Have you ever thought about creating a physical product to sell online, maybe even adding one to your digital line up?
And if you have, have you found yourself overwhelmed with not really knowing where to start in order to bring that product from merely an idea to something your customers can physically hold in your hands?
As most of you know, my business consists of all digital products and I would say 90% of my audience is the same, but I still get questions, pretty frequently, asking me about creating physical products to include in their existing online business. Maybe you’re at a point where you’d like to add a physical product. Questions like: How do I know if I’m ready to add a physical product to my digital mix? Where would I even go to get started? What kind of physical product could I add to the mix?
Since I get a lot of questions around this topic, but I’m not the expert, I thought, “Let’s bring on someone who is.” My guest today, Lara Casey - founder of CultivateWhatMatters.com, has authored two books, Cultivate, and Make it Happen, and has had huge success in launching and selling physical products online. If you’ve ever heard of the famous PowerSheets, she’s the creator!
Lara is going to talk to us about how she knew it was time to launch a physical product; how she figured out and managed all the details around designing, producing, and fulfilling a physical product. And to keep it real, she shares the ups and downs as she created her product along the way.
When I asked Lara to tell my podcast listeners a little bit about herself, this is what she said: “We’re all about planting seeds and helping women to Cultivate What Matters and giving them the tools they need to plant seeds of growing intentional relationships or cultivating their faith...whatever it may be, specific to them.”
Planting seeds...cultivating...intentional… I love this!
Lara continued, “I’m a mom to three, a grateful wife, and I’m really passionate about helping an instant-results culture embrace the power of little by little progress, instead of perfection.”
Now, let’s dig into the interview!
QUICK SIDE NOTE to those who are coming here from my podcast for the show notes, I'd love to know if you like this longer, more detailed version of show notes? While not everything from the podcast is included here, it's a pretty thorough representation. Please let me know yay or nay and why in the comments below.
Amy: What are PowerSheets?
Lara: The PowerSheets are our goal planner, and they help you to uncover what matters the most to you, make an action plan and then TEND to that, little by little and take action.
Amy: It’s beautiful! It looks like a planner. Would you call it a planner?
Lara: We get asked that all the time and this is really your day planner’s best friend. We call it a planner because it fits into the marketing realm of being that same type of vein, but it’s more of an action book. We want people to not just plan but start planting things in their lives and to make a mess in this (the PowerSheets).
Amy: What your very first product and why did you decide to create it?
IN THE BEGINNING
Lara: About 12 years ago, my husband Ari was deployed to Iraq, with the Marines. And as you can imagine, at the height of any time of war or turmoil, it can leave you feeling very anxious. And so, this first product, which was Southern Weddings magazine came out of that pain that I was experiencing at the time. As my husband was deployed to Iraq, I sat on my laptop computer alone one night and just thought, "I just really have a deep desire to create beauty in this world that feels so broken," and that sounded like a really grand thing at the time, but it was my real desire.
And so, I got on my computer, and I started mocking up a wedding magazine cover, and I didn't have any formal training or background in this. I had an interest in weddings and started to get my feet wet into wedding planning at the time. I think I bought an ebook that was something like Wedding Planning 101. It was $0.99 at the time.
What it was really about was that I was fascinated with stories of transformation and how even in the gift of a wedding celebration, you could transport people from feeling despair and hopelessness to a place of hope, to a place of thinking about the future.
So, I mocked up this little wedding magazine cover, and I had no idea where it would go from there... I just knew I had to create it. I had this restlessness that I'm sure a lot of your listeners may feel at times. I put it out there to the world, and I thought, "You know what? This is something new and different."
I started a blog at the time. If you would have said the word blog to someone, they probably would have thought about the movie The Blob and had no idea what you were talking about.
Amy: Like the wild, wild West online, when blogs weren't even popular!
Lara: I started a blog to talk about creating meaningful beginnings to married life and started sharing the idea about this wedding magazine. Long story short, it really took off. People were excited about something new and different in the South, not just talking about roasted chicken and tulle at a wedding, but a story and how that story could transform guests' lives.
This is how the first physical product came to be. I used my whole life savings and created a physical print version of Southern Weddings magazine. I, again, had no experience in this. I have a degree in music theater, no background in journalism. I just had this desire to do it, and I figured I'm just going to figure it out. I created the first edition on Microsoft Publisher.
WHY A PHYSICAL PRODUCT?
Lara: There is something to the tangible. I still feel the exact same way today, that I felt 12 years ago -- there's something to holding a product in your hand that has the ability to change someone's life, potentially more than a digital product that maybe they see once and forget about. This physical product is something people could pass on. They could pass it to their sisters, their moms, their best friends...it really started a revolution in the wedding industry. This is back when the only publications that were out there were really big corporate publishing houses. And then, there was me and my cat in the apartment. : )
Amy: What year was this?
Lara: This was 2008. If you fast-forward five years from then, I had a major life change happen. Our marriage was really rocky within that time period, five years later, our marriage started to come back together, and that led to our fifth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings, being about love never fails. And so, the first shop product that we sold in more of an e-commerce platform ... it was Big Cartel at the time ... was a print that said, "Love never fails." In each of these things we've created have really been born out of a pain point, out of some challenge that I experienced in my life.
But the print was more about how could we get meaningful messaging into people's hands. It was more about the profit of people, not about dollar signs. It eventually became dollar signs, but it started with the heart of, "If we could just get this messaging literally into people's fingertips, we believe that it would have a domino effect and a ripple effect."
CREATING A SOLUTION TO A PAIN POINT
Lara: It was right around that time that our business started to boom. as the heartbeat of Southern Weddings started to really beat with the message of, "Love never fails," people really started to grasp onto it, and I became really overwhelmed with so much work, and I just had my first baby. Our marriage was coming back together, so I was trying to balance and prioritize that. I know you've had so much of that in your story too, Amy. It was like, "How do you do it all?"
And what I realized, the obvious is I can't do it all and do it well, but I can choose to cultivate what matters. And so, right around that time, I sat down at my desk one day, and I thought, "Man, I have all these things," like my facebook page, my Twitter account at the time (I don't even think that Instagram was a thing), "How am I going to tend to all these things and make them grow?" I would come to the end of a year and just get so frustrated looking back and thinking, "I could have made progress on these things if I would have tended to them little by little." So I got really frustrated, and said, "I need to fix this," and I made myself what I called a tending list.
It was just a list of all the priorities, these seeds that I wanted to grow in my life and in my business. Things that I just knew, if I just touched on them a little bit at a time, it would add up. So I created a set of worksheets to help me make progress on the things that mattered, tending to them little by little. It's just like you teach, Amy, about it being focused on action by action.
Lara: And that's when my life started to change. I started to make progress on the things that mattered. People started to see me making progress, amidst a lot of mistakes, and I got an email from a publisher who had read a series that I posted on my blog at the time about goal setting and about how I was doing this differently. The publisher emailed me, and that's how I got my first book contract for Make It Happen, and then my most recent one is Cultivate. At the same time, others began to ask me to create this set of worksheets for them too, and it really took off.
Amy: I love these stories, where you create something for yourself and then others want it, and it grows into a business. I mean, how organic can you get, right?
Lara: Yes! We have an unofficial, yet, official office motto that is: If you're not excited about it, nobody's going to be excited about it. So, for us, we have to create the things that we use in our everyday lives, the things that we need, and we just have to trust if we've done our research, and looked at what the market needs, and listened enough, then other people are probably going to be affected by it too, if we are.
Amy: If you created these worksheets for yourself, did you just put them out there and that's how you knew others wanted them? Did you sell them and then hope that others wanted them? How did that happen?
Lara: It was a lot of both. It was a lot like throwing things to the wind. There weren't any shops around at the time, my friend Lindsay Letters had a shop with a couple prints in it, but there was no one that was really modeling this at the time. So, we were just testing the waters. At the time, I was doing coaching for branding clients, and I tested the PowerSheets out with them in little spurts. We would test it. The content, I tested with the Making Things Happen Conference, which we were doing twice a year (and still do twice a year now).
It was being tested, but it wasn't like a full-fledged test in an e-commerce platform. We just really at the time had to take the risk and put it out there.
Amy: You were creating a solution to your pain point, to begin with, and then your first customers were people in your local community and people who knew you through Southern Weddings and the Make Things Happen Conference who had that same need, and your product was their answer. Perfect!
Tell us what happened from there, as far as you knowing that this was actually going to be a business and not just a one-off order for some friends. For example, did you have a certain amount of workbooks? These worksheets really became a workbook, right?
Lara: Yes, you got it.
Amy: So did you have a certain amount of workbooks that you wanted to pre-sell before you'd produce the product? Or did you place an order that you could afford at the time and then sold online at stores or events? Give us all the details.
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN!
Lara: I designed the first round, which was a loose-leaf set of worksheets. We printed them at a local printer, which is something that I think is very important for anybody that's starting out because you get the joy and the asset of having a relationship with someone who's going to hopefully walk you through that process. We did not speak the printer paper product language at first, and I still feel like we're learning that. We didn't know anything about paperweights or bleed on paper or even what was possible.
I think it's really important to try a local printer first, even if you think you're going to get a better cost somewhere else, just so you can get that education.
We did a very small batch at first, and I think it was like 500 sets of PowerSheets, and that felt like a huge amount for us, at first. I feel very strongly about the power of one, so I thought, "If we could get even these 500 sets of PowerSheets into people's hands,” -- I started to imagine the ripple effect. I hope that's encouragement for anybody that's starting out. Don't compare your numbers to somebody else. Do what you think is best for you right now and just think about the ripple effect.
Amy: What were some of your biggest fears at this point, when you started to put it out there?
Lara: So many things. The thought of just somebody buying something from us was scary. The thought of, do we know even how to do transactions, or what if someone is unhappy with the product? What if this product doesn't create results for other people like it has for us and the people we've tested it with? What do you do about customer service? How do you print labels? I think the biggest thing is that there was so much unknown. The only way that we were going to figure out how to do it well was to do it and to get as much good advice as we could. But at the time, there weren't any resources for shop owners like there are now.
Amy: I love that you put this out there because a lot of my students want the whole roadmap in front of them, and they know I'm a step-by-step girl. So they'll say, "Amy, just give us exactly what we need to do." But if you look back at people that have had major success, they just put it out there, and when an issue comes up, they figure it out, and then there's their process moving forward.
Lara: I think you're right. I think that if I would have had a "plan" to start out with, we would have changed so much about it. Especially with e-commerce or selling a physical product in a retail shop, whatever it is, there's so much testing that happens, and asking yourself, "Is this right for us? Can we make this better? How can we put our unique stamp on this?" So I feel like it's actually an advantage to not know the entire roadmap ahead because you get the freedom to change for the better.
Amy: That's so powerful. Now, in these early days, when you did your first print run, and you've got your loose-leaf pages out there, you didn't do a pre-order, you actually put the money down, and you ordered 500. Did you sell those online or in person or both?
Lara: We sold them online, for the mere fact that we work out of my house. It's a small operation, and that also brought a lot of challenges with it, too. One of the biggest bumps in the road that we've had with production was having a lot of manual labor to do ourselves to package the products. This is not something that our printer at the time could do. We were collating the products by hand, packaging them by hand, stickering them, figuring out how to use the label printer, which we actually did at first. We are grassroots. I remember going to the post office with hundreds of boxes and the post people looking at us like, "Are you kidding me?"
Amy: This is how it's done! I love how you built this, because it is completely grassroots, just starting from something really small and doing all the labor yourself. You really had to just get in there and figure stuff out. Thank goodness the product you created was one to help you keep organized because it sounds like there were a lot of moving pieces!
So many people get to a place of overwhelm in the process of creating their product, whether it be physical or digital, and they just get stuck and make zero progress. It sounds like this wasn't the case for you. You just kept moving step by step even when you didn't have all the answers. Such a big learning moment.
So, you've got your first product out there and it was validated through continued customer demand and sales. How long did you stick with that business model? And when was the next major turning point in your business?
TAKING RISKS AND MAKING PIVOTS
Lara: I love this question because it takes me right back to the point of taking big risks. One was, at first, our shop was called the Lara Casey shop, and that was just because it was my name at the time that was the heart of the teaching. I was the one creating all the content and all the messaging. But, over the course of several years, we realized that we/I did not want to just tell my story. It was not about me. This product was about other people's stories, and those stories had so much power to them.
So one of the biggest pivotal moments for us was stepping back and making the scary decision to completely change the name of our shop. The crazy part was that things were going really well. Sales were good. Things kept trucking along. We'd had a growth rate of almost 150% every year.
At the same time, this is where you really start to get to, and I don't want to call it magic, but like, the real heartbeat of where I think success comes from is doing things from your core, from your why, and always being willing to take risks for that. So for us, we had this conversation I'll never forget it. We stopped one day, and we said, "You know what? This name is not working. This is not about me anymore. How can we have a name that allows us to give other people the reins and to make it about them?" And so, we went around and around with a lot of different ideas and just kept coming back to why we do what we do, which is to help women cultivate what matters.
We changed the name of our shop from the Lara Casey shop to Cultivate What Matters, and that turning point was like a huge flood for us, because it wasn't about selling a product; it was about teaching people a different way of living and about changing the way that they think, and that's when things started to really click.
It's easy to be complacent. It's easy just to look at numbers. But again, when you're looking at the profit of people, -- like how can we actually affect people's lives in a more profound way -- you're working with a whole different set of rules, and it makes the risks worth it.
Amy: At this point, demand increased even more, right?
Amy: What did that look like? Did you add more products? Did you move from local? Give us all the details.
Lara: One Thanksgiving I was sitting with my family on shipping boxes for Thanksgiving dinner, because my living room was full of boxes, and that was the breaking point. That's when I said, "You know what? I think we have grown to the point where something needs to change."
One change we made was taking the fulfillment away from our hands and putting it into a local warehouse, and that was a scary move because, through Southern Weddings, we have always held to the fact that there's magic in a handwritten note. I would write handwritten notes with all of the first PowerSheets orders. I mean, it would take me days, writing hundreds of notes because of that "power of one".
But, in order to grow with your business, to affect more people's lives, sometimes, you have to let go of some things and choose more meaningful things that you can do on a larger scale. One thing that was really important to us was to have a local warehouse, where we could still have a touchpoint. We could still deliver handwritten notes and I could get my dining room back! : )
As far as production goes, we outgrew our local printer, and the strain of the manual labor really became unsustainable for us. And having so many amazing, sweet friends come to my house to collate PowerSheets on my back porch all the time, it just started to NOT add up. So, we started to look at different options. To give you a little bit of background, we are a debt-free company, which I’m very grateful for and it's something we worked very hard for. So we didn’t take out any loans for this growth. We have embraced this principle not just in our business, but in our lives and what we teach, that it's okay to grow slow.
We have many times had to deal with sellouts, which sounds like a wonderful problem to have -- it's a blessing for sure when a product sells out, but for us, it was by necessity. We only ordered as much as we could. And in being a debt-free company, and in believing that growing slow was really important to us, it took a long time to figure out a better option for production. We wanted to be really intentional about that.
So, fast-forward, during that bump, we started working with a company called Codra. Codra is essentially like a middleman between us — the designer and the shop — and international and US production. We found them through my book publisher, Thomas Nelson, who produce a lot of Bibles and book content like that. I'm telling you this because more than looking for the right price point, and more than looking for the best deal, it's about looking for the right relationship. Because if you're really in this for the long haul, and if you really want it to be a product that is sustainable for the long term, then that relationship behind it has to be, too. All that to say that the team at Codra are our best advocates, and they have found us international partners and even domestic partners - production manufacturers - that have really strong integrity.
This was so, so important to us that the integrity of our product started even at production and went all the way through our customer delight, all the way down to the way we package things, that there was no stone left unturned. So, that was the biggest bump for us, was making that leap of faith to go with an outside production house.
Amy: So now they're being printed in China, but you have a middleman, so you don't have to go over to China and watch them and make sure everything's working properly and all that stuff?
Lara: That's correct. We love them so much because they take such care to make sure that our manufacturing partners are also really taken care of. They are the ones that travel there all the time, and they are there working with multiple clients at a time. It's neat to know that they have such integrity with those relationships, and they're passing that onto us.
Amy: Did you have to get a business loan to move on to this next big step in terms of moving from local to international printing?
Lara: No, and I'm really grateful for that. We just grew at the pace that we knew we could sustain, but this is where we had to get really smart. When you reach a certain point, I mean, really at any point in your marketing, as you know more than anybody else, Amy, you've got to get smart about your marketing. You have to have the right data, and that's when it was about four years into our process (we've had PowerSheets for almost seven years now) when we started to really look at the data, and we started to look at our analytics and started to grow our email list and work on these things that we felt like were great benchmarks to knowing. If we could get to those key performance indicators, like having a certain number of newsletter subscribers or whatever those metrics are, that we would feel more confident in making a larger purchase for more inventory for the next one. We couldn't take risks with that anymore or just shoot the wind with a number that sounded good. We had to start looking at the data and making great strides towards that.
Amy: And it can be scary to look at the data. Some of my students say they don't want to look, because they're not really sure what they're looking for, and they might not even want to know the truth if they're being really honest with themselves. So this was something that you did that most people don't do -- you got really knowledgeable about what the numbers told you.
Lara: Yes, and we started with no email list. I remember when our former marketing director came to us, and she's like, "So tell me about your email list." It was like I felt list shame. I was like,, "What kind of list are you talking about here?"
Amy: It happens to us all.
Lara: It does, but I think more so than any numbers, it was about providing helpful content for people...we're not product producers. Like I said earlier, we're seed planters. First and foremost, we're about helping women change their lives and giving them the tools to do that. If we weren't doing that in our day-to-day content, there's no way that product is going to be a long-term thing in their lives anyway.
Amy: To give us a little perspective here, can you share a quick timeline from the printing of your first workbook to where you are at this point in our chat now, producing your product in China?
- We first started in 2011 - I printed that workbook for myself to use at first.
- In 2013, we produced the first small batch of 500 workbooks at the local printer for our first customers.
- In 2014, we bumped up production to about 3,000 (switched from selling them on Big Cartel to Shopify, where we still are today). Printed at the same printing house in the US.
- In 2015, we sought out a really great international partner through Codra. We do most of our printing here in the US for our accessory products. We use a couple printers: We love Curry Printing, in Dallas, Texas, and then Smart Press is another partner that we use here stateside.
- But in 2016, that's when things started to change big time. That's the year that we changed the name of our company. And, up until this point, this was a mostly black and white product. And if anybody knows me, I have a very colorful product. This is really one of the hallmarks of our company, is about living your life in full color. And so, we took a really big risk. I remember being so scared to put color in our product thinking nobody's going to like this. It's not neutral enough. We're not going to reach everyone. But when we try to be everyone or everything for everybody, that's when you really miss the magic.
- Then we put stickers in there, and we started to make goal setting fun, and that became our hallmark. And that's also when we embraced that mantra of, "If you're not excited about it, nobody's going to be excited about it." We changed it from being loose-leaf worksheets to a bound workbook. One of the other big things we did is we started to cut products from our shop. We had grown our shop under the impression that more is better.
FINDING YOUR CENTRAL FOCUS TO PROPEL YOU FORWARD
Lara: Once you really find your niche, and you find what matters, having one central focus is really what propelled us forward. So we decided to make the PowerSheets the main product, with everything else as a support to that main focus and system.
Amy: I can't get over how many great lessons you are sharing! It’s all the stuff that I teach, but you're saying it differently and putting it into a different light, and I'm loving it! So, you shaved down some of your products to get really focused on the one that was really doing well for you, and you knew it was the right fit for your audience.
Lara: Yes, but it was scary because cutting things out makes you feel like you're not going to please everybody. But it had to become more about the impact and realizing that we could make a bigger impact if we could help people make a better buying decision by giving them less to choose from.
Amy: So, now we know the product, but you said accessories -- I'm very curious about what that means. I'd also love to know about your team size, your production site, your warehouse, all that good stuff.
Lara: I love that you encouraged our listeners, too, that this doesn't happen overnight. It's a joy and an honor to be able to share the start of the story instead of just where we are now, because I would feel so intimidated if I just heard the end instead of knowing that it took hard work, and most of these things that were successes were because I made a lot of mistakes on the way.
But, out of all of those mistakes and trial and error, we have come up with a product lineup that, like I said, centralizes on or focuses on the PowerSheets and uncovering what matters to you, making an action plan and then doing something about it. We know there's not a one-size-fits-all program for everybody's life, so we have to be able to customize that for different people. We haven't shared any of this yet, but I'm excited to share here that for the release of our 2019 PowerSheets, we’re going to have four covers for the one-year sets. This is exciting for us because people have always wanted to choose the color that matches their life.
And there's a lot of intentionalities that went behind those covers, too. So, we’ll have four one-year sets of PowerSheets, with one six-month undated set. The six-month undated set was a very intentional decision too. People sometimes find out about us in the middle of the year, and we believe there's nothing magical about January 1st. You should be able to set goals at any time you want.
We also have another cornerstone product, which is our Write The Word Journal, and it's a Bible journal that allows you to just literally write Bible verses, and those have been super popular for people that want to cultivate their faith. So we have seven Write The Word Journals. We also have a new product we just released, which is Write the Word for Kids.
And this is where it gets fun as far as dreaming about if you have a core product, how could an accessory fuel that product? We came up with five different goal guides: a goal guide for parents; a goal guide for friendship and relationships; one for wellness; and one for finances. So if those things are important to you, that's where that supports the main product.
Amy: I like how these extras all support the main product.
Lara: Yes, because if they detract or, here's where it gets technical, if we have a product that felt like it merited its own separate launch and didn't support the other products, we would have a hard time getting people to purchase the main system that we're teaching about in our day-to-day content. It can actually be a distraction in a way.
We also have our Goal Setting Sticker Book, because goal setting should be fun! : )
Amy: Months ago, I wanted to buy the PowerSheets when all my friends were all about them and they were sold out and I was bummed out. Well, the other day, I was lucky to get this nice beautiful box in the mail from you - I was so excited! Thank you for that! I'm embarrassed to say how excited I was about the stickers, but I was. So that was extra fun!
Lara: We often talk about how the stickers are fun, but this is where a researched-backed, data-oriented mindset can help you create a product that's really fun. For us, knowing that there is power in the handwritten word, as opposed to typing something digitally, there's power in marking something that's meaningful for you. And with the stickers, for instance, stickers that say things like “top priority” and “this matters”, there's actually something that happens in your brain when you're putting a sticker on a goal that really matters to you. Your mind starts to make decisions and you start to go through a series of trying to figure out how you're going to do that.
THERE’S NO “I’ IN TEAM!
Amy: Tell me about your team size and the positions you have on your team.
Lara: We have a team of nine women who I'm very grateful to work alongside. Half of them work here in my home office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the other half work remotely.
- CEO and Visionary: That’s me (Lara Casey). We use our PowerSheets for business, but we also use the Traction model, and that has been really helpful for us, for anybody that is starting to grow a team, Traction and the EOS principles have been awesome to get us organized as far as our team structure, who reports to who, and how all that works really well.
- Creative Director: This is where we show our small business card. The Creative Director is also our Chief of Staff, so we like to do that when we're small.
- Director of Operations: Mostly handles the production side of working with our production partners on the products and making sure our fulfillment team is helping our customers to be delighted.
- Graphic Designer: Helps with both product design and marketing design.
- Customer Delight Manager: This is a huge position for us. One of the central focuses for us is making sure our customers feel delighted, which is why we don't call it customer service.
- Content Marketing Manager
- PR manager
- Conference Director for the Making Things Happen Conference
- And we're hunting for a Marketing Director right now. So, if anybody out there is interested, click here.
Amy: I hope that someone reading this is the perfect fit or knows someone who is.
Lara: We want to stay a small team, and even in our 10-year vision, we have plans to hopefully just remain like 12 to 13 people, because we have that agility, the ability to be nimble, the ability to make quick decisions and act on them. The Traction Model was really helpful for us to be able to do that.
Amy: Tell us about your current production method and your new warehouse.
Lara: We just switched to a new warehouse, in Kentucky, through a company called EasyPost. EasyPost is a tech company, so they're very much focused on advancements in technology. They created a software that is also labeled the same thing, EasyPost, but they also do fulfillment now. Fulfillment means that we get our product to their warehouse, and they take care of everything on the shipping side. Our system links in with them through Shopify, and they take care of sending all the orders out. For production, we still use the same people that we've been using for the last three years, which is Codra, Curry Printing and Smart Press.
The reason we chose the new warehouse in Kentucky is there, through the advancement in technology, is a decrease in human error. We have a lot of influxes of launch dates, where we sold far more than we expected to. We had these big bumps, and our current warehouse just wasn't able to handle that without a lot of errors. It has been really helpful to work with the team that does Kickstarter. They do high production for lots of different shops that might have 25,000 products go out on the day, but they can also do our normal day-to-day quantities, too.
Amy: Fantastic! Things happen...you made choices to change things up to make it better, and that’s how your business has grown over the years. So many different changes, but based on needs, wants, mistakes and everything in between.
Looking back. If you knew back then what you know now, what would you have done differently?
IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW
Lara: I would have owned our mantra earlier of, "If you're excited about it, chances are other people will be too." That really is the best form of marketing that we've experienced: If it’s a product or a piece of content that we need and will change our everyday lives, it's worth taking a risk to put out there in hopes that other people will too. That's where we really get to the power of one. So, I would say, "Take risks for what matters." And then I would also say, "Keep making it better." I am amazed that every year when we start talking about the next year's version of the PowerSheets, or really any of our products, that there are hundreds of changes that get made.
We don't just rest on our laurels. We are making it better through listening to our customer, asking them questions like, "Is this working for you?" Hearing their stories and giving them lots of opportunities to give us feedback. Keep making it better. Never stop growing.
Amy: If you could give my listeners and readers one or two pieces of advice if they're thinking about launching a physical product, what would that be?
Lara: I would say make something that you need. Make something that you know that you will authentically be able to tell people, "This filled a need for me," or, "This filled a need for my mom," or someone that's close to you. It has to have a personal story behind it. People grasp on to the power of story, and they will listen to you if you’re being authentic with them and telling them about your product.
The other thing I would say is, just what we have experienced throughout this whole six-year period of having PowerSheets and 12 years of Southern Weddings, that it's okay to grow slow. You don't have to have the whole plan to get started. Good things take root over time, and little by little, good things grow and they bloom.
Amy: There are so many great little nuggets you’ve shared with us! This has been a real eye-opener for me as well because I've never done a physical product, would not even know where to start, but these lessons you learned along the way are just priceless for anybody thinking of doing a physical product or even just adding a physical product to their online business.
I think your story shows us that there are no shortcuts, but it can really pay off when you come from a place like you did of wanting to serve your customer well and providing them with products that can bring about change.
Ok, my reader, was this interview not just packed with great insight and inspiration?! Head over to www.CultivateWhatMatters.com/Amy to see Lara’s amazing products (and check out that job listing, if they haven’t filled it by the time you’re reading this). When you use that special link, Lara is giving you a special discount because you’re part of my awesome community. Yay for us! And, thank you, Lara!
Also, don't forget to let me know, in the comments below, if you like this longer, more detailed version of show notes. I appreciate your input!
This episode is sponsored by my free masterclass, How to Create Your Ultimate List-Building Catch-Up Plan. You can get it at http://www.amyporterfield.com/listbuilding. If you are not building your email list every single day there is no better time than right now!