To celebrate my birthday this year, I asked people both in both of my Facebook groups if they had any questions for me — personal questions, business questions, life questions, whatever.

If they dropped any questions in the post, I promised I would try to answer them in this podcast episode. So that’s what I’m doing today.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy my (now belated) happy birthday ask-me-anything episode!

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Abbey Sharp’s media kit

Episode Transcript

Hello. Hello and welcome to another week of the podcast as promised. I am finally coming back here and doing my now belated happy birthday. Ask me anything episode. So weeks ago, my birthday was actually mid February. I turned 36 this year, which is wild. But yeah, I asked people both in the private students, only Facebook group for my course, and in the main unconventional RD community on Facebook, which is free. If you’re not already in there, definitely go check it out. I asked people if they just had any random questions for me, like personal questions, business questions, life questions, whatever. 

If they dropped them in the, in the post, I would try to get to them on this podcast episode. So that’s what I’m doing today. I did this a few years ago, but it’s been awhile now since I did one of these episodes. So. I thought I would pop in and just have a fun chat. So some of the questions ended up being along the similar lines. So I grouped them together on occasion when it made sense. 

So I’ll just dive in. Um, I tried to kind of go through, I started, I’m starting with sort of the SEO businessy questions, and then moving on from there into some of the more fun ones. Uh, but a lot of people had questions about who influences me in the SEO slash blogging game, who I look up to in this space, what resources I use to keep up on changes in blogging and SEO. 

And what podcasts I recommend for continued learning. Elizabeth Laurie and Erica, all asked these questions. And I feel like the way I wanted to answer this. All of these things kind of tied together. Like the podcast, I recommend ties into the resources I use and the influences that people have on me and things like that. So I thought I’d start by just sharing probably the two podcasts that I listened to the most related to SEO. 

I really enjoy listening to podcasts as a way to keep up on things. So I listened to them. while. I am walking the dog or doing dishes or driving somewhere or cleaning up my son’s toys at night. Things like that. And the two SEO related ones that I really enjoy in terms of keeping up on new things and best practices and stuff like that are the authority hacker podcast with Gail Breton and Mark Webster. 

They are based out of Europe. Gail is French, but I think he’s currently living in Budapest. And mark is from Scotland. And they currently are publishing bi-weekly podcast episodes, and I think they also cross post them on YouTube. They used to do weekly, but maybe a year ago or so they cut it back to do every other week so that they could also focus on putting out more blog content again. 

And they talk a lot about current SEO topics and sharing, helpful, actionable tips, which I really enjoy. It’s mostly just them two on the podcast, chatting back and forth. Um, but occasionally they will have expert guests as well. And then the other one that I really enjoy, it might go a little, like swing a little bit more on the technical side for some of you. But if you really like getting into the weeds, 

SEO. I really like Marie Haynes search news. You can use podcast. She is a Canadian SEO professional. And that podcast is just really excellent. She keeps up on the latest SEO news and trends. She runs an SEO agency herself. So she’s also often sharing insights for what she’s seeing with her clients inside her agency as well. 

I don’t spend a ton of time on Twitter, but I do know that there’s a pretty like happening Twitter, SEO community. So I I hopped on there and started following one SEO professional named Lily Ray. She’s a DJ and SEO professional, both of those things combined. And she’s constantly posting really cool stuff on Twitter and just as a really great, like laid back personality. So I appreciate that. 

And then another guy named Matt diggity, um, post a lot of interesting case studies and news roundups as well. And then if you are someone who, you know, follows on Twitter in, in real time, Google search central, if you follow them. They will post like real time status updates when a new Google algorithm update has come out. So you can be like the first to know. 

But there has been an algorithm update. If you follow Google search central. On Twitter. And then I also spend a lot of time in Facebook groups. I enjoy them as a forum and I personally find more value in Facebook, SEO groups than I do in say like a Reddit SEO group. It seems to be more high quality discussions on some of the Facebook groups. And honestly, I really admire anyone in these groups who is giving blogging a go or running an SEO agency and sharing what they’re learning. So a couple of the groups I checked out, I checked out often our SEO signals lab. And food bloggers central. So SEO signals lab is obviously more like people really focused on SEO. So a lot of SEO experts who run agencies and things like that. 

Less. So perhaps site owners and bloggers. I mean, there are a lot of those people in there too, but there’s just a lot more SEO professionals as well. And then food blogger, central swings the other way. So it’s. Almost all food bloggers with a handful of SEO experts in there as well. But I like to see both sides. I like to hear from the SEO professionals. And I like to hear from more like boots on the ground bloggers. 

And how things are going with them and where people are succeeding and struggling and things like that. And specifically about AI and how that’s coming into play these days. Uh, there is an Jasper official community on Facebook. If you want to learn more about how to use. Jasper and create really great prompts to get good outputs. The Facebook group people share like what prompts they’ve. 

Input into the tool and what, uh, the type of quality content that they’re getting back out. And then there’s another one called GPT plus SEO. I think it’s called, uh, where people are kind of doing the same thing, but with chat GBT, and that group specifically is a focus on like using chat GPT. With the goal of doing good SEO. 

That’s another one you could check out. And then just this year in general. I invested in a lot of tools to test. Or programs to go through. And some of them are SEO related and some of them are not. So I’ve been a member, a paying member of Jasper for. 

I don’t even know, at least probably a year and a half now. All the way back since they had, they kind of like grandfathered people in, into this unlimited plan and their boss mode. So I’m on that. I don’t offer that anymore, but I’m on it because I signed up when that was like a last chance deal, which in retrospect, I’m glad I did cause. 

Saved me a lot of money. Um, so I’m still like playing around with how I would want to use Jasper in my workflow. I don’t actually use it that much in my content creation process right now. But I may. In the future. So I’m still a paying member because if I, you know, discontinue my plan, then I lose that really good unlimited deal that I have. So I still pay for it. 

But yeah, so that’s a tool that I’m checking out. I also enrolled in Brandon Gailey, who he’s the host of the blogging millionaire podcast. I enrolled in his tool, rank IQ to check that out. So if you’re a student in my SEO made simple course, I am going to give some examples of ways that you can use that tool in your workflow. 

In the newest round of course, updates that are coming out in April. It’s basically a tool where him and his team comb through. High volume, low difficulty keywords using, you know, keyword, various keyword research tools and kind of aggregate all the lowest hanging fruit for you, and then categorize it by topics. So you can go into like the food category and then look at all the low-hanging fruit in that category. Or. 

You know, product reviews or whatever, it’s, there’s lots and lots of different categories. But it’s basically a tool to help you find the easy keywords. If that’s an area that you struggle with yourself. Uh, I think it was like, I want to say it’s like 50 bucks a month, so it’s, you know, middle of the road price. Don’t quote me on that. It might be maybe 40. 

Um, somewhere around there, 40 to $50 a month. But yeah. And then the other part of it that I like is that when you’re done writing a post, you can copy paste the whole thing into this like content assistant area. And then on the right hand side, It gives you a bunch of semantically related keywords and it can not keyword phrases like that. You would find in a keyword research tool, but like semantically related means like topically related. So natural words that other people who have written on this topic. 

Tend to use a lot in their posts. Which that helps give, bots and the NOC and the, um, You know, artificial intelligence that is kind of evaluating content for search. Uh, a hint that you might be topically relevant if you’re using a lot of topically relevant keywords. So they have a list there on the side of different, like, 

Different words that you probably want to try to include in your content if possible, if it makes sense again, you don’t want to keyword stuff. It’s not like you’re going to use every single one of those. That would be impossible. But just to make sure you’re not like missing anything or like you didn’t phrase something a certain way where you’re easily could have and plopped it in there. 

Uh, to increase, it’s kind of like the density and the richness and the relevance of your post. I like that feature. That’s not exclusive to rank IQ. You can do that on key search as well. But I like the, the interface, I guess I should say the way it works. Is really visually pleasing. So there’s the editor on the left and then on the right, your list of words. And then as you insert them, they like turn green or something. I don’t remember what exactly what it does, but it’s really easy to see when you used it and checked it off and like scroll through. 

So I like that. They also give you kind of a report on how many words they think you should make your posts and blah, blah, blah. I don’t really use that, but is there as well. So yeah, that’s what rank IQ is. So that’s a tool that I’m sort of playing around with as well. I also purchased another plugin called link whisper. 

And this is by a guy named Spencer Hawes who created the niche pursuits brand. And I like this plugin a lot. I am going to use it on all of my sites moving forward. And recommend it inside my SEO course when the new updates come out. And this one. I have to look back and see how much it was. I want to say it was, it was under a hundred dollars for the whole year. 

And you have to keep paying annually. If you want to keep receiving updates to the, to the plugin, which is pretty normal. And you just pay once and it renews annually. And this plugin basically helps you add internal links to your post so you can install it. And then when you’re writing your posts, you scroll down like below the post editor. 

And then it will say, oh, you know, based on what you just wrote above here are our suggestions for other posts on your website. That you could link to from within this post that you’re writing above, and then you just check the ones that you like. You can edit them if you need to. And it will insert those internal links into your post automatically for you with just like a few clicks of a button. 

So you don’t really have to use your brain power to think like, oh, did I write about this topic? Should I put a link in here, et cetera? It’s very, very easy to insert high quality internal links with good anchor text. So that the word that’s actually being linked is the anchor text. And if you can have relevant words to the topic of your post. 

As the anchor texts that really helps Google understand what the post is about. And that’s the best type of backlink really you could get or internal link or whatever. So I’m using that. And then they also have another section where you can do the reverse. So, you know, rather than inserting links into the post, you’re currently working on. 

Periodically, you can go back into the other section of the plugin. And look for opportunities. To link from other pieces of content, into the new piece of content that you’re publishing. So remember you, yes. You want to link out from the current post to other posts on your site, but you also want to think about all the other pieces of content on your site and which ones of those could you link back into the current posts that you’re writing? 

So link from those other pieces of content to your new post. So you don’t always want to just going one direction and that part can get really tedious and mentally taxing to really think back like, okay, I need to go back open this post, insert a link to this new post. So in publishing. Click update, blah, blah, blah. So this plugin, you can just do it on one interface. Like maybe once a month go in or whatever. 

Um, and add a bunch of new internal links, whatever frequency you want to do it. But it makes it really, really easy. And it also doesn’t modify the post modified date. On your posts. So that’s helpful as well. So it helps minimize the chances of getting like ranking disruptions from, from updating the content. So it’s it doesn’t like flag Google, like, Hey, there’s been an update. It doesn’t change the date. Modified. 

In like the backend, so yay. That’s another tool I’m really enjoying. And then I’m also playing around with AIP, RM extension for chat GPT, which is a browser extension that I think I talked about in last week’s. Chat with Chrissy. And it’s just a browser extension it’s free and you can install that on Google Chrome. And then when you open up chat GPT, it gives you a whole bunch of prompts that you could play around with, and help yourself. write High quality. 

Blog posts or social media posts or whatever in chatty BT. So it kind of gives you a jumping off point for writing good prompts. So you don’t have to write them all from scratch. And then I also purchased Zim writer. Um, that Chrissy talked about, I had to end up buying a PC recently to do my taxes. 

The software that I was using. Only works on a PC. So I had to buy a PC. So I was like, eh, might as well try housing writer too. So I purchased that and that’s just another AI writer. Specifically geared towards bloggers. So I’m going to test that out in the coming weeks and let you know about that. I haven’t haven’t used it yet, so I have no feedback at this moment. 

Um, and then I also signed up for a few programs. Around black Friday. That I’m excited about. I enrolled in Rachel Miller’s the maker’s membership. Which is about a hundred dollars a month, like a 97 a month. I think. And her whole program. So if you’re in the membership, you also get access to her signature course inside there as well. And she’s an expert on using Facebook to grow your brand and. 

Her whole idea is like learning how to understand your ideal customer avatar. And creating content that really speaks to them and has large potential to get a lot of engagement and potentially go viral. Um, so I am enrolled in that and she has this whole system for coming up with a year’s worth of content in like a day and planning it all out and just having your plan and going for it. 

And if, you know, and you’ve listened to this podcast, you know, I basically do that same thing for my content calendars for my blog. And it makes a lot of sense that I would try to do the same thing for social media. Uh, so that is on my to-do list, but I’m not going to focus on growing my social presence until I’m done with my course updates. So that’s sort of the next step thing that I’m going to play around with. So don’t have a ton of feedback, but the videos that I have watched so far, I’m like, 

Yes, this is perfect. Like I just need to follow the steps and do this plan. And my, my online presence will greatly benefit cause I had no plan right now. So clearly that’s not working. And then I also signed up for something called the membership geeks membership. Uh, that helps you run a high quality membership site. 

Cause I’m playing around with the idea of adding a membership component to my brand. I just noticed that there’s a lot of. You know, people who have maybe been in the program for a while, and they’re just needing the next step. Like. More help with things like monetization, especially, and just, just, oh, it would give me a way to keep up and do more trainings and give more. 

Actionable. Actionable tasks and feedback for people in real time. Because, you know, SEO changes constantly. So I would love to have a forum where I could put out timely. Tips. And, help people with the accountability aspect moving forward as well. So I don’t know. I haven’t, obviously, as you can tell from my ramblings, I’ve not pin down the details on that something that’s on the shelf for now, until I’m done with this. 

SEO course reboot. But yeah, I bought that membership because I’m playing around with the thought of bringing in a membership component. So I purchased that so that I would know, you know, the best practices for setting that all up. I know I have some personal, uh, memberships I’d experienced, but. 

I feel like it’s always beneficial to gather people’s perspectives as well. And then I recently signed up for, um, something called internet marketing gold by Kyle roof. And he’s an SEO guy. And this is basically he calls it the, like the Netflix for SEO. And he just has a, but he has like 40 something like little SEO mini courses in there. And like all the members in the group can submit, um, tests that they’ve done, SEO tests. And if they’re high enough quality. 

Then he’ll share them in the group. There’s like a little forum and just calls every month and things like that. So, Just another place to connect with SEO professionals at, at, uh, Uh, kind of like a higher level. I think that one is $97 a month as well. So I checked that out. I haven’t, I’ve only watched one video. I liked it, but. 

I don’t have enough experience to give real feedback, but I recently joined that. And then I also signed up to attend social media marketing world conference virtually this year for the first time. That’s something that’s been on my radar. For years, uh, I would love to attend in person it’s in San Diego every year, but now that we moved up to the bay area, 

It’s not quite as convenient as a trip to San Diego from LA. So. I’m not going in person. I think it’s actually happening in a few weeks. It’s happening sometime in March. So, yeah, I will be attending the virtual sessions online for that as well. And in terms of websites I use to keep up on SEO news. I really like tech crunch sends out a great tech news Roundup every day. 

I’ll often read that at the end of the night, like while my son’s falling asleep. Uh, I will read the headlines from the day, uh, for SEO news. There’s a bunch of websites or search engine journal, search engine Roundtable, search engine, land search engine, watch. All of them kind of post similar content. So if you’re looking just to keep abreast of like recent updates from Google or things like that, or speculations on algorithm updates. 

That those are some places you can check out. And also Moz the SEO company Moz. They put out something called the white board videos, which I find to be really helpful and in-depth, but those only come out. Less frequently. I’m not sure what their, their publishing cadence is for those, but, um, I find them to be. 

Really, really well done. 

And in terms of favorite podcasts in general right now for continued learning. I am currently subscribed to 34 podcasts. And I went in and checked. But there’s a handful that I find myself currently listening to on the regular. So in addition to the two, I mentioned above the authority hacker podcast and Marie Haynes SEO podcast. I also really like listening to inspiring stories. So I like to hear stories from other successful online business owners and bloggers, because it sometimes can spark an idea for you. 

Like. When they’re sharing their story and how they became successful. You’re like, oh, wow. Like I never thought about taking that angle and you can pull ideas from other people’s success. Into your own business ideas as well. So one of my favorite ones is the niche pursuits podcast. Which was created by Spencer Haws, the guy who created that link whisper plugin that I was just talking about, but he has since outsourced the podcast so that he can focus on growing the niche pursuits website and the linguists were plugin and all that. So now he has a, uh, host that he, I don’t know if he pays him or whatever, but he hosts the podcast for him. 

And his name is Jared Bahman. Um, so it’s hosted by Jared Bahman, but it’s technically a Spencer Haws brand. So. Niche pursuits podcast every week. All they do is just interview successful bloggers and online business owners, mostly bloggers. And some of the success that people have had is just like outrageous and occasionally SEO experts as well. I should say. 

Like agency owners. Uh, so definitely recommend checking that out if you need some inspiration, but in the blogging land. I also enjoy food blogger pro podcast with. Bjork Ostrom um, he also interviews people who run successful food blogs. So if you’re in that niche and you’re looking for success stories in the food blogging niche, that’s the best place to go to find those. 

I really enjoy the, not your average online marketing podcast by Zach Spuckler. This is a smaller podcast and he ha he’s been around for awhile. I think his brand used to be called. Heart soul and hustle, and they rebranded a year or two ago to this, not your average online marketing podcast, but I really like that. 

Uh, Zack. Basically just shares everything in his business in a very transparent way. So he’s always sharing like, oh, this is how my launch went. This is the strategy I tried, blah, blah, blah. Um, so I really enjoy hearing those details on his podcast. So that’s another one I check out frequently. 

And then recently I’ve kind of been on a. The art of online business podcast with Rick Mulready kick. So in the online business coaching world, there’s lots and lots of people. You know, podcasting about online business, but for whatever reason, the art of online business podcast with Rick Mulready has been resonating with me recently. 

So you could check that out. If you are looking for some online business inspiration, he. Uh, focuses on working with established online business, like coaching and course graders for scaling their business. So the part of the reason why it might be resonating with me right now is because like, that’s where I’m at in my business. So if you’re a brand new, maybe that’s not going to be the best fit for you. 

But if you’re at that stage of like, okay, I have my brand and how many people like what’s next? I really enjoy his podcast right now. And then I go off and on with this one, but at the moment, I’ve been occasionally listening to like little short snippets from the Gary V audio experience. I know he can be like a very polarizing figure. 

In the business world, but, um, I generally think he gives good, good. What’s the right word. I’m looking for. Like. Of the now advice like he has good foresight into where, online marketing in general is going in the future, I think. And he tends to espouse the benefits of things like tic talk and, um, live short video and things. That’s, that’s like not my area of expertise. So I enjoy hearing that perspective just to like bring in, you know, something else from outside of the blogging world. 

And that’s where I’m currently getting it from. All right. So hopefully that answered those questions. About who inspires me, you know, what resources I use to keep up to date, et cetera. Lori asked what type of continuing education do you like to do? It could be nutrition or biz related. favorite places to learn, et cetera. 

So my absolute favorite place to get CEOs. I don’t attend every single year, but I intend at least once in my like five years CU. Like journey. Is Heather Neal’s RD, entrepreneur symposium. It’s held twice a year and each round you can usually get like 30 something CEUs for around 200 bucks if you purchase in the first like week or so. And when it’s available. 

I think if it’s full price, it’s maybe closer to $300, but still it’s a really, really good deal for 30 CEOs. And basically it’s just like an online. Summit essentially of entrepreneurial RD entrepreneurs. Just sharing tips in little, you know, 30 minutes to one hour talks, essentially it’s like a conference, but specifically for RD entrepreneurs and only online, and you can get 30 somethings to use. Typically it varies depending on how many speakers she has for each round and how long each talk goes, because CEOs are based on like how long the videos are. 

But that’s my favorite way. I always include that in my round of CU youth. And then I typically will pair that with some books that I read for CEOs from either Helms publishing or Skelly skills. Or Wolf link associates, and then just call it today. Uh, and I haven’t done this myself, but I did really enjoy the idea that Melissa Jo joy Dobbins had. She’s the host of the sound bites podcast. And her podcast offers CEOs for listening to some of her episodes, which I just think is like the best idea. And so if you go to her website, she has a list. 

of various podcast episodes that have accompanying CU quizzes, and all you have to do is pass the quiz on her website. And then you get a CEU for that episode. And then, you know, if the episodes an hour, then the CEO is an hour, et cetera. So that’s a really totally awesome freeway to get CEOs. And I think it’s really genius that she is offering those for her podcast. 

Sarah said, I love the way you built your SEO course, including the free webinar and the countdown tool. Did you work with any coaches for help with course creation and marketing strategies? Uh, yes. I enrolled in Caitlin bachelor’s scale with success program in 2020. And those were sort of the strategies I was following for setting up my evergreen webinar funnel and email sequences. 

Uh, I will say though, that I had a lot of this stuff in place already. Like my course was already created and had been created for a couple years. I had an email funnel already. It just wasn’t super dialed in. I didn’t have a webinar. It was all email based with a discount timer. So that’s what I was currently doing before enrolling. 

I had an audience, I had my niche nailed down. So I had like all the pieces I think, to implement successfully with her course. I know not everyone has the same experience. With, with, her tactics. So. I do think you should like. Think about whether you’re ready for that type of program before enrolling. But basically what I used that program for is like dialing in everything. 

So improving. Uh, my sales pages improving the structure of my course to make it. More actionable and easy to talk about and understand for people. Um, whereas before I think I was taking it a little too academic, I switched it to be more engaging and interesting. So stuff like that. Uh, but yeah, that funnel has been running for, you know, almost two years now. I’m sort of feeling the itch to tweak and expand things. So definitely be on the lookout for some new stuff in the future, but that is the model I originally followed when I set it all up. 

And if you want to learn more about how that all worked. I had a whole podcast episode on this episode, number 59 of the podcast titled how I build my evergreen sales funnel tech costs and more. And then I had another episode where I shared my success with opening up the funnel. And relaunching my course using the new system and that’s in episode 65 of the podcast titled 84 K in seven days, unpacking my evergreen launch. 

Uh, so yeah, I didn’t necessarily find that like any one piece of information necessarily, you know, how it is with a lot of courses. So like the information is necessarily groundbreaking, but for me at that period of my life, I had a lot of time to focus on implementation and optimization. So having clear steps to follow, to implement and have sort of like a built-in deadline, because I was paying a lot of money every single month. 

Uh, locked in for 12 months. And then at the end of that day, my access expired. So there was a lot of like pressure as well to get it done. So, that combination worked for me at that moment of. Of my life. I don’t know if it would work for me right now, because now I’m very pressed for time. And you know, that type of pressure might not be the best fit. 

But at that time, I didn’t have any kids. I was fully focused on my business. Um, and that ended up working out really well for me. Gabby said, what are the parts of your business that you outsourced? For example, do you have a VA and someone editing your podcast? How many hours per week do you work? 

I did do an episode. A couple months ago about like a day in my life. So I would recommend kind of going back. I think it was episode a hundred, uh, maybe go back and listen to that. If you want, like a full in-depth rundown of what my life currently looks like. Um, Right now I’m not outsourcing that much in my business. 

I have one part-time VA that I have hired as an employee. And so she gets an hourly, rates. She it’s, you know, since she’s an employee, I cover. Whatever it is part of the taxes that I’m supposed to cover, cover as an employer. So. It ends up working out in her favor as an employee versus being an independent contractor. You have to pay more of the taxes yourself. 

So I’m currently paying her $35 an hour for 20 hours per week. and we’ve been working together for almost a year now. And she helps me edit and publish my podcast episodes. Both on my podcast platform and on my website with an accompanying blog post or show notes. Then, so she, she edits the podcast. Then she listens to the podcast and creates two custom social media posts to accompany each episode, which is like, 

A huge part of why I really needed help because I wasn’t doing that because it doesn’t come easily to me. Uh, so I just wasn’t promoting my podcast essentially. So I’m very grateful that she takes the time to create the custom social media posts and the captions. And I just give them a once-over and then she posts those on all of the social platforms. Uh, I also have some batched, like pre-created social media posts that I’ve made in the past. 

Like questions that I want to ask in the Facebook group or whatever. Um, so she’ll schedule those out as well. And she also assists with my monthly office hours calls for my course students. So once a month, I do a live call with my SEO students. So she will go through the Facebook group and collect the student questions that people submitted. 

Uh, and also collect the student wins that were shared over the last month and compile those into a slideshow that I can reference during the office hours. Call. And then after the, the office hour call is done, she also does all the post-processing and like uploading the recording to the course. Creating timestamped notes on what we talked about underneath the video, et cetera. 

And then she’s also helping out with my free Facebook group, the unconventional R D community. She approves new requests for people to join, adds people to my email list. If they left their email. And then we also just very, very recently have started experimenting with her approving or rejecting posts that people are submitting to the group based on the group rules. 

And then if she has extra hours throughout the week at all, Um, she’ll occasionally help with other one-off projects. Like right now she’s helping me update a spreadsheet. Uh, that’s going to be updated in the next release of my SEO course, for example. Uh, in the future. I think she could have a role assisting more with social media as we expand my marketing efforts a little bit, but we aren’t quite ready for that yet, because my main focus at this moment is getting my course content updated and re-released. 

Uh, in terms of how many hours I work right now, I’m working about 30 hours per week. Since I’m in sort of a push phase to get my course updated. And re-released in the next few months. Um, my main tasks each week are getting a podcast out, either solo or a guest interview, responding to student questions in the private Facebook group. Updating course content. 

I also have a once a month live office hours call that I prepped for and a little bit of work that I do with some customers that are paying me monthly for website and SEO support. I also have another blog that I’m working on with another RD. So each week I edit and publish a few posts on that side as well. And then I am the one who does like the keyword research in the bigger picture planning for that site as well. 

And then once a month or so, I will also write a new batch of emails to go out to my email list. And when I’m not in the middle of a content update, push. I’m probably working more like 20 hours per week. And when I first had maybe in the summer of 2021, I did almost no work for a full year. After that. So from when I had my kid to, when he turned one, I was working very, very little only during nap times or after the baby went to bed for the night. And it was just the bare minimum to keep my podcasts and email us alive. 

So we’re the first eight months after I had a baby, I was only publishing one podcast. Episode a month. Uh, then I upped it to every other week. And then finally, when he turned one, I was back on the weekly podcasting train. And I had hired my assistant to help out with that process, et cetera. 

But despite all that. Thanks to the evergreen funnel that I mentioned previously. I had launched that funnel right before my son was born. And so all the selling was happening on autopilot in my business, through my email list. And I was still able to make over $200,000 in my business during that year. 

Uh, even when I was barely working. So I think my ideal schedule would be to work three to four days per week from maybe 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. So that adds up to maybe like 20 hours per week on average. And I know I’ll be able to get back to that once. My course is relaunched again. That type of schedule would give me time to spend time with my son and my husband. It would allow me to cook dinner most nights and go for a family walk each day, which I really enjoyed. 

Heather said, how do you manage balancing work with family and personal time? Do you have work-life boundaries that you follow? And yes, actually having my son really pushed me to create structure and boundaries that didn’t really exist prior. Um, my husband also decided to leave his job a few months ago so that we could have full control over our time and schedule. So he watches our son during the day, while I’m like hiding away in the back of the house working. And right now I start work at 9:00 AM on most days, unless we have something else on the agenda. 

And I stopped work by 4:00 PM. I don’t have a commute, obviously. So I just pop out of the back room and rejoined the family. Uh, sometimes I come out and have lunch with my husband and son on weekdays as well. I don’t work on the weekends anymore. Those two days are for family adventures and quality time. 

And I also don’t work at night after Logan goes to bed. Most of the time. Unless there’s something, some emergency. Uh, in theory, that is supposed to be quality time with me and my husband. But to be honest, we’ve recently just been kind of like vegging out for an hour before bed. Cause just like, it’s just exhausting. Life is exhausting at this phase right now. So that is a work in progress, but a huge improvement from, you know, before I had kids. 

Jessica said, if you only had one hour a day to work on your business, what would you make sure to accomplish each week to keep your business growing and thriving? And I would just want it to highlight that. As I was just talking about, I have been there. In that scenario where I feel like I have very limited time, maybe a little more than an hour a day, but still like, feels like very little time. 

And so I can only answer this question. In respect to my own business and the systems that I have set up and where I’m currently at. There obviously could be 1,000,001 answers depending on how you grow your audience and how you make money in your business. Right now at this stage, I already have one sort of medium ticket signature course and a decent size engaged audience and email list. 

And the priority to keep my business growing and thriving. Is consistently creating content that serves them. And consistently selling via my email list. And I, as I mentioned, was almost a hundred percent able to automate the selling process via my evergreen email funnels that I set up. So I knew that everyone on my list would be given the opportunity to join my course automatically every six weeks or so. 

So knowing that when my time was extremely limited postpartum, I just had to make sure that I was creating enough content to send twice a week emails to my list. And that I was consistently giving people opportunities to join my list as well, since the only way they could buy for me was on my email list. So right now, the two main ways people join my email list are via my free Facebook group, the unconventional R D community. 

And via calls to action on my podcasts. Like if I say, Hey, join the [email protected]. For example that add someone to my list as well. So in order to keep my business afloat. I needed to focus on consistently creating podcasts. Um, at my most busy time period busy, meaning busy with my new baby. My only did monthly episodes, but I never stopped completely. And I think that was really important. 

And I consistently need to include calls to action to join my email list and Facebook group. Uh, since if people joined the Facebook group. A good portion of them also joined my email list at the same time. So if I only had one hour per day, I’d probably set it up like this at this moment in time. I would probably spend two of those days prepping my podcast notes. 

One day recording one day editing and scheduling everything out. And one day writing like supporting emails. Of course that doesn’t, you know, that’s only podcasting essentially. And my other main task that I do have to do to keep my course running is respond to student questions from people who are currently in my course, I spend at least 30 minutes a day, I’d say doing that. So if I truly only had one hour per day, I don’t think I could get everything done. 

I’d have to outsource something. And of course in reality, I am outsourcing some stuff, but in this example, I’m just like theorizing as if I didn’t have any help. And I have to say though, if I were brand new in business and I didn’t have an audience, a signature product or any selling systems in place, I think my answer to this would be completely different. 

In that scenario, I would be focusing on providing value to my people. Honing in on who I want to serve and how, and just starting to think about how I could validate a product or service idea, to start monetizing essentially. So that would be a very different stage of business and a different set of tasks at this moment in time, I’m just keeping the ship afloat and not like building the ship. If that makes sense. 

Amanda Kevian and Alison kind of had similar questions. They said, how do you stay motivated, especially for work that you’re not sure will directly translate into revenue. How do you balance the need for right now, money and future money. And how did you manage being the breadwinner while trying to build your online revenue streams? 

And this motivation question is really interesting to me because motivation for work is actually something that I personally have never really struggled with. In fact, it’s usually the opposite I’m motivated to work more than is probably healthy. I have to kind of work to tame that down and have balance in my life instead. 

But in terms of balancing generating money right now versus longer-term plays that may bring passive income in the future. Yes. I was definitely in that position for many, many years, a good five years. I’d say at the beginning of my already entrepreneurship journey. I just got really good at living on a tight, tight budget. Like I figured out what the bare minimum amount of money I needed was to survive. And then I only did enough work where I was like trading my time for money to bring in that exact amount. I didn’t have any savings. I was just like living to pay the bills and then banking the rest of my time on my future business ideas. 

Uh, so the rest of my time that I wasn’t working in a way that traded my time for money, I was working on my personal blogging and business ventures. So in order to work, make that work, I needed to try to minimize the number of hours I was trading my time for money. So I needed to find high paying gigs that would be able to bring in the livable wage without working. Full-time. 

So for example, some of the things I did, I tutored for a really long time and that paid a hundred dollars or more per hour. I also was a freelance writer for Healthline back in the day when there were paying a thousand dollars per article at that time. That was an excellent, excellent gig at that time. 

Uh, they don’t do that anymore, but that was a wonderful opportunity. And then I also ran a virtual private practice for a few years where I started out charging $150 an hour. And then eventually I switched to offering packages that were like 2000 or. And then I think I raised it to 2,500. Uh, dollars to work with me for like six weeks or something. 

So those were my main income streams while I built side income from things like the functional nutrition library membership site. Which I was able to eventually grow to like 50,000 in annual revenue before I shut it down. Uh, the unconventional R D brand and courses, eventually, as you know, I made that my full-time gig. 

But essentially what I was doing was each time, one of my passive income streams grew. I didn’t even mention things like affiliate income and stuff like that as well. Every time I, I generated a new reliable income stream. I gradually let go of some of my paid hourly work. So I was replacing the gigs where I was trading my time for money with a passive income stream until eventually all that was left was passive income streams. And then I was able to focus on growing and scaling those or in the case of my postpartum period, coasting on those while I actually worked less and spent time with my family. 

But I was able to do that without suffering loss of income. So that’s a huge win in my book. So I really only let go of the paying gigs once I had the money to replace them via the passive income streams. But I think that finding those high paying gigs that allowed me to only work like part-time essentially, uh, while still having another part-time set of hours to work on my own business. That was the key. 

Because that’s how I was able to get enough time to make progress on my own business. And in terms of being the breadwinner. Uh, it started out that way. And, you know, when we were younger, my husband was just starting out in a career in real estate and I was like doing 1,000,000,001 side gigs. And. 

Neither. One of us was really making much money. I worked a lot. Way more than 40 hours per week for many years. Um, but eventually my husband’s real estate career did take off. We were both earning six figures, uh, and then things were a lot easier. But then we had our son. And it was clear that, you know, either if we both wanted to continue working, we were going to have to hire someone to help us with Logan or put him in daycare. 

Or have one of us take a step back from our work while he’s little and focus, mostly on taking care of him each day. And since my job is a hundred percent location, independent and a lot more flexible and autonomous. Um, my husband was the one who decided to take a little bit of a step back and I’m currently the one leaning more into work mode right now. 

And it’s working well right now for both of us, but of course, we’re going to reevaluate our work life schedules as our son grows, start school, et cetera. Laurie asked if I had any strategies for productivity. I don’t really have any like concrete strategies. This is another one of those things that just comes easy to me, which I acknowledged sometimes mean that I, that means that I do have strategies, but they’re so ingrained in just like my natural way of being that I don’t even recognize that their strategies. 

So I’ll just like, explain what I do. And maybe something exciting will pop out. But basically I, I keep a running weekly to do list and then I slot things in for each day. So each week looks different. And then I only have like one kind of recurring main task that has a deadline each week. And that is getting my podcast recorded by the end of each day or at the end of Tuesday each week. Other than that things are pretty fluid. 

And I stay productive by knowing what tasks I absolutely need to get done each week and then having sort of repeatable systems to get them done. So I create content calendars for my podcast and my blog. So I’m not wasting time coming up with what to talk about each week or what to write about. There’s already a set plan that I put in the time to set up. 

At one, like I sat down for a day, created a content calendar for a few months and they don’t have to think about it again. Um, when I’m working, I quote, so, yeah, so basically all I have to do is like, look at my calendar, figure out what I have to do, and then do it. Um, when I’m working, I go into the backroom. I closed the door. No one comes in. 

When I’m in work mode, since I personally am someone who really needs deep focus time to get things done, I don’t do well with interruptions. And then I periodically try to check in and make sure the things that I’m spending my time on actually matter. And whether there’s anything I should maybe take off my plate either by not doing it anymore or outsourcing it. 

But the, to do list with those sort of like micro deadlines, like assigning each task to a day or a portion of a day that helps me stay focused just on the task at hand. And then if I’ve kind of slotted things into each day, Then it’s like, I can kind of temporarily shelf it in my mind. Like I know that I have other times carved out for the other tasks and they’re eventually going to get done. They don’t need to take up space in my brain right now. I only need to focus on the thing that I’m actually supposed to be working on right now. 

Uh, and then in terms of fitting in time for like continuing education and learning, I try to multitask when I’m doing things like dishes, cooking, washing the dog, cleaning up the house. Those are the times where I listened to podcasts and kind of feel like I’m keeping up on things in the digital marketing world. 

Uh, and sometimes I’ll even read like trending SEO news. While I’m laying on the floor while my son is falling asleep or while he’s comfort nursing or something like that. So I just fit those things in, that’s not part of my like set schedule. But usually I can find the time somewhere throughout the week. 

Ashley asked what are some strategies to overcome imposter syndrome and know your worth when it comes to working with brands? And I just have to put out the caveat. I don’t really work with brands. I’ve only done one sponsored post through an agency years and years ago. So I don’t know that I’m the best person to answer this specific question. 

But I did find that downloading Abby sharps media rate kit. So you can look that up on Google or I can put a link in the show notes. Uh, and interacting with food bloggers who do sponsored work inside the Facebook group, a food blogger central. I find those resources to be super inspiring and helpful for figuring out whether your rates are even remotely in alignment with what other people charge. 

So getting a mentor could help to, for example, you could check out Amy Gorins master the media program. She does multiple six figures of brand work each year. So she could definitely help make sure that you’re charging your worth and consistently taking action to find partnerships. I also think that having a clear niche can help immensely too. 

If you’ve built up an audience of a specific type of person interested in a specific topic, and you have some trust and authority with your followers. That has immense value to brands, advertising and gaining new customers can be really tough for brands. So they would love to leverage audiences of other people who can recommend their products, because they know that a recommendation from an influencer or an expert that people trust will go a hundred times farther than an ad served up directly by the company to someone. 

Your endorsement holds mega value, so you can definitely charge good money for it. For example, if you are an IBS dietitian and have a following of let’s just pretend a hundred thousand followers on Instagram. Uh, a company that sells low FODMAPs snack foods would absolutely love to be featured on your page. Like, can you imagine how valuable that would be for them to get their low FODMAP snacks in front of a hundred thousand people who are specifically interested in low FODMAP foods? Because they’re all following an account of an IBS page. 

Like, I mean, where else could this brand get such effectively targeted advertising plus an endorsement from a professional, right? It would be really hard to beat that. So that is valuable. And just to put in perspective companies that advertise on people’s websites or TV, for example, regularly pay over $30 per 1000 people they get in front of. And that’s just like a pretty passive way of advertising. Right? It’s relatively un-targeted traffic. 

And people sort of tune out TV and website ads a lot. It’s a lot different than a social media. One. So in this theoretical example, though, even if you just charged the same rate as an ad, that would be on your website or TV. If you had a hundred thousand followers, that would mean you could charge $30 times a hundred, so $3,000 per one post plus more for your professional endorsement. 

If that was part of the deal. And even more, if you created accompanying content that went out on other channels, like your website or email list, So definitely know that the brand that you’ve worked so hard to build is valuable. And if you chose to explore brand partnerships, just know that you’re really helping these brands get in front of their ideal audience. So you are doing them a service just as much as they are helping you by partnering with your brand and providing you monetary compensation as well. 

Jennifer asks, what have been your favorite strategies for nurturing your Facebook community? And I think I mentioned this in my reply to this question, but I feel like I haven’t been as consistent lately. Um, but that’s just me personally with my personal profile, the group, I guess, has still been consistent. So we have scheduled posts going out one to two times per day, every single day of the week in the group. And some of those posts are specifically engagement prompts, where we ask questions to start conversations. 

We also approve all the posts so that we can make sure that the discussions are always on topic. Uh, sometimes I try to post things like links to webinars or the ask. A very specific nutrition-related question when this group is, only about business topics. At the unconventional RD community on Facebook. 

And it also doesn’t allow, um, nutrition really. So it doesn’t really have nutrition related topics and no self promotion. So that’s why something like a webinar link would not be allowed. But yeah, I think some of the tactics that I use in the beginning to grow the group would still be effective today, but I’m no longer implementing them. 

So some of the things I think I did in the beginning that really made a difference. Uh, I would send out a weekly newsletter with links to the trending hot conversations that were happening in the group. So you could actually link to specific posts inside of Facebook groups. So that’s what I was doing. I was saying like, 

Check out these trending conversations. And I was putting links to what people were talking about. And that really helped boost the visibility and engagement in the group. But at this moment in time, I’m only doing evergreen email marketing. So this type of strategy doesn’t fit into my current workflow at the moment, but I may bring that type of idea back again in the future. 

I also talk about the group regularly on my podcast. So pretty much in every solo episode it comes up. So and that’s just because I’m not really present on social media, outside of this group. So it probably helps people drive or helps drive people there. Because that’s the only place they really can connect with me at the moment. So I could see that might change in the future. If I start to get more active on Instagram or Tik TOK or something, 

But yeah, so since I’m not personally posting as much in the group with my personal profile or sending those emails out, that I can, like I used to with links to the trending conversations. Uh, engagement and growth of the group has slowed a little bit over the past two years. But it is still the place where I have the largest following. And right now I just looked at the last 28 days. We have a 60% engagement rate right now. It used to be an over 80% engagement rate. 

Uh, when I was really active in the group, but honestly that’s still pretty good trumps a lot of other social media platforms. So, yeah, that’s where it’s at right now. Kaelyn asked a really interesting question. Uh, that no one’s asked me before. So I’m excited about this one. She said, how do you feel like your RD credentials have helped you in your current business endeavors? If you had to do it all over again, would you become an RD? 

And so. If you’re just talking about my current business, the unconventional RD brand. I’m not really using my RD credentials directly in this business. The only way it’s really helped me in this business is that I am an R D so I understand how to help RD set up their websites and create content to grow their brands specifically in the nutrition niche. Whereas other blogging SEO or digital marketing people don’t really have the same level of insight into our, into our field. 

So I do think it puts me in an advantage to be able to uniquely speak to our group of professionals and help them. And in other ventures though, my mileage has varied. So, uh, when I was initially food blogging, Way back in the day. I did not need to be an RD for that. So. Back in late 2010, when I first launched my food blog. 

I was posting recipes and little nutrition tidbits. And I was feeling mega imposter syndrome. I wasn’t a chef. I wasn’t an RD. I just recently had graduated college and I was like, who am I to be posting about recipes and nutrition? Right. And that’s what was going through my head. So that was why I went back to school to become an R D I lacked confidence in what I was doing. And I felt like I needed a credential from a school to back me up. So even, you know, at that time back in 2011, I knew that it was possible to earn a full-time income as a blogger, but I was scared and I doubted myself. 

So. I went back to my security blanket, the idea of going to school, getting a degree, getting a job that had been drilled into me from a young age. And I was like, okay, well, you know, at least if I get this nutrition degree and credential. I will have a backup plan and a legitimate career option if everything goes south. So I spent the next three years becoming an RD. 

And that was after already getting a bachelor’s in another field. So, yeah, sometimes I think back and I’m like, oh man, if I had just lived at my parents’ house for those three years and had like zero expenses and just food blogs, I probably could have grown it to a full-time income during that time. 

Instead the blog took a mega backseat. And I barely had time to publish on it while I was in school. And my internship. And then I ended up coming out the other side with my credential. But I had like $60,000 in debt and was starting a new career at square zero, essentially. So it took me another five years after that. 

To finally build a successful profitable six-figure business. So did I need to become an RD to build an online business to blog or to talk about digital marketing? No. Did it help me find a niche and a group of people to connect with and talk about this stuff with yes. Could I have become a freelance writer for Healthline without a degree in nutrition? No, and I do think that that was a big turning point in my career and a gig that really helped me stay afloat and give me time and space to work on my own stuff while still getting paid well. 

Could I have built the other websites that I started after I got my already credential, like the functional nutrition library or my newer site nutritionist answers without being an RD. Technically, yes, but I would have lacked the necessary expertise to do it alone. So I would have needed to partner with the nutrition expert. So in those two examples, yes. Being an RD was definitely an asset to my business, but all in all, I don’t think I needed to become an RD to run an online business. 

And if I didn’t become one. Probably my career would be a lot different. Um, I most likely would have just doubled down on food blogging since you don’t need formal expertise in that niche. And I probably would be happily running a multi six figure fee a full-time food blog right now. But perhaps it would have also created content to help people learn how to blog since I love to teach, but I can safely say that I would not have been niched down to helping dietitians or helping people in the nutrition space specifically. 

So, you know, 50, 50, I didn’t need to become an RD, but I do think becoming an R D. Helped me hone my niche and build the business that I have today. Jesse said, what do you do outside of SEO and blogging? Favorite hobbies? I have to say, as I’ve mentioned, 20 times in this episode, since I’m currently a mom to a one and a half year old, I spend a lot of my free time doing toddler related activities. Lots of playing with cars running around, outside blowing, bubbles, coloring. 

Going on little weekend day trips to museums, parks, et cetera. Outside of that, my biggest hobby has always been cooking. So I still try to cook as much as possible. I really enjoy making fancier elaborate meals. So I try to make something nice, at least a couple of times a week. And try to infuse a love of really good food into my son. 

Um, I also like to read, I read historical fiction books. Uh, I love reality TV, and I like to listen to business podcasts. So that feels most of my time, these days. Uh, used to, would you try to do like 30 minute daily burn workouts, but these days my exercises, like my family walk. Around the neighborhood. 

We also try to play on like one or two family trips each year. So last year we flew out to Switzerland to visit my sister. That’s where she lives with her husband and my niece. So we were out there for a week or so, and then since we were already out there, we just also tacked on a week in Paris as a family. 

So that was nice. Um, although we were did that when my son was one, which was. Very difficult. Uh, but you know, live and learn. We’re also big camper. So a few months prior to that trip, we just hopped over for a quick trip to Yosemite. Um, it’s only a few hours from where we currently live. We didn’t do full-on camping. We stayed in an Airbnb inside the park because Logan was not even one yet at that point. 

But we’re definitely gonna carry on the tradition and decent tent camping when he gets older as well. And then the final question was from Kate. She said, what about sharing any humorous, embarrassing moments that you have from being a dietitian or dietetic student? I feel like I have so many that I think back on and make me giggle. And honestly, like I saw this question and it was the one question I was like, I don’t know what I would answer to this. 

I honestly never had a real dietitian job. I just started doing my own thing straight out of the gate. So I don’t have a lot to draw on for this one. And I started grad school, like literally a decade ago at this point. So my memories of that time are a little fuzzy. So, I mean, honestly, my guess my answer is, I guess I should be glad that there’s nothing embarrassing from 10 years ago that I still like reflect back on in my mind. 

10 years later, like, Yeah, that’s a blessing, I guess. And I didn’t mortify myself enough to, uh, be scarred, from that experience, I’m sure there’s something, but nothing that came to mind right away. I always have felt like I’ve had like a one foot in the door identity as being a dietitian. Cause it was never like my main thing or my main goal. 

I became a dietitian, as I said, almost a little bit of imposter syndrome because I love the topic of food and nutrition. And I felt like I needed the validation of a credential to talk about it. But I never went into this career hoping to work in clinical or do patient care or anything like that. 

It was more like an academic interest. Uh, I would say so. So, yeah. That’s my answer to all of these wonderful questions. Uh, this is a perfect amount of time. To fill this podcast episode. Thank you. Thank you for asking these questions. It was a pleasure to hop on and give my responses in this podcast episode today. 

And we will be back for our regular scheduled programming next week. So thank you so much. Uh, and always have a great, great day. 

Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.