“Keep showing up every day.” With Penny Bauder & Amy Porterfield

I want to be an example of what’s possible for my audience. I keep showing up every day, sharing the pivots that I’m making and the challenges I’m facing. It’s important that they see me think outside the box and be willing to try new things, even if it doesn’t always work. And when something […]

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I want to be an example of what’s possible for my audience. I keep showing up every day, sharing the pivots that I’m making and the challenges I’m facing. It’s important that they see me think outside the box and be willing to try new things, even if it doesn’t always work. And when something does work, it’s a demonstration that you can do hard things and overcome obstacles.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of my series about how women leaders in tech and STEM are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield is an online marketing expert and the host of the top-ranked podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy. Before building a multi-million dollar digital course business, Amy worked with mega brands like Harley-Davidson and Peak Performance Coach, Tony Robbins, where she oversaw the content team and collaborated on ground-breaking online marketing campaigns. Through her bestselling courses and popular podcast, Amy’s action-by-action approach proves that even the newest online entrepreneurs can bypass the overwhelm, and instead generate momentum as they build a business they love.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Igrew up in a blue collar household — my dad was a firefighter and my mom was a hairstylist. Right out of college, I started on the corporate path, which eventually led me to work for Tony Robbins as his content director. That’s where I started to get the desire for something more — to create and build a business by my own design.

Over the next year, I started to slowly put together my own business as a social media consultant. However, when I finally took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship, I found that instead of having the business I dreamed of and being my own boss, each of my clients were like eight individual bosses.

Realizing that was not the direction I wanted to go, I decided to create my first digital course. My first two tries were total flops; I felt discouraged and unsure of myself. But over time, I learned how to fail upwards, and how to take the lessons learned to help others build their own online businesses.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

One of the most gratifying things about building a business that I love is that no two days are ever the same — even the difficult ones have unique lessons and opportunities in their own ways.

In addition to offering digital courses for entrepreneurs, I also host a podcast called Online Marketing Made Easy, where I discuss the topics most relevant to my audience, like list building, course creation, and webinars. So, you would think that my most popular episode would be one that really digs into actionable content that my audience can use in their own business.

What I’ve found instead is that the episode where I was brutally honest about my struggles with my weight, called My Weight loss Journey (Part 2), has been one of the most popular episodes of my podcast. And to this day, when I speak at conferences or attend events, this is the episode that people come up and tell me most positively influenced them.

What this shows me as an entrepreneur is that people want to be let in; they want to know the real you. And if you’re marketing to the right audience, the authentic ‘you’ is the one that will resonate above all.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

When the COVID-19 pandemic started to really impact us, I asked our audience whether they wanted us to continue with our podcast and content as normal, or if they wanted us to adjust our focus to responding to what’s currently happening in the world.

As you might have guessed, they asked us for actionable strategies that they could apply today in light of the pandemic. So, we basically turned our quarterly podcast schedule upside down — which is no small feat. But my team knew from day one how important it would be that we support our audience, where they are today, and they pulled together and made it happen.

Now we have the COVID-19 series on our podcast and the feedback has been incredible. People are telling us that it’s giving them the courage to launch their courses and pivot their businesses, and that’s what this is all about. Helping people to find their own ways forward — no matter what.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When I was growing up, my family had very traditional gender roles; my mother always prepared the meals and my father called the shots. Whenever he left for work, he would look at my sister and I on the floor playing with Barbies, and he would say, “Girls, when you grow up, find a way to be your own boss.” At the time, it didn’t mean much to me, and it didn’t really until many years later when I was climbing the corporate ladder.

Although I did have some incredible experiences working in corporate, I knew it wasn’t right for me. I was building someone else’s dream, and that was ultimately something I couldn’t level with. My dad’s words started to become clearer and clearer to me.

That was when I knew what I had to do. I started believing myself and building my own dreams. And with my dad’s words in my mind, and my own deep desires in my heart, I started taking steps towards building the business that you see today.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman in STEM during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

As women, we are often expected to take on more of the household responsibilities — no matter what industry you’re in. And because of this, I believe that now more than ever, we have an incredible opportunity to shift this balance; with more families spending time together, working at home, with technology empowering us to work and share duties on a more equal plane.

I’m thankful to have a completely digital business, one that technology has empowered me to run entirely from home for the last 11 years, so in many ways the recent changes have been more manageable for our family than most. But, like many of us, I’m having to make shifts to manage some of the family-related challenges that have arisen out of COVID-19.

For example, my husband is a firefighter and he often travels with medics as part of his daily work life. He’s on the frontline of the pandemic, and that’s scary. I’m carrying the emotional strain that comes along with my husband’s risk. What if he picks up COVID? Or brings it home to me and our 17-year old son?

These questions rise to the forefront of my mind every day, but I can’t let them stay there. My business and my team are also depending on me, so I have to put my fears aside and show up as the leader that they need.

To do that, it’s important to remember to take care of ourselves. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the needs of others, business or personal, that you forget to fill your own cup. I’m making it a priority to focus on my mindset every day so that I can keep both my family and my business on track.

Can you share the biggest work-related challenges you are facing as a woman in STEM during this pandemic?

No matter what business you’re in, you’re likely seeing or experiencing some degree of uncertainty. And as a female tech entrepreneur, that teaches other women entrepreneurs, there’s one challenge that I see across the board: a reluctance to promote and sell.

The media may be telling you people everywhere are losing their jobs, the future of our economy is being questioned, and rightfully, what you want more than anything is to help, not to take money out of the hands of those that need it most. But the reality is, people are and will always be searching for solutions and spending money.

You must keep selling, for the sake of your business, your family, the economy, yourself, and for your existing and future students. By all means, go the extra mile. Pivot your offers and show up for your students not just to sell, but to serve at an even higher level. Be generous, but do not discount your worth.

So, for all those female entrepreneurs, STEM or otherwise, hear this: the world needs your gifts more than ever and you cannot let fear hold you back.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I want to be an example of what’s possible for my audience. I keep showing up every day, sharing the pivots that I’m making and the challenges I’m facing. It’s important that they see me think outside the box and be willing to try new things, even if it doesn’t always work. And when something does work, it’s a demonstration that you can do hard things and overcome obstacles.

On a personal level, I’ve continued my life and mindset coaching, and am encouraging and supporting those around me to do the same. I find that having someone, or something, to help you refocus your mind and get you out of your own way can be hugely impactful.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

It’s becoming increasingly easy to blur the lines between work and home, especially when they are in the same location. There are two things you can do to ensure your long-term success and happiness:

  1. Set boundaries. Whether physical or abstract, knowing when and where your work lines are drawn is essential. What these boundaries are will vary, but it’s important to stick to them and others around you will as well.
  2. Create rituals. For me, this means having a workday ‘start up’ and ‘shut down’ at the beginning and end of every day. This helps keep the lines from getting blurred and allows you to be your most effective self; no matter where you’re working from.

Ultimately you want to be sure that there is a clear separation between your daily chores and your business activities. Your home office needs to be as metaphorically ‘separate’ in your home as an actual offsite office would be. Otherwise it’s very easy to find yourself getting carried away and working from sunrise to sunset.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place for long periods with your family?

One benefit of staying at home is that we have more uninterrupted time together as a family than ever before. It might not sound like much, but we’ve been meaning to watch Friday Night Lights together for years, and have never been able to find the time where all of our schedules aligned so consistently.

I’ve also been taking some time to myself — listening to podcasts while walking our dog, Scout. I try to find the balance between personal development and my guilty pleasure: Crime Junkie. It’s important to find the time for the little things that light you up and help you clear your mind.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the corona virus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons to Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the daily headlines and the fear that comes with a 24-hour pandemic news cycle, it’s absolutely essential that we stand guard at the door to our minds.

Here are my five reasons to be hopeful during the corona virus crisis.

#1: There’s always an opportunity to help those around you in a way that can be beneficial for you as well.

One of my students has a business that uses the science of positive reinforcement and behavior change to help parents and children understand each other better and find more joy in their lives. They were able to create a low-cost, in-home ‘gym class,’ designed to help parents who now have kids at home all day long. Not only did it help them to grow their email list by 33%, it also got them on the local news. And they did it by finding a way to easily (and relatively inexpensively) solve a big challenge in their audiences’ lives.

#2: We’re finally starting to use technology to the fullest

With schools closing, teachers have undergone a serious shift in their workplace, and many aren’t familiar or comfortable teaching in the new online platforms and are looking for any support they can get. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs and educators alike to evolve.

One of my students created an affordable and highly informational Google classroom resource that showed teachers how to be more effective in an online environment, a skill that will likely prove useful for many years to come (and she generated over $1,000 in just 24 hours).

Though schools will open back up and things will largely go back to normal, the opportunities that online teaching has revealed will remain.

#3: We are ALL learning how to be more creative and more flexible

Let’s face it. If you’re not making changes in your business right now in light of COVID-19, your business may not exist at the end of this. I don’t say this to be harsh, but rather to remind you that now is the time to think outside the box.

One of my students is a family-travel blogger, so as you can imagine, much of her content around flying and long-distance travel is no longer relevant, and frankly, a little tone deaf in this environment. She was able to take some existing content that was entirely dedicated to planning a family vacation with airfare and shift her focus to show how to effectively plan a family road trip instead. By doing so, she’s not only meeting her audience where they are, but she is also getting creative and resourceful — practices that will help her succeed long after this crisis is over.

#4: Being true to yourself and your business remains the most effective way to manage your business

Just last year, I launched a new membership experience for alumni of my signature course, Digital Course Academy. I had another launch planned in the middle of March, to welcome new members at an increased price. This turned out to be right in the middle of the outbreak, when people were losing their jobs and facing other uncertainties.

I believe deeply in holding your goals tightly and your methods loosely — while I had revenue goals with the launch, ultimately it was more valuable for me to impact the lives of my students. So I made the decision not to increase the membership price, because it felt right for both my audience and my business. However, I chose not to postpone the launch, so that I could show my students that I am still moving forward and that they can too. We went ahead with the launch and welcomed over one hundred new members, people we now have the opportunity to serve at the deepest level.

#5: Doing what’s necessary and what’s right are increasingly becoming the same thing

One of my students is a nutrition coach with over 20 years of online teaching experience. When the pandemic first broke out she was building a nutrition course, but her audience, full of teachers, were reaching out to her for a resource to help them through the transition.

She took this high demand request to heart and shifted her focus, creating instead a free guide for teachers. Over 15,000 people visited her website and in just six days, and she was able to educate over 2,500 teachers. By listening to what her audience needed, she was able to keep her business moving forward while also making an impact in the lives of her students.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Every time that you interact with a family member or loved one, or any remember to see them through a lens of kindness. It can be challenging to be stuck in lockdown, feeling uncertain about everything from health, to the economy, to whether or not you’re going to run out of toilet paper. Here are three actionable ways that I am supporting those most precious in my life:

  • Over-communication. Many of us are geographically separate, but with all the modern technology that is available to us today, there’s never been an easier time to ‘be there,’ without actually being there. For me, this means more video conferences and video notes than ever before.
  • Positivity. You can be the light in a dark time that your family and friends need more than ever. When all of this passes, they will look back and remember that you showed up for them.
  • An extra dose of compassion. Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about, more so than ever today. And even though we think that we know our loved ones better than anyone, sometimes they need a little extra support; and won’t always ask for it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it’s a different kind of life.”

It’s so easy for us to get caught up chasing the dream we think we should have, rather than the one that comes from within. And while this may work for a little while, it’s ultimately going to leave you feeling drained and totally unfulfilled — even if you have all the traditional markers of ‘success.’ Once you start pursuing the things that light your soul up, then your life truly begins.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can visit my website at www.amyporterfield.com, find me on social at @amyporterfield, or listen to my podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, wherever they listen to podcasts.

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