How Becky Mollenkamp saves $1200 a year with Podia
January 3, 2019
After embarking into the world of selling online courses, Becky Mollenkamp knew online entrepreneurship was for her. But she wasn’t content to rest on her laurels and rely on her courses alone to bring in a steady income for her family.
She knew she needed to expand by starting a membership program if she really wanted traction.
Unfortunately, the platform she was using to sell her courses didn’t give her access to the membership software she needed to make it happen.
So she made the switch to one that did, and she couldn’t be happier.
And with numbers like these, we’re not surprised:
$120.00 a year saved on Google Drive storage for her video content
$720.00 a year saved on administrative fees for managing her membership
$360.00 a year saved in hosting platforms for her courses and digital downloads
$302.72 earned through the affiliate program
$10,000.00 annual income for her membership program
Though like most people, Becky began her journey with some reservations.
“I was like, ‘Well, that sounds too good to be true.’ And I have been taught in life when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” Becky says.
“But in this case, it's an easy to use tool with incredible customer service and pricing that feels too good to be true but is true.”
How Becky started selling online courses
There was a period in Becky’s life when she could pull 2 a.m. nights. Trading her time for her income -- like most people at an hourly or salary job -- was fine.
But when she welcomed her child into the world two years ago, the writing was on the wall.
Doling out her hours in exchange for her livelihood wasn’t going to work anymore.
She simply didn’t have enough hours left in the day to squander them. With limited childcare and a little one to take care of, she started looking for alternative solutions.
An avid member of several Facebook groups, she had heard about the advantages of online entrepreneurship and realized it could be the catalyst for the change she needed.
Specifically, Becky kept hearing about online courses.
Coming from a background in education and with a love of teaching already well instilled, Becky began to explore the possibility of taking her traditional education training to the online world.
But like most people just dipping their toes into selling online courses, she didn’t know exactly what direction she should go in. She had the drive to succeed, but she needed an idea to give that drive purpose.
And after enough people suggested she teach a master class on LinkedIn, she found it.
That’s when “Own it. Crush it: LinkedIn” a course on all the ins-and-outs for small businesses on LinkedIn, was born.
When it came time to pick a platform for hosting her course, her choices seemed limited. All she had heard of was Teachable and Thinkific. She went with Thinkific.
“I had only heard of basically two platforms, Thinkific and Teachable. Everyone talked about them. They said they were basically the same, so you just pick one. And I just kind of picked one.”
It was “all good enough,” at first.
She was able to get her courses looking decent and start selling them, though the monthly price out of her budget hurt.
This is a peek at her original storefront:
With killer design like that, it’s hard to imagine any platform where her courses wouldn’t look good.
But when it came time to expand her business to more than online courses, she knew there was trouble ahead.
Hacking it all together and manually sending invoices through PayPal sounded like (and indeed, she says, would have been) a nightmare for her with her limited schedule.
Which is when her business coach suggested Podia. Becky was resistant at first.
“She finally chipped away at me,” Becky recalls, “I was like a petulant child huffing, ‘Fine. I'll do it if you'll leave me alone.’ ”
So she took a look, and she liked what she saw.
But what tipped her over the edge and made her decide to give Podia a try was the desire to launch a new membership program.
“I mean, my business coach told me about it, but it was the fact that I was getting ready to launch a membership. I couldn't do that on the platform I was using for my courses.”
With the switch, she had the means to launch her membership program and manage all of her online courses and digital downloads -- a combined savings of $1200 -- in one place.
Add in the fact that Podia helped her migrate all her students over for free and saved her from the headache of trying to wrangle a new technology, and she was sold.
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How Becky uses Podia to manage her online business
As you probably know, there’s no such thing as a typical day for a creative.
Becky works about three days a week and spends the rest of her time with her two-year-old. When she’s at the computer, she focuses on accomplishing as much as she can during the day.
But the tasks on her docket are never quite repeats.
“So my days, when I'm actually in front of my computer, are spent creating content, managing my membership community, being highly involved in their administrative stuff that I don't always love to do, managing my VA or my team. So it's kind of, you know, all over the map.”
Podia helps her keep her schedule free by handling the nitty-gritty sign-ups in the background, eliminating some of the administrative stuff -- which she’s less-than-a-fan of -- from eating up her precious time.
This help means she can put her nose to the grindstone and focus on growing her business without getting lost in the trenches of juggling invoicing and collections.
And it’s a business she’s expanded a lot over the last two years. She has several products hosted on Podia.
Her first, an ultra-targeted lead magnet, is a free course that captures customers at the top of the sales funnel and gives users the confidence and clarity they need to achieve their business goals.
“My questions are answered … sometimes you guys will even do it for me. For me, that’s priceless, because otherwise, I spin my wheels. I get frustrated,” Becky says.
As much as she wishes she was one of those hip people who loves all things tech, she isn’t.
But Podia has her back.
“You guys could look up how many times I've used chat, but I can tell you it's a lot. And every time I do that it's saving me time, because I'm not having to try and figure something out that would take me forever.”
She hasn’t limited her experience with Podia’s customer service to just having her current problems solved, though.
When she asks if Podia can help her perform a task and it can’t, she isn’t just told ‘no.’ She’s told that they’ll look into it as an expansion -- and in several cases, they made it into a reality.
“...some of the things that I have been like, ‘I wish the thing would do this.’ You guys have made it happen. So that responsiveness is super impressive to me too.”
I’ve had similar experiences as a customer.
When I first joined Podia, everyone told me about how amazing our customer service was.
Sure, I believed it was probably good, but I didn’t see what could make it so showstopping compared to others. Everyone who’s been in business longer than a minute has solid customer service, right?
If you’re signed up for our emails, you probably know this story already.
As CMO of Podia, it’s one of the first I like to tell people.
Once I experienced Podia’s customer service for myself, I got it -- really got it. Podia isn’t just about making itself better. It’s about making the lives of everyone involved better.
Which is how we’re able to make marketing magic with our customers.
How Becky and Podia make marketing magic
Prior to starting her foray in online courses, Becky had been in content marketing for large corporate clients for the past 15 years.
Suffice it to say, she knows how to market her products.
But recently she got her first membership sign-up from a customer who saw her on Podia. No extra promotion needed, no behind the scenes marketing strategy -- just another monthly $25.00 by virtue of being present on Podia.
Annually, that’s $300 extra dollars in her pocket.
“You guys have been great in responding to what I'm doing and doing things to feature me,” Becky tells me.
And it’s true. All of our content is about showcasing our members, and we love to show off our creators on our examples page.
“Up until this point it's been just, you know, people that I already knew from my community that have been joining. And a woman just joined because she saw it on Podia. And that was really a thrill for me.”
A thrill for us, too. But what’s really been Becky’s favorite spot of marketing magic on Podia is the affiliate program.
“Talking about making money in your sleep, I make money in my sleep all the time and it's fantastic.”
There’s nothing that brings her more joy than getting an email in the middle of the night about new income that she didn’t have to create a course for. Just for the value of her recommendation, she regularly receives kickbacks through our refer-a-creator program.
“It's the affiliate program that's brought me the most income,” says Becky while thinking about all of her other affiliate programs,. “It's my highest income-generating affiliate program and I love it.”
Just how much income has she made in her sleep from the affiliate program? To date, she’s pulled in $302.72 while counting sheep.
Having a custom subdomain is another marketing feature she appreciates about her Podia account.
This simple subdomain enables her to sell her suite of products with a clean URL that redirects customers back to everything she can offer. Because of this, she says she’s able to market in a way she could never have before.
And, thanks to Podia’s native integration with ConvertKit, Becky doesn’t lose her ability to target customers based on their behaviors despite having one unified storefront.
This integration is a major boon compared to Thinkific, who -- at least during her tenure -- didn’t allow her to tag customers individually. Having all of her customers under one tag was super frustrating and limited her ability to target her customers with the right email sequences.
Not being able to reach the right customers with the right content is almost as bad as not being able to reach customers at all. Email marketing is only as effective as its reception.
So if you’ve got customers in different stages of the sales funnel receiving the same email, you’re going to miss opportunities -- but with Podia and ConvertKit working together like the most awesome marketing superheroes ever, that’s not something Becky has to worry about.
Speaking of worries, Becky has a few pointers for anyone that might be mulling on theirs.
Becky’s advice for on-the-fencers
If you’re standing on the edge of indecision -- trying to decide if selling online courses or launching a membership program is right for you -- Becky has some time-tested advice from the other side.
1. Look at the whole ‘passive’ income picture
First, Becky recommends thinking about why you’re doing it.
Do you want to sip Mai Tais on the beach while the money rolls in passively? While that idea might be an Instagram cornerstone, you really need to consider all the moving parts involved.
Because although the results may be potentially magical, there’s no quick-hit easy button that makes the money flow in. “It’s a lot of work,” Becky says succinctly.
To keep yourself from wading too far into the deep end too fast, you need to think about the upkeep of the courses, messaging, and marketing, and every other cog that goes into the online business machine.
2. Learn everything you can about your future product
And then -- only then -- if you’re still interested in it, hit the books.