In this episode I talk to Katelyn Bourgoin. Katelyn is a creator and entrepreneur. She’s built several successful companies and agencies, and built a consultant company that she later sold.
We dive into why customers buy, and how to market and sell to them through the Jobs-to-be-Done framework. Katelyn has a wealth of marketing knowledge she shares with us today.
We talk about different business models. We get into why you should focus on selling checklists, cheat sheets, and outcomes rather than the traditional video courses. We also talk about how she grew her newsletter to 10,000 subscribers, and got to over 50,000 followers on Twitter.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Tips and strategies for acquiring more users
- A subtle mindset shift to make your marketing more effective
- What content should be free, and what should be paid for
- Why Katelyn transitioned away from launches and courses
Links & Resources
- Episode 061: Rachel Rodgers – Simple & Consistent: How To Build an 8-Figure Business
- April Dunford
- Nathan Barry: Authority
Katelyn Bourgoin’s Links
- Customer Camp
- Follow Customer Camp on Twitter
- The Why We Buy newsletter
- The Trigger Technique
- Twitter thread about The Trigger Technique
- Follow Katelyn on Twitter
The goal of marketing is not always to be right, but to be less wrong faster. That’s really what people should be aiming for.
How can we be less wrong faster so we can figure out the stuff that is working, double down on that stuff, and stop the things that aren’t working. That requires insight from customers.
But if you’re trying to do what the innovation gurus tell you to do, that model doesn’t work inside a lot of businesses.
In this episode I talk to Katelyn Bourgoin. Katelyn is a creator. She’s built a few different companies. She started an agency that got really successful, and she’s done a consultant company that she’s sold. She also did a professional network company, sort of like a LinkedIn for a specific demographic that was a venture-backed startup.
She’s learned a ton over the years that brought her to a customer research philosophy called Jobs-to-be-Done. In this episode we dive into how you should understand why your customers buy, and how to market and sell to them through the Jobs-to-be-Done framework. We also apply it to the creator world. It’s normally used most in software and more traditional products, so the creator world application is interesting.
We get into business models. We get into why you should be focused on selling checklists, and cheat sheets, and outcomes rather than the more traditional video courses. We also talk about how she grew her newsletter to 10,000 subscribers, and got to over 50,000 followers on Twitter.
It’s a fun episode. Let’s dive in.
Katelyn, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me.
I want to start by diving into a little bit of what you did in the past, mainly because it informs so much of what you’re doing now. So, could you talk about the agency you were running and how that transformed into a running Vendeve?
Sure. In a past life I started a doing freelance marketing work at 25 and grew it into an agency. We were working with teams like Holiday Inn and Target, and it was like, “Okay, this is fun. I’m doing all this service-based work, but I want to build a product and market it ourselves. I want to use our own skills to build growth for something we’re building.”
It was like, how hard could it be to do a tech company? It turns out it’s very, very hard, as many of you probably know. So we launched Vendeve. Vendeve was a business network for women entrepreneurs. On the outside things looked like they were going great. Forbes was calling us the next LinkedIn for women. On the inside, things were not going great.
We were good at acquiring users, and not great at figuring out how to get them to stay and continue to use the product. So, with that in mind, when I ended up making a really hard decision to wind down that company, I was like, “What am I going to do next? What am I going to be?”
When I grew up, I thought I was going to be a startup founder. And I was lucky cause I’ve made this amazing network of people who were in the startup world, in our region. And my lead VC actually came to me and said, Hey, like you guys were really good at acquiring users. We’ve got all these companies that are really good at building products and maybe you can help them to acquire some users.
And we’re like, okay, good. so I’d sit down with all of these teams and I’d ask them the question that we as marketers need to know, which is like, tell me about your customer. And it was very surprising to me how rarely I could get a great answer. So it was sometimes like really, you actually see the like leadership team debating, like, oh, you’re going after this audience, but then somebody would perk it and go, well, also this one or one time a team member actually told me that their target audience was B2B companies that sold on the internet with anywhere between 10 and 500 employees. And I love talking to you about this. Cause I know that you really understand the value of starting with a, with a niche audience. And so I saw that this was the big challenge for a lot of companies. I knew that it was something that we had. We didn’t struggle with knowing who our audience was. We struggled with understanding what they wanted.
So I was like, this is something I want to dig into. Focus on. And so I launched customer camp, initially as, you know, a service-based business, my own consultancy. And then in time just learned that what was really needed was a lot of education on how to figure out who your best customers were and how to understand what they wanted.
And in my journey to deliver that I discovered Jobs-to-be-Done, which is an innovation and growth framework. I think we’re going to talk a bit a bit, and that really was the cat. To helping me to figure out how to design some really great solutions to help people with these problems and helping me figure out how to create our own internal marketing, assets, like our newsletter, our blog, some other things that we’re doing in the future, all around helping people to get the right job to be done. So that’s kind of like a little, little bit of the backstory, but if we wouldn’t have made so many mistakes, I don’t think I would have planned to cheer.
Yeah, that totally makes sense. Okay. I wanted to I’m in Jobs-to-be-Done. But before that you said, we were really good at acquiring users. And I think a lot of people would be like, well, okay, hold on. You have to dig in on that because, I I’m curious what, what channels worked well, and then, you know, what you learned in the acquisition side, because a lot of people are struggling on the acquisition side.
Yeah, absolutely. So, my background is in PR, so we were great at PR you know, we were great at getting attention, getting press coverage, and that would lead to lots of new users joining. And then we had a nice little kind of, by reality built into the product when you’re starting out, you know, who, what other women need to use? This product? People would invite a few friends. So growth was fairly. Strong in that way. And we started off initially with a city by city growth model, because our intention in the beginning, which ended up shifting was to have a, kind of like a service exchange part of the network. And so we started off with the city by city.
And so we get a lot of, kind of word of mouth in these small communities. We’d find the Facebook groups that these people might’ve been hanging out in. We find the organizations that they might be affiliated with and we’d partner with those organizations, or we’d be active in those groups. So really it was a lot of working to generate word of mouth and then building in that kind of viral, like sign up so that we would get a couple of people every time one new user signed up still, we had a all problem getting those users to come back because we didn’t build the right solution because we weren’t really, we, at the time I didn’t have the language to describe this, but we weren’t focused on the right.
And we were kind of building out what we thought might be cool versus really understanding what people needed.
Yeah. So what, what were the jobs you were focused on, which you, it sounds like didn’t know or use that language at the time.
No, I mean, I thought when we started out, like to. Kind of go back a little bit in the story. It started as a S as a skill shopping network for, people more broadly. And then I did what you’re told to do when you’re starting a new company and you go through an accelerator program and they say, go out and do customer discovery.
And I had no idea what that meant or how to do it well. So what I did was talk to 300 people and showed them what we were building and asked them what they thought, which as it turns out is not the way to do it at all, which is why I’m so passionate with teaching what we do now. But of course, what happened when I would do that.
Oh, that’s so cool. And like, you know, like I’m already kind of doing this and this way. And like, what I saw a pattern was it seemed to be that women were really more excited about this. And they said that, you know, we’re already, I’m already skilled shopping in this way. You know, I do my friend’s nails and she does my accounting.
And like, so I was seeing that this trend thing would be happening with women at the time. And I think this is probably still true, although I don’t have the data on. Now, because it’s not as relevant to what I’m doing, but at the time women were starting businesses at the fastest rate in history. So I was like, okay, we’re going to focus on building a skill shopping platform for women specifically.
And I thought that the job, if I didn’t have that language to describe it at the time, but I thought it was about, you know, swapping skills to get the skills you needed to grow your business when you’re in the early stage. And we launched with kind of that model in mind and with. Within like a matter of a year and a half pivoted because it was like, okay, like what’s really what they really want here.
They’re coming. Yeah. The promise of being able to deliver services, grow their kind of experience grow their network. But really what they’re looking for is two. Build a network of people who might be customers for them, clients of there. And so it was like, well, we need to give them a platform where they can showcase their expertise.
And that’s when the, the, product took a bit of a pivot. and that pivot, we never, we were kind of like just gasping for air with a little bit of like runway left at the time that we decided to make that pivot. But the thing that I learned. That led to that pivot was just like, okay, like skill swapping is not actually what they want, what they want is to connect with people who could be clients.
And because they don’t have a lot of experience yet, they want to be able to offer something of value so that they can get that experience. But in, you know, with the end goal of growing a business and getting paying customers. And so that’s what led to the pivot. But again, I didn’t have the language to understand what it was.
They really wanted. It was like, well, they want to kind of showcase their expertise. So like maybe we can start like a network that allows them to do that. Or in credibility and points within a system, they get more visibility because of that. And like, I was thinking all around, like the features and like, Might be needed, but not really understanding the right solution to solve for, which was this idea of like, going back now, it’s like, what they really wanted was to be able to with within the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey to have to have credibility.
And there was a million ways we could have delivered on that. That was not what we.
Yeah, it’s so
Interesting, especially when you have experience in the market, in some way, right? Like a lot of what I’ve built is based on my own experience and you know, what I wanted, but I, I realized for me at some point that only takes you so. Right. And then another transition that I made for example is like being a creator to being a software founder.
And I’m like, okay, let me make software for me as a creator. And then you get to the point where you’re like, wait, actually I’m like, I’ve like stretched out this creator experience as much as I can. And I actually have to go back out and do all of this user research. And like, I can no longer just rely on like my experience because now it’s like eight years old, you know, or, or that kind of thing.
And so often we start. One idea of how it’s going to go. and then we, we have these ideas and then you like kind of milk it for all, but it’s worth it. And then realize, wait, I don’t actually know how to do user research. I don’t know, like I don’t understand Jobs-to-be-Done. so yeah, it’s a fascinating, fascinating problem that I think I’m living right now.
I think the thing that, the biggest thing, so Jobs-to-be-Done, if we want to kind of do we want to get into jock?
So Jobs-to-be-Done, it’s this amazing and challenging. I would say that it’s, it’s like the people who are behind it, we call it a theory and it’s a theory for what drives people to buy. And essentially the idea is that for a long time, we as marketers and also people who are innovating and trying to build new.
We would think about people from a kind of like attribute perspective. We think about like, you know, they share these common attributes. Like maybe they’re all women, they’re 36. They live in a particular city and we would think that’s what it meant to understand our customers. But the attributes that a person has or your buyer, a prospective buyer has, it really doesn’t matter what matters is.
What are they trying to achieve? And what’s the circumstances and what other solutions have they considered or tried and why didn’t those work for them and why is what you’re doing better? And really the, what they came up with is it’s like people seek out products because they’re trying to make progress in their lives.
Specific job they’re trying to get done. And they essentially hire products or service providers to help them do that job. And there’s particular criteria that matters to them. And so when you stop focusing on the person and start focusing on the progress that they’re trying to make, and the struggle that they’re having and making that progress, you start to see the context of their situation with a lot more richness and nuance, and then you can decide.
You know, these people have this particular challenge and we, maybe we can help those people, or we’re hearing, you know, we’re hearing different things from people that look like this, and maybe that’s a solution we can solve better. And so. Really it’s when you understand the job they’re trying to get done, and the circumstances that surround it can help you to figure out where you as a product company can, can innovate, but it can also from a marketing perspective, be incredibly powerful.
And from a marketing perspective, the tool. That I learned that changed the way that I thought about marketing and changed. The way that I approached marketing is this interview a one-on-one interview with somebody who has bought your solution. If you’re new to the market, it could be somebody who’s bought a competitor solution.
But really what you’re trying to do is you’re not trying to ask them about their experience with your solution. Like you can get there and you can spend some time there. But what you’re really trying to understand is what was happening in their world that led them to seeking a new solution in the first.
What other things did they try? What other things did they consider? Why did they choose the thing that they chose? And in getting them to tell you their story and really digging in on all of the nuanced details, you can start to get this really clear picture around what matters to a buyer, what pains they’re having with other solutions, what are their selfish desires?
Like? How do they see their life actually being better and them being better. And that can lead to just such more compelling and. Like marketing that really resonates compared to this kind of more high-level stuff. And so the tool of the one-on-one interview, it’s the thing that for me, marketers are rarely doing.
And it’s so powerful when it comes to understanding how to be more effective in your marketing.
Yeah, I love that you learn so much from it. I mean, it’s true in both sales and customer research, like we all want to sit behind an email or a survey or, you know, any of these things where it’s like, oh, let me reach people at scale. Let me, you know, not have to get on the calls. No one wants to get, you know, any of these things.
Right. And then you realize like, oh no. If I actually talk to people and ask them directly, and go beyond the questions actually go beyond that’s the wrong idea. It’s going to say, go beyond the questions of like, would you like this? Would you buy this? And it’s like, no, no, no. Scrap those entirely and start in a know in different way.
I I’d be curious to hear, an example, like, is there one that comes to mind of either some interviews that you’ve done at a pivot?
Yeah, well, you’ve brought up a really good point around, you know, marketers are often afraid to do this. And in my experience, teaching this to as many, you know, thousands of students at this point and understanding where the hangups are like, oftentimes people will do this interview and they will just be like, whoa, blown away so much great insight, but they’re not sure what to action first, how to action it.
They’re not sure what information necessarily. Really matters and how to share any of that with other people on our team that could benefit from it. And so I created a kind of complimentary framework to Jobs-to-be-Done, which is called the trigger technique, which essentially helps people to gather from a qualitative conversation, you know, an interview with the customer, the kind of four pieces that really matter, and how to use those to design marketing campaigns and ideas.
And. Because there was this missing piece. In my experience, it was like, you can go out and you can have these conversations, but you still needed to be able to distill that down to the most important bits. And then you still need to think about, well, how do I actually make those obviously actionable? And that was missing.
We can maybe include it in the show notes, but I’ve got a webinar where I talk about the trigger technique. I’ve got a tweet thread that kind of went viral talking about it. But what I would say is the pieces that matter. So the example that I gave in my Twitter thread, I talk about. And so I had interviewed somebody during one of my workshops.
I do a live workshop where I demonstrate an interview and I get the people that are walking to listen and to learn what they should be listening for. And the person I was interviewing had recently subscribed to BarkBox, which is a subscription for dog owners. It’ll include things like little treats and toys and different odds and ends for your dog.
And what I learned in that interview with her. Was that the trigger event? Well, she didn’t realize it at the time that had led her to begin the journey to considering BarkBox was that she, they had gotten a puppy. He was about four months old and they found out they’re pregnant and it was not a planned pregnancy, but they were very excited.
But now it’s like, oh my goodness. In her mind, she’s going, I have a baby already, this baby puppy, and now I’m going to be having a real baby. And that was this moment when. The journey, whether she knew it or not to getting BarkBox the gap. And so she ended up having the baby and she’s home on mat leave.
And of course her puppy is now feeling a bit envious because all of this time and energy that used to go into spending time with the puppy is now going towards this new, tiny little creature. And so she looked at different solutions to try to appease the dog. She started to have what she called was dog mom, guilt, which for copywriting and marketing.
So good. Right? The dog, mom guilt. and so she looked at other solutions and she was like, well, I can, you know, I can take the dog to the park, but it was winter when her son was born and it was cold and trying to get the baby in the car and the dog in the car and like get off to the dog park, getting a baby in a snowsuit, a lot of work.
Right. Not a good solution. She’s like, well, I can take the dog for walks around the neighborhood again, stroller in one hand. Pull you in the other hand, something’s going to give, and she didn’t want it to be either of them. So that was solution wasn’t working well. And so she actually got her brother to bring over his dog, thinking that I’ll put them in the backyard and they’ll play together.
And the, at least the dog will get some satisfaction, double the work, not a good solution. And ultimately she saw. Post something about dog, about bark box on Instagram. And she reached out and asked that person what they thought and her goal, really the job she was trying to get done was she wanted to keep the dog happy and occupied while she was busy with other things.
Right. That was the job to be. From a marketing perspective, you okay. So you know what the trigger event is, right. She had a young child now, a baby, and she’s got this dog at home. You know what she’s trying to get done? Well, you can triangulate those things and be like, well, who could be the target buyers?
Right. Well, obviously people with young children and dogs, that’s a good trigger event. Right. and then you think about the, what she was trying to achieve. Well, she really wanted to discuss. The dog. Right. So how cool would it be for a company like Bart box to create an introductory offer where sign up for three months and get the doggy distraction box for free?
Right. so there’s all these, now you can think of what, who we target. Well, don’t target like there’s, they’re obviously probably thinking about all of the, the dog influencers. What about the mommy influencers, who all of these new moms are following, who are trying to learn about sleep, training, their baby and all these other things.
Those people probably have dogs too. And imagine if they were to do a, you know, a sponsored posts around relieving their dog, mom, guilt and how great it felt to be able to take away that dog guilt right in your target audience. So one interview when you’re pulling out the layers and the pieces that really matter are really compelling, but also this is what makes Jobs-to-be-Done.
So great. When you think about the job, as you know, helped me to keep my dog happy and occupy occupied while I’m busy with that. Well, what else happened in the last two years where suddenly everyone was home and dogs were home and they were confused because now you’re busy with other things. You’re not giving me the attention.
And you’re sitting here in front of me all day long, right? Like that dog, mom, guilt, that same language works. Whether you have a new baby that’s distracting you, or whether you’re now suddenly working from home. And your dog’s not getting to go out as much because walks are regulated in your city, which is true in a lot of cities.
Think about all the people that were in the had that new trigger event, that new job to be done. So like when you start thinking about these stories, you can kind of extrapolate beyond there and start to really see opportunities to be really targeted with your marketing and messaging. When you look at what dark, BarkBox is doing, I’m not a consultant for them.
I haven’t done work with them. They’re not capturing these opportunities. They’re talking about here’s, you know, here’s how strong are toys are. And you know, here’s how CSR chewy things are. And they’re not, they’re talking a lot about their product. They’re not seeing the bigger opportunity, which is to really understand why people are buying their product in the first place and how to get in front of those people with a compelling offer.
So you can learn a lot from even one interview when it’s done.
Yeah. I mean, I just see that. So often of companies talking about the features of their product, right? It’s exactly how strong the two toys are or something else. Whereas really no one cares how strong the two toy is. they care about how long it keeps the dog and attained,
A hundred percent. So imagine the language you can shift, right? So it’s like hours of doggy entertainment instead of, you know, really strong, durable toys that doesn’t matter. Hours of Douggie entertainment is what Matt.
Yeah, that’s good. Okay. So there’s, if we think about who often listens to the show, right? We’ve I definitely have some, you know, software founders and people like that who may have heard of Jobs-to-be-Done before. but there’s also, you know, the whole community who are building like creator focused businesses, you know, like they have their own email list, maybe it’s 10,000, 20,000 subscribers.
And they, you know, usually aren’t monetizing one product in the same way of like, oh, BarkBox or convert kit or Intercom. Right. might be, but it’s much more of how can I build an audience, you know, grow it on Twitter and email and Instagram. and then sell a range of products. Usually courses, it might be coaching.
It might be, yeah. You know, eBooks a whole bunch of different things. I’d be curious how you would adapt or how you would encourage these types of creators to think about Jobs-to-be-Done as they’re, you know, turning what started as, you know, maybe a simple newsletter into like a thriving business.
Absolutely. It’s like I can use my own businesses as an example, because this is the style of business we have. So customer camp at our core, we are a training company. We have a few products that are available to the general public, and we are in the process of launching a new course, prior to, near the beginning of I myself recently had a baby.
Triggered me to make some shifts. Thank you. so I’m making some changes in my business. I’m working on something new, but prior to that, my primary customers were accelerators and incubators and business support organizations. And they would hire me to come and deliver live training to their audience.
But now I’m bringing more, courses and, and resources that are available to the general public. So with that, I knew that I wasn’t even making that transition. And I knew that the audience that I wanted to serve ward marketers, because in my experience in doing this work and understanding Jobs-to-be-Done, initially, I actually started by targeting, founders, founders of software products for the most part.
And what I learned was that when you are in the very early stages of your product or. You think you’ve got it all figured out, right? Like you don’t, you know, you don’t really think you have to do a lot of customer discovery. You’re like, no, I just want to focus on building the product. That’s the exciting part for me.
And by the time you get that product to market and oftentimes realize that there’s not this hot to man for your solution, you’re often so busy and inundated that and like so resistant to going off and doing more of this work. And you don’t often have a lot of money to pay for this work being watched.
The, you know, marketers, marketers just by kind of like the nature of how they work. They really resonated with these concepts. They could apply it to their work so easily. Like, and so my focus became I’m going to help marketers to better understand their customers because then as they do, like, you know, it’s the number one thing that we care about as marketers is understanding the buyer and a lot of the work that I was doing in this.
Focus on understanding the job just wasn’t happening for marketers. So with that in mind, I defined what was the job we were trying to get done at customer camp. And ultimately what it was is we help marketers to understand what triggers people to buy so they can market smarter. And with that kind of, as in the high level job that we’re trying to get done, I started thinking about, well, what solutions can we bring to the market?
And also, how can we make sure that we’re building an audience for future. So the first product that we launched was a tool called the clarity call, cheat sheets. And essentially it’s like a bundle of documents that help you to learn how to do one-on-one interviews. And it’s, we’ve done. it’s been, oh for just a little over a year now.
It’s does great sales on its own. I’m not actually doing nearly enough to market it. It’s what I love about that product and the way that we designed it was I was going out and I was talking to marketers and not trying to understand why they weren’t doing more of this work in the first place and trying to understand what they would want to see from us.
And what I learned from those interviews is marketers are incredibly busy. They don’t have a lot of time. They have a. bias against courses because a lot of times they’ve spent a lot of money on courses that didn’t deliver the outcome, or they just didn’t have time to actually do the work. And so they didn’t get the value that they were buying.
And so they’re, they’re kind of like their course budget has become very small yet. They still want to deliver. Value to their clients, to their teams. They still want to Uplevel. but they’ve basically sat like this, like no, no more courses. and so I was like, I’m not going to build some long video based course.
I’m going to build something that they can as quickly as possible, take a marketer from, I don’t know how to do a customer interview to, I figured, you know, I, I know how to reach out to the right people and know how to get them to say yes, I know what questions to ask. I know what to listen for all with me being.
Skim as opposed to having to sit down and watch four or five hours of content. And that worked really, really well. Marketers love this product. They tell people about it. Like it’s almost every week I’m getting somebody like mentioning it on social, telling somebody else that they need to go and buy it.
And actually nice because then you know, that the solution is delivering. So it’s like, okay, so I’ve got this product that helps people to understand their customers through customer. So what kind of people do I want to get in front of? Right. I want to get in front of the kind of people who are curious about buyers who want to understand their buyers better and what should that, what should I do from a content perspective to try to attract more of those people?
And that’s what led me to create our new. So I find our newsletters. It’s really great introductory offer to the cheat sheets or some of our new stuff that’s coming because the newsletter is all about why people buy and it, but it’s about buyer psychology, cognitive biases, and heuristics, and people in your audience.
Scarcity or social proof. These are all these cognitive biases, right? So like, I was like, this is perfect because there’s this broader spectrum of like what li like, you know, how buying decisions are made by regular people, but then there’s the context of your audience. So it’s like I can attract people who are gonna be really excited about learning about buyers and they are going to be excited about learning about buyers and like the higher level.
And then I can sell them on, well, this is great. So, you know, that scarcity works, you know, that social proof works, you know, You know, it can be valuable to come first and a list of things versus the middle. I can teach them all of these things, but you still need to talk to your people. You still need to understand your customer specifically because they are unique and the context is unique and your solution is unique.
So there’s this nice bridge, but it’s all about that same job to be done, which is essentially for marketers, like help me to understand buyers, help me to understand what motivates those people so that I can design better solutions for them. I can do. Better marketing messages. I can design better campaign.
So like it all fits under that one umbrella. And what I love about Jobs-to-be-Done is like, we’re not a company that teaches people, customer research. If something happens in the future where there’s this new, amazing eye tracking technology that can give you 90% of the answer, we’ll tell people about that.
Right. So that’s kind of like,
Yeah, you have such a great connection to the audience, through having the newsletter. Whereas if you, you know, there’s another world, and, and there’s other people, right. Who teach Jobs-to-be-Done entirely through workshops. Right? And so their, their thing is, you know, pass some number of thousands of dollars to come to your marketing team in person.
And w we, you know, we will teach this technique to you. And that can work well. It’s a very referral driven business. it can be quite profitable, in another world. It means getting on planes a lot, you know, and that may not be everyone’s favorite thing. Ooh, this is interesting. I’m like getting a full on like wind storm here as part of the podcast,
Like windows shaking a little bit and all of that.
We’ll see what the power goes out. So let’s see, I guess, thinking about business models, but I love about yours is you’ve identified a really good top of funnel. Write of Ashley. The newsletter’s not even quite top of funnel. We can get into what what’s top of funnel above that, right. Of how people discover the newsletter.
But it’s this interesting trade-off and I think a lot of creators wonder about what should be free and what, what should be paid? And so I like in your model, you’ve talked about, you know, why we buy the psychology, that broad concepts and all of that, right. That’s all free. And that, you know, you’re giving away a ton for free, and then it’s like, okay, but when it’s specific to your business, the tactics that you need to learn about your business and why your customers buy that’s a paid product.
And I think that that’s a good distinction.
Can I share something, anything to around like, so I’m working on something new and it, again, it comes back to this job Sudan, you mentioned that there’s other jobs, you’ve done practitioners out there. Many of whom will charge tens of thousands of dollars. If not hundreds of thousands of dollars. When am I, is it costs a hundred grand to get here.
Four or five days. And it’s definitely worth it for companies that are at the stage where it makes sense to make that investment, because I know companies that have had insane results. Bob Neulasta is one of my mentors and he’s worked with companies like comm. Snickers, like he’s an incredible product innovator and he’s one of the pioneers of this concept.
But the thing that I learned again about the audience that I want to target, what makes them unique, I’m not going after the Snickers and Fords of the world. Right. I’m going after marketers who typically work with early stage company. That are still, probably not necessarily fully into the, like, they probably don’t necessarily fully have product market fit figured out.
But they need to get more demand so that they can work on figuring it out. And most of the marketers that I’m working at working with and I’m going out. Like they’re getting resistance around doing customer interviews. They are not getting access to customers. They’re not getting access. Like it’s hard for them to sell a client on a big engagement upfront because the client hired them for a specific thing.
They hired them. Sales copy for the new landing page, or they hired them to order the new email sequence, or they hired them to do some conversion rate optimization. And so what we’re working on now, knowing the audience I’m going after and how their needs are different than the ones that maybe Bob has working with is we’re creating something called clarity camp.
And it essentially. Scrappy research techniques that you can do without getting approval. So it’s this whole concept of like, don’t ask for approval, like just go and do it and then wow. The shit out of your clients and team by presenting back what you learn. So everything we’re teaching them, they should be able to do without having to.
Clients or teams for the approval to run surveys for the approval to interview customers. Because that side of it was really slowing them down, or it was becoming a block that just wasn’t wasn’t movable. So it was like, if I could show them how to go out and get a bunch of customer insights using these other methods and they can then show their teams the power of.
Then they can run a few experiments. I call them trigger tests, you know, test the trigger events that are happening inside of their buyers laws. And they can show value quickly, which is what so oftentimes marketers need to do to gain trust. And then are they going to be able to get buy in from their team for this larger engagement?
Probably. Right. But this is where they were struggling. So it’s like I can go off and only work with companies that are committed to spending $30,000 with me for like, At customer research engagement, which is what I have been doing on the service side. But that’s a very small, not a very small number of companies, but that’s a very particular type of business.
And there’s this whole other category of businesses that can benefit. So, so much from this and doing a bit of it is better than doing none. I don’t want to serve them. So it’s just this kind of example of when you understand who you’re going after and what their challenges. You designed the right solution, the right solution for the marketers that I want to teach this to isn’t for them to try to go off and sell their clients on a $30,000 engagement.
That’s not the right solution. The solution is for them to enough information about their clients buyers quickly to be dangerous and to be able to design some pretty great stuff. And then to be able to continue to kind of do this air to flow of learning more about buyers as they work with clients. So it’s a, it’s a different output, but I think that it’s going to be really, really meaningful for the audience that this doesn’t exist for.
Yeah. Oh, that’s good. I just think about inside of ConvertKit, you know, we’re a 70 person team. we have all kinds of things going on that we’re working on and focused on. And whenever someone comes to me and it’s like, here’s this idea that I want to take two to three months off of what I’ve normally been doing, and we’re going to go try it out and it’s unproven.
But like these articles that I’ve read on the internet said, it’s great. Like that’s a tough sell. That’s hard to do. But if instead someone is like, I did this five hours a week without telling anyone here are the results from it. Here’s what I’ve learned. And now here’s what I want to do for phase two. And that’s going to require more time and money, but like, you know, here’s the momentum that we already have. Like that’s an easy sell and it’s like, oh, I had no idea that was happening. Wow. It’s amazing what you learned. Like, yes, let’s absolutely double down or they’re like, Hey, I did this onsite. It didn’t work.
Like we move on It’s Like, okay, cool. So it’s a very different thing to. pitch.
Well, the thing is like, what, in my talk with the trigger technique, I describe it. Like, you know, there’s like people are getting stocked by a hungry bear and the hungry bear is like, you know, there’s, if you’re a venture back company, you’ve got investors that want to see X number of growth. And that means that the CDO is stopping on everyone’s head saying, how do we get there?
And if you’re not, you still have to have a team on sale. You want more leads. And like, there’s this hungry bear that stalking marketers and marketers need to. Throw the hungry bear, a hunk of meat, and maybe that will then buy them the time to be able to go off and do a bit more of this in-depth research, but they can’t show something.
It’s hard to gain that trust. And what I found about these, the style of interview is that. It’s intaking, you know, review mining, for instance, which is another way to learn from your customers. It’s not as you can’t get as in-depth insights, but going off and reading reviews that people have written about your products versus your competitors and digging in and finding kind of like when they talk about what might be triggered hauling when they talk about their pain, so that their solutions, like all of that stuff can get you smarter.
Right. And the goal of marketing and then business more broadly. It’s not always to be right, but it’s to be less wrong, fast. Right. And that’s really what I think people should be aiming for. How can we be less wrong, faster so that we can figure out the stuff that is working double down on that stuff, stop the things that aren’t working and that takes insight from customers.
But if you’re trying to do what I’ve seen is that when companies try to do it kind of like the right way with the innovation gurus would tell you to do that model. Doesn’t work inside of a lot of business. And it’s great in theory, but if you can’t deliver it in practice and it’s, then it’s not valuable.
Yeah, that’s good. Okay. I want to, dive into your business model pivot a little bit, going from service to, you know, much more productized. but before we do that, something I want to point out that you said, and just to reinforce is talking about cheat sheets and, write something much more actionable and tangible that.
I think a lot of creators are looking, you know, out there what’s at what’s selling, right. We’re in a mastermind group or we’re, we are listening to a podcast and someone’s talking about a course they made and they’re generous enough to share the numbers. They’re like, oh, this made $50,000 has made a hundred thousand dollars, 20,000.
Like, and it’s like, oh, I can make something like that for my audience. And so we end up doing a lot of, like copying business models from someone else, which is, can be really effective, but it results in. And less video courses that we’ve all taken, you know, and we go through a lot of those and what you were saying with cheat sheets of having it be actionable.
Right. Cause, I have a course right now that I’m slowly working through. and, and it is a very actionable course, but it’s like this, you know, I’m putting in, I don’t know, 30 minutes every few days to try to get through it. and something that I’ve found is that the actionable side of it is what really, Like can push people over to buy.
Cause it’s getting them so much closer to the outcome. So for example, if someone else said having a show is Rachel.
Who is an attorney turned business coach and her big hit, as a product, you know, when she was making that transition is, was something called a small business bodyguard, which wasn’t so much a course as it was all of the contracts and worksheets and everything else that you need to run your business.
And it was very, very practical and that like exploded and sold millions of dollars worth. And so it just made me think of what you’re doing with cheat sheets.
So I had a woman come through one of my train, like by training programs and she was building something very similar to Rachel’s small business bodyguard, but specifically for Canada, because of course, legal contracts vary from Canada to the U S. And so she was trying to do this in Canada and she was following the model that, you know, the course creators tell you to follow, which is do launches.
And, you know, like, and I’m like, well, I sat there and talked to. Yeah. Why would you do launches? Like I’m like, there are particular times where people need to get these contracts. It’s when they’ve launched, it’s when they’re building their product, when they’re launching their new website and they need that privacy statement, I’m like, and they don’t want to sit through your video course.
I want to be able to copy them. That privacy statement, input the right things for my business and put that into the footer of my website. That’s what I want. And so like me, you making me wait to get that, like, there’s a lot of people that’s not even going to be top of mind for them at all. The trigger event has not happened.
Right. And so in chatting with her, but of course she. Listening to kind of the gurus of the core space, which tell you to create these videos at these signature courses and they should be video based and they should, and you should launch them, but it’s easier to market them when you can create scarcity through a launch.
And I’m like, sure, maybe that’s true for a particular type of. But maybe you shouldn’t build a course at all. Right? Maybe you should have downloadable templates that are customizable, like with fill in the blanks. And so, I don’t know, I haven’t actually checked back with her to see if she took that advice or not.
But again, thinking about the job to be done, just because you want to find a way what her job to be done is, is she’s a lawyer who doesn’t want. Doula. She doesn’t want to do law in the traditional way. She wants to build a more scalable business that gives her more time, freedom. And so she sees the solution being of course, but her customers, she doesn’t know that they don’t want a course.
They want the templates like Rachel’s right. And so this is the thing that I really love about Jobs-to-be-Done. And for me, I got on this kind of like, horse, what do they say? Get up on your high horse? Like, I can talk to this for a while. Like so many courses when they talk about what you get, they’re like seven hours of video content and it’s like, I don’t want seven hours of video.
I want you to help me to do the thing I’m trying to do the fastest. I can possibly do it. And so CXL, it’s funny years ago when I first closed down my. My startup, I had this idea and I never acted on it, but I had this idea about creating basically like workflows for marketers, common workflows. Cause like, what they really want to know is like, how do I do this right?
The first time? Like, what are the actual steps to achieving this thing? And CXL recently came out with these. I think they call them playbooks, but it’s like, okay, you want to create a persona? What do you need to do? Like what research you need to do? Where do you go to do it? Who do you need to talk to?
Like, and like making it like a checklist, as opposed to let’s watch this, you know, eight hour video course on personas, which CXL also has by the way. And I’ve gone through and like, you’re listening to it on three X speed and you’re like, this is not helping me to achieve the thing that I want to achieve.
Give me a sexy template. Show me where to go, find the information, how to get, what’s going to go in it. Like that’s what people want. And so I think that there’s I’m of the belief. That there’s going to be this revolution almost in the content creator world. and I think that the next thing that people are gonna want isn’t necessarily going to be a course where I, as this person on a team go and watch the course, it’s going to be almost like a guided facilitation where you allow that person, to be the hero on their team that can help the team to get that thing done.
So like, For instance, my friend, April Dunford has an amazing book and she has on the other end, this incredible business where she goes off and does, she works with teams to help them figure out their positioning work. And she kept getting asked for a course. And so she has created one in a partnership with section.
Section seven. I think it’s Scott Galloway’s company, but when her and I talked to most recently, I was like, why do people want from you? Like, it’s not for like somebody to go and sit down and watch the course. What people want is to basically be able to have you facilitate them the way you would, if you were there in person, but you empower somebody on the team to step into that role with the trust that this is April’s method of how April would approach it.
Right. So it would almost be like one of those, like, You know, those like motivational, like tapes back in the day. like if you could have like this, like press play now and like April could explain, you know, here’s the thought exercise that you’re gonna do as a team. And like, here’s what you want to watch out for.
And here’s the conversation to make sure that somebody is going to be the moderator and this is what they need to listen for go. Right. And then you would do that piece and then you’d start the next piece of April, like, and it’d be like, so you could have. Basically a facilitated session without her being live in the room and empowering somebody like putting that power to somebody else.
I think that will be really, really cool. And I think that oftentimes that’s not what people are delivering. They’re delivering these here, come and watch this long video based course. And then you figure out how to translate this into action on your team when there’s more than one person involved. And that.
That’s hard. So I think there’s probably room for something new, which empowers somebody to be the facilitator, as opposed to them having to figure out all those pieces on their own. And that’s what we’re working on with clarity camp. Like it’s like, how do we help them to go off and do that research kind of scrappy and secret like a vigilante on their team.
But then most importantly, how do we then enable them to deliver that, feed that information back to their teams so that they look like a bad-ass and they can sell internally, because if we just teach them how to do the. And we don’t actually enable them to then sell it internally. We’re not helping them to get the job done.
Oh, that’s so good. So I’m just thinking about. What we’re trying to do, ultimately is sell outcomes, not knowledge, right? Courses are usually structured around selling knowledge and, you know, we’re trying to sell outcomes. And so getting to that point where it’s like, you know, really tangible and practical is a great way to stand out as creator.
One, one last quick thing on this is when I had my book, right. I, I still have it, but when I launched my book authority, which is about, you know, how to write and self-publish, an ebook. The, I had a few different packages, just the book. And then I had one that was a book and courses and all of that.
And the most popular thing in the higher package was the 90 day launch checklist. And it was basically 90 days out from when you’re going to go live. Here’s exactly what you should do every single week, just walking you through. And everyone was like, I’m on this package, but I really like the thing that would tip them over to buying the higher package, which was double the price.
Was this checklist, like how do I take this abstract knowledge and turn it into something concrete and actionable that I should do on a specific day. So whenever you can do that, it’s amazing.
Well, I think it’s a neat time. Cause I think that as course creators with a lot of people in your audience being in that world, you’re right. It’s not about selling information. And while people in me know that kind of in an intellectual level, they often spend way more time talking about why.
And what in their courses and not showing you how and not making the house simple.
Right. And oftentimes, including a template or including a, you know, a cheat sheet of some sort can allow that person to skip 90% of you talking and telling them what to do and actually just start. And that’s what they want. Right.
Yeah, I’m imagining I haven’t done this, but now if I were to go back into that world, the way that I would do it is the cheat sheet or template that leads with. And then any step that’s confusing or people might get stuck on, they can click on and it has a video walking them through that. Exactly.
Back when I closed my other company, I was thinking about creating this. Like at the time I kind of envisioned creating something very similar to like a notion or like a COTA where it was like, you have the checklist live on side. You could have like your videos that you could play it at the time. Like I was envisioning creating this kind of like, why would at the time, like at the time I was thinking with these.
You know, like actionable documents now, of course, I wasn’t thinking nearly as big as like, and this was before notion came out or before Coda came up, like they have this list. They’re like, oh shit, you could actually apply this to so many use cases. I was thinking of it, this very narrow use case of like, you know, creating workflows to teach people how to do things.
And I was like, how cool would it be? If you could create a document where like the video and it was like divided in sections and like, Then these tools came out. It’s like, oh shit. Like you can do so much more with them than this narrow use case that I had. But I think that that’s another thing. I think a lot of course creators again, their thinking around the core software.
So they’re like, I’m going to create videos. I’m thinking about how, what, how can I reduce the number of videos that they need to watch and how do I make sure that they can take action as quickly as possible? Like you said, starting with the, The template or the output, and then working backwards to the content.
Like I think not enough people are doing.
Yeah, I love that. Okay. One thing that, that stood out in your example with your friend, who’s the lawyer who’s creating that product, right? She had a, an outcome that she. Yeah, I’ll come wasn’t to have a course, or, you know, even a digital product of any kind, the outcome that she wanted, I imagine is much more control over time and not having to, like show up in a courtroom and sit with clients directly or any of those things that a traditional lawyer.
I’m curious as you switched business models of going from, you know, the service-based business, to, you know, the cheat sheets and the content style business, like what, what outcome were you trying to create? And then how has that actually played out? Like, has that, you know, how, how does it show up differently in your life?
So I, I always knew that my goal would be to divorce. I wanted to be able to grow revenue without growing head count. And so for me, I knew that what that looked like. I knew that there were certain models that would allow me to do that. And I’m actually exploring a new one now that I didn’t anticipate, which is the creator model of sponsorship.
And I’ve gotten sponsors for the why we buy newsletter. I’m talking. To a potential partner that would like, I’ve got some things kind of hopping on that end that I didn’t foresee as an option. So I was trying to figure out how do I grow revenue without growing head count and looking at different business models.
So initially I was doing the service work because I don’t think. Well people on, I don’t think you can create training and make it as good as it deserves as your audience deserves. If you’re not actually out there doing the work everyday, right? Like I was like, I need to be doing this work so that I’m refining my process.
And when I teach the process, I feel confident that this is a process that works because I’ve seen it work and I’ve made it work myself. I’m not just researching how other people are doing it. And teaching bull, if that was to me, not what I wanted to do. So I was like, I need to go off and do the service-based business to refine the processes because that’s going to allow me to make sure that what I’m teaching is actually useful.
So the service-based work was for that purpose. and I knew that it was going to be the, that my long-term goal wasn’t to have a service based business where I was doing the work. I did envision kind of like a multi-pronged business where it would be like, I would train marketers on how to do this.
Using our particular methods. And I would have an insights agency where I would have these contract marketers that basically I would get the leads. I would get the cup clients. I would source outsource the work to them. And that was initially because I was seeing it kind of be the model of like, I would train marketers, but with the intention of I’m eventually going to have this insights agency where I’m going to leverage people that have been trained, similar to what, StoryBrand has done so they have their certified guides and then you can hire, you can choose to work with those people, or you can come to the training yourself.
So it’s looking at something like that and did some soul searching. And I was away in Italy at a retreat with a bunch of other marketers and one of the people there was April done for it. And I was just talking to her about how she’s built her business. And she had this thing that she kept saying, it really stood out to me when she’s like, if I was younger, I would have screwed this business up.
That’s like, what do you mean? She’s like, well, I would try to like create an agency and I would try to teach other people their method and I would like try to scale it. And she’s like, she’s making even seen amount of money right now. Just her it’s the only person she has on our team has a VA that books travel for her.
Like she has a business model that most people that have. You know, want to build a startup or want to do courses. They’re trying to hit the revenue targets that she’s already hitting, and she’s still selling your time and she’s, but she’s doing it at such a premium that she has this amazing lifestyle.
And, Maybe I don’t want to build this insights agency. So that’s sort of what has shifted gears for me. I’ve got my cheat sheets, my cheat sheets do well. I’ve sold a thousand copies of them without really putting a lot of effort into trying to grow traffic to that page. So my priority is growing awareness of those and then working on this new program that we’re going to launch.
But I knew that this, I always knew that the service-based business wasn’t my end goal, but I thought that it would make sense to have it. Kind of like tool in our toolkit because, and then I was like, why, who, who am I serving with that? Like, yeah, people want the work to be done for them, but I don’t need to be the one to do and deliver that.
It was a kind of a 15.
I mean, it’s just fascinating once you have. an audience, you can, you can monetize that audience through so many different business models. And often we, you know, copy and paste someone else’s business model or, you know, see something. That’s our first idea. And I love it when people take a step back and go wait, actually I have the attention and there’s like 25 different business, models that I could choose or different variations of it and actually need to find the one that’s right for me.
So I love that. you’re experimenting with that. And, I’m excited to see this sex thing come.
Thank you for people listening, like start off with a service-based business, cause it’s way easier to make money selling your time than it is to build demand for these digital products have start there so you can get the lights on in like that’s it’s okay to have that be your shirt, short term plan.
I see so many people that like want to go with break into the course creating world. Don’t have anything else that they’re selling and they get really deflated very quickly because they’re like, well, how am I ever going to make a living at this? I’m making like, you know, 300 bucks a month off this thing.
And it’s like, it’s okay to start with a service based business, make sure that you’re doing enough. And then to slowly transition away from taking on clients. That’s.
Yeah, I think that’s great in my, I have an article called the ladders of wealth creation, which is like one of my flagship things that I’ve ever written. And it has a whole section on when you should trade time for money. And it is exactly about that because early cash. Okay. So you’ve grown the newsletter, to almost 10,000 subscribers.
I’d love to hear what’s working in that and maybe we can roll newsletter and Twitter growth and all of that into one, because I was also looking at your Twitter growth. and, December of last year you gained an astonishing 16,000 followers, in the month. It was that the, was that the thread that went viral.
No, that will, I had a couple of threads Guevara that month, but you know what ended up happening that month, which is crazy. I shouldn’t even tell you this, cause I feel like everyone’s hounding her now, but Amanda Nat, who’s another record, a friend of mine and also really active on Twitter. She put together a thread of like, you know, top cats you should follow.
And I don’t know what happened. I was the first one she listed, I got 10,000 new followers from that one. Righto hers. It was astonish, but like what it shows, Amanda, I think is one of the most giving people on Twitter, the three she’s always interacting with people. She’s always giving advice and tips.
She’s, she’s great at Twitter, but she’s also just a genuinely amazing human being. So I think people really trusted her and they trusted her recommendations. And so. that’s that one post from her had an astonishing number of fall compliment. And then kind of every month, I I’ll have a few things that might go a little viral.
You know, 2000 likes like, like 5,000 likes and then those posts tend to help me grow too. But that was one thing from a man. So, which is astonishing.
That’s amazing also from a, just a psychology perspective and all of that, like going all her back, you got listed first and that definitely helps.
Later. And she said, she’s like, I intentionally put you first because I want, I, like, I knew that you deliver amazing value. And she’s like, and I knew that the first person that was less would get the most attention. So was a very intentional thing on Amanda’s part. And I was very.
Yeah, that’s amazing. Okay. So what’s been working for you to grow the newsletter because 10,000 subscribers is a lot like that. That takes a lot of time to get to that point.
No, what 5,000 of those have come through in the last three months. And so there’s been, there was one thing that was the biggest growth, that had ever happened. And I’ve got a thread tagged a pin to my Twitter profile that I wrote about. by her psychology and it was 19 different things that marketers need to know.
And that thread has, I think it’s 6,000 likes at this point. And that thread drew drove 2,400 sign-ups and so. That I, and I haven’t yet done another one that I that’s on my to-do list that I bought. I’m like trying these other things, like one, I, every week I post a, the day before the newsletter’s going out on the day of I’ll post a real snapshot.
Some feedback I’ve gotten on the newsletter. It’s somebody saying that they love it. Somebody recommending it on Twitter or mentioning, you know, sharing it on LinkedIn. I’ll just take a screenshot of that. Cause it’s much more real feeling than me kind of designing some pretty thing on Canva. and then I’ll just remind people to sign up for whatever the weeks the topic is that week.
And just that one post on LinkedIn and Twitter usually brings in 150 ish, new, new followers. New subscribers rather. So that’s been working, but the biggest thing that’s working is other people sharing it without me intentionally trying to get them to do that. And so I’m, again, that’s like my priority now is like, how can I get that happening more intentionally I’ve just started, I’ve just added spark loop to our kind of suite of they haven’t designed our referral program yet, but it’s on my to-do list.
I would say that the biggest driver of growth for us is me consistently reminding people to sign up the day before and the day of, and using social proof as part of that post and other people talking about it, and that’s happening quite organically. So, I need to work on actually growing that.
I love that.
Well, where should people go to sign up for the newsletter and follow everything that you’re doing?
Check me out on Twitter. I would say that’d be the first place I would go. I’m KateBour, K A T E B O U R. You’ll see I’ve got a pinned thread talking about 19 different buyer psychology hacks that marketers need to know. So check that thread out. If you like it, I’m confident you’ll want to get on the newsletter list because you’ll see the type of value you’re going to learn each week. You’ll see an option to sign up for a newsletter in my profile.
I love how Twitter flows to the pinned tweet, naturally flows right into the newsletter, and then I imagine that the newsletter naturally flows into the checklist, and then we’ll just go from there.
I know your audience has lots of funnels. When you sign up for the newsletter, on the thank you page it says, “Do you really understand why your buyers buy?” and there’s a link to a short webinar. That webinar talks about why people really buy.
After the webinar page is a link to the cheat sheets. Since I created that little flow, the sale of the cheat sheets has gone up considerably. So, connecting your offers so the offer becomes the obvious next step, and that next step takes them closer towards their goals. I often see disconnected offers that’ll be like, “Here’s the newsletter where we talk about X, and also sign up for Y,” and they’re not related.
Right. It doesn’t flow nicely together.
Well, that’s perfect. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I’m a subscriber to the newsletter, and I’m excited to read more of it.
Awesome. Thank you.