2020 is nearly upon us! Much like everyone else, I’ve got some changes coming to the blog with the new year. Here’s a sneak peek of two major changes coming in less than a week!
I’ve been debating about my niche, which is generally accepted as one of the most important aspects of a blog. As I debated, I looked back over my previous posts. A Letter to the Church on Anxiety and Depression seemed to strike a cord. So many people reached out to me about this post and shared stories of how their lives had been affected by the church’s misunderstanding of mental illness. I wanted to explore a different interpretation of mental illness for the church, so starting in January, I’m going to look at stories in the Bible that could reflect instances of mental illnesses and see how the Bible treats those stories in context.
Books are also near and dear to my heart as an aspiring author, so on Fridays, we’ll be discussing the Christian Fiction genre. I wrote a little about my experience with the genre a few years ago in Why English Majors Can’t Read, and I think there is more to say about writing quality books that reflect Christian faith.
To finish up the self-help review series, we’re talking about Tyler J. McCall’s “Follower to Fan Society.” Instagram has been my favorite social media application for years, so I was very interested to hear Mr. McCall’s thoughts on expanding my social media engagement. Let’s dive into the last self-help review of 2019!
Mr. McCall definitely knows his way around engagement. He had one of my favorite personalities of all the coaches I researched, and he wasn’t afraid to use it to make his potential clients feel connected. Mr. McCall practiced what he preached about being open and having a real identity to engage with the online community.
The free action guides and roadmaps look great and are very visually appealing.
Mr. McCall had some great insights on how community works now on Instagram, especially around hashtags. He noted how Instagram users shared on their personal accounts and applied that information to the business realm.
The membership Mr. McCall sold from the free webinar had a lot of content beyond simply posting to Instagram. For example, the Follower to Fan Society held masterclasses with leading entrepreneurs on business tactics, strategies, and legalities. This extra content added a lot of value to what would otherwise be a very simple program.
Mr. McCall’s product is a yearly membership instead of a one-time purchase, which makes him much more expensive than most of the other coaches I researched. Because you are purchasing a subscription with his program, you lose access at the end of the year if you don’t renew your membership.
Membership to the Follower to Fan Society is only available to purchase at certain times of year. The Society is currently closed, so interested Instagramers have to go on a “waitlist,” which really just seems to be signing up for their promotional email list.
Mr. McCall had a great insight that Instagram users want to stay within the app, so they won’t leave their current stream of content to find your site through a link. While keeping people on Instagram’s site is a great idea, it’s hard to implement if you’re a small account. For instance, Instagram has a “swipe up” link in Stories to post content within the app, but Instagram requires you to have 10,000 followers before you can use the tool.
What I Tried
After listening to Mr. McCall’s webinar, I got braver about posting content on Instagram. I wasn’t as concerned with appearing perfectly polished and curated, so I let a little more of my real personality come through my posts.
Mr. McCall emphasized using Stories as the new way users were engaging with content creators on Instagram, so I started using the add-ons in Stories to encourage interaction. This was another aspect that didn’t work too well for very small accounts, but the tools would be very helpful for larger accounts. Regardless, the tools in Stories allow me to post more interactive content without having to take extra pictures or send people away from the app.
Mr. McCall was super funny, very pleasant, and really engaging! (I mean, he made up the term “full time Comparidashian.”) While his program definitely fell on the expensive side because of the subscription aspect, he did have great information about Instagram and offered extra business content to members that rounded out the program. Mr. McCall’s strength is in his personality, so check out his Instagram to see if you click with his terminology before you consider spending money on his program.
Between a lingering cold and a tummy bug, Christmas week in the Irby household has gotten off to a rocky start. Of course, Jesus came to Earth for our salvation regardless of our current health situation, so there is still plenty to be thankful for.
Since Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year, I thought I would switch up the posts this week and do my review early. That means today we’re looking at “The Bucketlist Bombshells,” two young woman who have started a consulting business for those interested in flexible, online work. I stumbled across their ads on Facebook, where the bright colors depicted scenes of travel and working on laptops in exotic cafes. The webinar promised ideas for starting a service-based online business that would allow the entrepreneur to travel the world.
The webinar promoted four jobs to apply your existing skills toward. They suggested focusing on web design, social media and content management, virtual assistance, and graphic design. Their webinar promoted courses on technology and design for the virtual world, and depending on your end goal, you could take the course or bundle that worked best for you. Throughout the webinar, the presentation included examples and images that suggested the owners Cassie and Shay did know something about design.
The course bundle covered both the background technology and client-facing design for a more well-rounded approach.
The promotional emails start with nice encouragement and include more information beyond selling the courses. Most emails include links to travel tips and interviews with their successful students.
In order to get all of the needed information to create a truly successful business, you would have to buy all three courses and possibly more for the legal and logistical information. However, a lot of the information seemed like it could be figured out with some research or from other people’s courses.
The webinar focused heavily on the beginning concept and the end result. It did not discuss the in between process and the ups and downs that accompany building a business. Even the course for sale seemed to follow this beginning and end pattern. The course included mock-up projects to help you build your portfolio, but it didn’t create any client relationships to appeal to when the course was over.
What I Tried
Building an online business definitely appeals to me. I enjoy the flexibility to work from home and avoid the congested, unpredictable traffic coming and going from the city. I had already started building a service-based business into my website before taking The Bucketlist Bombshells webinar, but I unfortunately didn’t gain any more ideas from watching the webinar. I was already convinced that knowing web-based technology and design skills would make me more marketable, but I didn’t learn anything from the webinar to affect my business trajectory.
The Bucketlist Bombshells have a very specific voice that appeals to a very specific group of millennial women. I listened to the webinar and kept thinking of pumpkin spice lattes and kale salads. The voice almost felt cliche, or at the least a caricature of their real personalities, but it did make their target market easily identifiable. I was not convinced that the Bucketlist Bombshells’ course would dramatically impact my online business, but if their personality appeals to you, they do at least offer an overview of skills necessary to sell a successful online service.
It took almost two years after graduating from college for me to realize why I was struggling so much to find a job in a city where new communications positions cropped up daily. The Friday was cold and gray, so the three of us meeting at the church that afternoon were all bundled up in over-sized sweaters. We piled in to the church office to get some work done while the cleaning lady bustled about changing trash bags and sweeping the floors.
One of the girls was a graphic designer. She was applying for jobs and debating between a part-time job in the printing industry or holding out for a full-time position. I told her about the time I applied for a writing position with a business consulting company. I went through the entire interview process and really liked the company, only for the gentleman from HR to call me and say the team really liked me, but they were looking for someone with graphic design experience, and they hadn’t figured that out when they wrote the job description. You might want to look at communications jobs, I suggested to my friend. A lot of these companies seem to want graphic designers more than writers.
“These companies are looking for unicorns,” she said. “They want a good graphic designer AND a good writer, and they don’t realize that most people aren’t both.”
I shifted in the plastic chair and nodded. I could feel the imaginary lightbulb going off over my head. The reason I struggled so much finding a job was that everyone wanted a unicorn, and no one in the English department knew that was what the companies were looking for. Had I known, I might have used my college electives on graphic design courses instead of business and photography. As it was, I had great editing and tutoring experience, and the jobs available in town either paid very little or required a minimum of five year’s experience. So, when I found this ad on “design hacking” by Click Funnel Design School that required no graphic design or coding experience, I was hooked. This trick could be my break!
I found the ad for the “design hacking” webinar about 10 minutes before it started. I jumped out of bed, ran downstairs, fired up my laptop, and grabbed a notebook. Thankfully, when the webinar started, it came through as a YouTube recording. This meant that when the cat started demanding his breakfast, I could stop the video without missing any information.
Ms. Jones had a really neat concept that seemed to actually work. The concepts seemed simple to implement once you learned how to use ClickFunnels and add in design elements.
Perhaps the best thing about Ms. Jones’ course is that building a solid portfolio and attracting clients is built into the course. I got the feeling that Ms. Jones really set her students up for success instead of passing on concepts and leaving it up to the student to figure out implementation.
While the webinar was very detailed and engaging, Ms. Jones really didn’t give an actionable info in the free “training.” It really was just an introduction to her course and an overview of how the course worked.
The information in the course is also specific to Click Funnels and funnel-building software. This focus on Click Funnels limited how the person building the site could use it for their business. The site would really be for sales only and probably wouldn’t have much continued content or community outside of an email list, which again became more sales and promotion.
On a semi-side note, I personally dislike that ClickFunnel website domains are 80 miles long and have “clickfunnel” in them. They just don’t look as professional to me as a simple, clean domain.
What I Tried
When I upgraded my site to a business page, I changed my theme to “Natural,” and I loved it. It felt so earthy and peaceful to me. Over time, though, I started getting comments on how hard the gray font was to read, and I couldn’t find a place to change that. So, I gave in to the inevitable push for modern minimalism. Following Ms. Jones’ suggestions, I looked at major company’s websites and tried to follow their modern style with my website design.
While I didn’t learn any actionable graphic design tips from Ms. Jones’ webinar, I did get more analytical about design. I used her “hacking” idea and started looking at the logos and interfaces of more successful businesses as a source of style inspiration.
Ms. Jones had a great personality and was really entertaining to listen to. I was so excited for this course and thought I had found a shortcut to graphic design, but it was so relegated to ClickFunnels that it really didn’t work for my needs. If you are an entrepreneur who doesn’t want to blog or offer a large variety of products, Click Funnels and Ms. Jones’ Click Funnel Design School could be a great resource for you. However, if you are looking to build community engagement and need two way interaction to grow your brand, this course is not for you. Instead, look at the designs of major, modern corporations and use that as your inspiration for building logos and websites with the resources available to you.
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