This is a follow up story for Leader Connecting Leaders. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Jodi Carlson, I am a professional web designer, wife, and mom. I also run a successful profitable blog that all started from a hobby that started when I was 6 years old and said yes I want to join Girl Scouts.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
In the past year, I have continued to add new booklets to my website. I think last year I added 10 more books. Some of them are challenging to make fun so it can take a couple of months to get right. I put a lot of work in not only making them easy to follow, educational, but most importantly fun. I want my books to not feel like schoolwork, rather an activity to do with family and friends because you want to.
Focus all my time on working on great programs to earn badges, rather than focusing on other areas of troop management.
I have also been able to add my booklets to the teacher pays teacher subscription service for teachers so sales on that site have gone up. I started doing crafts on my website and have helped with my ad revenue. And started a Youtube channel with videos making those crafts.
Here is my new Youtube channel.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Focus on what I am good at rather than trying to build things that are outside what my readers have been coming to me for. My followers come to me for badge earning ideas. The best way to do that is to focus all my time on working on great programs to earn badges, rather than focusing on other areas of troop management.
Secondly, make sure whoever you use for hosting provider is scalable I have made that mistake 3 times now as I have grown I have had to change providers which leads to a lot of back end headaches as you change your DNS.
An email list is key and if your goal is to gain readers or customers be sure to engage with the ones that signed up to hear from you. But don’t over send either because that gets annoying and then people unsubscribe. You have to find that perfect middle ground.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
Things right now are unknown with everything going on in the world with Covid-19. Scout troops are shut down, schools are shut down. So I have shifted gears to badges girls can do on their own at home with parents. I have also discovered my teacher pay teacher site is doing better for sales than the main site. That tells me that parents and teachers are using these booklets as well.
So I am looking at expanding my marketing approach on the website, and offering more free resources on blogs for parents and teachers as well. I wish I had a big plan for this site but I just don’t because this is not my main source of income or my highest priority I have a family with 2 young children and I try to spend as much time as I can with them. However, I will admit I find myself photographing our art projects and games we come up with to share on the blog. I don’t find my blog to be a job, it is strictly a hobby that also provides me an extra income to support my family and allows us to do the things we want to do in our lives.
I plan to continue to make activity booklets and share ideas on the blog for free when I come up with them. I will continue to collaborate with other bloggers when they reach out to me and take every opportunity that comes my way to share my story. This post as case in point.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Honestly, I don’t like reading books. I like going to other people's websites and blogs and reading shorter articles. Often mom blogs have nothing to do with what my site is about, but rather more about my life being a mom.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Find every way possible to get your name out there. Everyone does not use the same way to search for resources. Some use Pinterest, some use Google, and some use Facebook there are so many ways you can get your info out there. Some will work better than others for your niche, try as many as possible but when you find the ones that work the best focus on those the most.
Don’t waste hours on another social media platform because you see it working for someone else. Often what works for them will not work for you.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I currently have a Pinterest designer that works for me, and I give commission on a few of my booklets where people helped create the books. I am not hiring anyone because this is just my side hustle.
I am always open to collaborating with other bloggers or professionals that have ideas for booklets that they would love to get a commission on. Reach out to me if you are one of those people. The booklets I makespan across many subject matters and the goal is to provide an easy print at home program to earn a badge with very little planning needed.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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