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Four years ago, teaching English in Japan, Melyssa Griffin decided to start a blog to connect with more people. She soon realized, however, that this blog was becoming less of a hobby and more of something she felt called to monetize and turn into a career. She left teaching and decided to offer web design services. After a couple of years, she had created a profitable business, but she still felt a touch restless… she still felt the pull to teach and do more with MORE people.

Melyssa decided to return to teaching, but this time in a different realm. She now teaches online workshops and courses to those who want to start their own business. And one of the things she’s most passionate about is managing the online communities that go along with them.

Community has always been an important and intriguing part of Melyssa’s life and I love that she had the opportunity to compare Japanese culture/community with American culture. While she found that Japanese culture, in general, tended to be more reserved (opinions and personalities) there was still a sense of community. It was a concept that wasn’t questioned – it just was. Originally from California, Melyssa found that while the culture varied (more outgoing, more flexibility), there was one universal truth. It became clear one day as she watched a Japanese man and his child play in the park. She noticed that even though she couldn’t understand what they were saying, she could still understand the “conversation” through their body language, intonation and facial expressions. It was a deeper human connection that we ALL have.

“We all have this intimate connection that we all have to each other that has nothing to do with the languages we speak.”

With a focus on this connection and sense of community, Melyssa went on to open and close several businesses – a greeting card shop, a web design shop and blogging. While one could have felt a sense of failure around the ups and downs of these businesses, it was through this process that Melyssa made a huge realization.

“Maybe the fun of it is knowing that it will change in the future and that means you’re still growing and learning new things.”

I couldn’t agree more, and I full-heartedly believe that if you’re not changing, you’re not growing – even if that means failing full force along the way. After all, when things are uncertain you might as well explore new things, am I right? Similarly, Melyssa encourages hopeful entrepreneurs to do the same.

“Move in the direction of what feels good. Don’t overanalyze it. Don’t try to calculate it. If something stops feeling good and you know that something is going to feel better, do that and start moving in that direction.”

Melyssa hasn’t always had such a great relationship with failure. Like many, she was raised to believe that she needed to be successful and wealthy. And admittedly, those are ALL great things, but it also implied that failure wasn’t an option. Today, she’s undone most of these beliefs, but she often has to consciously spin the negatives into a positive light.

“Failure is either going to lead you in a direction to something you will enjoy or that will turn out well, or you’re going to learn something massive from that failure and that will lead to something else that’s going to be that next step for you.”

So this is all good and great, but now you may be wondering how you actually even begin to turn your passion into a career you love? For many, there’s the common excuse of not having enough time. While both Melyssa and I agree that this is often the case, we also know that there are tiny spaces of time and small sacrifices you can make to just start. Melyssa suggests to start super small, but get super clear on how and who you want to serve. From there, begin by sharing your knowledge for free. This can lead to collaborations with other entrepreneurs – and you’ll be getting your stuff out there!

More tips on getting your business out there

  • Get on Pinterest. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a social media platform. It’s a search engine for a whole lot more than DIY projects.
  • Do video in some form – podcasts, IG stories. This provides a way to deeper connect with your audience on a personal level.
  • Webinars. Once thought of as more of a “fancy” sales pitch with little value, Melyssa advises to make it valuable. Offer 30-40 minutes of quality training and THEN offer to expand on the training with your product. If you’re looking to grow your audience (and email lists) and make sales – this is a two-for-one deal.

“The more you can have your audience know you, the more you’re able to grow your business and affect people.”

One tip from Melyssa… Don’t get bogged down with the thought that it’s all been done before. Yes, it probably has, but not by YOU! When people follow you, they’ll LOVE all facets of who you are. And they’ll love your story and where you’re coming from.

“We need more voices because we need people who can deeply connect to each type of person out there.”

Of course, you’ll always have those that don’t resonate with you, but guess what? It’s OK! They’ll just find someone else who does, and you will allow room for another to follow you. But what if you get someone who just can’t keep their thoughts or dislike for your message to themselves?

Although difficult and sometimes hurtful, Melyssa suggests taking a day to process what’s been said if you need to while keeping the following thought in mind:

“Happy, secure people don’t go out of their way to hurt other people.”

With this in mind, assume that all people are good. That way when you’re ready, you can respond in the most loving way possible without judgment or anger.

I love that Melyssa stresses the importance of coming from a place of love and community in all that you do. If your intent is to create a business that can grow, be sure to focus on Melyssa’s three Cs – Connection, Content and Collaboration. Focus on who you can serve and what valuable content you can provide and the community will follow.

Melyssa Griffin teaches online courses and live workshops for entrepreneurs and bloggers who want to turn their after-work hobbies into full-time businesses. A few of her specialties include
list-building, webinars, using Pinterest to get organic traffic, and content marketing. She also leads an active Facebook group of 60,000 members and helps almost 150,000 entrepreneurs with her weekly emails. But most importantly, she’s the mom to one wacky corgi, an expert at laughing, and a green smoothie aficionado.

In This Episode You Will Hear About:

  • Dealing with failure
  • Handling negative feedback
  • Community
  • Pinterest
  • Importance of using webinars
  • Strategies for launching an eCourse
  • Monetizing your passion
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Blogs
  • Online training
  • Kindness

Resources:

Follow me on social media @LoriHarder on Instagram and Lori Harder on Facebook.

You can also see more at my website: LoriHarder.com

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