shut it down. And it's not always pretty. And it doesn't always go well and you get mean emails and things happen, you know? And I think it's very rare that for years and years and years, you can just continue to do the same thing over and over without any change and have it keep working. I always look up to you as she just went through what I'm coming upon in my business journey.

Monica Froese: Are you making a big pivot right now? Because you said you retired your course.

Shannon Mattern: You said something that I'm still trying to figure out. You said you put a six months container on your program because the writing was on the wall and you couldn't come to terms with it. I recently, my Website Marketing Lab program, I felt like I was at this crossroads. And I'm being fully transparent here. I think I've shared this with business coaches, but I haven't shared this publicly on the podcast. So who knows what will happen by the time this episode comes out. I had the whole lifetime access situation and that course, I had made it two and a half years ago. I have learned so much more since then. I didn't feel like it was the right thing to be teaching. There are so many other incredible people out there teaching marketing strategy that I'm just like, why am I also trying to do this when I have this thing over here that nobody else is doing and this thing over here that nobody else is doing.

Shannon Mattern: It's because I love that. Right? And people ask me about it. And it's something that I'm passionate about, but like, do I need to have a course on it? Right?. I have this bonus inside the Website Marketing Lab called Subscriber to Sale Blueprint. And that really is like the meat of all of it. It's exactly what you talked about. It's like, Hey, let's not put the cart before the horse. Let's go through a process to validate what we want to do first and then create an offer and market it. I know I can teach anybody how to market, sell, create any kind of offer. It's just my passion. I love to do it. So I decided I'm going to close down Website Marketing Lab, no more lifetime access. Reopen Subscriber to Sale Blueprint, using a lot of that core curriculum.

Shannon Mattern: But with these new modules. One-year timeline on it. Right? And I tested out three different levels. I tested out a hybrid group coaching, a mid-level community and curriculum. And then a straight up self-study. And I made the offer. And my initial launch really didn't go well. And here's why. In the back of my head, I was like, I'm totally fine. If nobody buys this. If nobody buys this it's the permission that I won't give myself to close this down and be done. And so I find myself at a crossroads, right? Because I know I created that result because I went all in on the thing. Right? And it was a blast. I got it done in 30 days.

Shannon Mattern: And I gave myself this challenge to redo it in 30 days and don't burn myself out and whatever. And I did. I was like, this is awesome. This is how I want to run my business. That was so fun. Launch it. And I get three people who enrolled, and I'm like, okay. Well, I put a one year timeline on this. I feel honestly today, literally, and I need to do more soul searching. I did my assessment afterwards. I always do anytime I make an offer. Everybody that saw it and engaged, why didn't you buy? Why didn't you buy survey. Everyone's like, oh my God, I want it to, but the time wasn't right, but the price. You know, all the reasons everybody says. And so I'm like, okay, well the data supports that this is an offer people want, except they weren't compelled enough to actually like make the move. And do I really want to keep doing this? I don't know. I do not know. So I'm like still just in the middle of what do I want to do? So fully full transparency.

Monica Froese: My course was lifetime access with updates. So I will say this. I've gone around, around and around on the lifetime access thing. First of all, the old promoted pins program, that was sold lifetime access with updates as long as updates are happening. Right? So we always said for as long as the course is sold. So at that point when we put a container, it was okay. Luckily my lawyer very early on said, you never offer a Facebook group as part of it. It's always positioned as a bonus. So I'm very type A, so with legal stuff my terms are pretty meticulous.

Monica Froese: And we had some people try to throw them into my face. I was like, yeah, I'm not a person to throw all my terms in my face. Because they're really good. That's something I invested in very, very early on. So I had every right to close down the free Facebook group. We made the support group the time-bound and it was very nominal. We did not charge a lot for it. And I think at that point, my mind was pretty much like, okay, if people pay for this support group, let's see if I enjoy it more. Because the thing is, when someone comes to something three years later, they've paid very little for it. They're not as committed. And it was like this imbalance where I was more committed than them. That's really messed up.

Monica Froese: It's very unfair to a course creator to put the onus of your success on that. It's a shared responsibility. I have a responsibility to put out the information I'm promising you and do it in a cohesive manner, which I feel very confident I was doing. But if you don't show up, you know? So it was just this imbalance. It was like, here are my campaign stats. Tell me what to do. It's like, well, you actually have to use your critical thought and you should come to me and say, I have done my due diligence, because the course was so detailed, and I've decided that these are the three things I could do based on your guidance. Can you help me narrow it down? So I thought, if people put up money to be in the support group, let's see if I enjoy this more.

Monica Froese: And unfortunately I just was done. It was what I needed to confirm that I had burned out on the topic and I just didn't want to teach it anymore. That's really what it came down to. Now the new program, it's been an interesting journey with the structure because I resonate with the not allowing lifetime access. Now when I say lifetime access, I always say for as long as the program is being sold. Because, you know, who's lifetime, right? It's actually not really a very legal thing to say 'lifetime access'. So there's a decent movement out there that that's not a thing. Like you pay for six months, 12 months. So with the lab, we start at the six month container. And that meant content and support. It's not a high ticket program.

Monica Froese: It's a $2,000 program. I don't consider that high ticket. It's like a mid-tier. High ticket s $5,000 or above-ish. So at a mid-tier, it was kind of the same conundrum I faced with the promoted pins course, which was, people are still conditioned for the lifetime access. So it became a huge objection during the sales process. Especially because as the world opened up, this was a huge issue, because they were looking at the calendar being like our April launch. Which ended up being our first six-figure launch. So it's kind of like a weird conundrum, because it's like, oh, our first six-figure launch, but I know it could have been better, you know, because we do the follow-up surveys and stuff. And the reality was, people were looking at their calendar being like, wait in the states, May June, July, August - four months out my six month container I'm going to be living at large because we haven't been out of our house in 15 months, you know? And the internet, I'm sure you are experiencing that, got really quiet, like way more quiet. When you've been in this industry for a long time, you know the summer slump. This was more than a summer slump. It was very quiet. So, you know, we brainstormed, how do we balance the fact that to run a business we need to get paid for our ongoing knowledge, and understand that people have become conditioned to expect this lifetime access. So what we ended up concluding was, and I maintain support will never be anything but what a container, so six months support is what it is. Now we do proactively tell them they can pay month to month for support after. So it's not like we're just going to cut you off.

Monica Froese: We'll give you an option, but it's an option you have to pay for. And any bonuses, because bonuses like the ad stuffs, I don't know how long I'll keep that updated for. So that's also a six month container. The core pillars of the program are lifetime access. But I'm very particular, lifetime access for the life of the program. And we do not promise updates. So you can keep it in your dashboard for as long as I'm selling it. But I'm not promising that you'll get the same updates as people who are actively paying me in this support group. I think it's fair.

Shannon Mattern: Agreed. Because, and I would never teach anybody to structure their business the way that I had mine structured when I had to deconstruct it. I would never advise anybody to do that. And I don't even know if we were taught to give lifetime access as much as that's just what I saw other people doing. And I thought that's what you had to do. So, I love the idea of lifetime access to the curriculum with the container on the program. I think where my existential crisis, not crisis, but like crossroads I would say, is like, what do I want to do? I teach web designers how to have profitable, sustainable, scalable web design businesses. And that program is $5,000. The price is increasing. Those people show up and they go all in. They are all in.

Shannon Mattern: I can resonate with what they go through because I've been through it myself when I was doing Freelance Web design. I have such passion for them. I also have passion for, just like you, women having empowerment, running their own business, creating their own financial freedom, having the technical skill to do it without feeling that they aren't capable, or all of these lies they tell themselves about their abilities. That is my mission. So the 5-day Website Challenge serves that mission to be like, I am gonna knock down the biggest barrier to you having the online business and all of the freedom that comes from that. And then Subscriber to Sale Blueprint, it feels like the thing that I have been trying to make work for so many years that is just not coming anywhere close in terms of revenue or impact. And I'm like, what is it? What is it? Is it that I really just am not as passionate about it as I am about the other two things? Is it that everybody else is teaching some version of this? Is it that the 5-day Website Challenge doesn't convert to people willing to invest in that next level, because it's a free training. And so I'm just like, how do I make the decision? I need? Here's the thing. I want an answer. I don't want to have to make the decision.

Monica Froese: It's hard to make the decision.

Shannon Mattern: I want the answer to be given to me.

Monica Froese: Well, okay. Since you repositioned it, I feel like this is what I'm hearing you say, since you repositioned it, there's not that many people that you have to serve in it right now. Correct? So what are you holding on to? Why not just stop selling it, right? I don't know. This one seems kind of obvious.

Shannon Mattern: It seems like I'm giving up after one try, which is something I would never tell anybody else to do. Except for, is it really the first try or is it the 15th under a different name?

Monica Froese: Yeah. Or is it really giving up when you've launched your high ticket, isn't that where the majority of your attention has gone this year? Reframe. And I'm not a mindset woo woo person at all. But reframing this, it seems to me that you just haven't put the focus into it because your focus is elsewhere. So it's not that it failed. You didn't fail at it. It's just not your number one priority right now. Right?

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Interesting.

Monica Froese: It is. Because when you talk about your high ticket, you get super, super excited and you would just light up about it. And this other thing you're like, I just don't want to fail at it. Right?

Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. Yeah. So it's one of those things too, where it's like, I just have to be brave enough to make the decision, right? If I'm going to shut it down, it's going to take some bravery on my part.

Monica Froese: Yes, it does. Because we had a four course Pinterest feed. There was lots of smaller products that it was like a whole ecosystem. It was called Pin Practical. And we were the only promoted pins course. The only other ones that launched during the same time, literally stole everything from me. I actually had someone, please don't do this, anyone who's listening, this is bad, bad. I had someone recreate my slides and they must have transcripted my video. And I had told a story about my daughter in it. And they told the story back in their recording. And I was like, that is super creepy and illegal, by the way. Who does that? It's funny because you would think when you're in a blue ocean and I was definitely in a blue ocean. Organic Pinterest marketing, a dime a dozen, that was a red ocean, but in a blue ocean, you think this is great, right?

Monica Froese: Not necessarily for info products, because you are a target. People want to steal from you even more, I would argue, when you're in a blue ocean. And I spent a lot on lawyer fees because I got hit left and right. And that was the other thing that I think exhausted me about the Pinterest stuff. It was just like, it got to the point where it was so disheartening. And the worst situations that happened to me was someone who never interacted with me, the one who recorded the story about my daughter. I won that by the way. And you should copyright all your stuff. That's another like PSA to put out there. I won that one, but she never interacted with me as a student and so there wasn't anything personal there. It was more like you are a little loony and you can't do this.

Monica Froese: And we're just going to send you to my lawyer. The students who drained me of energy, who were the most demanding of my time, were never happy. And then they turn around and steal from me? For me, that was a really, really rough thing to deal with. That just felt like a punch in the gut. And after that happened a few times, now I'm actually much better with it. It really did toughen me up. So in some ways I am very grateful for the experience because now I kind of chuckle when someone tries to steal from me. I'm like, here's my lawyer. But it was hard. It was hard, you know, when your business is like your baby and you put all of your mental energy into it and someone just comes in and take such advantage of you. So I think that contributed to me being done as well with it.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And you mentioned red ocean blue ocean. And I've got two blue ocean things and one red ocean thing. So that's interesting. I'll have to keep you posted on my exploration of what I want to do with this going forward. Because I know, if I wanted to go all in, I could be successful at it. I could not necessarily be successful but I could create the results that I want to create. I know that anything I decide to do, I can create that result. It's just, if I go all in, if I go all in.

Monica Froese: Just like you did with your high ticket, you went all in.

Shannon Mattern: Fascinating. So we only have about 10 minutes left. So I want to talk more about just how you help people. I want to take this all back to you and digital products and what are just some of the biggest success stories you have seen with your students that you coach with digital products?.

Monica Froese: We really viewed 2021 as our test year. We committed to four live launches, which is actually very exhausting, let me tell you. But it's the best way to learn about who resonates with you and stuff? I got started in the blogging world. So I actually have a pretty decent foot there, especially because Pinterest was a lot of bloggers. And so what really has come out of it is I can help service providers make their expertise into a digital product. And I can take someone who's new to online business and help them get started, I always say, with the end in mind, which is how are you making money? Okay. Digital products. Then you work backwards. Everyone wants to start with the traffic.

Monica Froese: I don't understand that. If you have nothing to sell and you're not in business, the whole thing. I can help all those people. But the people I really like helping are the bloggers who have poured their heart and soul into their website. And they have tried so hard. I teach bloggers who have hundreds of thousands of page views and they're making not a lot of money. It's like, oh my gosh, all these people are coming to your site. And I just have this like nurturing thing. I'm like only nurturing to my children and the students who put in effort. It's like my mom comes out for them because I just want to be like, you have so much potential. Let me help you. Because that's why I stopped blogging because the way blogging is taught, I say, is really backwards.

Monica Froese: And I have a whole podcast episode called Is Blogging Dead? And basically it argues that the way blogging has been taught for years is dead. And blogging in a marketing sense is content marketing. What is content marketing? It's the act of putting out free content that has a purpose. i.e., It leads to a conversion. What's the conversion. Well, it has to benefit your business somehow. And I could go on and on about this, but at the end of the day, blogging has been taught where you put up a blog and it's going to be really cheap to put up a blog, and just put up some blog posts on just these random topics. Okay. Why? Why am I trying to get all this traffic to my site? So I realized that when I started doing digital products, it was because I was doing what they were telling you to do as a blogger, you know, the gurus out there, I guess you could say. And I was working my tail end off. And I was very confused why I wanted people to come to my site. For one, if it was display ads, it was like, wait, so I'm going to put all this effort to get people to my site. And I'm going to have them click off my site for a few pennies. That was a lot of effort. So that didn't make sense to me. I didn't want to do sponsor posts because I felt like I had another boss then. And that was why I went left corporate. And affiliate marketing makes sense to me if you're strategic. So one of the things I say about that is why would I want to send you to a 4% Amazon commission that you might buy the product I recommended in my Mom posts?

Monica Froese: Or why don't you get on my email list, where I then tell you all these awesome products I use. And now, not only do I own that relationship with you, I can continually talk to you. And so affiliate marketing has a place, but I don't think the way the blogging model was taught works very effectively. So basically what I realized was that there was a lot of unsuspecting bloggers who were being taught wrong. And they have such high potential because, obviously, they're getting hundreds of thousands of page views. Even my students who get 20,000 page views. 20,000 people came to your website last month and maybe you made $500 off of your display ads. And I always say, stop helping everyone else make money because that's what you're doing by sending them away from your site on those display ads.

Monica Froese: So basically that's where my sweet spot has come into with digital products with teaching bloggers particularly, and the method works, whether you're a blogger or not. But it's specifically taking bloggers who have knowledge that they're already talking about on the internet, but we're packaging it so they can sell it. And that comes with a lot of mindset hurdles that we had to get over, like how selling is not bad. That's a big thing with me with women in general. Like the whole not apologizing and asking for permission. Also I tell my students all the time, they're like, well, but I used to give this away for free. I say, great. You're not anymore. Period. Like you're not in business. If you're not making money. Business is a simple exchange of money. I offer something to you.

Monica Froese: You decide if you want to buy it. And I always tell my students, selling is not bad, especially because you're not forcing them to pay you money. You're presenting a solution to their problem. You're doing them a favor and if they don't want your solution, they don't buy it. It's really that simple. It's not a big deal. People tell me that my course should be like how to sell online more so than creating digital products. Because I have such a chill attitude about it. First of all, I turn students away all the time. I don't want people who are not a great fit. I tell people all the time not to buy. But one time in our sales chat, we have a chat on our sales page, and this person was being very not nice.

Monica Froese: And I got to a point where I was like, you're not actually welcome to buy this. I don't want you as a student. And they're like, excuse me? You can't tell me I can't buy this. I was like, uh, yes I can. I view it very empowering. Selling to me is very empowering because I am giving you something and you are giving me something in return. And when one person in the blogging model is constantly being the giver, what happens? Burnout. Resentment. So I tell my students this and they're like, where was this message when I started my website? And I'm like, well, now here it is. So let's fix this problem. And once they get past that hurdle that just because you did something for free at one point doesn't mean you can't charge for it.

Monica Froese: I give an example of my favorite Keto bloggers and how I can't navigate her site very well because of all her display ads. She's got amazing recipes and I just want to pay her for all of her recipes. I can get them all for free and I literally want to pay her money. I will gladly so I can put it on my iPad and not have it jump around every time and then have to touch my iPad with my dirty fingers. And it doesn't matter that you offered it for free. It just doesn't. And everyone has something that somebody else wants. That's the other thing. And so we go through a whole exercise about uncovering that too. Very popular, what would anyone pay for? And then it's funny because I have this exercise called reverse engineering.

Monica Froese: So students go into it and they say, nobody will ever pay me money for anything. And then they come out of it and they're like, I can create 10 products right now. And I'm like, I know. So it's actually fun. It's really fun because you can see the transformation of someone who's just at that burnout phase and they're just going to give up and go admit to my husband that he was right andI was wrong. This silly blog thing was never going to work. I hear that all the time. One of my students made $7,000 on her home binder in the first month. And I'm very realistic here. Okay. She had a blog with traffic, so she didn't go and create digital product and magical people bought it. That's not the way online business works. Magical people don't come out of the woodwork. You have to attract them to you. But my argument here is simply this. If you're going to attract people to you have something to sell them, it's really that simple.

Shannon Mattern: That is the perfect place to wrap up this episode. I could always talk to you forever. Where can everybody go to learn more about the Empowered Business Lab and all of the things that you're doing?

Monica Froese: If you go to monicafroese.com/shannon, to make it easy, we call it our Connect page. So basically the main things that we're doing is how to learn about the lab, the podcast. And if you want to connect with me on Instagram, I actually do reply to my DM.

Shannon Mattern: Well, thank you so much. This episode was just so awesome. I love connecting with you. I love just hearing your perspective and thank you for blazing the trail for the rest of us. You make the hard decisions and then you inspire us with that. So I appreciate that. I always love talking to you. We'll link up everything in the show notes. You guys want to be in Monica's world. I promise you that. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Monica Froese: Thanks for having me.

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