Episode #19: Making Money with Other’s Products or Services (How to Make Money Mini-Series, Part 2)

In today’s episode, we’re bringing you the second of our three-part mini series on how to make money in your business! Today we’re talking about making money with OTHER’s products or services (ie. affiliate/sponsorship income). Then we’ll finish the show with a weekly actionable tip.


Podcast Sponsors:

NTA | Podcast Sponsor | Driven Podcast

Diane Sanfilippo: Ultimately having a balance of things that you share about that people know you’re not paid to do this; and then there are things that are going to be ok, understanding that you do earn money from some of it. And I think everyone has had the experience where you follow an influencer, perhaps, and it feels like 90% of what they share is sponsored. So it makes you feel like you don’t know what to trust, because if everything is being paid for, it’s hard to know what to trust, because it feels like they only share things that they get paid for.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Diane Sanfilippo: In today’s episode, we’re bringing you the second of our three-part miniseries on how to make money in your business. Today we’re talking about making money with others’ products and services; for example, affiliates and sponsorship income. Then we’ll finish the show with a weekly actionable tip.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [2:52]
  2. Shop Talk: how to make money wither others’ products and services [22:16]
  3. Shop Talk: How to choose [36:14]
  4. Shop Talk: Building trust [49:23]
  5. Shop Talk: Projected income [59:23]
  6. Tip of The Week: Make a list [1:04:31]

Cassy Joy: Today’s show is brought to you by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners by focusing on bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes a whole-food, properly prepared, and nutrient dense diet as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s innate ability to heal.

Throughout their programs, students learn a wide range of educational tools and techniques to identify and correct nutritional imbalances and deficiencies in their clients, and to launch a successful career in holistic nutrition. The NTA produces like-minded practitioners and consultants that we endorse and consider colleagues in the health and wellness space. Registration for the February class is now open through January 31st. And seats are already filling up quickly. You can learn more, and save your seat, by going to www.NutritionalTherapy.com. Don’t forget to mention our name, The Driven Podcast, on your application.

Hey guys, it’s Genny, Driven Podcast producer. We want you to enjoy this weeks’ episode, but just know that this weeks’ recording is the backup audio. You may hear some pixelated sounding speech; other than that, the fantastic info, and the most important part, is all there. So I hope you enjoy. Also, catch the bloopers at the end if you want to hear the moment Cassy and Diane realize that there was a problem.

1.  What’s on my plate [2:52]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. Cassy, what is going on over in San Antonio?

Cassy Joy: Well, it’s my third bullet point on here, but I feel like it needs to be first. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I was going to be like; I’ll tell everyone what’s going on. Why I’m glued to your Instagram stories!

Cassy Joy: W got a puppy! He’s so sweet. His name is Ben. Benjamin. Baby Ben.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m so excited. I’m obsessed with puppy content on Instagram stories. It’s my favorite.

Cassy Joy: He’s such a muffin. It was such a process. Really sorting through this. I would have wanted to bring a dog home six months ago, and the clock was really ticking because I’m due to have a baby. A human baby.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: At the end of April. And we’re talking, towards the middle of December. I think a 6-month-old puppy with a newborn is doable, but I want to get through the bulk of that training. Anyway. We got a puppy finally. His name is Ben. He’s so sweet. He had his first vet appointment, and I was really nervous because he hadn’t seen a doctor before. And I just didn’t know what was going on lurking below the surface. And he’s super healthy, I’m happy to report.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yay!

Cassy Joy: Everything came back clean. He’s just great. He’s adjusting. Gus is in full denial.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: That he has a brother in the house. And when Austin took baby Ben to the vet to go get him checked out, I came home from dropping Gray off at school. This was day two or three; day three of puppy. And Gus was so happy when I walked back in the house.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: He was like mama! He took the dog! It wasn’t forever, I knew it! {laughing} And then he’s like fully mopey mode again. But it’s so fun. I think when our next child is born, it will be really nice for Gus to have, I think, somebody to really play with. He’ll be warmed up by then, hopefully.

We are baking 30 dozen cookies right now. We’re in the process of baking all kinds of cookies. Which is so exciting for friends of Fed and Fit gifts for the holidays. Interviewing for our junior copy editor. And the candidates are really great, Diane. I haven’t actually followed up with you on this. The response was a little slower than with other positions. I think maybe because it’s a more niche position, and it’s definitely entry level. My plan on staffing Fed and Fit is; I really want to reward the people who are starting soon. That are joining, jumping in, making the sacrifices of whatever they need. And then 2020, my plan is then to promote from within. If there’s more opportunity, then I want to offer it to the people who made the sacrifice to be there. And I didn’t know what was going to happen.

I didn’t know what kind of response we were going to get; and sure, there are a lot of folks who would love to do the job. But the price point; it doesn’t make sense for them. But I’m really honored by who is coming out of the woodworks. I just, earlier this morning, we had a couple of interviews and they were really great. So I’m so excited about this position and what that can do. This copy editor has so much work ahead of them, and there’s still going to be a lot of hat wearing. We don’t have specific lanes in terms of job descriptions over here, yet. But it’s going to be really nice.

And then the last one I haven’t told you about was another big surprise of the morning. So part of Fed and Fit’s future vision is to create a safe base for putting out really good information. Right? In the effort to evolve from personal blog to online wellness resource, that’s broad reaching, talks about a lot. For example, I am not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve done it in the past, but I’m not. And also, that’s not my professional bias as a nutrition consultant. However, we will be publishing vegetarian content to support that community within the constructs of what makes sense from our brand and morals.

Anyway, so we brought in a subject matter expert. Her name is Lindsey. She runs and owns Sleep Little Lambs. This is not sponsored. But she is actually who I hired when Gray was 11 months old and was still waking up. I was nursing her every single hour through the night, and I just couldn’t see straight. I was like; I want someone to help me through this, but I was terrified of the dreaded sleep training thing. It’s such a charged subject. And people feel very differently about it on both ends of the spectrum.

Anyway, this Lindsey; I trusted her as a resource. She shared her literature and her research with me. So she guided us through something that really made sense for us. It was extremely gentle, and it was not traumatic. And everyone was healthier. Grayson had hit health milestones and markers, after she finally started sleeping through the night. and I really just needed someone to hole my hands through this process.

So anyway. We invited Lindsey to write a subject matter expert article on the five most popular methods of sleep training. And I thought this is a safe space, let’s get this content out there on the website. And it went up yesterday, and there’s just; it did. I know this. I should have known this going in ahead of time, but it still surprised me. The polarizing comments that came from it. And at first, at first my knee-jerk reaction, if I thought of it from the perspective of personal blog; oh gosh, how do I fix this? Right? How do I go back and fix this or whatever I need to account for?

And then you know what? This is a larger wellness, and while we’re not looking to please everybody with 100% of our content. And if we really want to help more people, we need to put out stuff that is more broadly reaching. Because I really believe that this article can help folks who are looking for it. Not meant to be prescriptive. And it was; it was not prescriptive.

Anyway. All that to be said; I came full circle on the decision. It was the right decision to publish it. I’m looking forward to publishing more. And I think it also reminded me that because I’m still in this transition between blog and wellness website, I think I still need to tell people my own personal story with sleep training so that they know why that’s showing up as far as content on Fed and Fit. As the editor in chief, why did we make the decision to put that on there? And then what was my own journey with it, from really hating the idea to how and why it helped me in a surprising way.

Anyway. I learned a lot of lessons. We’re charging forward.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m looking at the comments. I have not seen anything on Instagram. I just see blog comments, and there’s one person who didn’t like that it was even being talked about.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was talking to my husband yesterday about people making Twitter comments, and he called them an egghead. Just because I guess, Twitter, if you didn’t have a profile picture back in the day you would just have an egg.

Cassy Joy: Oh that’s funny.

Diane Sanfilippo: So this is; you know, it’s anonymous folks who drop their comments. And I think as content creators, over time, we have to realize that; yes, those are people. And how you and I show up, we do like to nurture and make sure that people are understanding the intent and all of that. And then ultimately, it’s the wild, wild west, the internet. Folks can drive by and drop comments, and they are; you know. We want to say that everyone’s opinion is valuable, but sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they’re just not holding the same weight. Just because they drop a comment doesn’t mean they drive the boat for our content and what we’re going to do. You know what I mean? So it is interesting.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. It is. But the lesson that I learned from it is; I could have done a better job of introducing why it was showing up and acknowledging that it was a polarizing subject. I could have done that. And I think that would have provided some room. Some space for folks to say; oh yeah, she does know this is polarizing and people might take exception to it. And I didn’t do that. And I don’t apologize for not doing it. But that’s the lesson I’m walking away from it.

And also affirming. Because you know what? It tells me that I feel like we’re on the right path, because we actually got more emails and more comments from people saying; thank you so much, I didn’t know where to start. And it feels like a safe space. The folks who want the content. If that makes any sense.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it does. And sometimes people don’t comment publicly like that.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. So that’s it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well I’m here for it. I think it’s great for you to publish content that kind of moves beyond the scope of where you were.

Cassy Joy: What’s going on over there, Diane?

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, thanks for asking.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Super, thanks for asking. So I have been thinking about this recently. After we had our team retreat, which I talked about last week at length. One of the things that came out of the team retreat was; what is everyone’s strength, and how do we not only play to our strengths, but identify areas of weakness, perhaps, or less strength and improve upon those skills. And where do people want to improve upon them, etc. And then as the business owner, I also have to step back and say; what parts of some of these jobs are not the highest and best use of this person’s time? Because I can easily do that for myself. And like 90% of the work that might come across my brain or across my desk I’m like; hmm. This is not the best use of my time. Most of the things that come at us, as the business owner, as the creative force, etc., we will delegate a lot.

And for the last year since January, I have been handling customer service for Balanced Bites. And I think it’s really important to do that very early on, because that’s where you see; what are the problems, what are the questions, what’s happening. And to delegate that too early when it’s not really necessary to. When there are three questions a week or 10 questions a week, I think it’s a little dismissive of something very important in that contact with your customer in that direct relationship.

However. Obviously going through the holiday season and through an influx of potential issues; broken jars. We don’t have control over what happens when the post office takes a box, etc. I’m seeing the value of getting those things off my plate. And thinking about delegating them to some of my team members who already have plates pretty full with more important things to do in terms of their skills, their ability, their depth of connection with what they’re doing. As you were saying; this promotion from within, that’s part of it. Where, instead of adding something that’s kind of; I hate to say that customer service is a lower level task, it just kind of is. I mean, I was doing it, so as the business owner doing that lower level task, part of it is, you have to be willing to do everything. Not lower level in terms of being meaningful. Just, it’s not a strategic position. Let’s just go there. It’s not strategic thinking. It’s not forecasting, planning, etc.

Cassy Joy: That’s a good way to put it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So, I need to hire someone to handle customer service for Balanced Bites. Now is the time. It’s got to be somebody who can be checking email several times a day, because somebody will email us in the morning and then again at night if they haven’t heard back. And they’re freaking out about something, as people do. My box hasn’t arrived, yadda-yadda. And I’m like; I don’t have any more information than you do. {laughs} Once FedEx takes it, they take it.

But I need someone who can probably check email three times a day, at least and be able to handle things. And maybe it’s one to two hours a day, tops. So this is like a 5 to 10-hour a week position. I will train this person on exactly what to do and how to run things by me, etc., before they’re resolving issues day one. Because that’s probably not going to happen. I need to teach someone how to not just have a knee-jerk reaction of give someone a refund minute one or send a new box minute one. Because nine times out of ten that’s actually not the best resolution.

Anyway. Long story short, we’re going to be hiring someone to do customer service. And I’ll be writing a job description soon. So if you’re like; I want to do customer service for Balanced Bites. Or you know someone who might. Who can be obsessively checking email throughout the day and not forget about it. Then stay tuned. But I just wanted to give a little context around that. And we will talk more about how we handle those types of situations. Maybe that’s something that’s interesting to you; how we handle customer service. Let me know, because as you may imagine, a type 8 boss person, handling customer service for me, it is one of my favorite things to do. And I consider it a personal victory when I not only have someone who is super angry, but I turn them around to no longer being angry, to being pleased with the experience they had. But also, that didn’t happen just by me sending a refund in one second. I think it’s so important to remember what part of that exchange is really not my responsibility or fault if something went wrong. And at the same time, I’m so generous in so many instances. Anyway. It’s really interesting.

Cassy Joy: I love that. I think that’s great; I would say, Fed and Fit, when we’re talking about customer service. Customer service is light. We have books, we have technology apps and programs. And we talked about this this morning. When you acknowledge what somebody is going through, and you say; wow, that sucks. And this is true if you have a customer or a friend that’s just going through a tough time. When people feel seen and heard, it alleviates what they’re looking for. And they are grateful for that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And one of the big things that I try and do. This happens a lot; like, FedEx delivers a box, and the person can’t find it. And of course, someone’s really stressed out. And rightfully so. It’s an expensive box, and I think they understand that they have responsibility, so now they’re nervous. And I present to them; here’s what I would do if I were you. This is what I say to them in an email. I’m like; hey, if I were you, this is what I would do. This is what I recommend, and this is what ends up happening most of the time.

And I will give you another inside tip; I see the emails immediately. I don’t always respond to them immediately, because I know if I give that person one to two hours, they will find the box.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So I give them a little time, and then ultimately, another email comes in. “Oh, I found it.” And I’m like, good. That’s why I didn’t respond right away. You know? So that’s part of what I’ll do to train this person. Actually, if that’s the problem that somebody ran into, that they actually don’t respond right away. Knowing that’s the scenario; I need you to go look at your neighbor’s door. But I kind of want you to do that before you ask me. {laughs} This is part of boundaries and teaching people how to treat you and it’s all kind of looped in.

Anyway. So other big picture stuff on my desk. We’re putting plans into place, I talked about last week, with 2020. Content planning, etc. I’m really excited about that. I know Moriah, who is not only our team graphic designer, but she does a little bit of project management as well. Well, more of it lately, and planning, and that aligns with her. What was that one? What’s the thing where if you’re like a manifestor or generator? She’s a projector. Human Design.

Cassy Joy: Oh!

Diane Sanfilippo: So she’s a projector.

Cassy Joy: Interesting.

Diane Sanfilippo: Which means they’re good at really directing things. Interesting, right?

Cassy Joy: Oh. Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: She does seem to be good at generating, from my perspective. But she is really good at getting stuff in place. So we are planning that out and trying to decide what we’re going to do for just the full schedule of content and all of that for next year.

A couple of other things, let’s see. So shipping hold; trying to see, do we have a date when this episode is airing? This episode is airing right before Christmas, on December 23rd.

Cassy Joy: Oh, Merry Christmas!

Diane Sanfilippo: Merry Christmas, to you too! Is that accurate? I’m looking at our dates.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, I changed all that. I updated all those.

Diane Sanfilippo: Great.

Cassy Joy: That’s so exciting.

Diane Sanfilippo: It is exciting. So we have a shipping hold for Balanced Bites meals. So if you order meals, and you haven’t heard; we’re not shipping the week of Christmas or the week of New Years. So anybody who is ordering between December 15th through January 4th doesn’t ship until the 7th. Now, the business decision rationale behind that, because that’s what we’re here for. Right? Not just to share about the business, but kind of the why, is Christmas and New Years’ day I believe both fall on a Wednesday. We typically ship on a Tuesday, and it’s typically about 1-2 days. We recently had expedited shipping. We might be going back to our normal 2-3 day, because boxes arrive totally cold and partially frozen, if that, by the third day. So it’s a crazy high expense to send overnight when we’re not charging for it. But that’s another discussion for another day.

I made the executive decision knowing that people are probably not going to be ordering as much, especially Christmas week. I knew that maybe for New Years people might order, knowing that they wanted to kick off healthier eating the first week of January. But for me, I have minimums to meet, and I kind of just said to the kitchens; can I pause for those two weeks. because rather than paying minimums that I know I’m not going to hit with the business those two weeks, can I take a pause? And they’re letting me take a pause. Which is great. And then we’ll come back and we’ll be shipping again January 7th.

So, I was able to kind of ask for that ahead of time enough. Part of the logistics of that is them being able to plan their scheduling for the kitchen to not have people on staff who then aren’t able to actually do a bunch of work during those times. But it seems to be ok. So that’s a decision I made because I just knew that orders would be probably half of what they normally are. And I can’t afford for that to happen. so really exciting and looking forward to next year because we will have some new meals coming out at some point in 2020; early 2020. But we have to get those recipes finalized, and they’re coming.

So that’s most of what’s exciting. I’m heading to Los Angeles for the weekend. So when you guys are listening to this, it will have already happened. You’ll have seen all of the sushi I’m going to eat with my friend Naomi down in LA. And we’re pretty pumped about that. Just a little, I don’t know, road trip. Girls’ weekend. Eating all the sushi, because my husband doesn’t really like sushi. So Naomi and I can eat; we’ll always go get sushi. So super excited about that.

Cassy Joy: I love that. That’s so fun. You eat my share of sushi for the time being.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know I will.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

2.  Shop Talk: how to make money with others’ products and services [22:16]

Diane Sanfilippo: Now it’s time for Shop Talk. In this segment, we talk about topics that are on both our minds and yours. We’ll cover all sides of the issue, and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. I kind of always laugh when we say “hopefully land somewhere” because that’s our self-awareness.

Cassy Joy: It is.

Diane Sanfilippo: Of, we home we will be concise, actionable, and helpful. We know we’ll say a lot of things. But what we hope {laughing}; they’re not going to be concise. But we hope we land somewhere concise.

Cassy Joy: Ain’t that the dang truth? Because we’ve edited so much of these intros and these descriptions, and that language; we were like. That is appropriate.

Diane Sanfilippo: It is so true. It could not be more true. Ok. Why don’t you kick us off?

Cassy Joy: Ok. So today we are talking shop about how to make money wither others’ products and services. We’re going to cover how to responsibly; I have this underlined. Responsibly choose affiliate income streams, including sponsorships, brand partners, things that you sell but are not your own product. We’re going to chat about recommending products that you don’t earn income off of. And what we are ultimately after; spoiler alert, it’s trust. But we’ll elaborate on what that is in a little bit.

Ok, so I think to kick off this conversation, it would be good to lay a little groundwork. Talk about what are we talking about in terms of other people’s products. So what types of revenue streams fall into this category. And what I really did in building out this list; Diane and I were chatting. I just looked at what are the revenue streams at Fed and Fit, and that I know are available at large for folks that are running online businesses. Whether you’re a blogger or you have another kind of online business.

They can typically fall under three main categories. Number one would be passive ad revenue on your website. So these are ads that run on your website, if you sign up with an advertising company, they put the ads on there. You probably don’t choose them. They’re just little widgets and the ads appear.

I remember back in the day, Diane, when Austin and I were just dating. He’s got an affiliation with a few of these tax firms out there. And he sent me a note and he was like; you’re working with blah-blah-blah company? And I said, one of them was H&R Block. And I was like; no. No, that’s not how this works. I did not choose that ad for that spot! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: In your honor. Anyways. Ok.

Diane Sanfilippo: Wouldn’t that have been sweet?

Cassy Joy: Wouldn’t that have been sweet? I’m not that powerful. Ok, so number one was passive ad revenue. Number two; hired spot sponsors. I added the word spot sponsors, because I think that’s the majority of where sponsorships will come in for folks. Very rarely will you have; unless you are Carrie Underwood, have Taylor Guitars. I don’t know if Taylor is sponsoring Carrie Underwood. But have some big company come behind you and say, we’re going to sponsor you for 5 years. Very rarely will that be. So hired spot sponsors, they can show up and they can hire or purchase content on your website. So sponsored blog posts, for example, or on your social media. They want you to talk about something on your Instagram. They want you to do a live. They want you to do stories.

And the third category is affiliate income. And I want this; this is probably where we’ll spend the majority of our time chatting today. Because we have a lot of experience with all of these. But this is the one that can take on many lives in many different forms. And I will run through the ones that are big ones for my business and the ones that I’ve chosen a little bit. But those are them.

Ok, so that’s a quick overview of all the different kinds of income streams that can come from other people’s products as a way to monetize; make money in your own business. And before we get into how to choose and the discussion around the ultimate ROI that we’re after; Return on investment is what ROI stands for just in case anybody needs that broken down. Sometimes I do. We’re going to go over our own personal experiences with our own personal businesses.

So, I will say just from a birds’ eye view. I ran my; {laughs} That’s not fair. I did not run my PNL. My husband, who is really good at numbers and finance and accounting, provided me with a PNL, because he does that for me as a part of his love language for Fed and Fit from January to October. And at least in those months, because that’s where we are as far as accounts closed. I don’t have all the information from November yet. I would say that in Fed and Fit’s world, we have revenue that comes from book sales. We have revenue that comes from programs, when we occasional open them. Things that we own ourselves. We have revenue that comes from sponsorships, from affiliates, from advertisements. And a couple of other buckets.

I would say at Fed and Fit, this type of income; other people’s products, makes up about half of our revenue. So it’s an aggressive percentage of Fed and Fit’s overall business. But when you look; and we’ll talk about the balance on this next episode, episode three. When you look at Fed and Fit’s content, I don’t know that that’s necessarily apparent. It doesn’t seem, content-wise, that half of our content looks like it’s all about other stuff.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Cassy Joy: So we’ll talk about how to toy and build that balance later on. But I would say it makes up about half. The majority of that comes from affiliates. I would say 80% of that half is affiliate income. And then 10% is split between spot sponsorships and then ad revenue from the website. And of course, my growth plan for 2020. And really the reason why I’m hiring that copy editor; is so that Amber Golden, our managing editor here, can start to build to a department of two, but still. It’s a department to help maximize web traffic, and therefore ad revenue. So hopefully that will tip the scales in a lot of ways. But that’s kind of a bird’s eye view.

Our biggest affiliates in order of who brings in the most for Fed and Fit; number one is by and large Beautycounter is an affiliate. It falls under an affiliate position on my PNL for Fed and Fit. I’m not saying it’s an affiliate program like these other ones I’m about to mention.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Cassy Joy: But I am a Beautycounter consultant as Fed and Fit LLC, does that make sense?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Ok. Amazon would be the next one. So I’m an Amazon affiliate. We have a lot of recipes that we publish, and we’ll always try to link to a flour through Amazon. It’s really just doing our due diligence in that regard. Primally Pure would be the next one, third. And then we have Reward Style, which is the same as Like To Know It. And again, I don’t do a lot of fashion. But I link to the Reward Style things like my baby registry post. Right? All of those articles are usually linked through Reward Style. A pot and pan that we might be using. Butcher Box, and then Branch Basics at the end. I will talk about this in a second, but those are my main 6. And I don’t know if it’s my brain, but I cannot really wrap my head around managing more than that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, you know I couldn’t. So over here; I did some very loose math. Because I did not have a hand delivered PNL this morning.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I do have a bookkeeper who does create PNLs, but this is one of the things that is an area of growth for me. To be much more numbers oriented than I have been. I’m good at addition {laughs}. I’m good at multiplication. I’m not that good at subtracting. It’s kind of a joke. So I did some rough math. And we really only have affiliate income in air quotes, if I consider Beautycounter to be that, as part of my business versus my own product or service, it’s really the only one that we have. So we have some sponsors for the podcast, and relatively speaking that’s kind of a small sliver of the pie. And we did have some tour sponsors early in the year for the Keto Quick Start tour. I don’t have those numbers handy, but it’s a way smaller percentage or total than any of this other stuff. So Beautycounter is really the only thing that I sell that’s not my own in terms of start to finish business. And that makes up about 20% of the total revenue for Balanced Bites/Diane Sanfilippo.

And then the other three large pieces currently, which this will change over time, would be book sales revenue, which is still very substantial for me. I have five, six publications out there. So all of those selling collectively, that still is a big part of the chunk of the pie. Actually, if I look at those numbers, it probably runs about equal to Beautycounter in total revenue. And then spices and meals. And so, those are definitely the bulk of what we’re doing in terms of the business.

Now, that doesn’t mean the profit percentage is the same for all of those. Or the net.

Cassy Joy: This is pure revenue.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. This is just pure dollars in the door, not counting expenses and all of that. So yeah.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. That’s great.

Diane Sanfilippo: I have a different model going on; and I kind of have had a different model for a long time, which is why it’s so good for us to talk about this. Because there’s different perspectives, and neither is right or wrong. I think a lot of it has to do with personality. A lot of it has to do with just whatever you do when you start your business, because everyone has to make decisions that will pay the bills.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Absolutely. There are a bunch of different ways that you can build a business of your dreams. For the most part, I feel like we have very similar trajectories. Or maybe destination, I should say. We’re headed to a somewhat similar place in our businesses. I’m going about it differently than you are. Fed and Fit leans heavily on blog-style, lots of content, Amazon affiliate links, advertising revenue. For example, a lot of those things which is totally its own animal. And those of you who are in that world, know that.

And I’ve put off building my own product. I mean, casseroles, Joyful Foods. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But that’s a smart thing to do. Because; look. I can only do what I can do and move forward from the decisions that I’ve made in the past. But if you were to ask me today; if anybody says, what should I build? What should I create? And I would say, build attention. Build an audience. Build a customer base. Whether or not they’re paying dollars. You have their email address, you have their attention. So build attention. Because some of the most successful brands and companies are not the ones that were selling something day one and had revenue and profit day one.

Which, for me as somebody; financial security is paramount to me. I actually can’t move forward as an entrepreneur if I don’t feel very financially secure. So none of this would have happened for me had I said; well I’m going to not earn money for five years. Which is what a lot of people do with their business. And I know that I can’t be in that place. I won’t be able to build a business that way. And I also won’t borrow money. I just won’t do it. And I know you’re not doing that either. But for some huge businesses, there are lots of investors. And that’s the way forward. That’s a thing that a lot of folks sort of either have to do or whatever.

Anyway. I think it’s important for people to know that; I just lost my train of thought. I think that’s what people should really know.

Cassy Joy: No, I think that’s great.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} How do we edit that?

Cassy Joy: That was a really good point, though. Because I did. I didn’t take a paycheck for five years. And I’m still in that investment phase in my business.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh, so the different way of building. Yeah. I did build; you guys. I’m hungry, ok?

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I worked out this morning. My muscles are hungry. Everything about me is hungry right now. I did build attention in a certain way with the podcast. Right? We had 8 years of the Balanced Bites podcast. We had a very intimate relationship with tens of thousands of listeners every week. And that was really significant. So I need to own that that was a good thing. But when it comes to a blog, there’s a huge positive in that. Look at what the Gaines’ have done. They did not have product day one; they had a TV show. Building an audience. Building the attention on them. And then later when you have something to sell, it will be wildly successful from the start instead of kind of me clawing, trying to make sure that I’m just grit and dirt growing these businesses and I’m also trying to grow my audience at the same time, which I know that always will happen, even if it’s large.

But if somebody said; what do I build today to have a successful business in 5-10 years, I would say build an audience.

Cassy Joy: Ok. I love that. I think that’s great advice.

Diane Sanfilippo: All that brain farting to say. {laughs} We’re getting to a similar; I feel like I’m not at all getting to whatever big place you’re going to get to. I don’t see that for myself at all. I’m like; Go, Cassy, go! I’ll just be over here, doing something. I don’t know what.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Whatever.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s really how I see it. That’s true. That’s my reality.

3.  Shop Talk: How to choose [36:14]

Cassy Joy: Next; how to choose. How to choose an affiliate sponsorship or passive ad revenue when there are so many options out there. I don’t want y’all to hear all of these options and think that you have to take all of them on. You can pick and choose what fits you, and I would say the number one piece here is decide what matches your own core values and mission, and say no to the ones that do not.

So, for example. Let’s say you have a website, and you have decided that you loathe passive ads. You really; you’ve made a stance. You’ve talked about it before. Then clearly, you’re not going to put them up on your website. Right? That’s not a revenue stream that’s going to align with you.

Spot sponsors; y’all. The number of sponsorship opportunities that come across our desk, our computers on a, let’s say weekly basis, because sometimes when it rains it pours. The number of opportunities that come across that we say no to at Fed and Fit. Sponsorships are something that we have done at Fed and Fit, in the past several years. And I probably say no to 85% of the opportunities that come our way. It may even be more than that. I’m just trying not to be too ridiculous with that number. But the grand majority of opportunities that come across our door as a possible paid spot for either social media or website I say no to, because they don’t match our core mission and our core values. Even if it’s money.

Because the risk with sponsorship; I’m going to very briefly touch on this. I’m going to try not to get too ranty. Diane and I admittedly spent a good chunk of time before we recorded talking about this exact thing. I want to say don’t prioritize sponsors until you’re really ready and realize that a singular point of view is actually a cost to your business. What does that mean? It means that when you pick one kind of product to recommend. Let’s say potato chips, because I’ve never done potato chips. {laughs} Because I don’t want anyone to draw conclusions. Let’s say, if you pick a single kind of potato chip that you are talking about, but you want to be a worldly content creator providing perspective across the board. It limits your point of view. If you’re only talking about one potato chip brand, you actually secretly in your pantry have four different brands, you are probably under an exclusive clause where you cannot talk about those other brands at all. So you’re not able to give your readers and your audience a fair representation of your take on the market. Because that one potato chip company bought it, for a certain period of time. And that’s a cost. And I just want you to go into these with your eyes wide open.

And then, number two; this was Diane’s point.

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright. So if you are an entrepreneur, in that moment that you commit to a sponsorship, you end up working for someone else. And for someone like me, that was not going to work. Nine times out of 10, the reason why my business; I build things in a certain way, was not just because I didn’t want to take sponsorships. It was that I knew I would be agreeing to someone else’s terms in doing that, and I just can’t work that way. It doesn’t work for me. I think it works for a lot of people very, very well. You know what I mean? I actually think, if you’re an Obliger personality, or tendency, where you want to see what does someone expect of you, that could be really helpful. For me, not so much. I find it very stifling and limiting.

And I don’t think that somebody gets my best if they’re telling me how to deliver for them. And what’s interesting; and this was the conversation that we had offline. And I was like; we’re considering offering a separate paid part of this show, which would be the before and after the show.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Let us know if you’re interested in that. Paid content. {laughs} But I think that for us, as business owners, there’s a reason why we don’t work for other people. And I have come to the place now, at the almost age of 42, where I know that; look, I respect some of these brands. They’re big brands. They have people who have been there a long time. A lot of folks who know what they’re doing. There are some PR firms that get involved; a lot of folks who might also know what they’re doing.

There are also many folks who don’t know as much as we do about marketing. About how to actually talk to our customers in a way that helps them understand the value of the product, why they should buy it, why we love it, etc. And sometimes when you engage in a partnership like this, or a sponsorship like this; someone says, here’s what we want. And you’re like; ok, that’s what I’ll deliver. And ultimately, what they’re looking for is a direct reflection of sales in some way.

I had this experience with one brand that I did a sponsorship with years ago. I won’t name the brand. But they were expecting to see a direct click through ROI on their product. And I said; first of all, I would not buy your product at this time of year anyway. So, if other people are, from other promotions you’re doing; ok. Good for you. I personally am not buying it right now because it doesn’t feel seasonal for me. It doesn’t feel like the appropriate time. But what you’re buying from me is not 100 people clicking through to purchase. What you’re buying from me is my endorsement. Me saying, I love this brand. It’s a great brand and I recommend it. I don’t care if somebody doesn’t buy it tomorrow. I care that when they’re in the store in six months, and they’re looking for that thing, they remember; oh yeah, this is the brand that Diane talked about. And they’re going to buy it.

I think a lot of companies today who are really hung up on that direct ordering ROI don’t understand the value of the loyalty, the trust, the attention. I don’t think they understand that as well as they need to. So there’s something there.

Anyway, I think it’s important to know that you will be working for someone else when you take a sponsorship. They’ve got a list of things that they want and expect you to do, and you have to be ok with following that. Until maybe you get to a point where Cassy; maybe you get to a point in your career where you’re able to dictate more of, here are the terms. Because I’m willing to do this, but I’m only willing to do it on my own terms. And you can only get to that place when you truly don’t need that money.

Cassy Joy: Exactly. That’s exactly right. And to Diane’s point, we’re drastically changing our sponsorship strategy for 2020. Because of exactly what she just said. And like she said; you might look at this opportunity of sponsorships and think; wow, that’s really cool. I also want to put a note on here; if you’re getting this impression; it’s not as glamorous as it may seem, seeing hashtag sponsored on let’s say an Instagram post. Because a lot of the times, the revenue that you’re generating through that isn’t a whole lot, and what you’re sacrificing isn’t really worth it. I want you to make that decision with eyes wide open.

If you’re getting paid $200 because a brand wants to sponsor your Instagram post, and you’re like; holy guacamole, I got it! I got a sponsorship. I just really want you to sit down and tabulate. Is this $200 worth what I’m possibly giving up? And maybe it is. There was a season in my business where it really made sense for me. We’re getting into a different season where I have other revenues that make more sense for me to promote. I think that’s really fair. But yes, in that moment, you work for somebody else. Take it on if you’re ready for that.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And I think the general vibe that we’re sharing right now is slightly, I would say, it’s leaning against taking sponsorships, or doing a lot of them. But the reason for that is we’re in a different place in our business. And people assume that it is the holy grail. So I think we’re trying to give this heavy counterpoint, or counterbalance, to assuming that the goal of building up what you’re doing, whether it’s social media, a blog, etc. The assumption that the goal should be sponsorship.

I think we did the Balanced Bites podcast for a long time without any sponsors. And I’d just as soon do a podcast without sponsors if I don’t find the sponsors that I find fit. Even for this show, we’re going to be putting the word out for a handful of new sponsors for next year. And if we don’t find people that fit; we’ve had a couple of people approach us. And if they’re just not a fit, they’re not a fit. I’m not going to take a sponsor just because it’s dollars. And I think when you get to a place in your business that you can make that decision, it’s a really great place to be.

But understanding that if you’re new, and you’ve built a following; say you have 3,000 followers on Instagram, and a brand offers you money, and that feels like, “Holy cow!” take it! And you feel good about that brand; don’t feel badly at all about doing that work. Because ultimately, too, anything that we’re saying that sounds; you don’t believe us, you’ll have to go through the process yourself and make the decision. You might say; you know what? I love doing this kind of work. I want to just build an audience, build trust with my audience, and take sponsored posts. And that’s how I want to earn money. And that might be the approach that you go. You know what I mean? And that’s totally fine, too. I think everyone has to find the balance that works for them.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely. One more thing I want to say about that, and I’ll have another note about affiliate incomes in a second. But I want you to also remember that sponsorship income; it’s usually one time. There’s always the hope and the promise and the dream that they’ll come back again. Let’s say you’re working with your favorite athletic wear company, and they say; yes, they want to sponsor you in November for a sponsored post. And you think; if I do this, I can wow their socks off, and they’ll come back and hire me again.

That’s a possibility.

Diane Sanfilippo: Maybe. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: But it’s not a guarantee. Maybe. Maybe. And in my many, many years, sometimes that happens, if you genuinely knock their socks off, and they see and ROI, for example, for their business. But that’s not always the case. And if the attention and the hours that you and your team have to spend are finite, which they all are. Our time is finite. Then I would encourage you consider spending that time on things that can earn over and over again versus a one-time thing. That’s how I’m making that as a business decision for Fed and Fit. We prioritize our affiliate strategy and our passive ad revenue now over really pursuing aggressive sponsorships as a main part of our business model because it’s not sustainable.

Unless we are on that hamster wheel churning out the content for sponsorships, it doesn’t generate any revenue. Whereas if I can build you a really useful guide that also happens to have affiliate links on it that are fully disclosed, everything is super transparent, and it’s really useful to my readers, what does that offer? It offers a service to my reader. It offers a product that I’m producing; maybe it’s a free download, but it’s still something that you’re able to get. And then affiliate income that I’m able to earn over time. Earning money while you sleep; that whole idea of passive income. It’s a total misnomer, we all work our buns off to get to that point, and continue to. But it allows you to generate beyond the span of a specific program or a specific sponsorship.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, for sure. And I think for people who are in a place where maybe you have a business, and you’ve brought on some new people, and you think; ok. I can have this person handle a lot of that work. I think you still need to look at; let’s just say you brought in $25,000 in a year from sponsored content that you had; not you Cassy, just you in general. You had an assistant work on. And that $25,000 kind of covered their pay for the year. Maybe they’re not full time, or whatever the case may be.

Even if that sponsorship is covering the time it takes to do it, it’s still pulling attention that’s time that’s never accounted for. So I think people might undervalue the attention and the stress part, and not realize that you’re not really maybe being paid enough for the energy.

I think it just depends on what your strategy is. And if taking a couple of sponsored posts from maybe some smaller brands, or maybe some brands that you’re just trying to get your feet wet and figure it out, and then ultimately, and we’ll talk about our tip of the week. Ultimately maybe there’s a bigger fish out there that you’re hoping to land. In this case, you probably do have to do other sponsored work first to prove that you can deliver quality content, that you can deliver on the attention of your readers, etc., etc. And I think that just will always vary.

So, are we ready for me to move on to this next point? Because this is my favorite thing to talk about.

Cassy Joy: Let’s do it.

4.  Shop Talk: Building trust [49:23]

Diane Sanfilippo: And this is kind of the place that I’ve lived in from the beginning with my business. I don’t think I’ve ever done a one-off type of sponsored post. And, again, this is just my personality at play here. Because I knew that; I don’t know if I just have a chip on my shoulder, or I just felt like I knew I wouldn’t want to deliver the list of deliverables. {laughs} I just can’t do it. If you give me the list, I’m like; immediately, no. I don’t want to do that.

But I have always felt like the amount of attention that an endorsement from myself would give was worth more than any paycheck that someone is going to give me. I know that sounds crazy, but even if a brand wanted to pay me $20,000, $50,000, $100,000 for an endorsement; it’s almost like it would never be enough. I don’t know if that’s the entrepreneurial spirit. Whatever anyone else is going to pay me will never be enough for what I think, whatever the thing is I’m doing, is worth. Whatever I earn from it is enough; but if someone else is deciding to pay me, it’s never enough.

So that’s just where I’ve always come from. When I worked for other people, there could never have been an amount that my old boss would have said; I’m going to give you this raise, and I would have felt like; ok. That’s enough. The sky was the limit. So that’s my perspective. And it’s probably not everyone. But somebody listening is like; I feel that way.

So if you feel that way, then doing sponsored work is probably not a good place for you. But, here’s the thing that happens when you recommend products and brands. When you share about your peers, here’s what this other person is doing that I love, and I think you’ll love, too. Sometimes what you want to build is not just actual dollars as the ROI; the return on the investment. The revenue, so to speak, in dollars is one thing. But ultimately what you’re trying to do is build trust. So the ultimate return on your investment for recommending products and brands and services and whatever it is that you’re recommending is that you build trust.

So, we do that largely by recommending things that we don’t get paid for. And this is something that I recommend. So speaking of Beautycounter, for example, we have teams of women who work with us who are Beautycounter consultants. And I talk to them a lot about; if you want to be sharing about Beautycounter on Instagram, you can’t only share about Beautycounter. Because then you’re only sharing 100% of the time about something that you earn money from, and that’s not how we build trust.

So, you can build trust in a lot of ways. Think about just a regular friendship. You spend time with somebody. You have shared experiences. I love your sweater, where’d you get it? I tell you where I got the sweater. Yadda-yadda. Then the day may come where I’m selling something, where I might earn money from it. And as a friend, you’re like; ok, I’ll buy that thing from you. Cool. We’re friends; I trust you. Done deal.

But when you’re doing this stuff online, or as a business on the internet, etc. It takes; this is my estimate, 7-10 times as long to build trust. So 7-10 posts instead of just one. 7-10 years online versus one year in real life to build that trust to a certain place. And in today’s day and age, I think it does require ultimately having a balance of things that you share about that people know, you’re not paid to do this. And then there are things that they’re going to be ok, understanding that you do earn money from some of it. And I think everyone has had the experience where you follow an influencer, perhaps. And it feels like 90% of what they share is sponsored. So it makes you feel like you don’t know what to trust. Because if everything is being paid for, it’s hard to know what to trust. Because it feels like they only share things that they get paid for.

And it’s kind of this Catch-22. As the influencer, you wish you could get paid for every single thing. Because it does feel a little bit like; I’m promoting your stuff for free. And it feels thankless. And it’s a little bit annoying. And at the same time, what I’ve learned over the years. Because I went through a couple of years where I was feeling really irritated about it. I didn’t want to talk about all the brands I was using because I felt like I was never paid to talk about them. Other people were paid to talk about some of the same brands. Why wasn’t I? I was like, I don’t think I ever asked to be paid for it, because I didn’t want to do the stuff that being paid would require. {laughs} So it was this whole circle.

But in the end, what I build in those years was trust. Because I ultimately only talked about brands that I love. And I don’t usually poo-poo on any brands, but I don’t talk about them if I don’t like them. So when people say; what do you think about this? And I say, the brands that I use and love I talk about. And I’ve probably tried them all, so if you don’t see me talking about it, it’s not one that I recommend. And move on from there.

So what’s happened over that time was now I’m able to have my own products that I create, and people know what my standard is. People know what my level of taste and my standard is. They know what kind of quality to expect from things I recommend, so then they also know what kind of quality to expect from things that I create. And I think that even if I didn’t build financial wealth on those recommendations, let’s say in the 5 to 10-year period of creating this audience that I have, I build a strong foundation of trust.

I would rather have 1000 people who trust me implicitly than 100,000 people who aren’t sure if everything I recommend is awesome. And that doesn’t mean that everybody who is there will buy everything I recommend. But they know that if they do, they can trust it. So I think what you need to do if you’re kind of starting out, dabbling, and figuring out how to balance; should I not talk about this thing because it’s not getting paid for. If I talk about this, but they sometimes do sponsored stuff but they’re not sponsoring me; I would say don’t worry about it. I think you have to do what feels the most true to who you are and what you love and recommend so that then when you’re sharing about the one thing that you do get paid for, it’s in the mix of a lot of other things.

And I think ultimately a lot of folks don’t feel good if; I’m just going to use Instagram as the example. Let’s say out of 9 posts you make, all 9 of them are about Beautycounter and you’re a Beautycounter consultant, and you didn’t share anything else that was just purely educational, purely generous, purely a give and not an ask. Any time you share about Beautycounter, if you stand to earn money from that, it’s an ask. Every single time. So I need for people to understand that we have to be generous in order to then ask for people’s money in a way that doesn’t feel icky.

I don’t ever feel badly for asking people for money, because I feel like 99% of the stuff that I do I don’t actually earn money for. The amount of time that we spend engaging on social media; I’m constantly responding to comments, and DMs, and questions, and all of that. That’s purely my time and attention, and that is the most valuable thing I can give back to anybody.

So I think when people are new, they have a sense; not everyone. But if you’re listening, you’re like ok, I’ve felt that way. A little bit of a sense of entitlement. Like; well, I built this blog. And I built this following. And I have 5,000 followers, or 10,000, or 1,000; whatever it is. You get the sense of entitlement that somebody should be paying you for that thing. And I think it’s important to remember that the ultimately return on that investment of your time and energy and all of that is trust. Because later on, and maybe this is something we’ll do episodes on or ultimately maybe this will be where I create some kind of a program in the future; I don’t know. But ultimately being able to convert based on the trust that you’ve built; that’s where the magic happens.

That’s when people say to me; somebody came to my DMs and she made a joke where a couple of years ago there was some sales incentive and the first week it sold the most of whatever the thing was for a Beautycounter thing. And I’m not kidding; I had so many people messaging me; how did you do that? And I was like, if you think I did that this week, you’re mistaken. I did that in the last decade of building trust with an audience who then when I said; I threw away my MAC eyeshadows because I love these. These are performing as well if not better and are safer for us, well everyone was like; in. You know what I mean? So I didn’t do it this week. I did it for 10 years. And of course, nobody wants to hear that.

Cassy Joy: I love that.

Diane Sanfilippo: I got on a little bit of a rant. But I think that’s the meat that we need to know.

Cassy Joy: It is. I think that’s the most important perspective in all of this; essentially, don’t sell yourself short, and definitely do not put trust with your audience on the chopping blog in exchange for a short-term paycheck.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes!

Cassy Joy: Is that fair?

Diane Sanfilippo: Never sacrifice that. Yeah.

Cassy Joy: Nuh-huh. Don’t do it. And; babies, puppies, your business. Things are brilliant. They will come back. If you’ve done that in the past, don’t think that the ship has sailed, and you need to go ahead and lock the door and quit.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And by that token, don’t cancel someone.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, exactly.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because they’ve made a misstep. Let people make mistakes. I’m not into this cancel culture that’s out there. That’s another topic for another day. But if somebody makes a mistake. If they work with a brand that later they’re like; oh. Whoops. Let them have a moment and apologize and move forward; etc.

5.  Shop Talk: Projected income [59:23]

Cassy Joy: They’re people too. Totally. So, to quickly give you an overview on this affiliate kind of income, I want to give y’all an idea of what kind of revenue you can generate in terms of increments from these three different categories; passive ad revenue on your website, hired spot sponsors and affiliate income. To kind of give you an idea, when it comes to ad revenue on your website; I think when my website hit about 100,000-page views a month. That might sound like a massive number to some of you; please don’t be intimidated. You don’t have to have that many to get ads on your website. I think I first went through WordPress when I had 200 people on my website a month. And I worked with them, and it brought in literally pennies. I mean, maybe $2-3. So there’s a way that you can scale this, depending on the ad network.

But I know that at about 100,000 as a relatively standard benchmark, you can expect to make an average of $1,000 on your website in terms of ad revenue with reasonable ad network if you’re working with. So just to kind of give you an idea of how much that is a month.

And then spot sponsors; talking about your website. Let’s say we’re still using that same example of 100,000 visitors on your website a month. Then you could possibly charge somewhere around $1,000 for a one-off sponsor piece of content. That’s a relative rough example.

But again, know that it’s not more is more. You don’t just look at your calendar and think; oh, well if I sold 30 articles and I publish an article every single day in November, I could make $30,000 in November. It doesn’t really work that way. Because your audience will stop paying attention. Your web traffic will go down. So just know that there’s a balance; which we’ll talk about in the next episode.

Social media, on average, sponsors are paying about a penny per follower for a static Instagram post. I don’t know about Facebook, necessarily. Instagram stories are a total wild, wild west. It really changes a lot. But that’s just kind of something to get your head wrapped around in terms of where do you possibly stand in terms of potential income and what you could be pitching out there. There are lots of agencies and lots of people who help you come up with your media kits, but I really believe that the more informed you are going into those conversations, the better. Build your own media kit first, and then have somebody else review it.

Ok, and then affiliate income is usually fixed. But, like Beautycounter for example, I think I can say this. We earn 25% commission minimum off of anything that you sell. If you sell lip gloss, you’re going to earn 25% commission on that in a month. And so usually, for example, affiliate income is fixed. Sometimes affiliates will give you the option of a one-time customer fee. If you introduce a customer to the brand, they’ll pay you $20 for every single customer you bring in, and then that’s it. But then they also have the option that if that customer stays on, they’ll pay $10 for every month they renew, if it’s a subscription. My advice to you is to always opt for the subscription model. I think that’s going to always pay out more. And then the onus is on you to support that affiliate model. Support those people and those clients with great content.

I think that’s all I’ve really got for today. What do you think?

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that sounds great. Those are all things that we consider as well with Balanced Bites, when we pay affiliates for meals for example. Because most of our customers are one-off versus subscription right now. Eventually maybe when we get to a point where we can build something more custom; our customer base needs to be a lot bigger before we can do that. But right now, people can only subscribe to a preset box. So more people I think like building their own. But we do where we pay a bounty. When somebody introduces a new customer, they’re earning a bounty for introducing that new customer. I think there are lots of different ways to do it. And I think if you’ve got a brand that you love, then find a way to connect with them.

Cassy Joy: Go work with them. Which ties into Diane’s tip. And I just want to give a quick preview; I did what Diane is going to tell y’all to do, and this is essentially our strategy for 2020. We did this yesterday, and it is really independent on who is going to be paying us. We’re going to be supporting these brands, period.

Diane Sanfilippo: Today’s podcast is sponsored in part by Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics. America’s leading purveyor of premium, sustainable seafood and grass-fed meats, and a certified B corporation. Holiday season means parties and meals with family and friends, so now is the time to stock up on deliciously healthy foods you’ll be proud to serve. Vital Choice offers a wide selection of wild sea foods, grass-fed meats and poultry, and zesty organic soups. The perfect paleo-friendly fare for holiday feasting. And they make hosting easy with luscious nova lox, Alaskan crab, frozen at sea spot prawns, and much more. Be sure to save 15% on one regular order with the promo code DRIVEN or get $15 off your first Vital Box with the promocode DRIVENVB from now through the end of the year.

6. Tip of The Week: Make a list [1:04:31]

Cassy Joy: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. Diane, I know you’ve got a great tip for us.

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, so my tip this week is to make a big list of any, every, all companies that you would love to work with and talk about in the work that you are doing. And I think this is a great way to figure out who you want to feature, whether they’re paid or not, and who you might want to approach and say; hey, I know you’ve done some sponsored work in the past. Or if they haven’t, or you don’t know, you could say; hey, I don’t know if you’re looking for some influencers or health coaches or whatever your business may be, to do some sponsored content. But you can approach them. I get approached all the time in Balanced Bites. Sometimes we say yes, sometimes we do not.

But I think making a big list is a great idea. And we’re going to be doing this as well for Balanced Bites, because we love to collaborate with brands, too. Even not just through myself; through Balanced Bites. We do tons of giveaways with other brands. And it’s great to have this master list to go back to know; ok, I want to talk about something this week. Who is a brand that maybe I can recommend?

Cassy Joy: I love that. We actually just did this; I just did this yesterday for Fed and Fit for 2020.

Diane Sanfilippo: Good timing!

Cassy Joy: It is good timing. We came up with this long list. And y’all; my perspective on this list of “dream partners”; I look at it as these are the people I want to partner with. Not the people that I necessarily want to just sponsor an Instagram post. But these are the people that are already part of our brand narrative. It’s already my favorite pasta in the whole wide world. And if they have a budget, great. If they don’t; I’m still going to use their pasta, and I’m still going to talk about it. Because at the end of the day, I want y’all to be able to trust that no matter who I’m talking about, it’s vetted, and we love them, and we trust them. And I think that’s such a great thing to do.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week we’ll be talking about how to strike a balance between affiliate and personal product/service sales. We’ll see you next week.

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