EC 07: with Stephanie Blake

11 May, 2020

Virginia Purnell:

Welcome to entrepreneur conundrum with Virginia Purnell, where growing entrepreneurs share how they get visible online. Today I'm talking with Stephanie Blake about how she helps businesses grow and scale via funnels and Facebook ads. Stephanie is a techno geek that helps passionate and innovative entrepreneurs revolutionize their world by enabling them to get clear on their message and past the hurdles keeping them from their dreams. She enables business owners to create an implement, a plan to dominate their industry and live full out in their calling via high converting sales funnels, cutting edge Facebook ad strategy, and killer messenger bot strategy. Stephanie is a wife to red bearded hero and a mother to four extroverted blessings and a lover of all things marketing back to the future princess bride and blue bell ice cream. Welcome, Stephanie.

Stephanie Blake:

Hey. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much. I'm so excited to get to be here and chat with you.

Virginia Purnell:

I am excited for you. Ready to jump in? Oh yeah, let's go. Awesome. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Stephanie Blake:

I am the mother of four amazing children and married to a wonderful red bearded hero is who I call him. And I run a digital ads agency. So about four and a half, five years ago, my life completely and totally changed when I decided to make a career pivot. I was already pretty geeky. My background is in network engineering and management, so I love to build computers and make them talk to each other. But I got turned on to the digital marketing space by a friend who offered me a job and I fell into the world of sponsored posts, affiliates, funnels and traffic and landing pages. And I was just so in awe and just to be honest, it was almost like things clicked into place whenever I found digital marketing. And so it was, it's been quite the journey since we started. I started an agency about four and a half years ago called Social Sparrow and we're rocking along.

We have an amazing team of eight and we just recently got our two comma club award for earning a million dollars in our agency, helping businesses grow and scale using Facebook ads and funnels. And so I'm just excited to be able to chat with you because it's so much fun to just share the passion that I have for what you can do with your life and your business if you are on purpose and deciding purposely to build the life that you want. Cause I just can't even believe, if you would've told me five years ago that my life would look like what it does right now, I would just not even be able to comprehend that. So it's just incredible how far you can come no matter where you start. Because we started in a rough place, things were not good. And the only reason I got the education I did and digital marketing space, I was working for someone else who paid for the courses. And so I really had no frame of reference for what was possible. And so anyway, so here I am. I'm a digital ads agency owner, and do business consulting and coaching. And I just absolutely love digital marketing.

Virginia Purnell:

It's so nice. Things can fall into place and then how good they feel when they do.

Stephanie Blake:

Yes, yes. It's almost like a fish that finally gets into water, right. Or a horse that finally gets its gallup for, you know, it's just, it's an amazing, amazing thing to really have things align and feel great as you're doing work that you love.

Virginia Purnell:

So what do you love most about what you're doing?

Stephanie Blake:

I think the thing I love the most is the impact because a lot of people have fantastic offers offline. Maybe they have a zone of genius, but they just can't seem to get it online. And with the right work, the right offer, the right messaging, the right traffic, the right audiences, it, all it takes are these little tweaks and twists and turns and someone can lock into place and it literally changes their life. So for example, one of my coaching students literally went from having around $4,000 a month income with his econ product that he was selling. And he started coaching with me about two months ago and this month was his first month to hit $27,000 in 30 days. And that's a major impact. Like his life is directly changed because of his ability to sell his product to the perfect customer and continue to do that at scale. And so that's, I think to me that's what it's all about. That's what I love the most is whenever you can have that kind of impact to help someone truly make their dreams happen as like there's nothing like it, it's the best.

Virginia Purnell:

Yeah. Such a great feeling that you were able to help someone achieve their dreams or definitely get one step closer to it. Yeah, absolutely. Especially from such a big jump that they were able to do.

Stephanie Blake:

Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't always happen that fast. But, but yes, even it's so crazy cause even small little changes and, and what some people might consider to be a small difference, if you're only making $500 online, then all of a sudden you find yourself making $4,000 online. That's, that's a huge increase. And that's a really, really big deal. It doesn't always have to be like a, we're making four and then all of a sudden you're at a hundred thousand dollars. It's just about what will make the biggest impact. And sometimes for some families the biggest impact is just simply being able to cover extracurricular activities and not have to worry about if they have to put something on a credit card or not, or they're not sure if they're going to be able to do X, Y or Z. Right. Because not sure if the money is going to be there, which is where we lived our life before I started my agency. It was really, really, really rough. Not knowing if we could afford to really put our kids in the extracurricular activities or fix the fence that was falling down or you know, all those things that come up. And then the difference being that, okay, you know what, I don't have to worry about that anymore because I can take care of that because my business has grown so much. Right.

Virginia Purnell:

So speaking of dreams and goals, what are some big goals that you're looking to achieve over the next one to two years?

Stephanie Blake:

Oh man. I think the biggest thing for me is that I've been in circles in a lot of really amazing masterminds over the past couple of years. And I also had the honor and the privilege of getting to coach inside of the Two Comma Club X program for Russell Brunson. And during that time I coached hundreds of entrepreneurs and one of the things that I loved the most was whenever you found someone who really caught their groove and they created their own ecosystem and these individuals, you know, they started off, they had this idea, they made an offer, and then from that offer they found another problem to solve that was related to the audience that they were already serving. They created another offer to solve that problem. Then another problem came up and they created another offer, solve that problem, and eventually they created their own value ladder.

And there's this ecosystem and this tribe that they have. And I started my journey in the digital marketing world as an agency. And because I wanted to be able to scale, I very intentionally niched down at the very beginning. So a large majority of our clients were in our local businesses on purpose 'cause they're kind of a different beast. And so we still serve a lot of people in the online community for infopreneurs and things like that. But whenever I start that way, I am my head down to the grindstone. Like I'm working hard, I'm building a team, I'm learning what it looks like to scale. What does it mean to have employees, not contractors, like all of this stuff. Right. And I never created any info products based off of that because it didn't really fit who I was serving for, what I was doing at that time.

And so because of that, whenever this, you know, this year one of my goals was to start to build my own ecosystem. So in the next year to two years, not only am I going to have my agency, but I'm creating ads for which is training grounds for people to learn Facebook ads for beginners so that they too can start their journey. And then I really just want to serve and be able to help people have significant impact in their lives and change and go after what they want and see it realized in their lives, the learning Facebook ads and kind of going up that ladder that I'll build to serve people at different levels. So that's my biggest one. I want to look back a year or year and a half from now, and then see the evidence of an ecosystem where I have a tribe that I'm consistently serving rather than just an agency, which don't get me wrong, an agency?s a lot of work. It's not just anything, it's a magnificent, beautiful beast. And I love my agency and it's not going anywhere, but with that agency, I also want to have my own ecosystem where I am serving at a different level in the infopreneur space.

Virginia Purnell:

So having that ecosystem would that, how would that change your business or affect your business?

Stephanie Blake:

I think one thing that is really, really smart about having an ecosystem and really leaning into that is because it is, it's one pathway. And if you're like me and your creative visionary entrepreneur, then you have ideas coming at you, you know, a hundred to 200,000 times a day. Like there's always an idea. There's always something you can do. But whenever you build an ecosystem, everything inside of the ecosystem needs to fit right. You can't, you know, I guess you could go back to the ecosystems of you know, just what we're taught in school. And if you were to kill all of the spiders, then the bugs would be overwhelming and dah, dah, dah. And I think along those lines, the ecosystem that you build keeps you structured because you have one person that you're serving all along their journey at different places in their journey.

And so I think that that's one of the major benefits of creating an ecosystem yourself, because you're not just serving everybody, which you don't really do with an agency either. But if you're just making these one off products, you're not streamlined, you're not focused. And so I think that's one of the main reasons why I feel like it's just so beneficial to do that because for one, it narrows your focus. And for two, it's going to create a logical way to generate revenue for you and your family. That makes sense. While serving at a really high level and solving real problems, what do you feel like the number one roadblock has been stopping me from doing that? Oh, 100% time. 100% and I think, you know, I can't use it as an excuse because what you want, you will create. Right? But I do because of the agency and what I want to do is to have a thriving agency.

And I also want my team to be happy. I also want to raise children intentionally. Right? And so, I also want to be a good wife. So whenever you're really intentionally trying to make sure you're, you're plugged in with your children and that you are being a great wife and that you are taking care of yourself physically and you're thinking about the needs of your team and you're serving your clients, creating new systems and processes. And so I've found that I didn't quite understand how to truly catch a rhythm cause I felt like I was always trying to make it about what I could do every day and find the schedule that included every little bit of everything every day. But in reality, the way my brain works and what I've learned even in this past year is that, you know, batching is a real thing for me.

I really kind of need to be able to settle into a, a creative thing that I need to do for a couple of hours for it to really come out of me and for it to actually work out and to be a good thing. If I'm trying to say, Oh, you're going to do that for 30 minutes, you're going to do this for 45 minutes is better. Get up cause you didn't go do this for an hour and then you got to call here and don't forget you're gonna break up that car and you're gonna go back to working on it. Then you worked on it at the beginning like forget it. Like my brain does not really work that way. I really struggle with any type of creative thing if I have that kind of calendar. So being able to literally say this whole week I am going to give my agency the first one hour of my time and then the rest of my day I am going to be working fully on this funnel and nothing else interrupts that until five o'clock whenever I stop working, check out with my team and then I'm my family's.

Right? So these big time blocks I feel like are what's really, really helped me have some breakthroughs and I hope to continue to help me have breakthroughs as I'm building this ecosystem. Because time has definitely been one of the biggest roadblocks for me and not understanding how I can make time work for me as an individual. Right? Because what works for one person doesn't work for everybody. So true. So true. We're all individualistic. Right?

What's working for you right now to attract more business? Oh my gosh. Okay. So I would have to say that for me it's all about networking. I don't intentionally, like, I didn't know I was doing a thing until someone called it out. They're like, gosh, you're such a networker. And I was like, I have. And it's just, I genuinely love people and I love going to live events. And so typically I meet a lot of amazing people and get to chat with them. And I really have a heart for people. So I just want to try to help. And so what has acquainted over the years is just this a mass of amazing, amazing people. Because I've paid to be in amazing masterminds. So whenever you pay to be a high end mastermind, you get to be surrounded with incredible people because they've done something to be able to afford to be in that mastermind.

And so because of that, what's happened is, I have this beautiful network of visionaries who know how to make things happen and have, you know, fire in their eyes ready to go after things, right? And so, and becoming known by those individuals who, you know, have followers and they have needs and they know people who have needs. I think that's one of the biggest things that I've had going for me that was honestly unintentional. Now that I see it for what it is, I'm kind of like being a little more intentional about it. Like, Oh wow, I should go to that conference. Even if I don't need to learn the things that are at that conference, I would love to know those people. Right. And being a little bit more intentional about it without getting gross. Like, Oh, I'm going to meet these people because I have ulterior motives.

But it's just so neat to look back and see something that came very naturally to me and it ended up benefiting my business and has benefited me as an individual. Just trying to make a way, you know, make my own space in this digital marketing world. So you've kind of explained what you're doing, let's say in real life, what are you doing to get visible or to stand out online? Okay. Again, one thing I learned to do unintentionally was a year, almost two years ago, I launched a course called bot boss where I was teaching how to use messenger bots. And so many people just had no idea what bots were. And so many people were curious, but very leery of bots. And so I just started talking to different people and I started volunteering to do a free training inside of people's masterclass or mastermind and, and it was just awesome.

It was a total win, win. Some masterminds I would talk in, I do a one hour training for them, and some of them I would walk away with somebody who wanted me to do a belt build-out or wanting to buy my course when sometimes it was, I wouldn't walk with anything, which I wasn't really looking for. I was, I genuinely was showing up to give value inside of these, these people's inner circles and masterminds. But as a result, I was able to network and get to know people and become visible through small pockets of people. You know, this one might've had a hundred people, this one might've had 20 people, this one might've had 300 people. But they're all people who are anti-ing up to be inside of a program. Right? And so that really served me a lot. And again, unintentionally, I had no idea the value that I was bringing.

Like I thought, Oh my gosh, yeah, I was bringing great value and these people were so thankful that I was willing to donate, you know, and do an hour of my time. And I was like, Hey, isn't no problem. This is fun. And then the value that in turn that came around for me, it was people started following me, checking me out or referring me. I would get tagged all over the internet anytime that bots got brought up because I was really getting out there and, and talking about what I was super passionate about. So if you yourself, you know, know people who have their own masterminds or anything like that, you know, reaching out to them and just say, Hey, I've got this really unique thing and here is what, how it could help your people. I would love to do free training and just offer not to pitch guys, you don't have to pitch.

All you have to do is just be you and people are going to see you as someone who knows what they're talking about and they'll reach out if they want something or know that you're an expert in it or they'll remember you later. Great advice. Thank you. What would you like to share that I haven't asked you? Oh my gosh, let me think about this. You know, I guess just one thing I would share is just that I was talking to my group coaching group yesterday and one of the things we were talking about is this entrepreneurial journey and how there are so many highs and so many lows and sometimes whenever we're down in a low it feels like, like for instance the person I had just told you about a minute ago who is selling econ. He was talking about how, you know, just, I mean literally whenever he came into my group coaching program, he literally put the money that he paid to be in the program on a credit card cause they didn't have any money.

It was literally a step of faith to jump in. And so he was saying it was so dark and it was so, you know, it was desperate times. It was really crazy. Right? Really a step of faith and we were about how we can get in the spots and we feel like, you know what? I just need to quit. I need to go find a nine to five. Someone can hire me. You know, I tried this entrepreneurial gig, this is just too hard and we just want to throw in the towel. But the crazy thing is, usually if we can get our wits about us and we can actually survey what's actually happening, what you might see a picture of in your mind is when you're climbing up a mountain, right? And you work really hard. Let's say you're climbing this mountain for a good 30 45 an hour, right?

You come up, you find a ledge and you sit down and you're like, Oh my gosh, you look up and the mountain, I mean it is still like almost straight up in front of you. There's still so much more to go to get to the top, right? Let's, you sit down and you go to rest and you turn around and then you look down and you see how far you came, right? So it can, you can face one way and it can feel like you're never going to make it to the top and it's going to be so hard and like how could you keep going? But then you look back and you never would have imagined that you'd come that far in the time that it took you to come to that place. Right. So I guess the encouraging thing would be like no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, just remembering how far you've come.

Because whenever I look back and I think about this speedy journey, like I mean I have an 18 year old. Okay, that just blows my mind. I have an 18 year old, my youngest is seven. And I think about 18 years and I think about when he was born in 18 years. And then I think about my entrepreneurial journey and it's only been about five years. Like we're, we're just now coming around to five years where I really kind of put my foot in this industry and then I look now where I am and I know there's so much more to go. I'm like kicking myself cause I don't have an ecosystem. Right? I'm looking up that mountain and I'm like, Oh my gosh. Like, I've been sitting here and I've known about these ecosystems, I've coached people to build their own ecosystems and I don't have my own ecosystem and I'm looking up at the mountain and I'm like, Oh, what am I ever going to get up there?

Right. When reality, whenever I turned around and looked back down, you know, I look how far I've come at th the struggles, how we, you know, lived in this small house and how we, you know, worked through having my first team member and then having to, having one of my team members quit on me for the first time ever. It wrecked me. I was so, I was devastated. I was so upset. And then, you know, having to fire somebody for the first time, what it meant to lead, how to have my own retreat, like the Two Comma Club stage for earning a million dollars in my agency. Like, like if you want to tell me at the beginning of this journey that I was going to build an agency that would make over a million dollars. Like I just, I would've been like, what?

Like that would have been inconceivable. So as, as we've, as I've come up this journey and I look back down, I can have so much more appreciation and understanding that all it's going to take is one foot in front of the other to make it up the other side and to keep going to reach the top right because that's all that was. It was one problem and then you solve the next problem, solve that and then solve the next problem and you just keep going and you don't let those Valley days make you forget about where you've come to get to that part. Right. So I think, I think that's, I guess I could share that because that's been the thing that's just been kind of ruminating with me, just appreciation because it was like two years ago I posted on my profile a picture and it was the two comparison shots, right.

Of looking up the mountain and then looking how far you'd come. And I was like, Oh, that's so good. And so just remembering how far you've come, no matter where you are, if you're experiencing the Valley and celebrating, just celebrating your wins and how far you've come and knowing that you have whatever it takes inside of you in order to figure out how to solve the next problem. And then you'll figure out how to solve the problem that's after that and you'll keep going.

Virginia Purnell:

I like that. Thank you so much. Thank you again for such a great interview. How can people find out more about you and what you do?

Stephanie Blake:

Okay. Yeah. So if you just basically just find me on Facebook and connect with me there, you can actually go to the Stephanie dub Facebook page and connect with me there. I've got a bot hooked up there and just let me know. You know, what's going on in your business. I'd love to connect and meet you and see if there's a way that I can help you or just learn more about what you're doing.

Virginia Purnell:

Thank you again, Stephanie. Thank you so much for joining us today. Be sure to subscribe and leave some love through a review and I'll catch you on the next episode.

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Virginia Purnell

Virginia lives in Northern Alberta on a small farm with her husband and three children. Virginia is a master funnel builder having been certified as an FG Society Master Marketer, Funnelytics, and ClickFunnels Certified Partner. She uses that knowledge to help businesses with their online presence, visibility, and sales.