Ep. 367: Turn Your Service Into a Product with Christina Scalera

christina scalera

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

Christina Scalera is the attorney and founder behind The Contract Shop®, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, wedding professionals, and coaches. In 2014, Christina found herself dreaming of pursuing a more creative path, and she started to look for alternatives to her in-house legal job. She explored everything from teaching yoga to becoming a freelance graphic designer to opening an Etsy shop. In the process, she ended up coming full circle by creating a business that brought the benefit of her legal training to help her fellow creatives.

She's now teaching others how they too can create an online shop phenomenon, create daily income, and get out of the client-getting hustle with her course, Products on Tap®. When she’s not staring at a computer or awkwardly standing on cafe chairs for the perfect overhead latte photo, you can find her in the woods doing things that are sometimes dangerous but always fun, like riding horses, skiing, and reluctantly camping.

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

Connect with Christina:

Shannon Mattern: Hey there. Shannon Mattern here and welcome to Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, a podcast that brings you side hustle success stories, motivation, and actionable advice to help you go from side hustle to self-employed without taking a pay cut. So I started side hustling back in 2014 as a web designer, and after several months of undercharging and over-delivering, I decided to quit doing one-on-one web design work and started teaching people how to do it themselves instead. And what I didn't expect was all of the students who just wanted to hire me to build their websites for them. So I fixed my broken freelance web design business, got it profitable and sustainable. And then I was finally able to replace my six figure income and quit my day job. So on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, I not only share with you my ongoing business journey, but I also bring you stories of successful side hustlers who started from scratch just like you, and have gone on to replace their paycheck and create six and even seven figure online businesses.

Shannon Mattern: So if you're a do-it-yourselfer or a web designer, I have got tons of free resources to help you build a profitable, sustainable, and scalable business. So head on over to shannonmattern.com/free to get your hands on them. Okay, so let's go ahead and dive in to this week's episode. Welcome to episode 367 of Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest, Christina Scalera. Christina is the attorney and founder behind the Contract Shop, a contract template store for creative entrepreneurs, budding professionals and coaches, and she also teaches others how they, too, can create an online shop phenomenon, create daily income and get out of the client-getting hustle with her course Products on Tap. Christina, thank you so much for being here. Can you share a little bit more with our listeners about you and what you do?

Christina Scalera: Yeah, for sure. Thanks for having me Shannon. I'm thrilled to be here. You gave a great intro, but what I do now is I coach people on how to create their own digital download products that are sold through an online storefront. I coined a term for this it's called d-commerce. So instead of selling physical products, you're selling digital products. And that was all born out of my digital store, which is still up and running and going strong, which is called the Contract Shop. So I sell legal templates, mostly contract templates, things like that which help you to start your business. And I've been doing that since November, 2015. So actually, what is today? At the time we were recording this, we are two days away from our six year anniversary. So that's really exciting. And it's allowed me to move more into a coaching role because the shop really runs by itself.

Christina Scalera: I mean, I have a team that is running it. When I say it runs by itself, it has a team that's doing that. But they're all contractors and it's not a ton of work. And it's just a really beautiful thing to have going in the back of your business. So when I first got started, I had two businesses. I had the Contract Shop and I had a law firm. So that was service-based, right? And we all know how stressful working with clients can be, just working around clients' schedules and emails, and that dreaded, opening your inbox to an unsatisfied, dissatisfied client. That's always really, really scary. And I was no exception to that rule, even though I was trying really, really hard and making things as easy as possible for my clients. It's still every once in a while, you just have someone that's mad that they have to spend money on whatever.

Christina Scalera: Like they were excited about it at first, but now they're not. I really wanted to get out of that client hustle and so I poured a lot of my time and attention into trying different things with my digital shop, the Contract Shop so that it could finally work and run on its own. And eventually, about three or four years into running both of these businesses, maybe it was more like three, I saw the writing on the wall for the law firm. You know, it was just getting to be more and more client work, attorneys are actually capped out at how much they can charge clients. You can't charge outrageously high prices. It's not like a coach where you can just be like, yup, I'm $50,000 an hour now. You actually have to have something that's gonna be on the high end, but it has to be reasonable compared to other people in your sphere.

Christina Scalera: And I was starting to price myself out of that. My services were just getting too expensive. And of course, every time you price your services even higher, clients have a bigger expectation. And, yeah, so it was just a lot of stress, a lot of things that weren't adding up on the services side. And I decided to go full-time with the Contract Shop, stop taking on new client work, started phasing out clients as our projects wrapped up. And now, for about three years, I've been fully focused on, well, I shouldn't say fully focused because in the last year I started the coaching business. So, for about two years, I was fully focused on the Contract Shop and just making sure that had really great automations and was running well. And then in the last year, I've turned my focus to teaching other people how to do the same. And we've had almost 300 people go through our programs, whether that was Products on Tap or S-4, and learn how to do this in their own service-based business, how to turn those services into products. Or if they already have some sort of online product digital download or shop, something like that, learn how to sell consistently through those programs,

Shannon Mattern: That is just all fascinating. And there's so many little pieces and parts of that story that I want to dig into. And the first question I have for you is at what point did you, well, let me back up, I can totally relate to like having a business where you're providing one-on-one services and selling something that's scalable and kind of seeing the writing on the wall of like, I can no longer provide these services if I want this side of my business to grow. Because I was doing one-on-one web design services and also teaching courses and different trainings and all of those things. And I, like you, I started back in 2015 also, and a couple of years in I shut down that side of my business to kind of go all in on, it wasn't digital products, it was online courses.

Shannon Mattern: And that's one of the things that I want to touch on in a little bit. But I totally understand that evolution of being a service provider that is like, okay, I am literally maxed out. I cannot continue to provide services at the level that my clients need and still have the freedom that I want and make the money that I want. And there is that divergence of, am I going to keep trying to do it all, or am I going to go all in on the thing that's going to be scalable and create freedom for me and my business? And it was a tough decision, but I chose the thing that was going to create freedom for me. But what I wanted to ask you was, why the focus on digital products? Because I was, you know, doing a little light stalking of your website before, and you're like, it's different from online courses. And so tell me a little bit more about your philosophy on focusing on digital products for service providers versus an online course.

Christina Scalera: Yeah, for sure. I have nothing against online courses. In fact, my programs are mostly online courses with a coaching component. So I love online courses. I've certainly bought my fair share of them, completed them, not completed them and sitting on a shelf.

Shannon Mattern: Raising my hands. Yeah.

Christina Scalera: So online courses are awesome, but the issue that people run into when they're service providers is that they don't have a lot of time to create some sort of passive income product. And an online course just takes a lot of time to do really well. Like yes, you can get something up and out there and it can be fine or good enough. Or maybe you just do like one day of recordings. Okay, fine. But like, if you are going to have a signature course that you're going to be charging a thousand plus dollars for, it really needs to be well thought out and produced and coordinated and, you know, many iterations and things like that. And that's just something that I've learned both as a student from the courses that I've learned well, from versus not, and also in creating online courses over the past six years as well, I've figured this out.

Christina Scalera: And so the difference between a digital product and an online course is that a digital product is something that you might even have in an online course, but it's not going to be the entire thing. For example, maybe you have a worksheet or some sort of Google sheet or Air Table or Asana template, or something like that, that's a part of your online course. So in the online course, you're really taking someone from A to maybe M or A to Z or A to F. You're taking them on a big journey together and you're taking them from a starting point, and there's a clear ending point, hopefully if you've coordinated your content well. With a digital product, instead of giving them something that is going to take them at least an afternoon to really understand and start to learn and apply and validate, what we're doing with the digital product is giving them something that they can take and start using in the next 10 minutes after download.

Christina Scalera: And it's really just going to take them from like A to B or maybe even like A to A and a half. It's just a little tiny step on the process. So if you look at my shop, as an example and the products that we sell, I would take someone from like A to D and, of course, all about how to set up your client onboarding process. Now, client onboarding is just one small piece of working with clients, but it's an important one. However, when we look at the products that my shop sells, I only sell one little tiny piece of that client onboarding process, which is the contract template. So it's really just this one little tiny piece of an overall system or process or method that you would otherwise teach through an online course. And so for a lot of people, that helps them to narrow the scope because often, especially as women, we want to give even more and more and more. And there's definitely ways to do that with your digital products, to layer on some education or maybe some bonuses.

Christina Scalera: And I call these inclusions. Inclusions are things that you have to have that come with your digital product. These are things like maybe a PDF guide on how to use it, or a little video walkthrough on what is included. Just things that prevent refunds, and that really give that confidence to your customer to help them understand exactly what they purchased and how to use it. And then you can layer on things like bonuses, which will help them to overcome those buying objections and also help them to see what else you're able to help them with. So maybe a bonus is, if you have a client onboarding course, maybe a bonus is the first module of that course. They just bought a product that teaches them what they need to have in that client onboarding process. And they can see there's a whole bigger process here. It's not just this one little product. So really a course, if we just wrap up and review this with a neat little bow, a course is taking them on a much longer journey and it's going to take them more time to execute and implement, versus a digital product is a very, very tiny, short journey that accomplishes one very specific thing and is something that they could implement, hopefully within an hour or less.

Shannon Mattern: I love that explanation. And it sounds like, if I'm understanding it right, the course is the longer term education, plan and strategy, whereas the digital product is one of the tools needed to be able to implement that longer-term strategy, but also it can stand on its own and it'll still be functional, even if you don't have that whole plan and strategy that uses the tool.

Christina Scalera: Yeah, for sure. Like a ClickUp template. If we have a launch plan and ClickUp. That's great, but maybe also, down the road, they're going to need some sort of extra support around launching or creating some sort of launch plan. So you could sell them the ClickUp template to get started, and then you can sell them the entire launch plan whenever you open the doors to that, or when you're prepared, when you have more materials, things like that, for your course.

Shannon Mattern: So I would love to know a little bit more about how you transitioned from running your law firm to the contract templates and really dialing in the process of selling those contract templates. When did it become clear to you that you're like, oh, I've got something here and I want to teach other people how to do this.

Christina Scalera: This is a really good question. No one's ever asked me this. I think it would feel really obvious because like a lot of people can't wait to pivot out of their actual services and into coaching about kind of a more meta version of what they do. I created, I guess, what you would consider the first iteration of my S4 program in January of 2018. And it was really different. But that was like the first time I had an inkling that people wanted to start a shop or have a digital product of some sort. They got a lot out of it, but I have to say that it was the most disorganized, but it was the first version. Right? So that's why I'm saying you have to iterate a lot to have these signature programs.

Christina Scalera: So that was really the first time I thought maybe this was something I was interested in. And then it really hit me in 2020, even before the pandemic started, I was just, I guess you'd call it burnout. I had left a seven year relationship. I moved to the middle of nowhere in Colorado, like three hours away from any major city. Kind of like holed up in this, it was a condo, but it felt like a cabin in the woods kind of thing. You know, it was in a super cute tiny town. And I just didn't have much going on. There weren't social things. There weren't networking events, or things like that. And then the pandemic hit and from January to August of that year, I really did not work on my shop at all.

Christina Scalera: I wanted to, but I just couldn't find the motivation. I couldn't find the drive. And that passion that I used to have was all gone. And it was really scary because I was like, well, this keeps making money and we keep increasing our revenues and hiring and things like that. But when is this gravy flow going to run out? It never did. It just kept getting bigger and bigger. And so finally towards the end of that unplanned sabbatical, I really started to think, what is it going to take for me to start to feel excited and passionate again? And I thought back to that time that I taught what I called at the time, the Sclera Shop Sales System, or something. And I was like, that was really fun. That was really exciting. That was a great group of people that I worked with.

Christina Scalera: I'm going to go back to that and try to create like some new iteration of that. And that's when we really launched Products on Tap and started getting people going through that program, which was just again, starting really small, teaching people how to create a product and how to, at a very basic level, get it out there and sell it. And so that was the first thing that I did. And it really brought some of that juice, that flow, that energy back into my other business too, and gave me a new purpose for what I was doing and why. Because the self-care and the baths and the coaching, and all those things, were not helping. Like I just could not get back into the groove. So it was really about a year, maybe a year and a couple of months ago that it all kicked off.

Shannon Mattern: That story is so fascinating because I recently have been talking to people who started kind of around the same time that we did in that like 2014, 2015, 2016 timeframe and just watching everybody's growth and then getting to talk to them on the podcast and hearing like, Hey, guess what? There were these rocky times and there were periods where we were not always in love with our business all the time, that we sometimes want to burn everything to the ground and start over or pivot or whatever. And I think it's so important to talk about that, like in terms of the life cycle of the business. I can just imagine back to my naive self back in 2015, thinking like, oh, just once I've got this one thing working, everything will fall into place. And so I appreciate you bringing that up because it's just part of it. Life happens around business and it's okay to pivot and transition and let things go that are no longer serving you and not just keep doing the same old thing because it's working. Right? And I think that it's just fascinating to hear that story that you're like, this is working and it's doing great, but it's not fueling my soul the way that this other thing was.

Christina Scalera: Yeah. It was like in the beginning of my business, I was so excited for anything, I mean, even just networking things. And I'm pretty introverted, but I was just so excited to get out there and talk to people about business and whatever. I mean, Instagram, I mean, this is like Instagram before Stories. And I had lost that energy and that mojo. And it's so hard to describe to people that haven't felt it yet. Anyone listening, I hope you don't have to feel that in your business. But I think it inevitably will happen for anybody who stays where they're not supposed to be for a little bit too long. For me it first happened when I got my dream job out of law school. And long story short, it was a kick in the face almost because it was like, well, now what? You know? It was like, okay, you go to kindergarten, then you go to first grade.

Christina Scalera: Then you go here, da da da. Until the end goal was the job. And I got that. And it wasn't everything I thought it would be. So I just had this epiphany where I woke up one morning and I was like, is this it? I just wake up every day for the rest of my life, tired and groggy and struggling to fight my alarm clock? So I did the quarter-life crisis thing. I went out to California. I became a certified yoga teacher. And that was really what started me on this path of entrepreneurship. I thought maybe I could be a high-end private yoga teacher in Atlanta. Like real Housewives style. Like that was gonna work out well for me. And long story short, it did not. I couldn't find any paying clients.

Christina Scalera: And it was very clear that I was more interested in the blogging and business side of things than the actual providing the service thing. And that's what led me to starting my own law firm and then eventually the Contract Shop and now the coaching. So it really was like side hustle after side hustle that I kept testing the waters and kind of dipping my toe in and seeing like, is this going to take off? And there were a couple of failed things, like super failed along the way. I remember in 2016, maybe 2017, I tried to teach lawyers how to have a law firm that didn't suck, basically. Like how do you talk to people in a more conversational way? I had a course called Pinterest for Lawyers.

Christina Scalera: I just tried to teach them how to be a little bit more 'with it'. And now that's a thing. Like now I've seen people going for it and they're coaching lawyers and whatever. But, at the time people were just like, wait, this doesn't come with continuing education credits? Why would I take this? I don't understand. This is a course, but it's not from a university? It's no being offered by the ALA? And it was very confusing. And now it's like totally normal. People hire coaches for their businesses and law firms and stuff all the time. But that failed so bad. Like I was so devastated because I was like, oh, they need this, people have been asking about this. And I sunk like 10 grand into it between branding and websites and time and hires. And it just Ugh. It failed miserably. It's still a beautiful site. I should put it back up, but like, what am I going to do with it?

Shannon Mattern: I worked in the legal industry right out of school in the marketing department for a large law firm here. And I didn't have my quarter-life crisis. I thought that was still pretty sweet. I was working in marketing in a swanky, downtown law firm. But it was my next job, about halfway through my thirties, that I literally had that same, like, is this it? Is this all that there is? Like, this is Groundhog Day. it is unfulfilling. It is the same thing over and over and over again. I feel like I'm making no impact in the world. I feel purposeless. And just like you said, kindergarten, first grade, all the way until you get the job, get this salary, get the house, get the retirement, get all the things. And then I'm just like, okay.

Shannon Mattern: But I feel so empty inside. And I feel guilty that I feel this way because I should be happy because I have all the trappings of what I should be. I should be grateful for all of this. And yet I feel very empty. And that's what led me to start doing freelance web design on the side. And then being like, well I didn't do that right because I just created like 20 more sucky bosses. Because I don't know how to handle clients. So, you know, it was that evolution. And I can relate. I had the failures, right? The things that I'm like, of course people would want this, this is what they need. They're asking the questions about this. I'm gonna make this for them. And then they're like, I don't want to pay money for it. And you're like, what am I doing? And the pivoting. But I think it all ties back to that whole moment of like, I'm not going back to that. So I'm going to figure out exactly what it is that lights my soul on fire and I'm willing to go through these iterations and these low periods and these wins and all the things to figure that out. I don't know if I've figured it out. I think I'm pretty close again.

Shannon Mattern: It's an evolution. It's an evolution.

Christina Scalera: For sure. You put that so beautifully.

Shannon Mattern: My gosh. So, yeah, I just love talking about this, I like talking about the harder times too, because I think it's so important for people listening to understand that it's not always supposed to go perfectly, you know? It's just not.

Christina Scalera: I've always learned more from people's stories about how they got through something than I have about "yeah, this launch went great and everything was perfect". And I mean, there's nothing for them to tell me there. They followed the formula. It worked. That was it. It wasn't like, oh, Facebook shut off our ads and here's what we had to do instead. Okay, great. Well now I just learned three things to do when ads aren't working for me, whether that's because Facebook turned them off or because they're just not working anymore. So yeah. I also love people's failure stories, I guess? And seeing how that has shaped where they are. But I think the common thread, and you talked about this a little bit too, is you just kept going. And I just kept going, even when I was just flailing around and floundering in 2020. I didn't know what that would be or what that next thing would look like.

Christina Scalera: Or if it would work, or if it was a good idea or a stupid idea, or whatever. And I just kept trying to put things out there. And even since I launched the coaching business, I've launched a couple, not programs because we always pre-sell those and validate them. But I've launched a couple of freebies where I'm like, oh yeah, I've gotten so many questions about this. They are going to love this. And then I put it out there and it's total crickets. And I'm like, what the heck? You guys were asking about this! But again, like every single time we've done that, whether it's a freebie or a webinar, a post or whatever, we always iterate off of that. And so we aren't starting from scratch anymore. And the last launch I did, I think it was $72,000 in sales, with payment plans and all that included.

Christina Scalera: And the first time we launched, it was like 25,000 or 30,000, somewhere in that range. So, it doubled. But not because my audience doubled. My audience actually almost stayed the same. But people were exposed to us for the first time. And they were like, well, I don't know. It's the first time, I'm not going to jump in. And then they were exposed to it a second time. So they needed that kind of like extra warmup. But then also, we looked at what failed, we looked at what didn't connect with them. We ran two different webinars and both of them did okay. But not great. So, what was the difference there? And we kind of combined the elements that did well.

Christina Scalera: And we ran this third webinar. It was really funny because, it was actually the lowest purchase rate off of a webinar. We had one person buy live and they bought in the first 10 minutes of the webinar. I hadn't even put up a link or anything. They just found the backdoor secret URL. And then nobody bought live. It was so weird. But then we had over 15 people buy from the replay and I've never had that happen before. So it was just this really interesting thing where we iterated and we changed things. We listened to the feedback that we were getting. We watched where we failed and we tried to improve that. And it worked. We wanted to get 12 people in and by the first week we'd already exceeded our sales goal.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah, I love that it's putting an emphasis on looking for where the breakdowns are. And that's definitely something that I did not do when I was in my early phase of entrepreneurship. I'm like, that should have worked. Why didn't it work? I must be the worst salesperson in the world. I need to go take another course and rebrand and whatever. Instead of being like, Hey, you were one of the people that were interested. Can we hop on a call and can I pick your brain about why this wasn't the right thing for you? And that whole shift of like, oh, I just didn't experiment, gathered some data, didn't go the way I thought. Okay, well, I get to figure out if the sales happened because of the reason I think they did.

Shannon Mattern: And if the sales that didn't happen, why those didn't happen. Why did they buy, why didn't they buy, and use data to make changes instead of my own messed up emotions about my self worth and all of the stories we tell ourselves and comparing to what other people are doing. And once I finally figured that out, business got a whole lot easier. Things started working. But I love that you focus on like, we're going to actually look at the failures and look at the breakdowns and look at the unmet expectations, and try again. Cause I think so many people just stop.

Christina Scalera: Yeah. Especially after one round. And like I said, we didn't grow our email us that much. And it was the same people that saw the offer the first time around that were seeing the second and bought. And that happens over and over and over again. We have people come on the shop site too where they need a couple of days to figure out is this the best fit for them? Am I the right person to provide this for them? Just like if you were shopping. Think about any purchase you've made recently. I was shopping for a duvet cover recently, right? It's such a simple item. But I was looking at really high-end stores and I was looking at Costco and I was like, which is the best,

Christina Scalera: and what did the reviews say, and are these reviews even real? And all these things. And you know, it took me three days to make a decision, and that's fine. It was only three days. But people are doing the same exact thing with our products. And especially when it comes to courses, if you're only offering that during a limited time window, it might not be the right time for someone to buy. Maybe two weeks after you close is the right time for them to buy it. They have the money, they have the time, whatever. And I think that's the biggest thing that I wish people would stop doing is giving up after that first try.

Shannon Mattern: Yes. I want to ask you just about the success of your Contract Shop. And the pivot from the law firm. I mean, you did them kind of simultaneously, but from the decision to start the Contract Shop, what were the things that you did to make that the success that it was and is.

Christina Scalera: Yeah. Are you talking about like marketing wise or?

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Marketing. Anything that you can think of. The marketing, mindset. Mindset's always good too. Mindset is like 90% of it.

Christina Scalera: I know. Yeah. If I figure that out I'll let you guys know. But I haven't figured that one, I haven't cracked it yet. But for me, I'm just a very logical thinker. I wish I were more into like the woo and like the flow and all that kind of stuff, but I'm trying to get there. But, I'm just so like analytical. And so even if you can't, you know, like manifest abundance or whatever they're saying nowadays, you can still be successful. It probably helps to have that better shift of like,' I can do this' from 'can I do this?' But yeah. Even if you aren't sure if it's gonna work yet. I'm an Enneagram six, I'm an IMTJ,

Christina Scalera: which was hilarious. I took the Myers Briggs twice, the first seven years ago and then one a year ago. And I was like, surely I've grown and changed. I was spot on, the percentages were almost the same. It was crazy. So anyway, I just think I am very logical and analytical and something that has helped me along the years is, I call it the holy grail, it's like the holy triangle of sales for your online store, for your d-commerce product. So you have at the top of the pyramid, you have conversions. And so if you do not have conversions, that is, you don't have people that are buying your product, like you have a hundred people that have seen the product. No one's bought. Then that's the first thing that I always try to work on.

Christina Scalera: And I say, is it the product? Is that the product description? Is it the wrong people that we've been showing it to? How can we crack this on conversion? So once you get a conversion rate that you're happy with, it doesn't have to be the best one ever yet, then we start to look at traffic. And I always want to make sure that the traffic is increasing. And as the traffic increases, typically the conversion rate decreases. So I'll go back to the conversion rate and I'll say like, how can I continue to improve this? So I'm constantly bouncing back and forth between those two things. And then the third thing that we did that really helped our store to flourish is increasing the average order value. And that is as simple as raising the prices on your products or creating new opportunities for past customers to make purchases to increase that customer lifetime value, or just like little things that you can add on to the initial cart purchase that they're making to increase that average order value.

Christina Scalera: So we went from like something like an $87 order value in 2016 to now we're somewhere around $300, $350. Somewhere in that range. So that really also helps sales because obviously... you were talking about you had 20 clients that were your boss now, obviously the less customers that you have, but the higher average order value you have, the easier it is to fulfill customer service, which is very important as you're getting started. Because customer service is expensive. It's either expensive in terms of time, if you're doing it yourself, and talk about mental fatigue and energy fatigue, because they take so much out of you. That was one of the first things I outsourced because of that reason. So for me, it was expensive in terms of actual money that we're spending every single month on customer maintenance and management.

Christina Scalera: And it's just, you know, a lot of password requests, a lot of 'I lost the download' a lot of 'can you send me the order details' a lot of 'Hey, it's tax time, I lost the invoice', those types of things. And then it's also the refund requests. And, you know, every once in a while, someone's mad that something costs money or whatever, so we have a 14 day, any reason refund policy. So we have people that are really satisfied with buying because if they're not they can always get a refund. But, for the most part, you know, that's what you're going to be dealing with. So it's always average order value and conversions and traffic. So you're going to be going around and around and around that triangle. And then obviously, like if you are more inclined to a more energetic approach, I would certainly encourage someone like that to layer that on.

Christina Scalera: It's something that I've tried to cultivate, it's something that I try to l put myself in a great mindset through exercise and yoga and things like that. But I would definitely say that I'm not who you would look to for a pillar of support in that way. Like, I'm great about it as far as teaching it, but like when it comes to doing it myself, it hasn't always been there, but I've still had good results. So I think that it is something that can help, but it's not necessarily going to hurt you unless you're just taking no action and doing nothing.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I love that you have this formula, you can go back to the numbers, you can go back to this triangle and identify where the opportunity is to optimize. Or where's the breakdown happening? Where do we need to focus our attention? I totally agree with you. I'm not woo. I can't quite get there. I want to be there, but I'm really all in my head all the time. And I do understand. I'm like all analytical. I'm always gonna think my way through a problem and analyze it down to... I'm an Enneagram three also. So there's like all of that ego stuff wrapped up in there too. Like, I'm going to figure this out, no matter what! Which is not always the healthiest approach to a problem. But, there is something to be said about taking a step back, giving yourself space with the yoga, with exercise, with just separating from always thinking about something. That I am not good at, at all. Like I'm not good at it all.

Christina Scalera: And I'll tell you what's helped me as an analytical person is that when you make an adjustment, you have to let it run. I can't change something that's what I think is going to change the conversion rate and then start tinkering with it again. I have to let it sit there and give it a couple of days to see what happens. So that maybe can help you a little bit where you're like, okay, I changed it. I'm going to go work on something else totally separate and different, and just give yourself literally that time to just let it chill, let it gel. And even if you're totally anxious and in your head about it that whole three days or a week, or whatever you've given for that, at least you're not sitting there just tinkering and destroying the results that you just created.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. I mean, I will ruminate on something and probably do exactly what you' just said, you know, sabotage the ultimate outcome because I just can't let it be. So I appreciate that. I appreciate that. Definitely. And I know a lot of people that listen to this show are like me, cause you know, we attract the audience that can resonate with us. And so I know that everybody listening probably can relate to that as well. So, just shifting back to your program, tell me a little bit about how it works to work with the students, to take them from having a service that they're going to productize, and what process you lead them through.

Christina Scalera: For sure. So it really starts with our free Ultimate Digital Download Product Creation Guide, which is a mouthful, but that's for free on our site. And we really encourage people to start there to see if digital products are a good fit for them, because they're not a good fit for everybody. Some people just want a get rich quick thing. They think, oh, you know, I need some quick cash, and digital products are not the thing that's going to do that for you. It can give you sustainable, long-term, consistent cash, but it's not going to give you that quick injection as booking a client or something, because you can book a client today that can pay you or at least pay 50%, whatever. And then you can do the work later when you have more time.

Christina Scalera: But if you need the quick cash, I always tell people, go to services because that's the only way to make quick cash. But if you're ready to get out of that lifestyle of clients, then the passive income is a better fit and you can start to layer that on. I always say that shops are the new blog, because people are really busy. And so they don't have time necessarily to sit there and binge your blog anymore, but they do have time to kind of sift through and see what you're selling in your shop. So that's where creating these products is really important. So that's where I would start, that free guide. Just because it helps you to figure out what that product is going to be for you and how that's going to fit into your business and how it's going to supplement either what you have or is something that your clients have been asking you for, maybe some overflow that isn't quite ready to work with you, or they can't afford you.

Christina Scalera: Can you give them some sort of product so that you're not losing out on them and they're not going to your competition, but you're still keeping them in your ecosystem with this product. So that's the first place to start. And then it really depends. If someone is a little bit more advanced, you know, they have a good understanding of what this online business thing is, then I would recommend they just go straight into S4 because the first module is kind of like a refresher on everything that I cover in Products on Tap. And then if they're a little bit more beginner, they want that upgraded version of our freebie, they want me to hold their hand and walk them through every single step of the process and creating that product, then Products on Tap is really the best fit for them.

Christina Scalera: So those are the two main offerings that we have, the Simple Sustained Shop Sales System, which is a mouthful. So I just call it S4 and Products on Tap. And so those are the two ways to work with me. They have very different price points as well. S4 has either a DIY option, which is less expensive, but it also has that coaching component so that if you do want me in your business doing audits, looking at your stuff every single week, getting on coaching calls with me and the support coaches, having that accountability and the peer mentorship, the Slack Channel, all that kind of stuff, then that's really for the higher level person who's looking to scale their shop versus Products on Tap, which is for someone who's trained to start and begin their shop or their product journey.

Shannon Mattern: I love that you kind of have that offer for wherever someone is at in the life cycle of adding this revenue stream to their business. Going all in on mentorship is not going to necessarily be the right thing for you if you haven't even validated that a digital product is going to be the right path in your business. So it's like you have a way for people to work their way up to getting your expertise and your brain and all of your experience, to really help them take it to the next level, which is really, really awesome. I was such a lone Wolf for such a long time my business, just being like, oh, I'm techie, I can figure that out. I don't need to invest here.

Shannon Mattern: I don't need to do this. I can just reverse engineer whatever. And probably the worst way I could have ever spent the first three years of my business was not investing in the right mentors. Because I had so many blind spots that I didn't even know what I didn't know about what I didn't know. So it was one of the things that I'm super passionate about on this podcast is helping people find the right mentors for where they want to go in their business and highly encouraging them to make those investments, smart investments, but make those investments because the opportunity cost of not working with the right person is huge. You're losing so much time and money by continuing to lone Wolf, DIY when the person that can help you shortcut that is right in front of you.

Christina Scalera: Yeah. And when I look for mentors, I actually used to only look for one-on-one and now I only look for groups because I learn so much from the other people that are in the group asking the questions that are kind of right on the tip of my tongue, but either I don't think it's important enough to ask or significant enough, or I'm like, oh, this is really specific only to me. And then someone else asked something similar and I'm like, yes. Okay. What is she going to say? Or like, what is going to happen here because this is actually something I'm struggling with as well. Or sometimes it's even things I didn't realize were a problem or something that I could solve. And it's really helpful to have that peer group coaching in any kind of program that I invest in.

Christina Scalera: So that's also why I stopped offering one-on-one coaching because I just found myself saying the same things over and over again to people, one call after another. And I felt like I was wasting people's money. I was like, let's just get you guys all in a group and I can answer this question once. I lose my voice a lot. I'm sure you know, the struggle in podcasting, but it was just like physically it was like really hard on me to do these one-on-one calls all day. And it just wasn't a good use of my time anymore, especially when you can scale with products and courses. Again, just looking at your hourly rate through digital products versus one-on-one. My hourly rate selling these digital products or these courses now is much, much higher than when I offer those one-on-one.

Christina Scalera: So, yeah, I do think it's really important to find someone. I enroll only three mentors at a time, max. And really it's two, like the third one is kind of just like some breathing room. But I've been working with one of my mentors on and off since 2013, Kelly Newsome George. She's amazing. She's actually someone you might want to have on the show. She's great. But she was a private yoga teacher in DC and that's how we got connected. I saw her on, I think it was like Business Insider or something. She was in Chris Guillebeau's $100 Startup book as well. And I was like, I need to connect with her because she was a lawyer and now she's doing this yoga thing.

Christina Scalera: And now she helps moms to take better care of themselves. But, she still works with me. I'm kind of like a legacy client, so I'm grateful for that. And then, you know, there's just some other people that I have in my life that I work with. I'm in a peer mastermind, so that's really helpful. Actually I joined a second one. I think it's helpful to join ones about the topics that you're interested in. Right? So if someone wants to learn better design, you're not going to join a mastermind that's all about how to get bigger on Instagram. That doesn't make sense. So, I definitely wouldn't watch people that aren't doing the things that I want to do. Or, I think you mentioned this earlier, but I wouldn't follow people that aren't living that kind of lifestyle that I also would like to have. Like I would never follow Gary V because I don't want to be him. There's nothing about his life that sounds appealing to me at all. So I think just following the people that you relate to, both on a personal and business level, can be really helpful.

Shannon Mattern: I love that you mentioned that you have multiple mentors, but not too many. I found myself in a situation this year where I was just so open to mentorship that I was like, yes, I want to work with you and you and you. And then I keep ruminating on the same problems because I want to talk about it with you and you and you. And then I'm like, okay, let's bring this back and really get focused. And now I'm very specific. I have a business strategy. Let's take business to the next level. Then I've got business mindset, you know, where I can really kind of get nitty-gritty. I'm like, I'm afraid to raise my price, they're all going to go away! You know, that thing.

Shannon Mattern: And then I have a local in-person peer mastermind here where I live, which is amazing because when I started my business, I knew no people in my city also running a business. It was just like lone Wolf Shannon doing her thing. And I actually don't know anybody in this city that's doing anything. And then another peer mastermind that's more just kind of like we help each other, but we also just blow off steam together too. It's like biz besties and it's fun. And it's like, oh, I can talk to you about business and your eyes are not going to glaze over because you're so bored. Like my best friend who I love, but she just does not care about Facebook ads and conversion rates or podcasts. But the whole group component, for someone like me who's like a lone Wolf,

Shannon Mattern: I'm like, 'I don't have any problems. I don't need help'. And I know I do, so I must go to these meetings because I'm going to learn something that I didn't know I needed to learn, you know? And then maybe twice a year I'll have a question, but the rest of the time my questions are being answered the whole time by everybody else.

Shannon Mattern: We are coming up close on time and I have loved talking with you and connecting with you. So I have just a couple more questions for you before we wrap up. This one I ask everybody that comes on the podcast and that is, what belief about yourself did you have to change to get to where you are today?

Christina Scalera: I hadn't thought about this.

Christina Scalera: So I've had a saying that I always come back to, probably picked it up from somewhere, I don't know. But it's 'always do what you can with what you have'. And anytime I've run into a difficult situation and I'm like, I don't know how to get through this, or I don't know how I'm gonna pay this huge tax bill I wasn't expecting, or whatever, I'm always like, okay, what can I do with what I have right now? And when I remember that, and I don't always remember that. Sometimes I'm just panicking or anxious or whatever. But when I can finally slow down and remember that I can do this, there is a way through it. It might not be the obvious thing, or it might not be the most direct way. That's when I can really see that success and get to the other side. And I think that's the belief I had to change in myself, that even when I first started my very first business as a yoga teacher and I found myself $73,000 in credit card debt, I don't know who would give that much credit to a 24 year old or 25 year old, but they did. But that was the belief I had to change, that even though I had less than nothing, like on paper, I had enough to take that next step.

Shannon Mattern: Wow. That is powerful. Powerful. It's great way to wrap up this episode. Can you share with everyone where they can go to connect with you, learn more about you, get their hands on the freebie that you talked about before and just all the things.

Christina Scalera: Yeah. I'm at Christina Scalera, everywhere, .com, on Instagram. If you're like, Hey, what was that thing you talked about? I don't remember what it was, you can always go to my website or DM me. I'm really active on Instagram, obviously. And then if you guys want to check out what this actually looks like in practice, it's all at the Contract Shop. So, .com, Instagram, all that stuff.

Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well, you guys can go to shannonmattern.com/367. We will link up all the things so that you can connect with Christina. And it has been a pleasure talking to you and getting to know you and thank you so much for being here.

Christina Scalera: Yeah. Likewise, thank you. And just a quick shout out to Shannon, because this is no small feat what she does for you guys. I don't think anyone realizes how much money and time goes into podcasting. So I would love it if you guys would give her a little review, if you want to mention me, that would be super helpful for both of us if you enjoyed this episode. I had a podcast back in the day and I wish we got more ratings. So just want to give you a shout out. Shannon. Thank you for having me.

Shannon Mattern: That was amazing. Thank you so so much. I really appreciate that.

Christina Scalera: Yeah, of course.

Shannon Mattern: To get all the links to the resources we mentioned in today's show, head on over to shannonmattern.com/podcast. And if you're a non-techie do it yourselfer, or if you're a web designer who wants to turn your side hustle into a full-time income, head on over to shannonmattern.com/free, where I've got loads of resources for you to create a profitable, sustainable, scalable business. Thanks so much for listening and I'll see you next week. Bye.

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