How do ‘mom-preneurs’ balance building their passion business and still raise healthy and happy kids? Or, on the flip side of the coin, have you ever hoped to instill an entrepreneurial spirit in your kids?
We chat with Meg Brunson, podcast host of the FamilyPreneur and a super mom to four girls. Meg never set out to be an entrepreneur. A former Facebook employee, she decided to supplement her income with a side business. Meg talks with us about her journey, how this changed her family, and the lessons she and her family learned along the way.
- The challenges of balancing family while nurturing your business
- The family dynamic of working from home
- The ‘AND’ and not the ‘OR’ – the importance of having a second income or a side-hustle
- Carving out a business while being fully employed
- Your value proposition and your target audience – ‘there is riches in the niches’
- Failure is a stepping stone on the path of success – ‘failing forward’
- You define what makes you a successful mom – stop feeling guilty!
- Finding age-appropriate ways to involve your children in growing your business
- Teaching your kids to adapt to your clear working boundaries
- Teaching the basic principles of business and leadership
- Applying such principles to your child’s passion project and monetizing this passion
- Leveraging technology and the internet of things
- Creating KidPreneurs
- Gifting your children with the opportunity to explore their life passion and career options outside of mainstream careers
Discover more of Meg Brunson
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Speaker 1: 00:00 Welcome to Working Women’s Wealth where we discuss what it takes to build real wealth in a way normal humans can understand. Here’s your host, Lisa Linfield.
Lisa Linfield: 00:21 Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. Today I am joined by Meg. She is the host of a podcast called FamilyPreneur. Meg, thank you so much for joining us today.
Meg Brunson: 00:35 Thank you, Lisa. I’m excited to be here with you.
Lisa Linfield: 00:38 You have a podcast that encourages parents and their children to be entrepreneurs. How on Earth did you come about wanting to build a podcast for parents and their children to be entrepreneurs?
Meg Brunson: 00:53 Honestly, it was totally by accident. I’m a mom of four girls. My girls are currently 2, 4, 7, and 10. I have to think that through. I’ve got four young girls, and even my entrepreneurship I feel like was accidental. A quick little background, I had some pretty significant health scares that caused me to just reconsider my career path, and I decided that I wanted to be more present for my children and have a stronger impact on their lives, so I left traditional employment to pursue entrepreneurship, but being a parent and an entrepreneur at the same time, as I’m sure many people can relate to, can pose a ton of unique challenges. There’s the time suck. There’s trying to balance family and balance business, making enough money without neglecting your children, and all of these issues that come into play, so it was extremely difficult.
I realized, for us, one way that we found a balance or approached a balance maybe … Some would argue that balance isn’t ever really attainable, but we approached that balance was by involving our kids in age-appropriate ways, so instead of closing the door and feeling guilty because I could hear my kids either crying or giggling … It almost doesn’t matter because, if they’re crying, you want to solve their problems and, if they’re giggling, you want to participate in their joy. With the door closed, I feel isolated and shut in my office focusing on my business while my family lives on without me, which almost is what I was trying to escape by leaving the corporate world.
When I have the door open, the kids are able to come in and still interact while respecting the fact that I’m working. Even my two-year-old … It wasn’t always this way. It definitely took … It’s a learning process. She’s almost three, but she’ll come in while I’m on a phone call and see that I’m on the phone call, look at the computer, identify or acknowledge that somebody’s there. Then she’ll climb up on my desk, which is where she likes to sit with a book, and she’ll just quietly flip through her book while I’m on the phone call without interrupting me.
I’ll never forget, one day, my husband came to the door. The door was open, and she just looked at him and said, “Shush. Phone call.” Like I said, that wasn’t right off the bat. It was a learning process, but she understands that, when I’m here in the office, I’m working, and there’s certain times that I can stop and break and engage with her, and there’s other times that I can’t, but just because I can’t engage with her doesn’t mean we can’t have that together time.
As my kids’ ages increase, if we then jump to the other end of my spectrum, my 10-year-old, I feel like all kids want to do what the parents want to do. The child sees you sweeping the floor and, suddenly, they want a broom too. It’s the same thing for us with work. My daughters see me working, and they want to work too. My nine-year-old, when she was nine, she came to me and said she wanted to start a job because she wanted to go to South Carolina to visit her grandmother, which is a very long trip from where I am in the States and, honestly, it’s very expensive when you’ve got six adult tickets you have to buy for airfare, so she determined she wanted to start her own business.
That process is really what inspired the podcast. I worked with her to identify what type of a business would be best for her, and we put some time and effort into developing a website and teaching her the basics of business. People would ask me, “Well, how did you do it? Well, why is she doing it? How is it working?” All of these questions kept coming at me, and then it just hit me that this is something I should be documenting. It was also hugely beneficial to her, unbelievably beneficial to her. She’s always been a really bright child, especially before entering the public school system. Now, once she entered the public school system, she was diagnosed with ADHD. She had some behavioral issues. She didn’t test well. Her grades were not as high as I would have expected them to be knowing how bright she is. From the moment she started bringing home letter grades on her report cards, her math scores, for example, were always Ds, Fs. It would be a good day if we got a C.
We introduced this business concept to her, and I’ll never forget her bringing her first report card home this year in the fall, and she got straight As. We were like, “What? Is this really her report card?” We checked the name a couple times. Just applying, having this passion project where she could apply the skills she was learning in school, it just changed her path. I mean her path at school has been so dramatically different, so that was really … That’s a long answer to how the podcast was really inspired, and now it’s one of my biggest passions is just trying to include my kids in entrepreneurship so they can develop this entrepreneurial mindset that I truly believe is going to benefit them in life, whether they go traditional college and career or whether they pave their own paths.
Lisa Linfield: 06:35 I mean that’s a most fascinating story and, really, a huge amount to learn from. Being kids and with many different ideas every single day of the week, how did you help her figure out the actual business that she could do in order to make money?
Meg Brunson: 06:53 Sure, so I thought about how I decided what business I would do. I told her that the first step is identifying what you’re an expert in. What thing do you do better than other people? We brainstormed some ideas, and the cutest thing and the thing she ended up going with is that she is an expert big sister. She is the oldest of four girls and she, based on her experiences, feels like she knows everything there is to know about being a big sister.
Lisa Linfield: 07:26 That’s so sweet.
Meg Brunson: 07:28 I know. It’s funny because, as an adult, my first thought was, “Well, that’s great, but you can’t monetize that.” You know? How …
Lisa Linfield: 07:34 Yeah.
Meg Brunson: 07:36 How are you going to monetize that? That was the next problem we tackled. What does an expert big sister do? What kind of tasks do you help with? That’s when we brainstormed all of the ways that she helps her sisters and helps my husband and I. Then, from there, we kind of narrowed things down, so what she ultimately came down to was that the number-one way she helps is by reading. When she reads to her sisters, she’s helping her sisters because she’s spending quality time with them. She’s teaching them to read and to love reading, but she also helps my husband and I. She helps her parents because that frees us up to do something else. Not that we never read to the kids, but it is nice when you’ve got four kids, and dinner, and business, and all of these moving parts, to be able to outsource some of those activities, right? We can outsource the afternoon story time to my oldest daughter. She’ll read them the story, and everybody benefits from that.
Lisa Linfield: 08:43 How does she make money from that?
Meg Brunson: 08:48 Her business involves reviewing those children’s books. That’s where we were able to come up with a monetization process. She reads to books to her sisters or sometimes it’s a book she reads to herself. We’re just blanket looking at children’s books, in general, not any specific age range. She’ll read the children’s book, and then she writes a blog post reviewing that book. It’s a age-appropriate blog post. I mean she’s really writing it. We do try to help her with asking her some questions that she may want to include, like who was your favorite character? What was your favorite part? Was it funny or sad? How did it make you feel?
We’ll suggest some questions, but then she’ll write a blog post. We always aim for about 300 words, so it’s not super long. She is only 10, but she’ll write a blog post reviewing the book, and then we will use Amazon affiliate links for the books that are found on Amazon. I joined a direct sales company that sells children’s books so that she can also pull from those books to review and then link to the site, so while you have to be 18 to join that direct sales company, so that is me as the rep, but she is the one doing the work, writing the reviews, and then doing all the accounting that comes along with it.
Lisa Linfield: 10:13 That’s fantastic, and so if someone clicks on either the Amazon link or the direct sales link and buys the book, then she gets some money from that.
Meg Brunson: 10:23 Yeah. The way Amazon affiliate links work are pretty cool. Even if you’re reading her blog post and it’s about a children’s book she reviewed, and you click that link, even if you don’t buy that book, if you buy something else in that session, it still credits back to her.
Lisa Linfield: 10:40 That’s fantastic.
Meg Brunson: 10:42 Yeah. She is able to explain what an affiliate link is at 10, and I know some adults that aren’t even sure of that, but we broke it down in an age-appropriate way. She’ll tell you something along the lines of, “When you click my link and buy something, I get a little bit of money, but you don’t have to pay anything extra,” so there’s really no reason not to buy through an affiliate link because you’re not paying any more, but you’re supporting somebody else.
Lisa Linfield: 11:13 How do you and how does she market her website in order to get more people to come and click on the link?
Meg Brunson: 11:22 I do a lot of marketing for her. My background is in marketing, so I cross-promote her posts through some of my channels. I work with a nationwide parenting resource here in the States. I’ll occasionally post some of her blog posts to the social media channels for that parenting resource or post them on my own pages. A lot of my target audience is really moms as well, so they’re also her target audience, so that kind of works out well that we’re both targeting the same people. She does go live, occasionally, on Facebook.
Lisa Linfield: 12:00 Wow.
Meg Brunson: 12:01 Now, it’s all under my supervision, so she doesn’t yet have complete control over that.
Lisa Linfield: 12:01 Good.
Meg Brunson: 12:07 When we joined the direct sales company, she did an unboxing live. We went outside, and she unboxed all the books, and read the descriptions, and talked about who she thought would be interested. She has bookmarks that kind of replace business cards, so she’s got her own bookmarks she can hand out when she goes places.
This is actually kind of exciting for us. I made a decision totally last minute. I’m about to travel over seven days for two different business conferences, and I just decided that she’s coming with me, so this will be the first time I actually take her with me, and she’ll sit through a majority. I’m not going to expect her to sit through eight hours, necessarily, of marketing presentations, but she’s going to go and sit through some of them, and her task is to, over the course of the conferences, come home with three takeaways, three things she can do to improve her business. She’s super excited about that. I think she might be a little bored. I don’t think she understands how boring, for kids, marketing conferences may be, but she is still super excited, so I’m excited to expose her to that and see how she does, and how she reacts, and what she takes away from it.
Lisa Linfield: 13:21 That’s fantastic. It’ll be great to hear from your podcast how she does on that.
Meg Brunson: 13:26 Yeah.
Lisa Linfield: 13:27 How has it impacted your family as a whole?
Meg Brunson: 13:31 I think everybody’s really benefiting. I mean everybody in my family has some role, even just in my podcast. My voice over in my podcast intro is my husband and my oldest daughter, and everybody in my family, all my kids and my husband, take turns recording the outros. Even my two-year-old has an outro on the podcast. My four-year-old, who has a speech delay, we pieced together an outro on the podcast. They’re not super professional- sounding, they’re my kids, but that’s what’s important to me. They all actually want to start their own podcast, which I told them they can do this summer, so that’s a project that we’re going to be embarking on. We’re not entirely sure. We don’t have a title. We don’t have a name. We have some ideas, but it’s still kind of rough, so they all have those ideas.
Like I mentioned earlier with my story with my two-year-old, I feel like the kids are just … they’re learning to be respectful of the process. When I’m working, they understand we set clear boundaries. I try to tell them, “I’m working now, but at the top of the hour, whatever time it is, we’ll be able to have playtime,” so they know what to expect, and then sticking to those promises so that they trust my directions going forward.
They’re benefiting in school. They’re learning to work together. ,I think that long term is where the real benefit is because one thing my kids have taught me … I was a straight-A student. I was honor society and overachiever, and all that good stuff, but my oldest daughter isn’t. She doesn’t act in school the way I acted in school, but it doesn’t mean that she’s doomed for the rest of her life, so-
Lisa Linfield: 15:23 Definitely not.
Meg Brunson: 15:24 Right, so I feel like this is going to allow them to just have an infinite number of options in their futures.
Lisa Linfield: 15:33 It is. You know what? The reality is we all strive so hard to give our children the best education possible for one reason, so that they can get the best options available to them, but the options that we all needed and the options that they all are going to need are completely different.
Meg Brunson: 15:49 True, and I feel like I’ve had to invest so much, as an adult, in my professional development because I wasn’t prepared to be an entrepreneur. I never took a business class in college. I graduated with a degree in criminal justice, which is so far from what I’m doing now. I don’t want my kids to be in that situation. I invested a ton of money in college and even in graduate school only to need to invest in learning the skills needed for entrepreneurship and business. I feel like, by giving them that core foundation, leadership principles and business principles, I’m just giving them so much more potential where they can take it any way they want to go. If they do decide to go college and traditional employment, then those skills are still going to be beneficial. There’s really no disadvantage to providing them these experiences.
Lisa Linfield: 16:45 Absolutely. I mean I think one of the key things these days is the and not the or, so the and of even if you do have a college and traditional route, that most people, by the time our children grow up, will have some form of kind of side business, or side blog, or side something that they’re going to be doing in addition not instead of.
Meg Brunson: 17:09 For sure, and that’s another thing that I’m super passionate about. It was only a couple years ago that my mother and my stepfather both lost their jobs in the same year. One of them outsourced overseas, so the whole department shut down, and one of them just happened to close the building in the city we were at, so both my parents, not quite at retirement age, had the rug pulled out from under them and, suddenly, they were scrambling. I mean they had a severance package, so that would cover a couple of months, but I mean they really needed to find something to replace that income. That’s when it kind of hit me that entrepreneurship is an insurance policy. When the rug is pulled out from under you, that’s something you can fall back on.
As a matter of fact, my husband … I started my business in March of 2017, and in August he lost his job, and that was our only steady income. Luckily, because I had this foundation that I had been building up and really working on over the past, quick math, I don’t know, five, six months, I was able to just hustle a little harder. I say I got lucky, but I know that part of it was how much effort that I had put into it, but we were so lucky that I was able to get the clients I needed that we replaced his income within three days for the next three months.
Lisa Linfield: 18:41 Wow.
Meg Brunson: 18:42 That was huge. That would not have been possible without this entrepreneurial side hustle for our family. I don’t even know where we would be right now. It was so abrupt. I just really believe that everybody should be pursuing monetization of their passion in some way.
Lisa Linfield: 19:03 How did you and how did the women that you interview that do do this, how do they carve out time to have both a full-time job and try and monetize their passion?
Meg Brunson: 19:18 I do, I interview somebody different every week, and some of the most consistently-offered advice is that you start small. You take baby steps. You don’t have to quit your job tomorrow and figure things out. You build this business one step at a time alongside your main hustle until your side hustle becomes your main hustle, and then you can cut back your hours at your traditional employment or even quit altogether, depending upon what’s right for your family. I think that it’s just taking those baby steps and not giving up. Keep pushing through knowing that failure is like a stepping stone on the path to success. Just because you’ve fallen off the trail, just because you’ve maybe taken the wrong step, you can just pivot, and adjust, and course correct, and that that’s all normal.
I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who said to me, “I had an idea, I started pursuing it, and I became a millionaire.” That’s not what happens.
Lisa Linfield: 20:18 No.
Meg Brunson: 20:19 You have an idea. You pursue it. You realize there’s a problem. You course correct. You pivot. Everybody has failures, so I think it’s just being prepared that not everything you try is going to be a winner, but that it’s all going to contribute to the brilliance that’s going to get you where you need to go.
Lisa Linfield: 20:41 Absolutely. I mean I think, most of all, it takes time. I think one of the things people don’t realize is how long it takes and how much work it takes before you monetize your first dollar of income and that this thing is a curve. It starts very slow in the beginning, and then it moves, and it grows. Some of the highest earners, people who have been able to quit their main job, when you ask them, “How long did it take before you earned your first money from anything you did?” and they’ll say, “Well, it took like a year,” so it takes a long time, but I guess if you keep persisting it then starts to build momentum and take off.
Meg Brunson: 21:22 Sure, and there’s going to be highs and lows. I mean that’s the other thing. There’s some months that the income is higher than others, so you just have to keep pushing through and learning from the experiences. Somebody said failing forward or falling forward. You can fall. That’s fine. Just fall in a forward direction so that you’re still moving towards your ultimate goal.
Lisa Linfield: 21:43 Absolutely. I was listening to one of your interviews, and a piece of advice that I really related to was the fact of use your lunch hour to work on your own business. It really resonated with me because, as a corporate person, I worked my lunch hours at the side of my desk, and I worked past 5:00 and ended up resenting the fact that I was giving so much of my life to a business. Yet, if I look back, if you just take things like your lunch hour, and you might stop working at 5:00 on your core business but work for another hour on your personal business, it does create the time to be able to do it.
Meg Brunson: 22:22 Absolutely. That’s something that I had done, as well, when I was still working corporate but knowing that I wanted to build the side hustle. That’s exactly how I spent my lunchtime. My husband and I would drive into work. We worked in the same complex. If he was working later than I was, I would clock out on time and stay at my desk and work on my personal stuff there as well. It’s finding those moments. I feel like I gave up some things that weren’t necessary like playing some of those games that you get caught up on on your cell phone. Candy Crush, I think, was my big vice for a while. It takes this mindset shift of, yeah, I enjoy this, I get lost in it, it’s fun, but I also enjoy building my business, and I really do. I enjoy the creative process of designing graphics for my blog posts or just helping people.
It’s shifting. It’s finding the areas where you enjoy something but it’s not really fueling you, it’s not really advancing you or your family, and carving those things out and then reallocating the time so that it’s better spent. It’s tough, especially in the beginning when you are then juggling a full-time job or career along with your side hustle and your family. It’s not easy. It was really stressful and difficult, but it was also a means to an end. It was a small period of time that we just kind of had to push through and do our best at. I think back to an episode I recorded with Jayleen Magill. I can’t remember the episode number right now, but the advice that she gave me keeps standing out when I think about work-life balance, and that’s that you define what makes you a successful mom. The same way you define what would make you successful in your business, you define what makes you a successful mom.
For her, what she said was that having happy kids makes her a successful mom, and that’s it. The strategy she taught me was, at the end of the day, you ask your kids if they had a happy day. 99% of the time, if not 100%, they say yes. No matter what happened that day, they feel that they had a happy day, and then you, as a parent, can see that you don’t have to spend the money or invest the time to go to the zoo every single week in order for them to feel like they had a happy day, or you can still build your business and work and, if they’re in daycare, that’s okay. They can still have a happy day.
You’re not ruining their childhood by pursuing your dreams. You’re actually giving them more opportunities and building a better life for them. It’s shifting your perspective on what defines being a good parent, so I can stop feeling guilty over having a basket full of clean laundry, because I never have time to put my laundry away, but I don’t have to feel guilty about that because it doesn’t make me a bad mom that my kids pick their clean laundry out of a basket. I mean that’s not the worst thing in the world, so it’s redefining those success measures and being okay with them.
Lisa Linfield: 25:52 Absolutely, and defining those success measures for yourself in terms of, as you said, the tough moments and tough periods that you are going to have to push through when it does feel like there’s a lot going on. If you ask anybody, “How long do you spend on social media a day?” it’s unbelievable how much time people spend on social media, and all of that time could be redirected to a very long-term plan on making some money from your passion.
Meg Brunson: 26:21 I get caught up on it too, so …
Lisa Linfield: 26:23 No, we all do. I mean that’s the one thing I always say. There’s definitely time in the day. Between TV and social media, there’s definitely time in the day to do something, but we’re also always human. One of the things I loved was a time management expert who said, “You’re not going to be productive 24/7.” It was like, oh, thank goodness, because if the time management expert isn’t productive 24/7, then that’s great. I don’t have to be either.
Meg Brunson: 26:49 Yeah, and sometimes you just need a break to recharge.
Lisa Linfield: 26:52 Absolutely.
Meg Brunson: 26:52 I find that, if I get to a point where I’m overwhelmed and overworked, sometimes I need to just walk away and go turn on Paw Patrol and watch a 20-minute cartoon with my kids, and that’s going to alow me to come back at 100% as opposed to struggling to get through my work at 50%. Taking those breaks, while it may seem like you’re not being efficient in that 30 minutes, it actually is allowing you to be more efficient for the rest of the day, so giving yourself grace and allowing yourself to take breaks.
Lisa Linfield: 27:27 Absolutely. I think we are our hardest critics in these things.
Meg Brunson: 27:32 For sure.
Lisa Linfield: 27:33 You started a business called EIEIO Marketing. That’s quite an interesting name. It makes me think of that song Old MacDonald.
Meg Brunson: 27:42 Yeah, so that was partially part of the reason I chose it. I’ve been involved with marketing to moms for a very long time. I started my entrepreneurial venture, or at least my successful path … I had some failures in the past, but I built my first kind of successful entrepreneurial venture around marketing to moms through a digital online resource for parents, so I have a lot of experience reaching the mommy market with products and services that are really meant for kids or meant for family experiences. I knew that my ideal client was a business like that, a local museum, or an indoor play center, or even a vacation destination, places that cater to families. That’s kind of where my passion lies, especially being a mom in a big family. Four kids is considered kind of a big family here at least.
I wanted something that immediately made people think family-friendly, so as I did my research, I was also drawn to EIEIO because my Facebook philosophy really … My agency is focused on Facebook, so EIEIO stands for the five things that you should be doing on Facebook as a marketer, as a small business owner, every time you sign on to the platform, and that’s engaging, interacting, education, influencing, and optimizing. That’s the constant process.
You want to engage with your target audience. You want to interact with them, so not just post engaging content but actually respond to all comments. You want to educate them surrounding your business topic. You want to influence them to join you, right, whether it’s buying a service, joining your mailing list, but you want to influence them to take action. Then you need to constantly be optimizing that process to make sure that you’re doing everything in the best way possible so that you’re getting the best results, the highest results. It’s kind of two-faced, or double-edged, or whatever where it stands specifically for the things you should be doing on socia media, but it’s also family-friendly and fun, and it was just a perfect fit.
Lisa Linfield: 30:04 It’s an absolutely great fit. I guess what’s clear for you and what you would advise the listeners of both your podcast and your marketing business is to be very clear on the target market, so if your passion in life is art and you want to monetize your art endeavors, that you very clearly think of who the person is that you’re wanting to appeal to.
Meg Brunson: 30:32 Yeah. One of my favorite quotes that I always think of, and I don’t know where it originated, but it’s that the riches are in the niches. I don’t know who said it first, but I’ve heard it a couple times from people, and it just sticks with me. I feel like if you’re trying to serve everybody, well, first of all, that’s impossible. You can’t serve everybody. Nobody’s liked by everybody. There’s always going to be people out there that are drawn to you and people out there that aren’t, and that’s fine. I mean that’s life. Finding, narrowing down, and working with the people who really, really match where your passions lie are what’s going to keep you driven to keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not passionate about your business, you’re going to get burned out, and you’re going to end up just like you were back at that corporate job where you’re looking for something else.
I feel like, if I was too broad in who I was targeting, then that might happen because I’d be working with businesses who might not be aligned with my values or just my interests. Because I am such a family person, just out of necessity, it just makes sense that, when I get a client that offers something related to kids or parenting, I just get excited by it, and I want to help them, and I know what works for moms, so it’s easy for me to come up with a strategy or write copy, write the text for those ads that’s going to appeal to parents.
If I got something that was totally out of left field … I actually had somebody that came to me, and they were an ammunition company, like firearms. I don’t own a gun. I am not licensed. I don’t know anything about ammunition, but I have a friend who does, and I referred him off that way, but I feel like I wouldn’t have been the right person to handle that, so even though, yes, that would have been extra income and, of course, that’s always nice, if it wouldn’t be enjoyable or relatively easy … I do like a challenge, but there’s a difference between a challenge and something I enjoy and then something I literally would have to learn. It just made more sense to decline that opportunity and put them in touch with the person who would be more aligned to work with them.
I do try to narrow it down, but I also am always open to suggestions. I have some of my clients currently … You probably wouldn’t think one of my clients is an exterminator, and you might not think like, “Oh, that’s a kid-friendly business, right? They kill bugs,” but they’re a very family-friendly company, so we have a lot of the same values. They use a spray that’s safe for kids, and they have big families themselves, and they have generations that work within the business, so we still connected on a level even though they’re not selling children’s clothes, or a toy, or a fun place for kids to go. They’re helping make homes safer. Here in Phoenix, we have to deal with scorpions and black widow spiders, things that could be dangerous if they’re found in your home, and they eliminate those threats for families. Some of the businesses I work with might seem like a little bit of a stretch, but they’re all pretty aligned to my values and my core interests.
Lisa Linfield: 34:03 That’s hugely important, that each one of us … that once you start doing something, even if it’s just a second income, decides right up front who are the people and what are the things we are going to work with and for and who we’re not.
Meg Brunson: 34:20 For sure. I think it’s also important to keep in mind that if you’ve got a passion of some sort, even kind of an obscure and strange, maybe, passion, there’s other people out there. There are some really interesting businesses that exist where you’d think is there really a market for that? But there is. People will find each other, and the internet makes it so easy or much easier, at least, where you can really find people who are in the niches that you want to serve. I definitely think narrowing it down is not going to hurt anything.
Lisa Linfield: 35:01 You said that one of your main ways you help your businesses and your own endeavors is through Facebook. It’s been in the news a lot lately. One of the things, besides the challenges it has, is that it keeps changing its algorithms. For those of us who are kind of normal mompreneurs, how do we keep up to speed with the rapidly-changing formulas? The O in your business is optimize your marketing. For many of us, it’s like we only just get the one thing right, and then Facebook goes and changes the way it does things. How do we keep up to speed with that?
Meg Brunson: 35:41 Well, I’ll tell you that I consider myself to be an expert at Facebook, primarily because I did work at Facebook, and when I was there, my job title was Marketing Expert, so I feel pretty comfortable just carrying that title on now that I’m independent, but even as somebody who’s very, very familiar with Facebook, these changes are still extremely frustrating, so number one, you’re not alone. Even the professionals get frustrated by the changes. Some of the most recent changes have dramatically influenced the way that we are running ads for our clients, so I just want to say that that’s not unique. We’re with you.
I think the number-one thing that has helped me is understanding, foundationally, what Facebook’s objective is. The algorithm was put into place so that people would have a good user experience. Facebook’s more concerned with the user experience than they are the advertiser’s experience, so they’re looking at the end client, your audience, and they want to make sure that they are having a good experience, that they’re spending a lot of time on the platform. At the end of the day, that really does benefit you too because if they leave the platform, then you’re speaking to crickets. You really need to understand that that’s the basis of the algorithm is to ensure that the users are having a good experience.
A lot of these changes are a result of a few bad apples. They put these rules into place or they have these procedures, and then people find ways to, we say, hack it out, so they find shortcuts or ways to circumvent the system in order to break the rules and get their message across. That’s when Facebook has to tighten the reins and change things, so it’s like those of us that are following the rules often get punished for those few bad apples, which I think happens in a lot of areas. Understanding that basic foundation of how the algorithm works, I think, is essential. It’s not Facebook trying to make your life more difficult.
A lot of people think that it’s just Facebook wanting to make more money. They are a business. I’m not going to discount that. They need to be producing revenue in order to maintain the business, but I truly believe that the ultimate motivator for these changes is that they’re trying to increase usership on the platform. Just like you’re probably less likely to watch an infomercial than a television show or less likely to pick up a magazine that’s full of advertisements versus picking up a magazine that just has sporadic advertisements, people gravitate towards organic content, not to ads, so Facebook want to regulate how much overly-promotional content is in the news feed.
With the most recent changes, the basics, breaking it down, is that Facebook will show your posts more often if Facebook determines that people are engaging with those posts through meaningful conversations. They want people to be commenting, and liking, and engaging with those posts. That’s always kind of been the ultimate goal since the algorithm was developed, but the most recent changes is they’re putting a little more emphasis on the comments and the communication because so many people were … What do they call it? Like baiting or … I can’t remember exactly the term they put to it, but just trying to trick people into liking or reacting to the comments, so now they really want to see comments that are longer, that encourage back-and-forth conversation, but at the end of the day, it’s really just posts that your audience is reacting well to.
I think it’s just keeping that in mind and then following influencers who post about this stuff. I do post about some of this stuff on my own social media channels, but some other really great people or sites you can follow, one of them I love is Social Media Examiner. They’re a really big social-media-focused news source that’s based out of the States, but they have a worldwide audience, and they cover all of these changes. They’ve got multiple podcasts and blog content, so that’s one of my favorite resources. If you want Facebook specifically, you could turn to an influencer like Jon Loomer or Mari Smith. Those are two that have been pretty well established in Facebook marketing and post updates consistently.
It’s finding the person that really resonates with you. Some people might like getting information from me because of the way I present it, and some people won’t, and that’s fine. You can go check out Jon Loomer, Mari Smith, any of those other people, there’s a ton of them that offer Facebook-focused advice, or even just going to Social Media Examiner. I’d think about how you like to consume content. Is it through a podcast, or reading a blog post, or watching a YouTube channel? Then find somebody who keeps that channel updated with recent changes. That’s really the best you can do, that and testing things out, but I know that can get tedious and time consuming, so I think a balance.
Lisa Linfield: 41:20 And expensive.
Meg Brunson: 41:21 And expensive, right.
Lisa Linfield: 41:23 Absolutely. Well, you know what? It’s been so fantastic to have you on the show, and I really, really appreciate your input. For all the listeners that would like to kind of hear more from you, how do they go about accessing you?
Meg Brunson: 41:35 I’ve got a Facebook page. I’m on Instagram, Twitter. I’m on a whole bunch of social media platforms. Just about everywhere, my handle is @themegbrunson, so just T-H-E, the in front of my name because I waited too long to get my handle, and you can find more information about the podcast and some marketing tips and tricks at megbrunson.com.
Lisa Linfield: 41:58 Oh, that’s wonderful. Thank you so much, Meg, and we so, so, so, so, so appreciate you being here. Thank you for being with us and for sharing your insights.
Meg Brunson: 42:07 Oh, you’re welcome. This was so wonderful.
Lisa Linfield: 42:09 Take care. Cheers. That was Meg Brunson. I don’t know about you, but I’m both challenged and inspired to try and work with Jess, my 10-year-old, to come up with something that we can do together to build her knowledge about online businesses and how they work. I definitely agree with her that it’s the way of the future and, whether or not your child chooses to go the mainstream route, from an education perspective in terms of university and in terms of their career, whether that is their choice or, alternatively, that they choose to be an entrepreneur, I don’t see how it can hurt that if, from an early age, they learn that you don’t necessarily have to only bake cupcakes and lemonade stands, which I’m terribly bad at, but you can also set up an online business as a young person.
I’m Lisa Linfield, and I’d love for you to go to our website to download some of the articles that we have or tick box and cheat sheets, and there’s one for those of us who have children who are under the age of 12 as to how to teach them to manage their money better. Take care and have a great week.