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This episode is a business coaching course that provides tools on how to grow an online business.

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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: To build your viewer base, first you must identify your audience.
  • Ask Yourself: What is my vertical market? Who are the influencers in my vertical?
  • Vertical Market: A market in which vendors offer goods and services specific to an industry and their specialized needs.
  • Lesson Nugget: Be intentional about the people you follow and invite to your site, to purposefully build a like-minded community.
  • Lesson Nugget: The top influencers in your vertical have already found the audience that you are looking for (they have already done the work for you).

Learn business practices like codeacademy, how to start a business

-Now Rachel, one of the things that I want to get out there, and I want you just be as raw with your candor as possible. Maybe even more than you're comfortable with on this one because it's like people need to know. And a lot of times I know-- my wife was my partner when I first was learning how to starta business, and she still is today.

As soon as my wife would say something, and I would say, whatever. Because she's my wife. She couldn't be the expert. So then I would go talk to a business guru who would say exactly what my wife said. And I would crawl back to her and I'd say, baby, I'm so sorry. You're so right. So this is that real talk here that we maybe are hearing at home, but they need to hear from an expert like you.


-Here we go. So Rachel, let me ask you a daily basis what are some of the most effective ways that business owners can really build up the number of visits to their website, build up their audience?

-So first you're going to identify your audience. And so, how do I identify my audience? I am going to go to people that are in my vertical. So I'm trying to reach families. And families that are into experiences and having experiences with their children.

So for me, parents, family fun, sites like Design Mom, and some other parenting bloggers have millions of people going to their sites every single day.

-I want to ask you this. So you're saying that you identify your audience, you basically are going to a few people you think are in your vertical.


-So I want to clarify just what the word vertical means, in case I'm watching this and I'm kind of-- what does vertical mean?

-So if they're reaching parents, then like I'm in the parenting lifestyle vertical. Where if you're selling car parts, you're going to be after an automotive geared audience. So you're going to go like, Car and [? Tractor ?], or what's the big car magazines? You're going to reach those people.

If you're into food, then you're going to go after like the food magazines. If wedding-- Martha Stewart Weddings, or whatever. So that we like the wedding vertical, or like bridal. And so I'm in the parenting vertical. So you first of all identify what vertical you're in, and who the influencers are online in your vertical.

-So step 1 is identify you audience and your vertical there.


-And then step 2 is go to the influencers?

-Right. People that are dominating in that vertical. So like Pandora, if you like this, you're going to like this. So I am going to bet that if you like this site, if you like "Parenting" magazine and you're already following their cupcake board, you're probably going to like my board. So my competition has already done the work for me.


-Yeah. Yeah!



-All right. So that's kind of where you're aha is right there.

-Right. So when I figured that out, that's common sense. So I want to reach those parents. And I already know they're engaged. It's a focus group. I already know they're engaged. It literally lists how many pins they have specifically on Pinterest, how many followers there are. So it's already done for you.

So you know if they're truly engaged. So I'm going to send invitations, Clay. So if I want to have the largest party in the world, if I want to invite-- who out there wants 10 million people to come to their website every month? Is there anyone? Do you, Clay?

-Yeah, I think everybody would, right?

-I think those guys back there, here, the 40,000 people are here with us today in the studio audience. So if you want to invite-- if you want to fill Madison Square Garden, and you've done all the work, you've done all the prep work, and you don't send the invitation-- if you don't send the invitation, nobody's going to come.

So the cool thing in social media is for 50 million people to follow you, but you only follow 4. So that is not cool when you're trying to build an audience, and trying to sell products. So first of all, I want engaged-- so I'm going to follow them. So how does it make you feel when somebody follows you? How does make you feel?

-I think it makes you feel appreciated.



-Right. It makes you feel great. Somebody told me once, it makes me feel famous. I feel valued-- I like you, were into the same thing. Because I've identified people that are in my-- you don't just randomly follow people. You follow people that are into what you're doing, and in what you're into.

So they're more likely to follow you. And now you're building a community of like-minded people. And you told them that you care about them. So now you're building a loyal audience, and you're building a relationship with them.

You're saying I respect you, you respect me. And then your audience will start growing. So this is sort of like no one does this, Clay. No one does this. This is like my new-- this is fresh and hot out of the


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: Be focused on building engagement with your followers, rather than building the number of followers you have.
  • Action Step: Identify the most active users in your audience and focus on connecting with them.
  • Lesson Nugget: Intentionally following your audience will allow you to see what they are doing and give you ideas to build your platform around them.
  • Action Step: Find people on social media platforms that are involved in your niche and follow them.
  • Action Step: Build a community of like-minded and engaged users.
  • Action Step: Identify the top 20 influencers in your niche and study what they are doing.
  • Best-selling author and businessman. You can watch some of his trainings in the mindset and overcoming adversity categories. Clifton Taulbert - Thrive Mentor
  • Lesson Nugget: When starting out, begin to build your platform on all social channels as those channels will bring traffic to your website.

-Like no one does this. So I've been on an initiative and it's working. I've been an initiative, I have-- we'll get into the numbers, and specifically my social following counts and those things. I'm after engagement rather than the follower count, the numbers. So you're like, but I don't have 690,000 Pinterest followers. But that's not what I'm after. I am after people engaging with your content.

So first of all, you're going to identify, you've identified that people like cupcakes, right, on Parents Magazine. I am going to follow every single one of those people that has 1,000 pins or more. Because it shows me-- if they have two pins, they're probably not that active. But if they have 1,000? I really want to focus on the people that are active on that platform. So I'm going to follow as many of those people.

And then like, OK, so they're into cupcakes? And they're into parenting, so I'm going to follow all of those followers. And then there's a maximum of people that you could follow each day, though. And because I've already built a platform, so they get kind of excited that I've invited them. And some people might say well then you're going to get a crappy stream. Like my whole feed is going to be gummed up with stuff that I don't want to really see. And I'm like are you kidding me? Those are my people! They are super into DIY. This is a complete focus group.

Like so if they're pinning Play-Doh, guess what I'm thinking about? Accessories to Play-Doh. The evolution of Play-Doh. Cookie molds for Play-Doh, fluorescent Play-Doh, whatever it is. So I get to see, real time, what millions of people are doing. And they're engaging in my community, I've engaged with them, I care about what they're thinking about, and I want to provide that content. You asked me if I care, and I care a lot.

-So I'm going to review these rules here to make sure I'm not forgetting one, OK, and if you'd correct me if I'm wrong here.

-I'm sorry if I'm yelling, I get really excited.

-No it's good, and I think I will say this. As a young entrepreneur, I had an opportunity to meet a guy by the name of Clifton Taulbert, he's one of our Thrive mentors. And growing up, he was an African American guy, and he couldn't go into banks because he grew up in Glen Alan, Mississippi during the time of segregation. And they would let black people and to the banks. And then he ended up starting his own bank and becoming a best selling author. And here I am a white dude meeting with him years later, and I always thought--

-That is awesome.

-Yeah. Clifton Taulbert is his name.

-So cool

-And I just remember when I met him, I thought this guy's passionate. And I was so encouraged, it was the first guy I had met who was kind of a hero of mine that I got a chance to meet him face-to-face. And my daughter, who's nine now, she had a chance to spend a day with one of my mentors. And she goes daddy he yells all the time. I think it's because every entrepreneur I know, we are passionate. So

-So excited, like if you do this stuff, it works! If you follow the Thrive principles, if you watch these courses, if you follow these mentors. It really works. I'm telling you the tips that I give to the largest brands in the world. These are the exact same tips you're getting.

-It's awesome. Now I want review these, because I want to make sure I'm not distilling them incorrectly. So step one is you want to identify your audience. OK, second is we want to go and target or identify our top influencers. Right now how many should we target or who should we find?

-So you want like 20. Let's start out with 20, I mean let's get the top 20. So if you want to be, if you want a Popsicle blog. If you love making Popsicles. And so and were targeting, right, and we're going to focus on one thing that you do really well. So you are going to be the Popsicle queen, right?

So you are going to follow every single person that has a Popsicle board on Pinterest. Every single person that is in the Popsicles on Pinterest. Anybody that is the top leader, maker of Popsicles that has the largest audience with Popsicle making machines, anything related to Popsicles. You are going to spend hours and hours a week just following those people.

And guess what, if you have kids and you're a mom like me, a 14-year-old. That's a really good job. Follows.


-Yeah, like your daughter should be following every single person that's like my entrepreneur board or on Facebook.

-So you just have your daughter go out there and just start--

-That's what she interns at [INAUDIBLE] Charlotte. 14-years-old,

-Can I give you a boom on that? Boom. Awesome. All right now the third is send invitations. We're sitting invitations or following, I mean that's what we're doing. That's the third step, we're sending invitations.

-Send invitations. Really invite the people to your community. I can't tell you, I sent my invitations, I commented, I made my donations to people that were bigger than myself. And I was zero. I was at exactly where you are at probably right now. I add zero followers, I didn't even have a website up. You're immediately going to open all your social channels, and you're going to immediately start building your platform there.

Because all of those things are going to drive traffic to your website that you're going to timeline out and get done, hopefully in the next two months, right? You're going to raise your money, even if it's like a couple hundred dollars. I mean $2,000, that's lot of money, Clay.

-I was getting crazy. I was getting crazy.

-You were getting crazy. So there's free website hosts and things out there that you can, and just Google. How do I have a free website?

-And step number four, you said, is we want to really build a community of like-minded people. And I want to clarify that, they're like-minded.

-And engaged. Like-minded would mean if you had that Popsicle company, that they're into Popsicles. And not only they're into Popsicles, that they're engaged in Popsicles. So that's why like make sure that they have engaged with Pinterest specifically 1,000 times plus.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • He is known for his work on Viaweb (which became Yahoo! Store), and for co-founding the Y Combinator seed capital firm. Paul Graham
  • Action Step: Engage with your followers if they share or comment on your media and create connections with them.
  • Notable Quotable: "It's better to have 100 people that love you than a million people that just sort of like you. Find 100 people that love you." Paul Graham
  • Lesson Nugget: Having a lot of followers doesn't mean anything unless they are engaged followers!
  • Record producer, musical artist, and CEO of So So Def Recordings. Jermaine Dupri
  • Lesson Nugget: Make tiny commitments each day to work on building your platform and business.
  • Action Step: Over a period of six months, slowly increase the daily time you work on your business.
  • Ask Yourself: Do I have a way to track the numbers in my online business?


-Paul Graham, who's the guy who started Y Combinator, and he's known for helping launch Airbnb and Dropbox, and he's just awesome. One of the quotes he says-- and we'll have them put up on the screen, the actual quote, so I don't mangle it too bad as I paraphrase it-- but his whole idea is it's better to have 100 people that love you than a million people that sort of like you. Do you believe that?

-100%. So the vanity numbers-- and you can buy followers. Like, who cares? That doesn't sell product. That doesn't drive traffic. You want incredibly engaged consumers.

-Now in the final step that I think I'm hearing here, after we've done these other four, is we want to engage with them.

-Right. Absolutely. 100%.

-And we can't just do all this following and all this, and then we don't engage. We have to engage.

-Right. So just like I did five years ago, six years ago, in the very beginning of Handmade Charlotte, I would-- and I still do-- I will go to all those top sites and still comment, and still comment on all of their social platforms. I'll still share their stuff on my platform. And I've built in incredible group of influencers that care about me. I care about them. We're all independent guys. We're entrepreneurs, so we're on our own. We're little islands. And I believe that if we work together--

So now that I've built my platform and I can truly help them and give back, like they gave to me, and that's just so incredibly important.

-And we have these five moves we're doing here. Let me ask you this question. How much time per day should a website owner, so a Thriver watching this, how much time should they plan on spending? You're a mentor. You live it. You do it everyday.

-This is my full-time job, and my husband's full-time job.

-In the transition, though, let's just say that it's a real scenario here, let's say there's a train driving by. And I'm asking you this question. Real scenario, downtown Atlanta here. Let's just say, though, that I--

-The A-T-L.


-Home of So So Def Records, Jermaine Dupri.

-You like Jermaine Dupri?

-Of course. So So Def. He had a billboard when he was 14 years old, coming from the airport, for like 30 years.

-Really? Here is like-- when they took that billboard down, I was devastated. I think all of Atlanta was devastated.

-I almost want to get the Money Ain't a Thang, the instrumental version, playing right now as we're talking about this. I don't think we can legally do it. We probably can. He probably wants us to do it. We'll probably just do it, and then we'll talk to him about it later. We'll probably just do it.

-That's his idea. Jermaine, you go ahead and like-- yeah-- get him for the rights.

-So So Def. Go buy his records.

All right. Now the thing is, how much, though, per day, if I'm a stay at home mom or a dad, I'm working, I've got all these things I'm doing, how much time--

-Tiny commitments.

-Couple hours a day?

-A couple hours a day, I mean, if possible. I like that 20 minute. 20 minute for two weeks, and then go to an hour, and then increase. Because what's going to happen is those little tiny commitments, opportunities will come in.

So once you see opportunity-- if you're just working and nothing is happening, so you're like, uh, you're going to start putting off that hour. You're going to start putting off those times. So you're going to get it on your calendar and then making those tiny commitments. So then you're going to increase that time over six months. And put it all on the calendar.

-Do you have a checklist of all the social platforms you want to make sure that you don't forget one?

-100%. I have a white board in my office right now with all my numbers. Actually, I am sad that you're not here next week. I'm having a screen put in my office of all the numbers with all of the accounts that I'm working on currently and the numbers and all the ads that I create, and the numbers and what's happening and how many concurrent people, real time.

-Almost like a stock network. You're putting a screen in there.

-Right. And I want to know how many concurrent users. I am all over the numbers.

-I gotta give you one more boom.


-Awesome. So awesome. So this is huge to know this.

-You asked me if I cared. I care a lot. And I'm concerned about taxonomy of content. The cool thing about being an independent publisher and owning your own business, I can launch anything at any time.

So if I thought, I wanted to do knock-knock jokes last week. Hershey's came to us and said, we want you to do a back to school thing. And I was like, hm, back to school notes. That's fun. That's kind of a fun thing. Kids a little nervous going to school or whatever. So we put together these knock-knock joke graphics, and they're going wild.

-Hershey's came to you about this?


-Who's there?

-Broken pencil.

-Broken pencil who?

-Oh, forget it. It's pointless now.



-Believe it or not, that's been shared like 10,000 times.

-Oh, it's so good. It's so good.

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