There are so many amazingly smart people in our community, I've decided to take advantage with impromptu interviews conducted in the group. This one with Tracy Roberts & Susanne Myers of Piggy Makes Bank was great!
What is it like to partner on a big business like Piggy Makes Bank? Is it challenging to share decision making about everything – or does it make it better?
Susanne: It makes it better. Somehow it's always felt natural … from day one. We have very different skill sets and our minds work differently. That's important for two reasons:
- It makes it easy to divide up tasks and responsibilities. Plus, neither one of us has to do the stuff we really don't want to do (with rare exceptions… like when Tracy takes off on a cruise and I have to deal with customer support emails)
- It helps us quickly move through ideas and decide if it's something we should be doing or not. We get to see it from two different angles and can either quickly decide to ditch the idea if it doesn't really make sense for us, or tweak it to make it work. If we are both really excited about something, it's usually a big winner.
In short, two minds are better than one.
How do you choose topics for the PLR you create?
Susanne: We do it in a few different ways. We typically get together (virtually), to plan out a good bit of the year ahead in one go. For example, we already have topics chosen for our main business packs for all of 2019. With big batches like that we try to hit the main points. For online business that means we make sure we have a few packs about traffic, a few about list building, and a few about marketing / sales / product creation… that type of thing. Just covering all the main sub-topics over the course of the year.
We also work in topics that are important to use. “The Power of One” packs for self-help & business are a great example of that. We both felt that it was important to get the message out that one person can make a difference.
Then there are those moments when inspiration strikes and we just run with it. I remember taking a hot shower (TMI?) when I came up with the idea for the bone broth pack. We launched it 4 days later. Or we may jump on a trend. I remember we did a Pokemon Go business marketing pack when that craze was going on.
Anything you want to add Tracy?
Tracy: That's about how we roll. We have an idea of the topics we want to write about in each niche and then fill in with stuff that sounds fun or is important to us personally.
Susanne: We're asked quite a bit about our partnership and we can't figure out what the secret sauce is. I can tell you that it's a bit like a good marriage. You both have to actively work on making the relationship thrive.
Tracy: We took a personality test yesterday and each got the same results. I find that interesting. We're so similar in some ways and different in others but, in such a way that complements each other.
You don't live in the same area. Does this ever present challenges for your partnership?
Tracy: There are times when it would be convenient to be together in person for coffee and business talk but honestly, most of that can be accomplished remotely thanks to technology. Besides, living in different places gives us an excuse to travel.
Susanne: I agree… and I think it helps us focus too. We call each other, hash things out, and then get to work. As an introvert I actually appreciate the fact that Tracy isn't popping in for coffee all the time. Though it would be nice if we could see each other a little more often than we do. We're working on it
Tracy: It's also nice so that she can't see when I'm NOT working.
Susanne: Just thought of something that can be a challenge. When talking strategy particularly, it would be nice to be in the same room together with a big white board to map things out. We can usually get our point across in text or talking on the phone, but there have been times when one of us drew a mindmap or doodle of something, took a picture, and sent it to the other one. We always find a workaround, but yes, there are challenges because we don't live in the same town (or state).
We do however live close enough that we often end up in the path of the same hurricane which brings it's own challenges.
You rock your email marketing game… what do you get really excited to share with your community?
Tracy: We like sharing things that make sense. For example, if we've created a product that sells well then it makes sense to recommend similar PLR from other sellers because people always need more content. We also like sharing business resources that we know provide the level of quality service that we expect.
Susanne: Yes, and honestly, if we aren't excited about it or about how what we share will help our readers, we don't share.
Do you outsource the writing of some of your content?
Asked by Tara Alexandra. More of her question: The first year in business, were you writing it all yourself? And, if so, did you dedicate certain days of the week or times of the day to do your writing? Early mornings, late at night — something in between? Did you have a writing “routine”?
Susanne: I'm the writer in this partnership and yes, I wrote every single piece of content in the beginning (for well over a year if memory serves). Tracy did all the editing, formatting, and actually getting the packs up for sale (among other things). Pretty much most of what I did was writing.
I'm a work at home mom, so much of what I get done happens during school hours. I also find that I'm most productive between 8am and 2pm (or sometimes just 12 noon), and I do my best to hit my writing goals during that time. I start from a rough outline and start writing. If I am working on a big project (say an eBook), I like to break it down into 500 word chunks and put those on my to-do list for the day.
Otherwise, if it's a set amount of articles or emails I want to get written that day. I write fast and furious, taking short breaks in between. If I'm really busy, or having one of those days where the words don't flow, I find it helps my productivity to set a timer and try to beat it. I set a countdown timer on my phone for 15 minutes and do my best to have the article or chunk of words done in that time.
Tara Alexandra: I loved learning about your writing routine and how you create your content. This is so interesting!
Susanne: Yes, we outsource some of our writing now. To be perfectly honest, I had a hard time letting go of that. But, we have an awesome team of writers now thanks to Tracy. We work closely together and I still do a lot of the content planning / outlining. As far as writing goes, I'm now in a position where I mostly just write what I want to write. I enjoy the creative process and it's amazing to just do what I love for a living.
I'm very list driven. My to-do list holds me accountable and makes me feel accomplished.
Tara Alexandra: Susanne, what's so cool about this is how fast you got to creating exactly what you wanted to do for a living. Of course, I'm looking at this juxtaposed to the 3 year journey of Piggy Makes Bank. And I know both of you and the business are a culmination of many years of dedication, focus, and doing the work. One step to the next step to … here we are today!
Susanne: Yep… it's an overnight success a decade in the making :)
What if you had it to do all over again? What would you do differently and more importantly, what would you have done the SAME way?
Asked by Avery Wilmer.
Susanne: Great question. I'm not sure I would have done anything differently. It worked really well. Tracy will probably tell you that she would have pushed me towards outsourcing sooner. Part of me agrees, but the other part likes the financial security it gave us (low risk, hardly any out of pocket cost).
Tracy: A little back story, when Susanne mentioned trying PLR I was ready to quit. Like completely walk away from online business – giving up on over 10 years of blood, sweat, tears and learning. I. Was. DONE! However, because I LOVE Susanne and because I knew that in this endeavor I would only have to do the tasks I loved doing because she would do the ones I hated (and vice versa), I told her I would give it a try. But, I really was kinda hoping it would flop. I was ready to stop.
I honestly wouldn't have tried it if Susanne wasn't in the mix. I would have happily walked away but we joined forces and started with just one small product. And then the next one and then the next one and then she had me adding 4 products a month to the “store”. Each month we made more than we had the previous month. Now remember…there are TWO of us which mean we have to make TWICE as much – and because I didn't want to let her down I kept on working and so did she. So differently…nothing comes to mind – maybe meeting up in person more but, everything else I would do the same over again.
What is your best advice for those who may have multiple talents/giftings/interests and who struggle to figure out what they should go with first?
Asked by Suzanne Sukhram-Farmer.
Susanne: I think the key is striking a balance and finding some middle ground between doing what you love and are most excited about and something that has a proven track record that you know you can turn into something profitable. Let me give you an example to illustrate.
Since, I was a little girl I had this dream of being a writer. Back in the day I wanted to write a few bestselling novels. Part of me is still excited about fiction, though these days if I were to pursue it, it would be a series of cozy mysteries or maybe some historical romance. While that might work, I know I'm a good non-fiction writer with a proven track record in biz and self-help content. Plus, I have years and years of experience blogging about cooking, frugal living etc. Doing what I know, I know I can be successful and I make a nice living as a writer. It may not be the next bestselling novel, but I am a professional writer.
Hope that makes sense & helps you figure out what you should go after first. The most important thing is to pick something and go after it. If you don't try, you don't have a shot at succeeding.
Tracy: We've had the privilege of having several wonderful mentors in our business. One of my favorite things, and one of the reasons our partnership works so well, is that we only do the things we LOVE doing. We try to stay in our Zones of Genius and it really keeps us in our happy place. That's not to say that we don't cross-train.
Susanne can be found answering emails when I go dark while cruising or we have a hurricane and in a pinch I can write. I have found through trial and error that while I thought I was a writer ( I can write a mean email) I really don't enjoy sitting down and writing. I'd rather interact with our customers and affiliates and writers and other fun stuff. Figure out those 3-4 things you love and then decide what you'd rather not do. That's where I'd start.
What these gals have been able to create in just two years is inspiring to say the least. I hope you've gained insight that serves you and remember Piggy Makes Bank anytime you need PLR :)