Business Strategy

Digital Insiders Take Disney: Part I {What Actually Happened}

On Sunday November 7th, 80 Digital Insiders descended on Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for a week of play, fun, and masterminding. We all rolled in at various times of the day, and collected together at the outdoor patio at 6pm to connect and say hello.

It’s hard to explain how much excitement was in the air. I wish I could bottle it up and open it whenever someone needs it. Something about the combination of fun, business, sun, and people made this mastermind the most anticipated ever.

Some brought their children (six kids was the the record!), some brought spouses, partners, and friends.

Jessica and I handled registration that afternoon as every member got a notebook, hoodie, and a 20 page individualized itinerary to keep track of schedules and reservations! In addition, we handed out directions and rules for the pirate game intended for bonding and photos (more on that later). Everything was going smoothly until I sent an email to Club 33 asking about the VIP tours I’d secured.

Turns out the policy had changed about the tours. You could only park hop if you had a park hopper ticket, and I’d told everyone they only needed a base ticket. After 90 minutes on the phone with the club, we’d run out of options on how to do that. I was crushed. I knew I’d have to deliver the bad news Monday morning to prep for the fact that we’d only get through one park on Wednesday.

On the off chance that the event team could help us, I had Jessica round up every single person’s email address and reservation confirmation # in case they could upgrade everyone’s ticket in the backend.

Monday morning – the entire group was downstairs and at the conference room by 8:30am. The room was abuzz with hugs and excitement and some pirate loot negotiating happening as the game started to heat up.

We spent the first hour going over the logistics of the day and week (there is a LOT to know about Disney if you’ve never done it) and then we masterminded until 4pm.

I did a presentation on organic marketing, and how to plan a marketing initiative for the quarter. After that we had two presentations by DIers – Julia Taylor on her Geekapoolza Summit + Greg Bottaro on a new way to deal with difficult inner emotions we have.

In between – the group of 80 split up to go to various lunch places. Logistically this was one of the more complicated parts of planning. Since Disney has virtually no walk up service, we made tons of reservations on various accounts and then had people sign up to the lunches. We also had to make sure the restaurants were close enough to the convention center that they could get back. In hindsight, I think it was an excellent way for people to have a meal together who might otherwise clump together in the same group the whole week. Also in hindsight, I would have probably only done one RSVP per day instead of two, since some of the night reservations were tiring and people wanted to change plans.

Monday night we boarded two coach buses and went to Animal Kingdom just as it was closing! The feeling of all of us walking into the park as everyone was walking out was one I will NEVER forget. We went into Africa’s Harambe Market and feasted on turkey and prime rib and a million other things I can’t remember any more. a West African band played music the whole time, and after a visit from Rafiki, it was time for Pandora.

The Disney team walked us into the bioluminescent Pandora land where we had a massive dessert party and rode Flight of Passage as many times as we could in 90 minutes. Coming back on the bus that night, I couldn’t believe that one – it had only been one day, and two – that I had the honor of that experience. I’ll never forget it.

My sister Nicole and I stumbled into bed around midnight and I fell asleep thinking that the 45 people who’d planned to do Magic Kingdom on Tuesday morning at 8am would probably be a no show.

I was wrong. We all gathered by the Gingerbread house at 8am to get into the park early enough to do a few rides before the crowds got too big. This was the ONLY time we didn’t have any special privileges. So it was a strategic outing into Magic Kingdom to hit all three mountains – Space, Thunder, and Splash. And yes, we did it!

By 11am, we’d done a bunch of fun rides, and then broke off for lunch.

The remaining 40 or so people stayed back at the resort to mastermind by the pool, and we all reconvened as a group at 2pm. That day – I spoke on sticky content (and how to be memorable on social), and then we had two talks: Cathy spoke on branding and Sharon did a talk on how to communicate with difficult people. We had a breakout session for smaller masterminding, and then we ended around 6pm.

Looking back, Tuesday was a long day. To go from Magic Kingdom to masterminding to another dinner at night…this is where I thought, “Gosh are we all gonna make it til Friday?”

That night we all split up all over the World and went to various restaurants. I was at the California Grill where the music pipes in the for the fireworks at night. Afterwards we came back to the Floridian for what would become “hot tub masterminding”. Drinks, hot tub, and late late hours… it was this way from Tuesday on forward.

As it turns out, the issue with the park tickets and VIP day ended up getting solved. The event team said if I could get everyone’s number, they would upgrade their ticket package to a park hopper and then bill me for them all. So that’s what I did. And this meant that all the VIP tours could hit as many parks as they wanted in seven hours.

Wednesday morning was bright and sunny.  The pirate game was getting pretty intense at this point. There were deals being struck, and people were taking photos like crazy.

Since certain photos equaled money, by the end of the VIP day, we had over 1000 photos. It was crazy. The VIP tour guides were totally up for the game, and helped several groups get the harder to find shots.

The VIP tour I was on didn’t hit all four parks in one day, but still we were exhausted by the end of our seven hours. We’d managed two parks and I watched on Instagram as other teams made it to all four!

That night was another dinner, and it was a rainy night. But it didn’t stop us from fireworks or the hot tub. Shenanigans continued to go down with the pirate game, and most of us were limping from sore feet.

Thursday we came back for a full day of masterminding. On this day, I spoke on benchmarks and underperforming offers, and we had four DIers do a give. Sarah Masci spoke on VIP days, Portia spoke on money, Renee on sales, and Christina on Black Friday sales.

That night was the second hosted dinner. Due to the rain we had it indoors, but it didn’t change a thing. We drank, we ate, we watched fireworks, the kids (and adults) got pictures with Mickey, and we danced… HARD.

I also announced the end of the pirate game. Five boats banded together against one (long story LOL), we uncovered some serious plot twists, and saw people in a new light! The winning pirate ship – The Barnacle – earned pirate pins and a $2500 cash prize.

When that party ended at 10pm, we made our way to the hot tub and pool and closed it out at 2am. It felt like graduation night. No one wanted it to be over. Even though there was another day, a bunch of people left on Friday so it had that sad ending feeling to it.

Friday we started at 11am (thank God)! There were a bunch of breakfasts in the morning and then we got together from 11-4. Cathy + I spoke on design, Abby spoke on brand photography, and Jess Santise taught us how to make branded gifs.

I tried to end the day with a poetic speech, but I didn’t really have one. I just tried hard not to cry. To finish the mastermind, we went into Epcot (it was so busy), ate and drank through the world, and ended the night with an epic view of the new Harmonious show.

  • We walked 42 miles in a week.
  • Saw 10 fireworks shows between Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
  • Took thousands of photos.
  • Saw some major bonding + competition both.
  • Did what we do best – masterminded.
  • Came away with a renewed sense of possibility and excitement for the future.

It was a feat of logistics and planning I could not have pulled off without my team. The goal I had for this trip was simple…Give people a magical experience that would bring hope, fun, joy, creativity, and possibility while also creating a space for new friendships to form, and old ones to connect.

Knowing how hard business is, and how much we need other people, I knew this would help us all after a very long and stressful 18 months trying to run a business in a pandemic.

Goal met.

As the fatigue starts to wear off and my energy returns, I had a renewed excitement for 2022 and what’s to come! Want to try Disney with me? Next opportunity is the Marketer’s Heart event in February!


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 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


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.


  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?


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

Digital Insiders Mastermind Recap

The crash after a mastermind is hard to describe.

Think of the most epic roller coaster you’ve ever been on. Now imagine someone blindfolded you, spun you around 100 times, put you on the coaster, made you ride it 3 times in a row, spun you 100 more times after that, and then asked you to walk across a balance beam. Like that.

For someone like myself who prides herself on having the right words to say, I’ve spent the last three days at a loss. Taking naps, cooking food, hanging out with my new baby goats, making long lists of house projects… waiting for the moment to hit me when I’d finally sit down and try to debrief.

It was the first get together in 18 months. We had 65 people at the event and another 35 tuning in virtually with our first ever attempt at a fully functioning hybrid event. Two of my coaches – Helen + Emily held the space for the virtual crowd, while me, Nuno, and Jess oversaw the in person event. Digital Insider Dallin Nead and his associate shooter Josh, provided all the A/V support to make it happen.


As with most things I do, I underestimated the work/logistics involved AND I underestimated just how powerful a week long event with 100 people would be. I think part of me didn’t believe it would happen because of Covid.

Even though we had masterminds in 2020 that were virtual, it’s not until you’re in the room with people that you really feel the weight of all that genius + creativity. It’s completely overwhelming for newcomers, as I know many of them really didn’t quite know how to process everything that was happening.

  • You’re getting to know people and their businesses.
  • You’re hearing strategy.
  • You’re learning tactics.
  • You’re digging deep with mindset work.
  • You’re getting really uncomfortable with things like long term wealth and savings.
  • You’re learning about yourself.
  • You’re spending every waking moment for five straight days with inspiring people.

All of it is happening with a piddly one hour lunch break each day and by Thursday, you can’t hardly see straight.

  • Each day we have takeaways + shoutouts.
  • We have three to four presentations.
  • One keynote talk from me.
  • A DI coach hosts a talk.
  • Mini master hotseats.

Then there are five nights worth of dinner conversations, drinks, dancing. People are doing photoshoots and video shoots in between sessions.

I honestly wasn’t sure how to hold my emotions in check because I was so acutely aware that outside of my family, these people that make up Digital Insiders, are the foundation of all my non-familial relationships. And even though there is a very transactional relationship (coach to client, etc.), in order to do what I do, I’ve had to sacrifice a social life to focus all my emotional/mental energy into this group.

You can’t build a group like DI without a sacrifice somewhere, and that’s the one I’ve made.

But the mastermind is the ONE time I get to really experience the fruit of that hard work and sacrifice in the real world. I watch as relationships form, people bond, aha’s! are made, and I also get the privilege of enjoying all these people and it makes that sacrifice 10000% worth it.

I walked away from this week feeling so IMPRESSED by the talent in the room. There were talks on….

  • Retreats
  • Email Sequences
  • FB Group Growth
  • Imposter Syndrome
  • Automations
  • Self-Care
  • Virtual Summits
  • House Management
  • Org Charts
  • Finances
  • YouTube
  • Wealth Building
  • Social Media Frameworks
  • Launch Mindedness
  • Sales
  • FB Challenges
  • VIP Days
  • Project Management
  • Media Hacking
  • Challenges > Launching
  • Family Assistants
  • Digital Shops

I also laughed so FREAKING HARD. Humor is so good for the soul and it was there in spades. We played this game one night where each person had to say something they did in their life that no one else did, and let’s just say we have DIers who…

  • Saved a former vice president from death
  • Stowed away on a Russian military plane
  • Dated celebrities
  • Worked as a mortician
  • Got stuck in a Chinese jail
  • Broke the world record for # of tshirts worn

Those were just a few I could remember. There were a ton more.

With laughter also comes tears. So many groups and masterminds force people into a facade of sorts – feeling as if they have to protect themselves. In the room, all those pretenses shed and people opened up about their fears, insecurities, and gratitude. There were multiple times I couldn’t get the words out I wanted to because I was crying too hard.

By the end of the week, all of us were exhausted, inspired, excited to see our families, but also looking forward to the next time we’re all together. I’m aware that with something as special as DI, it will be a continuous commitment and fight to protect the power and vulnerability expressed, and I could not do that without my team, and the dedication of all the members who want to protect this space as well.

From a business standpoint, I spent a lot of my talks facilitating discussion around the changing landscape of online business.

  • How to make sure you’re building a business that fits your lifestyle
  • How to pick the right offers for your personality + people
  • How to build an ecosystem so you aren’t reliant on Facebook ads

I also dove deep into my own personal wealth building strategy, to help unpack what to do with your money once you earn it. All in all, we spent less time on the individual tactics of how a funnel is built (something we do constantly in the day to day of DI), and lifted our chins towards bigger and more strategic conversations.

I thought a few times what it would be like for someone to be a fly on the wall during a week like this. To hear and see and feel what it means to be in a tight knit community who not only have your back, give you ideas, and share their knowledge, but who are just hella fun to hang out with too. How much would it change the trajectory of your business to experience that?

With so many of us beaten down by the year 2020 and the pandemic, this was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I definitely think the two barn dinners were up there on the top ten list of the best nights of my life. It was surreal to be able to host 60+ people at our house, in our barn. We roasted s’mores, had steak and chicken, danced, celebrated wins, and yes… Alex and I were given two baby goats as a housewarming gift.

The wall of appreciation is a post we put in our FB group and has over 220+ comments and counting….all messages of encouragement, support, and thanks for fellow Insiders. If it wasn’t a private group I’d share because if you’re not in a community where that kind of camaraderie is normal, you don’t know what you’re missing and how mission critical it is to surviving business ups and downs.

A few takeaways from members…

“I realized I need one day a week just for daydreaming…”

“I can see so many radical ways to change our industries…”

“I’ve been rushing myself for so long and I didn’t even know why…”

“I think my biggest takeaway was that numbers are just…numbers. And that they don’t care how I feel about them. They aren’t a reflection of my personal worth. They just are. I feel so excited and hopeful and less scared to spend money since I have monthly metrics of where it needs to be hitting to be “on track”.”

“We can’t wait for FB Ads to come back, they aren’t. Time to get more creative. We are VERY close to being a sustainable ecosystem without any ads so we just need to dig into that more vs thinking I’m a failure for business not going as well…”

“We all have different strengths, weaknesses, goals, dreams, and ideals, and what is right for one person is not right for the next, and it’s OK to not want what everyone else wants.”

“My takeaway is that I need to stop trying to do it all myself and to stop being the tough guy all the time and get some darn HELP.”

“I never imagined being there virtually would be as powerful as it was. I am so grateful to be inspired, educated, and motivated by such incredible fellow entrepreneurs. I was also able to form connections with other DIers that I never dreamed would be possible not being there in person.”

“I was there virtually and it changed my life. That might sound dramatic but it’s true.”

161 days and counting til the Disney DI Mastermind but who’s counting?