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The Blogger Genius Podcast with Jillian Leslie

Dec 11, 2019

Do you dream of being an entrepreneur? Are you creative and long to build a business around your skills?

You're going to love my newest episode. Kayla Butler and I dig into how to build a successful creative business today.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Kayla’s site, Ivory Mix, where she gives away beautiful, free stock photos for social media. 

In this episode, Kayla and I talk about how she started creating images, how she grew her email list, and how that eventually turned into a successful business. 

We go deep into what it means to be an entrepreneur: the struggles, the mindset, and how to be successful. I think you are going to enjoy this episode. 

Before I jump into my discussion with Kayla, I want to let you all know that I have been having loads of fun over in my Facebook group

I am in there nearly every day, chatting, going live, and helping you build your business. And the group is full of other bloggers, encouraging each other, and answering questions. 

If you haven’t joined us yet, what are you waiting for? Come on over today and introduce yourself. We’re all waiting on you!

Growing a Business Through Failure

When Kayla first started creating content, her style was very hit or miss. Her first course was a phone photography course. 

Kayla’s audience wanted an easy way to shoot photos and immediately have them available. 

But her first launch did not do well. She only made about $50.

Through testing and trial, Kayla has turned that first course into content that generates thousands of dollars a year. 

The course is comprehensive and shows you how to edit pictures for your social media in an easy-to-understand format. 

Using Tripwires to Drive Sales

Kayla turned the success of her course around by selling it as a tripwire.

A tripwire means that when someone signs up for her free photos, they get redirected to a “Thank You” page. On that page is the offer for the course. At just $7 for a limited time, it’s a no-brainer for most people.

That $7 product brings in thousands of dollars every month. 

A tripwire is not meant to be expensive, but rather something that will make a steady income from people seeing it when they subscribe to your list. 

You have to know how to ask at the right moment and market your products to meet your audience’s needs at the right time. 

Tripwires also contain a time-sensitive factor, in that there is a designated amount of time before the offer runs out. 

This motivates the subscriber to buy the tripwire now, rather than waiting. 

Why You Need to Experiment with Your Marketing Techniques

After another launch that Kayla didn’t consider a success (even though she sold 30 of them), Kayla looks at all of her launches as beta runs. 

This allows her to test the marketing and content to see if it’s what her audience needs and will respond to.

If a course doesn’t do well, Kayla can try new techniques to make it more successful. 

You need to be flexible and look at your content as fluid rather than all-or-nothing deals. Be willing to adapt to what works best for your audience. 

As entrepreneurs, we think we tend to know it all, but we don’t. We have to learn as we go. 

Kayla began her membership site for her stock photos. The membership was free until Kayla realized what a valuable service she was providing for her members. It then went to a monthly charge.

But she has found that annual memberships serve her and the audience much better than a monthly membership. The longer-term relationship helps Kayla to get to know her people better and what types of photos they need.

As Kayla began to get more members, she had to bundle her content to help manage the sheer number of clients.

Members get access to new stock photos once a month for free, access to existing courses, and once a month, there is a specific training that the members have requested. 

Building Relationships on Social Media

When it comes to Instagram, Kayla focuses on her audience and the transformations they want to see in their lives and businesses, rather than on her products. 

Most of Kayla’s viewers come from her site where they can see her stock photos already, so it is redundant to post those pictures on her Instagram page. 

Her goal is motivating her audience and focusing on them and their successes. 

The more meaningful social interaction you have, the more your account will grow organically. 

Kayla uses hashtags to show up in searches as her following and interaction grows. The hashtags follow the topic of the day, popular hashtags, or medium-popular hashtags. 

Helping Your Audience Feel Empowered 

Kayla tries to make people feel empowered to decide to take their business to the next level. 

Making decisions is the way to make goals happen. Kayla tries to help her audience make decisions to take the next step. 

We all have to make decisions and learn from them to keep moving forward. Once you get into the habit of making small decisions and tweaking them, it gets easier and more comfortable. 

It is essential to surround yourself with people who will push you to do the next thing. 

Freedom to Scale Your Business

Kayla believes that mistakes are good things. Through every failure or setback, you can learn something that will help you move forward. 

Do not be afraid to ask for a sale. You need to push yourself to get to where you want to be. 

As women, we are helpers. You have to tell yourself that offering your products, even for a price, is helping others. 

You can do more to help others when you are more successful in your business. Do not be afraid to grow and have a team growing around you. 

You want to be able to scale a business that can support your life goals. 

Having more people on the team gives you a new vision, as well as more freedom to pursue new goals. 

I hope you got as much out of my conversation with Kayla as I did. I love how she never gave up, but kept learning what her audience wanted and provided it for them. 

And when necessary, she pivoted. 

Think about that in your own business. What does your audience want from you? How can you provide them with even more value?

Now before I go, if you haven’t seen the new snowflakes on our MiloTree pop-ups, you have to go look right now! 

If you have any questions or comments, please pop over and join my Facebook group. I hope to see you there!


Read the transcript for “How to Grow a Seven Figure Business by Listening to Your Audience”




3:04 Hobbyist to Business Owner

9:03 Growing Through Failure

11:13 Using Tripwires to Drive Sales

14:50 Marketing Techniques

17:30 Successful Membership Sites

23:55 Building Relationships on Social Media 

28:13 Helping Your Audience Make Decisions

37:04 Freedom to Scale


  1. Even if your first product seems like a failure, try repackaging it as a tripwire. 
  2. Test all of your marketing, be flexible, and walk away from the “all or nothing” mindset.
  3. Using social media to focus on the transformation your audience wants to see in their lives allows you to build genuine relationships with them and to grow organically. 
  4. Ask for the sale. Remember that your products help people, so never shy away from asking for the sale. 

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