ISOBEL ANDERSON: “After going through years of chronic illness and having to let go of my music identity for a long time, what I've learned in that is that in every single fiber and cell of my being is potent creativity. Every single piece of me is brimming with creativity. So even in the times where I've only been able to literally sit on a couch; I haven't been able to talk; I haven't been able to type, text, handwrite; I've been basically pretty much locked in; I still have, you know, potent amounts of creativity in me. So that means whatever I'm doing, it has creativity in it, too. And to me, being alive is about being creative. That is being alive. So if I'm not tuned into that, then I'm not living.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the 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 a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: Real quick, I wanted to talk to you about another podcast that I think you might love. It's called Being Boss, and it's hosted by Emily Thompson, and it's really just an exploration of not only what it means but what it takes to be a boss as a creative business owner, freelancer, or side hustler. So Being Boss is an amazing resource for anyone interested in getting inspired and, more importantly, getting started as their own boss.
So, head to wherever you get your podcasts to check out Being Boss. And I recommend starting with her episode on releasing the sense of urgency in business. Especially coming back from my sabbatical, this episode was a great reminder to slow down and be intentional. You're going to love it.
Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast.
Listen, I'm not going to lie. This interview today brought me back to the time that I accidentally canceled a Tony Robbins masterclass the night before we were supposed to go live, and it wasn't supposed to be canceled. All of the people that registered for the webinar actually got a note saying this has been canceled. I was mortified. And it's moments like these that give us a few lessons, like slow down just a bit. But also, it shows us how resilient we are. That moment taught me that I can get past any tech headache or hiccup that comes my way. So it was a huge learning lesson.
Well, my guest today is Isobel Anderson, one of my beloved students. And she's going to share a story about the time she deleted her entire email list three months before her big launch. I know, right? I can just imagine the heartbreak. But that didn't stop her. She's scrappy, she's resilient, and she's going to share all about it in this conversation.
Now, we also talk about how she went from deleting her list to actually doubling it during her launch. And she's going to recap what she did on her fourth and best launch. You're going to love it. I think you're going to want to take some of these tips and strategies she uses and put them into your launch.
And she's going to share a lot about the struggle she had about worrying about what people think of her. And she still struggles with it, and she's really honest about it. I love where we went with this conversation.
She also added something new to her fourth launch, something she'd never done before, which is tiered pricing. And to me, that is such a great way to increase your revenue, which she did, by the way. So she's going to break down the three different tiers that she offered in her course. I think you're going to find it really interesting and valuable.
All right, my friend, whether you're a new entrepreneur, dreaming of creating your first digital course; or you are an experienced entrepreneur, and you're looking to up level; there's something for you in this episode, including something Isobel has realized over these four launches that has made every hardship and success along the way totally worth it. I'll let her share that part with you.
All right. Let's go ahead and dive in.
Welcome to the show, Isobel. I am so glad you're here.
ISOBEL: Thank you, Amy. It's amazing to be here because I've listened to so many episodes of your podcast, so it's just wild that I'm on it now with you.
AMY: Well, we're so pleased to have you, and you've got a great story, so I can't wait to get into it. So let's start at the top. So share with everyone a little bit about who you are and what you teach.
ISOBEL: Sure, yeah. So my background is in music. I have a twenty-plus-year career in music and have a Ph.D. in sonic arts, so all things music, audio; and have self-produced, self-released four albums. I’ve amassed over twenty-five million Spotify streams. So I kind of had that background.
And then, I went through a lot of different chronic health problems, which were incredibly difficult, and for years, you know, just really simple things like even being able to wash my hair was difficult. And so I had to really rethink what I was doing, how I was working, and just what I was going to do with myself in general. And that's when I started thinking, “Well, I've got all this experience in my head, so maybe I can do something that would be, you know, about teaching others things, even if I'm not kind of pushing and hustling with my own career.” And so I started thinking about coaching, and then eventually I came across your work, actually. I came across this podcast, and I was like, “Oh, hang on a minute. Like, I quite like the idea of a digital course,” and I then started getting a lot more experience of teaching just in person in different industry colleges in London.
But one thing that really, it always niggled at me the whole of my life, as someone who's interested in recording and sound production as much as I'm interested in singing, performing, was how I always seemed to be the only woman in the room—maybe there'd be, like, one other woman—and how a lot of the training in music production is so one dimensional. It's very focused on the technical. And I just saw that those two things were not a coincidence. You know, there was a link there. And so I was like, “I know there's a gap in the market, but more importantly, I know that there's more that we can do to help more women access these tools.”
Not everyone's going to want to go and do a Ph.D. in sonic arts like me, but so many female musicians will want to have the skills to empower themselves to make music on their terms. So that's now what I teach is I have a course, I have a podcast, and I teach women how to home record their music so that they can actually be empowered to make those decisions and be in the steering wheel, really, with their career.
AMY: Ah, I love your story, and I love that you were able to identify that need because you were in it, and you were paying attention, and you saw what was going on. So you're the perfect person to do it.
But I want to kick us off with a conversation around you deleting your email list three months prior to your fourth launch. I've never heard of anything like this before, so I'm, like, “Uh, we need to talk about it.” So talk to me—okay, and my favorite part of this story is you proceeded to double your email list during this launch. So I don't know what's going on. Tell us what happened. I love the scrappiness here.
ISOBEL: Yeah. So it was just, it's so funny how my brain works, where it takes me a while for me to go into panic mode.
ISOBEL: So it's so funny, like, hearing you say, “I've never heard this before,” because at the time, I was, like, “It's fine. It's totally fine,” you know? And then a few hours later, I'm like, “Is it fine? No, this isn’t fine.”
So basically, I was trying to tidy up my list, and I did this really, really awful rookie error, after years of now, like, managing my email list, of not backing up the list before I start twiddling around with it. And so I'm highlighting names of people who have unsubscribed. They're just clogging up my contacts, and they're costing me money. And I'm like, “I need to just take these people off.”
And instead of highlighting just them, I highlighted the whole list and then clicked Delete. And it even said—I mean, I can't even blame the software. Like, it kept saying—
AMY: “Are you sure?”
ISOBEL: “Are you sure you want to delete your list?” basically. And I was like, “Yeah, definitely.” And like, oh god, yeah. Okay, yeah, sure. Like, capital letters, Delete.
But then I started seeing the numbers go down. And my list at the time was about three thousand eight hundred, and I just kept seeing the numbers go, literally, it was taunting me with the numbers going down. It’d go down to two thousand, one thousand seven hundred fifty. I was like, “Oh, hang on a minute.” And then as I saw it was going down, I was like, “Oh no. I deleted the whole list.” And so I immediately downloaded what was there before it was updating. I managed to salvage about seven hundred fifty emails, and then I had to kind of, you know, try to get people to resubscribe because that's nearly impossible.
But what then happened was—and I think this is why I've realized over the last few years that I'm naturally an entrepreneur—is that I immediately just go into, “Right, what do we do? How is this going to be good?” You know, and I mostly, however delusional I might have seemed at the time, I was like, “This could be good. This could be good for me.” And so I approached it like that. I genuinely did. But my boyfriend always looks at me—and my boyfriend's called Miguel—and he'll just look at me like, “Why are you not freaking out?” And I think I have these kind of, you have, like, delayed reactions sometimes. This was definitely one of them.
AMY: I think that's a great trait to have, a delayed reaction to panic. I feel as though that could serve you well. So that’s good.
ISOBEL: I think so. I think so. And like I said, I do have that kind of attitude of when something goes wrong, I will quite quickly kind of be like, okay. So I was like, okay, action, mates. And then I was like, you know, getting the new lead magnet together and thinking about the fact that some of those people on my list genuinely had been there for about three or four years, and my business had changed an awful lot. And I thought, “Well, you know, the ones that are really aligned, some of them are going to come back in. But also, I can put a new lead magnet out and, you know, really speak to people who are genuinely people I can help.” So—
ISOBEL: —that's how I saw it.
AMY: Well, great attitude.
So then, you went on to actually double your email list. Was it during the launch that was coming up?
AMY: Okay, talk to me about how you did that.
ISOBEL: Yeah. So I mean, I put together, like, a whole new quiz, which is called Discover Your Perfect Vocal Mic. That felt like a good kind of way to speak to people that were a really good fit for my course. But the biggest list builder was my free five-day challenge, which was all about kind of kick starting your home-recording practice and planning out, basically, your next recording project or maybe your first recording project. So that brought in the most leads.
And I have found personally with launching, you know, four times properly, five times kind of because I did a beta launch, but the biggest list builder for me has been challenges and webinars. So it's been live launching that’s really built my list.
AMY: Ah, you're preaching to the choir. It's my favorite way to grow your email list quickly and to make really good money. So I love that you said that.
Now, tell me this. You did a challenge. You did a live masterclass, like you said. So how did you promote your live masterclass in your challenge?
ISOBEL: Predominantly Facebook and Instagram ads.
AMY: Oh, okay. Tell me about those ads. Like, what did that look like? What were your ads about? Were they video? Were they static images? What do you do?
ISOBEL: Yeah, they were a combination. So I did images. I've really enjoyed getting more into the marketing side of things and even Facebook ads, which I know lots of people will be listening, thinking, “What? It's so boring.” But what I do enjoy is thinking about how you communicate something to someone.
So for example, I have an ad which is a gif, and it's an audio interface, which if anyone doesn't know what that is, it's just a little box, basically, you plug your mics into when you record at home. And it's got a little audio interface, and it's got these two kind of evil eyes, and it says, you know, “Is your audio interface staring at you from across the room?” because so many people that I speak to, some of the women I teach, they'll say, “Well, I'm just never using it. It's like it's just staring at me, and I can't work up the guts to just plug it in.” So it's little things like that that I'll do, which are a little bit playful, a little bit kind of fun. I did some that were Reels where I'm having a conversation with myself, and the other part of myself is my imposter syndrome. So playful things like that.
And I know that you do a lot of that, Amy, and I’ve kind of watched what you've done over the last couple of years with adding more Reels in and using them as ads, because I think that any time you can make it feel more fun and playful, I think that's really powerful with advertising, obviously. So I try to do that.
AMY: It’s so true. And for me, like, I really have to come out of my shell because that's not—in business, playful is not my first thing that I go to, but I've noticed the more I could just stop taking things so seriously and just kind of have some fun, that really translates to my audience, and it lets them kind of take a breather and don't have to take themselves so seriously as well.
ISOBEL: Yeah. And I think that, actually, for me, what I found as a musician was when I was on stage a lot of the time, I'd be writing songs that were, you know, about really difficult experiences. It's all that, the typical stuff that musicians—
AMY: Brooding, the moody kind of stuff. Yeah.
ISOBEL: Yeah. Everything's like super, you know, heartbreak and all that stuff. It's actually really liberating for me to be able to show that side of myself now in my business, and I feel like that's becoming a bit of my brand is the fact that, you know, I do love being playful. I do love having a joke. I love laughing at myself. Like, most of my Reels are me kind of laughing at myself as much as a topic or an idea. And it's really nice to be able to show that part of myself in what I do every day. And I'm not doing that every day, obviously. But I think that's a really important way of connecting with people that is not—because I think this is the other side to this in marketing is be divisive, start arguments. You know, it's that kind of message of have an opinion. But I think—
AMY: [unclear 15:55], yeah.
ISOBEL: Yeah, exactly. And I think there's a place for that, don't get me wrong. It's not that I think that's 100 percent wrong, but I think when you can inject some playfulness and some creativity and that kind of life and joy, I think people respond to that as well. And the right audiences, my kind of audiences, respond to that.
AMY: And I want to point something out that I think is so refreshing about you and something that we all could learn from you, and that is that, you know, you could look at this, you were in a very specific niche with what you do, that you could say, “Marketing's not my thing. Marketing’s so different than what I do, or it's too hard, or it's too different,” or whatever. But instead, you're like, “Actually, I'm going to let myself enjoy it. I'm going to find my way of doing it. And I'm one way on stage, but now I get to be a different way in my business,” and you embrace that. And I think sometimes we want to say it's hard or say it's overwhelming, but what if we let it be fun? What if we actually started to enjoy it? We might actually have a very enjoyable experience of marketing our products and making ads and figuring this all out online. Would you agree?
ISOBEL: Oh, yeah. I mean, I think it's amazing how much we think we know best and we don't, and we tell ourselves, “I don't like that.” Well, have you really ever tried? You know, have you ever, like, fully 100 percent given yourself to it? And I'm not saying, like—I've had my fair share of moments of, “Oh, my god, why can't somebody else do this for me?” Or “I don't ever want to do this again.” Of course, I have.
But I think that for me and I think after going through years of chronic illness and having to let go of my music identity for a long time, what I've learned in that is that in every single fiber and cell of my being is potent creativity. Every single piece of me is brimming with creativity. So even in the times where I've only been able to literally sit on a couch; I haven't been able to talk; I haven't been able to type, text, handwrite; I've been basically pretty much locked in; I still have, you know, potent amounts of creativity in me. So that means whatever I'm doing, it has creativity in it, too. And to me, being alive is about being creative. That is being alive. So if I'm not tuned into that, then I'm not living.
AMY: Oh, so beautifully said. Yes. I know someone listening right now is shaking their head like, “I needed to be reminded of that. Being alive is to be creative,” and how important it is to allow yourself to have that outlet. I love that you brought that up.
You know, when you were talking about running ads and experimenting and doing these different things, I was curious. When you launched for the very first time, did you use ads?
ISOBEL: I didn't on the beta one because that was very kind of spur of the moment. And I actually, just to transgress a little bit, I remember I’d just joined Momentum. Okay?
ISOBEL: And the pandemic had hit. And at the time, I was working on a kind of paid-by-the-hour contract in an industry college in London, teaching production, songwriting, all that stuff. So when the pandemic hit, all my hours got cut overnight. Literally overnight. I had no work at all, but I had this course that I’d been mapping out in Digital Course Academy. And I wasn't ready to launch it, because I'd been traveling up to London. I'd be staying overnight half the week in London and then coming back home. It was really full on.
But what I did was I did this challenge. And I just, like, did it totally—I got into hustle mode, pulled it out of nowhere, called it Clean Up Your Recordings, You Dirty Girl. And, again, the playful—
AMY: How fun!
ISOBEL: My podcast is called Girls Twiddling Knobs. Like, it's just all, you know, trying to kind of come up with catchy—
AMY: So good.
ISOBEL: —poppy kind of playful things. And I'm really different to a lot of music-technology spaces that never have things called that.
So anyway, I had ran this challenge, and during the challenge it was the first time where things started to click, because I'd been doing Facebook Lives every week and just wasn't really getting any traction. And suddenly, with this challenge, where everyone was invested for five days, it just all clicked, and I had all this engagement. And then by the end of it, people were saying, “Right, we love this. Where's the next thing?” And I was like, “Huh. Well, you could be a beta group on my course, which I haven't made yet.” And so enough people said, “Yep, let's do it.” And I did a really low introductory offer for founding members, and then every single week made it, you know, made a module a week, drip fed it. And as I was making it, it was intense. It was bonkers, but it was great, and I loved it. And I was like, “I want to do this.”
And I remember for that beta launch, the reason I'm saying this is I remember I’d joined Momentum just then as well. And I sent in a question saying, “Amy, I've just done my beta launch, and I've made five thousand pounds. Is that good?” You know, I had no idea. I had no idea. And I was like, “Should I launch this? Should I put ads in?” You know, this is what was going on in my head. And I remember that, like, watching that video and you saying, “This is really good.”
AMY: Yes. Yeah. Very good.
ISOBEL: “This is very good. Yeah, you should keep going, Isobel.”
AMY: Five thousand pounds, what is that in U.S.?
ISOBEL: Oh, yeah. Sorry. I actually even have a currency conversion, but I think it's, I think it's about six thousand.
AMY: Six thousand dollars.
AMY: So for your first beta launch, you made around six thousand dollars.
AMY: I mean, that is incredible. It's so, so good.
Okay. So wait a second, though. So you've gone on—this is so good—so you did your beta launch, and then you've gone on, because you recently did a fourth launch. Is that right? You're on your fourth?
ISOBEL: Yeah. So, like, apart from my beta launch and my fourth launch, there’s five in total, including my beta, yeah.
AMY: Okay, so tell everybody what you did on your fourth launch or fifth or whatever. I get what you’re saying. Yeah.
ISOBEL: Yeah. Fourth full launch. So for my fourth launch—well, just to kind of give a little bit of context, then I launched again, and I put in about seven hundred dollars’ worth of ads and made fourteen thousand eight hundred fifty dollars.
ISOBEL: Out seven hundred dollars in ads.
The next time round, I put in about four thousand dollars in ads, and I made fifty-five thousand dollars.
AMY: Oh, my goodness.
ISOBEL: So this is, like, in the golden age of Facebook advertising.
AMY: Yeah, I hear you. I know what you’re talking about. Yes.
ISOBEL: So I was cutting my teeth with, like, oh, right. Oh, okay. Like one-dollar—
AMY: This is easy.
ISOBEL: —investment. Yeah, this is great. And it was great, obviously. And then I did my third full launch, and I put in about twelve thousand dollars for ads, and I still made back fifty-five thousand. And of course, for lots of people, that would be, “Well, that's great.”
ISOBEL: But for me, I was like, “Oh no, what am I doing wrong? It's broken.”
ISOBEL: And of course it wasn't broken, but it did get me thinking, okay, well, you know, what could I do differently? Or what might I want to change to kind of tweak and play with with launching.
So this fourth launch that I just did, I put in three tiers.
AMY: Oh, talk to me about that. Tiers, I'm so interested in how people do this. I used to do this, so I'd love to hear.
ISOBEL: Yeah. And I think, I'm sure, like, you know, Amy, you know, there's pluses and minuses, so we can get into that a little bit later if you want.
ISOBEL: But basically, there's what I call the essential version, which is just the course, but you also get the Facebook community, the live Facebook community, and you get two Q&As every week for ten weeks, and that is six hundred two dollars. See, I've prepared all these figures for you.
AMY: I love that. So wait, six hundred and two? I love the two dollars there.
ISOBEL: Because that’s four hundred ninety-seven pounds.
AMY: Oh, gotcha. Okay.
ISOBEL: So then they're like, “Why would you price something at six hundred two?
AMY: Like, that’s a different strategy. Okay, gotcha. Okay, makes sense.
ISOBEL: Yeah. So I sell it in pounds, but it translates to dollars as six hundred two.
AMY: Got it.
ISOBEL: And then you can do a six-pay as well.
But then there’s also the accelerator version. So Home Recording Academy is accelerator, and that is with the course, the bonuses, and also the Facebook group and the Facebook Q&As. But you also get twice weekly Zoom group-coaching calls.
AMY: Oh, okay. Cool.
ISOBEL: So, yeah. And then that means that you can also get on a hot seat with me. Like, especially imagine my course, there's a lot of technical stuff. So you can get in a hot seat to pick my brains about something that maybe isn't working. You could even, like, share your screen, and we'll work through something together.
AMY: Wow, okay.
ISOBEL: But, also, you can get feedback on your recordings and your mixes. And so I'll listen to it in real time, and other people can listen in and watch this happening. So I found people have learned an awful lot for me listening to someone's mix and saying, “Right, the panning needs to come back here a bit. This needs to change. Maybe we need to clean up some of those frequencies.” And I'll just hear something really quickly, and a lot of my students will learn a lot from kind of seeing those mixes progress. So—
AMY: I bet. So that's very powerful. That's a very great offer, that second one. Okay.
ISOBEL: Yeah. So the second, and that is priced at, again, it's going to sound like a random figure here, but one thousand two hundred eight dollars. So that's nine nine seven pounds.
AMY: I'm glad, though, that it's significantly higher than the first, because if you're doing, like, listening to things and giving critiques, that's worth a lot. Okay, so great. That makes sense.
ISOBEL: Yeah. And you can do a six-pay as well. And I even had a—this is a little technique, but I think is good is having a twelve-pay in the back pocket.
AMY: Oh, yeah. Me, too. I love that.
ISOBEL: Yeah. Because I think, especially nowadays and especially where we're heading with basically going into a recession, I think having that in the back pocket is really helpful. So I had that for that one.
And then there's the platinum version, which is where you get everything that I just described, and you get three months of weekly, one-on-one time with me.
AMY: Oh, wow. Okay.
ISOBEL: And you also get a two-hour branding session on marketing your music as well. And you get some music-release strategy calls with the VA that I work with, who also happens to be an artist manager. So I'm trying to kind of pull on more of her skills as well.
AMY: I bet, yeah.
ISOBEL: Yeah. So it's the first time I've done it, so I've definitely kind of—and I'm still doing the one on ones, so I'm still kind of delivering it in a way. I've just wrapped up the ten-week live delivery.
AMY: Got it. And what was that priced at?
ISOBEL: That's three thousand six hundred thirty-one dollars, so two thousand nine nine seven pounds.
AMY: Okay. So really, that's great. Significant increase there as well.
There are parts of running my business that I absolutely love. My favorite part is getting to work on my brand mission. I love thinking about the big picture, where I want to take my vision and my business in the next year. Heck, I even love thinking where I'll take it in the next five years or the next ten years. But with every business, there are parts that I don't love as much, parts I don't want to spend my time on. You know, those tasks that you push off until the last possible moment.
Well, that's why I love HubSpot CRM, or customer-relationship-management platform. With over a thousand integrations that teams will actually use, HubSpot helps eliminate friction and save you time, so you and your team can focus on what they do best. From social-media tools that help you publish posts to ad retargeting that helps customers find what they love about you, learn how HubSpot can make it easier for your business to grow better, at hubspot.com.
I have some questions about these tiers. What you loved about them, what you didn't like about them, all of that. But how much did you make in your last launch?
ISOBEL: So in my last launch, I made, in dollars, eighty-four thousand and seventy-six.
AMY: That is incredible. That's a huge jump from your third launch. So your second and third launch, you made about the same, right?
ISOBEL: That's right, yeah.
AMY: Okay. So you got into that third launch, and I want to point something out that I would have done as well. You spent more money in ads, but you made about the same as the second launch, and you thought, “Oh no, something must be wrong. Something didn't work.” And I would have done that, too, and it's such an easy trap to get into. But I read this book called The Gap and the Gain, and when I am in the gap, I'm looking at what I didn't do. When I'm in the gain, I think, “Uh, I just made fifty-five thousand dollars. Again, I was able to repeat something that I had done. It wasn't a fluke. I'm continuing my momentum. This is fantastic.”
AMY: So we have to catch ourselves when something doesn't seem as good as last time, still look as far. Look, we've come so far. People would die to make fifty-five thousand dollars in a launch. That is a lot of money. So I love that you were able to continue to go, and now you made significantly more in your fourth launch. These three tiers, so incredibly smart. So tell me about your feelings about the tiers. What worked for you? What maybe you’d change? How did you approach that?
ISOBEL: Yeah. Well, I think one of the biggest pluses is that I know my students even more now. Obviously, I've spent so much more time on Zoom with them. I knew them really well already, but it's different actually being on a call with them and actually being confronted—like, as you go through the different modules, being confronted with the sticking points, being confronted with the same narratives that maybe come up again and again. And I'm actually at the beginning of revamping the course. And so it's been really helpful to go through this process and be like—
AMY: Oh, yeah.
ISOBEL: —I know what I really need to start giving more of. I know where maybe I need to take some stuff out. I know where maybe I, you know, that's not my stuff, and I can't take responsibility for everyone who ever takes my course.
AMY: Amen. Yes.
ISOBEL: Yeah. And that's I would say for me, that's been the hardest part, one of the hardest parts of business in this kind of business is knowing where your stuff stops and somebody else's stuff begins.
AMY: Mm. Talk to me about that a little bit. And by stuff, tell me what you mean.
ISOBEL: Well, I mean, I guess I'm meaning the negative stuff.
AMY: Yeah. All the stuff that we’ve got going on in our head.
AMY: Like, we can't control everything. It's so interesting you just brought this up. I was being interviewed for someone else's podcast an hour ago, and she was saying, “How much responsibility does the course creator have in terms of getting people results? And then what part does the student play?” And I said, “Oh, they both play a very big part. We are really responsible for delivering on what we promise, and setting up a course that is easy to get through and navigate, and helping them get to the finish line with whatever we feel appropriate to do. But at the end of the day, there's a student there that you cannot control everything that they're doing, saying, thinking, and how they're navigating through the course.” So you are absolutely right, that we can't control all of their stuff as well.
ISOBEL: No. But I mean, I'm a chronic people pleaser.
AMY: Same. Same, girl.
ISOBEL: You know, I hate the idea that somebody would—even someone I've never seen before in my life would go through my course and think badly about me. You know, I mean, I know that's my ego talking. I know that that's where it comes. It's not because I'm this incredible saintly person, but it translates into people pleasing. You know, I'm always trying to protect myself from somebody not liking me.
So this has been a really great piece of development, personal development for me, of being an entrepreneur is having to, you know, really put other things first and accepting that not everyone's going to get what you want from what you put out, or not everyone's going to get it, or not everyone's going to be consistent with how they start the course and how they end the course.
But the other flipside of that is that I hardly ever get emails from my students that, you know, where they’re unhappy with something. I'm very, I guess because I'm so conscientious—I was going to say very fortunate—but I'm conscientious about what I do, and I care that it actually has, it has an impact, and it has worth. And I really put a lot of my heart and soul into it. So I hardly ever get those emails.
But when I do get those emails, what I do know is that we won't end up with that email again, because I know that with a conversation and with that kind of understanding and meeting somebody and being able to just give them that space to have their stuff, not making it personal, not making it about me, I know that nine times out of ten it gets to a point where actually we are in a very different place, where they are making very different noises, you know, and I've learned something as well. So I think there's that.
But then there are also those times where you have to just accept that people have so many different reasons for having different filters on, you know, what you bring, what other people bring. I've heard people talk about this on this podcast before, you know. I don't think it ever takes the sting away. I'm not sure I'll ever get to a point with me where it ever totally takes the sting away. But I definitely can get to a point, and I think I'm already at that point now, where I can just put it over there and not let the tail wag the dog, you know?
AMY: Good. Yes. I think it's important. And you're aware of it, so I'm sure when it presents itself, you're working your way through it. So I think that's important. But when I think about these tiers that you offered and who you serve and how you serve them, I'm assuming that if you are working with people at a deeper level, some of the people, I'm assuming testimonials come quicker, people are getting bigger results. Would that be true?
ISOBEL: Yeah, I think so. I mean, to be fair, I've only just finished, like I was saying, I only just finished this live delivery. So I'm going to be going through the whole process of collecting testimonials over the next couple of months. But yeah, what I have found is I would say that the accelerator groups or the group-coaching group and the one-to-one group, the one-to-one students on the platinum version, I definitely think they've had a more profound experience. I definitely think that they've—it's those kind of mindset reframes that we've been able to get into in a lot of depth. And I can already see how that’s making a big difference.
And I think what's been really powerful as well for my students who have been on those group calls is they've seen students go through that development. They've watched other students go through that development.
Like, for example, one of my students, she was on the group-coaching calls, and she kept bringing mixes, and they'd be at different stages. Like, so one week it’d be really rough. Next week it’d get better. Week after that it’d get better. Every time, I’d give her detailed feedback in the moment.
And then she was just on this call totally separately with someone who's a music syncher for companies like Vogue and Vanity Fair. And she was getting feedback on one of these mixes, and this music supervisor was like, “Wow, this mixing’s amazing.” And she said, “Oh, yeah, I did it.” And this woman was like, “What?” And this is actually videoed, so she sent me the clip of the video.
AMY: Oh, that had to have been so cool to see!
ISOBEL: Yeah, totally. And I said, “Well, share it in the alumni group because it's really important that, if you're comfortable, it's really important that people see that because it shows that when you do put the time in and you do keep showing up and you do keep tweaking it and you go through that messy process, it's so worth it, the other side. And that’s how you get to that point where you’re seeing the results. That's how you get there. You don't get there because you're perfect first time.”
AMY: Absolutely, totally agree. You know, while you were talking about supporting people at this whole other level when you added these tiers, I remember when I started to bring people on camera with me. That just happened about a year ago, where I'll let people come on camera, ask me their question, and I do rapid-fire Q&A with my students. And I was nervous at first because to be put on the spot where you have no idea what they're going to ask you, and here they come on camera, and you're like, “I hope I can serve them,” did you have any anxiety? Like, what was your experience? What did you learn about yourself or your students or the experience in general, bringing people on live during those components?
ISOBEL: Oh, yeah. Massive, massive imposter syndrome. Horrendous. I mean, as big as me even thinking of making the course, you know? I mean, it's ridiculous when you see my CV on paper, and I'm saying I don't know if I'm the right person to make a course about women recording their music. And it's the same with going on camera and having my students face to face with me able to ask me any question at the drop of a hat. Will I know the answer? If I have to Google something, will they judge me? It's the whole of music production. How can I know everything? And everyone's working across so many different pieces of software. It's not even like I'm teaching music production in Logic or in GarageBand. I'm teaching it for anyone who—because I want it to be accessible, so I’m teaching it to anyone on any type of software. So of course I’m not going to know all the answers.
But again, this is something I know for me, it will always sting, you know? It will always be there. And I'm getting better at putting that to one side, and I'm getting better at seeing it for what it is, because kind of coming back to my course topic, it's a hangover of being the only woman in the room in these spaces most of the time. It's a hangover of everyone presuming that I haven't produced my work, because I'm a woman. You know, it's a hangover of all of that stuff, of people presuming that I'm just a singer where even though I'm studying an M.A. in Sonic Arts or whatever, like, it's a hangover of all of that, too. I know that it comes from that. It's not just about me as an individual. So I have to see that with some perspective as well. And that helps. It helps me to put it in that place, but it doesn't stop it being there, you know?
And I always talk to my students about this, like, it's okay for it to still be there. That's totally fine. It's about having that perspective so it doesn't make the decisions for you.
AMY: Absolutely. And another reason why I really love getting people on camera and doing the things that you're doing, like listening to their music and giving them feedback—which blows my mind that you'd be able to do that. It's such a huge talent I do not have. That ear you have is incredible—but I'm guessing that also, I don't know if you've experienced this, but it's great that you're not creating new content, but you're adding massive value in a course you've already created when you add that component. Would you agree?
ISOBEL: Yeah, definitely. And I think this is something that as I'm growing in my business I'm starting to kind of think more and more about from lots of different perspectives of, when you add value, that it's not always about making something a whole new course or a whole new module, even.
ISOBEL: Even though I am doing that stuff.
ISOBEL: I'm doing that stuff, too, which is exciting and creative, and I love that, you know. But it is also about thinking, “Right, how can I—” You know, I knew that people wanted more contact with me. I knew that. And I could see that that was growing every time I delivered the course. I think it's a hangover of the pandemic. I think it's from people being on Zoom all the time and people getting really comfortable with that, but also just really craving that human contact. And I knew that was something I could add in that would just feel so valuable and genuinely be valuable, that wouldn't require me to create anymore content.
It did require me, it has been more intensive. Like, of course it has. I've spent, you know, let's say ten hours a week of prepping answers to questions, being on the Q&As in the Facebook group, then being on Zoom. And then there's the one-to-one students. I only have four of them.
That's another thing I should say, actually, for anyone who's listening and thinking, “Well, I couldn't do the three tiers, because my audience can't afford a high tier.” I didn't think anyone was going to buy that top tier. I only had it there to position the second offer. I just thought, no one’s—because everyone's always telling me they don't have enough money to do the bog standard, like, six-hundred-two-dollar one.
ISOBEL: You know, everyone's always saying, “Oh, I can't afford it right now. I'll do it next time,” you know. So I thought that there's no way people are going to take the platinum version. I only have three places. And then somebody, I closed the call, and someone found a link that works. And so I have four platinum students.
AMY: Okay, that's fantastic. When you thought that they couldn't afford it. Yeah. That's another thing for people to try these different tiers because you'd never know. And also, it's a great marketing strategy. If you have something that's three thousand dollars and six hundred dollars, the six hundred feels very affordable to those that can't afford the three thousand. So it's a really great way to show what's possible for them. So I love that you've done that.
But I'm curious, now that you've done the beta and the four launches, what do you think you'll do differently moving forward?
ISOBEL: Well, I'm really excited about moving forward because I feel like I'm stepping into a new phase with my business. I definitely have proven, obviously, that this course is successful.
ISOBEL: I’m sure I can take it further, of course. But I've started to think about the whole kind of journey for my students, I guess, either side of that. So I'm now seeing this course as the middle of the sandwich. And so I'm now putting together an evergreen course that is for people that—I find with some people, they don't want to do my ten-week live-delivery course because they think they're not ready yet, because they think they don't have the right equipment, or they're not experienced enough. Even though I keep saying it's for beginners, it's for beginners, it's for beginners, till I'm blue in the face. But you have to listen to your audience. And I’m like, okay, I know some people will want a really quick starter course, of, say, getting to know GarageBand, which is free for most people. Most people have a knocking about on a Mac, if they've got a Mac. So I'm seeing it more as this journey where they can take this evergreen, you know, like, really bite-sized course and just get started; make a demo in GarageBand.
ISOBEL: Then, if you liked that, you can do Home Recording Academy, and we go through everything to do with tuning your ear in mixing. It gets really conceptual. It's also really practical. I love it.
And then, when you've gone through Home Recording Academy, you can go a bit more advanced and go into something that I specialized in, especially during my Ph.D., which is field recording. So it's going out and recording the sounds outside, and that can be an urban environment, can be a rural environment, it could even be around your house, and then integrating that into your music.
And what I find is a lot of my female students are really interested in this. And so I kept sort of listening to my students in HRA and thinking, “Hmm, okay, maybe I could do a course about this.” So I'm currently really full-blown, hunkers-down, making that course.
ISOBEL: So the idea is to have these two evergreen courses that kind of are the bread to the Home Recording Academy sandwich, basically.
AMY: Okay. This is the beautiful thing about being a digital-course creator. When you get that first course out there, no matter if it needs some work or not, you're going to get that first iteration out there, your audience, over time, especially if you continue to launch like you have, they'll show you, they’ll tell you what they want. It will be very obvious. Having that starter evergreen course is brilliant, just to get their feet wet. They're going to fall in love with you and what you teach, and now they're going to want to come on this journey with you, and they're probably going to be even more prepared and confident to dive into this, the signature course you have, the ten-week course. And then what do they need afterwards, and what can you add to the experience? I love that you're doing that. So that's amazing.
Now, you live launch like I do, and you're going to have evergreen soon like I do. But when it comes to live launches, are there things that you might do in your next launch to avoid some burn out?
AMY: I know. I know that was something that you were like, “I need to pay attention to that as well.”
ISOBEL: Yeah, I really do. I really do. I mean, so I also took your course Systems That Scale, which I loved. And so I've started implementing that. But what it's made me get more confident with is implementing systems, obviously, which is the point of the course, but—
AMY: It's working well. That’s perfect.
ISOBEL: Yeah, it's working well. And it's really making me see how, you know, with this course it was very much, with this launch, because I made so much new stuff and the new tiers, the new challenge, it was a new webinar, because I had to kind of freshen everything up, it was all a lot of work. And now I can kind of bake that into systems for the next more couple of launches at least. So I'm like, okay, I know that I need to—what I will do is put that into systems.
I think what I’m noticing in each launch is that emotionally I'm getting more grounded and steady, which is really nice because at the beginning I felt so, so scared, you know, so scared. And I have to remember this when I sometimes get a little bit frustrated with some of my students, where I'm just so further ahead in terms of recording and production, it's easy to forget how scary it can feel when you're doing something that, you know, just feels so vulnerable and feels so new. And so when I did my first proper launch and I’d spent money on ads and I was doing all the webinars and everything, I literally called up my parents, and I was in tears. I was like, “What am I doing?” because it just felt so unsensible, you know? It felt so unsensible.
AMY: Yeah, the first time out, that is a lot. So I'm glad that you've talked about that.
ISOBEL: Yeah. It felt like—but this is a phrase I always come back to, which I hope is going to be helpful for some people listening. It's not my phrase. It’s from Headspace meditation, and it's where Andy said in one of these meditations, he said, “In this meditation, just imagine what would you do if life was a dream?”
And so I always come back to that phrase. And I always think, “If I was dreaming right now, what would I do?” And what that does is it brings you back to a core decision, or am I going to be propelled by fear right now, or am I going to be propelled by joy? Because in a dream, you're always going to choose joy. You're always going to be like, “Oh, well, it's a dream. Well, I’m going to fly, and I’m going to eat whatever I want, and I’m going to…” you know, whatever it might be. “I’m going to go over and kiss Brad Pitt.” You know, like, if it's a dream, you just do whatever the hell you want, and you do it because you don't think everything's going to go wrong. You do it because you know everything could go right, you know?
So I always try to come back to that. And even though I was, you know, blubbering on the phone to my parents, like, “Oh, my god, what have I done? What am I doing? This is so scary,” but even in that moment, I'm like, “What would I do if this is a dream?” If this is a dream, I’d just go for it. I’d just do it, you know? And I would do it 110 percent, and I would enjoy it, and I would take risks, and I would be confident doing it and just have fun.
AMY: Absolutely. I love that. What a gift. “If this were a dream, what would I do?” I think it's a great question for people to ask, for sure.
Well, I have loved every minute of this. This is the first time I did an interview with a student where we talked about things a little bit differently and kind of got deeper into the conversation. So this has been absolutely incredible.
But we always end with rapid-fire questions. So can we do that?
ISOBEL: Yeah, of course. Yeah.
AMY: Okay. So the first rapid-fire question is, who is someone that's inspiring you at the moment, and why?
ISOBEL: Okay. So I would say that it's Pauline Oliveros. She's a trailblazer in electronic music and a really important female figure in experimental music, electronic music, and she actually was based in California. And so in 1968, she was one of the founders of the San Francisco Tape Music Festival. So she's, you know, slightly niche for a lot of people, I would say. But the reason why she's inspiring me right now is that not only was she an accordionist, an improviser, an electronic musician, but she was an academic and a teacher, and she created her own method and her own philosophy called deep listening. And she, sadly, died in 2016. But deep listening is still studied all over the world. It's taught all over the world. And I just really respect how she combined her love of music and creative experimentation with a really holistic, person-centered approach.
AMY: Sounds like someone else I know. I think that someone could say that about you. So I love that that's who you chose.
ISOBEL: Yeah. Yeah. And I just think there's a lot of bravery and integrity in that because she did it decades before, you know, and at a time when it was even harder to be a woman in that field.
AMY: Right. That's so cool. That is such a great one.
Okay. So what's some great advice that you've received in your life?
ISOBEL: I would say, well, maybe like coming back to that, what would you do if this was a dream?
AMY: Yeah. I was thinking that, too. I thought, that's really great advice. “What would you do if this were a dream?” That's such good advice.
Okay, how about a piece of advice you give to someone wanting to launch a digital course? There's a lot of people that are just on the fence still. They haven't taken that leap. What would you tell them?
ISOBEL: That's a really good one. I definitely think, well, again, what would you do if this was a dream? That's one. But, well, I think probably, I mean, again, it's something that I've heard you say, Amy, but clarity comes after action, and it's true. Like, you just won't ever learn what you need to learn unless you do it.
ISOBEL: And there's so many tools that are great for getting you ready to take that leap, but you need to take the leap. And the reason is not just so that you can say you've done it. Also, you can, you know, get somebody off your back, even if it's, like, this podcast or whatever. But actually, so you can learn. Actually, so that you can learn and become a better businessperson and know your customer better and all of that stuff. It doesn't happen unless you launch.
And I would say, like, one piece of advice is don't judge the success of you launching on the outcome; judge it on whether you've done it or not.
AMY: Ooh, that is powerful. Say it one more time to those that were multitasking.
ISOBEL: Yeah. So don't judge the outcome of your launch on, you know, the success of the launch on the outcome; judge it on whether you took action, whether you did the stuff. So make action your success, especially at the beginning.
AMY: I love that. That is so powerful.
And final question, what are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
ISOBEL: I'm really looking forward to the plans that I told you about, like making the sandwich that's in my head of these two evergreen courses, having the live course in the middle, and seeing where that takes me. And I think also, you know, something I'm scared about is the future of the fact that we are going into some even more difficult times, potentially. But I also know that there will be some amazing opportunities in that for developing what I'm doing, like, serving people even more. And just, I think by taking action, being one of those brands or one of those businesses that stays, that has staying power.
AMY: Absolutely. I have no doubt you have the staying power.
This has been so incredibly special. I appreciate the deep conversation we got to have. And if people want to find out more about you, where can they find you?
ISOBEL: Well, they can go to famalediymusicion.com, and there's free resources and all that good stuff on there. And also, I'm on Instagram, @femdiymusician.
AMY: I love that. I love that URL. That was really good.
All right. Well, we'll make sure to put it in the show notes as well. And thank you so much for being here.
ISOBEL: My pleasure, Amy. Thank you for having me on.
AMY: I just fell in love with Isobel the moment I met her. I love her entrepreneurial spirit and her ability to really get scrappy and make things happen. I also love that she puts an emphasis on enjoying the journey and really having fun with it. From the names of her podcast or her programs, all the way to the Reels that she creates and everything in between, she's having a good time. What a concept, right? It doesn't all have to be so serious and full of stress. It could actually be something you enjoy. I don't want you to forget that.
I also really loved that she shared some of the most vulnerable things about what she has come up against mentally as a course creator. I think many of you, including myself, could totally relate.
So thanks so much for joining me for the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.