ANDREA OLSON: “As a mother, as a woman, we get paid less in the workplace, even today.”
AMY PORTERFIELD: “Yes.”
ANDREA: “It's crazy. Another thing I've learned is that I can imagine that there's a glass ceiling and I can live in that world, or I can create my own reality where there is no glass ceiling. I am now the bread winner of my family, as much as my husband hates that, and it's a constant thing of—it's definitely some tension, but it's becoming the norm of this is something that my daughters can watch me do and see that women don't have to come second in pay for the same job, that we can make our own way.”
“I just wanted to add that in there, because that's the other part of it. There are so many excuses we can make for ourselves of why we can't reach our goals—because I’m this, or because I’m that—but I have taken all that and just gone, ‘You know what, I'm going to do it anyway. I’m just going to do it. And I don't care what anybody says.’”
AMY: “And you're not taking no for an answer.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-million-dollar business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, money, and time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and helps you create a life you love, you're in the right place. Let's get started.
AMY: Okay, before we get going, a quick word from our sponsor.
Now, if you know me, then you know that if it can be automated in my business, it will be automated in my business. And this is the same advice I have for you. That's why I use Acuity Scheduling for managing any appointments with my podcast interviewees. If you've ever booked anything, then you know how challenging it can be to go back and forth, trying to find that one perfect time that fits your schedule with your guest’s schedule. It can get really messy, really fast. Acuity Scheduling eliminates the back-and-forth hassle and allows people to book an appointment with you just by clicking a link. Now, not only can they see your preset availability, but they can also fill out any intake forms, submit payments, and so much more. If you're ready to automate your schedule and save tons of time, then Acuity is perfect for you. For a limited time, they're offering my listeners forty-five days of Acuity Scheduling absolutely free. No credit card required. Just go to acuityscheduling.com/amyporterfield.
Okay, on to the episode.
I have the mom boss of all mom bosses here with me today, or as she likes to call herself and her students, mompreneurs, a mom who made over $600,000 in her business last year, and get this, she only works three to four hours a day. Do I have your attention yet?
Her name is Andrea Olson, and are you ready for another bomb? She potty trained all of her kids before they could even walk, through simplifying a method called elimination communication, which I’ll let her get into. And now she teaches other moms how to do it as well, with her Go Diaper Free program, and even certifies them in her approach. Andrea is one of my Digital Course Academy®️ students who has flourished in her business. And not only do her numbers show it, but so do her glowing testimonials.
Today, we're going to talk about what it's like to be a mompreneur and how she sets up her business in a way that only requires part-time hours to run smoothly. We're also going to talk about her secret sauce and the one thing she feels has made her so successful—it involves a frog—we'll talk about it in the episode. I know. I'm trying to pique your interest here.
We'll also talk about how she made her business happen, all while having five kids at home, how she made her first hire, and if she would do it all over again, and some of the strategies she uses for growing her email list by 100 to 150 subscribers per day, and we have so much more to talk about. So please help me welcome my guest and my student, Andrea Olson.
Andrea, thank you so very much for coming on the show. I'm delighted to have you here.
ANDREA: Thank you. I'm so glad to be here.
AMY: Oh, this is going to be such a fun episode. We have so much to cover. I want to just start out with your story, and I would love for you to tell us how you got started as an entrepreneur and what that journey has looked like for you.
ANDREA: Absolutely. So I've never been one to keep a job. I hate saying that, but—
AMY: That sounds so great.
ANDREA: I don't really fit in with the whole having-a-boss thing, because I work really fast and really smart. And then I'm bored. I have nothing else to do. So I got my undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship in Texas, and I never really knew—I thought I was going to take over my dad's business. So my dad, he's half Filipino, half American, and he built his own business. He grew up just being totally judged for his ethnicity. He looks like he's full Filipino. And he grew up in Ohio in the ’60s, and he had so much adversity. And he came through that, and he built his own business from scratch, and he built it to this huge—it’s a sign company, a sign business—and he wanted me to take it over. So, out of college, I went and tried a week with him, and I was like, “I can't. This is not the business for me.” So I kind of put that on hold and was like, “Okay, let's sort of explore and see what there is to this work world.”
I was fortunate to work for Toyota corporate right out of college, so I learned about lean management and other really amazing stuff that I've used every day of my life since then. But I didn't quite fit in.
So jump to years later, when I had my first baby, who was a wonderful surprise. And my partner at the time—I have five children, and that one was from a previous partner. The other four my husband and I had. But my partner at the time got laid off, and I was supposed to go back to work, I guess. I couldn't imagine doing it. I couldn’t imagine leaving this beautiful little baby with somebody else while I went to work to pay for that babysitter and have nothing to show for it.
So I went back to my entrepreneurial roots, the way I was brought up in my family. And I happened upon Pat Flynn's podcast, which was also a newborn. I think it was his fourth episode. And I started to look at my life and see what I could make a business out of, and it turned out to be elimination communication.
AMY: Okay, so, right there, you have to tell my audience, what the heck does that mean? Elimination communication.
ANDREA: Yeah, it's a mouthful. I wish somebody, a long time ago—I didn't make up the term. I wish somebody made it easier. But we call it E.C.
A few years before I even thought about having babies, I heard a friend of a friend—and I lived in California—had a baby, and they didn't use diapers, and they had the baby go in the sink instead. I remember saying to myself, “Wow, whatever that is, I am totally doing it,” because when I was growing up in Texas, I babysat so many kids, and the most disgusting part about the job was changing diapers. And I was like, “Cool, man. I get an out. I'm totally looking that up.”
So then, jump to while I was pregnant with my first, and I researched it thoroughly. And just think about it. What do people do in the world right now where there are no diapers? What have people done for all of human history, taking care of their babies’ hygiene needs? Like, what happens to the poop and pee? Did they just let them go in the cave or go in the hut? No, because that would be disastrous. We wouldn't have made it this far as the human species if we had that kind of stuff going on. So the reason why they don't just do that and that hasn't been that way is that we're mammals, and we all have these really strong instincts to not soil ourselves or our beds or our caregivers.
Did you guys crate train Scout? because that's a good example.
AMY: We did. Yes, we did.
ANDREA: Okay. So you know that the puppy will not go in the crate, and when you open it up, first thing they need to do is go to the bathroom.
AMY: Exactly. Yep.
ANDREA: It's the same thing with a diaper. And they'll cry and cry and cry. And new moms and new dads are tired. They don't know what's going on. They're like, “Why is this baby crying again?” And they finally figured out that they’re wet or they have a poopy diaper. But if they rewind a little bit, they actually were crying because they wanted to go outside of the diaper. They wanted you to take it off and let them go hygienically. So it's totally based on instincts, which is why it's like so easy to do if you give it a try. And I have had five babies over the span of eight years. I started all of them at birth. I haven't had to potty train a single one of them. And they've all been out of diapers since the time they were about one year old.
AMY: Holy cow!
ANDREA: It’s amazing.
ANDREA: And a lot of people, when I explain it, they're like, “Oh, man, that sounds really crazy and great for you. But I don’t have time for that. I could never do that. It sounds complicated.” But the people who do this in my community do it part time. We all use diapers. We just don't use them as a toilet. We use them more as a tool for when we're working or we're too busy or we miss each other. And then most of us don't end up having to potty train. And it's this incredible freedom. We've saved 10,000 in diapers just in my family alone. And the kids are so self-confident to just have that control over their bodies. So it's been fantastic. And I'm so grateful to that family in California who I heard from it that their baby peed in a sink. I should probably write them a thank-you letter today because it changed my parenting experience.
AMY: It really did. And it set you into having amazing launches because you created a digital course around elimination communication. And, to say the least, you've had huge success.
ANDREA: Huge success.
AMY: So, let's talk about this. You know I'm a numbers girl. So tell us what your launch and your business numbers look like.
ANDREA: All right. Well, last year, I'm extremely proud to say that my business did $617,000 in sales.
AMY: Oh, my goodness. That is incredible. Congrats.
ANDREA: Thank you. And that's—about $111,000 of that was purely because of webinars that I learned from you.
AMY: So cool.
ANDREA: And that's only meant to grow this year as I'm incorporating more fully everything I've learned from you. My goal is to hit seven figures this year.
AMY: Where is the other revenue coming from?
ANDREA: So organically, over the course of—I wrote my first book. I launched to, like, seventy-five people. that grew to about 45,000 my first year. So I had just an ebook for a really long time. And then I started my coach-training program, and that's a course. And then I started Tiny Undies. And everything I've started is because my audience genuinely needed it. So we'd get our babies out of diapers, and then they'd have nothing to wear because none of the underwear is small enough and they had no potties to use because none of them are short enough. So I went ahead and solved all these problems.
So I have Go Diaper Free, which is my books and courses, and I have Tiny Undies, which is the gear you need when you've gone through my books and courses. And then my third one, as if that wasn't enough, I wanted to pay it forward and teach other moms how to balance having a small baby and running, starting a passive-income business like mine that works when your babies are sick or when you're vacationing or you're sleeping. And so I started MamaWorx as the third arm of my business.
AMY: With five kids, I want you all to know. Over the course of this time, she has a total of five kids, and she's able to do this. And we're going to get into that and the hours you work and what that looks like in a moment.
But before we get there, I know that you've been using webinars, and you mentioned that earlier. You had a webinar where you had 74 percent of those who registered for the webinar actually show up, which is the highest I've ever heard. So, yeah, that is the highest number I've ever heard. What the heck did you do to get a 74 percent show-up rate?
ANDREA: To be honest with you, I'm a really good student, and you gave us swipe files of what to send people after they register, and I made those my own. And I used the same timing spacing that you suggested in DCA, and I really just stayed with the model that you gave. I've always done that with all my business growth. Always find a really good model, and how can I not recreate the wheel?
So on top of that, eight years ago, I started Go Diaper Free Week, so this awareness movement, because not enough people knew about E.C. And that has been picked up by Huffington Post and New York Times and all this accidental PR. And with the excitement of Go Diaper Free Week this week this year and these two classes I put on, which were webinars; and your swipe files of exactly what to say and when, to get people amped up about I; I think all those things came together to have this fantastic show-up rate. It was so much fun.
AMY: Okay, so tell me about what does Go Diaper Free Week look like? Like, what did that entail? because I think those who are listening could maybe put something like that into their business because it sounded like it went really well with getting people on the webinar.
ANDREA: It's always done amazingly well. I think we did $30,000 in sales between both businesses that week.
ANDREA: It was—actually, it might've been higher than that. It was better than Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and it totally threw us all off. We were actually slammed and didn't know what to do because it was so big.
So what it was, is I just set up a giveaway on Rafflecopter, which is so easy anybody could do it. And I gave away each of my products. Sometimes I give away other people's products. Over the course of the week, you could sign up, you can enter. And to gain entries, you have to share it on social media or write on my blog or join my email list. So there is that core thing.
And then I taught a class on E.C., which is zero to eighteen months, and I taught a free class on potty training. And basically it's like how you teach it. It was the what, and then the courses and the books are the how. So it was the first exposure, this is what it is kind of a class.
And then, I also did an hour-long Q&A that actually went two hours because I can't help myself. I love helping people in these areas. And so that was the third big event for the week.
And then, we also had one of those Facebook things where you can lay it over your picture.
ANDREA: I don’t remember, but I think it's a frame. And we did one of those, and we did a couple of graphics. And we just had all of our coaches and all of our followers who are very strong with word of mouth, they all shared about it. And from all of those aspects, that was the week. And basically, I picked a week that made sense, the day after Earth Day, every year. And for anybody listening who wants to do one, just think about when you want to do it, when nothing else is really going on. You can do an awareness day or an awareness week or an awareness month. And I had it listed on awareness—there's an awareness-week website that lists all of these crazy things like National Donut Day and things like that. So you can get the word out about it, and it's a really easy way to get really good exposure.
And then, I just made it this huge event like, “Oh, and the five email Go Diaper Free challenge, take the challenge. I’m going to send you five tips over five days that will help you take steps towards being diaper free with your baby or toddler.” And that also served as a lead generation. You know, email-list building.
AMY: So good. And I love that you use the word awareness. And I think so many listening could find a way to weave that into how they do their marketing, because I teach my students this idea of crossing the invisible bridge. Before somebody is ready to buy from you, they have a lot of objections and a lot of questions, and they really need to understand some things before they're ever ready to get on a webinar with you or ready to buy from you. So I always say address those things so they can cross that invisible bridge so they're ready to get on a webinar. They're excited. They understand the big picture. They want to know more. And I feel like your awareness week is that invisible bridge, like, really getting in front of them, helping them understand the why behind this.
ANDREA: Yeah. And then that makes their decision their own. They've been exposed to it, and they've gotten excited about it with a group of people. And that energy—then, they're able to make this decision. It doesn't feel like they're being marketed to.
AMY: Yes. And I also come from the place—and I think you probably, it sounds like you might come from this place as well—I’ll educate you, and my topic, obviously, is how to do digital courses and why they're so valuable in your business, and I’ll educate you, and I'll give you all the information. I'm not here to talk you into it. You have to really understand, like, this is something I want. And I think that's where you're coming from with your marketing as well.
ANDREA: It totally is. I have never, ever, ever—and I was exposed to this early, early on—I have never said, “You have to do this,” or “You should do this.” I've always taken this stance of, first of all, it's a weird topic, so I never talk about it like it's weird. I speak about E.C. like it's the most normal thing in the world, and here it is, and if you would like to do it, I would love to support you. If you don't want to do it, I'm not going to judge you. We live in a diapering culture. This is the way the mainstream is. That's fine. And I will be here for later when you decide to potty train if you want to do that with me.
AMY: Ah, so cool. And it just takes all their defenses down.
AMY: And with online marketing, people have a lot of defenses up. And so I think it's so important that we come to it—that's just a little mindset shift—just when you all are looking at how you're marketing and how you're talking to your audience, take the stance that you never want to talk them into something. You want to give them the information, and they get to decide if it's right for them.
Now, one more thing about your webinar registration leading to people actually showing up live for a webinar. I want to back up and tell you all that typically the average we're seeing right now is around 30 to 35 percent. So 74 percent is literally the best of the best, like I said, that I've ever heard. And you've used surveys. Is that right?
ANDREA: I have. I've used a lot of surveys over the course of the last ten years. Yep.
AMY: How has that helped you? How do you think maybe that even contributed to this?
ANDREA: It builds trust. I'm doing a survey right now for Tiny Boxers. It’s a new boxer brief.
AMY: That's so cute. It just sounds adorable.
ANDREA: I can’t wait. And I was like, “What colors you guys want?” And I sent out this survey to everybody. So far, I've gotten about 500 responses. And most of them are putting in comments, going, “I'm so glad you asked me. I'm so excited to be a part of this decision.” So I always include—I feel like the 74 percent is also, it just symbolizes how much I care about my community in a genuine way, showing up and doing lives and Q&As and being there for each other and just building this group of raving fans who will be there and show up for me, just like I show up for them. It's kind of like this big happy family that just keeps growing, and there's trust. So every bit of content marketing—I have a podcast, too—every episode I put out there, it's all about trust, and I ask for engagement every time. I want to talk to the people that I'm serving so I can make sure that I'm not wasting either of our time.
AMY: I love this. And I always say that when you survey and you get people's feedback about whether it be the topic of your next webinar or one of the modules you're creating for your course, people feel as though they are part of that creation. So when you come out with it and put it into the world, they already feel a part of that. And so when you come out with your Tiny Boxers, they're like, “Oh, yeah, I helped you create those. I was part of that creation.” And so that's a great thing. You do want them to feel part of it genuinely. So I love that you brought up surveys, for sure. I guess I brought them up, but I love that you use them. I think they're so valuable.
ANDREA: One thing I just want to say is you've also taught me something really great that I never did before this year is course calls in DCA. You recommend that we call our customers and ask them what they want.
ANDREA: And I spoke to forty people in January.
AMY: Okay. You are a star student, so let's just put that out there, because most people will only do five or seven.
ANDREA: Well, I only put it out there to do fifteen from either side, and then I felt guilty turning anybody down because all their stories are so amazing, so I had to.
AMY: So, good, right?
ANDREA: Yeah. And I learned so much from them. I just feel like so many people just create things without paying attention to what's going on. Open your eyes and ask, and all the answers are right in front of you. It’s beautiful.
AMY: Your audience wants to tell you what they want and need. They want to share their stories with you. So for those of you who don't know, inside of Digital Course Academy®️, there's one lesson about course calls so you can validate your course idea. You can make sure you're creating a course people will pay for and they actually want. And you take the words they give you and use those words in your marketing, once you validate your idea. So forty is also a record. So we're going to be sending a trophy in the mail to Andrea because she genuinely is an over-achiever.
But here's—this is actually a perfect segue. You're an overachiever who's only working three to four hours a day. How in the world?
ANDREA: I think everybody's going to hate me now.
AMY: Right? They're like, “Okay, get her off the show.”
ANDREA: Impossible. That was a commitment that I made from the very beginning. Years before I had a baby, I read The 4-Hour Workweek. During the time at my job, at the time when I'd already finished all my work because I work really smart and I was already done, so I'm sitting there reading Tim Ferriss's book, and I was like, “Yeah, okay, whenever I do this, I'm going to totally make it four hours a week.” I got to the point of doing three hours a week, Amy, after my first year of creation and all the build up, the building the foundation of the business. The next year, I had about three hours a week I did of work of just making a blog post every week and a couple of Facebook posts. That was amazing.
But then everything started to grow and get really crazy and big and popular and wonderful. But I stuck to it. I was like, “Okay, every older person I know has told me, ‘Savor those babies. The time will pass so fast, and before you know it, they will be off to college.’” And I take them so seriously. It happens at least once a week. And I'm like, from the very beginning, I'm committed to being a mother. This is the most important job I have in this world, and the only thing I can really control, and even that is limited. So I'm going to limit my work to three or four hours a day. And the rest of the time I'm going to be 100 percent with my babies. And when I'm with my work, I have a babysitter, or they're at preschool or school, and I'm focused. And when I'm with them, I'm 100 percent with them.
AMY: That's really admirable. And there's oftentimes I find myself, with my family, thinking about work, and it's in my mind, or “I forget to do that. I got to do that,” or “I got to check this.” How do you not do that?
ANDREA: I hide my phone.
AMY: Oh, that is so good, because I’m always grab—sometimes I grab it and I don't even know why I just grabbed it.
ANDREA: I do the same thing all the time. It's a terrible addiction. I've read the book How to Break Up with Your Phone, and—
AMY: Oh, I need the book.
ANDREA: —I recommend it.
AMY: I need it.
ANDREA: Oh my gosh, it’s so amazing. And when I pick it up, I'm like, “Wait. What am I modeling to my kids? Oh, that you want to be attached to a phone your whole life?” That's not what I want, so I literally hide it. I can't find it for hours. I've missed very important appointments because of that habit.
AMY: That’s hilarious.
ANDREA: I also train my team. So I have eight part timers, all women. Six of them are moms. They’re all over the world. And I have all of them—we work together on my businesses, and they know my boundaries. And they know if there's a website down or there's a check out that’s not working or there's something bad on social media, they need to call me, and they have my landline number, too. So it's another thing I borrowed from Tim Ferriss. You have the autoresponder. You don't check your email all day, every day. You don't check your—I don't even go on my social media. I schedule it all in advance. I have really strong boundaries about that, but I falter.
Amy, there are days when I'm just sitting in the kitchen, and I'm talking on Slack to my team. And then my kids all need something magically at the same time, and they all start yelling, “Mama, Mama,” and I just break down. I'm like, “Why is everybody calling me? Oh, because I'm not being present with them.” And then I'm busted, and I put the phone away. It’s really hard.
AMY: It is really hard, and I appreciate you saying so. But you're doing a really good job of it. And one thing I've heard you say a few times on the podcast is that you work really smart. Can you give us some examples of what that looks like?
ANDREA: Oh, gosh. Okay, sometimes I'm really a bad business owner, and I don't work smart. I just want to say that first.
AMY: Right. I totally get that, and I appreciate that. But you’re obviously doing something right.
ANDREA: The thing is, I always bounce back to the basics. So, the time you allot to work will fill with the work that you have. We all know that, but it's true. So I definitely limit that. And I have only three or four things that I want to accomplish every day. And if I get through those things, I get to tackle my other list. So I'm very much a “let's just do the most-important things.” And it's the, you know, the important urgent thing?
ANDREA: I still wrap my head around that every single day. I'm like, “How do I determine which things are urgent or important?” And it's really hard to be your own boss because you can't ask anybody else. Am I really working on the right thing? But I really try to work on—I think the night before about what I'm going to work on the next day. And I put those things down, and I block everything out that's not those things. And when I'm working on a launch, I'm working on the things that nobody else can do, and then I'm also delegating the rest. So learning how to delegate, it's a moving target, and I'm still learning. I've learned so much just in the last twenty-four hours about that.
So those things especially, but then, just eating the frog. Have you heard that term?
AMY: I've never heard that term, but I saw it in my notes here. What does that mean?
ANDREA: Okay. It's a Mark Twain quote. And I will botch it, so I'm not going to try to say the exact quote, and some business time-management person wrote about it. Eating the frog means you do the hardest thing first, so the thing that you really don't want to do and you really want to procrastinate against. You sit down, and you do that thing first.
AMY: Okay. This is good, because when I do that, it just clears my head, and I stop thinking about it.
ANDREA: It totally does. It's the best thing. It’s like, hey, this is a grown-up skill. Let’s do this.
AMY: Yes. I love that.
ANDREA: So I really appreciate you sharing some of these strategies because they're, like you said, you go back to the basics. And I always have found that when I keep things simple, I do my best work. But I want to go back to you had shared that your father is Filipino, and he had his business, his sign business, in Ohio. And you had shared with me that he went through a lot of hard things, adversity, in order to have a successful business. And I just can't help, that you have been so efficient, so smart with how you spend your time, such a really successful entrepreneur, you must have used or learned some lessons from him that you've brought into this business. Am I reaching here, or do you say that is true?
ANDREA: You're not reaching at all. So, his mother was actually a war bride, brought here in World War II by my grandfather. So that man, he's seen a lot, and I have stories I'll tell you sometime. But my grandmother, she has five, had five—she's passed—but she's full Filipino, and she had five children herself. And I saw her as this most amazing person. The Japanese invaded, raped and pillaged in her village when she was thirteen, and she made it to America. So then my dad, growing up, facing everything, bullying, everything, he became a really tough guy. And when he met my mom, he softened up, and they had three kids.
So when he built his business, a lot of people would just turn him down and not give him the opportunities that everybody else was having because he was different. And what I saw my dad do, what I do, is he never took no for an answer; he was very creative, very flexible—to this day, he still is—and he didn't let anybody tell him he couldn't do something. And I would have to say that I've got that in my blood, won't let anybody tell me that I can't do something that I put my mind to.
AMY: That's the stuff I love to hear because we all have learned lessons from our families and our own experiences. And that's one lesson that's going to get you far, has gotten you far. Like, look what you've done. So I really appreciate you sharing that. And I'm always optimistic. When I hear people working three to four hours a day, I tell my audience that is not me, but heck, I am all about it. If I can get closer to that, I'm there. And I love that you do it because you want to be present with your kids, which, your why is so strong that I'm sure you have better, more successful days than not because of that.
ANDREA: Let me say that I never would have written a book had I not had a child. They give you deadlines. It’s like you've never had a deadline before, you’ve never had to get off your butt in the morning and get dressed—I mean, when they are occupied and you have this tiny, precious moment of time to work on your dreams, you make it count.
And that's something that—and the other thing I want to say, as a mother, as a woman, we get paid less in the workplace, even today.
ANDREA: It's crazy. Another thing I've learned is that I can imagine that there's a glass ceiling and I can live in that world, or I can create my own reality where there is no glass ceiling. I am now the bread winner of my family, as much as my husband hates that, and it's a constant thing of—it's definitely some tension, but it's becoming the norm of this is something that my daughters can watch me do and see that women don't have to come second in pay for the same job, that we can make our own way.
I just wanted to add that in there, because that's the other part of it. There are so many excuses we can make for ourselves of why we can't reach our goals—because I’m this, or because I’m that—but I have taken all that and just gone, “You know what, I'm going to do it anyway. I’m just going to do it. And I don't care what anybody says.”
AMY: And you're not taking no for an answer.
ANDREA: I’m not taking no for an answer.
AMY: And that is so cool. And I'm glad you brought up the wage gap, because when I really got clear, when someone just about a year ago said, like, “Why do you really care about this?” and I just blurted it out, “I don't want any woman to have to deal with a glass ceiling. I want her to make her own freedom. The sky's the limit in terms of the revenue she can make. And I know that can happen and make the biggest impact she wants with digital courses.”
So I’ve seen it in my own life and with my students. And I know there's a glass ceiling out there if I were in corporate, but it doesn't even touch me in my business today, and I want that for more women. And so I love that you say that, because you are experiencing it, and many women will go through what you've gone through, and me, about our husbands feeling uneasy about the fact that we are the breadwinner.
Hobie and I have had many discussions about it. And I have to be very understanding and open to his feelings around it because it wasn't how he was raised. So he's like, “Wait a second. This is different.” It wasn't how I was raised. My father was the breadwinner; my mom stayed at home for many years.
So I'm glad you brought that up, too. So many important topics I'd love to talk about on this podcast as we dive into building our businesses.
So let's change gears just a quick sec. And I want to talk about your experience going through Digital Course Academy®️, because you were able to prioritize going through the course and building a business with five babies at home. You had five kids, and you still went through this course. And some people, no matter what digital course they take, they struggle to get to the finish line. Do you have any words of wisdom with how you did that?
ANDREA: Follow Amy's roadmap.
AMY: Okay. So, I appreciate you saying so. And my mind works in roadmaps, so I did lay out a roadmap of how to get through it. I appreciate you saying that, though.
ANDREA: You did. And actually, I’m very serious about that. I think for me, what can I control? I can carve out the time. I cannot make my kids my excuse to not follow my dreams. Something I learned from Natalie Goldman, an author. I asked her—I was able to see her at one of her book releases here in Asheville. And I said, “I have three kids. I don't have time to do anything artistic,” or whatever. And she goes, “Don't make your children your excuse. Don't blame them that you can't do this.” And I was like, “Woah.” So ever since then, I’ve been like, “These five babies are not my excuse. These are my inspiration. So I'm going to carve out some time where they won't constantly be interrupting me, and then I’m going to follow a roadmap, and I'm going to find somebody I respect, and I'm going to do what he or she says.” And that's really how I got through it, along with balancing everything out as well as just chunking my time between—I have a lot of business responsibilities, with three lines to my business and eight people working with me—but I say, “Everybody, I'm not interruptible. Today I'm taking my program. Today I'm making myself better.” And then, I report back to my team, “Here's how we're going to implement these parts of the roadmap.”
AMY: Okay. That's really good. And yeah, I know you've mentioned before that you said, “Thank God I don't have quintuplets. They're all different ages.” But also, you had mentioned that with each kid, you have become more organized. Tell me more about that.
ANDREA: Okay. Anybody who has one baby at home, you're like, “Oh, my gosh. I can't imagine having five.” And I'm with you. I'm with you. But it gets easier. With each child you have, you get more and more organized because you have to, or they will outnumber and overrun you. My husband and I are very much—so he served in the Marines, and I'm a quadruple Virgo, so I'm very much about order. And having five kids sometimes drives me nuts. And him, too. We're just like, “Oh my gosh, the chaos.” But we definitely team up. And it's very important if you have a partner to team up with them with this many children. And then find a way to simplify the schedule and make rhythms to the day that help everyone be at their best. And if anybody wants to try to get organized with just one kid at home or one new baby or no babies, I always say, just pretend like you have five children and act accordingly. Do what you would do if you had so much more to manage. And it just makes a really tight ship. And it's not inflexible. It's just a good framework to sort of hold everything and give intention and purpose and focus to the day.
AMY: Yeah. And one other thing you said is you automate your home life. Talk to me about that.
ANDREA: I do. Oh, man. I order groceries online, and then, I pick them up when they’re ready. And I train the people who shop in grocery stores.
ANDREA: I’m like, “Okay, you can't have squishy ends on the cucumbers. Teach your team.” So I'm constantly giving feedback.
AMY: That’s so good.
ANDREA: I also—let's see. What else do I automate? The moment that I could afford somebody to come clean my house once a week, I did it. And I resisted it because I have—from the way my father grew up, and our family history of being really poor, to be honest, the relations with money, “Oh, if you have money and you can afford a house cleaner, that means you're a bad person,” or something weird in my subconscious. So I got over that pretty quickly.
If there's anything that you have the extra money to pay for that can help to automate the home life, do it. So we even ordered meals for a while from a restaurant downtown who did catering. And we would pick up meals every day, just after having a new baby and just not being able to cook.
There's so many ways to just automate the home life in addition to just getting rid of stuff so there's less to clean.
AMY: Ooh, that’s smart.
ANDREA: I have my babysitters fold my laundry. And when I hire them, I'm like, “This is part of the job. So you're also going to fold our laundry for me.”
AMY: Okay, that’s really smart, too. As long as they know and they’re okay with it, there’s no shame in that. Yeah.
ANDREA: No shame. No.
AMY: So I think automating, you had mentioned getting your clothes through Stitch Fix; and within the kitchen, one-pot meals; and different things like that. And it really does go a long way. And I think you have to get very intentional about all of those things, but once you do—and of course, some of these things happen when you started making more money consistently. So some listeners are like, “I don't have the money to order out right now or to do Stitch Fix for my clothes.” That's fine. It's just something to look forward to in the future when you do have the money so you can spend more time with your family and on your business or wherever you want to put your time.
ANDREA: And my tipping point was when I had my third child. I said, “I'm not going to the grocery store anymore, because I can't handle this. This is chaos. It will take me three hours to get through that place.” So there's definitely a time and a place.
And I have to add, when I was first starting out with just one baby, I didn't have enough money to pay anybody. My partner was laid off. So I had my friend come and hold my baby for one hour, three days a week, so I could focus and plan out what I wanted to do. And then we traded a whole bedroom in our house for a babysitter to come so I could write my book. And so there are ways to bootstrap and not have to spend a lot of money in order to have the time to work. And then, yeah, all these, as the family gets bigger or the business gets bigger, automation is so important.
AMY: Yes. I mean, automation. I've talked about it forever in your business, but in your personal life, amen to that. I'm all about it. We do a lot of that in our house as well.
Okay. I am switching gears completely here, because one of the things we talk about on this podcast a lot is list building. And first, I want you to tell me how many new people do you get on your list every single week?
ANDREA: Okay, I can tell you by the day. I get about 100 to 150 people a day sign up for my list.
AMY: That's huge.
ANDREA: It's huge. And I actually, I got—okay, so I'm terrified of Facebook Ads. And that's one thing in DCA I haven't implemented yet, and when I do, that's when I know I'm going to hit my goal this year.
AMY: Watch out, world.
ANDREA: I don't know what it is about them. I'm just so scared. But—
AMY: We're going to have a brand-new training on it, on Facebook Ads, in the 2020 DCA. So make sure to take advantage of that.
ANDREA: I think I saw that in there. I'm totally going to because I now, I need to—that's something that I need to tackle. And I started with one ad just three months ago. I was only getting fifty to eighty sign ups a day to my email list three months ago. And I put up one simple ad of, right after my unassisted home birth, pottying my minutes-old baby on this little top-hat potty—I didn't put a button on the ad or anything, just a story and a link—and that one ad has increased my sign ups daily by two to three times.
AMY: Wow. So, I think the moral of the story here is you've got to experiment. Who knew that would be something that would work so well? But you went for it, and you tried something new, and you didn't even have a button there. And people are like, “What? I want to know more.” And that topic is very fascinating. But, guys, don't ever think, “Well, her topic's different than mine,” or “It's so interesting or intriguing.” Like, no, no, no. There's always different things that we can experiment, for sure.
So tell me, beyond that ad, what other strategies have worked really well for you in terms of growing your email list?
ANDREA: Well, especially early on, and then now I'm a little more selective, but especially early on, guest posting. If there's a shared audience and there's an opportunity guest post, I will absolutely do that. I did that a few months ago as well. And I wrote a post about E.C.ing my five babies, with photos from my Instagram, and that ended up accidentally getting featured on Snapchat, which I've never even been on before. I don’t even know how it happened. But this very large parenting blog that I did the guest post for did a really good job marketing. So I would say definitely aligning yourself with a couple of blogs out there or influencers that have a similar audience is great.
And then my websites are completely optimized to only funnel people into my freebies as sort of the home pages. So Tiny Undies is like attempt—so if you have a physical product, which is probably a little more rare with your audience, a 10 percent off code that pops up, that's how I collect emails for Tiny Undies. For Go Diaper Free, it divides people up by age, and then straight to the freebie sign up, which is the Easy Start Guide and my Potty Training Primer. And then from there they get nurtured. They start to interact with me. I ask them questions in my email sequence, and I get them warmed up. And then I do make them an offer. It's kind of old school, but the way that I get them on my list is by just having a really effective landing page for my freebie sign up.
And then, just generally word of mouth. You get people to like and trust you, they're going to tell other people about you.
AMY: Yes, I agree with that. And I'm all about old school, simple opt-in page to a freebie? Like, bring it on. So fantastic.
Okay, so I have so many questions for you. We're going to wrap up soon. But one question that I know my audience would find very valuable is the fact that you hired a virtual assistant early on in your business. And can you talk about that? And if you were to go back and do it again, would you change anything about that first hire?
ANDREA: It was the best decision I ever made.
ANDREA: I would not change anything about it. Oh, it was great. So just to let you guys know. Remember, I launched to seventy-five people. About four months later, I was making $500 a month off this ebook. It hadn't quite hit yet. But at $500 a month, that's when I decided to hire a V.A. I found her—she's Filipino. I'm not working with her anymore. I’ve definitely—we’ve changed a few times. But she was five dollars an hour at the time. I hired her for five hours a week. I’m Filipino, so I was like, “Okay, this is a great match for me because I understand the culture enough to be able to work remotely together comfortably.” And my criteria were “You have to have perfect grammar and perfect spelling. And then these are the basics. Answer my emails, fix links. It's a digital book, so fix the links if somebody needs their book and can't get it. And basic research.” That's all I used her for. And what that did was that freed me from the distraction of doing customer service, which is not where I should be working in in a new business. And it really allowed me to grow and to be everywhere where my audience was, to find out which blogs I should be commenting on and trying to guest post on. She helped me research those places. And really, at $500 a month, how could I justify spending $100 a month on an assistant? But I did it anyway, and it was the best decision, investment, so that I could actually do more of the growing.
AMY: Yeah, I agree. I had the same experience. I hired in the U.S., but it was the best decision I made. It was five hours a week, and it allowed me to see, okay, if I can make this work, it led me into, what other position could I hire for down the road? It really just gets that ball rolling. So if you are hesitant to hire your first support role in the business, really consider a virtual assistant. I have other podcast episodes on the show about that, but both Andrea and I are on the same page. Best decisions we've ever made. Shout out to my very first assistant, Rebecca. I love you dearly.
Okay, so I have final two questions for you. And the next one is, what keeps you going? I kind of feel like I can guess here, but just tell me.
ANDREA: I want to quit. Like, every other week, I tell my husband, “I'm quitting.”
AMY: Okay, why? Tell me why.
ANDREA: Because something—I'm so sensitive, and if I see anything negative or challenging or anything, I just want to crawl into a hole.
AMY: I get that.
ANDREA: So I don't check my—I definitely let other people on my team handle customers and their critiques about what I have not done perfectly and stuff.
AMY: Oh my gosh. Yes.
ANDREA: So when I say I'm going to quit, or maybe I'm just having my kid won't sleep or something's going on where I'm just like, I have no energy, or I can't make it to yoga class, take care of myself, that's when I want to quit, you know? And I just want to be real about it.
But what keeps me going is we have this channel in our Slack that's called Testimonials. And my customers will send me the cutest little picture of their cute little baby on a potty, smiling so big. And they're like, “You have changed my life. And my baby, their bleeding diaper rash is gone,” or “Their constipation is gone,” or “I finally potty trained my three-year-old,” or “My newborn baby and I—I feel like I know what to do as a new mom.”
And I've even met people in the flesh here in Asheville. And they're the ones who are creepily looking at me from the other side of gymnastics, with all of our kids playing. And I’m like, “Why is this person staring at me?” And they come up, and they're like, “You don't know me. I know you. And you have literally changed my parenting experience.” And that, I seriously start crying and hugging them. And that is what keeps me going, that feedback from the impact I'm making on my community and helping people just tackle this new-mom, -dad thing and really it lights me up. It makes me so happy. And so I always look at those just to keep me refreshed and going forward.
AMY: Yes. We have a channel called Wins in Slack. Same thing. If I'm having a hard day—and I'm sensitive like you, for sure—and I'll go into that channel, and I'll remember why I'm working so hard and doing the things that I'm doing. So I recommend everybody have that channel, even if you're just starting out. And it might be you hear a few testimonials every month, it is worth it. So start—
ANDREA: Tape them to your wall and by your desk, and—take a picture, whatever it is—and look at it every day, because you are making an impact. It's awesome.
AMY: It is. It’s very awesome.
ANDREA: Gave me chills.
AMY: I'm so glad—me, too. I'm so glad you brought that up.
Okay, so final question: Where can my listeners learn more about you and your Go Diaper Free approach?
ANDREA: My website is at godiaperfree.com, and Tiny Undies is tinyundies.com. I have a podcast on iTunes and Spotify called The Go Diaper Free Podcast. A lot of people sort of dip their toes in there. I have YouTube—lots of great videos. It’s a Go Diaper Free channel on YouTube. So many videos just showing you if you're like, “What in the world does this even mean? What does it look like?” I've got lots of really cute ones that show it in action. And that explains, like, I just want to make this easy for those who want to do it, and everybody else, we can do potty training later. But you can find me anywhere by the name Go Diaper Free. And our Instagram is super fun. I post there and Facebook every day, and it's either a community photo—which they’re amazing. Our community is so cute—or photos of my own babies.
AMY: Perfect. Well, I'll make sure I follow as well.
Thank you so very much for sharing your success story with us today.
ANDREA: Thank you for everything you do for us, Amy. I'm so honored to be here.
AMY: Andrea, your kind words mean more to me than you'll ever know.
As we wrap up this interview, I just got to say and I think it's pretty apparent, that I am so blown away by Andrea—how she's set up her business and the success that she's seen. And it's so much fun to hear all about her approach and how she's really made her business simple, which I'm all about. And that's exactly what I teach inside of my program, Digital Course Academy®️, how to just focus on this one thing: creating and launching your digital course so that you can grow your business and you could keep it simple and you have more freedom. And I really do think that Andrea is such a great example of that.
All right. So, thank you so very much for joining me today. I'll see you same time, same place next week. Bye for now.