NICOLE BURKE: “’Nicole, I know this is so awkward, but I just had to tell you, I've learned so much from your videos. I just love watch—' she's like, ‘I'm just learning to garden. And your videos make the world of difference to me.’ And I was like, she knows me. Like, she knows me and trusts me enough to walk up to me. And I was just, like, dumbfounded, you know? And I thought, this is what it's all about. Like, helping someone who you've never met, who you probably will never even see face to face, trusts you, like, build a relationship with you. And people are so—we are so much more 360, right? Like, we have all these parts to us. And if you can wake up someone's emotions, I don't care if they're, like, right about to buy from you, if they're, like, on the precipice, if you touch them emotionally with a video, you just got so much more than a customer. You know, you just literally got this very deep relationship and a loyalty that can supersede all those other things.”
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 PORTERFIELD: Welcome to another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy.
And I'm just going to tell you right now, this is one of my most favorite interviews. I usually record the intro after I do the interview, so I know what I want to say in the intro, and I know I'm going to sound a little dramatic, but holy cow, this episode was so action packed. And at the end of it you're going to start thinking, “I could do this. Amy, I've got this. This is exciting. This is going to save me money. I don't have to pay for paid ads if I do this strategy.” And there's absolute clarity in how to do it throughout this entire episode. Like, we make it very actionable. So by me, I mean one of my Digital Course Academy students, Nicole Burke.
So she has grown her business, Gardenary, like gangbusters by making video a major part of her marketing plan and selling her digital courses because of all this traffic she's getting with video. Now, when I say video, hold on for a second, because if you're anything like me, you just rolled your eyes, you kind of almost just checked out, you're thinking about changing this podcast episode to a true-crime one because that sounds more interesting—well, if you're anything like me—but don't do that, because I'm not talking long, drawn-out videos that you have to edit and you've got to look good and good lighting and professional. I'm talking, like, thirty-second videos, short-form videos.
She has changed her entire business this year by doubling down on short-form videos. Wait to hear how much she spent in 2021 on paid ads and how she dramatically slashed that spending in 2022 and 2023 because of these short-form videos that she's creating with her smartphone and her eleven-year-old daughter, who's filming some of them. Like, just wait till you hear what she’s done.
The greatest thing about this episode is Nicole is going to share the video tips and strategies that she has used in her own business to skyrocket her organic reach. And she's using Instagram and TikTok and YouTube and Pinterest, but you can use whatever you want, and she's just giving you some really solid how-to strategies that you can apply the minute you turn this episode off.
You're also going to hear how Nicole comes up with engaging content ideas, how often she posts, and some practical tips on how she makes this work, especially because she has four kids and doesn't want to be on the video hamster wheel every single day. So you're going to learn how she gets out so much content in such a short time.
One of my most favorite episodes because, one, I just love Nicole. She's here in Nashville with me. She's a star student of Digital Course Academy. She does incredible things with her digital course. But she's cracked the code on not spending a bunch of money on paid ads. And everyone wants to know how to do that, right?
So let's get to it. I won't make you wait any longer. Let's bring on Nicole.
Welcome to the show, Nicole. I'm so happy to have you here.
NICOLE: Oh, my goodness. I can't believe this is happening in real life. I cannot wait to chat with you today.
AMY: Me, too. And you have such an interesting story that I know my audience would love to hear. So can you share a little bit about your business and how you got started so that we kind of start from the beginning?
NICOLE: Yes. So you know how so many people these days really want to have a garden—
NICOLE: —or they say, “Oh, my goodness. I think I would love to have a garden in my backyard,” and then they put on those three letters afterwards and they say, “But…”
AMY: That is me. That is me.
NICOLE: And they say, “But…” Yes. You said this to me, too, right?
NICOLE: So they say, “But I don't have time. I don't have enough space,” or “It's so confusing and overwhelming, so I'm not going to do it this year.” So that is what, that is who my company is for. So my company’s name is Gardenary, and its two words combined, gardening is ordinary.
And so I am a busy mom of four, business owner, and I'm not a homesteader, right? I'm not, like, farming my land and putting up cans of food every day, that kind of thing. But I have found the joy of just stepping outside, grabbing a few things right before dinner or for a smoothie or a juice. And I love it so much that I want and truly believe that everybody in the world should have that experience, just even in the smallest piece of their everyday life.
And so what we do at Gardenary is we broke gardening into a three-step process. So someone who has never kept a plant alive before in their life, we have a system that teaches them how to start from the beginning and become experienced and competent enough in the garden that they can pick fifty-two harvests a year, even if they have a little, small space.
NICOLE: So we do this through online courses, which you may know one or two things about; I'm not sure. We do it through online courses. We have an online shop where we sell supplies, raised beds, trellises. And then, I also certify gardeners around the country to become consultants. So they teach our methodology locally, which as you know, is so important for gardening.
So that’s what Gardenary is. It’s education, it's equipment, and then it's consulting all together.
AMY: I had no idea that you certified people. I love that. That’s such a cool extension of your digital course.
But before you did digital courses, you did this in person. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
NICOLE: Yes. So this all started in 2015. I had taught myself to garden with my husband, actually here in Nashville. I had four kids in four and a half years. So way back in 2011, Amy, I was doing good till I brushed my teeth every day.
NICOLE: But right around that time, my oldest, you know, we were all at home all day. And she looked at me, and she said, “Mommy, when are you going to start my garden?”
NICOLE: And I was like, “Oh, that sounds like a good distraction from the kitchen and the laundry and life.” So we tried; we failed pretty miserably that first year. But the few things we brought from the garden, literally, Amy, it, like, gave me my life back. I was just in a place that I wasn't quite sure where I was. My career was kind of halted. I was home all day. I love being a mother, but it is life changing, and it was a big, big shift for me. And so those moments out there watching nature do its magic, it literally gave me new life.
And so when we moved to Houston in 2013, we really started to have great success in the garden, and we got a system down. And when my youngest turned old enough to go to preschool, I suddenly had three hours of time on my hands, you know, every morning. I’m like, “What am I going to do?” And I definitely, I cleaned the house thoroughly, you know, the first two days, and I was like, “Okay. That’s done.”
NICOLE: I’m like, “I did that. Now I would like to do something else.”
So I started my first business, I called it Rooted Garden, and it was a consulting business. So I would go to a client's home, do a consultation with them, which is what I'm going to do with you one of these days.
NICOLE: So then, we would take the design and install it. So I use a raised-bed system. So I would, I even built those first raised beds myself.
NICOLE: And we built the raised bed, and then, clients would say, “Hey, can you come back and take care of these?” So I started doing maintenance as well.
So this was, I honestly, Amy, had very little money to start this business. So I took a preschool refund check of four hundred fifty dollars, and that's the only money I've ever put into this business personally. And in the first year, Amy, my little business made over a hundred twenty thousand dollars.
AMY: Oh, my goodness. I bet you weren't expecting that.
NICOLE: I was not. Now, that's not take home; that's gross.
NICOLE: But it was just, like, so—it was like a dream come true. And so I did that through 2015, 2016, into 2017. And I was using mostly Instagram to market my business. So I would just—that was back when Instagram was photos. I don't know if you remember those days.
AMY: Oh, yeah.
NICOLE: But I could just take a quick snapshot of a garden and post it. And I ended up having a following, pretty good following. At that time it was probably like a few thousand around the country. And I was very busy, very, very busy, like, busier than I expected to be. And this is when I was watching tons of YouTubes and came across, first, Marie Forleo. I was first watching Brené Brown. Then, I watched Marie Forleo interview Brené Brown. Then, I got into Marie Forleo. And then, Marie Forleo introduced me to you.
AMY: I love that. And then, so how did DCA play a part in your business evolution then? And DCA, meaning Digital Course Academy. But where did that fit in?
NICOLE: Yeah, so I am an OG, Amy. I’m pre DCA.
AMY: Oh, wow. You were around when I didn't have DCA but I was teaching courses and webinars.
NICOLE: Exactly. So in 20—so I went through that first full year, Amy, of Rooted Garden, all of 2016. Into 2017, I had my busiest spring I'd ever had, and I actually put myself in the emergency room—
AMY: Oh, no.
NICOLE: —like, three times toward the end of that season because I was so busy that I wasn't taking care of my body. So I had, like, almost a kidney infection. And that was a wake-up call of okay. I was, like, maxing out my time. As a mom of four, I was just maxing out my time. I still wanted to do what I was doing. I loved it. But I thought, “I've got to find a way to scale this that isn't just more and more time of mine,” because I was out.
NICOLE: And so that year I actually had already signed up for B-School. You taught a bonus course in B-School. And so I listened to Courses That—I took my kids on a road trip that summer, and I listened to Courses That Convert all the way there and all the way home, and came home and made my first course, called Salad School. My system is learning how to grow leaves first. So I made an introductory course that year, that fall. And then, I made my certification course, actually, because I realized there was such an interest in—and there was as much interest, it seemed, in people starting a business like mine as there was in learning to garden like me. And that kicked it off.
So now—and that fall I started a new company, and that's where Gardenary came in. So Gardenary is 100 percent online and was really inspired through you and through Marie Forleo. But you were the teacher. I mean, you're the one who made it happen for me, because you were so practical and just step by step. And once I learned how to make a course, there was, like, no stopping me. I could just make a course about anything.
NICOLE: And it was so empowering, so empowering.
AMY: I love this so much.
Okay. So, I want to dive into your marketing strategy and how you've done something that a lot of people are not doing, which is you've made short-form video a big part of your marketing plan.
AMY: And I know that you were in a position where you were able to hire someone to help you with your videos. But for a lot of my students, that might not be possible, so we're going to keep that in mind as we share this. But why, first of all, did you make this big shift, recently, I think, to these short-form videos?
NICOLE: Yes. So I've been doing short-form video for years. You know, even back when they made us make them square, you know, I would do videos. And I noticed even then—this was before Reels, before TikTok was a thing—that I remember one time I did this little—I told my kindergartner to cut some microgreens in the kitchen, and that video got, like, twenty-one thousand views at a time when I had, you know, four thousand followers.
NICOLE: So I could tell—yeah—I could tell early on that video was the thing. I was too overwhelmed to do long-form video on YouTube. I just honestly didn't have the time and didn't have the videography skills. So I've been using short-form video for a long time. When IGTV became big, I used that a lot and had a lot of success.
But what we started doing, thanks to you and lots of training, is we started using paid ads as a key way to grow the business. So just to give you some context, in 2021, I spent over six hundred thousand dollars on paid ads.
NICOLE: Now, it performed so well for us. We got, you know, for my key course, which is called Kitchen Garden Academy, we got, like, thirty thousand leads in January, I mean, it was just tremendous.
AMY: That’s insane.
NICOLE: It was so awesome and working so well until it suddenly was not. And so we got into 2022 and just saw leads getting more and more expensive through paid ads. And I was actually listening to a video interview with Ryan Holiday—
NICOLE: —and he mentioned this idea that as he grows his business, he would actually put more of his money toward great quality video and just organic content than he would toward paid. And I was listening to it—I was sitting there waiting to pick up my kids one day—and it just sparked a thought that, like, “What if I just really honed in and made video just, like, the number one way that we do our business?” So video's always been a part, but that mindset shift that happened around October of 2022, it was just a moment in time. Listening to that interview, I thought, “This is going to be it. Like, we're just going to go all in on video and use it as really, like, 98 percent of our business strategy.”
And Amy, like, today I'm going to tell you the stats in a second.
NICOLE: But, like, this year to date, like, our business is matching or exceeding, you know, what we did in 2021, and I've spent less than twenty-five thousand dollars on paid ads.
AMY: Oh, my goodness. So you went from six hundred thousand dollars in 2021 to about twenty thousand dollars in 2022 and now—
AMY: —meaning you cut that down drastically, and you believe that this video, short-form video, has allowed you to do that.
NICOLE: It is the only way.
AMY: Okay. So, I've got so many questions. The first question is when you say short-form video, how short, and where are you using this video?
NICOLE: Okay. So, our primary place is Instagram, but we do it everywhere, so Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube. Actually, now you can do it on Twitter, too, if you wanted to. I just haven't worked on that platform. You can also do it on LinkedIn. You can do it everywhere. Everywhere is short-form video these days.
A short-form video is literally anywhere from one second to one and a half minutes.
AMY: Oh, easy. So we're talking really short. I was really afraid you were going to say, like, ten minutes or less. And I'm like, “That doesn't feel short.”
NICOLE: No way. No, no, no.
NICOLE: It goes back to the editing floor if it's over 1.29 minutes.
AMY: Oh, my goodness.
AMY: Okay. So we are talking truly short. And in these videos, because I have some questions, a lot of questions, but in these videos, what are you putting in these videos? Are they voiceovers? Are they B-roll? Are they direct to camera, you talking? Are there words on the screen? What is this looking like?
NICOLE: Yes. So yes, yes, yes.
AMY: All of the above. Okay.
NICOLE: All of the above. So everyone has different strategies with video. I have a friend in the same space as me. Pretty much every one of his videos is the exact same format. For me, what I found to work is a wide variety. So if you check out Gardanary Co anywhere online, you're going to see B-roll videos. You're going to see voice-to-text videos, where it has that little robot voice on there. You're going to see long, like, very, like, quick clips over a minute and a half long with narration. You're going to see a short, little clip that takes five seconds. You're going to see things that have a lot of text on top, and then you're going to see just video that is just, you know, just video with no text at all. There will be no dancing. You will not see dancing on these videos.
NICOLE: You'll see some with me talking straight to the camera. You'll see some where you have no idea who it is that's doing the action in the video.
I would love to tell you, like, for categories. I think that might help.
NICOLE: Yeah. So in all of our videos, we're thinking about our audience, right? And I like to think, sometimes I think online business, I'm sure you can agree, it becomes, it's so, like, ambiguous. You're like, where is my business, and where are my people?
NICOLE: And so I love to see it like a town. I love to think of online like a town, and my business as, you know, a building, right? And so every single person that I'm ever going to work with in my business lives in my town. Just pretending, right?
NICOLE: And so I'm thinking about where they are in town. So I've got one group of people, and they are as far away in our town as they can be from me. So they've never heard of me. They don't even know that they want to garden. They don't really care about gardening, right? And so for those people, the key videos we're making for them are entertainment. And it's not dancing, but it's something that generally—my main definition of an entertaining video is it tells a story, because our brains are hard wired for story, right? Like, the minute you hear the idea, “I'm going to tell you a story,” you, like, lean in, right? You and I both like Donald Miller, so we know this is true.
So I have a lot of videos that have gone viral. And literally, Amy, the way I start the video is I say, “This is a story,” and then I just go through the story. But it literally starts with, “This is a story.”
My first two very viral videos on TikTok started just like that. “This is a story about how I grow tomatoes on an arch trellis over a hundred twenty days a year.” You know, things like that. And then I just walk through the story.
So the story, you can tell the story in two seconds. You can tell the story in a minute. You can tell the story however you want to. You could tell it just with pictures. But that's my first person that I'm trying to reach. I'm not trying to sell them anything. I'm not trying to get them to subscribe. I just want them to see my video. And I do that through entertaining.
The next one is the person who is interested in gardening, doesn't know that there are gardening companies. For them, I'm doing educational videos. So I'm trying to grab them with, like, “Here's a step by step. Here's how I plant radishes. Here's how I grow spinach in the middle of winter.” So I'm just grabbing—they're already interested in gardening, but they have no idea who I am, so I'm just getting known to them as a person who can educate.
So again, you can do all forms of short-form video, but your main goal to reach them is education. They're still going to get reached by the entertainment ones, but we're trying to, like, pull them a little closer to our building, right?
Then, the third person is the person who is pretty close to the company. They are very interested in gardening, and they actually follow garden accounts. They actually follow people who are helping them with a garden. For them, I'm focusing on showcasing. So I'm doing testimonial videos. I'm doing before and afters. I'm doing, like, wow videos, anything that's, like, a boom, like, “Wow, this is so shareable. This is so gorgeous. This is, you know, it's just amazing stuff.” That's what I'm trying to get to that person.
And then, the final person is the person who's literally driving by my building. Like, she wants to garden. She knows who I am. She follows me. She's trying to decide if she wants to sign up for my course or not. And then, for that person and only for that person, really, I'm making inviting videos. And that's where I'm saying, “Join this challenge. Sign up for my webinar. Come to my workshop. Download this guide,” where I'm trying to just get her into the building, right? And so she's really close, and for that person, I’m doing inviting videos.
So all of our videos that we post, we break them into those four categories. So we're always thinking, “Is this a showcase video? Is this an entertaining video? Is this an inviting video, or is this educating video?”
AMY: Whoa. That was powerful. Everyone listening, I hope that you started to think, “How could I use this in my business?” because I love the way you explained that. I've never heard that type of thing. I have a building. Where are they in the town? I love that.
Now, someone listening could say, so you essentially have four customer avatars, and the argument—not argument—the concern some people have is, “Well, if you make a video where it's just entertaining, but what about the person that's closest and they want to do something with you, are you going to lose them? These videos are for certain people, so what if the person that it's not for is watching it? Is that going to turn them off?” What do you say to something like that?
NICOLE: Yeah. I would say think about just building a relationship with a person. That's what we're doing. We're becoming friends with people. We're building trust with the people that we want to do business with, right? And that's, like, asking the same question of saying, “You know, I was trying to make friends with this person. You know, I told them a funny story. And so I don't know if they're going to like me anymore.”
AMY: Right. Good point. Yes.
NICOLE: Right? Yeah. So it's, like, this is a relationship. You know, just recently we were out in Nashville, having dinner, and this lady walked up to me—we were playing cornhole with my family—and she walked up to me, and she was like, “Nicole, I know this is so awkward, but I just had to tell you, I've learned so much from your videos. I just love watch—” she's like, “I'm just learning to garden. And your videos make the world of difference to me.” And I was like, she knows me. Like, she knows me and trusts me enough to walk up to me. And I was just, like, dumbfounded, you know? And I thought, this is what it's all about. Like, helping someone who you've never met, who you probably will never even see face to face, trusts you, like, build a relationship with you. And people are so—we are so much more 360, right? Like, we have all these parts to us. And if you can wake up someone's emotions, I don't care if they're, like, right about to buy from you, if they're, like, on the precipice, if you touch them emotionally with a video, you just got so much more than a customer. You know, you just literally got this very deep relationship and a loyalty that can supersede all those other things.
AMY: Absolutely. Okay. I am loving this conversation.
So, here's a question that kind of brings it back to, like, why you do what you do, because what sort of results have you seen when it comes to your social-media platforms using these short-form videos? And also, your email lists. Like, how do they help you grow your email list? What exactly do you do that it's going to help you grow your email list? And also, how is this translated into selling your courses?
NICOLE: Okay. Are you ready? I have got this on a notebook, Amy. So I was working out this morning, texting my integrator. I was, like, “We got to get this stat for Amy.” Okay? So this is straight from the stair stepper at the Y, okay?
NICOLE: So first let me tell you just a little bit of the numbers behind, like, what I'm doing, okay? So every single day, my goal is to post three short-form videos on Instagram and TikTok, and then not quite as much on YouTube and Pinterest. But I'm aiming for three videos a day. Some days I miss it, but we get pretty close. So we go, like, morning, noon, and evening, okay?
NICOLE: So at the beginning, I'm going to give you my social stats first, and then, I'm going to give you how it's translated into sales and subscribers.
NICOLE: So Instagram in January, before we started this strategy, I was at 260K followers. I'm now at 428K.
AMY: Wait. Since January?
AMY: You doubled your social following in six months, essentially, seven?
NICOLE: Well, not quite double. We basically went two hundred sixty to four thirty, so we've gone almost a hundred seventy-five, a hundred seventy thousand new followers.
AMY: That is very impressive. Wow.
NICOLE: I know. And I was slow before that. Like, 2022, I was pretty stagnant growth; 2020, very stagnant growth. So that's been huge for us. TikTok has almost doubled, 130 to 230K.
NICOLE: YouTube went from about 25K to 65K, and that's—
NICOLE: —all shorts. Yes, yes. And then, Pinterest went from about 60K followers to 100K followers.
AMY: You have found your sweet spot. You have—
NICOLE: All right, now, wait, wait, wait. I got to tell you these sales. You’re going to be crazy.
AMY: Okay. I’m ready. I’m ready.
NICOLE: Okay. So the key way we do this is that Instagram is our sweet spot because of Manychat DMs. I know you're using this, too.
NICOLE: And we started doing this in January. So what we do is we have a Manychat automation. Almost every one of my videos has a keyword, and so whenever I'm posting, I'll say, “Do you want more of this? Do this keyword,” okay? And so they put the keyword, and then we DM them the link to go do whatever we're telling them to do, which is download this guide, sign up for this workshop, whatever it is. Okay. So are you ready? This is so good.
AMY: I’m ready. I’m ready.
NICOLE: Forty-six thousand keyword uses since January. So that means—
AMY: That is a lot.
NICOLE: Right? So we've had forty-six thousand times someone has put in the word we tell them to put in to the chat, to the comments.
NICOLE: But here's the magic, Amy. Just guess, if you had to guess on, like, you know conversion rates, what would you think the conversion rate to a subscriber would be from that? And this is on the social-media platform, not on email, not on a website.
AMY: Okay. So they see a thirty-second video on Instagram.
AMY: You say reply the word “garden” to get this free PDF.
AMY: They reply the word “garden.” They go to their DMs. They get the link to opt in for the PDF. Is that what it is?
NICOLE: Exactly, exactly.
AMY: Okay. Got it.
NICOLE: And they have to—we're not even doing this all inside Manychat. Then, they have to go to the landing page and convert on the landing page.
AMY: So I'd say 5 percent, then. If they have to go through the landing page and all of that.
NICOLE: Thirty-two thousand people have subscribed.
AMY: What?! Oh my gosh. So what kind of—do you know what kind of conversion that would be?
NICOLE: I mean, that's, like, two-thirds. It's two-thirds. It's, like, 65 percent.
AMY: That is insane. Why do you think that is working so well?
NICOLE: They are so moved by the video, and it's so direct. I told them exactly, like, in the video touches them emotionally, I immediately, while they're there, give them exactly what to do. And then, everyone is in Instagram or on social—they're, like, everyone's trying to numb, right, from life.
NICOLE: We're all trying to find something good. And that's why we're on Instagram. That's why we're on social media. And you're literally catching them in saying, “Here's something so good, and it's free, so take it.” When she sent me that, I was like, “What in the world? Thirty-two thousand subscribers out of forty-six thousand people entering the word.” Crazy.
All right. So here's more of—
AMY: Insane. Okay.
NICOLE: It’s insane.
AMY: Also, I know people are going to want to see these videos. And so just so you all know, I am linking to where a lot of these videos are, her different social-media platforms in my show notes, amyporterfield.com/603. I'll send you—I’ll link to all the links that she's talking about.
Okay. Keep going.
NICOLE: Okay. So we have a membership. It's called Gardenary 365. The idea is you garden every day of the year. So from these keywords, we've gotten five hundred forty-four new memberships, which equates to about 15K, 15K recurring revenue a month.
AMY: Fifteen thousand dollars a month. Okay. Solid.
NICOLE: Okay. And then we have—we prioritize membership all through the spring. And then we did a little turn, and I was, like, I really should be prioritizing my signature course. So we did literally a last-minute hero effort in May to launch Kitchen Garden Academy with just, like, we probably did ten videos for this webinar. And we got three thousand leads from DM automation, just with about ten short-form videos. And we did a hundred thirty-seven sales for about forty thousand in revenue.
AMY: Oh, my goodness!
NICOLE: Okay. Now wait for this one. Then my—
AMY: There’s more?
NICOLE: —my certification program, we just have a keyword that is “apply.” It's an application experience. This is mostly evergreen. This is all organic sales. We've had eighty-eight new consultants come through since January for 250K in revenue.
AMY: Holy cow. A quarter of million dollars.
NICOLE: This is from the short-form video, Amy. No paid ads.
AMY: This is insane. People are listening right now, and they're like, “Hallelujah,” because they can't afford paid ads. And ads have gotten very expensive, as you know.
Okay. You know when it's a good episode, when in my mind, I'm like, “I've got to share this with Stacey,” who is my social-media manager. Like, “I got to share this with Stacey. I got to show this to Stacey.”
And okay. So, here's the truth. I don't like making video. I'm not comfortable with it. I don't necessarily like to be on video a lot. It doesn't come natural to me. Like, I was at dinner with Jenna Kutcher, and it does come natural to her. And we were just eating dinner, and she's like, “I want to catch a little B-roll.” So she went to another table—she didn't disrupt anyone—set up her camera at this other vacant table, and just let it run for, like, a minute. And then she went and grabbed it. And it didn't disrupt our dinner or anything like that. But I don't even think of stuff like that.
AMY: So which, Stacey, my social-media manager, would really love if I did. So here's the question. Number one, that's a lot of content. Three videos a day, right?
AMY: Okay. How do you come up with so many interesting content ideas? And also, does the quality matter? Like, are these, like, super-sophisticated videos? I'm assuming you don't have any background in video marketing or something.
NICOLE: Yeah. I love that you ask that. So I was a luddite, Amy. Like, I literally did not even own a smartphone until 2014, okay?
AMY: Okay. Look at you. I love it.
NICOLE: Yeah. So I literally have no background in this. My background is in business, math, and accounting, okay? So I'm new to it all. I would say, I'm going to talk about the quantity/quality thing first—
NICOLE: —and then I'll give you some tactics.
Okay. There was this really cool study. You probably heard about this. It was published first by Austin Kleon and then by James Clear. But it was, one was in a pottery class; one was in a photography class. So the teacher comes in, let's say, for the pottery, right? And he’s, like, all right. He divides the room into two groups. He said, “This group over here, you guys have to make a ton of pottery. Every single day, I'm grading you on how much pottery you make. You need to make as much pottery as you possibly can.” Then, he goes to the other group and he says, “I want you to make the best piece of pottery you can possibly. Your entire semester project is just to make one piece of fantastic, beautiful, priceless pottery.”
So come to the end of the semester. They look at everything. Guess who had the best pottery?
AMY: Well, I would have just assumed the people that were making the best pottery. But I'm guessing you're going to tell me different.
NICOLE: Well, all of the best pieces—
AMY: Why? Actually, I don’t even understand. Why?
NICOLE: Because of practice. You can't think your way to quality video.
NICOLE: You can't think your way through it, right? And so this same thing happened in a photography class. One group was graded on literally how many photos they took. It was literally a quantity grade. The other group was, what’s the best photo you can take? Same exact thing happened. All the best photos were judged and taken from the quantity group.
So everybody listening, I want to tell you screw quality. Literally, stop thinking about it—
NICOLE: —because it's keeping you from posting, literally.
And so I made a promise to myself this year. Like, that was a huge part of my method in January. I was having a talk with my cousin—we're, like, both entrepreneurs—and I was, like, “I have so many video ideas in my mind that I'm afraid to post.” And she was, like, “What are you afraid of?” And I was, like, “That it might actually blow up one way or the other.” And she was, like, “Yeah.” She was, like, “So just…” You know, you and I have both done Life Coach School, with Brooke Castillo. So, like, we're like, life coaching ourselves to, like, feel okay, no matter what the result is.
And so I started really trying to put myself more out there this year and not judge, not pre-judge, every video, and decide, first, for me whether it was high quality or not. The way you will get to quality is through quantity, because what you need is responses. Like, you are just one person, so what you think looks great or what you think is moving and changes people and gets people interested, and what you think is cringey and annoying and not worth posting, there are people out there who actually are literally waiting to see that video. Until you put a lot out there, until you just start taking the shots, you won’t know, because you're just in your head about it. And so this year we started—I mean, if I have an idea or if I have, like, a controversial thing that comes up or whatever, I just post it.
And I'll give you a quick example. I was at Home Depot with my daughter. We are dropping off all these pots to recycle. So this is kind of bad because I was, like, using their service. But Amy, it was spring. I'm sure you've been there. It was, like, April, and you could feel the buzzing energy in Home Depot. Like, people were just, like, land grabbing, you know? It was just, like, “Give me that pot. Give me that flower.” You know, everybody just had spring fever, and they were buying, buying, buying. And I've done that before. And I know that 90 percent of the things those people buy are not going to do well.
And so Elaine is my youngest daughter. She's eleven. So this will encourage everybody who thinks they have to have high-quality content, right, or videographer. So we walk back to the car, and I said, “Elaine, I would love to go into Home Depot and make a video. Would you please film me?”
NICOLE: And she's, like, “Yeah, I’ll do it.” So we literally are walking back from the car. I've got my purse across my shoulder. I'm wearing, like, you know, a Maui t-shirt, right? Like, I am not ready for on-camera video. And I turn to the camera, and I say, “We're about to go into Home Depot, and I'm going to show you everything you shouldn't buy right now.”
NICOLE: And so we go in, and we just go through the store, and I'm just pointing to things I already thought. And you have this—I'm sure you see things every day in your life, where you're thinking, “My students are falling for that. My students are falling for that. Gosh, I wish they wouldn't do that.” Right? And so it was just a moment where I'm like, “I got to save these people money,” you know?
NICOLE: And so we just, we went through the store. I came home. I forget what we were doing that night. We were going to dinner. So, Amy, I'm not kidding when I tell you, I had five minutes. And I sat down, and I just cut out a little bit of the blank spaces or the times where I was pausing. My daughter literally, Amy, like, at parts of it, I would say, “Don't buy this,” and she would take my phone and shake it to the side, like, “Nooo.” Like, that's how, you know, low brow this video making was, okay? And I posted it. In forty-eight hours, it had over a million views.
AMY: Why do you think something like that went viral? That's incredible.
NICOLE: It was so relatable. It was so timely. It was so timely. It was so relatable. I looked like a normal person because I am a normal person. I look just, like, a normal—I look like them. Like, I went to my daughter's soccer game that next morning, and this dad comes up, and he goes, “Why are you all over my social media, telling me what I can't buy at Home Depot?”
AMY: Oh my gosh. That had to have felt so good and weird. But so good.
NICOLE: It was weird, yeah.
AMY: You—okay. I want to point out something that something I do that keeps me from having viral videos is I would have thought, like, “I have a Maui t-shirt on right now. Like, that's normally not what I am on video. I probably shouldn't make this video,” or “I have zero makeup on,” or “I don't have anyone to film this video.” My child—like, that doesn't make sense. Like, I would have talked myself out of that video.
NICOLE: Yeah. You know, I was thinking about you this morning. I was thinking, you know, I would love to be Amy’s video coach, and thinking about the video I saw that went viral for you, maybe you've had more, but the one with Hobie, right, where you're, like, doing the Whitney Houston song. And I was thinking about you and, like, you're so professional. Everything you do is so polished. And on the paying side, right, so on the inside, once I've paid you, I love that about you. Like, I love how professional every single thing you touch. I just know when I buy anything from you, it's going to be so high class. But I also know that you're a real person, right, and that you're, like, a mom and a wife and you, like, wake up with smelly breath like me. Maybe not as bad, but you know. And so that video that you did, that video you did with Hobie, I think one of the reasons it went so viral is we were all so relieved to see you so stripped down. Like, just so, so relatable. You were, like, so fun. You looked so happy. Hobie was so goofy.
NICOLE: And it was just, it was, like, a moment where we all got to go, “Oh, even though Amy is, like, such a superstar, she's just like us.”
AMY: Okay. That is so great to hear. I love that. That video, if anyone doesn't know, we'll link to that video in the show notes as well. It has, like, forty million views. It's insane.
AMY: Right? It’s really crazy.
AMY: But here's the thing, Nicole. And you could do a little coaching. You didn't know that you'd be coaching me on this interview. But in my mind, I think—the video, for those of you who don't know, I'm playing around with how much I love Hobie’s beard and how it gets bigger and bigger through the years, and I love it more and more. And that’s not going to sell courses. That’s not going to attract course creators that want to learn how to build an online business. What’s the point?
NICOLE: Yeah. Because other people can sell them the same thing you're selling them, right? And so your business, it's not like Uber, it's not like Apple, it's not a faceless business; it is your business. And when I pay you, I'm going to learn from you, right? And I've seen other people that sell things that maybe aren't exactly what you sell, but somewhat similar.
NICOLE: And I'm making a decision every single day. I mean, we all only have so much time, right? And so every single day I get online, I'm making a choice, who are the few people I want in my feed? Who are the few people that I want to hear speak into me and inspire me? And so that one video, every video you make like that, helps people decide, “Is she for me or not?” And I guarantee you, there are people who saw that video and thought, “She is so cringe. I hate beards.”
NICOLE: “I don't want to be here,” right? And that, I was going to say, that is one of my tips is take, like, be who you are. Like, get all the way into who you are because people—who says this? Jason, my husband, and I joke about this. People need to love you or hate you, because there's no money in the middle.
AMY: Ooh. Say it one more time.
NICOLE: People need to love you or they need to hate you, because there is no money in the middle. Like, a vanilla video. So all of my best videos that have gone viral, like that one—like, people in that Home Depot video, they were mad, some of them. They were, like, “People work hard to grow those plants. How dare you come at them and say…” you know. People were literally—like, someone put in there, they were going to file a lawsuit against me for picking on Home Depot, right? But there were just as many people who were like, “Thank you, God. Someone is saving me money at Home Depot.” And so until you get out there and fully express all these—we all have strong thoughts in our minds, right? And like, especially the more we get into our teaching as course creators and business owners, your opinions get stronger, right?
NICOLE: Like, you get more clear on what you truly believe and stand for. And so when you make those into videos, it allows your audience to go, “Yep, she's for me,” or “No, she's not.” And one superfan, one person who saw that video of you and thought, “Oh, I want to look at my husband like that. I want to be rich and successful and in love,” right? I mean, I saw that, and that was what I thought. I thought, “She has such a healthy marriage, and she's so successful. I want that, too.”
AMY: You just gave me a gift. How you explained that, it really did sink in. And I mean that in all sincerity. I get what you're saying.
AMY: This is super valuable for me. I hope people are listening, like, “Oh, my gosh. I could figure this out. I could do this, too.” And in a minute, I want to ask you your five secrets to a successful video, okay? All of what you learned along the way, five secrets to a successful video. But I also want to point out that something that I need to remind myself, you make three videos a day or more. Not all of them are homeruns, right?
NICOLE: No, no, no.
AMY: Like, “Oh my gosh. This is riveting. This is so entertaining.” But you've got to keep just putting them out there, not worrying that everyone's going to be a homerun. Do you agree with that?
NICOLE: Yes! Oh, my goodness. I mean, so here's my—I have a certain number of views I want in a day.
NICOLE: So then this is what I do. So I go—and this could work for—I can give you my number, but it may feel overwhelming for listeners. But, like, I have a number in my mind, and I'm just looking for a certain number of views every single day. And here's my theory, Amy. I'm going to post until I get them. So if I post one video and I don't hit my number, that's fine. I got another one.
NICOLE: And so I'm just going for that number. So for me, it's a hundred thousand views.
AMY: Okay. Every day.
NICOLE: I want a hundred thousand views on video every single day. And so I'll wake up, Amy, I plan this video. I think it's going to be a homerun. It's a dud. Like, literally I get to 10:00 a.m. and it's got four thousand views.
NICOLE: And I'm like, “Okay. That hurt my ego a lot. Now let's get back in there and post another video because you're nowhere near a hundred thousand yet.” And so—
AMY: I love having a video-view goal. I've never heard that before. Like, a daily video—especially if you're going all in with video, like you are. Like, you're treating this, this is your business; this is what you do. You create these short videos. This is what's driving the business.
AMY: Like, for my podcast, that's my podcast. We have a daily goal of downloads, so it's very similar to what you're doing.
AMY: And I just want to point out that I teach people to create weekly original content. You've just expanded my mind. This is one that I'm going to share with people, where this is your weekly original content, but on a daily basis, which is even cooler.
AMY: I do have a question, though. Do you repurpose any of your content? Like, can you share an example of how you might turn one video into multiple other assets or anything like that?
NICOLE: Yes. I'm so glad you asked that. So, number one, yes, yes, yes. I, in my phone, I have over a hundred thousand videos, okay? And I have them by year, okay? So I literally, this morning, just this morning, we have a fall-garden challenge we're doing right now for our launch next week. And so everything is the keyword challenge. And so I literally went through and I did, like, I did a little template, and it's, like, the most underrated season in the garden. And then I show all these clips, little, short clips, that all come from previous videos, and I'm like, “It's fall. Fall is the underrated season in the garden.” And then more in the caption, and then I send people to sign up. So there's that way of definitely reusing video. But I want to give you a quick story of this one video that I've literally probably posted twenty-five times—
AMY: Oh, tell me.
NICOLE: —in different ways.
NICOLE: Okay. So I have this box. I love teaching people how to grow salad. Back to Salad School, with Amy back in 2017. So I have this box, and I planted it all with lettuce, and it is literally packed. It looks like, you know, those spring-mix boxes you buy at the grocery.
NICOLE: Well, that's what this box is growing, but it's just plentiful. So I had a tripod. I leaned it down so it's at a ninety-degree angle, and I just literally filmed myself cutting the lettuce. Just cut, cut, cut. No words. For everyone who's afraid to be on video, no words, none of my voice. Like, I have grandma hands. So not even, like, impressive fingers, okay? I didn't have a manicure. And I just cut the lettuce and let the birds chirp behind it, okay?
So the very first post I ever did with that was just that video. I didn't say a thing. It was just literally one minute of me harvesting lettuce, period, okay?
NICOLE: It went—so I don't think it went viral, but it did really, really well. So that was—I'm not kidding, Amy—that was 2021 when I did that video.
AMY: Oh my gosh.
NICOLE: No. Yeah, it was 2021. Like, a long time ago, okay?
NICOLE: So since then, I have taken so many clips of that. So I used a clip for that for this challenge, because it's a fall-garden thing, right? So I can take a little clip of that and put it in a string of clips.
I took that same video, and I turned it into a how-to. So I said, “Here's how I grow nine hundred dollars’ worth of lettuce in a 4×4 bed.” And I give the whole step by step of how I made that end result happen, right?
NICOLE: So that's another video.
Then, I've done satirical videos. Like, I did, like, a short voice to text, where I'm, like, “Here's your sign to stop paying five ninety-nine for a box of lettuce that's going to go bad in the back of your fridge in a week.” And that's it. It's just a satirical—that's my entertaining, right, to grab that person across town.
And then, I’ve done one where it's, like, “Ever wondered what it would look like if you dumped a whole package of seed in one box?” And then it pauses and pauses and pauses. And then I say, “Now you know,” and then stop the video.
AMY: There it is.
NICOLE: It's all from the same video. And I cannot tell you how many times I'm in, like, a drought, where I'm not inspired to make videos. I don't want to make any more. All the new ones we made I think are crappy, and I don't want to post them, and I just go back to old stuff.
I just did this two days ago. I went back to last July in my phone, and I found all the videos that did really well, and I'm just posting them again.
AMY: Ooh, I like that, too. So now you're not even having to do anything but just reposting them, which is brilliant, because we know a tiny subset of our audience even sees the video the first time we post it. Love that.
Okay. Here's one question I know my listeners are thinking. If you're churning out three videos a day—you do have help on your team. You have someone helping you with this—but are you batching videos? How often are you making videos? Do you feel like you're a slave to video production now? What does that look like? Because you're busy, I know. Four kids and a husband and a really full life, there's no way you're making videos all the time.
NICOLE: Yeah. So we definitely batch. So we try to do the Gary Vaynerchuk method, which is document; don't create. Stop trying to, like, perform for the video, and just document what you're actually doing. So, the one thing that I would say is, it's not a challenge, but, like, I'm a gardener, right? Like, I garden. The reason why I started the business is that I love gardening, and I have a garden. You are an online business creator. You create courses, right? And so same idea. Like, it's very meta, right? Like, I garden, and I have a garden business.
So let's say, so two nights ago, I had just all these tomatoes that were ready to harvest. And so instead of me, like, calling a videographer or getting, you know, I might, sometimes I'll get my daughter to come help me, but I literally just grab a tripod, stick my phone on there, and I just take a bunch of video of me harvesting those tomatoes. So I'll scroll up the trellis with my video, with my camera. I'll put on the tripod. I'll film me twisting one off. I'll film me putting it in a basket, and then I'll take it from a few different angles, and then boom, I've now got—like, I probably could make twenty videos out of just that little process.
NICOLE: Then, you can do much more. Like, you've been doing some videos like this, where you do more, like, it's not really a purposeful thing; it's just you in the place. Kind of like what Jenna did at the dinner, right?
NICOLE: So there's other times, where it's, like, a Saturday morning and I need to prune my garden, so I'll just put my tripod up in the garden, put my phone on, and I'll just turn it on, go, and I'll just walk around the garden and just video myself. Like, I'm not even thinking about the camera. I'm literally just videoing what I'm doing in my real life.
I went to AT&T to get a new phone the other day, and I was, like, “I need the highest megabyte you can get.”
AMY: Yes, you do.
NICOLE: “Like, I need whatever you have.” And he was, like, “Ma'am, you do not—like, no one needs that big of a phone.” I was, like, “Look at my phone, sir.” So he looked at my phone. He goes, “I have looked at fifteen thousand phones, and I have never seen one with so much video on it.”
AMY: I was going to say—
NICOLE: He literally—
AMY: —my phone wouldn't even be able to handle that.
NICOLE: Yeah. You need the 512 gigabyte or something like that, or megabyte, whatever it is. But you need the highest. Go get an upgrade. They'll give it to you for free at AT&T or whatever and get the highest, highest one. And you just film all the time. You film every day, but you're not filming to—you know, it's not so purposeful.
But then, yes, we do have the moments where, like, I'll have, you know, my daughter with me or I’ll have—so for instance, that Home Depot video just went viral so fast. So the very next morning, I grabbed my daughter, and I said, “Hey, I'm going to pay you for an hour. Come video me in the backyard.” And so I had these plants—because everybody was going, “Well, if I can't buy those plants, what plants should I buy,” right?
NICOLE: And so this quick, like, “Hey, there are so many plants that are worth buying. Buy this one, buy this one, buy this one, buy this one.” And then, I was going to say that for you and your audience, listen to your audience, right? So answer their questions in your videos. When you run out of ideas, when you don't know what to do, you can literally just scroll through all your comments and make a day where you just do answer videos, where you just go—
AMY: That’s good.
NICOLE: —“Oh, you said this. Let me answer this.” That helps fill—some of my most viral videos or most successful videos are just replies. So you know how now on Instagram and TikTok you can take the comment and you can reply with a video?
NICOLE: That blows up, because Instagram goes, “Oh, Amy’s actually listening to her audience. Like, Amy's actually being social on social.”
AMY: That's true. I do love that, that style of doing video. And it is very engaging because you're like, “Oh, you have a question? I've got an answer.”
NICOLE: Yeah, yeah. It’s great.
AMY: Okay. This is fantastic. I actually have probably a million more questions for you, but I know that we've got to keep it tight. But I don't want to let you go without asking, like, can you give us your five secrets to a successful video? Because I know my listeners. They are action takers. Their head is spinning like mine. I feel like this is doable. And if I feel like it's doable, a girl that hates video, then that's saying a lot. So give us your best secrets to make this happen.
NICOLE: Yes. I love it. Okay. Let me find it. I wrote them down in my notebook. The first is follow your impulse. So all of us are building personal—we're using video to build our personal business. Now, we may have other people delivering it, but for the most part, we want our audience to build a relationship with the true beliefs and characteristics of us, which, you know, is reflected in our business. So if you have a moment where, like, Amy, this could be you, where you're scrolling Instagram and you see one of your students, or you see something happen and it triggers something in you, right, where you see this and you go, “Why are they doing that? Like, why are they immediately selling to their customer on social? They should be getting them onto their email list,” right?
NICOLE: So just some little moment where you're observing something in the wild and it triggers something in you. Make a video right then. Grab your whoever is with you or put it on a tripod and say, “Y'all stop doing this!”
NICOLE: And just start the video just like that.
AMY: You just gave me an idea right now. I’m going to take a note because I love that one. Okay. That’s good.
NICOLE: Then, you're going to put your face on the video. You're going to say, “Stop doing this right now!” And then you’re going to say, “I keep seeing my students do this, and it's not working. There's such a better way.”
NICOLE: And then, you just stop right there. So follow your impulse. Your impulse, nine times out of ten, is going to speak directly to the person who needs to hear it from you. So that's number one. The example video for that is my Home Depot video. Like, it was such an impulse, and I almost drove away. And I'm not kidding, Amy. I got thirty-five thousand new followers from that video.
AMY: Oh! Thirty-five thousand new followers. And here's the thing. I'm going to be the first to say, like, followers are not money in the bank. But then, you have a strategy, your DM strategy, your Manychat, to move them into subscribers, that—
AMY: —then become buyers. So it's not like you're just banking on followers. That is incredible. That's when followers count.
NICOLE: Exactly. It was huge. And what I loved about it is, see, they follow me as a garden expert, right? And so, like, that particular video, because I followed my impulse, they said, “Here’s—” like, whoever did follow me, probably a lot of people unfollowed me, but everybody who did follow, they said, “Here's the girl who knows what—Like, she knows what she believes about plants.”
NICOLE: “Like, if I want to follow someone who knows what they think about plants, it's going to be her.”
The next one is to take a stand. So most your followers are probably not going to be able to relate to this, but there’s this big thing in the garden space, where people are filling all their raised beds with logs. Now, raised beds is, like, this thing that I do, okay? So there's like lots of trends, like, “Save money on filling your garden. Stack it with logs.” Okay?
NICOLE: So I just always would cringe at that because I have done raised beds. I mean, I've literally built five hundred gardens for clients, right? And I just, like, “Why are they filling these beds with logs? That is not going to work.” And I've thought this for years. And finally in January, when I made that promise to myself, I came on a video and I said, “Unpopular opinion,”—that's also a great way to start a video—“Unpopular opinion. But I think that filling gardens with logs is a terrible idea.” And I should not have said terrible, because it did raise a lot of…
AMY: Oh, no.
NICOLE: But I could have at least said, I should have just said, “Filling raised beds with logs is not going to work,” something like that. That one went viral. Tons of debate in the comments and really, like, showed that—and some people hated me and some people loved me. But that's exactly what we're talking about, right? Love me or hate me, there's nothing in the middle.
AMY: Yes, yes.
NICOLE: So if you've got a thing, like, Amy, if you have, I could probably list five that I think you would say, but if you have certain things where you're, like, “Don't do this,” or “Some people say to do this, but that's not where I stand,” make that—take a stand on that on video, and it will help you find your people.
AMY: I need to do more of that. Absolutely. My sensitive heart keeps me from doing that because I don't want to be attacked or people telling me I'm wrong. But at the same time, you are so right. And people want you to take a stand. Who wants to follow a leader or an expert or a guide that is, like, “Oh, here's five different recommendations you could do.” No. Don't put those logs in there. You took a stand, and people respect that. So I'm here for it.
NICOLE: Yeah. And then, I did come back afterwards, and I was, like, “Okay. So many people said that I was wrong, so I'm going to do a test.” So I literally did—it gave me a video to follow up. I took all the soil out of my bed, and I put logs inside of it.
AMY: So smart.
NICOLE: And I was, like, “I’ll test these two beds together.” So there's a humility there, right? It wasn't like I'm the best and not the rest, you know? Like, forget the rest. And so you can still have humility in the follow up. And I had this great discussion going for, like, a month because of that video.
AMY: Ooh, I love it.
NICOLE: The next one is film without your face.
AMY: Okay, please, because we all want to do that. So tell us more.
NICOLE: Yeah. So this is the cool thing I found about filming without your face. We do eventually want people to see our face, right? Because especially if we're selling courses or things that involve us, they're going to have to decide whether they want to see our face or not.
NICOLE: But not at the beginning. Not at the beginning. That person across town, they do not need to see your face for quite a while. And so what's really powerful about videos that just show your hands or just show settings, anybody—black, white, whatever color, whatever background, whatever cultural, whatever—well, not always—I found this with some of my gardens—but generally, you're going to be able to reach people in much-wider stances that, otherwise, the minute they saw your face—no offense to myself or to you—but the minute they saw us, they would go, “Oh, she's not me. Like, she doesn't look like me.”
NICOLE: “I cannot learn from her.” But if they see things that teach them, inspire them, showcase to them, entertain them, and your face isn’t on there, they get to decide if they like learning from you before they had to meet you personally.
AMY: Yes. That's fantastic. I can get behind that one all day long.
NICOLE: That's three. I have two more. Do you want me to stop?
AMY: Oh, good. Yeah, no, tell me.
NICOLE: My example for that is I have one where I'm just harvesting cabbage. You can't see my face. You can barely—I just have on a white shirt. I'm very generic. That one had over a million views, like, just so many comments. They just loved the beauty of the cabbage. You know, it had nothing to do with me.
The next one is to tell stories. We talked about this already. But think about all the things. Amy, you've got a million stories inside your head—
NICOLE: —of things that have happened over all your life. Like, go back to those initial ones and tell the stories. Like, everyone who's listening here, your superpower is your stories. That is what will set you apart. You have stories that literally no one else in the whole world could even buy.
NICOLE: And so look back at your life, look back at—it can be your childhood, it can be yesterday, it can be five seconds ago, but turn those into stories, and make them videos that bring someone through. You're going to start them with saying, “I'm about to tell you a story,” and you're going to give little clips at the beginning of how the story is going to go. It's like a little trailer. “I'm about to tell you this story,” and you give, like, a beginning, middle, end clip at the very beginning. “I'm about to tell you this story.” Then, you tell them the story clip by clip by clip, and then you bring it very right back to what you started with. It's just like reading them a whole book, but you're doing it in a minute or a minute and thirty seconds.
NICOLE: Those—someone close to you. It's so powerful.
And then the last one is to break the rules. So think about things that everybody in your domain, in your space, is all up in arms about and they're so protective of. So in the garden space, people are very, very, very, very particular about their mint—
NICOLE: —because mint is known as this invasive plant, right? So I did this video back in January. I thought it was going to be so inspiring. I go to Home Depot. I bought this steel tub, and I started it with a promise. Now, this is a powerful thing. I had text on the screen, and it said, “Grow four hundred dollars’ worth of herbs in a forty-dollar container.” Okay? So that was text on the screen. You can't see my face. You cannot see my face. You can't hear my voice. It's just text, right? It's text and me doing it.
NICOLE: So I'm planting and put mint in there, Amy. I put mint in the herb pot. I broke the cardinal rule of gardening.
AMY: How could you?!
NICOLE: And I just didn't even think about it. I mean, I know that mint’s invasive. I've been gardening for years, right? But I was like, “I don't care. I love mint, right?, and I'll just prune it back.” Amy, the gardeners came for me, okay? They got mad.
AMY: On, no.
NICOLE: And within minutes, within minutes, I'm not saying—I was about to go pick up my daughter from this soccer thing at Vanderbilt. And I had just posted. I was lying on the couch, like, editing it, and posted it, last minute, 3:00 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. I look up; it already had, like, thirty thousand views and just, like, a thousand comments. “Not the mint. Not the mint. Not the mint. Don't put the mint in there. You've got to get the mint out.”
And so what you want to do, what—we're afraid for people to come at us, right?
NICOLE: But what social media thrives on is social interaction. So if no one has anything to say in your comments, Instagram isn't going to show that to anybody. They don't care if people are arguing with you or agreeing with you. They just want to see people caring enough to say something. And so if you will get out there and break the rules a little bit, you're going to get all this discussion. I mean, Amy, there will be times—like, I do intensive planting. I just pack tons of plants in. People will be, like, fighting me and then supporting me in the comments section. They’ll be like, “You don't know what you're talking about.” And someone else will be, like, “Have you followed her? Look at her other videos. She knows what she's talking about.” “Well, no, she doesn't. She's breaking all the rules.” I mean, it's so fun to see this community building itself. And it happens when you break the rules.
NICOLE: That’s it.
AMY: You made a great five points. And you made a great point with if people don't have anything to say about your video, then we've done it wrong. Like, the whole point is to get them engaged. Whether they love it or hate it or whatever, if they don't have anything to say, what's the point? I have to remember that. That is a really, really important aspect of this whole thing.
Oh my gosh. Nicole, this has been one of my absolute favorite, like, very value-packed episode. I cannot thank you enough. I know people are going to want to find you. Whether they want their own garden or they just want to know how you're doing it, where can people find more about you?
NICOLE: Yes. So we are at gardenaryco on Instagram, on TikTok, on YouTube. And gardenary.com is our home base. And then my personal is Nicole Johnsey Burke, and we're actually just launching in August, nicolejohnseyburke.com, where I’ll have behind the scenes of how I've built my business. So it’ll be more of the entrepreneurial side versus just gardening.
AMY: So cool. Well, we're going to link to all of it in the show notes, amyporterfield.com/603, so you can get all the links and watch all the videos.
Nicole, thank you for being prepared for this chat. Thank you for sharing some of the really great strategies. I'm fired up about it. I know my listeners will be. So thanks again, my friend.
NICOLE: Thank you so much for having me. So fun to get to do this together after so many years. I was thinking today, it's been six years since I bought Courses That Convert, literally this summer.
AMY: Oh my goodness.
NICOLE: So it’s like a full-circle moment.
AMY: So fantastic. Loved every minute of it and can't wait to see what you do next. Thanks again.
NICOLE: Thank you.
AMY: And there you have it, my friend; tried-and-true strategies for how you can better connect with your audience, grow your digital-course sales, grow your email list, and not have to pay so much money for paid ads. Hallelujah. This episode was so strategic, like, full of so many action items. I hope that you get off this episode, like, close it down, and you either take notes of how you can apply it, or if you have an assistant or someone on your team, call them up right now and say, “I've got an idea. What if we tried this?” Like, I hope you take action.
You will absolutely see me taking a lot of action. I'm just ramping up for Digital Course Academy right now, the big launch. So we are doing tons of video, and I'm incorporating all of this. So this is an interview that I feel selfish. I was asking the questions for me, but I knew you would get a lot of value as well. So I hope you don't mind. So a huge thanks to Nicole for preparing for this episode. It was very clear that she was ready to bring the heat.
I think one of my most favorite parts of the episode is when she kind of schooled me. Like, I couldn't figure out what's the point of forty million views with a silly viral video about Hobie’s sexy beard? Like, what does it matter? But I really understood what she was saying. There's a lot of options for choosing a guide or a mentor of how to grow your business, how to grow your email list, how to create courses. I’m not the only one, obviously. But videos like that show a side of me that make people think, “Hey, I like this girl. Maybe I want to check her out and learn a little bit more. I like that she's just like me.” And so that really hit home with me, and I hope it did for you as well.
If you're anything like me and you're hesitant to get out a lot of video or you feel like you need to show up professionally, let's throw that out the window and let's start making some pretty scrappy videos. What do you think?
All right. So I want to hear if you love this episode as much as I did and, like, one of your takeaways. Like, what did you walk away with? Will you DM me on Instagram? Just head over to Instagram—I'm just @amyporterfield—DM me and tell me what you loved about this episode, because I want to share it with Nicole.
All right, my friends. Thanks so much for tuning in. I’ll see you on Tuesday for more entrepreneurial goodness. Bye for now.