Sep 26, 2018
Today my guest is Nicole Culver, founder of the food company, Blissful Eats, and creator of her own business consulting and coaching business.
In this episode, we talk about how to know when you need to pivot your business.
Nicole started her granola company in 2011, got it into Whole Foods, but ultimately decided to shut it down to focus on her consulting and coaching business. And this has lead to even bigger success.
We talk about the need to stay flexible, how to pivot faster, and why as women, we can't stop apologizing!
You'll learn so much from Nicole in this episode, listen now!
Host: [00:00:03] Welcome to the Blogger Genius podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here's your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian: [00:00:10] Hello, everybody. Welcome back to The Blogger Genius. Today my guest is Nicole Culver. Now Nicole helps women, especially women in the health and wellness industry, grow their businesses.
Jillian: [00:00:24] Previously before this, she had her own food company called Blissful Eats. So welcome to the show, Nicole.
Nicole: [00:00:32] Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Jillian: [00:00:34] So just before we started recording I had mentioned to you, how you have your own food company and you started to talk about it.
And I said well let's record this. So please tell me the genesis of how you started blogging, and how you built a food company ,and now how you've transitioned into helping other entrepreneurs.
Nicole: [00:00:57] Yes, so it started just about ten years ago at this point. I was a fourth grade special ed teacher in New York City, and I was always getting asked about recipes that I made all the time from friends and family.
Nicole: [00:01:11] So I just decided to start a blog, and there was definitely no growth strategy. It was just kind of like diary. Here is what I'm doing, here is what I'm making, here is what I'm eating. Kind of thing.
Nicole: [00:01:24] And as I got more into it, I actually had a big life event where I lost someone really close to me. I just realized I did not want to be teaching anymore.
I didn't want to be counting down the days. I didn't want to be living for weekends and vacations.
Nicole: [00:01:39] So I started to plot my escape from teaching and I knew I needed to do something else because obviously my husband and I relied on my revenue stream for my income from teaching.
Jillian: [00:01:50] Did you have kids at this time?
Nicole: [00:01:52] I didn't. So it was just it was just me and my husband. So I had that luxury of kind of quitting,and trying to replace my income.
But we could survive on his income, so that was definitely a positive thing for us. I went back to school to become a health coach, and I decided to give it a go as a health coach, and start a food company.
Nicole: [00:02:14] So I got out of teaching at the end of June. I gave myself about six weeks to hit the ground running with a food company. And get out into my local community as much as I possibly can, and see if this was actually like a feasible thing that I could do. If there was a need, if there was a want, if there was interest in having a food company.
Nicole: [00:02:37] And what I saw was, there was! So I was actually able to quit on August 15, 2011. I called my principal and I quit over the phone, which maybe not the best thing to do, but that's that's how I did it. So I ran Blissful Eats for seven years.
Jillian: [00:02:56] Can you say, what kind of food company? And how did you come up with the concept?
Nicole: [00:03:01] Oh my gosh I know it's one of those things that it just feels like it was super easy, so you don't talk about it. I was always making granola.
I was always making baked goods for my students, for other colleagues, or friends family my husband.
Nicole: [00:03:15] So I just decided to start and sell those. So I came up with the name actually from Joseph Campbell's quote: "Follow your bliss."
Originally it was Pure Bliss. But once we went to trademark it, that was a trademarked name because someone else actually had that food company. So we went with Blissful Eats.
Nicole: [00:03:36] I changed it pretty quickly, so there wasn't a whole lot of worry about that even though at that time, it felt like oh my god, I have to change my name, how am I ever going to do this?
We got over it. We changed our name and it wasn't it wasn't that bad at all.
Nicole: [00:03:50] So yeah, it started out as basically all baked goods, which then I quickly realized to have a ton of products, to have a huge product line, very hard to scale down and pick the one thing that you're really good at, that is the majority of your sales. Is way way better.
Jillian: [00:04:07] Yes way better. Yes. Okay. And so were you baking granola in your kitchen?
Nicole: [00:04:14] So I was at first, for free which in New York we have a really really strict laws. It's different wherever you are in the country. You should just definitely look into it if that's something that you want to do.
Nicole: [00:04:27] But you cannot sell products that you make out of your kitchen. So what I did was, we went around and we made up granola and we just saw if people were interested because you can you can give it away for free. Essentially if that's, if that's what you want to do.
Nicole: [00:04:44] But we quickly moved to a commercial kitchen in Queens, New York and baked everything there.
We got licenses, we got insured, all the by the book things, because we were really taking it seriously as a business.
Jillian: [00:04:57] How much money did you invest in your business to start to launch it?
Nicole: [00:05:02] So to start it, not that much, probably just whatever the ingredients, and the licensing, and the time is was. But over the course of the seven years, a lot of money.
We were self-funded for seven years.
Nicole: [00:05:16] We had done a Kickstarter, so we raised some money like that. But that's one of the reasons why we actually stopped doing Blissful Eats, is because while we were making over six figures in revenue, the profit, everything was constantly going back in the business.
Nicole: [00:05:33] So I had this coaching and consulting side of my business that was extremely profitable, and then I have this physical product business that was not profitable at all. So I had to basically decide, OK do I want to spend time with my third baby girl, or do I want to keep running myself into the ground in a business that's not profitable, and I just don't want to do it anymore, honestly.
Jillian: [00:05:57] Right. And what would you say to somebody who has this vision of, I want to make a product, I'm a baker or whatever, I want to sell something. What would you say, because you were making revenue. But again it sounds like it was your expenses and investing back into your business, was not putting food on your on your plate.
Nicole: [00:06:22] Yeah so let me first say that no one, nothing anyone could have said to me, would have changed the course of our business. And actually I had some fantastic advice at the time of my second child, when she was born and it definitely changed the path of her business.
Nicole: [00:06:39] When I started out, I thought that we would have been a national company. I was really really wanting to like rise to the top, and be one of the most sold granolas, and really changed the way that the granola industry was.
Nicole: [00:06:53] After years, being in that business, I realized that to be a national company and national brand, it takes a lot of money and a lot of investment, and that's when I got really good advice from another top top food company owner, of a food company who traveled 48 out of 52 weeks in the year and she actually didn't have any kids, and she was just like listen, if you want to be home with your kids, essentially you can't do both. So you have to pick.
Nicole: [00:07:24] And that's when I was like, oh my gosh, thank you so much for that advice because there's no way I would pick my business over my kids. So we totally switched. We pulled out of Whole Foods at that time. We totally went online and decided that we weren't going to do retail, that we were going to focus on online sales.
Nicole: [00:07:44] So my advice to people would be number one, I get it. I get that you're passionate, I was the same way, I have that same fire under me and it's amazing.
Nicole: [00:07:55] So definitely use that fire, but do it on your own with your own money for as long as you possibly can, and just really target who your ideal customer is.
Nicole: [00:08:06] Because if you can sell direct to customers, your revenue and your profit, your profit margins are going to be way higher than if you need to bring in all sorts of distributors and food brokers and supermarkets, things like that.
Nicole: [00:08:20] So I would sell direct as long as you possibly can, and really hone in on your messaging, and getting to know your clients, and figuring out what they really want. Before you expand in a bigger way.
Jillian: [00:08:33] Got it. Now when did you shut this down?
Nicole: [00:08:36] February.
Jillian: [00:08:37] Wow and how was that emotionally?
Nicole: [00:08:42] Emotionally it was super hard, and I've been super transparent with my membership, my Blogger to Business group about it because it was something that was looming. It was something that we knew we should have done probably a year ago.
Nicole: [00:08:57] Actually in February 2017, my husband and I sat down, and we were like, we're going to give this one more year. We're going to see how this goes.
Nicole: [00:09:06] But quite honestly, the entire last year, every time we would work on that side of the business, because it really was running on autopilot, we would get a huge pit in our stomach, and we would be like oh my gosh.
Nicole: [00:09:17] He'd be like, OK let's work on Blissful Eats and then I'd be like, let's not work on Blissful Eats. So it was something we should have done way sooner. But fear was holding us back.
Nicole: [00:09:27] And also that was our identity for seven years. Our family knew us as a granola company, our friends, we had made a name for ourselves in our community, and it was really hard to disassociate ourselves from that, and to be like, oh actually we shut down. But this is a really good thing for us.
Nicole: [00:09:47] Because people think like you shut down something must've went wrong, and we were like no actually this is so right. So that was hard and it was hard to explain even to like my in-laws they didn't really understand now what we were doing when we shifted away from Blissful Eats.
Nicole: [00:10:07] So it was really hard. It was really emotional. It was something we should have done way way sooner but we weren't ready and it took us that big change of like my February 28 date which my daughter didn't actually end up coming until a week later than that but it was like OK we need to tell people because I can't continue to live, like it felt like almost like a fake life at that point.
Jillian: [00:10:32] That is so interesting because I would say we have our original businesses called Catch My Party. And when people ask me like what are the biggest mistakes you made with Catch My party. I would say not pivoting faster when something wasn't working.
Jillian: [00:10:50] Kind of saying no no no, It could work, and we could make this. You know so we opened a store on Catch My Party, it was a white label store, another party supplier, it was their products, but we were selling them, and we're like a no brainer. We're a party ideas site. This should work.
Jillian: [00:11:09] And so we kept at it, and in hindsight the writing was on the wall. It didn't connect and we weren't getting sales, and we were but not like we thought we would.
Jillian: [00:11:22] And again, I think it was like we felt like we could fix this, we could solve it, we'll give it more time and then ultimately we had to pivot and say nope, this isn't working. And and then afterwards there was tremendous relief.
Nicole: [00:11:38] Yeah so much.
Jillian: [00:11:40] Almost like we put down this heavy weight. But we were so stuck in our thinking the same idea. Of course we should have a party store, it just made sense for us and we were known as that and we were growing. And so I would say that that for us, it was our biggest mistake that cost us a lot of money.
Nicole: [00:12:03] Yeah yeah yeah. Yes. Same.
Jillian: [00:12:06] So was your husband working with you on Blissful Eats, or has he always had his own career?
Nicole: [00:12:13] So my husband, I think this is his three year anniversary of quitting his job in New York City. He was a financial planner for some construction companies actually, so he had a traditional job, and three years ago in August he put in his two weeks notice, and quit his job to work more with Blissful Eats.
Nicole: [00:12:35] And he did take on some some other clients on the side for financial planning, and to help him because Blissful Eats, like we said, it hadn't been making a profit. So he basically split his week between working with us for it, and working with other clients, but he has been along for the ride for the past three years basically.
Jillian: [00:12:58] And how has it been for your marriage., letting go of Blissful Eats?
Nicole: [00:13:01] Oh my gosh, so much better. There was so much stress, and it got to the point where it was like, OK should we pack orders ourself, or should I do consults for my coaching and consulting business. And when I tell you it was like pennies, not even getting paid because the profit wasn't there.
Nicole: [00:13:21] But it was just like you get a 20 dollar order of granola, or a 40 dollar order of granola, and then you have to print the labels, you have to pack the boxes, you have to send them out, or put them out on the stoop for USPS. The amount of time and energy it took was just insane comparatively to the coaching and consulting. So when we let that go, it was just a huge huge weight off our shoulders.
Jillian: [00:13:47] I bet I bet. I mean again I work with my husband. So everything gets kind of intertwined, and that can be such a positive. And though when things are not going well, or you have to make those hard choices. You can't really separate it because it's your life.
Nicole: [00:14:05] Yes 100 percent. And it was something that we both knew should happen, but neither one of us wanted to say it to the other person. So it was unspoken, and I'm sure my husband felt like he didn't want to say it to me, because it was like my business baby, it was my idea it was my vision.
Nicole: [00:14:23] So he, I'm sure I'm sure, I wanted to say it a million times. I actually haven't even ever asked him that. I'm sure he wanted to say it a million times to me, and I wanted to say it a million times to him. But it was like such a crutch for us, that we just kept trying to bang our heads against the wall and make it work.
Jillian: [00:14:42] Right. Now tell me then about the coaching business, so how did that start? So your thing is we are a granola company, right? We we are going to sell our granola all over the world, and be tha,t and then where did coaching and helping other entrepreneurs, how did that show up for you?
Nicole: [00:15:02] So I wanted, I needed another outlet essentially, because we had this business, but I needed something else to do with my time. Essentially I had my second daughter in 2015, and after my husband quit his job, I just actually had some extra time.
Nicole: [00:15:21] I actually started podcasting, and with podcasting, I started getting questions about how we grew our food business, and we had gotten into Whole Foods, we had gotten in Thrive Market, we had gotten on Amazon, we had been doing Facebook ads.
Nicole: [00:15:36] So people started asking us questions. How did you grow? How are you getting customers? How are you honing in on selling? How are you doing Facebook ads? So I started talking about it on my podcast, and I started interviewing other women in the food and wellness industry on my podcast.
Nicole: [00:15:56] So I saw there was a need, my podcast had grown pretty quickly. I was doing three episodes a week. I did that for a just about a year, and then I went to two and then I took a break.
Nicole: [00:16:12] Is your part is your podcast still going?
Nicole: [00:16:14] Not right now.
Jillian: [00:16:16] Okay, but if people want to go check out your older episodes what is it?
Nicole: [00:16:20] It's called Blissful Bites.
Jillian: [00:16:22] OK. Got it.
Nicole: [00:16:24] So I just started getting more questions. So actually I took all the people that I interviewed on my podcast and friends I had met through blogging. and I just said. hey would you want to do a virtual summit? And I had 23 people who were like, yeah ok.
Jillian: [00:16:41] Can you explain what a virtual summit is?
Nicole: [00:16:44] Basically it was an online masterclass. It was a series of online masterclasses, so basically it was a video. It was around 30 to 45 minutes long. And it was around all different subjects to grow your online business.
Nicole: [00:17:02] I wasn't super comfortable being the center of that. But I was super comfortable interviewing my friends and asking them questions. So that's where this summit idea came from.
Nicole: [00:17:13] So in May 2016 I put out my first virtual Summit, and I actually charged for it. Something super low it was like $57 for earlybird and then I think it went up to like $75 after that, and I sold like 100. I should know this number but it was like 150 tickets we ended up doing, like a little over $11,000 in sales and $8,000 in profit.
Jillian: [00:17:40] Wow.
Nicole: [00:17:41] When we did that, I was like I've never made this much profit before. What is going on here? This is something I'm on to something.
Jillian: [00:17:50] It's a virtual product which is very different from something that you make in a vat in a factory and a kitchen, and have to ship routes out.
Nicole: [00:17:58] Yes. Right. And it was only about, it only cost me $3,000 so it was $11,000 in revenue, $8,000 I think it was even a little higher than $8,000 in profit. And I was like ,oh my gosh I am on to something here.
Nicole: [00:18:16] And that was I mean, it was not straight up, I don't wanna make it seem like, oh there were no struggles, no challenges, I just got sales but it was a squiggly road. But I knew I had something there.
Jillian: [00:18:28] Yeah. And again, it's so interesting because again for us ,like when we open this party store on Catch My Party, it was like we launched it and there were crickets meaning we just weren't getting sales, like a couple sales would come in and we would say, see this is going to work.
Jillian: [00:18:47] But then there have been other things that we've done, like we pulled in products from Etsy and we get affiliate revenue from Etsy, and all of a sudden we turn it on, and there were sales, and it was like, oh! When something works it kind of works.
Nicole: [00:19:07] Yes totally.
Jillian: [00:19:09] And the idea of banging your head against the wall, is like look, notice if there is something in your business and you're banging your head against a wall, and you're not making money, go a different direction.
Nicole: [00:19:21] Yes totally. And it's so important to be fluid and flexible. And I talk a lot about this in my membership, my Blogger to Business group, because so many people get hung up on like what's my five year vision.
Nicole: [00:19:34] And that's great. But when I do my five year vision I wrote down what I want my day to look like, how I want to feel, because if I, five years ago, I was dead set on growing my granola business, and if I wasn't fluid and flexible and reflective, then I would still be banging my head against the wall and worried on, I need to get to my five year vision.
Nicole: [00:19:56] But instead, my five year vision was like working with my husband, dropping my kids off at school. Being able to take off when they need me to, being around for my kids. It was around those things, not getting Blissful Eats to be a national company, which is what I thought it would have been.
Nicole: [00:20:13] But it's changed so many times over since then. And if I was so rigid I never would have been open to shutting it down.
Jillian: [00:20:21] I love that, I love that. In fact somebody said this to me which is that in order to not have like a midlife crisis the solution is micro adjustments.
Nicole: [00:20:33] Yes. Yes.
Jillian: [00:20:34] That you don't all of a sudden wake up one day go like, this is not the life I wanted, but that you're constantly evaluating, does this feel right? Is this working? Am I making money? Does this fit with my kids, and where they are, and my husband, and if it's not do a micro adjustment try something new.
Nicole: [00:20:56] Yes. It's so true. I actually held a retreat over the weekend with my husband, and that was one of the things that we talked about, just because we had some people who just weren't, they were stressing, and they were working all the time, and we just talked about, if you fix it now, it's not going to take that much to fix it.
Nicole: [00:21:15] Now it's not going to take that much to spend a half hour with your husband, or to spend a half hour with someone you really love. But in five years from now, 10 years from now, that wedge is going to be way bigger, and it's going to be so much harder to fix. So just do it now, so you're not saying like, I wish I worked less in five years from now.
Jillian: [00:21:34] I so agree. OK so let's go back you all of a sudden boom, you made $8,000 in profit, and you think to yourself what?
Nicole: [00:21:45] I thought to myself How do I continue this? How do I continue to build the momentum? And I didn't know what I wanted to do.
Nicole: [00:21:54] But the first thing I did after that first summit was I did a master class series which went ok. I think we sold like it under 20, but above 10 I will say it was like 15, where it was just one different expert call a month for three months and it got us through basically through the summer.
Nicole: [00:22:18] I don't even remember how much I charge for it, but I know it wasn't much maybe like $100. But again it was like people bought this. This is super cool.
Nicole: [00:22:27] And then from there, in September 2016 will be two years next month, and we've launched actually a membership site for $19. I had 20 people purchasing it and I've been doing that ever since.
Jillian: [00:22:44] So what does your membership site give you?
Nicole: [00:22:48] So again like evolution, when it when it started those people I have probably 15 of those people still with me now which is so amazing. They're my original original people and I love them still.
Nicole: [00:23:09] So now what you get when you sign up for the membership, is you get a monthly download. So it's like a monthly guidebook. We call it. So that has all different topics.
Nicole: [00:23:20] We actually are working on confidence this month. We have worked on profit. We've worked on growing your audience. We've worked on mindset. But what I'm actually noticing more and more, as I'm always in the group trying to get to know people better, is that the number one thing, and I don't know if this is a woman thing, because my group is 100 percent women. We need to work on our confidence in our business.
Nicole: [00:23:44] So we've been, I don't want to say transitioning, because I have content on email marketing, on growing your Instagram, on growing your Pinterest. I have all that content, but what I'm finding is the Facebook group alone, and the support in the Facebook group is worth the price of the membership, and that is what I'm hearing over and over again.
Nicole: [00:24:08] So even I don't know how many people use the playbooks. I think the more aligned they are with emotional issues the more people use them actually because I think people just kind of need the content as they go.
Nicole: [00:24:22] But everyone needs help with confidence. Everyone needs help with mindset. So it's really really interesting, but basically it's a guidebook a month. There is a whole membership portal on growing your business. But the two main things are the guidebookm the accountability and the Facebook group.
Jillian: [00:24:41] And it's a private Facebook group? You get added to the Facebook Group by being a member?
Nicole: [00:24:47] Exactly. So when you sign up, you actually get a quiz. And it levels you at what stage of business you are in, and tells you what to work on. If I'm at the grow your audience, means I need to work here, here is what I need to work on to grow my audience and you to get to know them. And here are videos that go along with it. That's the first thing.
Nicole: [00:25:05] But then you get into the group and it's really like that support that you need. Like I'm not crazy, I'm not doing this alone, support.
Jillian: [00:25:14] Right. Right. I will just say in terms of the confidence thing. One thing that I am paying attention to in my own life is how often I apologize.
Nicole: [00:25:24] Oh my gosh, we have been having this conversation in there so much.
Jillian: [00:25:28] And just something dumb like this which is my husband too, is lovely. He's like a wonderful partner in every way. Does a lot of the grocery shopping, he does a lot. He's like a cook. You know chef, or whatever, he loves to cook.
Jillian: [00:25:43] So one day, I had said to him,I put on the list, cottage cheese, and he comes back from the grocery store and I say, oh where's the cottage cheese. And he says, oh I forgot. And I go, oh and I'm weirdly waiting for him to say I'm really sorry that I forgot your cottage cheese.
Jillian: [00:26:06] It's dumb, but I thought about it, and I thought had it been reversed, and he had wanted cottage cheese I would have come home and gone, oh my god, I'm so sorry I totally forgot your cottage cheese and I could go back to the grocery store and get if it's really important you, I could get cottage cheese for you.
Jillian: [00:26:26] I would have gone through the whole story of being in the dairy aisle. And to him, like he's a good guy. So he was just like, yeah I forgot. He didn't even say, I'll get it for you next time. But he just was like, totally fine. I mean he I'm sure on some level felt like oh, I messed up, but he didn't say it, he didn't apologize.
Jillian: [00:26:45] And I said to him like, wow, that's fascinating. You did not apologize for forgetting my cottage cheese, and had that been reversed I would have been up in my head even afterwards going, I can't believe I forgot the cottage cheese.
Nicole: [00:27:02] Oh my gosh, I think I've totally been there 100 percent had the same conversation. It's so true. It's so true. Yeah it's everything from work emails, to being and I'm so sorry it took me ten minutes to get back to you. Or 20 minutes or 24 hours. It's just so innate to us to just apologize.
Jillian: [00:27:21] Absolutely so I just tried to in my life, challenge myself, to when I catch myself, I'm sure nine times out of ten I don't. But when there is that opportunity that I catch myself I will go don't say it, just see what happens if you don't apologize.
Jillian: [00:27:40] And also I have a daughter who's 11 and she will apologize and my husband and I both will go no apologies. So anyway that is just one place where I think like I said the cottage cheese thing like I would have spent so much mental energy in my head like wasted time going through that whole thing of I'm a bad girl. And you know without even knowing I'm doing it right.
Nicole: [00:28:09] It's so true. And I think probably everyone listening to this right now, is nodding their head.
Jillian: [00:28:14] Yes so if there is a moment when you can catch yourself, and not apologize see what happens. You know and go ahead in your head apologize like crazy, but try not to say it. See what happens.
Nicole: [00:28:28] Yes. Oh my gosh. Yes. And actually someone in my group was just saying when she catches herself in email apologizing, she's just deleting it and just saying like, OK I'm deleting this and not apologizing.
Jillian: [00:28:40] Yes. Yes. Anyway I feel like that is something that, especially as women, we do because we want to be nice and we please, and we want to take care and that's what makes women great. But in business it's also something where it undercuts us.
Nicole: [00:29:01] Yeah it totally does. It totally does. And it also I think forces us to put other people before ourselves as well.
Jillian: [00:29:08] I wanted to take a short break and share about this cool new thing we've added at MiloTree. So now you can add an image to your email pop up this way if you are offering the course or add an e-book or a free download, just add an image of it into your pop up so people know exactly what they're getting, and they're more enticed.
Jillian: [00:29:31] And remember you can grow Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest all from your account on MiloTree. So head over to MiloTree.com. If you sign up now you get your first 30 days free, so there's really no risk. And back to the show.
Jillian: [00:29:48] OK so what's interesting, what you're saying is that in your group you found that it is people need to learn how to grow their email list. But there are these like fundamental things.
Nicole: [00:29:58] Yes there are these important issues that I think are just blocking them from getting any further because they're not confident in what they're offering.
Nicole: [00:30:07] And my group of people, which I'm sure is similar to the people who are listening, they are so talented and they're so amazing at what they do, but they can't stand in it because they have so much imposter syndrome, and they are kind of caught up with how the next person is better than them when they are so so talented themselves.
Nicole: [00:30:32] So we're really just working on standing in our magic and leveraging that to just be better business owners. But the confidence is like that first step.
Jillian: [00:30:43] So in your Facebook group, how do people support each other?
Nicole: [00:30:48] Oh my gosh, in so many ways, I wish I could even, and I know kind of every probably everyone feels this way about their Facebook group, but I seriously have the most supportive women in my group, who are just willing to put themselves out there, to share their stories of vulnerability, to share their stories of of what they've been through, and they just connect and support each other and they're so open with their growth.
Nicole: [00:31:15] If they've done something that's working, they'll come to the group and share it with them. There is no feeling of like you're going to steal my success. It's that rising tides lifts all ships, or whatever that quote is, I always butcher those but we can all do that.
Nicole: [00:31:32] We can all have success. We don't need to worry that you're going to steal my my business, my clients my Instagram followers. We can all do this together.
Jillian: [00:31:41] Yes it's funny. I've had other guests on the podcast and we've talked about working with each other to help each other, and I feel like at its highest place, that is incredibly powerful.
Jillian: [00:31:57] You know like small women entrepreneurs helping other, entrepreneurs whether it be with sharing content with each other or being in Facebook share groups, or all of that stuff. Like when it's working. It is magic. It's magic.
Jillian: [00:32:11] However there is also an underbelly to it which is it's hard not to compare yourself. It's hard to not, again because we're women, and we're very active in our own heads, to create stories that might not be true, of like, oh she slighted me. Did she? I don't know, but I can create a whole story about it.
Jillian: [00:32:33] Or she's doing her life is so much better than my life, or who knows what it is. But as women we also, there can be a pettiness or there can be a competitiveness.
Jillian: [00:32:44] And especially because we're women, and we want to please, we're not as willing to confront and say, hey did you mean this, is this you know, this is how I read this. Is this true or what?
Jillian: [00:32:57] We all kind of want to make nice, but because we're all sitting here at our own computers, in our own little spaces, we can create narratives that can be really destructive, even if it's not true.
Nicole: [00:33:11] Yes. And we totally can, and honestly I don't know how, but I don't see that in my group at all. I don't know how I literally don't know how I created this culture, and I've attracted amazing people who don't undercut each other.
Nicole: [00:33:24] But I've seen it. I mean I've definitely seen it firsthand. And it is the stories we tell ourselves can go on forever I think.
Jillian: [00:33:35] Yes. And I was listening to a podcast and it was saying that like an idle mind is an unhappy mind. Meaning a lot of times if you let your mind wander it will go into painful places whether it be feelings of inadequacy problems whatever and to just to be mindful that just like when we start to create stories a lot of times they're not always positive.
Nicole: [00:34:11] And one of the best things I've heard, and I wish I could remember where I heard this, but I was talking about it, just like we compare ourselves but if we really want to compare ourselves, if you really want to compare yourself to me then compare when I was where you are.
Nicole: [00:34:26] So if you're six months into your business, then let's go back and look at what my life was like six months into running my granola business. You can't compare someone's Chapter 1 to someone else's Chapter 12.
Nicole: [00:34:38] So let's compare the real things here and that will give you some type of idea. Because a lot of times people want to compare what I'm doing to what they're doing when they've just started or they want to compare having one child to three working with three children.
Nicole: [00:34:55] And what I'll tell them is when I had one child, I was a full-time mom, I didn't have my husband on my team full time. I didn't have all the things that I have now. So actually, I'll be super honest, having one child was a heck of a lot harder than having three children is.
Jillian: [00:35:12] Absolutely. I think that is so powerful, I think that is really true. And also to know that somebody's life on Instagram is not their real life.
Jillian: [00:35:28] So we see these beautiful photos and it looks so magical, and to continue to remind yourself that that's not real life.
Nicole: [00:35:39] And I think it's important too, if you are feeling like if it's making you feel bad, then it's ok to unfollow. It's ok to shut down. It's OK to delete the app for a little bit. It doesn't mean you'll never go back to them, but you need to curate your space and make the people you follow really inspirational, make it feel good.
Nicole: [00:35:59] If someone's content is making you feel bad over and over again, it's okay to just wish them well and click the unfollow button.
Jillian: [00:36:09] Yes. So let's see. OK so who is the ideal person to join your group?
Nicole: [00:36:15] So I mainly work with wellness entrepreneurs, so that is the registered dietitians or the food bloggers, the food photographers, there are recipe developers. That's the majority of my business, or like the health coaches.
Nicole: [00:36:29] I also have those business outliers who are like SEO experts, or book writers, who are in my group who just really want to community and business support.
Nicole: [00:36:42] So my main people are in the food and wellness industry, who are bloggers and influencers who really want to grow their business in a way that we don't need to just focus on page views and followers, but we can focus on that connection and relationship and engagement over all those numbers.
Jillian: [00:37:03] That's cool. That's great. And then so every month you're creating content for your group?
Nicole: [00:37:10] Yes yes.
Jillian: [00:37:12] So now you've got three kids, and is your husband working with you on this part of your business?
Nicole: [00:37:19] Yeah so this is mainly what we work on, we take on an extremely limited amount of one-on-one clients. And then we have some small groups, we just launched a inner circle after our retreat, and we have our membership. So those are kind of like the three tiers to our business. But yes, he is with me. We juggle the kids and we juggle the business.
Jillian: [00:37:43] Got it. OK. So how many hours a week are you working on your business right now?
Nicole: [00:37:49] Barely anything.
Jillian: [00:37:51] That's amazing.
Nicole: [00:37:52] Summer camp and school which are really weird. It's a very hard time of year, where we have very little structure and it's not doing us any good.
Jillian: [00:38:05] What do you mean?
Nicole: [00:38:05] Just our kids, it's hard to have a lack of routine. So we're kind of trying to work it between the crazy, in between the beach trips. Usually during the school year, I work anywhere from 30 I would say average of 30 hours a week while my kids are in school.
Jillian: [00:38:24] OK. And you have a baby, right?
Nicole: [00:38:27] Yeah. She'll be 6 months old. She's like the best baby ever. So it's made the transition very easy. She sleeps really well. She eats really well. So she's just a little angel baby, so she hasn't added too much dynamic to the group. So that's a good thing.
Jillian: [00:38:47] That is terrific. Now do you have a team like do you have these people helping you?
Nicole: [00:38:54] So I have a freelancer who helps me with video work, and formatting for my content, and then I have my husband. And it's just the two of us right now.
Nicole: [00:39:05] But it's a really big deal to have someone working with you full time. So while we don't have a team I don't want to discount that.
Nicole: [00:39:13] Because I know a lot of people are like, How does she do it by her by herself. But really I have someone working like 30 to 40 hours with me who's my right hand man, who I don't have to manage, who I don't have to explain things to in detail. So that is my team and it's basically like having another one of me. So it is it is a lot of help.
Jillian: [00:39:36] Right. And what are you experimenting with now to grow your business? Where do you see it going?
Nicole: [00:39:49] So we are actually doing our first big three part video series in a few weeks which we have never done before.
Nicole: [00:39:58] Every December I do this big planning party, where I take a really big group of people like 2000 people hopefully this year it'll be even bigger, but I think around 2000 people through planning out what their next year will be like.
Nicole: [00:40:14] So I do that as like a big launch and I was doing a summit up until January, but in January I decided that my focus was going to be my membership group, and I was going all in on my membership group.
Nicole: [00:40:26] So now I'm actually doing this video series called the Social Shift, which is the new way to grow your influencer and blog business that has nothing to do with counting pages or followers.
Nicole: [00:40:37] So this is the first time we're doing this prerecorded video series, that is going to be really really big, which I'm really excited for,and that it's going to lead into the opening of our Blogger to Business group, the membership group.
Jillian: [00:40:51] Got it. OK so you open your group one time of year?
Nicole: [00:40:55] It's twice a year, and then we have a waitlist.
Jillian: [00:40:58] Okay got it. And so the way that you attract people to it is you offer this, now you're going to offer a video series and then if you like this at the end, you could join our group.
Nicole: [00:41:11] Exactly. So everybody could see this video series. And I really hope that a lot of people join us, because it is a huge opportunity. Whether you join the Blogger to Business group or not, being a part of this Social Shift and the new way of doing your influencer business, is a huge opportunity for everyone.
Nicole: [00:41:34] So even if you don't come join us for the Blogger to Business group, you're going to want to join us for the video series because you'll still learn what to do. You just will be doing it on your own, and that's okay too.
Jillian: [00:41:47] Okay so are you having a crew come in? And is this like a big production?
Nicole: [00:41:51] Oh my gosh. No. Okay so right now at this point in my in my crazy life, I love simplicity and I'm always like doing, I heard this on Amy Porterfield's podcast with Brooke Castillo, B minus work.
Nicole: [00:42:07] So the video is awesome, but it was just shot in my backyard with a tripod against my white fence, which made a really fantastic backgrounds and it's super simple.
My freelance video editor has edited it, but it was just me and my husband doing it with my kids coming out like nine million times.
Nicole: [00:42:31] So super simple, but that's how I try and keep everything simple, because I just can't do the big production now.
Jillian: [00:42:39] I love that. Again I love that expression, done is better than perfect.
Nicole: [00:42:45] Yes.
Jillian: [00:42:45] It really is if you want to move your business forward and live your life, and especially if you have children, like write that mantra put it on your fridge.
Nicole: [00:42:55] Yes. And you know at one point I'm sure I will do the production thing. I did buy a teleprompter though so that's good.
Jillian: [00:43:09] That's cool.
Nicole: [00:43:10] But that's as big as we went for this and it's going to be perfect. I was actually going into it as Facebook Lives, but I didn't feel like it would have done the content justice so I did go to the prerecorded.
Jillian: [00:43:22] And then do you run ads like on Facebook, and that kind of thing so people hear about it?
Nicole: [00:43:27] Yeah. So we are big Facebook ads proponent. That was another thing when you grow your business, you have two things you can have time or you can use money. And we used money to get the majority of growth in our business.
Nicole: [00:43:44] We did use affiliates, but honestly we have spent a lot of money on Facebook ads, in the past seven years and it's been a lot of learning, but it's been amazing because I can do things like just put on a Facebook ad and grow my email list consistently, rather than worrying about SEO and blogging and doing all these other things.
Nicole: [00:44:06] So again simplicity and focus and Facebook ads while I'm sure Facebook ads won't always be the thing that we use in the next five years to grow our business. It's what we've leveraged in the past five years and it's been very good to us.
Jillian: [00:44:22] Oh that's wonderful. Ok Nicole, if people want to reach out to you or learn more about you what is the best way?
Nicole: [00:44:31] The best way is to come over to my Facebook page or my Facebook group, if you just search Nicole Culver on Facebook you will find it. Or you can get the behind the scenes, which I say behind the scenes because Facebook is my main platform for business. Instagram is my 4 fun platform.
Nicole: [00:44:51] It's just Nicole Culver over there but you're not going to get much business content. I'll be honest, you're going to get my kids and my everyday life over there.
Nicole: [00:44:58] So if you want the business stuff, if you want to learn how to grow your audience, and do so in a way that doesn't involve page views or your follower account, and just search Nicole Culver on Facebook and you'll get my Facebook page so come and follow me over there.
Jillian: [00:45:11] And that's how then people could learn about joining your membership.
Nicole: [00:45:15] Yes. Yes definitely. And that is the Social Shift. It's coming and it's going to be all on my Facebook page. So my Facebook page name is just Nicole Culver so you'll see it all over there.
Jillian: [00:45:28] Well honestly this has been such a delight. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Nicole: [00:45:34] Thank you for having me. It was so much fun chatting with you.
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