Abagail Pumphrey & Emylee Williams, founders of Boss Project join Ward to chat about how they take the learning curve away from marketing and selling by providing beautiful templates that make it super easy for you to improve your client experience.
✍️ Show Notes
- Boss Project (formerly Think Creative Collective)
- The Creative Template Shop
- The Strategy Hour Podcast
- Instagram (@bossproject)
- Facebook (@bossprojectpage)
- Pinterest (@bossprojecthq)
- Enjoyed the episode? Please leave us a review
- Questions or comments? Please email [email protected]
📄 Show Transcript
This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂
Ward Sandler 0:06
Hey, Abagail and Emylee. Welcome to Member Maker.
Emylee Williams 0:38
Abagail Pumphrey 0:38
Ward Sandler 0:40
Thanks for coming on. Yeah, absolutely. So let’s start off with what is your business and who are you helping?
Abagail Pumphrey 0:46
Yeah, so we’re the co founders of boss project. And I’m Abagail, and in case you need a voice intro. This is me, Emylee. And we help small business owners all over the world grow profitable and sustainable businesses online. But when we’re talking about our memberships specifically, we’re really like taking the learning curve away from marketing and selling in your business by providing templates that simplify, design and make it super easy for you to improve your client experience. So you can focus more on what you do best.
Ward Sandler 1:24
So is it focused on businesses that rely on clients specific, like agency kind of work or
Abagail Pumphrey 1:30
That’s a great question. So the basics of who we work with typically is a creative entrepreneur. 99% female focused and these are women who are starting businesses either because they have a desire to leave some sort of corporate position. Maybe they’ve been home with kids and they want to pursue something bigger for their lives. Not that raising a child isn’t a huge endeavor. It’s amazing. But we see these women wanting to create a variety of businesses mostly in the creative space. So we’re talking things like wedding planners and designers and jewelry makers and all sorts of different people. But they typically are in that what I would consider a creative entrepreneur. And they are pursuing a business that they’re starting from scratch a bunch of service based businesses, for sure. But we definitely have product makers in there to
Ward Sandler 2:26
Cool and just to explain a little further, what is it that you’re actually providing for them?
Emylee Williams 2:34
So our shop has downloadable templates, both with beautiful design so we can check off the part of your marketing department where we have a lot of creative entrepreneurs who are in our space, but they’re non designer creatives and identify strongly with that I am a photographer, I know how to style something, I do have a good eye but I can’t design a graphic to save my life. And we have a lot of those type of people in our audience. And so it’s graphics for social media. It’s client proposal templates, email headers, opt in templates, media kits, everything that your small business needs to present and market itself online. We provide beautiful design and graphics from a professional designer for that. We also provide swipe copy where we can so where it makes sense, like one of our most recent releases, it’s kind of my favorite right now is a sales page template. And it’s an entire sales page for you to sell literally anything your services or digital product, but it has prompts as you scroll through the page. So an idea for a headline or insert your pain points here or talk about the features of your offer right here. So it gets our audience thinking not only Okay, here’s some great design I can have in my back pocket to post but I also like can Madlib style, fill it out really relatively quickly. So they can just go from download to having a really professional converting marketing brand on that front.
Ward Sandler 3:54
That’s very cool. I mean, when you’re first starting a company, you know everything’s hard, obviously, but not having somebody It looks attractive in terms of social media or email, your client proposals, all of that just kind of makes things even harder, right? Because you got people who are maybe going to do business with you. But then the coppering doesn’t look good, the design doesn’t look good. You don’t have a ton of testimonials because you have everything working against you. So it’s nice that you kind of help accelerate that part of the process. Like Elise, your stuffs gonna look good, even if you’re just kind of getting going.
Emylee Williams 4:22
Exactly. We found really early on that it was really helpful for our business. And we lucked out we’re Abby’s a designer, and I was a photographer. And so we started our marketing company with amazing looking marketing, really good collateral really good images for social media, really good images for Pinterest, in our blog, and our website, and just not everyone has that skill set. But we do think that so many business owners are trying to have that skill set, when we’d rather they get back to serving their clients or hopping on a Facebook Live or writing that email content that they’re really good at, and let us take care of the rest.
Ward Sandler 4:54
Yeah, having that focus is a big thing. You can’t do everything she might as well just do what you’re good at. Exactly. So let’s Move on to the How did you actually find this business niche? Because it sounds like you know, he’s a photographer. Yeah, there’s a designer. But how did you decide, you know what, let’s combine powers and create all these assets for potential customers.
Abagail Pumphrey 5:11
Yeah. So we actually had previously worked as our client, if that makes any sense. So we were these female entrepreneurs, we started businesses, we, we tried a lot of different ones before they stuck. But the place in time in which we met just was really serendipitous. We had both been running our own separate marketing companies, so to speak. Emylee was definitely still a photographer at this point. But I was serving the kind of clients we still serve today, but b2b, I was doing marketing and graphic design for those clients. And we just started blogging, about literally everything we were learning in our business. How we To set up our first MailChimp account how we started using Pinterest to drive traffic like all the parts and moving pieces, I don’t really know why honestly, because it wasn’t really helping us get clients at the time. It was essentially as if we were building an audience for something that we could use someday maybe. And it worked out. We ended up becoming an evolving into an education company. And we’ve been serving these women for the last five years. And we started with courses, mostly in that, like, we’re on the strategy side of things where we’re actually coaching you through how to market how to land your first client how to get that product up and running. And this felt like the missing link for us where we utilized the skills that really helped us get our business off the ground and running quickly and smoothly and looking professional but we wanted to To be a really tangible way that a lot of people could have access to it because I remember when we started, we were very hesitant to invest in people to help us build our business. And so we really had to get scrappy with how we grew. And this is something that’s super tangible and affordable for businesses, even in their infancy. And that’s what makes this special.
Ward Sandler 7:34
So when you’re coming up with you know, these blog posts for kind of basic, fundamental business stuff, like setting up MailChimp, you said you didn’t have an audience in mind necessarily yet, but that maybe it could be used in the future. Was that intentional, where you’re like, you know what, we might as well put himself out there and start collecting email addresses for the future because who knows what’s gonna happen?
Emylee Williams 7:55
I definitely think it was part of that was just like, Hey, we have stuff to say and we might as well Like, make this part of our strategy. I, in my business before I met, Abby had actually created a course already and had sold it. And so when we met, Abby was definitely blogging and started putting out that content. But I think we decided, Hey, I think if we actually serve becoming from being service providers for many, many years before we started talking in this, you know, how to blog post type of content. We came from an area of what value can we give? What did we literally just learn a week ago, a month ago, last quarter that we can turn around and teach? And we know that we were using Pinterest and Google to find how to articles ourselves, right how to make this certain thing connect in our business or whatever, how to run a webinar, how to sell a course. And so we knew that people were using those platforms to find the answers to questions that we could answer. So we thought if we want to show up and if we want to serve like we might as well make ourselves a viable option. I think it definitely took months and it’s not really That many months, but like six or eight months for us to really realize, hey, think we’re actually building up a really good audience over here. Like, let’s see what else we can sell on this side that isn’t necessarily that one on one client relationship, because we’re definitely like, getting to the level of being burned out on that into things. So I think it was one of those like, we did it because we thought it might be helpful, but within like six to eight months, it proved to be really, really helpful. And I’m glad glad we did it.
Abagail Pumphrey 9:27
Yeah, I mean, I think the intention originally was that it would funnel in the right people to ultimately become clients. But we were doing a fairly terrible job at the time. We landed zero clients from all of that content from illustrating the connection between this helpful essentially, a lot of it in the infancy was very much like tech focused, like how to articles step by step. But that wasn’t necessarily the service we were offering. We were We were still designing websites and taking custom photo shoots for clients. And so there was there was a missing link between that correlation. But we weren’t, we weren’t having a problem landing clients, we were actually full. So it was, we were building up this audience, and then we were trying to figure out how to monetize it. And we tried a bunch of different things, but definitely started with courses. And it kind of grew and evolved from there.
Ward Sandler 10:27
I mean, I like how it all started with you or your own client in a way like you knew you were doing this. So you could you could serve those kind of people as well, totally. But since you know, this six, eight week experiment, sort of posting all this information and building up an email list, and then ended up you knew you had an audience going there was something happening here. But let’s say that didn’t happen. Let’s say the content just wasn’t resonating. People just were not joining your email list. Is that something would have kept doing or do you think it would just be like You know what, this this strategy this channel isn’t really working for us. Let’s let’s move to something else.
Abagail Pumphrey 10:59
Well So you have to remember the marketplace at the time. So five years ago, blogging was a proven marketing strategy. Like it was driving organic traffic for people. It was helping them build email lists. And I think we were absorbing enough education from other places that if it had been proven to work for other people, I think we would have kept pursuing it and tried to figure out what we needed to change it. It’d be the equivalent of saying, Oh, I’m gonna go try Facebook ads, and I ran a couple tests and I lost some money. That means Facebook ads don’t work. I mean, maybe you need to tweak your strategy. It’s not the Facebook ads don’t work. It’s probably something in your language or your messaging or your graphic or whatever. Like there’s lots of moving pieces. So I think we were fairly convinced blogging would work for us. We just didn’t totally there’s content We were putting out that wasn’t working or Oh, Larry,
Emylee Williams 12:02
we joke around about this one particular blog post that Abby wrote early on about a blueberry streusel recipe. And it was, it was a mix of that and some, like dry canvassing for her guestroom. And then oh, here’s an article on LinkedIn. And so we definitely got focused and, you know, ditch the posts that weren’t working for us. So it wasn’t 100% working 100% of the time. Yeah. But I think if I were, if I were starting fresh right now, using the same concept of, Okay, how can I serve? How can I provide value? How can I show up and get people to convert? Maybe blogging wouldn’t be my answer. But the marketing technique in and of itself is the same wherever you do that whatever medium you use, I think needs to be relevant with what’s working for your audience or relevant with what’s working right now. But the idea is still the same.
Ward Sandler 12:51
Yeah, I think that’s a really good way to put it. So the pricing What are you actually charging for your membership?
Abagail Pumphrey 12:56
Yeah, so you can join our membership today for 40 $7 a month. And that’s really all we focus on, we do have an annual option, but we haven’t. It’s so new that like, the idea of someone buying into something that’s only three months old is, you know, a little bit. I mean, it’s a risk for them. And so we haven’t necessarily pushed that as like, save and buy the annual but yeah, $47 a month, and they get access to everything. And we add new templates every single month. So the library in which they get access to just grows. And we’ve just kept it flat. And we don’t plan to change the price anytime soon. We’ve, in the past had a product that we sold for $29. And we were told I would I can’t even imagine how many times someone said we, the value is crazy, you should increase the price. And we were like nope, it’s been working out for us for $29 and working so well in fact that people share it without us even asking them to We’re already seeing a similar kind of buzz around this membership that we’re like, nope. Like, it’s gonna be $47 for the foreseeable future.
Ward Sandler 14:10
And I know you said it’s early, but what are you charging for the annual?
Abagail Pumphrey 14:14
It’s 497. So you essentially get, I think it’s two months free.
Ward Sandler 14:18
Yeah, I think there’s something to be said, like you were saying before, of, you know, leaving some money on the table, in a sense, where you’re providing something with such an outrageous ROI, or value ratio in terms of what they’re paying and what they feel like they’re getting that that doesn’t just mean Oh, you made less money. It’s more complicated than that, and a good way for you where it’s like, okay, someone feels like they got this great, amazing deal, so much so that they’re going to reach out to the person whose total to them and say, You should have charged me more. I mean, that that’s a strong signal. And then, on top of that energy, they’re also like you said, sharing it with people unsolicited because it’s like, oh my god, this is the craziest deal. I’m gonna scream about this from the rooftops so there’s something that you get by not charging As much and that can lead to more sales on net, which it sounds like you you’re already well aware of.
Abagail Pumphrey 15:05
Yeah, I think it’s a gamble. Like, it’s not gonna work every time. And yeah, I’ve seen some people go out and you know, I’m gonna put this out there for $2. Well, now all of a sudden, you’ve priced yourself so low that you become skeptical of the value. So I think there has to be some skin on the bone. But it also doesn’t work for every single product out there. Right? It just worked for us on these couple of things. We’ve tried other things that were low price, and they flopped. So I think you have to experiment a little bit, but it’s definitely a strategy we’re here for and it’s helping us grow faster is my opinion.
Ward Sandler 15:41
Yeah, and I mean, the idea that your pricing is always an experiment and there’s no one of three rules of society pricing that always works. But I think what’s interesting about how you’re doing it is that you know that you could charge more, but you’re not because you know this, you’re in a good spot right now. It doesn’t mean you won’t increase in the future. But I think a lot of people out there, sometimes I go, I either I’m gonna charge way too little, and I’m scared about increasing because then no one’s going to sign up, which I think is a fallacy. And then there’s people who charge a lot for their membership. And it’s just kind of like this premium thing. But then there’s other things that go along with that, too, where maybe people are going to buy it, but they don’t feel like they got a great deal. So not necessary gonna go tell anyone about it. So maybe you’re actually gonna make less sales on that. But if it was half that price, you know what I mean?
Abagail Pumphrey 16:25
Emylee Williams 16:27
Well, and it’s a different level of energy that you put into a premium product as the creator or not, not just as the purchaser but we wanted to create something where you have a premium product, we have a $2,000 signature program, and our students in that program get high level access to us and our team and strategy in our brains and so much, we couldn’t because we tried, we couldn’t create another product that demanded and deserved that sort of level of our attention. So we wanted it to be light, easy and fun and marketing something that’s light, easy and fun for us. It’s just a great Completely different energy. And so I think that there is a balance in between what are you offering in your business that deserves this level amount of your attention versus this level? And maybe have a variety?
Ward Sandler 17:10
Yeah. And one thing I wanted to pick your brain about, I’ve spoken to a bunch of people who have some sort of a resource library type model for the membership like you do. And I’ve heard kind of, there’s kind of two, two sides to this. Some people are like you where it’s like, okay, every month or every week, there’s new content coming out. And anyone who signs up gets access to that new content, and all of the old previous content. And then there’s the other side of folks who say, when someone signs up, I only want them to have access to the content that comes out after they’ve signed up none of the previous content. Do you have any I got I can guess the way you’re gonna follow this, but I’m curious if you have any thoughts about that.
Abagail Pumphrey 17:51
Yeah, I think I think there’s a couple of things for this one. It makes the signup process so much more attractive when the libraries already bV when you land there, so that’s definitely adding to that shock of like, gosh, like they’re basically giving this away for free. I gotta sign up, this is a no brainer for me. But like, I totally get the this stuff goes away and all that, but I’ll be honest, you want to know the number one reason we didn’t do it any other way than we did. Why? Because this is the simplest easy, easiest way to put it out there that requires us hiring no coder to come in and like make some fancy back end stuff to like hide things. No way. Like, I know member space for sure has some capabilities where we could make things a little more complicated, but we’ve wanted to be able to set it up ourselves and make it quick, easy, dirty, fast and focus on the value of the content and less on how complicated the setup process was.
Ward Sandler 18:57
Yeah, I think that’s a totally fair way to put it. I would just curious because some people are just be clear memory space does not have that feature of the, you can only access content that’s released today and later, because it’s super complicated to build. And that’s why I think a lot of systems don’t have that built in. And I always kind of lean the way you’re thinking about it, too. It’s like, why not just provide more value, like people who have been there since day one, they are getting that value every month, they’re getting that new content so that you’re not cheating them. And then people who are joining you know, after a year, it’s the content being out. They get access to all that wonderful previous content and the future. I just don’t feel like you’re cheating anybody and you’re just giving them more reasons to sign up. So I 100% agree with your logic on it. Yeah. Okay. So it kind of closing here. Could you give an example of something that hasn’t worked in the business like a marketing strategy or something like that, that you try that just kind of flopped?
Abagail Pumphrey 19:53
Man periscope flip flopped for us? No, I think if we think about things that haven’t worked I could talk about countless things we’ve had things we put out there that we spent too much on Facebook ads before the launch, like assuming that those things would convert. We’ve put out entire programs that we’re like, is anyone gonna buy, like, we built the whole thing, and then no one bought. And I think what it’s come down to is, we’re not afraid of failing anymore. Like, if, if it happens, we’re just going to pick up and we’re going to try something else. And I think at this point, we’re fairly far in to our business and have a fairly clear client experience and we know what our primary products are. And it was honestly a huge discussion as to whether we’d even add this membership after we’ve been in business as long as we have been. Not that it was a gamble. We were fairly certain it would work but like, was it going to confuse our client experience? Was it going to detract from something else we were doing and I think we asked enough of the right questions to land in a place where we know we’re actually successful with it. But tons of things didn’t work, but they’re the ones that we don’t talk about anymore. You know?
Emylee Williams 21:17
I also think part of it of like, what doesn’t, you know, what does it mean really, when it doesn’t work because we’re, you know, big in the camp of like learning from every launch or learning from every strategy that we try and either like, nip it in the bud super quickly, or you tweak some things and try it again. But for us, I think when things haven’t worked, or when they fell out of place, or they flocked or whatever it is, that defines that it didn’t work. It always comes back to when we weren’t managing or setting the right expectations for what that thing was going to do, either for us or for our audience or for sales. And I think so we’re like we started out with a membership. I had made, you know, a really low price course first, but then when I got to We’d made a membership, like within six months of being in business. And it was kind of similar in the sense of every month, new content is going to be released. And we quickly within nine months, shut it all down because it was exhausting. And it was too much management and it was not enough reward. And we didn’t have a big enough audience to justify and member space frankly, didn’t exist. And vendors didn’t exist for us. You know, it was complicated. But was that a flop? Not necessarily. We turned all of those people into, you know, buying a course instead. And then that laid the foundation of what is now our signature program. And now we took those lessons from that membership and launched this one, and it exceeded our expectations and continues to do so. So I don’t know. It’s just I think it’s when your expectations aren’t really set, right. That’s something that isn’t gonna work for you.
Ward Sandler 22:48
Yeah, I think for folks out there who maybe haven’t run a business before or they’re just starting. They’re not necessarily used to that building that muscle that it sounds like you both definitely have have. I try something it doesn’t work. Doesn’t mean I’m a failure. It means that idea didn’t work for whatever reason and then you pivot from that and you learn you have a string of failures right there’s any successful business out there has done way more initiatives that failed and worked
Abagail Pumphrey 23:11
No for sure. Yeah. The things I already forgot about though like I’m I didn’t mourn them they’re like what they just in the archives somewhere.
Ward Sandler 23:21
Yeah, great. All right. So what’s the best way for people to learn more about you guys in your business?
Abagail Pumphrey 23:27
Yeah, well, since we’ve been talking about the shop the whole time, I definitely recommend heading over to creative template shop calm but our main biz is over at boss project calm and I definitely suggest if you like podcasts to go check out our podcast at the strategy our
Ward Sandler 23:45
Excellent Well, thanks for coming on the podcast. Abagail and Emylee.
Emylee Williams 23:49
Thank you so much.