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When Melissa Love started thinking about running a business, she had no idea she would one day be a thriving entrepreneur. All she knew then was she has a family to support and she needed to make some changes on top of being a stay-at-home mom. Little did she know that her $30,000 loss would be the best thing that ever happened to her.
Because you see, most entrepreneurs don’t have a clue what they’re doing when they first start out. Melissa was no different. At first, she thought she could just wing it and everything would work out. In fact, she even invested $30,000 in a business she believed in, but it quickly floundered and she was left with nothing.
For most people, this could have been the end of the journey, but Melissa is different. She’s a go-getter and she was determined to find a way to make her business work. So, she went back to the drawing board and started doing research on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.
Fast forward a few years later, and she is now a thriving business owner with a successful online presence. She has been able to turn her $30,000 loss into a six-figure business, and it continues to grow and evolve!
I’m sure you’re wondering: how did she get there? What exactly did she do to make her business a success? Most importantly, can you do the same so you can take your business to the next level?
Read the full transcript below to find out Melissa’s tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur, even if you’re starting from scratch!
📄 Video Transcription:
Yvonne: Hey, hey everybody. And we are back with another episode of Boss Your Business. And today, we are going to be talking about feel good marketing funnels. Yes, it is possible. You do not have to be lazy. You do not have to be salesy. You actually can have fun with your marketing funnels. And for that, I brought in Melissa.
Yvonne: We actually know each other for a while now. And Melissa is a web designer and brand specialist for creative businesses and entrepreneurs. She’s the founder of a WordPress theme company, The Design Space, which makes excellent design affordable. And she’s a WordPress nerd who has taught thousands of business owners, how to build their own beautiful websites through her own online membership, The Marketing Fix. She and her team coaches members through building ethical sales funnel and you are in the UK. So you are back in my neck of the woods where I used to live. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Melissa: Ah, UK, well, thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be here.
Yvonne: I’m excited to have you. I’m like we’ve been chatting on and off, I think pretty much for two years now or something.
Yvonne: And I always loved your approach and especially hearing what’s happening behind the scenes and where you have gone lately. But guys, we will get to this. We will be talking about a lot of things with Melissa, also how her business has evolved, but let’s start in the beginning.
How did you actually get into the whole WordPress and marketing funnels and that whole thing?
Melissa: Um, well, I, I tell you. It starts with a, really a story with a really terrible ending. I had two children and I had, um, and I was really struggling to balance kind of kids. And a friend of mine came who had a, like an organic vegetable box delivery company. And he came to me and said, oh, you kind of, you’re quite creative.
Melissa: You fancy helping us with the marketing for this company and we’ll, we’ll, we’ll join together and we’ll, we’ll do this business together and we’ll deliver the vegetables and the food and you do the marketing. And I was like, well, how hard can that be? That doesn’t sound very hard. I’m sure I could just, you know, marketing, it’s just telling people things I’ll, I’ll be, be fine.
Melissa: So we kind of all put like, we each put 5,000 pounds in which, you know, a lot of money, but it’s not kind of a life altering amount of money. And so in that went and. Got flyers. I didn’t know how to build websites back then. So we spent most of it on building a website where people could order and we got premises in a bigger van and I was, you know, social media was just starting to be a thing. We had to leaflets delivered.
Melissa: I’d go on the radio station, like just doing more trying everything. And it was okay. We didn’t really get a lot of traction. If I’m being honest, we were just kind of standing still. And as soon as I stopped all of that crazy busy activity would kind of lose customers. And I thought, do you know what? Um, I know what it is.
Melissa: This sounds like something entrepreneurs say we are under capitalized. I think we need to go bigger. We need to invest some more money. And, you know, my partner was like, oh yeah, whatever you think. I got some advice from, from, from people. And they’re like, yeah, yeah. If you’re gonna start a company like this, you need to, you know, you’ve gotta do some serious advertising.
Melissa: And so, um, I went to my husband and I said, I think we should invest in this. It’s a great opportunity. And as it had happened, he had just sold his house to move in with me. Uh, so we had this money sitting in the bank. So we put the hold on it, and it was 30,000 pounds.
Yvonne: I’m, I’m sitting here. I’m already getting goosebumps.
Yvonne: I’m like, I don’t know the story, guys. I really don’t know the story yet, but I’m sitting here. I’m like, oh my God, please, dont.
Melissa: I know he was like, baby, if you think it’s a good idea, I’m all in. So the, in the money went and of course I did more of the same. So, you know, I’d go to food festivals dressed as a giant sweet corn, whatever it took.
Melissa: I was prepared to try it. You know, like better website, better than that.
Yvonne: You were better than me. I’m like, oh my God. Wow. You were, you were literally like all in, whatever it took to promote that.
Melissa: Yeah, but none of it worked. The money just disappeared and we didn’t get the market share we needed. And the whole thing folded and the money was just gone and, um,
Yvonne: Oh my God.
Melissa: Amazingly, amazingly. Um, my husband did not divorce me. He was, I never husband, my next question.
Yvonne: I’m like, you got yourself a really good one.
Melissa: Yeah. He’s a keeper. So, oh my God. Um, I know. Right. So then in the aftermath of all of this, he said to me, to be fair, though. I think you need to get a job cause he was like a teacher at that time.
Melissa: So I said, right. Um, I’m I’m definitely gonna go and get a job. What I did do was I didn’t go and get a job. I came back to him with another crazy idea and I said, um, you know how I said, I was gonna get a job? What I actually wanna do is start a magazine? And he was like, you dunno anything about this? And I was like, I said, my friend has this magazine in another part of the country. And what she does is she sells ads space in it. And it’s like a mini glossy magazine that goes through 10,000 letter boxes. And, you know, she sells it out for six months at a time and it brings in about two or three grand a month.
Melissa: I think I can do that cuz you know, my parents were graphic designers. I’m a pretty good writer. So I thought I can I’ll do all the things. I’ll take all the photos, write all the articles, design all the ads. I was like, I can do this. And he was like, well, he didn’t say, are you absolutely crazy? All right, I’ll give, like, let’s give it three months.
Melissa: If you can sell out six months of the issue and bring you need, you need to bring in 2000 pounds a month. I said, Okay. Challenge accepted. So I mopped up this very poor example for magazine and I got my two children in like a backpack and a buggy that they were tiny, like one and three. And I pushed them up and down the high streets of 10 different villages.
Melissa: And I got a magazine mocked up professionally and I sold out the whole. I must have been, I was desperate not to have to go out and get a job. I sold out I think it was 32 pages of, and I made everyone sign a six month contract and I came home about after about three or four weeks and went: here’s the money and we’re gonna have that much every month for the next six months.
Melissa: And at that point I went to a professional magazine production company. Got them to do most of the production. Um, and a lot of the delivered included distribution through less boxes. I still march shop down high streets, delivering them to shops and things. But I was, I guess, from desperation, you know, sometimes when great scenes are born and as part of running that magazine, which still runs today.
Melissa: And I, I eventually sold it.
Yvonne: But oh my God, you did?
Melissa: It did. And I literally, I couldn’t even didn’t even know how to take photos when I started it. So I went on a one day course for a friend’s camera and went, I was like, I shot everything. Every photo designed, every ad. It was so funny. I was like, literally, can I have the accounts department?
Melissa: Hang on. I’ll just transfer you. Yes, that’s also me. I was literally, I’ll get our photographer to come down tomorrow. So it was pretty funny. Um, but it worked. It worked and it allowed me to kind of stay home. And as part of it, a lot of the people who were advertising and I bought, I built my first website for that.
Melissa: And I started selling ad space on the website and I literally advertisers like, wow, your website’s great. Can you build one for me? And it was a very early days of WordPress, like when people just knew it as a blogging tool. So, and I started saying, yeah, sure. And I, cuz I worked out, I could sell a website and you know, hold onto your hats here.
Melissa: Cuz I was big money. I was selling for 250 pounds. And I said
Yvonne: Wait, did we all start at that? I’m like back in the day when I was building websites, I think we all did that.
Melissa: Yeah. And I said to my husband, I’ve just taken a booking to a whole website for 250 pounds. Hit the big time. And he was like, yeah.
Melissa: Okay. He’s never work. Like, no, it’ll be no bother. I’ll get it done in no time. Anyway.
Yvonne: What was the no time? Mm-hmm yep.
Melissa: It, it was fine. And I eventually think put my prices up to 495 pounds. I think it was the highest I went. And then a friend came down to stay for the weekend. And if you’ve been to any marketing conferences, actually you might know her Jaz Ampaw-Farr.
Melissa: She’s a speaker and kind of Ted talker. And we were at university together. She’s one of my best friends and she came down and she was at that point, she was of photographer and she said, here’s my website. It’s really terrible. I paid someone in America, $5,000 to build this, and it was really terrible.
Melissa: And I said, $5,000, are you crazy? I’m like, I’m charging 500. And she was like, oh, well, can you rebuild it? So I re rebuilt it kind of that weekend. And she was like, right, hang on a minute. She went off to one of her photographer, friends and said, right, you are gonna build a website for this lady. She’s all in.
Melissa: I’ve told her you charged 2000. I was like, you can’t, you can’t do that. So I literally went to this she’s this lady’s now one of my best friends. I went to her house and she gave me 2000 pounds in cash and I built her website and I was like, I can’t believe it.
Yvonne: And it’s, that’s, that’s one of the things where it’s like, sometimes we just need somebody else because when I listen to you and you were like, yeah, the highest I ever charged was like 500 bucks and I’m like, huh?
Yvonne: For what? A landing page?
Melissa: I know. It was funny.
Yvonne: I love how she stepped in and is like, you know what? I told her, you charged 2000 bucks because she knew your value.
Melissa: She do, you know what? And she, to this very day, she, sometimes she speaks in an event and she will say, I’ve recommended you. And I’ve told them you charge $5,000.
Melissa: Like she charges 30 and I’m like, seriously? And she’s like, yeah, they’re gonna call you. And I’m like, God, she’s still doing it to me. Like 25 years later, she’s still telling people I charge more than I actually charge.
Yvonne: But those are, those are, those are the business friends in your corner because you know, I’m like, I know you long enough, you would do the same thing the other way around.
Yvonne: It’s like, We, we somehow we are always better selling everybody else than selling ourself. Yeah. But you are also one that pretty much sells herself at this point. You don’t even really need to sell anymore. I’m like, it’s like Melissa is there and there. And everything just works perfectly fine from the outside watching, but looking at.
Yvonne: From that, how did that inv evolve into what you are doing now? Because I know you’ve also been through changes through the last around six months in your business right now. So how did you get from just the whole, okay, I built you a website to what your business is now.
Melissa: Well, I had, and it’s funny talking about people in your life who you need.
Melissa: I had a couple of really lucky breaks. The first thing was, um, I. I went to a photography convention. And have you ever heard of the website software show it?
Yvonne: No. Doesn’t ring a bell.
Melissa: Freelancers and photographers use it. So I, I was using the software.
Yvonne: Show it. Yeah, sure. Yes. Yeah. So.
Melissa: Back then it was a really small company I reached out to, I said, look, I’ve been building websites with your software and I’m also building with WordPress.
Melissa: I’m going to this photography convention. At that point, it was a hundred percent photographers. Do you fancy coming over and like getting a stand and hanging out and they were like, sure, we’ll bring the whole team. And we’re also gonna bring like, um, Jasmine Star and Zach and Jody Grace. They brought over these big names who weren’t very famous then, but they were big in the photography industry.
Melissa: And I met them all. And Zach and Jody said to me, would you, they were super famous. Would you build a website for us? So I said, really? Okay. And I’ve kind of got used to saying, right, 2000 pounds and I built this website and they said, great. What we’re gonna do is, um, we are gonna debut it live on Creative Live.
Melissa: I didn’t even know what that was at that point. I was like, okay, sounds good. It’s like an internet thing. They’re like, yeah, it’s kind big deal. It was like, okay, sounds good. So they introduced the whole brand and how I’d worked with them and the whole website. And I’m not kidding that week, I had four and a half thousand inquiries.
Melissa: It was nuts.
Yvonne: Holy crap.
Melissa: I didn’t have a VA. I had nothing and I was dying. Like the, my, my, the software. I used to run my studio. I had to, um, I had to get them to build like a whole add-on like to the software so I could bulk reply to everyone. It, the thing was insane. And, um, I, I literally asked on Facebook.
Melissa: Does anyone know anyone who could come and very like, I mean, tomorrow start being a PA for me and Nicola who I work with now was that person. She said, I live in Cornwell. I can be there tomorrow. And we’ve been working together ever since, but we dealt with this crazy thing and then this does not happen to everyone.
Melissa: I then had a waiting list forever for the next 10 years. I kept raising my prices and raising my prices. I got to the point where I was charging what I charge now, like five pound, five grand upwards. And I was so burnt out. I had two kids. I was working. I’d sold the magazine business, but I was working every night.
Melissa: Really just juggling too many clients. I didn’t know a scale. I tried to bring in junior designers, but I got frustrated cuz they weren’t designing at the level I wanted them to. I didn’t know how to manage a team. And it, and I just thought I need something that is not this. And that was when I launched my template.
Melissa: That’s why I dreamed up The Design Space.
On following the market
I launched with half a dozen templates, um, WordPress templates. Before page builders, it was for like pro photo and show it very photographer, niche based. And, um, and that really took off and I took a step back from the client work and I kind of, and I thought, and then kind of Divi came along and I, I was the first person to ever launch any like extra bolt on product for Divi.
Melissa: I, I kind of called up Nick Roach and went, I’ve got this idea that I would like to sell, do this thing. And he was like, yeah, have a go. No problem. Like there were no add-on plugins, no third party, anything. I was literally the first person to ever ask him, can I do this? And, um, that was kind of crazy cuz people, some people are like, are you mad?
Melissa: You’re charging money. You’re charging more than it cost to buy Divi for a template. I’m like, yeah. But how much does it cost?
Yvonne: How much time to spend building it from scratch? Yeah. It’s like. And that’s where the, where the value thinking comes in. We have a lot of people who are just looking at a pricing and looking at something, but we both know how much it takes to build a freaking website. And it’s like, that’s why I left web design because it’s like a mother of a brother of a son of uncle, their cousin can build a website nowadays. Yeah. And I’m like, yeah. But how? Um, and that’s, I think where, where a lot of us need to think about the whole value pricing of how much time do you actually save somebody.
Melissa: Yeah. So when we were in the mid, when we launched that and we kind of put it out there in the Divi community, there was this, some people were like outraged that we were charging like 150 bucks or something for this.
Yvonne: Oh my god. 150 bucks. I’m like really?
Melissa: And a, and a load of people were like buying it.
Melissa: People were like, this is amazing. And I kind of got asked to kind of explain yourself, how does this work then? And I kind of came up with the analogy. I could build a table myself and it would have four legs and it would be really wonky. And you could recognize it as a table, but it would be terrible. Or I could commission like a bespoke furniture maker to make this incredible table and it would cost me a fortune or I could do what nearly all of us is, which is go to Ikea and I can get some really decent instructions and I can produce something.
Melissa: By cuz someone else has done all the hard work and heavy lifting first. And as long as I follow the instructions, I’m gonna come out with a really stylishly design piece of furniture. That’s functional and looks good.
Yvonne: Oh my God, that analogy, wow. Yeah. That I might just have to borrow that analogy because that’s exactly what it is.
Melissa: So we’re the Ikea of website design so that’s how I…
Yvonne: That’s what it is, you get, you get the framework, you just need to put it together. Everything else is already there.
Melissa: Yeah. So you just, and you don’t even need one of those stupid little keys. So you always get lost the ones that are always aware.
Melissa: Yeah. Of course what happened then is people are like, oh, these designs are great, but how do you use WordPress? And what’s Divi and what’s how do I choose Divi or Elementor? So I did, I thought I need a course, so I created a course and, um, I’ve gotta admit, I just didn’t do it properly. I didn’t do any proper kind of validation on it.
Melissa: I know now not to build a course before I sell it, but back then I sold it and I was lucky enough that I had a big enough audience from buying the templates who were like, yes, I’ll buy the course. So I had a really good, quite a strong launch with the course and that trickled along for two or three years.
Melissa: And then people started saying, well, I’ve built my website with your awesome course. I just dunno how to market my business. I’m really lost. And I thought, aha, the next evolution for me is to start a membership, which is about marketing, which is literally using your website to power your whole marketing machine.
Melissa: Cause people are like, should I buy ClickFunnels or LeadPages? I’m like, no, you’ve got a website. Don’t buy that stuff. No, you have a web. That’s what your website’s for. You can build all these pages in your website. Don’t. Don’t.
Yvonne: But it’s like, people don’t know what they don’t know. It’s yeah. Not to mention the cost that’s associated with any of those specific tools.
Yvonne: Don’t get me wrong. If you are having certain amount of traffic or whatever, there is room for ClickFunnels. There is reasons those tools exist, but as a small business, potentially even a solopreneur, that expense does not adequate to what you are actually getting out of it.
Melissa: Yeah, exactly. So, um, it’s not the first thing I’d go to.
Melissa: I would test your minimum viable product. Will people buy my thing? If I just build a sales page in my website and start sending traffic to it, you can always scale up with other more expensive systems. So, yes, that’s the evolution of my business. It’s quite natural when I look back on it at the time I thought, oh, risky, scary.
Melissa: Should I do this? But you know, looking back on it, I did kind of listen to what people were asking for and then, build the thing that they were asking for.
Yvonne: That’s what I, what I call with me, the yellow brick road, when people hear all the things that I have done in the past where I’m like, yeah, but I, I literally just followed the market.
Yvonne: You just need to listen. Yeah. So, but I’m like, when we are in it, it’s like, oh my God, how am I gonna survive this week? And then you look back and it’s like, yeah, this actually kinda makes sense. Yeah. I would love to dive into where business has evolved and changed for you in the last six months, because you mentioned you’ve done courses.
Yvonne: You’ve mentioned, I know you have a membership. Um, I know you just launched another product, um, within the last six months if I have my timetable, right. I would love to talk about that because what I see publicly a lot happening, and why I started this podcast is this conversation of courses are passive income.
Yvonne: You just have to make a course and money is just gonna come in or you have to have a membership. People seem to be selling what worked for them without ever making that distinction of personality, of thinking of how we work energy, which I’m really big on. So I would love to hear your evolution of how your containers and your deliverable changed and why it changed.
Melissa: Well, I tell you something, I look, look.
On building courses
Selling a course is actually pretty straightforward. Like you, you launch the course and people will go, I want, are you ever gonna do a module about this? You’re like, sure. Does everyone want this? Yes, we want it. Okay. Build the extra module. Like the feedback loop is pretty direct and as long as you keep everything up to date, and there’s a way for ’em to ask questions, I used to do just like a live office hour months a week and everyone’s super happy with that. Um, and, uh, I, yeah, I got attracted to the membership model and I love it, but there was a lot of buzz around, oh, of course this is a one time fee, but you still have to keep putting in the work. And, you know, membership is more like more reliable, monthly income.
Melissa: So I thought I’ll give this a whirl, and actually I wanted to have a lot more one-on-one time with people to talk about marketing, but running a membership, oh my God. It’s the biggest learning journey I think I’ve ever been on. So coming up to our third birthday, we’ve got about 350 members. So nice. I would say, you know, Yvi and I have talked about this.
Melissa: I don’t want anyone to think that that’s an easy thing. Like from that I had, I, I had like, 1200 people had been through my course. I had 15,000 people on my email list from selling templates for 10 years. So I don’t want anyone to think, oh, I can just get this many overnight. And also it was pre we launched pre COVID in the October before COVID.
Melissa: So I had a huge, I had a big launch and it was great. Um, so it’s hard to jump to that unless you have a big audience and people are used to buying from you. So I don’t wanna dissolution anyone. Um, cuz and we sell at a fairly low price point. We are 39 pounds a month, which is about 45 bucks a month. You do have to have a certain amount of people to make that worth your time.
Melissa: And, um, unless you wanna literally be a one man band and you know, that’s for the amount of value I wanna deliver, I can’t do that without team. So my evolution has been, um, firstly, my, my membership, when we launched it’s called the Marketing Click was generally about marketing and it wasn’t precise enough.
Melissa: People are like, there’s so much content. I dunno where to start.
The downsides of having too much content
So I was like, I gotta like build a roadmap, a recommended path through there. And they’re like, yeah, just it’s good. But I, I. I’m just a bit stuck. And I was like, hmm. All I, and I saw all I want them to really do is get their lead magnet, get the little funnel up and working.
Melissa: Then we’ll talk about how to attract people into the, with Facebook ads and organic social media and reach they’re like, yeah, but I haven’t really got on with it. I’m like, why, why isn’t anyone doing it? So I they’re all happy, happy members. So like we love coming to the weekly meetings and we love coming to the monthly training.
Yvonne: It, it kind of, it kind of feels like you go to your favorite restaurant with three pages on the menu and you still go back to the old thing. Yeah. It’s like, we both know there is so much that goes into it. There is so much we want to deliver. There is so much we want to teach and yet our audience and our followers are there and it’s like, yeah.
Yvonne: What, where, where, what, how?
Melissa: So A, I launched with too much content and B, I didn’t give a clear enough roadmap through the membership. Luckily I, my members are very sweet and I, and nobody, you know, everyone stuck with it. And last year for our, for our second birthday, we did a big relaunch. And I said, the only thing I want you to do when you’re in this membership, and this is how I sell it now is build your marketing funnel.
Melissa: You are gonna go through these four phases and it, as soon as you launch your funnel, you become a funnel master and that you can then access like a high level mastermind. That is the only thing I want you to do. There is other content for you to consume, but it is off the roadmap. So we have, I’ve made it very specific and it’s been a great year, cuz people have been launching their funnels left, right.
Melissa: And center and going, oh my God. I didn’t know why I waited so long.
Yvonne: Okay guys, did you, did you just hear that? Because I don’t think I have ever heard anybody say that. Melissa just said she launched initially with too much content.
Yvonne: So, and it makes sense. It makes sense because it’s like you are overwhelming people.
Yvonne: And that’s one of the lessons that I have learned with, with my coach, too. I really like her approach of there is a framework to this. There is a roadmap. We initially figure out where in this roadmap, I need to start because some pieces I might already have in place, but it’s this, this is what you do.
Yvonne: Yes. There is additional guest calls and stuff for you if you want this, but this is what you need to focus on. And now hearing you do the same thing and making this connection with, we always want to over-deliver. I’m in there with you. It. I have so much stuff I wanna throw at my audience and my clients and teach.
Yvonne: And why are you not thinking of this? And why are you not thinking of that, but putting yourself into your clients and into your audience shoes. They are not there yet. They can’t see this big picture. They can’t digest all of the things you were throwing at them. So get them started at one point, let them accomplish that and then move them up.
Yvonne: It’s just like going through school. You’re not gonna learn the second and third language alongside when you just started learning your first language.
Melissa: Yep. I like that. So, as we got into the evolution of the membership. And I, we, we, we deliver like five hours of live coaching every week between us as a team.
Melissa: So we have co-working sessions where everyone comes along and switches their camera on and just cracks on with work. And if they need help, they say, hey, I need help. And we take them into a side room, get them unstuck with whatever it is, and we have website design or copywriting. So in my team, I have an amazing Tom who’s our support manager who runs all the support tickets, but he’s also does anything tech like Active Campaign integration or, um, he duplicates some of our templates, he’ll duplicate them into Elementor or whatever it is. So he is just a helping hand for me. And then I’ve got an amazing strategic copywriter, Sarah. I’ve got Vicky who is our kind of membership, kind of cheerleader and community manager.
Melissa: And we’ve got Nicola who also helps with website builds. And before I knew I had a team and there were freelancers and they were like, do you know what I wish we could can do more stuff with you, cuz it’s really exhausting juggling our other clients. So this is where I’ve got to now, which is, um, I, and also people kept saying to me, um, your web, your, your membership’s great and all, but um, can you just not build it for me?
Melissa: And we were like, no, no, you join our membership and we’ll coach you how to do it yourself. And I like, I just haven’t got time. I just wanna throw money at the problem. So I was like, Hmm. So I kind of went to the team and I said, what do you think? People wanna throw money at the problem? And I think between us, we’ve got all the skills to solve it. And they were like, yeah, let’s do it. So we launched the Funnel Fix, which is our done for you funnel building service, which has been great. We’ve just kind of, that was about six months ago and we’re just kind of finishing up our first, well, six to nine months ago, finishing up our first, um, round of kind of half a dozen launches for clients.
Melissa: And they’ve, some of them have had huge launches. Some of them have been quiet. And just, and some people we just build, like they’re lead generating funnel and they’re not doing big launch. So we’ve had a real mixed bag of interesting clients, who’ve all had a great time working with us. Then, of course, all of these clients are like, uh, can you not just build my website?
Melissa: You know, I just wanna throw money at the problem. I want the website done and the funnel. So I was like back to the team, right? What do you think about this? And they were like, yeah, let’s do it. But you know, and so I said, what about a semi-custom one? When we insist, they use one of our templates, we do a beautiful custom homepage for them, then, you know, you guys take, I, I do that bit. You guys take over and it’s more of a productized, systematized process where, you know, they have to fill out this form. They have to have their copy ready. They have to do it this way so we can kind of know how long project takes. And I, I said them, what’s more, let’s tell them, it’s finished in 30 days. And you know, if you haven’t given us your copy, you’re gonna get a, a site with dummy text. The 30 day process is golden. Cuz I need to know that to control.
Yvonne: And I love the, I love the dummy text because it’s like, that’s one, that’s one of the biggest issues with something like that.
Yvonne: It’s like, there is a level of feedback you need from the client. There is a level of input you need from the client and getting that is like pulling teeth. Yeah. So you’d being like, okay, if you are not getting this to us, you just, we are just gonna put dummy text in, takes that out. And is like, if you’re not getting to us, you get the dummy text and you need to plug it in yourself.
Yvonne: Done. Yeah.
Melissa: Yep. So it we’ve, I mean, we, we’ve literally just, we’re just doing our, we’ve only just launched this probably a month ago and we’ve, we’ve, we’ve had loads of bookings, which is great. Um, but we’re just in our first project now where we’re testing those systems and refining them and saying, ah, we need a form at this stage.
Melissa: So it’s so interesting, you know? What has given me confidence is we, we set up the systems. I was so worried about building funnels of people that are like, I micromanaged it. Systematized it to like this, to the degree. And for this one, at least I can see it coming. I’m like, do you know what? In three months time, when it all kicks off, we need to have wrapped up the first four projects and we have to keep these people on track and this is how we’re gonna do it.
Melissa: So at the moment, we’re just plugging little gaps going, oh, they need this. They need. So it’s, as long as you kind of know it’s coming at you, that it’s gonna get out of hand at some point, you can sell something before you really know how it’s gonna work. And that’s quite scary. I’m I’m not gonna lie. I’m naturally someone who likes to deliver really high service and control things that feels, this takes me on my comfort zone to be relying on other people, to, to kind of work within my system. But it’s so far it’s going really well.
Yvonne: Ain’t that the truth? And the, the funny thing with that one is, we know the level of quality we want to deliver, which is like 150000% yet, our clients are usually fine with being delivered just a hundred thousand percent of quality because I know your team, they are amazing. You, I know they’re delivering amazing quality, but yet we are here and it’s like, yeah. Yeah, but that’s, that’s the scaling piece. That’s the learning piece. Now, now my nerd comes out because you mentioned systems and processes.
Systems, processes, and tools
Yvonne: What are the tools you are using right now for deliverability, with working with your clients?
Melissa: Well, you are gonna laugh because, um, you and I have spoken a lot about which systems I’m using. You’ve been in, you’ve had a look in five minutes.
Yvonne: And I’m not updated right now, which is also the questions why I’m asking, because I’m really curious where you guys ended up on.
Melissa: I’m going through.
Melissa: Funnily enough, we are going through period of self-evaluation right now, and I’m expecting like a full report next week. So I, I have been, so I’ve been using ClickUp as you know, still using it. I’ve had very poor take up from, or willingness to use it from the team. They won’t mind me saying this. They’re like, we hate it.
Melissa: And the clients as using it as a client portal, they’re also like, oh yeah. I’m meant to look in there. Like every week they’re like, where’s our call link? Where’s the Google Drive? I’m like the length in the ClickUp document. Oh yeah. So I’m like, there’s something not working here. So I don’t know is where I’ve.
Melissa: So this here’s, this is the thing in November, all hell breaks loose. And our new program kicks in. Like, I didn’t book anyone into September and October apart from this one test project, because I knew that we wouldn’t have our shit together until November. So I’ve got from now till through September and October to perfect this system.
Melissa: It might be ClickUp, it might be something else. We’re currently using Slack. I, I like the original like tool lifetime addict. I’ve got a lifetime subscription to plutio. So that’s in the running. We’ve just started using atereem for proofing, for tasks in actual website building. So, I don’t know quite how it’s all gonna land, but what I have done is given myself the space like six to eight weeks to systematize properly, put the SOPs in place, just make sure everything’s talking to each other. Um, the backbone of the whole company by the way, is Active Campaign, a hundred percent. So that’s where we have all our learner profiles, all our buyer profiles, it’s deeply synced with our website with WP Fusion.
Melissa: If we wanna get really nerdy on tech stack, it’s deeply synced with, um, Meta like Facebook. Every interaction with our website updates, and audience, which is pushed through and updated in Facebook for our paid ads. So yeah. So all of it Active Campaign is the heart of, of, of our marketing, not the heart of our processes though.
Melissa: So yeah, I’ll come back to me in three months when hopefully I’ve got, we’ve got an absolutely banging system working, but.
Yvonne: Yeah, I love Active Campaign and how it plugs in. It’s just, it’s that in between when it’s like, you are fine with active for the Active Campaign budget, when you are starting out, you are fine when you are really big, the, in between pricing, when you get to wanting and needing to use this CRM piece in Active Campaign, I’m like mm-hmm but yes, Active Campaign over here too. I’m literally just another lifetime deal sucker. I’m on Encharge, which has similar behind the scenes possibilities when it comes to the email side of things.
Yvonne: No CRM though. Um, but what, where I wanted to jump in for a second is I love listening to you where it’s like, okay, we are working on the systems, we’re working on the workflows. But even though we might have the system in place, doesn’t mean the team is happy. That has been a big, big topic for me where it’s like, guys, anybody that watches my YouTube channel knows I had about probably three videos just on SOPs where it’s like, stop writing SOPs like if employee handbook, nobody is ever gonna read it. Yeah. Um, not saying you are writing SOPs like this, but I loved how you just brought up. It’s like, just because you have everything in place doesn’t mean it works right with your team. Yeah. The human. We are the weakest link. We are unpredictable. Yes.
Yvonne: Especially as women. It’s like my brain changes 5,000 times in one week. So , I cannot be predicted. But being able to, to look at that and get the feedback from your team and get the, hey, why is this not going and start to develop specific habits and, and that kind of thing where I will be checking in with you, because I’m really curious where this is going.
Yvonne: Um, because I’ve seen, I’ve seen this exact issue a lot publicly, where yeah, we have systems and everything in place, but it doesn’t click with the team. So why isn’t it clicking with the team? What, what can we do to help the team, to empower the team, to make it easy for them? But sometimes I also see when, when I work with clients where it’s like, okay, team, we just need to maybe work a little bit on changing that specific habit.
Yvonne: So how can we change this habit in you to make your life easier? And I’m like, yeah. I’m like, I’m all excited over here. I’m like, I wanna see how this works out.
Melissa: Well, it’s interesting. Like when we were just as a team evolving over the last year, people have joined and I was bringing people on to help with support tickets and doing our marketing and our social media and managing our membership community.
Melissa: But none of that was client-related. So it wasn’t, so I could put up with everyone, not really ticking things off in ClickUp cause I could just say to them and Slack, oh, have you done this? Or they’d say, hey, what, what, what are. And we bundled along and it was alright and I just kind of overlooked it and thought I’ll make, I should really make people use it, but I we’re managing so it’s fine. When you get throw clients into the mix, I just thought, no, I need to be able to balance the workload for the team, or I need, I need at least a three month warning. I need to bring someone else in or I’ll get another freelancer in to take up the Slack. So we’re gonna, we’ve got three projects kicking off.
Melissa: That’s when I thought right, gotta get serious about this. And if I decided it’s ClickUp I it’s gonna be, I’m gonna, I have to take charge. And be the boss who says, no. This is we are, this is the system we’re using. And there are no exceptions, no deviations. Everything is documented in here.
Yvonne: And there are multiple ways.
Melissa: I’m like, I’m gonna try.
Yvonne: And you know me, I’m like, yes, I love ClickUp, but it doesn’t mean everything has to be in there. So me personally, I don’t like how ClickUp docs are laid out. So we don’t have our SOPs in ClickUp docs. We actually have them in Notion and we have a Business Hub for the team to easily be able to search those SOPs within ClickUp be able to link them and all of that fun stuff. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s where, where that human aspect comes in of, I don’t wanna click 10,000 times, which is why I’m not using ClickUp documents, but then, also finding the way of easily integrating that and, and editing the habit.
Yvonne: But I could spend hours on this. But we are at the end of our show. And before I forget, Melissa actually has a freebie for us. She has a five part mini course that helps you build your website without the DIY. Look, I have been in that course and it is amazing. You guys can find it. First of all, in the show notes, it’s going to be there easy to link, but you also can go to thedesignspace.co, that’s not .com.
Yvonne: That’s co. Forward slash D I Y. And with that, Melissa, thank you so much for joining us. Um, I had no idea at the beginning of the show where this goes, but this is why I love the question of how did you get here? Because I think, yeah, this show is amazing for everybody listening, trying to figure their way out on what they wanna do and how they want to deliver simply because we got to hear so many different approaches and so many different experiences you had in your business.
Melissa: I’m gonna binge watch all the rest of the episodes now.
Yvonne: Hats off to the husband, he is still around. That is, that is one to keep close that can go through those ups and downs on those learnings and still be there.
Yvonne: Yeah. And yes, all of the episodes are on YouTube. And if you guys wanna listen to listening on the podcast, we are releasing the next couple ones here in a batch pretty soon. So you can take it on your work. Melissa, I’ll see you soon in your membership.
Melissa: Definitely. Definitely.
Yvonne: Thank you so much.
Melissa: Thank you so much. No, thank you. It’s been amazing.
Yvonne: Bye everybody. Bye.
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