Authenticity in Growing a Business
Melyssa Griffin is someone who really, really excels at growing a huge community, growing a tribe and connecting with that tribe on a really, really deep level. Developing a type of authority, but also the “know, like, and trust” of that tribe, that I truly haven’t seen anywhere else.
Just so that you know why I say this, I noticed that Melyssa was using Deadline Funnel. So I reached out to her, and after we were able to connect, we arranged a time where she would do a webinar to talk about how she uses Deadline Funnel with her audience. I had what I thought to be the maximum amount of registration seats on my webinar, but I soon realized that I needed to get a whole lot more, because her audience just completely blew through that amount. And really, one of the things that I kick myself for in 2017, is not having not having called GoToWebinar ahead of time and asking for an even higher limit.
Melyssa’s webinar was one of our most successful webinars in 2017, and I can just tell that her audience really looks to her for advice and trusts everything that she says. And so that’s really, really important. Anyone who’s selling an online course or really selling anything online, you can’t have too much authority, you can’t have too much of a relationship with your audience. It’s so vitally important. And so I hope that we can talk about that today, and I hope that you learn that. But if nothing else, I think that you should join her email list and join her community and see firsthand how it is that she goes about doing that.
Watch the video, read the transcript, or listen to the interview below!
Melyssa also hosts the top-rated Pursuit With Purpose Podcast that you definitely should check out, which covers topics like meditation, relationships, and mindset in order to help her community reach their full potential in all areas of their lives. Past guests include Deepak Chopra, Lewis Howes, and Susie Moore, another Deadline Funnel client, who I just interviewed yesterday. So, Melyssa, great to have you here.
Melyssa Griffin: Thank you so much for that extremely generous introduction, Jack. I really appreciate that. And it’s always such an honor to collaborate with you on anything. So excited for this interview and to be able to communicate with your tribe. I’m sure that they look up to you in very similar ways.
Jack Born: Yes, well, I’m really looking forward to hearing some of the things you’ve been up to. So why don’t you start by sharing a little bit of your background and some of the big lessons that you’ve learned. Because a lot of our clients are course readers as well. And I know that was a big turning point for you. You started as a schoolteacher, and when you launched The Nectar Collective, I think from my research you started a web design business at the same time. But at some point you decided that you wanted to launch your own course. And that really, I think, was a big turning point for you. So what are some of the big takeaways that you learned from that point?
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. So for just a little background, pretty much exactly what you said. I started my website as just a blog. It was supposed to be for fun. Never even knew that this online business world existed in this way. And then started a graphic design studio after a few months of realizing like, “Wow, I can turn this into a business,” and had that for a couple of years, and then realized that I wanted to basically affect more people rather than working one-on-one and have more time freedom away from my business. So I put out my first course thinking maybe I’ll get a few people, a handful of people, to sign up for it, and in that first month got about 150 sales, which made around $25,000, and that was like a light bulb moment.
Wow. I could switch my business model from working one-on-one with clients to creating courses that stand alone and can be sold over and over again, pre-recorded courses that people could just go to my website and buy.
And I could, a) affect more people in my community at a lower price-point than working one-on-one, making it more accessible. And, b) have this business where I could easily scale it to more and more income without having to work with hundreds of clients. So since that point, I think I’ve worked with around 6 or 7,000 students in my courses, and it just completely changed how I run my business.
I have this business where I could easily scale it to more and more income without having to work with hundreds of clients.
So that is a big takeaway for me, just finding a business model that allows you to reach the masses, I guess you can say, and take less time away from you. Because if you’re constantly working with clients and trading your time for money, then there’s always gonna be a ceiling to what you can earn, because there’s only so much you can charge per hour or per package. And once you hit that limit it’s like, well, there’s no real other place for you to go. And then it can become kind of overwhelming.
So I think that regardless of what you sell, everyone should have some kind of scalable product inside of your business. You can still do one-on-one. You could do coaching services, graphic design, whatever, but have something that’s scalable that you can use in that way.
Regardless of what you sell, everyone should have some kind of scalable product inside of your business.
Jack Born: So from where you are now, when you look back to your growth, and if you were able to go back to a younger Melyssa and share some of your insights that you’ve learned over the years, what would be some of the big lessons that you learned that you wish you knew back then?
Melyssa Griffin: Hmm. I mean, not even to get on your good side or anything, but definitely automated funnels and Deadline Funnel were a huge turning point. Because we went to courses after doing my graphic business. I shut that down, and then I moved on to doing courses. And I started by doing course launches, and that was great. That’s how I made that first $25,000, and it was working really well.
But then after the launch was over, and I didn’t have anything to really promote anymore, the next month I didn’t make that much money. I was like, “What’s happening? How am I gonna keep making sales of these products on a month-to-month basis? Is it just gonna be this one time thing? Or do I have to do a big launch?”
And it took me a few months to figure this out, but I eventually created my first evergreen sales funnel, which was an evergreen webinar. And we incorporated Deadline Funnel to basically create authentic deadlines for people who are going through this funnel, so that they only had a couple of days to purchase in order to get some extra bonuses. And that was another huge turning point.
Because it started to show me I could make money on a consistent monthly and daily basis of my products without having to launch anything. Because launching is very stressful, tiring, and your audience gets tired if you do it all the time, too. They’re like, “Okay, we’re kind of done with having you keep selling stuff to us.”
Launching is very stressful, tiring, and your audience gets tired if you do it all the time.
By having these automatic funnels, a) I get to teach stuff to people, because my webinars are filled with free information. They actually have really generous steps involved in them. And then, b) I’m able to make money from my courses on a regular daily basis without having to do very much work. It’s just kind of like responding to some customer service emails, and that’s basically it. There’s not a whole lot else that goes into it.
So it’s very hands off in that way, and that allows me to focus on other things, like creating new courses, new funnels, speaking, having a mastermind, doing all these different things. So that is definitely something that I would have gotten started with earlier had I known that that was even an option.
And then something else that I would say is just like keeping my eyes on my own paper and not being so worried about what other people were doing, especially in those early days when I was getting started. I felt like everything was kind of like, “Okay, this is my idea, but are other people doing it? Are people gonna like it? Is this something that people do? Maybe I should be more like them or I should have their voice in my emails, or I should create products that are more like this.” And what I found is that if I followed that path of doing what everyone else was doing, then it made me just kind of blend in and be this generic copy of everybody else.
Where I really started to grow and shine in my business, is when I started to embrace my own voice more.
Where I really started to grow and shine in my business, is when I started to embrace my own voice more and embrace what I can bring to the table for my audience. And maybe not following the exact mold that other people do, but being okay with that. And it ended up being a lot more fun and profitable, too.
Jack Born: Was there anything that you did that helped you find your own voice? Because I think everyone starts by emulating. You see people being successful, and that’s honestly a shortcut to success. Why reinvent the wheel? But at some point you need to say, “You know, I want to be my own variation of this entrepreneur.” Was there anything that you can share that was helpful in you finding that voice?
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. What I would say is give yourself a deadline of when you are able to consume other people’s work. Maybe it’s signing up for their email list, reading their emails, what do they say? Looking at how they market their courses or looking at their sales pages, researching their Instagrams and really have maybe a couple of weeks where you research what other people are doing, not to copy them, but to get ideas of what you could be doing for your business kind of pulling little pieces from everybody. But give yourself a deadline.
After that, “I’m done, and I’m not gonna be doing this research anymore.” And maybe you do that every six months or every year or something. But it’s in this confined box, so that you’re not on a Monday morning when you have so many things for you to do opening up someone’s email and thinking, “Shoot. Maybe I should rewrite my entire email now, because this one is really good that this other person wrote.”
Comparing was starting to fog up on my own mind and make it difficult for me to remember what my voice sounded like.
And you’re really just staying in your own lane of what you want to do. Something that I did, and I think this is also just a factor of listening to yourself. I noticed that maybe a year ago I felt like I was getting too much information from other people, too many other people’s brands were in my feed and my inbox, and it was starting to fog up on my own mind and make it difficult for me to remember what my voice sounded like. I remember having this moment of thinking, “How does Melyssa write? What does Melyssa say? I don’t even know anymore, because I’m so infiltrated with all this other information from people’s brands.”
So I went on my social media and through my inbox and unfollowed everybody. I was following zero people on all my social media accounts. Even my Facebook profile, my personal account, I was like, “I’m just gonna go through and unfriend anybody I haven’t talked to in the past year and just make it really clean, really simple, and where I’m not consuming any other people’s information. My Facebook feed actually said, “No news to show. Sorry, there’s nothing we can show in your feed.” I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen that in my life.”
And that period of time was really helpful for me. I spent a few months just being completely solo, not following anyone’s work, because it allowed me to get back in touch with who I am and what my voice sounds like and what I want to bring to my audience.
And then I could selectively re-follow people later on when I felt confident in what I brought and what my voice was. And during that period of time, I would say, be actively working on your voice. Maybe you start to write based on how you talk. I usually write out my emails and captions and stuff based on how I would actually explain that topic to a friend, so that it’s not this robotic corporate-sounding things. It’s like, “This is how I talk, and this is who I am, and I’m conveying that here in my email to you.” So spend that time away from everyone else actively working on your voice and what you sound like and what you bring.
Jack Born: The listening to yourself, I know that that’s something that has become more and more and more of your focus, especially with the Pursuit With Purpose podcast. I want to get into that real quick, but before I do, I really want to emphasize that once again, you really walk your talk. One of the most shocking emails that I saw in 2017 was when you announced that you were gonna close down this huge Facebook group of, I think it was 70,000 members.
Most people would sell off a beloved pet in order to have a Facebook group of 70,000 people, and you were closing it down. Again, in my research leading up to our talk today, I’ve heard you say that it was primarily because you felt like it was out of alignment with what you wanted to do, and you wanted to have smaller, more focused, deeper interactions with smaller members of your audience. Is that a fair assessment?
I felt like I’d grown this big community of people who weren’t really talking to each other.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. People bring that up, and for me it was like I had grown this thing to 70,000 people, and there were so many people leaving comments and threads, and it was a very active group. But as I scrolled through it, it just didn’t feel like people were actually connecting. I felt like they’d pop in, ask a question, then bounce, and there wasn’t real interaction happening.
In that space with my brand, I started wanting to venture more into facilitating deeper relationships with people. And I felt like I’d grown this big community of people who weren’t really talking to each other. They were just kind of posting in the group, and I didn’t feel like I was facilitating a community that was in alignment with that deeper vision that I had.
It was a tough choice. I definitely had some calls with my team. I had to do a lot of thinking to myself. I knew the impact that it would have on the people who were in it, because I know that some people did get a lot of value from it. But I just didn’t feel like it was in alignment with where I wanted to go. So if it meant losing some sales because we didn’t have that marketing channel, I was okay with it, because I feel like if my business isn’t in alignment with my purpose and what feels good to me at the end of the day, then it’s not something that’s worth pursuing.
If my business isn’t in alignment with my purpose and what feels good to me at the end of the day, then it’s not something that’s worth pursuing.
Jack Born: Let’s talk about your Pursuit With Purpose podcast. Why don’t you first talk about how you wanted it to be different than other podcasts out there and why you felt the need to start it.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. So around the end of 2016, I’d had this great year in my business. We quadrupled sales. Actually, I think we quintupled sales five times to over $1 million, and it was like this crazy goal that I didn’t expect to ever hit in my life, and there I was hitting that goal.
I think I had basically a breakdown at that point, end of 2016, because it just felt like I had spent the entire year building this business, which was so great, and yet I was completely miserable. And the reason was because I’d spent all that time building my business and then neglecting my personal relationships, my family, any activities or hobbies that I enjoyed doing. It was literally like I would spend all day on this business, and I’d be looking at people’s social media accounts, reading their emails, and just getting in the zone of comparison and competition.
And it really started to wear on me at the end of the year. And I would see all these big numbers that people were talking about, their million-dollar launches and six figure this and that. And I thought, “I need to hit that. I need to do this. I need to basically be enough.” And I think at the end of the day I was really striving to just prove my own self worth to myself.
And I had this moment at the end of 2016 realizing that I was doing that and that I was making myself miserable with this business. So I decided to start shifting things and to focus less on the income that we were bringing in and more on the mission and purpose that I’m fulfilling with my business. So at the start of 2017 I started to make some big shifts.
We did a big fundraiser to raise money for Pencils of Promise, and we really just started to shift our focus, especially during launches, automation from “How many sales can we make no matter what?” To “How many people are we affecting, and how can we affect them in a deeper way? How can we create these relationships with people that really fuel their full potential?” That kind of spurred the closing of the Facebook group. It just didn’t feel in alignment with that vision anymore. It was like the old Melyssa kind of tactic.
I started the podcast as another way of sharing the message of what I went through and helping other entrepreneurs who maybe feel distracted by talk of how they should earn X amount of money.
And so I started the podcast as another way of sharing that message of what I went through and also helping other entrepreneurs who maybe feel distracted by talk of they should earn X amount of money or they should have 100,000 Instagram followers, just feeling like their worth is measured based on how much they’re earning and how many people are following them versus what they’re actually doing with their business and the kind of life that they’re creating. So it’s called Pursuit With Purpose because I still want to help people pursue their biggest dreams, whether that’s building a business or anything else that they want to do with their life, but I want it to be purposeful.
So I bring in people who talk about a range of different topics from self love to, I interviewed Gabby Bernstein about how to stop judging ourselves and how that can help your life. I’ve interviewed people about meditation and how to have better relationships. Because I think if you have this holistic view of your life, and you’re working on bettering yourself and your mindset, then that will just translate into what kind of business you’re able to build, too. So that’s what the podcast is about.
Jack Born: And I recommend anyone who’s into podcasts, and hopefully everyone is, you definitely should go check it out. You’ve interviewed some great people including our mutual client, Susie Moore. So shout out to Susie.
Melyssa Griffin: Yes. Love Susie. She’s amazing.
Jack Born: Yeah, she’s awesome.
Melyssa Griffin: She’s amazing.
Jack Born: But one of the things that I picked up in my research was that you really have a strong focus on your morning routine, which is something that’s been a big thing for me in developing my morning routine. And I think there’s a lot of parallels in what you do and what I do. Some differences, of course, but can you share what’s your philosophy about starting your day off right, and what are some of the things that you do?
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. So I notice, I actually fell out of doing my routine for a couple of weeks around the holidays, around December, January, and I felt it. I felt a total difference in my life, how I reacted to things, how I showed up, how confident I was, how well-rested and energetic I was. So I can see firsthand how much of a difference it makes in my life to have a really solid morning routine.
So what I do for my routine is I get up. The first thing I do is I make my bed, because I want to start my day doing something productive and really showing up for myself, because I think there’s so much self-integrity that’s involved in our lives that it’s easy to just be like, “I’ll do all this stuff for other people, but then my own stuff, I’ll just kind of push off,” and I think making your bed is that first key to showing up for yourself.
Journaling has been one of the best things for my own personal growth and for finding my voice that I think I’ve ever done.
So I do that, and then I also journal. So journaling has been one of the best things for my own personal growth and for finding my voice that I think I’ve ever done. In the morning I journal three pages, at least. Sometimes it’s like 12. But other times it’s three. At least three pages. And it’s called morning pages.
It’s actually this thing created by Julia Cameron, and the reason it’s three pages is because by the first page maybe you’re just kind of like in a stream of consciousness, whatever comes up. By the first page you’re kind of just going through the motions, getting stuff out. By the second page you’re kind of like, “Okay, what else should I write about?” And by the third page, you’re just digging as deep into yourself as you can, because you’re like, “What else can I write about?”
And then you really start to pull out the deeper layers of who you are, because you get rid of that surface level chatter from the first and second pages. So I do that, and I always end with at least three things that I’m grateful for. And that alone has really shifted my own consciousness of seeing things from a place of gratitude rather than a place of lack. And that helps me just go into my day with more gratitude for everything that happens. And then I read. I always read every morning, and I try to read every evening, too. And that is just a way for me to have some space for myself and to gain knowledge.
Actually, I wasn’t a big reader until a couple of years ago when I realized anything I ever want to know in the world is available to me for like $8.00, and I can read a book and learn anything I want for like eight bucks. And I was like, “Why am I not doing this more? Why am I not reading more?” So I try to read at least one or two books per month and really keep that an active part of my process.
And then I meditate. Meditation has really helped me, too. I try to meditate twice a day. It doesn’t always happen, but that is the goal. And I always have a green juice, some kind of healthy cold-pressed juice. I live in Venice in LA, and since I moved here the green juice culture really infiltrated my life.
Jack Born: I think it’s required.
Melyssa Griffin: Yes, it is.
Jack Born: You have to drink it there.
Melyssa Griffin: It’s totally required. You need green juice, and you need a crystal and a yoga mat if you want to live in LA. So I do that. I always try to start with something healthy. I drink 10 cups of water per day. So I always start with a glass of water, too, just being hydrated gets rid of headaches, helps you with energy levels. And those are the biggest things that I do each day. There’s some other little things that I throw in like supplements and whatnot, but journaling, reading, meditation are the big three for me. It’s part of your routine.
Jack Born: Yeah. In my morning, I have kids that need to get to school, and my oldest daughter went from grade school to junior high. And so now she gets up an hour earlier, so now I have to get up an hour earlier so I can fit this stuff in. So I wake up at 4:30.
Melyssa Griffin: Wow.
Jack Born: Yeah.
Melyssa Griffin: Oh my gosh.
Jack Born: But I have to.
Melyssa Griffin: What time do you go to sleep to wake up that early?
Jack Born: 9:00 usually.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, nice.
Jack Born: So I get up at 4:30. By 4:45, 5:00 I’m doing about 15 minutes of meditation, and then I journal. I have done the morning pages for some time, but now I’m not doing that as much. But now I have a structured process that just works for me. Part of it is writing down things that I’m grateful for. But looking over my day and kind of time blocking what’s going on today and then also focusing on the one thing. What’s the ‘no matter what emergencies come up’, ‘no matter what craziness happens’, what’s the one thing I want to knock out today that’s gonna move my business forward? And so that’s kind of the structure of my morning.
What’s the one thing I want to knock out today that’s gonna move my business forward.
And then sometimes instead of taking the kids to school it’s going to work out. A big chunk of time in the morning is dedicated to just getting things started, but I feel like it really helps power the whole rest of my day. So that’s really helpful.
Melyssa Griffin: Right. Right. I feel like people, like as entrepreneurs, I think our instinct is just get the work done, just start working when you wake up. I used to be that way, but what I realized is if I’m not at my best, then my business isn’t gonna be at its best either. So I really need to prioritize my own personal growth. And if that means starting work at 10:00 or 11:00 every day, then that’s what I need to do. And maybe I have less time to get work done, but I’m gonna get more thoughtful work done. I’m gonna do it better than I would if I just got up and got started working.
Jack Born: Right. Quality over quantity.
Melyssa Griffin: Yes.
Jack Born: So this has been terrific. Let me ask you just two final questions, and then we’ll wrap up. So for someone just starting out who sees the success that you’ve had, what would be a piece of advice that you would give to someone just starting out? Maybe they’re in the middle of creating their online course or they have an idea. They’ve got inspiration, but they’re not sure if they should make the leap. Someone just starting out, what sort of advice would you give them?
Melyssa Griffin: The advice I want to give is something that I already said, so I won’t go too much into detail, but it’s just about keeping your eyes on your own paper and really trying to block out the other voices out there for the time being and letting your own voice come out and shine and not feeling like you need to match up to anybody else, because you’re doing your own thing, and that’s beautiful. So really just doing your stuff and believing in your unique qualities.
Other than that, I would say get started with as little as possible. You don’t need to hire a video team. You don’t need to have beautifully recorded videos or perfect email sequence. If you’ve got an idea, then you can start pre-selling that idea before you even create the course. That’s what I did for, I think, all of my courses when I first launched them. I sold them before I created the content.
I obviously had an idea of an outline and what I wanted to talk about in each video and module, but it wasn’t created yet. I just had this idea. Did some research based on a survey that I sent to my audience, which is another great thing that you might want to do, found the thing that they needed help with most, which at the time was getting more traffic to their site. And then I made a course that targeted that idea, but I pre-sold it. So I would say get your idea, start growing that audience. It does not have to be big at all, and start pre-selling whatever that idea is. And then after you get some sales, then you can begin creating the course.
Jack Born: And so let me finish with this question. Is there a powerful question that you turn to often to help you give clarity and direction?
I started asking myself, instead of, “What do I want to do?” It’s, “Who do I want to be?
Melyssa Griffin: There actually is. I started asking myself, instead of, “What do I want to do?” It’s, “Who do I want to be?” And when I’m able to answer, “Who do I want to be in this moment? Who do I want to be in my business? Who do I want to be in my life, in my relationships?” Then it gives me so much more clarity on what I want to create in the world and how I need to show up in order to create those things. So who do I want to be is something I go to a lot.
Jack Born: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Melyssa Griffin. And please go check out her podcast, Pursuit With Purpose, and go sign up for her email course. It’s really, really good. I commented to Melyssa via email, I don’t know, a year or so ago when I first signed up. I said, “Man, your first five or six emails,” which is where I was at at that point, “are really, really good.” I really feel like I’ve got a sense of who you are. I think that your voice does shine through really, really well.
Melyssa Griffin: Thank you. I appreciate that. I remember that email you sent me. That meant a lot.
Jack Born: So it’s been great having you. Thank you so much.
Melyssa Griffin: Thank you, Jack. I appreciate you having me on.
Resources mentioned in this article:
Link to join Melyssa’s email list/community