Build a Badass Business Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo

Build a Badass Business Podcast #40: Interview: Passive Income with Sylvie McCracken

Topics: Build a Badass Business Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo

  1. How long did it take to become “real” [2:50]
  2. Shifting from blogging to a business [9:13]
  3. Passive income with eBooks [12:39]
  4. Advice for those who don’t know where to get started [19.34]
  5. What to use for free content and what to sell [25:52]
  6. Using social media in your business [30:35]
  7. Sylvie’s video eCourse details [35:01]

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Build a Badass Business: Episode #40: Interview: Passive Income with Sylvie McCracken

Coming to you from the city by the bay, this is Build a Badass Business with Diane Sanfilippo. Diane is a New York Times bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. She’s here to teach you how to grow and develop a successful business you love, and how to create raving fans along the way. Here she is, your host: Diane Sanfilippo.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey guys. Welcome back to the show. Today I have a very special guest with me to talk all about passive income, time management, delegating, all that good stuff that comes with being an entrepreneur. And I will let Sylvie introduce herself to you guys, and tell you a little bit about her background. Hey Sylvie!

Sylvie McCracken: Hey, Diane, thank you! So I’m Sylvie McCracken, and I have two businesses. My first one is Well, actually it’s my second one {laughs} and that’s where I  teach entrepreneurs, mostly bloggers and coaches, to create passive income with eBooks. And then I have a health biz, as well, which is, and that’s where I share paleo recipes, health tips, that kind of thing.

Build a Badass Business Podcast | Diane SanfilippoDiane Sanfilippo: And that’s actually how we first connected, obviously, through the paleosphere.

Sylvie McCracken: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: And health and all that good stuff. So why don’t you tell people a little bit about how you went from whatever you were doing before; you had before you were blogging, what the transition was like, and then what the business kind of was like in the beginning and what it is now.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, for sure. Well I started my blog when I was working full time. So I was working in Hollywood {laughs} kind of a crazy job in Hollywood, and I was supporting my family of 5 with that job. So my husband was a stay at home dad, and I was working pretty hard. And of course, I got bit by the paleo bug, and wanted to share that with the world, so I started a blog.

But I didn’t start it as a hobby, because, you know, my hobbies at that point were nonexistent. I didn’t have very much time. I had toddlers, teenagers, etc. So I knew right away when I started that blog that I wanted it to become a business, and not a job.

So pretty soon into it, I just started hustling, and experimented with everything. Ads, sponsors, all of that good stuff. I eventually landed on eBooks, and that’s really what catapulted that success and allowed me to quit that fulltime job. So, of course, I decided to start a second business just this year to teach people how to do that quickly.

Diane Sanfilippo: So what did you find along the way? Because we’ve definitely had tons of questions about different streams of income to have from a blog, and the way that I monetize my work is very different from the way a lot of people monetize theirs, just kind of across the board. We all have; if you were to look at a pie chart of every blogger, author, etc. income, we all have really different pie charts.

Sylvie McCracken: Yep.

1. How long did it take to become “real” [2:50]

Diane Sanfilippo: But kind of all the same stuff almost, just depending on whether or not someone has done a printed published book or not, and then eBooks and programs and all that good stuff. What was the learning curve and what was the process like in the beginning when you were doing ads. Can you give folks any idea; you don’t have to give super specific info, but just kind of where that level really changed and where the money became real. You know what I mean?

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think a lot of people are starting out, and they’re like, ok I might be able to make $10 this week from these ads, or like $50. Or you know, we’re talking in the hundreds. But I think once people get to making like the $1-3,000 per month, then they start to realize that there’s a lot more potential there. You know what I mean?

Sylvie McCracken: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: That kind of changes things. So what was that kind of process like for you.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, and that’s an interesting question because I feel like very early on, when I decided this is for real, I’m going to make this a business. Even with the first $50 I made, which was Amazon affiliate revenue, I just turned that straight around, and I was like; who can I hire. How can I reinvest this money to treat this like a business. This is not a hobby, this is not latte money, you know. I wanted to be super intentional with the fact that this was a business.

I was treating it like Michael Phelps treats swimming, you know, where it’s like this is my ticket out of the job world and into the entrepreneur world. When I finally realized, I am an entrepreneur, I’m meant to be an entrepreneur, that’s where I kind of just put everything into it. All the energy, all the money that was coming in from that hustle back into that hustle.

But as far as turning point financially; I think, I kind of use formulas more than… maybe it’s because I’m a finance major, I don’t know. But for me, even when it was $50, I kind of was trying to analyze, how long did it take me to create this sponsored post that I got paid a couple of hundred dollars for and that’s it, and that post continues to bring traffic and I don’t get paid any longer for it, versus this eBook that continues to sell despite the fact that I completely abandoned it and moved on to other projects.

So, once I kind of passed it through that filter of what makes more sense long term, it’s that and it’s the combo of the control freak part of it too, where it’s like, the ad thing and the sponsor thing, it made me feel like I wasn’t in control of my blog .and it made it feel jobby, you know. First of all, I wasn’t making a lot of money with ads because I was so picky about what I would allow to show up and wouldn’t allow to show up. So once I was restricting all food, all skin care, everything, it was like I was only allowing car ads or something like that. It was like, yeah that’s not going to pay the bills. And in Los Angeles, with 5 people, the amount of money that to me is real money is a lot of money. {laughs} So that was basically it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think sometimes, of course the amount that we need to live in different places of the country. When I say real money, I just mean, for the person who has started out and then all of a sudden they’re like; oh, we’re not talking tens of dollars or even hundreds, then they’re finally getting into the thousands.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that becomes a turning point. And I think also; for you, do you think that kind of the marker of someone who really is taking their blog and turning it into something that really is a legit business and you could say that pretty much anywhere in the country. I mean, the way I see it, it’s kind of almost like a 6 figure thing.

Sylvie McCracken: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, yeah you could be doing this on 5 figures for sure in many parts of the country, but I think kind of that marker of, you now are not concerned that you need another job or whatever really living anywhere, you know what I mean. I think that’s kind of that marker for a lot of people.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, absolutely. And I think; that’s the funny thing because my day job was a 6-figure job. So, when it became really clear. I started kind of doing the numbers, and at first when I was making just a few hundred bucks with my blog I thought; well this is going to take forever, number one. And I was discouraged, but still hanging in there. And also thinking; well, I don’t really need 6 figures if we live somewhere else. So of course, my thought pattern was, well what if I’m able to earn half of that money. You know, 60 grand let’s say, and move elsewhere. I mean, it got to the point where I was drawing out scenarios; and I was like, it is worth it to me to live in a trailer in Wisconsin if I get to be an entrepreneur.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Sylvie McCracken: I mean, It’s kind of depressing and pathetic, but I mean, it’s true. I was like; I don’t need 6 figures.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Sylvie McCracken: I was like; I need to be an entrepreneur first, and then the money can come later. And then of course I did reach 6 figures in my business within 18 months, but I didn’t know that going in.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Sylvie McCracken: I guess I didn’t believe in myself enough going in.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well I think the mindset that you’re talking about, too; that’s exactly what I try and say. I know coming up on an episode soon I’ll probably be doing an interview that’s like a reverse interview, because actually Erich, my publisher, is like I really think I should interview you for your podcast.

Sylvie McCracken: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because people don’t really know, they don’t know the whole story. They might know bits and pieces of it, but one part of it was the same way. I was making 6 figures and quit that job, and I was like, ok well I can’t afford this apartment anymore {laughs} so I have to move. And you know it was the same thing; it wasn’t like I was doing my business for latte money.

Sylvie McCracken: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: Which I think that’s kind of a really good example. Some people do just want to have it as a side thing. They don’t want it to necessarily cost them money, but it doesn’t need to make much for it to be kind of worthwhile as a hobby or something like that. But yeah, for people listening, I think it’s great to hear that it took 18 months for me; it was faster but it wasn’t just a blog. I was focused on a lot of different things, so I think that it varies so much depending on the type of work that you’re doing.

2. Shifting from blogging to a business [9:13]

Diane Sanfilippo: So, when you’re talking about that transition, you were blogging regularly. How regularly were you blogging? How often were you doing a sponsored post? What all fed into the model that you had for earning money that first 18 months, and then when you switched it over, how did you shift? Because you do still blog.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah. And I wish I could tell you; the advice I’d love to give is to be more consistent. I’m not super consistent. At the time I was kind of all over the place. I was going from blogging 3 times a week to once a week to life getting in the way and blogging once a month. Because I did have a pretty hectic day job, and if we were in production, then I didn’t exist anywhere else. So it just kind of depended.

I was also all over the place in terms of; let me try ads, let me try sponsors; let me try an eBook; and figuring it all out. If I had known that I could do it this quickly if I had focused on one thing, I would have been quicker. Because out of those 18 months, 12 of them at least were while I was working full time, so it wasn’t even that much time spent. And it was a roller coaster in terms of; I was like, this is great! This sucks. This is great! This sucks. {laughs} And everywhere in between, right?

So, yeah I don’t know. I don’t know if that answers the questions. As far as sponsored posts, I didn’t do that many because very quickly I realized; my peers were doing sponsored posts, and they had massive traffic because they were blogging for years, and I had been blogging for however many months, so my traffic was maybe 50,000 unique visitors a month, or 60 something like that, so of course I wouldn’t be able to charge the same rate for those sponsored posts. And I was like, well forget this. {laughs} It’s going to take me the same amount of time, let me just write for myself. And at the end, the call to action would be to buy my eBook. So I’m my own sponsor.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, totally. I’m kind of on that route too; I’ve never had ads or sponsored posts. The only thing we do sponsorship for is the Balanced Bites podcast, and mostly that was a choice because we wanted to bring some fun brands that we liked to people, and I think that I’m with you on that. I didn’t want to be dealing with ads that are kind of random, and just taking it for the sake of taking it, you know? Because it’s going to bring money into that avenue.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, and there were some companies that, you know I think are great and I love their product; it wasn’t a hell no, it was just, I don’t know. I wanted to spend my time differently.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Sylvie McCracken: It was just one of those, I just don’t feel like it. I don’t even have a good reason to say now.

Diane Sanfilippo: I also think that the rates people expect to pay for certain things just never really add up.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Even, I think that’s true even with the podcast. When I look at how much work goes into it, and how much time has gone into building the audience on the Balanced Bites podcast, I looked at some random places to find out rates we should charge, and it’s tough because it’s not like we’re having Amazon run ads.

Sylvie McCracken: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re having these small companies run ads. So the amount that’s reasonable for them to pay; it’s the people you want to promote, they don’t have millions of dollars in ad budget, you know.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So it’s a fine line, and I think if people want to take sponsorships or run ads, then you do it because you really love the thing and you just want to do it.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Or, you know, the way I do it now is I just post about stuff I like, you know, wherever on Instagram, and there’s no commitment. I don’t have to tell them; I’ll post this many number of times.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

3. Passive income with eBooks [12:39]

Diane Sanfilippo: I think it’s different for everyone, though. I think people will be curious about the eBook situation. {laughs} So I know that we both agree that passive income is pretty critical as part of somebody’s business. And what we mean by that is, something that earns money without your time right now directly in relation to earning. So you’re not getting paid for this one hour of consultation, or it’s not you go teach a class for this many hours, this many people come, you make this much money. It’s kind of an open ended thing where you spend a certain amount of time, but the amount of earnings is very open ended.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s very, the potential is just there all the time. How did you turn that around? Because obviously you were working full time and then made the transition to your blog. And if your traffic wasn’t huge compared to what you knew; I mean, I know you were in some blogger networks and things like that. I’ve never {laughs} I’ve never really dabbled in that stuff because I can’t handle all the information. I’m like, I’m just going to do my thing over here. So I have no concept of how good is good traffic; how much traffic should someone have?

Sylvie McCracken: Right, right.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t know any of that. So where do people start with figuring out; am I even getting enough people to my site to then make this thing sell? I can see someone listening like, ok great I can write an eBook; but it’s not like, if you build it they will come. People will have to get there. So what’s that system like?

Sylvie McCracken: And that’s the thing; you’ve got to kind of make that determination for yourself. I think, I’ve got people that have no blog come to me, and say hey, can I take your course about creating passive income with eBooks, and I’m like, well you can, but no. I would recommend you at least have a small audience. That said, other people are like, well I don’t have a massive audience, so I probably shouldn’t do it until then. Well, actually, the audience you have right now, even though it’s small, is coming to your blog and leaving with nothing to buy. So I don’t agree with that either.

And I also think that your first eBook, no matter how much help you have on it, no matter how much advice you take on it, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s; you’re going to learn by doing, not by sitting around thinking about doing. So you’ve got to get that first one out, and make all the mistakes you need to make in that process and the learning curve and everything else. And then move onto the second one, which will sell a lot better.

As far as traffic numbers; I can tell you that when I did my first eBook, I launched it 6 months after starting my blog. My traffic, I don’t remember it exactly, but it was tiny. And of course, it didn’t sell like hotcakes the minute I launched it, but that’s where the network did absolutely help me in terms of just having friends in the blogosphere and having an affiliate program where they were promoting my eBook, etc. But that helped sort of in the long term. It didn’t help instantly, because it’s not like you come out of nowhere and say, hey, promote my stuff! And people will just jump on it. After a while, when they learn you’re legit, your stuff is quality stuff, which is my other point.

I’ve seen a lot of people try an eBook and fail miserably, and then they give up on the whole eBook thing. And it’s like; well, was that a topic, how did you pick that topic, A, you know, and look at it. How much time or money did you spend on making that look the part, as well? So I’m a big fan of outsourcing all the things, and one of the main things is design and editing and treating this like it’s a print book that you expect to be on the New York Times’ best seller look, because why not? It’s representing your brand, so it should be.

Diane Sanfilippo: So are you primarily, or are you only, selling your eBooks through your website? And if so, or are they also on Amazon for kindle; how are you doing that?

Sylvie McCracken: They’re on my website, they’re PDFs on my website. I have two out of three of them; so my eBooks are Paleo Made Easy, which is just a general transitioning your family to paleo book, then it’s the Gelatin Secret, and then it’s the SIBO Solution, which is all about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. And the first two are in Amazon as a paperback, and not available to kindle because it just destroys the formatting, honestly, and also because kindle doesn’t allow you to price it more than $9.99, and I just don’t want to be unfair to the people that are paying $25 on my site by offering it at $10 on Amazon kindle. So a bit of both; but also I don’t like how they butcher the formatting entirely.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Sylvie McCracken: I’ve spent so much money on a designer to make them look beautiful, and have great pictures and all of that, so that’s how they’re available right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, the formatting on kindle is totally brutal. So is it like a print on demand? How is the paperback, how is that situation?

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, it’s create space. So we just put it on there; I literally did it. It’s kind of funny, because I just did it because I wanted a print copy just to have on my bookshelf as a little badge of honor, because my blood, sweat, and tears went into it.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: And so the designer was like; well it’s going to cost $300 to do that, I was like, that’s fine, whatever, that’s just the money I’m going to spend on a print copy for myself.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: And then I told my assistant; let’s just throw it up on Amazon, see what happens. Literally, not even one link from my blog to Amazon, nobody. Well now, now your readers know {laughs} that it’s on there. But I literally haven’t announced it at all, and my assistant, only; if customer service, if she gets an email saying, I wish it was in print, she sends them the link. But otherwise, on my site there’s only the PDF copy. And they’re selling really well, which was kind of a surprise. I guess it’s just that organic traffic from Amazon, so that’s a lesson learned. So I’ll do the same with the SIBO Solution at some point.

And to be fair to the people that are buying it on my site, I priced it higher as a paperback on Amazon, and make pretty much no money on it. {laughs} Because a lot of the cost is just in printing it and all of that, so obviously I make much more money on my site. But there’s that option. Since they all are half cookbook, a lot of people do like that print aspect, as well, so I totally get that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So what are some things that you like to tell people, because I know you do some business coaching as well, and it sounds like you had a really strong, just as you said, finance background, you were working in finance before. So we kind of have slightly similar but really different; because I come from a super creative, marketing-oriented, not necessarily finance-oriented background.

When I started out my blog and all this stuff; making money was never really the hard part. But kind of getting it all organized, and figure out what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to make and all of that, that was kind of the harder part for me. Although I wouldn’t necessarily call it that; I think it’s just been a ball of process and rainbow string all this crazy stuff coming out of whatever I’m creating. But I think a lot of people just don’t know; how do I get started? How do I get focused? What do I pick to do?

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

4. Advice for those who don’t know where to get started [19.34]

Diane Sanfilippo: For the person; you know we’ve got two kinds of people. Some people are like me, where they have tons of ideas and just don’t know how to focus and I just make it up as I go along {laughs}, because people are like, what do you mean you don’t know how to focus? You guys do so much over there. I’m like, well now. {laughs} And then some people are like; I don’t even know what my thing is. They don’t know what to start or what their product could be or should be. What advice do you have for those people? Or either side?

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, you know I think, I’m a multi-passionate entrepreneur as well; obviously, I have two businesses in two completely different niches, so I totally get the “squirrel!” think, like, which way do I go, what do I focus on. I just used a basic Venn diagram for that kind of thing. I have, in my free three-part video series; is it ok if I mention the link to that?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, you can totally mention that. Of course.

Sylvie McCracken: Ok. So I have a free three-part video series, and that’s at, and actually in the third video it’s all about selecting your topic for your eBook. And I’ve found some people that don’t have a blog actually use the same methods, or most of them, for figuring out what to blog about.

So a couple of things we talk about there; obviously, a lot of people take their passion and run with it, and that’s great, but I think that’s a mistake because obviously you’ve got to have, it’s a little Venn diagram with your passion on one side, and then what people are going to actually want from you and want enough that they’re going to pay you money for. And that part where it intersects, that’s that sweet spot where, you need to run with that.

Because I’ve seen that a lot, where I’ve got people that have these beautifully designed eBooks, and I’m like; dude, the topic is wrong. {laughs} The topic is all wrong; what are we going to do with that, how do we fix that? Well, we can’t. It’s too late. There’s no cover, there’s no title that can fix it.

So, I think you need to get really detailed into that. And there’s a few ways you can do it. You can survey your audience, of course. You can just kind of pay attention to what your audience is resonating with. And it doesn’t take a huge audience. When I did The Gelatin Secret, I just went into my Google analytics, and it was like, my top posts by far were all about gelatin. I had a post about how gelatin is like Botox, and that was like, I don’t know, half my traffic was to that post. And then the bone broth one, etc.; so it was kind of easy to see, and I was obsessed at the time.

Again, that passion; my daughter was going through scoliosis surgery, and so we were prepping for surgery, recovering from surgery, etc. And so I was knee deep in bone health research. So I was like, ok great, I can marry my passion; this obsession with gelatin, and trying to sneak it into her in as many different ways as I can, and also the fact that people are clearly; they’re interested in the wrinkles, but whatever. So that’s how that came to be.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think I put up a blog post years ago, and when I worked at Lululemon for a little while, they have us do the Venn diagram. They called it a hedgehog, and it was actually a third circle in the diagram where it was, what are you most passionate about, what will people pay you for, and what are you best in the world at? And I think that, obviously saying I’m best in the world at this! It’s kind of like, best in your own world.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So it’s like, for some people, really good examples of that; for some people, they are really great at communicating visually, or they’re really great at being on video, or they’re really great at writing or they’re really great at design. They’re really great at something that is outside the passion realm. So it’s like; what I’m really great at is communicating complicated subjects in simplified terms. That’s something that just over the years I’ve figured out; whether that’s through graphics or through metaphors or the language that I choose to use, that kind of thing.

So when people think of Practical Paleo or whatever it is, it’s very simple and easy to understand, and there’s lots of diagrams and all that stuff. That really marries what I was passionate about most; even 3 years ago, 4 or 5 years ago.

Sylvie McCracken: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: But I think that really is an important point. It’s not just, what are you passionate about.

Sylvie McCracken: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because sometimes you have to take a side step and say; ok, well I’m really passionate about health and wellness, and like you said, you had this thing that did happen to be a big passion of yours that was getting a ton of traffic. But let’s just say for example that you were super passionate about bone health and gelatin or whatever; but then let’s say you looked at your traffic on your website, and what was getting the most hits were slow cooker recipes.

Sylvie McCracken: Right.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know? Then it’s pretty obvious that even though this might be the thing that you might be the most passionate about, obviously somewhere you had an interest in writing about that, and maybe that’s the thing that your audience really wants from you. And you know, for anybody listening, that’s where you have to really look at whether it’s a blog post, whether it’s a post you make anywhere on social media; what the listen stage here; I think it was episode 8 or 9 when I did my talk from PaleoFx; the listen stage, that’s exactly what it is. It’s that research.

Sylvie McCracken: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s like, what do they want? Because I’m only as valuable as creating something that my audience wants from me. I think you can make something, right, that you want to make, and that’s cool.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: If you just wanted to make the Gelatin Secret and it really didn’t do that well, you do it because you want to do it. And maybe later it does well. You never really know what’s going to happen with that stuff. It’s not for nothing if you have that creative bug.

Sylvie McCracken: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: But I think you’re right, finding that sweet spot. So here’s the other thing…

Sylvie McCracken: The other thing is,

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, sorry.

Sylvie McCracken: I did that with the Gelatin Secret, and then I broke all my own rules with the SIBO Solution because I was like, I’m going through this anyway, I’m researching this for myself, so I’m packaging this up and I’m going to put it out there. And if it helps anyone, if anybody wants to buy it, awesome, and if they don’t, I really don’t care. {laughs} I’m doing it anyway.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Sylvie McCracken: And then it surprised me and it selling well. But see, we have that luxury at a certain point.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Sylvie McCracken: Once we don’t really need the money, we can do whatever want. If I want to draw pictures of kittens and try to sell that, then you know. I mean that’s my prerogative. And as a rebel, you know, we get to do that.

5. What to use for free content and what to sell [25:52]

Diane Sanfilippo: So a couple more questions. One actually is, you’re saying, there’s a guide for SIBO on my website too, and it happens to be free. I haven’t seen yours; I don’t know if you’ve seen mine, so I don’t even know what the different types of content are.

Sylvie McCracken: Oh, I’ll have to send you.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I don’t know what the different content is, but like you’re saying, when we get to a point in our business where we can pick and choose, what do I want to put up for free and what do I want to put for sale, I’m curious what advice or recommendations you have to people who, they are just starting. Should they have something first that’s free, like some kind of lead magnet or opt in offer, or something like that. Or do you think if they’re creating content for 6 months or something like that, go ahead and put something up that’s for sale and don’t worry about having something that you do offer for free, besides your blog?

Sylvie McCracken: I mean, I think you should have both. And even with the SIBO one as an example; I have quite a bit, some of my most frequently asked questions, they’re for free as a blog post on there, so I can direct people to that. And then of course, at the end of that blog post there’s a call to action saying; hey, did you know I have a whole book on this. But as far as a lead magnet, you absolutely need to do that. And I think that you could practice your eBook game with your lead magnet absolutely, and make a mini-eBook and kind of get into that flow of writing in a booky type way as opposed to bloggy. {laughs} I’m sure these are the technical terms.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: And you know, also practice a little bit of designing it yourself, or try your hand at outsourcing which is something that is absolutely, I’m totally obsessed with, and get that on your site and see how that does. But I think the sooner you have something for sale, as well, it’s important. And I’ve seen a lot of people that, because you’re going to burn out.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Sylvie McCracken: You’ve mentioned this before, too; it’s just kind of a mindset thing of like, when people hear what am I best in the world at, they kind of freak out because we’re so used to being so modest.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: And we do have to really kind of figure out; I actually kick ass at XYZ. And own it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Sylvie McCracken: And put it up there. And also; the truth is, if you’re not going to, if you have to hold a full time day gig, you’re not going to be able to help that many people with your blog. You’re going to burn out. You only have so many hours in a day, so if you really want to make it your full time gig; guess what? It’s time to sell something. {laughs}

And it’s not evil, and you can absolutely help people change their lives, and absolutely make great money while doing it. They’re not mutually exclusive things. So people need to get over that. And we’ve all had to get over it at some point or another.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think a lot of people become very apologetic about having prices on things, and I do think in the health sphere it’s probably one of the hardest to get over.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because you feel like you have this answer to help people with their health, and that’s something that feels intimidating to say, well I have to put a price tag on it, so it’s not for everyone, and you really do want to help everyone.

Sylvie McCracken: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: But that’s the beauty of where the blog comes in. I mean, you can put a ton of information that people can take and run with. And so many people are; they’re buying books, and they’re saying, reviews, sometimes there’s a negative review. And it’s like; you could get all this on a blog. And you’re like, well maybe you could get a lot of it, but not all of it, and not organized in this way, and not as comprehensive.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So it’s like, yes you can get a lot of it, and the purpose is because it’s like we want people to be able to help themselves as much as possible without worrying that the money is a barrier for them if that’s an issue.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah. And you don’t have to sell things at a really expensive price, either. If you want to price an eBook at $10, then do it. But the truth is, a lot of people would love for you to just sell that information in a packaged way, because they don’t have 20 hours to be Googling on your blog to find it. They want it just wrapped up in a little bow, and they’re happy to give you $10, you’ve helped them so much. So I think that’s a mindset shift and people just need to get over that and go ahead and do one anyway. And eBooks are the best way to start, because they’re a low price product. So if you’ve got issues with selling, then definitely jump into eBooks before you jump into video courses, for example. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, low price to produce, low price to charge. I love eBooks, and really the first program that I was selling, 21-Day Sugar Detox, outside of my own one on one coaching, outside of seminars, it was a $21 eBook and I was paying the rent with that thing not that long into selling it, you know? I want to say 6 months to a year into selling it, it was covering my rent, and then further and further, it became a multi-6 figure business.

Sylvie McCracken: And you were able to help so many more people than you had time to do one on one, it’s not even funny.

Diane Sanfilippo: For sure. Yeah, for sure. And also then to bring people onto the team and employ them.

6. Using social media in your business [30:35]

Diane Sanfilippo: So, last question. I think a lot of folks get really intimidated by social media, and they feel like if their social media following does not have 100,000 followers on every platform, or whatever, that they will not be able to have a strong viable business. And I’m looking at your Facebook page;

Sylvie McCracken: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: You have almost 12,000 folks on Facebook. Which, you’re laughing because you feel like, compared to a lot of people it’s not a lot. But people listening are like, well I have 500. So 12,000 is huge. And the way Facebook is growing lately, it doesn’t grow that fast right now.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s kind of backed out. It used to grow at a normal pace; not a, this person shared some kind of cookie recipe and the internet went crazy for the cookie and now there’s like half a million people on the page. {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: And Instagram you’ve got about 1600 at this point. And Pinterest; you have a really nice Pinterest page here. So what’s your take on that? I don’t even have at the top of whatever the number’s game of people in our little paleo real food sphere might have, but I’m not at all sweating it over here. So, what do you think about that? What do you tell people who are concerned?

Sylvie McCracken: And it’s funny, because you mention the 12,000 on Facebook, but in my new business, which I’ve only had a Facebook page for, I don’t know ,a couple of months, whenever I decided to start it, it’s got like 200 people on it. So it’s even worse over there.

And I think social media is definitely something you should focus on in terms of, if somebody is starting a blog, go ahead and grab your handle in every single place, absolutely. You’ve got to pick one or two places that are going to be your jam that is best for either what you do; like, if it’s food, obviously Pinterest, Instagram, that’s kind of where the food is at. Or whatever you’re good at, whatever you enjoy doing, and in my case, I like to use my assistant to kind of; what do you call it? Recycle blog posts on there and then I like to come in and engage personally one on one and answer all the comments myself and all of that good stuff.

But the thing is; social media, what’s the point I guess would be my question. I mean, is it to; how do you kind of translate that into revenue? Because if this is a business, and we’re helping people, there’s two things we have to focus on. Number one; how is it going to bring in the dollar-dollar bills. {laughs} Right? Because otherwise it’s a hobby. And number two, how are we going to reach all those people?

As you know, you can’t reach all of your Facebook fans. So if you’re not going to bring them onto your newsletter, or bring them in to buy your eBook, or whatever, you’re not really helping them because you’re reaching 3 people.

So social media is great, but I think people are spending all of their time there doing share for share, and I don’t know, trying to share each other’s content, and that’s half of their work time, goes into social media. I mean, it’s not sustainable, it’s not scalable; it’s a hamster wheel. I’m not saying ignore social media; absolutely not. If you go to any of my social media channels, you will see stuff there. But I’m saying, just maybe limit yourself a little bit, and go do the real work. Because that’s revenue producing and it’s going to reach a lot of people. So write a newsletter, create an eBook; that kind of thing. And just use social media to drive traffic to that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think that’s really good advice, and I think not worrying about the scale of the numbers game when you start, because it’s so much more important to make good connections with the people who are there. I’d rather have 1000 really engaged people who are with me, and when I write something they want to say something back, and all of that than 100,000 people who never met me and don’t know why they’re even on the page; they followed it because of a cookie. I’m just {laughs} using the cookie example because I think for a couple of years there we were all kind of watching treat recipes go around and get super popular. And it’s like; well, I could share that, but is that really what I want my message to be. And it doesn’t mean that we never might share something like that, but I think it’s tough because the market is excited about things that we don’t want them to know us for. {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: Totally. I swear, I have one cupcake recipe, and it has a ton of traffic, it always gets the most shares, and likes, and comments. And I’m like; I don’t care about the damn cupcake.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Sylvie McCracken: I’m not making you guys anymore cupcakes, that’s the only one you get.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Sylvie McCracken: But I think that’s important to note, for sure.

7. Sylvie’s video eCourse details [35:01]

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright. Well I know you mentioned quickly your course on eBooks, and I wanted to give you a chance to mention that again because for anybody who is interested, if that’s something that they want to dig in on and get started with, I’m sure they would be psyched to just check out more about that.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, awesome.

Diane Sanfilippo: So where can they find out more?

Sylvie McCracken: So I just have a free three-part video series, so probably for another 10 days it will be up, so they can sign up to get that at, or if they just go to I’ve spammed my whole blog with opt-ins for it.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: And of course, after they go through that three-part video series, they’ll get an invitation to join my paid program, which they can either do or not do. But I highly recommend that people at least watch those first 3 videos; which, the third one especially will help them start the right eBook, which is the one where, if you mess that one up, we can’t go back. And to start thinking about doing that; about having some paid product on their blog.

Or if they’re a coach one on one, just to take a little bit of that time to create this product, and that process is not passive at all. You really have to roll up your sleeves and get into it and create that product and make it awesome, and then have that eBook selling on its own. It’s kind of like insurance for your business, so you can actually have a sick day and not worry about it because money is still coming in, you know.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Yeah, for sure. Awesome. I think it’s always valid to check out things like free videos, or eBooks, or blog posts that people have partially, obviously for the content.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean; why not. You’ve put a lot of time and energy into producing the videos and giving great content. It’s a pretty standard practice right now, where people are like, ok I’m going to give you these videos so you can learn something really great, just like we would do with an opt in offer. I’m going to give you something that you might pay for; this content, I’m sure, that’s in the videos is stuff that people could pay for, and learn from.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: And go off and make their own money; but then, of course, the thing that’s bigger, better, more comprehensive will be behind a payment. But I think part of it, part of the reason I like for people to opt-in and watch the videos is, also to see how that all works.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, for sure.

Diane Sanfilippo: To see what happens. Because not only do you learn about eBooks, but now you learn about …

Sylvie McCracken: Launching. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Launching. Yeah, like you’ve got these videos. So I think as a business owner, part of us consuming other people’s content is to learn something for ourselves about what we’re going to do from the content itself, and then just from how the content is presented and made. That’s the thing that I always love to just absorb.

Sylvie McCracken: Yeah, totally. If anyone wants to stalk the launch, that’s great too.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: But, the funny thing too, I didn’t even realize how much fun the comments under the videos would be. I’ve gotten a lot; some familiar faces.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, that’ s cool.

Sylvie McCracken: But it’s just really cool to kind of interact with people, and be like, oh this is your biggest struggle, that’s kind of awesome. Once you’ve heard it 10 times, you’re like; well now I have a whole new idea for a whole new course. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. Oh, that’s awesome. I’m really excited for you.

Sylvie McCracken: Thank you.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s cool; I’m really glad you got this going, and I’m glad that we had a chance to talk today.

So for those of you guys who are not yet on Periscope, Sylvie lives in Abu Dhabi. We forgot to mention that, right now. So last night, kind of late, we were both kind of on Pat Flynn’s scope, just randomly. I’m like; oh let me see what he’s doing. He’s always recording his podcasts at like 10 o’clock at night. I’m like, he’s crazy.

Sylvie McCracken: That’s insane. And then he gets up and does the miracle morning at like 5 in the morning.

Diane Sanfilippo: He is so crazy. I mean crazy in a good way. But he’s here on the west coast, and we were like hey, hey! And I remember saying I wanted to interview you; this was probably last week, but then we had a launch for our coaches program, 21-Day Sugar Detox coaches program was launched as of last week, and we only have that up for another week.

Sylvie McCracken: Nice!

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it’s just crazy. So I remember just, oh shoot I wanted to grab you for an interview. So we kind of reconnected right there on Periscope. And we’re like, ok let’s do this real quick tomorrow morning. So this episode is going to go live today.

Sylvie McCracken: Awesome.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re recording this Monday morning, and it’s going to go live in probably just a couple of hours.

Sylvie McCracken: Awesome. Well I’ll be asleep, it’s my Monday night.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} You’re in the future.

Sylvie McCracken: I am in the future for sure. It’s 100 degrees, it’s 7 p.m.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Sylvie McCracken: It’s crazy.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well soon we’ll be back to the future, because I think the date of the Back to the Future car is coming up, October 21, from what I hear. October 21, 2015. Yeah. Alright, we better wrap this up, because I know my team is waiting for my Monday call that we do every week. But you guys can find out more about Sylvie at We’ll put it up on the website, so if you go to you can find a link. or

Sylvie McCracken: Yep. That’s me.

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome! Thank you so much for joining me!

Sylvie McCracken: Thank you so much Diane!

Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. That was fun.

Sylvie McCracken: Talk to you soon.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok bye-bye.

Sylvie McCracken: Bye.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey guys, I’m so glad you’re loving the show. Let me ask you to do me a favor; come follow me on Periscope. You can find me; I believe you can search Diane Sanfilippo, or you can search @BalancedBites, which is my Twitter handle, which is the account name over on Periscope. I am going to start doing live sessions, really quick thoughts for the day. I’m not sure if it I will be every day, but it will be pretty often, and some Q&A on business topics and motivation, inspiration, etc. So make sure you’re following me over on Periscope. Download the app in the app store, and I will see you there.

That’s all I’ve got for you guys today. Don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes so you don’t miss an episode. And drop me a review to let me know what’s speaking to you from the show. If you want to get in on the conversation and you haven’t yet joined the group already on Facebook, head on over there and join the Build a Badass Business group. I share insights and tips regularly, as well as answer your questions right there on the page. Do work that you love, and hustle to make your business grow like your life depends on it, because it does. Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you on the next episode.

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