Learn more about the talents and business lives of the Go Getter Marketing Group team!
Kylie Yockey – Social Media Assistant
Sonja: Hi everyone. Welcome to today’s “10 Minute Marketing” podcast. I’m joined today by Kylie Yockey, our social media assistant at Go Getter Marketing Group.
Kylie: Hi Sonja!
Sonja: We have a fun topic to talk about today. One of the things we really pride ourselves on at Go Getter Marketing Group is the fact that part of the makeup of our team is that we’re very much all entrepreneurs in some way, shape, or form. Which is relevant today because Kylie just launched her first online course. Course creation is a major topic for a lot of businesses.
How you go about building a course? How can it help you build an audience? How can it help you with more visibility in terms of thought leadership? How do you take something that you’re really knowledgeable about and turn it into more? So, I’m going to start by kind of sharing. This is the course that Kylie created. It’s called “The Ultimate Guide to Organization and Productivity for Writers.” This is the first one, right? Kylie, because you’ve launched two now?
Kylie: That is actually the second one. The first one is “Social Media Basics for Literary Professionals.”
Sonja: And these courses you launched on Academia?
Kylie: Yes, there is a new Courses feature on Academia Premium. They invited me to apply to teach a course.
Sonja: Let’s start there with that story. So, this was something you weren’t exactly proactively in search of creating a course, so Academia came to you. So, tell us about that. How did that come about?
Kylie: Well, I’m a fairly active user on their platform. They are scholarly resource for academic papers of all sorts. I’ve been using them for years and they emailed saying that they’re starting up a new video course function and they’re asking a lot of their users to apply and pitch video topics to talk about. So, I sent in a few ideas, and they asked me to go with the two that I have up.
Sonja: My story is actually similar. I launched a course on Skillshare, and it was very similar. They found me on Instagram and recommended that I launch a course with them, and I love that platform even as just somewhere to find really good courses to take.
How did you come up with “Social Media Basics for Literary Professionals” as a topic?
Kylie: I was just mostly trying to think of topics that I felt capable of filming a course on. The two big things in my life are social media and the literary community. I went to school for creative writing and I’m still an MA candidate at Spalding University in their school of writing. So, I thought these things go perfectly together. So much of the literary community is online now and especially on social media like Instagram. People [in that industry] need to know how to navigate [social media] if they want to further their career in an online space.
Sonja: That’s a very specific audience. Tell us more about that. You mentioned you’re working on that master’s degree which is around creative writing. How did you decide to focus on literary professionals as your niche audience?
Kylie: For one thing, it works with the audience of Academia.edu as an academic resource for people in all disciplines to share their academic writing, scholarly writing, and research papers. So, there’s already the base there for literary professionals to be on, or at least people who are into scholarly work. Their audience base and my audience base intersected there. And I just really love being a part of literary community, so any way I can help make sure everyone’s having a good time, I would like to take.
Sonja: That makes sense. It’s like you’re taking your skill and launching it to a community that you already know well. Key tip for those of you interested in course creation! I want to point out that Kylie mentioned the audience of the platform itself and knowing that there’s already a group of interested people on that particular platform.
So, let’s talk a little bit about the steps it took to even start planning the course. What was that like for you? Did you plan out the course like when we had the preview up on the screen, that there’s modules people can take? So, did you plan it all out in one fell swoop or module by module? What was that process like for you?
Kylie: The process that they ask for Courses is I had to have multiple lessons in a full course. So, I knew beforehand what the structure I needed to create was. And then yes, I scripted it all at once. Scripting took about two days for each video. It was admittedly more than I thought it would be. But I scripted it lesson by lesson, outlining it beforehand of what to talk about in each lesson.
Sonja: Did you practice before you got to recording?
Kylie: I would practice in chunks, like before I recorded certain parts. Memorization is not strong in my skillset, so I had to do it kind of incrementally as I went to be able to get the best performance out of myself. I practiced a handful of times to myself and then recorded a small segment. Practice, record, practice, record.
Sonja: A little bit of practicing just to get a feel and get the jitters out. Let me ask you, does being on camera come natural to you? Or did you have to work through that?
Kylie: It does not come as natural to me. Especially since I’ve never done a lot of video editing or video recording for academic reasons or for work reasons. It’s kind of a new process to learn and to figure out how to set up. And it was a process.
Sonja: Did you have to recruit any help? Anyone that helped you in the background, gave you any cues, or just even help you with the recording itself?
Kylie: I actually did it all by myself. I just recorded it all on my phone. I have a kind of a stack here that even my computer is on right now to get the angle behind me. And then it did help when I bought this little ring light / camera-phone holder. I didn’t actually end up using the lighting part of it, but the phone holder helped. It was like $5 at Target.
Sonja: Oh, easy! You can find those at Target, you can find those on Amazon. So, that was your equipment. What about mic? Did you have to get a mic using your camera phone?
Kylie: I actually still just used my phone. Then I also recorded into my phone for just-spoken parts and then put it all together with Animotica video editing, which I just downloaded for free from the internet.
Sonja: So easy process. And what type of phone do you have, for anyone wondering?
Kylie: I have the 2020 iPhone SE.
Sonja: iPhones are known for good recording if you don’t have a real camera. Did you have to do anything special, like change any of the settings in your phone to make sure it recorded high quality?
Kylie: Thankfully I didn’t have to do too much on my phone. I just had to make sure to switch off the mirroring effect once I got to the editing stage.
Sonja: What would that have done? What does the mirroring do?
Kylie: Pretty much it would have flipped the video, so any writing or props would’ve been backward and such.
Sonja: That’s important, especially when people have text in the background.
So, basics. You didn’t have to call in a big crew to make it a big production. A key takeaway here is that when you’re getting started with [projects like] this, you can start with what you have. You don’t have to pop out on day one hiring a full-fledged camera crew. But you do want to get a few basics right like lighting and sound. So those tests that you did sounds like they made a lot of sense because that allowed you to work through some of that in advance, as well as just what you needed to do for yourself, in order to appear on camera.
Sonja: So, the course is up on Academia. Are there any other ways that you are marketing the course?
Sonja: How has this response been, and do you feel like you’re already starting to get students in the course and starting to get some feedback on it?
Kylie: So far people on social media have been very supportive, very enthusiastic about it. I don’t see a lot of the traffic end of what happens with Courses. [Academia] sends us updates I think on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Sonja: One final question. And this is new for you, but just kind of now as you’re entering the world of course creation, what advice would you give new course creators?
Kylie: Especially when you’re starting out, I would say do teach on what you’re passionate about. It makes it so much easier, and you can really feel it through the video. That like, “Oh, they know what they’re talking about because they clearly love it so much.”
Sonja: Great advice. All right, everyone. I hope you had your pen and paper out and you got some great takeaways from Kylie around starting your first course and course creation and some of the basics that you need to keep in mind. If you want to go deeper into it, there are tons of courses out there around course creation that you can take. Some of them are free. Some of them you might pay a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars for. You got to find what’s right for you. Some of those courses will help you do everything from just thinking about how to find an audience and identify it, to structuring your content, to also figuring out where to go to market it. Particularly, if you’re trying to launch your course as part of your business model.
For Kylie, this is something, again, she was invited to do. It’s a great thing to, again, continue boosting her career and put her in a thought leadership position. So, it just depends on what approach you want to take. Is it something added to the toolkit? Or is it something you’ll take and run with?
This interview has been edited for style and clarity.
Lenaya Davis – Digital Marketing Associate
Sonja: Hi, everyone. Welcome to our special edition of “10 Minute Marketing.” I’m Sonja Crystal Williams, your host, also the founder of Go Getter Marketing Group and SonjaCrystal.com. Today I’m joined by our digital marketing associate, Lenaya Davis.
Sonja: One of the things that we really pride ourselves on as a team is how entrepreneurial we are as individuals. In this short series, we’ve been interviewing members of our team and talking to them about some of the other things we do as entrepreneurs or small business owners. So, today, we are chatting with Lenaya about her Etsy store. Lenaya, tell us the name of your store and a little bit about it?
Lenaya: The name of my Etsy shop is Lunar Lotus Vintage. It is thrifted and upcycle clothing. “Thrifted” meaning I do get the items from a thrift store, and “upcycle” meaning sometimes I get an item and make a change to it. So, I might sell it. I might bleach it. I might add something to it. If it’s a pair of jeans, I might cut them myself and make them short. It’s a mix of that. As far as how I got started in the whole thing, I guess you can say, I really love thrifting, and I love the vintage style. Everything I’m wearing right now is thrifted, actually.
I started thrifting maybe a few years back, and it was something that I would always do with my mom when I was younger, and I didn’t think it was cool back then. But as I got older, I think it’s so awesome. (Sorry, Mom, I didn’t think it was cool back then, but it’s super cool now). Basically, I would go in thrift stores and just find different pieces of clothing. Sometimes I even would find furniture or a painting. But I noticed I would run into—especially with clothing because I do sell mostly clothing items—I would find such cool things, and I wasn’t able to fit them. But I would always think to myself, “Oh, if someone could just see this.” Or, “If I could show someone this and they can wear it.” That’s where the idea stemmed from. Then I would always talk about selling items, and my husband is the one that was like, “Just do it.” That was the first sign I needed to take the leap, and it was actually something I started during the pandemic. So, that was a little bit challenging for me internally because, like, “Why would I start this right now?” But it actually turned out pretty well.
Sonja: Why did you pick Etsy as a platform to sell on? For people who may have not heard of Etsy, maybe tell a little bit about just what is Etsy.
Lenaya: Etsy is a very big platform for small business owners, especially those who sell vintage clothing, actually, which I didn’t know at first. But for people who sell vintage clothing, make their own items, I’m sure a lot of people have gone on there to buy signs and different pieces for their homes. But they don’t know it’s just a small business with one person, and you’re making your own item. And I thought it was pretty cool because it was a huge community. I remember coming across vintage clothing on Etsy, and it is a very organized platform. I know it helps me, but very organized as far as keeping track of orders, where the orders are going to, as opposed to maybe selling through a social network where people would be fighting over the item. I would have to figure out, “All right. Well, who’s getting it now because somebody said they want it in a comment.”
Sonja: Because they thought it’s one-of-a-kind.
Lenaya: Exactly. Which is very true that, yep, there is only one item of each thing that I sell. So, it’s super important that I have Etsy as my place to showcase items. You’re allowed to put multiple pictures, and it’s just a very great way for a small business owner to stay organized. Etsy is pretty awesome!
Sonja: So, going into the vintage world, that in a sense—when we put on our marketing hats—was how you found who your niche audience was. Are there any other ways that you’ve said, “Hey, this is how I can get in front of the right people to sell to?” Or does Etsy take care of that?
Lenaya: In a way. You can make it so Etsy does take care of that aspect of your marketing. But for me, on the other hand, I don’t do that. Going into this, I guess you can say I had a plan, but my plan was up in the air a little bit. Now, I was going into it, thinking to myself, “If I was selling to myself, what would I like?” I like unique pieces. I like one-of-a-kind pieces. And also based off of fashion trends, and what’s popular now, and what’s hard to get your hands on now in the thrift stores, because thrifting has actually become very popular. So, that actually makes it a little bit harder to get the things that people are looking for. And now prices are a little… they’re increasing a little bit. So, I guess you can say going into it, no, I didn’t have a niche audience. I still don’t because a lot of people actually wear vintage and you don’t even know it. So, I guess you can say my niche audience was everybody.
Sonja: What about other aspects like when you upload into Etsy, and you’re creating the store, and so on, like any business, did you create a logo? What kind of things went into that side?
Lenaya: It definitely took a brainstorming session to figure out what the logo was going to be. I definitely wanted to make everything look professional even though I sold the clothing out of my apartment. So, yeah. Going into it, coming up with the name, and other aspects of the brand made me think a little bit. I guess it was more so, again, just what came to me and what I like.
So, Lunar Lotus. Lunar, I kind of stemmed from the moon. I’m very fascinated with the moon. It does have a lot of phases similar to us humans. Lotus stemmed from the lotus flower, which to me, it means purity, redemption. And I just wanted a super chilled vibe for the brand and for the store. When I think of Luna Lotus Vintage, that’s what I think about: good vibes. Color-wise, I didn’t really have a color picked out. I do really like pastels, though, and they’re easy on the eyes. So, that’s where the purple comes from in our logo. Other than that, I wanted to keep everything simple, modern.
Sonja: As you get sales through the store, what’s the process from there, in terms of getting repeat customers? Do they join your email list? What’s that cycle like for you?
Lenaya: It’s actually pretty unique, and it’s actually surprised me, the customers that we would get. Starting out with Lunar Lotus, we definitely marketed mainly on Instagram. We would make posts—and I say we because I started the business but my husband does help me. We do sell women and men’s clothing. So, starting out, we definitely used Instagram as a platform to market our items. How that goes is I would post it on Instagram, but I definitely would say, “Hey, if you do want the item, no. You know, head over to Etsy.”
What that looks like is buyers would then go on Etsy, which does get us some traffic on our Etsy site. They’d go on Etsy to choose their item and buyers are actually able to see as well if someone has that item in their cart. So, it does push a sense of urgency like, “Oh, you better hurry up and get it or else someone’s going to buy it.”
Sonja: “Someone else is looking.” “Twenty people are looking at this item right now.” I’ve seen that.
Lenaya: Yes, that definitely helps. And like you had mentioned before, all the items are one of a kind. Unfortunately, you can’t find five of the same thing in a thrift store. So, I do only have one of the items listed. So, they go in, they click to purchase the item. From there, the buyer will pay and then enter their shipping information, which helps us out because Etsy actually takes care of the address, and how much the shipping costs would actually be to ship it to them.
And, well, this is the part where I say it’s very surprising because sometimes I’ll get somebody… It’s a funny story. Before I realized you can edit the Etsy setting, I had on international shipping. So, I’ve actually shipped to someone from Singapore. I think I’ve shipped to someone who’s in Hong Kong, which is pretty cool.
Sonja: Wow, global audience!
Lenaya: Yeah! Someone in the world is wearing your items over there. That’s pretty awesome. The only thing about that it is shipping international is a little challenging unless you do it pretty often. The prices do definitely increase. And the shipping, packing the actual package, and then putting shipping labels on is a lot different than shipping in the U.S.
But going back to actually buying the item. From there, you buy the item and then you get a follow-up email saying, “Thank you for your purchase.” Then, typically, if I need anything from the buyer, I’ll reach out personally, which I think is awesome because it actually shows the buyer that I’m a human being. Then Etsy takes care of following up with the tracking, and the buyer can also reach out to me personally if they need to.
Sonja: So, final question. You’re on Etsy, but there’s a lot of different shops out there where people sell items. Some people want Shopify stores, some people sell on Etsy and other types of marketplaces. What advice would you give someone who is some type of creator along the lines of what you’re doing? They’re making products, they are an individual or a small team, and they’re launching into the world of eCommerce. What are some little pieces of advice that you might share with them?
Lenaya: One piece of advice I would definitely give is if you’re second-guessing anything, honestly just go for it. It took me a while, like I had said before, to kind of jump into things. But if it’s something that you really enjoy doing, and you can share that with other people, why not take that chance? So, I definitely think just go for it, don’t hold back. And always keep up with different trends in your market, you know, what’s selling, what seems to be popular, and then just try and implement that into your strategy. But just keep things professional and keep things simple, as well.
Sonja: Very cool. Okay, everyone, LunarLotusVintage.Etsy.com. That’s where you can go check out the one-of-a-kind items. Thanks, again, Lenaya.
I hope everyone has gotten a lot out of this, especially if you’re in the process of launching a business or even thinking about switching gears and launching into something new. Even if you already have a business, this is a great opportunity. And again, Etsy is a great marketplace. I know I love going on there because you really can get so many unique items.
This interview has been edited for style and clarity.