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hey there and welcome back to the visible entrepreneur today we're gonna be talking with a friend of mine what i really like about her is her energy her willingness to learn and to be honest she talks about her success but she does it in a way that you can learn from her and that's what i really really appreciate about today's guest her name is ellen yen she's absolutely incredible i've had the privilege of being on her show cubicle to ceo and i think that you're gonna get a lot of valuable nuggets today so sit back relax and enjoy this episode with my friend ellen yen our guest today is incredibly kind just really passionate and she's someone that i've been friends with for two years now so i'm really excited to have her on the show welcome ellen yen i am so happy that you joined me today thank you so much Michelle for having me i'm pumped to be here and with your people michelle is one of my favorite people in this space so i can't wait to see what we talked about today all right back atcha i want people to know a little bit more about you and your journey so can you give us a little encapsulated view of the transformation you've had over the past couple years in your business in your background yeah absolutely so this is now my fourth year as an entrepreneur and i will say i feel like i've gone through this mini transformation every single year have been in business i don't know if any of you can relate but looking back each year i'm like i don't even recognize the person i was at the beginning of the prior year so how my journey started is i left my corporate job at the end of 2017 it was you know like a couple days before christmas i had no idea what was going to happen from there in fact i had no intention of being an entrepreneur i just thought okay if i leave this job i'll go apply for new jobs i'll move to a new city that was my game plan but you know fate had other had other plans for me so what happened was a co worker who actually was at the company that i had left him and his wife owned these local coffee shops and they heard that i knew a thing or two about instagram marketing so they asked me if i'd be willing to help them get their accounts off the ground and i thought it sounded like a fun project i wasn't doing anything else with my time so i took them on as my first client it was like a $300 project but i loved it and i and i thought to myself oh my gosh well if i could help these people i'm sure there's other business owners like them that i could use my skill sets for and and you know turn them into clients as well so that's exactly what i did and in those first two years of business i really focused on more of the the client services side i was building out my agency and we got to work with so many amazing brands from little mom and pop shops all the way up to you know fortune 500 companies and then in year three which was last year so 2020 i made a big pivot into courses and online programs and nowadays that is my main stream of income i would say is products rather than services although we do still have a handful of clients we work with and i've learned so much michelle oh my gosh especially over the last year so i'm happy to talk about anything that would would help your listeners out in terms of income streams traffic generators whatever you want to chat about absolutely anything this is where a lot of people are wanting to head they don't mind doing still a couple done for you projects or services or whatever but they're hoping like i really want to get my product it's probably selling but it's not selling the way i want so before we dive into that just have to let our audience know i actually guest it on ellen's podcast and her podcast is called cubicle to ceo for obvious reasons so feel free to hop on over just search wherever you're listening right now and subscribe to that podcast as well while we transition into the big question and what i would love to know is right now what is your income generating strategy on a daily basis and what is your traffic generating strategy on daily basis those are really good questions so let's start with the income side i feel like it's a little easier to break down i if you've been in my community for any amount of time then you know that i call myself a marketing minimalist it's kind of a play off you know when marie kondo blew up and and minimalism really became a trendy thing but i always joke that not just because she's asian but if she was even marie kondo was a marketer that would be me because i like to eliminate all the things that keep you busy that aren't actually creating profit in your business so we keep our product side very simple we basically only have two evergreen funnels one is for our online membership which is the same name as my podcast cubicle the ceo and in that membership it's an annual 12 month coaching container and we help service based entrepreneurs make their first $10,000 month without a large following or posting every day. So that one is basically a webinar funnel. So people, you know, they can watch a free training, decide if the membership is a good fit for them. And then they can enroll if they decide they want our ongoing support. And then the other main product that we have is actually a product suite. So it's three front end offers that are all priced under $100, that our best selling course, hashtag hacks is a $27 course, that is part of that product suite. And that one is also an evergreen product. So we offer it anytime. But that one is primarily driven by ads. And so it's it's been really wild to see how much it's changed our business, that specific funnel. But those are our two product funnels. And then we currently don't take on any new clients. So the clients that we have, we just continue to maintain. And then the only new thing, Michelle, that we've introduced really, in the last three months is I tested in February, a live pay challenge. I don't know if you've been part of a paid live challenge before but I have and I saw that you had a ton of attendees that was so exciting. Thank you. Yes, it was called the page of create challenge. And it really came out of this need that I even though my focus in my in my evergreen courses and programs. My focus is on service based entrepreneurs. But I get so many questions from people who want to expand into digital products, asking how they can create, you know, an online course or whatnot. So I decided to create a three day live challenge where by the end of the three days, someone could have a course ready to pre sell get their first paying students and actually get paid to create the content for their first online course. And so I had no idea how it would go. We just promoted organically via email and social media. And our first round had 160 participants create their first course, which was so cool to experience and I loved it so much the energy of the live experience that we've decided to offer it again at the end of May. So that's the only new income stream that we've added from an evergreen perspective. But yeah, that's kind of like the breakdown of our income streams right now. That's awesome. And from that, since it was a paid challenge, I'm assuming you upsell them into either the membership or course that you had, how was that journey? Since it was a paid challenge? They were kind of already hot. Yeah. So I will definitely vouch for the power of a paid challenge. And ours was $45 is a very low entry point. But people showed up man, I've never been part of a community that was so engaged as as that one for any of my products. And I also think, Michelle, that a part of that success was because it was such a limited time container that we placed the community and so we let them know up front, like this community, we create like a pop up Facebook group. And we told them like this Facebook community will disappear when the challenge disappear. So people really had to show up, pay attention and take action within that timeframe. And I don't have a high end or high ticket course program for like course creators and specific so what I actually did is I partner with my friend Haley Birkhead, and I'm a coach and I know her and very well, yes, yes, I've seen I've seen pictures of you two together. So I'm glad we have so many mutual friends. And it's awesome. I I'm a coach in Haley's program recurring profit. So I actually brought her in to teach a master class and then some of some of our paycheck crate challengers did end up joining her program. So awesome. It was a great way to smarter friends. Yeah. Really, really smart. I think that's huge. I think I always tell my students like, as you're building your stuff, don't be afraid to build a really strong affiliate funnel because what you can do is kind of separate that income. And then as your affiliate income grows, you can utilize that to start outsourcing and hiring and adspend and all that without it really coming out of your basic net. I think that's what I did. And it was so helpful and helped me hire so much faster. So that's great. So now we've talked about your income generators. Amazing. And I love that they're not too crazy, right? Basic funnels webinar funnel, and now you have this paid challenge funnel. I think it's fantastic. So now let's talk about traffic generators. How is that going? What are you doing for your visibility on a daily or weekly basis? Yes, and well you guys already know if you're listening to this. Michelle is the visibility queen. And I I also like to keep things pretty simple on that side. I've always been very active on Instagram. It's just my favorite platform. And even though there are 1,000,001 different platforms that you can be successful on I truly believe you can make any platform your main a traffic generator. I do think It's helpful when you focus in on one or two key platforms, rather than trying to spread yourself too thin. So Instagram is my primary organic traffic generator alongside of my own podcast people call the CEO. And then I do a lot of podcast guest spots summit guest spots for increased visibility. But that kind of is more so like a as they come like if someone invites me to do it, I absolutely love to do that. But I would say my my main focus is on being a content producer rather than consumer. So I really try to focus in on my my two primary organic platforms. And then on the paid traffic side, ads are huge for our business. But I didn't start running ads, Michelle until what was it until last year until year three in my business. So I just want you guys to know, like, the first two years in my business, like we were able to scale to six figures completely organically. So I don't think that ads are a necessity, I think that they only, you know, amplify what's already working. And so yeah, ads, ads are a huge traffic generator for us. And then off the back end of both of those strategies are organic and paid traffic, we've built a large email list that's very engaged, and that now has become our number one conversion channel. But you know, that took time for us to build that. Absolutely. What are you doing with your email list on a weekly basis to keep them engaged? So we always, you know, notify them of our weekly podcast episodes. So our podcast drops a new episode every Monday, so I usually email them on a Monday or a Wednesday. And I also try to, I try not to put rules around marketing, I think sometimes people feel pressure because they're like, okay, every, you know, Monday and Wednesday, I have to email my list or, or they feel like there's some parameter, they have to stick with it. I honestly only email my list when I feel inspired to email my list. And so it can be a little bit kind of sporadic, but I will say I at least get in touch with them once a week. Sometimes I've emailed them five times in a week. Sometimes I've emailed them, what only once in a week. So it really varies. Yeah, I totally understand. I think it's a good, it's a good rule of thumb to have. And I think that especially you know what you're doing that's really smart as you have your visibility vehicle in place, it is your podcast, you're notifying them weekly as you're giving so much value. And it makes it easier. Whenever you're feeling inspired beyond that to say like, Hey, I'm having this sale, or Hey, this events happening, and people are so used to seeing you that there's that familiarity. So I think that's wonderful. Thank you. So Let's now move a little bit into the press field, I want to talk about the journey with your press page, your brand video, the things you've been able to book over the last year, give us the lay of the land and tell us about that journey. Yeah, so I actually my very first media hits, or whatever you want to call them actually came early on, like pre my professional career, in college and college, I had this series of features that that I felt very lucky to have because of my debt free journey, I went on this journey of trying to like graduate debt free from University and I and I was able to accomplish that. So I had this series of features. And that was in, you know, 2015 2016. And then I had this long, long gap of no media activity, because I wasn't really intentionally trying for anything until about, I think it was like early to mid 2020. So again, last very recently, just last year, when I decided to pour some investment, both money, time and energy back into making media a priority in our business. And so I I hired a publicist in the summer of 2020. And we've gotten some really awesome opportunities. And we've also, though, still really kept on the networking aspect of meeting people and getting media opportunities that way. So some of our big accomplishments this past year, I was on the Today Show with Hoda, and Jenna. You know, we've been featured in national publications, we have had, actually I was I was included in a book that recently was published founded by women and so there's been lots of awesome opportunities there. But I think that press is is one of those things that has long lasting impacts. And I think I was really especially motivated to get my press page up and running Michelle when I joined visibility lounge, and you just laid it out in such a clear way that I finally got that project checked off my list. So highly recommend you guys go through Michelle's system for that because Otherwise, I probably would have sat on that idea for years and never actually built the page. And it's true, a lot of us don't take the time to do it. And sometimes it's it will usually it's a catch up game where you're already in the place you want to be or you're on that journey income wise. And then you're like, Wait a second, I got a catch up. So part of that was putting together your brand video, which I think is such a fantastic brand video. So how did that kind of come to be? I know you had some of the strategy in the lounge. But I felt like you had a really, really strong message with your brand video. So I'd love for people to hear about that. Yeah, absolutely. So the brand video, it was easy to write the script for the brand video because I already had such a clear message of who I wanted to reach how I helped them through the work that I had done for creating the messaging around my online membership around cubicle to CEO. So the script writing I actually found was the easy part. The more time consuming part was trying to piece together all these clips from the years of being a B roll, B roll 1000s of camera roll videos and pictures trying to decide does this go does this belong? I don't know. And so I do feel like I was fortunate in the fact that in 2019, is when I started speaking on stages, like in person event stages, and I did a brain photoshoot in 2019. And I had these video clips these natural, you know, B roll footage reels saved from about two years of time. And so it was easy to go back to some of those things and and pull those out for the brand video. But yeah, the brand video is just such a great way thing to introduce yourself to a brand new person or to someone in the media, and be able to share your story succinctly within two to three minutes, while also really drawing people in with the visuals and allowing them to see see what you're doing not just hear what you're doing. Yeah, well, it's such a fun video, I think you did such a great job. And that's what I appreciated about you as you came in, you figured out what you needed to do, and you got it done. And I think that's such a huge part because like we were talking about earlier, we tend to consume way too much content. And when we consume too much content we cannot create, it becomes really challenging for the brain because it's having to totally shift gears, which it just doesn't like to do on a daily basis. So I'd love to hear about what you do allow input wise on a daily business daily basis, and what you do not allow that helps you stay more productive and creative and ultimately healthy. Oh, that's such a good question. I would say that it's helpful to get really clear on what is your priority in this season of your business. I like to think of life and business and seasons. Because I don't think that, you know, your priority is necessarily a stagnant thing that never changes. And I also although I like to dream big picture like oh, I see myself here in 10 years or whatever. I find that tak tak tactical. Yeah, I cannot find the word today, I find that strategy wise, it's really helpful for me to actually think only in like 90 day sprints. And so when, for example, and I mean, in business, that's a quarter, right? So when I'm looking at like this quarter, for example, q2 will end of q1 and then going into q2, what is my big focus, it's growing the membership. And so basically, whenever I'm consuming any sort of content, if it is not directly related to me optimizing my funnel for the membership, I just don't, I don't listen to it, or or I table it. Because although there are so many great things out there that I could do, like for example, right now, clubhouses pop in, right. And I look forward to co hosting a room with you. It's not like an active strategy that I'm, you know, dedicating a lot of time into building because it's, although it's worthwhile. It's a distraction for my priority right now. And so I think it's really important to filter information through the lens of does this support my priority in the season? And more importantly, is this advice relevant to the type of business I have? That's another big mistake. I see. Michelle, and I see you nodding your head. So I'm sure you can relate. But I think a lot of people listen to advice, especially from like big time gurus, and they've failed to realize, hey, if this person, let's say is a course creator with an email list of 100,000 is this relevant to me as I don't know, an e commerce shop owner or as a service provider or like think about like, what type of business you have and what type of business they have? And do you actually want to model their advice to create the results that they have in the way that they have? That's important to consider too. I think that's a great point. And I think even to expand on that further, is that person, someone that can help you get to that next immediate win, because sometimes we just go with the biggest guru out there because everyone else is doing it, or they have the most, you know, prevalent ads or whatever. And then we leave the program feeling frustrated. So I think it's really smart. As we ingest content as we ingest purchases, it has to be to get you to that immediate next step. So great point, I think their clubhouse has been interesting, observing it and going, you know, it can be a huge time suck. And I'm really excited. I'm going to have Haley lukka do on the podcast soon to talk about clubhouse and she's coming into the membership. So I'm excited about that. But what's smart about what she does is that she focuses on it as a visibility vehicle. So she has her club, she's hosting a certain amount of time per day. So it's not becoming this huge time suck. But I think it can also in a strange way, be a publicity vehicle, because you can strategically come in mainly to do moderations. So it's interesting, and I'm really curious to see what happens over the next six months, and I'm really excited to host a room with you. I think that'll be a blast. Yes, I've only I think I've only co hosted two rooms so far. But it's been really fun. And I agree with you. It's it's one of those things where like, yes, if you sit in clubhouse rooms for eight hours a day, which some people do, it can be totally overwhelming. But if you again, place parameters, like you said around, okay, I'm going to show up in this way. And and you really stick to those boundaries that you set for yourself. I think that's how you protect your well being and and your time. Yeah, I agree because it can be a really great traffic generator, I was just talking to Katia the other day. And she was saying, I mean, it's grown her Instagram, by 10s of 1000s of people. So if you are strategic with it, it can be a great vehicle and a great traffic generator. So what is on the horizon for you this year? My dear, I'd love to hear about it. Well, I think the biggest long term play that we're really diving into this year, which I guess this is part of the income generator, I totally forgot to mention this. But it's because it's not in like the immediate everyday type of thing is long term, I really want to pivot our company into more of a digital media company than a course slash e learning platform. And so to do that, you know, brand partnerships are a really big piece of how most digital media companies survive their revenue source. And so we're really diving into that this year. And we've already, you know, secured a few partnerships with brands that I really admire, that I really am excited to work with and bring to my community. But it's it's a totally different playing field, right? It's just, it's something I'm not necessarily used to. And so it's it's just a new way of looking at revenue models and learning things. But ultimately down the road, I would love to have this platform to elevate female voices, female leaders, female educators like yourself, Michelle. So it's not just the Ellen Show, right? I mean, hopefully that's not true. You know what I'm saying? Like, it's not just like, oh, come here and learn from me. But really, it's about building a platform for people to have accessibility to mentorship and resources and social capital for all of these brilliant women. So that's kind of like the long term play we're working on. I love that. Let me know where you need support. I think that that is so needed. And I'm looking forward to seeing that manifest for you. So audience who wants to follow you learn from you? Maybe they want to take your masterclass where can they go? Well, if you want to watch my masterclass on how to make your first 10k month without a large following, then you can head on over to Ellen yen.com slash get clients. And you'll get instant access to that 45 minute training and an accompanying workbook so you can really digest the information as you're watching. And then if you are a podcast lover, which I assume you are, because you're listening to this, I'd love for you to come hang out with us over on our podcast cubicle, the CEO. And like Michelle mentioned at the beginning, she was a guest on her show to talk about color psychology, and visibility vehicles. So if you want to kind of hear Michelle V in the interview seat, we'd love for you to come join us and listen into her episode. Fantastic, Ellen, this has been so long overdue. I'm so happy that you stopped by the visible entrepreneur. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate your transparency and your openness because we just want to know what visibility and publicity strategies are out there working and more importantly, how is it directly correlating to income so thank you for that. I look forward to following you and seeing what happens over the next year for you. And if you are listening, stay tuned. We have some amazing guests coming up in future episodes and in the meantime, get out there and get visible. Do one thing today and then report back Let us know how it goes. Thank you