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Review: “The Bucketlist Bombshells”

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 Pros

  • 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.

The Cons

  • 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.

Initial Conclusion

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.

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Review: “She’s Making an Impact/Pin 2 Purpose”

Somewhere between high school and college I got nearly addicted to Pinterest. I spent hours scrolling through pictures of puppies and elephants, reading about “healthy” recipes, and making a list of projects to knit or crochet at some point in my life. My brother actually requested I quit using Pinterest for food after my third or fourth tasteless attempt at following a Paleo, Keto, or “lightened up” version of a recipe (usually with significant ingredient alterations to accommodate the limited food storage in my college dorm.) Those adventures taught me the power of these two little spices named salt and pepper that I had always believed made food taste bad. Apparently, they were actually necessary for making food taste good.

When I saw the ads for Rachel Ngom’s upcoming webinar about gaining blogging traffic without having to pay for ads (irony noted,) I was intrigued. I had heard of people getting brand deals from Pinterest boards, but I never understood how on earth it happened. So, I signed up and waited to see how all those puppy pictures and beauty tutorials were going to make my blogging dreams come true.

The early days of interest in Pinterest

The Pros

  • Mrs. Ngom definitely convinced me of value of her program in that hour and ten minutes. She demonstrated a thorough knowledge of Pinterest marketing and online media. Based on the information she gave, I thought I could figure the “free advertising” out myself, but I knew it would take time to learn the Tailwind program and make connections. (More on that later.)
  • I genuinely enjoyed her presentation style. Mrs. Ngom was engaging, fast-paced, and genuinely respectful of time.
  • All of Mrs. Ngom’s ads, emails, and worksheets had consistent, pleasing branding. The bold salmon outlines clearly reflected her focus on female entrepreneurs. The branding remained consistent with her pins on Pinterest, so it was easy to remember where I had seen her work.
  • On the email marketing side, Mrs. Ngom sent out new material about once every 10 days. Her frequency is far less than most consultants, so I don’t mind staying on her email list to learn about new promotions and business techniques.

The Cons

  • In covering so much information, Mrs. Ngom hit a lot of high points and left the implementation to be learned. It was a good strategy, as it feeds into her consulting business, but it does detract from the value of the free webinar itself.
  • While Mrs. Ngom’s fast pace was highly engaging, she went too fast to follow the notes on her worksheets. To make it more confusing, the worksheets didn’t exactly match the content she was sharing, so it was often hard to keep up. I might have had more success transcribing my own notes from the webinar than trying to find where the information she gave fit on her outline.
  • While I loved the branding of the worksheets, there was too much shading to print them out. The bold swathes of color would have eaten up all of the ink that I was already running out of.

What I Tried

  • First and foremost, I started pinning my blog posts on Pinterest. I created a business account and spent more time organizing the pins than I had on my personal account.
  • Per Mrs. Ngom’s suggestions, I added text boxes over my featured image so people could tell what the linked blog post was about. I created a consistent style that I could use for all of my pins.
  • The webinar taught me that Pinterest was a search engine, so Mrs. Ngom’s tips introduced me to basic SEO. That knowledge was perhaps the most valuable thing I learned, as I was always terrified of the term SEO and thought optimizing articles required a degree in computer science. Mrs. Ngom made it easy to search for what people want to know by leveraging a tool built into the site itself – the search bar.
  • Mrs. Ngom focused on building what you own rather than relying on outside programs like Facebook or Youtube. So, I added an email list to my site by using Mailchimp, which will allow me to engage more directly with my followers than I could by fighting the Facebook and Instagram algorithms.
  • In researching Pinterest marketing, I learned that Tailwind, Mrs. Ngom’s tool of choice, has a free trial which would allow you to join 5 “tribes” or communities that share each other’s pins. In reading other blogger’s Pinterest strategies, most pin-bloggers use Tailwind or group boards to be successful. However, I also learned that you can get around the Tailwind tribes by manually engaging with group boards to exchange content.

Initial Conclusion

Mrs. Ngom’s Pin 2 Purpose class was the one course I would have purchased were I not resolute against purchasing. While I believed that I could figure the techniques out myself, I knew that having her tips and backing would certainly save time in building my blog. However, I have since found other people’s blog articles through Pinterest where people explained how they were successful using the same basic structure. The tips made the overarching techniques from Mrs. Ngom’s webinar more actionable without having to pay for Tailwind or the Pin 2 Purpose course, which made me glad that I saved my money. If you are a blogger interested in Pinterest marketing, I would research the free articles on Pinterest before deciding to pay for the Pin 2 Purpose course.

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Review: “Success with Tyson”

I cling pretty strongly to my introvert status. Even with my nearest and dearest friends, if I’m going to spend several days in constant social interaction, I allot a few more hours for sleep and allow myself a few extra minutes putting on makeup so that at the end of the day, I don’t wind up crying in the floor for no reason. (It has happened… many times.)

When I scrolled through Facebook the day I decided to research self-help ads, I froze at one titled “How Smart Introverts Are Succeeding in Network Marketing” by Tyson Zahner. What a thought! There was hope beyond the infernal it’s all in who you know concept that plagued me!

Or, so I thought. I hopped on my first webinar with a composition notebook and my colored pens. I laid everything out like it was my first day of college again. I logged in to the webinar, and the wait screen flashed “3 Simple Steps to Attract High Quality Leads in 30 Days.” Well, that wasn’t exactly about introverts, but it would all come together, right?

The Pros

  • The first 40 minutes of the webinar had some really good information. After the initial round of testimonials and self-promotion, Mr. Zahner defined some common marketing terms and explained a three step sales strategy. The strategy felt pretty textbook, but he did do a great job of breaking down concepts and making definitions accessible.
  • Mr. Zahner had an interesting take on using Facebook messenger to drive engagement. As I saw it crop up on other coach’s websites, I started to understand this concept as “automation,” which could allow an entrepreneur to be more productive by reducing the amount of tasks he or she had.

The Cons

  • Since this was my first webinar, Mr. Zahner introduced me to the purpose of all of these free webinars and ads. After consuming the coach’s content, you could sign up for continued training! By the way, the offer would only be good for the next two days or two weeks, so, “don’t ask yourself, ‘Can I afford it?’ Ask yourself, ‘How can I afford it?'” Some coaches do this sales pitch in a really natural way. If I hadn’t had a firm freebies only rule, there were a few coaches who almost convinced me to purchase their courses. Mr. Zahner was not one of those coaches.
  • I was feeling rather snarky as the one hour webinar turned into a two hour sales pitch. In fact, after so much selling and promotion, I forgot all the good information he gave in the beginning. Had I not taken notes, I would have left the webinar very angry with how I had spent two hours of my life. Reviewing my notes now, I can see the value he did provide in the first forty minutes.
  • One of my greatest frustrations with Mr. Zahner was that he promoted the concept of 80% marketing and 20% selling, but he didn’t abide by his advice. By the end of the webinar, I calculated that he accomplished at best 50/50 marketing and selling, and I was not adding in the time that he spent on promotion at the beginning of the webinar. He may have had good information on creating successful Facebook ads and automating your processes for productivity, but I left the webinar with the feeling that I had just tried to buy a used car from a dingy lot built in the ’80s and never remodeled.
  • Lastly, Mr. Zahner sent a vast amount of follow-up emails in the 3 days after the webinar. I received an email about every 6 hours until the offer expired, and when my watch was buzzing in the middle of teaching preschoolers at church, my patience left me. Thankfully, after the offer ended, I have not received any more emails from his company, so the buzzing on my watch while trying to herd 3 year olds comes from 15 other businesses and not his.

What I Tried

  • Mr. Zahner’s theories required a great deal of up front cost to pay for Facebook ads and the Facebook messenger bot automation, so I haven’t used any of his suggestions yet. If I post an ad on social media for future ventures, I most likely will follow his free Facebook ad lead generation template since the concepts seem to work consistently for other entrepreneurs.

Initial Conclusion

As the first webinar I researched, I was pretty disappointed. I didn’t realize at the time that the common purpose for all these free webinars was to push the sale of a very expensive online course. Once I started watching other webinars and researching other email courses, I realized that there were several other coaches covering the same topics in much less pushy ways. If you are looking for someone to help you with your Facebook Ads, I would recommend trying the Marketing Academy for Small Businesses. Her information seemed to be more up-to-date for Facebook’s current policies, and she was much less pushy about selling her services.

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Review: “Marketing Academy for Small Business”

At the beginning of 2019, I almost deleted my writer Instagram account. I halted because of the little warning that popped up: If you delete this account, the username will never be available again.

Well, what if I changed my mind three years down the road? I closed out of the browser and left my little writer account a desolate, post-less place with only a headshot and a link to my blog in the description.

Then, I quit my job in November. My blog and its empty little Instagram were suddenly the only writing content I had to “sell.” I found Don’t Keep Your Day Job, made a plan, and converted my empty little Instagram to a business account. I created a business Facebook page, posted a link on my personal accounts, and waited with hands tightly gripping my phone.

Followers! Mainly family and a few friends from high school. My mom and mother-in-law shared the page, and a few of their friends started following, too. I was on cloud nine! I was going somewhere!

And then my Facebook posts only got 3 likes… 6 likes… all from the same family members and high school friends who liked the page in the first place. What was going on?

I attended Mrs. Samantha English’s Fall 2019 Facebook and Instagram Update webinar, and the information she imparted blew my mind. This was why everyone complained about “the algorithm!” This was why I only saw posts from a handful of my Facebook friends and never saw posts from others! This was why I hated Facebook!

And it was only going to get worse.

The Pros

  • Mrs. English’s webinar contained so much detail and actionable info on the recent and upcoming Facebook and Instagram changes. She especially helped me understand “organic reach,” or how posts are sent out to those who choose to follow us, and why my page performs like it does.
    • Key takeaway in case the webinar doesn’t come back around: Facebook only allows your post to go to a handful of your followers. If that handful of followers engages with the post, then Facebook will send the post out to another handful of followers, and so on. However, your post may never reach your entire follower list if the first groups don’t engage. To make matters worse, likes don’t count anymore. Facebook prefers comments and “hearts” or “sad faces” to judge engagement. Instagram follows suit, but only comments can be used to judge engagement on that platform.
  • Mrs. English was personable and maintained good pacing that kept me engaged in her webinar. She didn’t have me groaning or rolling my eyes after an hour.
  • The webinar came with a nice workbook for taking notes, and there was plenty of margin space for me to fill. She also specified which pages to skip printing to save ink, which I appreciated as I’m hoping for a new printer for Christmas and don’t want to buy ink one month out.
  • The Marketing Academy for Small Business Instagram page is aesthetically pleasing. A quick scroll shows they recently rebranded their content, and the posts maintain a consistent structure so the pictures in the feed align.
  • I have to give Mrs. English an extra bonus point for going to my husband’s alma mater. Go Racers!

The Cons

  • As aesthetically pleasing as the MAFSB accounts are, neither the Facebook nor the Instagram page had much engagement. The pages had between 100,000-200,000 followers, but posts only showed three or four likes and maybe one comment. As knowledgeable as Mrs. English was about the inner workings of Facebook and Instagram, I wondered why her pages weren’t performing better.
  • At the end of the content of her presentation, Mrs. English explained that the changes she had described did not apply to ads. After spending an hour studying “organic reach” and “targeting,” the comment felt a bit like a whirlwind change. However, Mrs. English acknowledged that ads led to the success of her business, and the course she sold is built around that premise.

What I Tried

  • After this webinar, I prioritized replying to every comment on my social media posts. I also mustered up some courage to start commenting on other bloggers’ posts. If we’re going to beat this big bad Facebook algorithm, we’re going to have to work together!
  • This webinar showed me that I needed to direct posts to promote engagement. I started adding more questions to my posts in hopes that people would respond.
  • I haven’t tried Mrs. English’s suggestions for “organic targeting” yet, but specifying which demographic of followers to show a post to was a great tip in light of Facebook’s new algorithm.

Initial Conclusion

I highly recommend following the Marketing Academy for Small Business and attending one of Mrs. English’s webinars if you can. While the course she sells at the end of her webinar seems to follow traditional marketing strategies like you might learn at a college or university, the information she imparts in the meat of the webinar contains actionable steps and important terms you might not know otherwise.

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So Many Facebook Ads…

The instant I made writing-focused social media accounts and posted the word “blog,” my Facebook and Instagram feeds have been inundated with personality quizzes, entrepreneurial advice, and get-rich-quick promises. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t clicked on this one seemingly harmless little ad to discover my creative archetype. The quiz was fairly simple, and since I had read through other people’s comments with their quiz results, I could figure out which archetype I was going to be within the first question. My instinct was correct.

Email from Cathy Heller with Don’t Keep Your Day Job

Investigator. Hmm. Now, what on earth could I do with that?

I finished reading the email, reopened the Facebook app, and BAM! Suddenly every third post on my feed was a self-help ad. “Join my Masterclass!” “Free webinar!” “Five Things You Need to Know FREE in Your Inbox, No Catch!”

Surely there couldn’t be that many consultants on the internet, right?

I was very, very wrong.

So I decided to use this little “investigator” talent of mine to figure out which of these webinars, email courses, and checklists are actually worth your time and which ones should really go in the Internet dump heap.

Even the cat wants to help…

Today, I declare myself your designated tester of boring self-help webinars. I’ve started testing five programs already today, and I can’t wait to share the results with you every week. Let me know if there are any freebies you want me to review, and connect with me on social media so we can discuss the pros and cons of each technique!

Thanks for reading, y’all! Have a happy Friday!