The Best Stuff

Julie Chenell Sitting at a desk writing in a notebook

How To Know When You’re Teaching Too Much In A Webinar Or Challenge…And What To Do About It

Challenges and webinars are two of the most effective ways to build buzz and anticipation in a launch.

But before you put in all the hard work to build one, let’s look at the number one problem marketers face when creating this type of content.

They teach too much.

The issue of course is fueled by an over reaction to a trend to NOT TEACH AT ALL, which was commonplace a few years ago (and you can find lots of pockets of people still bloating their content with a lot of nonsense and fluff).

So in an attempt to not be that way, we’ve seen a rise of INCREDIBLY chalked- full-with-juicy-goodness webinars and challenges that give away all kinds of knowledge and strategy and tactics, and leave the participant feeling like they don’t need the program at all.

Where’s the middle ground? You want your lead to be impressed, happy they came and attended, and most importantly, you want them to buy your offer.

Finding the right balance isn’t easy, and if you’re hearing things like:

  • Omg this was amazing and I can’t wait to implement it all
  • This was as good as a paid course…
  • I don’t even need your [program name] because of how much I learned!

These are signs you’re teaching too much in your free content, and not positioning your lead to buy.

Let’s take a look at a typical 5 day challenge setup.

For the purposes of this example, we’re going to pretend we are a book coach. We teach people how to write books, launch them, sell them, etc.

Our product is a $2000 program that takes a student through the book writing process in 60 days, and includes help with the outline and the writing process.

Before you build a challenge that leads into this offer, the creator must ask themselves an important question:

“What problem must my student feel deeply in order to be motivated to buy my offer?”

In this example, my student might buy my program if:

  • They have a ton of ideas and no idea where to start or which one to go with
  • They have a half written draft they hate and are ready to throw away
  • They’ve gotten an outline done but are masters at procrastination and haven’t written anything yet

In each of these scenarios, I can see the 2 main problems clearly…the problem of lack of clarity and lack of direction. 

The more foggy and directionless they feel, the more pain they are in during the writing process, the more effort and resources they will spend to get themselves out of that spot.

But it doesn’t stop there, because in order to alleviate the pain, they could simply…quit.

So what other problem must they be acutely aware of in order to take action?

The consequences of NOT writing a book at all.

Sometimes it’s difficult to feel a consequence like this because it requires the person to understand opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost is about the loss of potential gain from OTHER alternatives when one alternative is being chosen. In this case, the choice to quit writing removes them from feeling the gain of what sticking it out and publishing would produce.

Let’s ideate for a minute. What are the benefits to writing a book?

  • You get asked on more podcasts and stages leading to a bigger audience
  • You get instant credibility leading to more opportunities
  • You get new leads from people who’ve found and read your book leading to more sales
  • You get new sales & revenue from selling the book which gives you more revenue
  • You make more connections with experts you might have interviewed for the book and that can lead to potential collaborations
  • You get increased confidence in yourself as an expert in your field, which leads to taking bigger risks

After this exercise, we’ve got three primary problems our student MUST feel urgently and deeply in order to take action.

  1. Lack of clarity (what to write)
  2. Lack of direction (how to write it and get it done)
  3. The consequence of giving up (many pain points there)

You could keep going with this and identify more and more problems if you wish. It’s never a bad exercise to really get intimately acquainted with the pain of your customer.

Now it’s time to build a challenge for the aspiring writer. If we pause here for a moment and pretend we didn’t do this problem exercise, a creator might put together a challenge like the following:

  • Day 1: How to pick your best book idea
  • Day 2: Creating your outline
  • Day 3: Getting in the habit of writing
  • Day 4: What to do when you get stuck
  • Day 5: Pitch (Inside our Writing Your Book in 60 Days Program)

The creator would probably struggle a bit trying to figure out what to teach for free and what to keep “secret” for the course.

The creator might settle on a big picture overview and outline and leave out a bunch of details.

Or the creator might teach snippets from the course and try to “over-deliver” in order to get the potential student excited to see more.

Does this sound familiar? It’s so incredibly common. Don’t feel bad if this has happened to you.

Another way creators build challenges is to focus on the stuff the student needs to do BEFORE writing. So a challenge might look like this:

  • Day 1: What are you an expert in?
  • Day 2: The book idea incubator
  • Day 3: Testing your book idea
  • Day 4: Building the outline
  • Day 5: Pitch (Inside our Writing Your Book in 60 Days Program)

In this example, it’s a bit easier (and more effective) because even if you “give away the farm” you will have solved one problem…in this case the idea of what to write, but you will not have solved AT ALL the idea of how to write it.

But is this really the best we’ve got for our challenge?

Let’s go back to the problems we unearthed in our exercise above. Most creators undervalue their diagnostic skills.

If you have a pain in your stomach and you go straight to a surgeon, that surgeon will open you up and look around, try to figure out the problem, and then fix it? No! Of course not.

Instead, you will be diagnosed with a specific problem – in this example – appendicitis. That piece of information is CRITICAL to both you and the surgeon.

The same goes for our student.

When we are able to accurately diagnose their problem, and help them SEE the problem accurately, then we don’t have to hardly sell at all, because they will be convinced themselves.

Diagnostic teaching uses a lot of stories, tangible before/after examples, assessments and reflections.

Let’s build a challenge that’s more diagnostic than prescriptive. We can do this by building a challenge AROUND the problems. Assign a problem to each day.

  • Day 1: I want the student to FEEL and understand the consequence of not writing a book.
  • Day 2: I want the student to FEEL and understand they are lacking clarity
  • Day 3: I want the student to FEEL and understand they are lacking direction

Starting with Day 1, we could do a story based teaching about the benefits of writing a book. We could talk about the scarcity of time, about resistance to doing hard things, about imposter syndrome and fear.

As a tangible activity, you could have them write their fears and overcome them, write out their goals and vision, create an accountability plan, etc.

On Day 2, we want them to walk away realizing that clarity makes EVERYTHING easier. Use an example of an author who was unclear vs. one who was clear. Showcase the two outlines side by side. Examples and stories create more aha! moments than bullet points. They should be able to quickly see how one outline makes SO MUCH more sense than the other.

As a tangible activity, give a clarity assessment worksheet to help them rank how clear or unclear they are on their topic. The goal is for them to recognize where they are lacking that clarity and have an aha! that this is why they haven’t taken action yet.

On Day 3, it’s time to help them feel the pain of lack of direction. Set up the challenge about the tale of three authors. Maybe one hasn’t started at all, one is halfway through and blocked, and one is finished and hates it and it’s collecting dust in Google drive. In this way, they can start to identify who they are in this story.

You could show what happens to books that don’t have direction vs. ones that do. Compare and contrast units sold on directionless books vs. bestsellers.

As a tangible activity, do a “how I will know my book has direction” reflection. Ask them what their expectations are around the book writing process.

Now you still have two days left. You could go back to the problem exercise and find another one, or you could start to identify the path forward (which leads right into the sale).

You could make Days 4 + 5 both more sales pitch days as you use the course program as the roadmap or guide to solving these pressing issues.

The final challenge outline might look like this:

  • Day 1: Your Book Publishing Dream
  • Day 2: Getting Crystal Clear On Your Perfect Book Idea
  • Day 3: Three Roadblocks Every Author Faces
  • Day 4: Setting Your Writing Process Up For Success
    (this will start to introduce the program)
  • Day 5: Get Your Book Done In 60 Days
    (Inside our Writing Your Book in 60 Days Program- full pitch)

We’ve now done this process with a challenge, but it works exactly the same for a webinar. The steps are simple to say, but take a bit more work to do.

  1. Identify the problems your potential customer faces
  2. Identify what they need to FEEL in order to take action
  3. Teach from a diagnostic perspective vs. prescriptive (save that for your paid program)

You can use this framework for other types of content too. Emails, social media content, presentations, podcasts, and more.

Try it out next time and resist the fear that diagnosing a problem isn’t enough “teaching”.

Ask the guy who got the appendicitis diagnosis before surgery. He’d agree.

xx Julie

P.S. I do these challenge/webinar hotseats with all my 1:1 clients. If you’re making $100k or more a year and would like to work with me personally, you can apply at digitalinsidersmastermind.com

Julie Chenell

How To Create A Marketing Plan That Doesn’t Rely On Facebook Ads

It’s like the quintessential question of the hour. Of the year.

Business owners who’ve relied so heavily on Facebook Ads now are staring down high costs, fewer conversions, and more headache. We have to pivot. We can’t just “wish” for better days, or say, “Oh well my business worked when I had 4x ROAS.” The time for grieving is over. We’ve got work to do, and the longer you stare at the past, the further behind you will get.

First, let’s simply break down the FOUR big buckets of traffic when you’re looking for new audiences.

  1. Social
  2. Search
  3. Relationship
  4. Paid

Social Traffic

It’s helpful to sit down and give yourself a grade on how well you use each of the following platforms. Bonus points if you can grade how well you promote EACH product on said platform. Social traffic is interesting because you’re interrupting people who are on the platform, and trying to create sticky content that gets them excited to actually follow you and see what more you have for them. This traffic is fleeting. The whole goal of this traffic is to get them on your email list or somewhere where you can continue to market to them.

  • Facebook Profile (we’re not including a FB page since that’s primarily for paid traffic)
  • Facebook Group
  • Instagram Posts
  • Instagram Stories
  • Instagram Reels
  • IGTV
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Search Traffic

Search is fundamentally different from social since this is targeting people who are actively looking for you! This is all about being clear. Showing up at the right time when they are like “Hey I need help with xyz.” This type of traffic grows over time.

  • YouTube
  • Google
  • Pinterest
  • Amazon
  • Podcast
  • Apps

Relationship Traffic

This is a high value type of traffic, but comes with its own set of SOP’s and work. However, you’ll find this traffic over time works even when you’re not.

  • Dream 100
  • Affiliates
  • Public Relations/Media
  • Licensing
  • Referrals

Paid Traffic

Here’s where most of it gravitate because it seems the easiest.

  • FB/IG
  • YT/Google
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok

Then there are four big buckets of marketing you can do internally to your existing audience.

  1. Launches
  2. Email
  3. Product Spotlights
  4. Upgrades

Launches

Launches are simply a way to concentrate your marketing efforts around some scarcity or urgency to drive sales. Here are just a few types of launches:

  • Email
  • Webinar
  • Workshop
  • Events
  • Challenges

Email Campaigns

This is where you use email to market to your audience to help them make purchases (either new ones or get them back on track when they abandon the cart)

  • Abandon Cart
  • Fulfillment
  • Nurture

Product Spotlights

How can you spotlight a product to your audience without going through a whole big launch? Sometimes just being top of mind is enough to remind people to buy.

  • Newsletter
  • Text
  • FB Group

Upgrades

After someone becomes a customer, where and how can you strategically place upgrades so you can up your average cart value?

  • In Course
  • Order Confirm
  • 2nd Chance OTO

Okay so you have the four big buckets of cold traffic marketing channels and the four big buckets of warm traffic marketing channels, and now it’s time to put a marketing plan together.

Step One: Figure out what products you want to feature internally to your WARM audience

You can do this on a quarterly basis or a yearly. I think quarterly is easier because so much changes. Look at your product suite and decide what offers you want to feature with your audience. This will drive your WARM traffic marketing plan for the quarter. Maybe you want do a launch, or perhaps you want to focus on adding upgrades in a course with an email sequence that leads them to the next product. Choose ONE big marketing initiative per month to focus on (unless you have a giant launch, then it may spill to two or three months). If you have a team, you can obviously focus on more. Overall, you should be able to do one to three things with your product suite that help drives more sales to your internal audience.

Some of these things are operational that you put in place and then just run.

For example, maybe you decide to do a weekly product spotlight in your Facebook group on a product. Take a month to get the tools, people, and SOP in place and then let it run in your weekly routine in your business.

Step Two: Create your content topics for the quarter for your COLD audience

So let’s say you’re doing this for Quarter four. There are 12 weeks in this quarter, plus some holidays. Use the calendar and pick out content that you can focus on each week. One piece of big content per week is probably a good way to start. If you know that you’re doing an internal launch for Black Friday for example, you can skip that week. Either way, make sure you have one good piece of content ready to rock for each week where you’re not doing a big launch.

How do you pick topics?

A lot of people struggle to come up with ideas, and I understand that can be tricky. You should have five or six big topics you cover in your business, and for me it’s business, leadership, money, marketing, ethics, productivity. Pick your five big buckets and then start hunting for inspiration.

I use Twitter and Instagram, but you can use Facebook groups, sites that help you find keywords, Google search, even Amazon reviews! There are a million ways! Don’t try to drum up topics with a blank piece of paper. The best way to pick out topics is to be problem focused. Think about all the issues and complaints you hear/see everywhere. Then take to social and search on that problem and see if it sparks an idea.

So I found this tweet that seemed to have good engagement.

From this I thought, well what are the problems around sales? People don’t know how to create desire for their products. They don’t know the line between manipulating and good sales. They don’t know how to be an authority in their niche. They don’t know how to craft a logical argument. So here I could write four blog posts (or podcast episodes)….

  1. How To Create Desire For Your Product (even when it’s a boring product)
  2. 6 Tips For Crushing Sales Calls Without Using Manipulation Or Slimy Sales Tactics
  3. How To Be The Go To Authority In Your Market (even if you feel like an imposter)
  4. Crafting Your Impenetrable Sales Argument That No One Can Say No To

I now have four ideas.

Step Three: Figure out which content works best for the buckets you have (Social, Search, & Relationship)

Some topics are better as blog posts. Or YouTube videos. Or content for your affiliates. As much as we want ALL content to be leveraged everywhere, it’s just not always the case. Especially when you’re thinking about search traffic vs. social traffic. Search traffic is actively looking for a solution. Social traffic is looking for something that gives them a dopamine hit and makes them feel smart for sharing.

Once you have your 12 or so topics, assign them a bucket. See if you’re too top heavy in one or the other. Maybe that’s intentional while you grow that channel, but over time you want to spread out!

Of my four ideas, I think number two has the most “search” potential. So I’m going to take that headline and throw it in Google. You can get more intense with this and fancy search tools, but if you’re just beginning, just try what I’m doing.

As you can see, there’s a bunch of stuff! You might want to try to compete by doing something better than what you see here, or you can look at related searches at the bottom of the page. Those are sometimes easier.

Whatever I decide, this content will be great for my search bucket – YouTube, Amazon, Pinterest, Google, etc. You don’t have to get that content on every search channel. Just the one you’re focused on. For me, this would become a blog post and podcast episode.

I’ve decided that my number 3 headline would work great on Instagram since Imposter Syndrome is something that people struggle with and that’ll probably stop the scroll.

As for my number 4 headline, I think I’m going to create a simple little workshop and send it out to 10 influencers who I know have audiences that would love this content. See if I can provide value to their audiences with this content.

That leaves headline 1. I will do that in my Facebook Group (and then probably leverage it in other places).

Four headlines and I’ve spanned the three major buckets of Search, Social, and Relationship (we’re not focused on paid in this article because it’s an over-exercised muscle).

Step Four: Create the big pieces of content

It might be writing, recording, etc. It depends on what you decided. Here’s the most important part: You design the content for the channel you thought it would do BEST in, and that’s what matters.

For my example, I have a blog post for search traffic, an IGTV topic (that I will do a story, Reel & post about), a Facebook Group long form post, and a video training for my Dream 100 people. The original form of the content is created in the channel you’ve designed it for.

Step Five: Repurpose the content

Just because you created it for one channel, doesn’t mean it can’t be repurposed. This is the main rub I have with the repurposing stuff I see online. They give you ONE system and tell you to repeat it. But if you choose IG as your primary content creative, that content doesn’t always work on YouTube or other places. SO in this way, you’ve already created the content for the channel, and now you can see how it might be chopped up for other things.

Step Six: Add growth activities to your marketing plan

It’s not enough to just post content. For most social channels you’re trying to grow, what you do on other accounts is as important as what you put out. This means engaging with other peoples’ tweets, following folks on Instagram, sharing their content, etc. For relationship based channels, this is all about conversations, leaving reviews, investing in that relationship over time. Really the only channel that doesn’t require active engagement is the search bucket.


Takeaways

  1. Stop crying about Facebook Ads not working for you anymore. The ship has sailed. Time for a better plan.
  2. Actively work on growing marketing channels in the three big buckets besides paid (Social, Search, & Relationship).
  3. Break your marketing plan into two buckets – what you’re doing internally to your warm audience and what you’re doing for your cold audience.
  4. Choose 1-3 internal marketing objectives per quarter based on the internal channels of launches, email, product spotlights, and upgrades.
  5. Come up with 1 big piece of content per week for the quarter (based on the calendar and around your internal plans).
  6. Use inspiration to come up with topics. Don’t start with a blank slate. Think about the problems.
  7. Categorize that content into the bucket it works best for – social, search, or relationship.
  8. Create that content FOR that bucket first.
  9. Then figure out how to repurpose it.
  10. Build growth activities into your marketing (which includes engagement, leaving reviews, commenting, and sharing the love).
Julie Chenell

How To Price Your Products & Services Online

In the online & digital space, pricing is bizarre. Given that Cryptopunk pixelated NFTs are going for $250k per pop at the time of this writing, it’s no wonder we’re all confused about how to price things that are digital.

$50,000 masterminds to $27 offers to $5/m newsletters to $10k websites to $250k NFT’s, how do you price your courses, digital assets, and services fairly & profitability?

#1 Calculate the cost for you.

For services, this is simple. If you’re building a website that takes 30 hours, and you have 160 hours a month available in your freelance gig and know you have to make $10,000 a month to pay the bills, you need to be earning $62/hr. Let’s bump that up a bit for taxes and $70/hr is your baseline. That means you cannot charge less than $2100 for that website and still be in business.

If you’re using contractors, that cost is going to go up. And remember, most businesses don’t sell their goods at cost. Just because it costs you $2100 in time to build the website, doesn’t mean you should charge that. Double it. That way if you have to hire someone to do what you do, you as the owner can still get your $2100 per site, and still pay the team doing the work.

If you’re course creator or digital asset owner, calculating cost is a bit more nuanced. The cost to create is heavy the FIRST time around (the funnel, the content, etc.), but then there’s virtually no limit to how many copies you can sell of that thing. The return on investment is much higher.

What are some ongoing costs for course creators? Things like a customer support person, the cost for updating the content, the software tools, managing a Facebook group, etc. are just a few examples.

For both service based and digital businesses, most people do not factor in the MARKETING as an expense to consider. But if you’ve run a Facebook Ad in the last 12 months, you know that marketing is expensive.

Does your price factor in that it’s going to cost you a certain amount of money to get a customer in the door?

If you want to make $10,000 with your product, bump your revenue goal up by 30% so you can account for the cost of marketing. So to earn $10,000 – plan to hit $13,000 with $3000 of that going straight to marketing.

Then adjust that bump percentage after a few months of data to see what it’s actually costing you.

#2 Calculate the value to them.

This is another number that’s gotten skewed in recent years by Marketers who drink their own koolaid. The question to ask yourself is, “How much value will they see, feel, experience in the next 6-12 months?”

If you determine that reading your book will result in starting a business that makes $50,000 in their first year of business, then that’s the value. However, if what they learn helps them start a business that makes $10,000 in its first year and goes on to help them make $100,000 the next year, you’d say the value was still that $10,000.

What if the value is not monetary? It might be a time value. A pleasure value. These things are hard to calculate but try this…

Let’s say you wrote a book on knitting. Does the book help them buy the right materials? Make Christmas gifts? Do they have knitting night instead of movie night? How might that look money wise if you added those things up? Maybe it would amount to $500-$1500 over the year.

No one sane is going to charge these prices for a book, which is why value is not a great number to use to calculate price.

However, it does help with the next principle.

#3 How big of a price/value gap can you create?

The bigger the gap, the more irresistible it becomes. If you only pay $15/m for a service that saves you thousands a year, that’s a large price/value gap which makes it a no brainer to purchase.

Think about something like Netflix. The cost is millions and millions for them, though at scale it works. And the value to the subscriber is quite high. Unlimited entertainment 24/7. This enormous price/value gap is what makes it so lucrative. It’s a no brainer for most people to spend $15/m for that level of valuable entertainment.

The greater the value the more room you have to create that gap and make your offer irresistible.

#4 Play the price expectation game.

This is an actual game you can play with someone using your product page. Take all mention of the price off the page. Have them read it, and then guess the price.

If they guess the price right, you’ve lost.

The idea is you want them to guess a price HIGHER than what it actually is, to create the dopamine drop.

As I read a sales page, I might be thinking “Okay this is going to be $500”. I’ve made that assumption based on the value I’m perceiving on the page. Then when I get to the bottom, I’m excited and surprised to see that it’s only $297. You want people to guess and assume higher than the actual to create a hit of dopamine when they realize the price is lower than they guessed.

One caveat to this….

#5 Don’t go too low – people will be suspicious.

The extreme of #4 is you end up charging so little, people think there’s something wrong with the product. If you promise to teach someone how to fix and flip houses for the low price of $19, they are not going to believe you. It’s a fine line of irresistibility and suspicion, so checking out the price range of competitors can help you figure out if you’re too low.

#6 Use price to command the type of customer you want.

Sometimes it makes sense to price higher than any of the numbers you come up with in the first 5 principles because…you’re commanding a certain type of customer. We see this all the time in the regular product space.

  • You can buy a pair of sneakers for $30 at Walmart.
  • You can buy a similar pair of sneakers at the mall for $100.
  • You can buy a similar pair of sneakers at a high end brand store in NYC for $700.

Yes there are differences in quality, but not at that range. This is about attracting the type of customer you want. The brand savvy customer is going to buy the $700 pair, whereas the Walmart shoe brand is aiming to be the cheapest. Are you trying to be the rock bottom price, the solid stable value, or the luxury brand?

#7 Anchor your price to something higher.

There are a lot of ways you can do this. If you’re taking payment over the phone or with an invoice/proposal, you can do this on the fly.

Find a reason to give them a better deal. “Hey I see that you’re a referral from Joe Schmoe. He’s a great friend. So I’m going to send you a proposal for $5k but I want to knock off a $1000 since you’re a friend of a great client.”

There’s always a reason, you just need to find one!

When it comes to courses/coaching/digital assets, you can’t customize it as easily so anchor your price to a higher “rack” rate on your website.

  • Sell a $47 offer with a $10 off coupon.
  • Can you give alumni or member discounts to incentivize existing customers?
  • Run a special the first time something comes out, or during a holiday promo

#8 Watch those “hump” prices and be careful!.

There are natural price humps that people see differently. For example, from $11 to $14 is a difference of $3.00, but $14 to $17 feels like a lot more than $3.00 because it went over the hump of 15.

Natural hump prices are…

  • $5
  • $10
  • $15
  • $20
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $1000
  • $1500
  • $2000
  • $5000
  • $10,000
  • $25,000

Try to keep your price as high as it can be without going over the next hump price. So if you have something at $17, just set it to $19. You’ll likely not see a huge change in conversion unless you go over $20.

#9 What would it cost to buy all the pieces separately?

If you’re selling a bundle of services or assets, go out and price them all separately. Actually get quotes and then add it all up. Not only does this make a great marketing argument on a sales page, call, or webinar, it also justifies your price as well.

Let’s say you sell software and it’s $97/m. If you add up all the software they can cancel and it totals $450, then you’ve got a massive savings there. If it’s only $200 and you’re selling for $97, ask yourself if that’s enough of a savings to get them to do the painful migration over to you.

#10 Does the way you frame it matter?

Yes.

There are a lot of studies on whether to use the comma in $1,000. It depends on if you want to make it FEEL like a bigger number or a smaller one. If you’re using $1,000 to show how much something is worth, add the comma. If you want to sell it for $1000, keep the comma off.

Whether or not to use 7’s or 9’s is another big one. General rule of thumb is that 7’s and 9’s convert better on order forms. The exception is if you’re on a sales call trying to sell something high ticket. It sounds weird and salesy to say out loud you’re charging $4997 for your coaching, so just say $5000.

If you are having a sale and taking $10 off a $30 product, is it more juicy to say $10 dollars off or 35% off? In this case 35% is a bigger number than $10 so go with the percentage rather than the dollar amount.


When all is said and done, the most important thing you can do when pricing your stuff is to make the delivery of what you offer EXCEED the pain of letting go of the money it cost.

Ask your customers if it was worth it. Watch how people respond. Expect 25% of people to say no because of price and 75% to say yes. Use these principles as your guide, and happy pricing!

xx J

A photo of Julie Chenell

From Outside To Inside To Outside

Today I’m writing about going from the outside of a community, to right in the heart of the inside, to back out once again. All in the span of 2 years. I’m talking about ClickFunnels of course, and with the barrage of social media posts and stories about FHL this week, it’s quite top of mind.

It was February 2017, and I remember my first Funnelhacking Live like it was yesterday. I was there with my then business partner Madelaine, we were running a webinar funnel for Create Your Laptop Life ®, and we knew virtually no one in Dallas that week.

We nearly bought the all-in version of ClickFunnels when Russell famously sold a CF laptop sticker valued at $97. It was a compelling case for Actionetics, and yet the daunting task of moving all our content stopped us before we went “all in”.

I also remember pushing my way to the front of the crowd to try and ask Russell a question at the round table. He was still doing round tables at that event – with only 1500 attendees – it was still manageable. His bodyguard (aka Executive Assistant) stood behind him with a serious face and a low rimmed baseball cap that hid her eyes.

The question I asked him, “How do you differentiate between collaboration and healthy competition?” and his reply was classic Russell. Play to win, dominate your competition, and don’t feel bad about it.

Little did I know, that in the months that followed, I would become embroiled in a classic Internet Marketing Drama fest, having made the top ten on Russell’s Expert Secrets Affiliate Contest. It was me (one of the only females, and a no name at that), against Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, and other scrappy small time marketers like Peng Joon and Dan Henry. I didn’t know any of these people at the time.

I remember feeling on the outside and wanting desperately to feel cool, included, and like one of “them”. I didn’t know the rules of the game and the community. I knew it was clique-y but I didn’t realize how much so. Despite working as hard as my fellow top-ten people (and honestly, harder), I was initially denied an interview by Russell… and took to the Internet to express my displeasure at the ever changing rules of the affiliate contest. It was a scathing review and went mini-viral. I’d touched a nerve. People were ruthless with me, even those I thought were friends…and I don’t think I cried so much as I did in those two weeks trying to navigate that hellish affiliate game.

At the time, on the outside, I had my values and principles guiding me. No sense of belonging to the community or attachment to the people, so I saw it for what it was. And I wasn’t apologetic about my opinions at first

Until I got invited in.

  • I got an interview with Russell.
  • A spot in the designathon.
  • An exclusive mastermind for the top ten affiliates.
  • A spot in the Inner Circle.
  • A job as Russell’s main content producer.
  • A job as a 2CCX head coach.
  • A partner role at the executive level.

The next two FHL’s were a whirlwind. Both in 2018 and 2019, I spoke on stage. I was the leading female voice in the community. I managed a team, oversaw 2CCX content, and yes – spent several moments alone in tears in a random bathroom trying to keep my shit together. It was all just a vortex of opportunity, and yet, the internal jockeying for position next to Russell made me feel like I was in a political quagmire.

With each invite in, I became more and more on the inside, and felt more pressure to keep my mouth shut about the things I disagreed with. The various excuses I made…

“It’s not so bad…”

“I just misunderstood…”

“It was my fault…”

As I rationalized why I was mistaken with my viewpoint, I also started to fall in love with all the people. The community. The good things that ClickFunnels had brought together. It’s hard to see things clearly when you are relying so much on that sense of belonging. And people I met then I’m still dear friends with today.

It felt like home.

The danger of course is that the sense of belonging silenced my voice. I contorted myself to fit the role I was cast in, and didn’t speak up when things happened that violated my compass of right and wrong.

As time went on, I felt like I belonged in a cult. I don’t think Russell would even disagree with me. After all, that was the joke right?

We humans like to categorize things in black and white. Right and wrong. And for a time, that’s the way I thought too.

By the time June of 2019 rolled around, about two years after coming into the ClickFunnels world, I had had enough. I was burnt out, exhausted, and swirling inside a system that felt like it was stripping me of my values, my voice, and my ideology. And I really had no one to blame but myself.

This wasn’t ClickFunnels fault. It was mine and mine alone.

In the drive to belong, I let go of myself. In the drive for security, I let go of myself. In the fear of losing friendships, I let go of myself.

I had no idea how to hold onto friendships, acknowledge the incredible opportunities I’d been given, and also honor myself in the process. It felt like an impossible task, but I set out to try.

I resigned in June 2019. I grieved so much for the community I’d lost. I stuck around as long as I could, but something funny began to happen. I found that the things that were good in my life – the people mainly – were still there. I had relationships that were incredible (and still are). And the desire to be on the “inside” started to fade as I let go of my fear of not belonging.

It didn’t align with me anymore. It wasn’t necessary to contort myself just to fit inside a community with a certain ideology.

I did attend FHL in 2020, about seven months after I’d left. It was a great time, and I shared a lot of great moments with people. Cathy and I got our 2CC award for Funnel Gorgeous. But I could tell, the culture was losing its grip on me.

So here we are in 2021, and this is the first year since 2017 that I’m not attending FHL.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad to some degree. The people, the late night chats, the networking in the halls… it’s all just so fun and inspirational. Many of my dearest friends and clients are there. I’m home cheering them on, trying to find the balance between focusing on what I need to focus on, and not avoiding the pang of grief that I’m not there.

But I also know that sometimes it’s okay to be sad. Because for me, I know I’ll be healthier, happier, and more aligned with the destiny God has given me if I remain on the outside.

The culture at ClickFunnels doesn’t fit who I am or who I’m meant to be, and I can honor that and still honor the lessons and things I learned during my two year journey from the outside to the inside and back out again.

There’s a lot I’m taking with me. People are always the most important part of anything we do here on Earth, and I have relationships with many because of ClickFunnels and for that I am so grateful.

  • I have a better sense of what I want to stand for, and what I don’t
  • I can see where things can go sideways quickly and build guardrails against it
  • I have friendships that will last a lifetime
  • I know what values I want in my companies, and what I don’t
  • I can take the solid marketing strategy with me, and strip away the stuff that isn’t aligned

If you’re at FHL this year, have a blast. Take the good, leave the rest (and for pete’s sake freeze your credit card LOL).

If you’re like me, feeling like you’re on the outside, it’s just an illusion. You’re not really on the outside at all. Remind yourself that things that are meant for you, will stick. There are LOTS of communities that you can belong to, that will fit with who you are and what you’re trying to do.

xx Julie

Julie Chenell

2020

Every year I write a recap style blog post and I have to admit, I’ve been procrastinating on this one. Maybe it’s because we’re on day 6 of fever with my middle daughter and I’m distracted. Maybe it’s because I have no idea how to wrap up such a crazy year. Maybe it’s because this year has brought so many gifts and so much stress – all in one – I’m at a loss for how to write about it.

Most of you follow me for business reasons, and while that’s still been my primary content all year, you might have noticed that this year I also branched out into some topics that I never thought I would:

  • Politics + the election
  • Black Lives Matter
  • Coronavirus
  • Plant based living
  • Gardening + birds

Because of this, I’ve lost thousands of followers, and yet my business has continued to grow. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. Stay true to yourself and continue to deliver value and your business will be fine, no matter how dorky or unpopular your opinions are.

I wanted to share some insights into my personal business, and how it’s doing – since one of the key credibility markers in the online space is, “Is this person blowing smoke up my butt or are they legit?”

Without giving you too much backstory, here’s how things have gone in my business since 2014.

  1. 2014 I did $25,000
  2. 2015 I did $75,000
  3. 2016 I did $325,000
  4. 2017 I did $1.3M
  5. 2018 I did $2M
  6. 2019 I did $2M

What do those numbers mean? I joined ClickFunnels in late 2017 and so all of 2018 and half of 2019 were me juggling both my business and ClickFunnels. AKA – burnout city.

So now we arrive at 2020. This is the first FULL year post ClickFunnels. In my personal business, I’ve stopped a LOT of things that were bringing me revenue.

  • I stopped promoting CF as an affiliate
  • I stopped selling CYLL
  • I stopped selling TDG

The only current offer that exists in my personal business now is Digital Insiders. However, Funnel Gorgeous has continued to grow and grow, and that’s been where I’ve put any and all new content.

One of the things I encourage people to do when reflecting on their numbers is to see two or three layers below the first interpretation of your P&L and margin. Our business finances often tell a story of growth, change, failure, and success. It’s worth looking at, and most importantly – all wins, big or small – are worth celebrating!

So here are the numbers as of December 30th.

Total Revenue In My Business for 2020: $2,242,278.93

Net Profit In My Business for 2020? $1,431,744.97

So here’s the big point I’m trying to make….

My growth hasn’t been exponential. In fact, as I focus exclusively on ONE product – being an amazing coach and host of the Digital Insiders. And in Funnel Gorgeous, we’re growing quickly but there’s a lot more man power needed over there.

Despite all that, 2020 will be my most PROFITABLE year to date.

What I know (for a fact) is that for many businesses, it takes more than $3-$4M dollars in annual revenue businesses simply to net $1.4M and that’s all considered normal. So I’m super proud of the stories my numbers tell and I refuse to buy into the gimmick of exponential growth and hustle.

And true to form, I’ve always been more about quality than quantity.

My point is you don’t need to be a A-level influencer with millions of followers to live an incredible rich life with an amazing business.

And for all the flashy numbers you see out there, I’d be curious to see how many people are willing to share how that money works for them in their personal life, because even netting 7-figures is awesome but what happens once it gets into the hands of the owner?

When I first started making serious money, my goal was to get a house. I was able to do that in 2017. I bought EVERY PENNY Alex + I had saved and put down an $80,000 deposit on a $350,000 house. At the time, it felt like a stretch. I hadn’t even made my first million yet. But we did it.

At the end of 2017, Alex + I decided to do some cash value life insurance. Again, it felt like a HUGE endeavor. We had to essentially put in a hefty deposit and then be willing to put away $100,000 a year for the next ten years. But we knew that many successful + wealthy people hold these types of “vault” policies, so we took a deep breath and did it.

Now sitting here in 2020, I’m glad we made the investment, and continue to save each year since we don’t have your average employee pension/matching type programs in a 401k.

As time has gone on, we’ve continued to find experts to help us manage our money. We now have invested in several real estate deals (through my client and friend Aryeh Sheinbein), and our next big goal is to have $4,000,000 tucked away in money making investments for retirement, to get our kids through school, help them get married, and to keep building family wealth.

As of today, we’re halfway there with $2,000,000 in (post tax) savings and assets that we’re putting to work.

I will never be the most aggressive ambitious entrepreneur you follow. But I also think there’s value in peeking behind the curtain of someone who runs their business and life to keep TWO things in balance….

  • Delivering high quality content to those who need it + knowing the money will easily follow
  • Living a life that allows me to be in the present and enjoy my family and my hobbies without losing my soul

To me, that’s what these numbers show. At this point, I could stop working and we’re making enough passively to live on with just the savings we’ve built. Not the high life, but enough. The interest is compounding. And that financial freedom is the best feeling in the world.

So what else happened this year?

In 2020, here are a few of the things we launched (over on the Funnel Gorgeous side)

  • Marketer’s Heart Event
  • Launch Gorgeous (we did FOUR rounds!)
  • FG Society
  • Ads The Click Summit
  • One Funnel Gorgeous Retreat
  • Our new software FG Funnels!

In Digital Insiders, we grew! 2020 started off with about 40-50 members, and now we’re at 98!

We hosted two week-long Zoom masterminds, went on a 10 day cross country trip to Moab Utah for camping, and had many big celebrations (six figure launches, six figure launches, and yes, reaching that epic $1M mark).

I counted up how many Voxers and hotseats and audits I did this year. It’s a lot.

  • 90,000 + minutes of Voxer
  • 7,000+ minutes of Hotseats
  • 17,000 + minutes of Audits
  • 3,000 + minutes of group calls

It wouldn’t be a 2020 recap if I didn’t mention that Coronavirus hit everyone hard. What happened in March was truly a black swan event that sent businesses and families reeling.

During the first wave of the pandemic, I set up a $50,000 scholarship fund to float any Insider who was hit hard by the pandemic. We’ve used it all up but I’m very proud to say that everyone who wanted to stay in DI was able to! Another blessing afforded to me by my conservative tendencies to save and keep cash flow going.

Another thing that happened was for the first time ever, I used my email list to talk about something other than business. I sent out TWO emails that cost me many followers:

Both of these moments were pivotal for me. I knew that one of the main reasons I built a business was to take control of my destiny. But what destiny would it be if I couldn’t be myself? There was backlash of course, but it didn’t matter. The issues were too important to me to hide behind.

Throughout the spring and summer months, with travel ground to a halt, I took up two new hobbies: Gardening + birdwatching. Yes, I realize this makes me next level dork but there is something so calming about watching plants grow and birds flit about outside my window.

You know what’s funny? I now know all the types of birds in our yard. I know who belongs to who. We’ve named some. All these little details that I never stopped to pay attention to that were always happening.

It’s a business lesson too. There are SO MANY details you’re missing. Relationships you haven’t found yet. Ideas to be unlocked. There is always more going on than meet the eye but the only way to see it is to slow down enough to notice.

A few other fun tidbits about 2020….

  1. I was EXTREMELY inconsistent on my podcast, but managed to push out 23 podcasts.
  2. I wrote 40 blog posts.
  3. Got to speak during Pete Vargas’s Rise Up Challenge.
  4. Spoke on the main stage at Traffic + Conversion.
  5. Wrote around 90 emails.
  6. Produced at least 10 new presentations (outside of course content in FG) for the following:
    1. The Art of Delegation
    2. Is Certification In Your Future?
    3. My Top Takeaways From Running Digital Insiders For Three Years
    4. Google Productivity!
    5. Creating Irresistibility
    6. Building Courses People Finish
    7. Increasing Profit Margin Through The Way People Think
    8. Evaluating Launches That Flop
    9. Systems To Fix The Common Derailments of Business
    10. Working In The Midst of Trauma
    11. Strategic Planning
    12. Calculating Lifetime Value
    13. The Anatomy of A High Converting Sales Page

When it comes to charitable giving, I’ve been able to give to several organizations that I love to support!

  • Black Girls Code – STEM Education
  • International Justice Mission – Abolishing Slavery
  • Village Impact – Schools in Kenya
  • Sightsavers – Helping Children See
  • St. Jude’s Hospital – Pediatric Cancer
  • Farmer’s Footprint – Farming Without Pesticides
  • Lifewater International – Clean Water
  • Make a Wish – Experiences for Terminally Ill Children
  • Paws With A Cause – Custom Trained Assistance Dogs
  • Black Womxn Thriving – Research Fund

I’ve also been able to give raises to all my team members, as well as year end bonuses and most importantly – job security for 2021.

So what’s coming in 2021?

Right now there are a TON of cool things happening in Funnel Gorgeous in 2021. We wrote about them here in a State of the Union address. It’s definitely worth a read because there’s a lot to unpack.

For Digital Insiders, I’m looking forward to the return of in person events! We have an epic fall mastermind planned at the Grand Floridian in Disney World, and we’re hopefully going to do another week long get together in mid May in Connecticut.

I anticipate Digital Insiders will continue to be at max capacity with a rolling enrollment and waitlist, and just like years prior, we’ll be doing all sorts of group calls, sharing, collabs, and more.

We have plans to do the following:

  1. Run roundtables on various funnels, what’s working and what’s not
  2. Run group strategy sessions on copy, design, traffic, social, publishing, etc.
  3. Travel and hang out together
  4. Blow up group Voxer channels filled all kinds of topics
  5. Collab on places like podcasts, summits, Clubhouse, etc.

Very proud of all that 2020 has done in my life and business, even though a lot of things did not go as planned.

I hope this post inspires you to look at your numbers and celebrate all the wins, big and small!

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