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AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there everybody, Amy Porterfield here. I am so excited to be coming to you with something new. We’re trying something new today that I think is going to be so fun to dive into.
I have a special guest. Her name is Anna Digilio, Anna, say, “hello.”
ANNA DIGILIO: Hi everybody. I’m so excited to be here.
AMY: I am so excited that you’re here as well. Here’s why I’ve got Anna here. Today we are doing something called The Million Dollar Club Student Spotlight where I am spotlighting some of my students who are doing amazing things in their business.
Don’t let the Million Dollar Club throw you off because Anna didn’t start with making a million dollars out of the gate. She’s going to share her story with you but so many of you ask me, “Amy, can I really take one of your courses and see that kind of success?”
You are in this kind of niche or that kind of niche. Would this really work for you? I thought instead of continuing to tell you that you can do this, you can grow your email list, you can create courses online, and you can definitely do webinars why not have some of my students who have gone before you tell their own story.
That’s exactly what we’re going to do here today. We’re going to make it quick. We’re going to dive right into it so that you can get a little shot of what it looks like to go through one of my programs and see success.
Anna, tell me what you did before you became an entrepreneur and what you do in your business now.
ANNA: I would love to. Thank you so much for having me on. This is really exciting.
AMY: I’m so excited you’re here.
ANNA: Me too, me too. Basically, I have been a second-grade teacher for 23 years. That was basically my life’s calling. I had been a teacher for 23 years and about five or six years ago I started selling my lesson plans, resources, and activities I used in my classroom for years online through an online marketplace called Teachers Pay Teachers.
It is kind of like an Etsy for teachers so I started selling my lesson plans and activities and resources that I used in my own classroom. My business kind of grew pretty quickly out of something I thought I would get a little bit of side money on to pay a bill.
I live in New York. My husband’s a firefighter and I was a teacher so we’ve both always had two jobs. I just thought it would be important for me to have another way of bringing money into the household.
That’s kind of what happened but my business started growing pretty quickly. I was like, “Wow, this is a business!” That’s kind of how it started.
AMY: Wait, I have two questions for you. Hold on a second.
ANNA: Go ahead, sure.
AMY: I don’t think I knew your husband was a firefighter, since mine’s a firefighter as well. I didn’t realize that. So cool. I love that. I love when I find similarities between my life and my students’’ life. That’s so cool.
The second thing, when you started selling your curriculum online you were still a teacher, right? You hadn’t quit yet?
AMY: Okay, so you were doing both.
ANNA: Correct. I was still working full time. I was working two full – time jobs at that point.
AMY: Okay, got ya’, because that definitely becomes a lot of work, especially as it starts to see success. I want to spend some time here.
Before you ever bought one of my courses, where to you feel you were maybe having some challenges? It sounds like it was going well right out of the gate. So where did you have some challenges before you thought you needed to get an online course to help you?
ANNA: I realized I didn’t know anything about business. I was a teacher. I was around seven year olds all day long. Running a business was not something I knew anything about so when I realized this was really a business and I needed to learn about business that was when you came into my life.
That’s when I started consuming every possible thing you put out there. I started to consume, to learn from, and to understand how to grow an online business. I didn’t know how to do that.
AMY: I always say, “Anna’s one of my favorite students.” I know I shouldn’t have favorites but the reason I gravitate toward Anna is because she’s a go getter.
I obviously supply online training courses. That’s what I do in my business. But I can only take that so far before a student says, “Bring it on. I’m going for total immersion. I’m making this work.”
Anna definitely does the work. I just want to point out that her success is not all because of my programs but because she really was committed to making this work.
Before we talk about your turning point, when did you really start realizing you bought one of my courses and it was actually working for you…Before you got there, when was the point that you realized you could leave your teaching job and actually…Did that come a lot later? Tell me how that worked.
ANNA: I didn’t actually retire from teaching until a year and a half ago. A year and a half ago was when I realized I could make a bigger impact on education as a whole. To me that was the turning point where I said, “Wow, I could really impact education across the country and the world in a much bigger way.”
When I realized that I felt like I had bigger shoes to fill. Then I realized I was definitely making more doing this than teaching so I said, “Maybe it’s time.”
My husband and I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of discussion and I finally decided it was time to retire from the classroom.
AMY: So cool. Talk to me about what you specifically did to get results in your side hustle that has now become your full-time gig now that you are fully retired as a teacher. What did you do and how did you use my courses in order to see big results?
We’re going to talk about the results next. I want you to give numbers and details and all that good stuff, the stuff I love to hear and want other people to hear as well, but what exactly did you do based on what you learned?
ANNA: First, and foremost, I entered your world through your podcast. I never even knew what a podcast was.
AMY: Oh my gosh, I love it.
ANNA: I entered your world through your podcast and the first thing I learned about was when you were talking about webinars on your podcast. That was my first initial entry into your world.
You were talking about webinars and I took your webinar on webinars and was like, “Oh my gosh, I could totally do this.” I could teach teachers online.
My main goal is to help teachers really nail down small group instruction to really reach the struggling learners and really reach the advanced learners.
I decided I could do it online so I took your webinar course. Well, I listened to your webinar and, of course, I bought your course. That was a big step for me because that was a $1,000 program. I couldn’t believe I was going to spend $1,000 on this.
But I did it and six weeks later I ran my first webinar.
The results were unbelievable. I still can’t believe the results from it. Then I’ve been running webinars ever since.
AMY: What did you sell on your webinar?
ANNA: I created a year-long guided math curriculum to teach teachers how to teach math through small-group instruction instead of teaching in front of the classroom to the whole group. It’s about teaching children the way they need to be taught and how they need to learn the best way that they learn.
I taught them how to implement guided math, which is small group instruction for math. Then at the end of the webinar I pitched my guided math year-long curriculum.
At that point I only had one grade level, which was second grade, because that was the grade that I was in and those were the resources I was using. That was what I pitched at the end of the webinar.
AMY: How much was it?
ANNA: It was $100. The curriculum was exactly $100.
AMY: How much money did you make on your first webinar?
ANNA: Oh my gosh. I still can’t even believe it. That night, again it was the first time I ever did a webinar. I made over $10,000 on the webinar itself that night.
AMY: Isn’t that…For a second-grade teacher, especially, isn’t that life changing that moment you realized, “Holy cow! In one hour I just made $10,000”?
ANNA: I was at that moment that night that I realized this was real. This was happening and I could make it happen if I just took action on everything I learned. That was kind of my ah-ha moment to say you just need to take action on things you learn and you’ll get results from it.
AMY: That’s so true. I need to know, first of all, what did your husband think? My husband is blue collar to the bone. Our husbands being firefighters, what I mean by that is they don’t live in the world of online marketing like we do.
When you look at him and say, “Hey babe, I just made $10,000 on a webinar that I did tonight,” what does he think of stuff like that?
ANNA: He is still blown away by what I’ve created. He is still like, “How is this happening?” I can’t even believe I went from a teacher’s salary to what I’m making now.
Even more than that, it fills my heart to know that I’m really helping the world of education in a much bigger way. That’s my passion. Yes, making money is so important and I love that because I don’t have to worry about money anymore.
Living in New York is expensive but now I feel like I can do something I absolutely love and feel passionate about and really make a great living doing it.
AMY: This is why I chose to talk to you Anna, because I know it wasn’t all about the money. Yes, we’ve got to talk about it. Yes, it’s exciting. But your whole world has changed because you decided to do something different and take a leap.
What I love is you didn’t just wake up one morning and say, “I’m going to quit my job and I’m going to start being an entrepreneur and do an online business.”
Instead, you did both. I call that the side hustle until you’re ready to take that leap. And you took a while to take the leap, which I love as well. I tell my students not to quit their day job just yet. Let’s kind of ease into this and, yes, it’s hard to do both.
I did both for a while as well. It’s so much better when you do so. So give me some more results. Tell me more about your business. What does it look like today? I want people to hear about what you’ve done, how you’ve promoted, what the numbers look like, and the impact.
How many people have you served?
ANNA: I still wake up every morning thinking, “How is this my life?” It’s still amazing to me. I have so much to tell you.
AMY: Tell me. Tell me it all.
ANNA: Like I said, when I entered your world I just immersed myself in everything you taught. What I loved about your teaching was the way you taught. Being a teacher myself, everything is step by step and chronological and broken down into actionable steps. That’s how I teach.
The fact that I was learning from someone that taught exactly like me was like a match made in heaven. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I can totally do what she’s teaching me.”
You did it in such a way that it didn’t overwhelm me and it didn’t make me nervous. It made me feel like I could do it.
After that I changed the webinar into an evergreen webinar. It ran as an evergreen webinar for almost two years now. That’s been running as an evergreen for almost two years.
The funny thing about it was I didn’t really make any other webinars after that because I kind of learned how to do them and then I was like, “Let’s try something else, let’s do something else, let’s start something else.”
Then I took your List-Builder’s Lab because I knew I needed to grow my email list bigger than it already was because I wasn’t really focusing on that. That was my next thing I wanted to focus on.
I took List-Builder’s Lab and I’ve been building my list ever since. I learned what an opt in was. I had no idea what an opt in was.
AMY: What I love is that you didn’t know how to do all of this and no one teaches you until you teach yourself. That is why I love online courses whether someone buys an online course from me to learn how to market online or somebody else someone’s got to teach you.
I love that you weren’t too proud to say that you would figure it out on your own and get a bunch of free stuff out there and try to piece it together. You put down some cold, hard cash and said, “I’m going to learn from someone who’s gone before me.”
AMY: I love that about you.
ANNA: I would rather get it right from the source and learn it step by step than try to piecemeal. Who has time to piecemeal? I don’t have that type of time.
AMY: Amen sister. I hear you. What did you do after webinars? What did you decide? Well, then you started to list build. So you went into List-Builder’s Lab, one of my programs. You started to build your email list.
Obviously, you started with zero. How many people do you have on your email list now?
ANNA: A little over 50,000.
AMY: Oh my gosh! People would kill for a list of 50,000. What’s crazy is you don’t even need 50,000 to be successful with your online business but the fact that you have that many people blows my mind. Incredible.
Then what did you do from list building? Where did you go from there?
ANNA: At that point you didn’t have Courses That Convert®️. It hadn’t come out yet. I just continued to listen to all of your podcasts. I have listened to every single one since the beginning.
One of your podcasts was about different streams of revenue in your business and other ways to make money in your business. You talked about recurrent revenue. You talked about membership sites. You introduced me to Rick Mulready and I also took his course on Facebook advertising. I did that.
Then you talked about Stu McLaren, who does memberships. I said I needed to learn that now because I knew I wanted some type of community for my teachers that was just mine, that I owned, and was the way I could make a bigger impact. I took Stu’s course and I launched a membership site.
AMY: That’s so incredible. What does that look like? You have a membership site, what does that look like for you?
ANNA: It’s just for second and third-grade teachers. Basically, every month I deliver fully developed, scripted lesson plans for teachers for reading, small group reading instruction, small group math instruction, language arts instruction. I give them full blown, written out, detailed lesson plans that are connected to the standards and using literature.
It is just all of the things I did in my own classroom. This has just allowed me to share them with my members now.
AMY: That’s so fantastic.
ANNA: I have a little over 3,000 members in my membership site.
AMY: Oh my goodness. How much do they pay you every month?
ANNA: Right now it’s $19.99 a month.
AMY: Great. What I also really appreciate about what you do is you know your ideal customer avatar. You know you are serving teachers and teachers are strapped for cash. They are taking money out of their own pocket to pay for curriculum for their students.
My sister is a student so I totally get it. With that you are catering to these teachers knowing they’re not going to lay down thousands of dollars for what you’re doing. However, you’re making a play of getting a lot of teachers into your world so that you are able to build this incredibly lucrative business.
I also think that is fantastic.
ANNA: Thank you. But then you launched Courses That Convert®️.
AMY: That is true. So you created a course since then.
ANNA: Yes, yes, I just launched it three weeks ago.
AMY: Oh my gosh, give me some details. What’s the course about? How did the promotion go? I need details.
ANNA: Like I said, I bought Courses That Convert®️. It took me a little bit longer to build out my course only because I was also building out my membership simultaneously. It definitely took me longer than it normally takes me to put things into action but I knew it was coming.
I created a course on How to Implement Guided Math in Your Classroom. It’s exactly what my webinar was but it went much, much, much deeper. It teaches teachers how to implement this form of mathematical teaching in their classroom.
I created the course and built it on WordPress. I used WishList Member and all that stuff. I launched it three weeks ago and I did an introductory pricing. I wanted to kind of give an introductory pricing to launch it.
I launched it at $79 for each teacher license but I also offered school district licensing as well. School districts can purchase multiple licenses because I’m promoting it as professional development.
There are teachers that go to schools and do professional development and I’m just doing it online instead of going and traveling the United States. I just do it online.
AMY: That is so great. Oh my goodness. Okay, so will you share with us how you did?
ANNA: Yes, yes. It’s only been live three weeks and I’ve already made over $35,000 with the course.
AMY: I can’t even handle it knowing that is some teachers’ salaries for the whole year. It is mind blowing to me. It makes me feel emotional because I know you are an example of what other teachers or any other body in any other niche could actually do.
I wanted to do this with you, Anna, because I wanted to show people the possibility, what else is out there, what’s waiting for them. What do you think it took in you to say, “You know what, I enjoy being a teacher. I love serving the students and I love what I do but there’s something else waiting for me,” or bigger or better?
What was going through your mind because I want other people watching to hear you say it as well.
ANNA: Well, to be completely honest and transparent, education has changed a lot over the last eight years. I’ve been in it for 23 years. But over the last eight years it really changed a lot in terms of the state mandates and standards and I felt it was more of a numbers game than it was about real, true learning and helping your students love to learn and love to read.
It was kind of wearing me down a little bit because it was taking away my love of teaching and I didn’t want that because I have such a passion for it.
When I realized I was able to touch education in a bigger way than just with my 23 students it felt right to me because it would allow me to share my love of teaching and my passion for teaching to teachers all over the world and maybe help education in the process.
That’s kind of how it transpired.
AMY: That’s so good. I think some people are listening and they love who they serve or what they’re doing to support but something’s just off and they’ve lost that excitement for it or it’s not as exciting to them anymore.
They want to change things up and I feel you took that leap and did something about it. That’s so incredibly cool. Obviously, you have a million-dollar business now or we wouldn’t call this The Million-Dollar Club Student Spotlight. I’m so proud of you.
If you look back there are two things I want to ask you. Is there anything you’d do differently if you would look back at Anna when she was still a second-grade teacher and hadn’t yet really gone out to do what you’re doing now what might you do a little bit differently next time around if you had another chance?
ANNA: There were definitely two things I would do differently. I would have started building my email list way sooner.
AMY: Oh my gosh, me too!
ANNA: Way, way sooner. Had I known that was so important way back when I would have done that right when I started my business. I didn’t really start building my email list until about 2½ years ago. That’s the first thing I would do.
The second thing kind of revolves around fear. Fear was a big thing for me. Leaving my pension, I had a New York State pension, and I left that. That created a lot of fear in me and a lot of anxiety because I was leaving this amazing school district.
I was leaving a real teaching pension, a New York State pension. That was really scary. But I have to say that fear just kind of makes you freeze. It makes you scared to jump and take a leap of faith. I learned that’s what makes the biggest impact in your life, when you really do face those fears and say, “I can do this.”
That was a big thing. My husband is a firefighter, like I said, and he’s all about saving money and pensions and being ready to retire when we’re ready. He was deathly afraid of me doing this.
It was a struggle to get him on board but finally he’s onboard.
AMY: And it’s looking a whole lot better, right?
ANNA: A whole lot better. Here is the real thing that I would say, “Don’t let that stop you from taking the jump and taking a leap of faith.”
Again, don’t do it right off the bat. I waited and worked on my business for a full five years before I took the leap. I made sure this was something I could do and bring in the revenue I needed to bring in.
But don’t let fear stop you. I think that’s something I wish I had done earlier. I think my business would have been at a different level if I had left a little bit earlier. So I think those are my two things.
AMY: That’s so good. I love that we are wrapping this up with saying, “Don’t let fear stop you.”
I always say, “Just do it afraid. You can be scared.” I was terrified to leave my corporate job almost ten years ago. I was terrified. But I’m so glad I did it while I was terrified. I did it even though I was scared.
You’re right, I kind of wish I had done it a little earlier. So, anybody who is watching and thinking, “I’ve been thinking about this idea forever. I don’t know if I should do it,” you’re going to wish you did it sooner if you would just do something.
I want to put a challenge out there to everybody who’s watching. No matter where you are in your business, no matter what you’re doing, do something in the next 24 hours that gets you a little bit closer from taking the leap and doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
Just one little step, a phone call, send an email to somebody, make a decision, whatever it might be because Anna and I wish we had taken the leap just a little bit sooner. I had the fear. You did too. I’m so glad you were honest about that so thank you so much.
ANNA: Sure, my pleasure.
AMY: It’s so fun to talk to you about all of this.
ANNA: Thank you.
AMY: I want everyone to know that you were able to do this even though you didn’t know how to do online marketing. You weren’t necessarily an entrepreneur from the start. You learned how to be one and you did what it took to be there.
First, I want to say, “Anna, thank you so much for coming on.” I know it’s nerve wracking to get live on video to talk about your success but you have been a huge success. You should be so proud of yourself and what you’ve created so thank you for letting me be just a little part of that.
ANNA: Oh my goodness, I should be thanking you. You’re the reason my business is the way it is. I’m telling you, you are the reason I have the business I have, so thank you.
AMY: Anna, seriously, you’re going to make me cry so don’t make me go there. I also want to let you all know, if you’re wondering, “Okay Amy, you say you have all of these courses. Where do I start? What do I do?”
One of the courses I really like to tell people about is my Courses That Convert®️ program. It teaches you how to take your skill, Anna knew things, she had skill and knowledge, and she was able to turn it into a course.
I also talk about list building inside of Courses That Convert®️. If you want to get on a free webinar, exactly what Anna did from the get go, she just got on a free webinar where I walked her through what it takes to get going, then go to https://www.amyporterfield.com/buildmycourse.
We’re going to post it in a link below this video so you can get that link as well. But go check it out and see if it’s something that might be for you. It’s free. You’ve got nothing to lose.
If you just want a little kick in the butt to see where you even start I think that’s a really great place to start. I didn’t have that course when Anna first started or I would have told her to start there as well. But she figured it out.
I also have a podcast called Online Marketing Made Easy if you’re interested in learning some tips and tricks to get your business up and running online.
Anna, thanks again for being here. I am so, so very lucky to know you.
ANNA: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. It was so much fun.
AMY: Of course. I can’t wait to talk to you again. Thank you everybody for tuning in. I will see you again soon. Bye for now.