Sept. 20, 2021

Entrepreneurs Over 40 Episode 19 with Colleen Kochannek

Entrepreneurs Over 40  Episode 19 with Colleen Kochannek

Episode Nineteen features Colleen Kochannek talking about how she helps women from the Typewriter Generation start successful online businesses.
My Key Takeaways:
Colleen had a lot of corporate experience that she thought would serve her well when starti...

Episode Nineteen features Colleen Kochannek talking about how she helps women from the Typewriter Generation start successful online businesses.

My Key Takeaways:

  • Colleen had a lot of corporate experience that she thought would serve her well when starting her first online business. But she quickly found out that it didn't necessarily translate well. She found herself thrust into Social Media, Content Production and Content Marketing. Where in the past, she would have relied on a Corporate Marketing department, now she had to figure it out herself. She dove into online training early on to supplement her knowledge


  • She also admitted that she didn't realize that selling ad space to customers was just the beginning. She found herself having to create the ads and optimize the images in the ad space for her customers as well.  


  • Colleen thinks that people over 40 make great entrepreneurs based on their depth of professional, personal and life experiences. By the time we're over 40, we have both discipline and persistence as well as marketable skills to pass on to others. 


  • Colleen notes that older seasoned individuals are digital immigrants, while the younger crowd are digital natives. Our generation largely grew up with typewriters, where pushing a button had a consequence. Younger generations are used to dealing with technology and are unafraid to push buttons or try new things.


  •  Colleen admits she is a realist and doesn't let her students believe in three months time that they'll be conducting business at the beach while having pina coladas. She estimates that takes at least 12 months or longer to get traction. 


  • Colleen is as big fan of outsourcing technical stuff using Fiverr and also has used a VA in the past to assist with content creation and re-purposing. 


  • She advises, starting to build an email list as soon as possible. That way you aren't beholden to a platform and can have control over communication with your customers.


  • She also preaches and practices, email list hygiene, where she periodically purges subscribers, who haven't opened an email in 180 days.  This boosts her open rate, which helps her emails get delivered better. It also ensures she isn't paying for people that don't want to do business with her. 


  • For lead magnets, she recommends that they be simple, easy to consume and solve one specific problem. She said you don't want to create something too complicated, such as an E-book. 


  • Colleen preaches against trying to DIY too much and says you have to invest in yourself to get further ahead. 


You can check Colleen out at

Now next week we will have on Ramon Ray talking about the Celebrity CEO concept that he outlines in his book by the same name.  Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so you don't miss it or any of the other episodes.


Be sure to hit Subscribe in your podcast app so that you don't miss it or any other episodes.


[00:00:00] Greg Mills: Our guest today founded the Scrappy Frontier and helps women from the typewriter generation become successful laptop entrepreneurs. She started her first online business after getting sacked from a near three decade long corporate career, when she was almost 50. The experience of having her own business changed her life forever.

[00:00:20] So she made it her mission to help other women like her to do the same To quote her "I believe every woman over 50 should have the opportunity to start her own online business so that she can create an amazing next half of her life." She loves to kayak is a mediocre, but dedicated tennis player and tries her damnedest to stand up on that standup paddle board. Without further ado, Colleen Kochannek.

[00:00:45] Colleen Kochannek: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. 

[00:00:47] Greg Mills: I'm glad you're here. Now, could you take a few moments and fill in the gaps from that intro and bring us up to speed with what's going on in your world today?

[00:00:55] Colleen Kochannek: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, as you mentioned, I was laid off fairly unceremoniously, with 10,000 colleagues in a major kind of industry downturn. Right? You know, I just had kind of had enough of the corporate world. I'd had enough, what I call death by PowerPoint presentations and conference rooms.

[00:01:14] And I just decided to start my own online business and thought, how hard can it be? After all I have all this experience. And of course on day two, I was like, Oh, holy heck what have I done? I have no idea what I'm doing. So I kinda jumped in feet first and, started, an online magazine. And that's where I realized how much I didn't know and how unprepared I was for the online business space.

[00:01:40] But that's also where I started figuring things out and I started learning everything and kind of figured it out and made a go of it. In the meantime, a lot of people like friends started saying, how did you do it? Like at 50 Colleen, how do you do that? How do you do that? And then I just, I recognized a huge gap in the market because I started taking a lot of online classes with, you know, some of the big names that teach how to do these things.

[00:02:06] And I would go in these groups and I'd be like, Is anybody here over 50 and they would kind of come out of the woodwork. And so I knew I was onto something that there were a lot of us out there wanting to start online businesses, but we were also a little like hiding in the shadows for lack of a better term and not really wanting to raise our hands and ask those potentially

[00:02:30] what I call the, "you know, grandma can't work the smartphone" millennial eye roll, questions, you know, so we weren't asking the questions. And so, I subsequently started this business, the Scrappy Frontier, where I, focused explicitly on helping women from the typewriter generation start their online businesses. 

[00:02:48] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, did you come from an entrepreneurial background at all? Did anyone in your family have their own business or 

[00:02:56] Colleen Kochannek: No, I shouldn't say no. My mother flipped houses when I was a child long before it was ever on HGTV. So I kind of saw that kind of DIY spirit, but now I don't come from an entrepreneurial background. I came from a very traditional, go to high school, go to college, get a good job, stay in that job, retire kind of world.

[00:03:17] And so I did not have any. Any entrepreneurial experience or role models for that matter. 

[00:03:23] Greg Mills: Okay now. And how old were you when you started it?

[00:03:27] Colleen Kochannek: My first job ever, or my first job as an adult, 

[00:03:31] Greg Mills: Let's say first job ever.

[00:03:33] Colleen Kochannek: my first job ever, I was 16 years old and I was a lettuce washer at a restaurant called The Lettuce Leaf Restaurant in St. Louis, where I'm from and to this day. I will eat a salad. I will not make a salad. It is not happening. 

[00:03:52] Greg Mills: Okay.

[00:03:52] Colleen Kochannek: It was also my first experience and, oh my gosh, I've worked so many hours and I make so much per hour.

[00:03:59] And then I got that first paycheck and I'm like, where's all my money. The government had taken some of it. 

[00:04:06] Greg Mills: Now, what was your first adult job?

[00:04:08] Colleen Kochannek: My first adult

[00:04:10] job right out of university, actually. I studied International Business and I speak French. So I actually worked for the Canadian government in St. Louis. They had this tiny little trade office and I helped Canadian companies that wanted to come to export their products to the Midwest.

[00:04:27] I was the french speaking officer, so to speak because the other person in the office was from Winnipeg and did not speak a word of French. So that was my first job job. 

[00:04:38] Greg Mills: Okay. So you were the Canadian liaison. 

[00:04:41] Colleen Kochannek: yeah, I'm not Canadian. I'm American, but they needed, they needed a local. So. 

[00:04:47] Greg Mills: okay. Now, what were you doing at Pearson?

[00:04:50] Colleen Kochannek: Pearson. Well, Pearson

[00:04:51] Education is the world's largest educational publishing company textbook. So if you've ever been in school, you've used their textbooks. I did a little bit of everything. I started in sales with them for higher education, where I had a sales territory in the Midwest calling on universities, selling our textbooks.

[00:05:11] But, the latter part of my career was really, , since I had a, kind of an international background international business, I got into an international division and worked with their ESL division and got to travel all over the world, which was very cool. Helping, anywhere people wanted to learn English.

[00:05:30] We had the products. And so I got to do a lot of traveling there. So I was in different capacities, sales, marketing, and research. 

[00:05:39] Greg Mills: Let's talk about the first business that you started after you got, let go from Pearson.

[00:05:44] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. Yeah. So,, in my previous life, before I had, jumped into, a regular job, I was a freelance magazine writer for magazines, like Better Homes and Gardens, special interest publications, that type of thing. That was the day when they hired outsiders and before these publishing houses brought that in-house and gave it to free interns and stopped paying outside writers.

[00:06:09] But when I was laid off from my corporate job, fast forward, 30 years later, I had always still loved the magazine world. So I decided to jump in and start an online magazine for my little town in Florida. And I thought, how hard can that be? So that was my very first online business. And it was also the biggest eye opening experience I'll say, cause I really came into it thinking.

[00:06:36] Gosh, you know, I'm, I'm in a pretty good spot here. I have like three, almost three decades of experience in marketing. I always tell people on day two of my new business, I was like, holy heck what the hell have I done? Because I have no idea what I'm doing at all.

[00:06:52] Greg Mills: So, what were some of your early problems with that?

[00:06:55] Colleen Kochannek: It's just a lot of what happens in the online space, does not translate necessarily from the on-ground space, you know, Marketing, being one of them. it's a very different world. Like suddenly you're cast into Social Media and Content Production and Content Marketing and all of these things. When I was corporate, of course, you pick up the phone and you call Marketing, you pick up the phone, you call Accounting, you pick up the phone, you call.

[00:07:23] So you were in these narrow roles. And so when you have your own online business, your suddenly wearing all of the coats. And I think a lot of it is things I thought just would translate. Like I had been in Marketing for many years. It is not the same at all. When you get into the online space and suddenly you're having to figure out how to market on social media, how to build an email list, build a funnel, what the hell was a funnel?

[00:07:49] I have one in my kitchen. I was just really clueless about the terminology and all of that really.

[00:07:55] Greg Mills: How did you kind of figure it out and how did you move forward with that?

[00:07:59] Colleen Kochannek: I was determined, really determined I was not going back corporate. Despite my husband's, pleading, like, please go get a regular job. This is going to be crazy. I started jumping into a lot of online classes. Having come from the education sector into this space. I've always been a big believer in education.

[00:08:20] So I jumped into a lot of, online classes where I could learn specifically how to do the Online Marketing, how to do the Online Sales, how to create an actual product type of thing. I sought out the information and really just dove into that.

[00:08:35] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, were you creating your own content or did you, were you soliciting it from people in your community or how did that happen?

[00:08:44] Colleen Kochannek: You know, 100%, I would say for the first three years of my business, I was a total solo preneur doing everything from A to Z myself, with the exception of a few tech things. I spent a weekend trying to build a website and figured I'd rather pull all my hair out. So I contracted to have that done.

[00:09:05] But then, yeah, I've done everything. I did everything in the very beginning from the content planning, the marketing, the scheduling, the, graphic design way more than I should have. I'll say that. And it's not something that I teach my audience to do now, but I was kind of a one-woman show. 

[00:09:21] Greg Mills: Okay. Now with, Townie Life Magazine were you soliciting advertisements from local businesses or where you marketing towards, a broader audience? How, how did that work?

[00:09:33] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah, the monetization of my local magazine was really about getting advertisements from the local businesses, of course, because the magazine was hyper hyperlocal for a very small town. So I solicited the advertising. And one of the biggest challenges I realized that I had not thought through or didn't realize would be an issue in the online space is then I then also had to support these small businesses to help them create in online appropriate ad and to optimize the image and things that they were not necessarily accustomed to.

[00:10:10] So it became. A tech process and an ad solicitation process and a copywriting process. And it was, so that was a bit, that was one of the things that surprised me that I had not realized or thought through how manual or how labor-intensive the monetization of that product would be. But it was a really good learning lesson.

[00:10:31] I'll say that for sure. 

[00:10:33] Greg Mills: Now is Townie Life Magazine still active?

[00:10:37] Colleen Kochannek: It is not active. It is not active. So, I sold the content to a local blogger following my husband passed away three and a half years ago. I realized at the time that because it was so hyper-local and that business was really going to tie me to one spot, which I also had realized. One of the great things about having an online business is this capacity to

[00:11:03] be flexible and kind of location independent. So for example, right now I'm traveling. I'm not even home right now and here I can work. And so I did stop that online magazine and I sold the content to a local blogger. So it lives on a little bit. 

[00:11:18] Greg Mills: Okay. Now know, how are your students finding you for Scrappy

[00:11:26] Colleen Kochannek: Well, I'll say I've come a long way, baby since my first day in my online business. I've learned a lot about having a business and promoting a business and launching a product and I do a little bit of everything now. I do content marketing, of course, on social media.

[00:11:42] I do advertising on social media and, I've recently hired a PR person who's helping me do a lot of PR. I don't want all of my eggs just in the social media advertising basket, cause it's very volatile, but I find my customers through a, free lead magnet that I have building my email list, advertising word of mouth, and now a little bit of PR.

[00:12:07] So spreading it out a bit. 

[00:12:10] Greg Mills: Okay. Now you're, PR person. Is that an actual employee or is that a, just a contractor that you have 

[00:12:17] Colleen Kochannek: Contractor. Yes. Yes. So I contract her for like three month increments, because obviously it takes a bit of time for them to run up and, do all of that kind of, leg work and whatnot. and.

[00:12:28] so I've actually just started with her. Next week I can't announce, for next week that, fingers crossed will actually happen and all that good stuff.

[00:12:36] So I'm excited about that. 

[00:12:38] Greg Mills: Definitely have to email me and let me know about it. 

[00:12:40] Colleen Kochannek: I will. I'm going to tell the whole world Greg, when it happens. 

[00:12:45] Greg Mills: Awesome. So why do you think that women over 50 make the best entrepreneurs?

[00:12:52] Colleen Kochannek: Oh, how long do you have? Well, first of all, I think any of us over 40, 50, make great entrepreneurs

[00:13:01] because just the simple math, we have a lot of decades under our belt of, professional experience, life experience, personal experience, and it all just kind of culminates into this, kind of perfect storm of.

[00:13:18] What's really needed in entrepreneurship, especially online entrepreneurship because, as you know, it's not what the, marketers tell you online that you can, start your business while you drink. Pina coladas on the beach. It's actually a lot of work and it requires a lot of discipline and, persistence.

[00:13:37] And we have that at our age. We definitely have that. And I also think just this notion of this really deep expertise in a lot of areas. And the funny thing is I find a lot of the women that I talked to, they don't actually believe that they have skills or something they can sell. 

[00:13:57] Because it's oftentimes something they've done for so long that has become just so a part of who they are that they don't see it as a skill.

[00:14:06] And I'm like, are you kidding me? That is amazing. It's an amazing skill you have. So I think just the age, the deep expertise. Self-awareness the persistence, the patience, we know it's not going to be an overnight thing like you hear on TV or in, on social media. So I think we just have a lot of that going for. 

[00:14:28] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, how do you help somebody that does not know, what area they want to niche down into, or even, what they would want to offer? I believe you basically described the curse of knowledge.

[00:14:41] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. I can probably talk to somebody for, 10 minutes and I can say, you can do this, this or this. Typically, my audience comes to me and they have a general inkling of what they would love to do. They're not necessarily sure they can do it, which they can, by the way. But I've had these crazy conversations with women that they're like, well, I've done this for 30 years, but I'm not sure I could sell it.

[00:15:06] I'm like, what? Of course you can. You have this deep expertise. So it's really a matter of just talking to them. And I think the most important thing. Getting to what they want to do and not just necessarily what they think they should do, because a lot of audience, they do somehow want to continue a professional career, like in a solo capacity.

[00:15:30] But a lot of others are like, you know what? I did that for 30 years, I'm kind of done with it. I want to do something totally different. So we spend a lot of time talking about how, even if you're doing something totally. Different say school principal for 30 years to like teaching online art classes.

[00:15:49] So much of what you've already done is going to translate and support this new endeavor, anyhow. So there's a lot of that, but it's just, it's a lot of talking and really helping them just uncover what they want to do . 

[00:16:02] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, how have you found that it's different than, when starting one, when you're older versus when you're young.

[00:16:11] Colleen Kochannek: Well, there's a lot. For starters, we've already had a long time career or, we've already put in a lot of the time, so to speak. We've done the time we've done the 40, 50, 60 hour weeks. We've done the hustle. We've done all that.

[00:16:29] And that's not necessarily what we want going forward. We may have done something that we loved or. Loved and then grew to not love or just loved and then retired. And we're looking for something incredibly specific to fulfill. Obviously we want to make money, but also there's more to it than just a paycheck.

[00:16:52] There's a lot more to it. So I think that's different for the older sector. A lot of the younger people are still after that. The big money and the empire and all of that good stuff, which, Hey, if you want an empire, let's do it. Let's go for it. But the majority of the people I work with, they're not looking for that.

[00:17:08] They want a really great business with a nice income, doing something they love that is not going to impede their entire lifestyle. And so the business really has to fit in to a lifestyle that's already very well established versus, for a younger person, where they're still establishing everything the business can be very different.

[00:17:32] Another thing that's very different for us. This is huge, huge, huge and this is from my coming out of Pearson, my educational technology background. We are designated as digital immigrants versus younger people who are digital natives, and it's a much bigger deal than I think people realize, and one of the things I always love to talk about is, we're from the typewriter generation.

[00:17:59] That's why I call my audience, women from the typewriter generation and one of the differences we approach technology differently. Because when we hit a button in the old days, we had consequences, we didn't get copy paste, delete, clone, repeat, you know, all of these things. Once you started, hitting the buttons on that typewriter, you were committed.

[00:18:22] And so you had to think it through and you had to plan and you had to organize and all of these things. And so we didn't have the luxury of, oh, just hit, delete, or go back to the last version or all of those things. Really deeply subconsciously, we're not willing to just hit the button because we did have consequences.

[00:18:40] And interestingly in technology, when they study like user experience, et cetera, we definitely approach technology differently. We're far less, quick to just start hitting the buttons when people say, oh, just hit whatever you can't break it. And you're like, sure, I probably can break it, you know, kind of thing.

[00:18:59] So that is a huge, , that's actually a huge roadblock that I have to help my audience get past is this notion of the technology. Fortunately for us now there's so many softwares and apps and things that make life way easier in that capacity, but we definitely are more cautious with technology. 

[00:19:18] Greg Mills: Okay. Now that brings up a question about social media. What about somebody that you know is not necessarily on like Facebook or Instagram? are they out of business or are they, can they move forward? How do you advise going with that?

[00:19:35] Colleen Kochannek: If you want an online business, You need to be online. And, in my opinion, my personal opinion, you would be a little crazy to not take advantage of the opportunity social media offers because you can reach the entire world with a Facebook ad. Okay. A hundred bucks or a thousand bucks, which people are like, oh, that's a lot of money, but I'm like, go back to the olden days when you had to put an ad in every little local newspaper and every circular and on TV.

[00:20:07] And so it's, definitely a love, hate relationship with my audience because we're not, I don't care what you had for breakfast. So why are you showing me that on Facebook kind of notion, but the opportunity is there. And so. I think it's an important thing to jump into, but I also think it's really important to jump into it in a way that's comfortable for you and not getting caught up in all the trends that you see happening.

[00:20:34] My audience and my students will often be laughing. Do I have to go like on Instagram and dance and point, and I'm like, no, not if you don't want to, not, if please don't please. Don't if you don't want to, but social media is, a huge missed opportunity if you're not going to use it.

[00:20:51] And of course paid advertising on social media, will get you where you want to go a lot faster than just organic or free content marketing, for sure. For sure.

[00:21:02] . And I think the great thing too, is there are a lot of,platforms. You know, Facebook, isn't the only one. If you're more comfortable on LinkedIn, do LinkedIn, if you're more comfortable on Pinterest, do that. Instagram do that. So I think there's a lot of opportunity 

[00:21:16] I think when we do use social media, we need to be very intentional about how we use it, because you can get sucked into this black hole. That becomes a huge time suck for your business, if you're not doing it very intentionally.

[00:21:33] I think it does have to be a choice, but it can be, you know, a harder go in terms of promoting and building a list and an audience without it, but it can certainly be done 100%. I know a lot of people complain about the platforms and, oh, it's all ads and it's this I'm like, these are for-profit organizations, folks. They owe you nothing. And their number one goal is to sell ads. Ad revenue is how they make money. And so platforms like LinkedIn are definitely having to adapt to get a much wider, broader audience in there.

[00:22:07] And to do that, it has to become more personal, so to speak. Uh, it's kind of like Pinterest used to be about recipes and things like that. And now it's everything

[00:22:18] Greg Mills: yeah, I've always heard that. If, if something is free, you are the product you are. What's being sold. 

[00:22:25] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:22:27] Greg Mills: So walk us through how you advise potential new, online business owners to start.

[00:22:33] Colleen Kochannek: , first of all, I'm a realist in my business and I have learned to be a realist. I had tried jumping on some trends with, smaller products, et cetera, but when I really looked at my audience, it is going to take you the better part of 12 months. From the time you have an idea to getting it off the ground and monetizing it because everything takes longer than you think it's going to take in the beginning.

[00:23:03] Everything, because you just don't realize. You don't know what you don't know. And so it's like when you start spring cleaning your house. So I'm just going to do this one closet while I did that closet, but now I have to do the dresser. And then, it's like the snowball effect of learning. And there are so many gurus out there that like, Hey, build your business in six weeks and off you go.

[00:23:23] And it's like, no, no, no, you won't. You're going to need 12 months, at least. So when I'm working with students, I start them with, they first really, really need to know. The role of the business in their life? what are your goals? What are the goals like? Not even just obviously revenue goals, of course.

[00:23:42] But I think at our age, we really need to think through the business and our life. Because as I said earlier, we don't want it to replace our life or become our life. It has to fit into our life. And so we have to figure that out. Part out the goals and how it's gonna, , and do you want this business for five years, 10 years, 20 years, people will say, oh, I'm already, you know, 60.

[00:24:08] How long can I have a business? I'm like, you could have another 30, 40 years ahead of you. So how long do you want your business kind of thing? So we, go through goals and I take them through very systematically of starting super simple. You have to start with a very simple product, start selling it quickly.

[00:24:27] Not even obviously to generate cash revenue, but there has to be like the sense of momentum and, , continuity and moving forward or we just kind of losing. We just kind of lose the target. And we have to be able to put some systems in place that are going to enable us. Cause in the beginning, I'll say the first year or two, you're going to be working a lot more than you thought you were going to be working.

[00:24:53] But it's like that kind of, you put that work in upfront to get some systems in place. So you can move forward. One of the biggest things I teach that I did not do myself is do not. If you can, in any way, shape, size, or form, do not try to DIY your entire business. It slows you down. It frustrates you, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:25:16] Of course, keeping in mind that not everybody has unlimited funds to, outsource this, that and the other. But I always give this analogy cause I find it. And I work with women mostly so, but I find like for some reason, they come into these businesses and they don't want to invest anything because it's not a proven concept yet.

[00:25:36] But on the other hand, it's by not investing that it takes them then two years to generate the first dime. And they're learning all of these skills, they don't necessarily want to know. They don't want to be doing these things, long-term. I always give the analogy, if you had a brick and mortar store and your air conditioner broke, would you shut it down for three, four months?

[00:26:00] So you can go learn how to fix air conditioners and fix your air conditioner and then come back and then reopen the brick and mortar? No, of course not. So I'm a huge proponent of, learn the basics, understand what needs to be happening and outsource as soon as you can. For those things that you do not want to do yourself longterm, nor do you want to know how to do long-term website, coding, technology, setting up automations and some of these crazy things like just, call somebody on Fiverr they'll have it done in an hour versus you spending, two months trying to figure it out.

[00:26:38] So that's where I go with a lot of it. 

[00:26:40] Greg Mills: Yeah. I was just going to ask you, where you were going for your outsourcing Fiverr. Have you used any of the other services?

[00:26:48] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. There's a lot of services out there. I mean, there's Fiverr, there's Upwork. Of course. If you are using any specific app. For example, you use Zen caster for this podcast, I'm sure Zencaster has a Facebook group and official user Facebook group. Those are always great resources to go into.

[00:27:10] The Zencaster Facebook group, or the Kajabi or whatever product you're using and say, I'm looking for somebody to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You'll often get recommendations for people who can help you. For the typical tech stuff. Fiverr is a super easy one. There's inevitably somebody that knows exactly what you need done and can do it 

[00:27:31] instantly. So Fiverr Upwork, product specific user groups on social media is a great place to go. Kind of thing. I also believe in outsourcing, I had a full-time virtual assistant that I've had, who really changed really the trajectory of my business.

[00:27:51] She was able to take a lot off my plate and I hired her through an organization called online jobs dot P H. So she was over in the Philippines, which, you know, pros and cons time difference did a study. some language issues, et cetera, but there are all sorts of resources out there and affordable resources to outsource and get some things done faster.

[00:28:15] For sure. 

[00:28:16] Greg Mills: Yeah. A lot of the, a lot of the people in the Philippines speak better English than I do.

[00:28:20] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And it's really just a matter of what you know, really determining like, Hey, if you're super techie and you love doing that, do that. And then outsource maybe graphic design or content production, or, whatever that is that you don't love doing and just move it forward because the focus really needs to be.

[00:28:39] Your thing, like your actual business and your expertise and monetizing that, and not necessarily on the logistics and the back end stuff that have to happen of course, to make your business work online. But you, as the expert need to be leveraging your expertise for that. 

[00:28:58] Greg Mills: Okay. Now you mentioned list-building earlier. Can you elaborate a little bit on that?

[00:29:03] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. So list building, AKA building your email list. AKA getting people onto an email list is something that needs to happen from day one in any business. People don't understand really how to do that and they don't understand the significance of it. Building an email list early and continually, like it needs to be on your job jar, all of the time, because it's the only communication and access to our customers that we really fully control. Social media, you know, they have their algorithms and they determine what content gets put out there.

[00:29:43] Do you know, they determine who it gets put in front of. We don't have control of that. They can shut your account down, they can lock your account, all these things. So getting people into our own sphere and onto an email list is really, - it has to be a number one priority. And if you do it right, and you have an email list, I know people who are not on social media.

[00:30:03] I mean, they're on social media, but they've never run an ad. And they're doing very, very well simply by having a great email list and nurturing that email list and promoting to that email list as well. 

[00:30:16] Greg Mills: Okay. What kind of lead magnets do you recommend?

[00:30:19] Colleen Kochannek: Lead magnet. Simple, easy to consume, super helpful, solves one problem. Do not write the ebook. Do not write, do not create a 10 hour course do not do not because that's just going to go into somebody's graveyard of files on their laptop. You want to give your customer a quick win. A quick result and a quick taste of you.

[00:30:44] That's really the sole purpose of this email and you know, of a lead magnet. And it's a transaction. I tell my audience like this is a transaction it's for free, but they're giving you their email address. So it has to be super valuable. Give them a quick win, make sure it solves something they want solved makes their life easier and they can basically look at it.

[00:31:04] Do it, get the results. Kind of fall in love with you and then it can go in the graveyard. That's what a good lead magnet in my opinion should be. 

[00:31:13] Greg Mills: Yeah, it's kind of a paradox that we don't respect free. We hoard free and we'll, , download it. We'll stick it away in a file and maybe never even go back to it.

[00:31:25] Colleen Kochannek: I think we all have that file folder on our desktop, the graveyard of lead magnet. Things I'm going to read things I'm going to do, that never actually happened. I think we all do that and you know, for list building as well, I'm also a proponent of the free lead magnet.

[00:31:41] I'm also a huge proponent of like a very low ticket product or offer, which I also have one of those and I will say I get more sales conversions from that than I do from the lead magnet. Although I have not tracked how many people from my free lead magnet to my low ticket offerto my . Program, which is a higher ticket offer. But, getting somebody to open their wallet even just a little bit is definitely going to help you identify your stronger customers.

[00:32:11] Greg Mills: I think it also helps them because it gives them an impetus to move forward so that they hadn't wasted their money.

[00:32:18] Colleen Kochannek: Exactly. Exactly. There's definitely something to be said for, when people get more invested in the product.They are certainly more willing to, to dive in and use it and consume it as you say, versus free. Free is free. 

[00:32:34] Greg Mills: Now I think on one of your blogs, you talked about email list hygiene. Could you expound on that a little bit?

[00:32:42] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. So the email list, hygiene, AKA cleaning your list is something, the gurus or experts will tell you to do it every three months, every six months, whatever it is. I think you can get in your own rhythm, but I think it's important to, Basically keep your list quote, 'as clean as possible.' And that simply means keeping people on your email list that are actually engaging with your email list. They open your emails, maybe not every time, but sometimes, but a lot of the email software's have, this thing where you can go in and say, find everybody who is not opened one of my emails in 90 days or 180 days, like up to six months. And if somebody hasn't opened an email in that long, it's like time to get them off your list

[00:33:30] one, they're not engaging with you. They're not interested currently what you have and it hurts your quote, open rates and your open rates are important because when more people are opening your email, it's telling, all the technical gods that your emails are good.

[00:33:46] They're not spam. They're interesting. So they're getting delivered more often than not into somebody's inbox versus spam folder. So there's the technical aspect of it. And if you're paying for an email service provider that has you pay by number of subscribers, of course you want those subscribers to be good ones, engaged ones and not folks that just are not opening your emails.

[00:34:07] So cleaning your list is a good thing regularly. 

[00:34:13] Greg Mills: Now you talked about repurposing content, can you kind of walk through how you do that?

[00:34:19] Colleen Kochannek: I repurpose my content 100 ways to Sunday, Greg. I have learned to work smarter, not harder. I'll tell you that because content production, as you know, is a lot of work. So, like you have your podcast. I do a weekly Facebook live, and. Starts with me doing what I call a script sheet.

[00:34:40] It's not a script. It's bullet points major talking points, the hook, that kind of thing. I go do. The Facebook live, the Facebook live gets downloaded, gets converted into a blog for my website. I pull, bullets out and quotes out for social media content. Then the blog gets scheduled. All of those pieces.

[00:35:03] I've pulled out for social media content, then get scheduled also. Either directing people back to the Facebook live for increased viewership or directing people to my blog for obviously getting people to my website. And, I use a tool that just obviously reschedules and reschedules. Uh, and so I do that.

[00:35:23] I do that and I'm working on adding a YouTube channel. YouTube will probably become my primary content production for video. Simply because it lives a lot longer, like your podcast, the content lives a lot, lot longer than it does as a Facebook live. Probably what I'll do is create these YouTube videos and then also go do it as a Facebook live, but it'll be the same content.

[00:35:50] And again, pulling the little bits and pieces out to create a whole bunch of different, small pieces of content that we can continually use and schedule and reschedule, and social media. 

[00:36:02] Greg Mills: Now do you do this on a specific day? 

[00:36:04] Colleen Kochannek: Yeah. So when my Facebook lives are every Tuesday at one o'clock, and, , in all honesty, since I've lost my VA, some of my content repurposing has suffered a little bit, but we have a whole system. We use a project management tool called Trello, where everything is very systematized where, um, For example, the Thursday or Friday before, there's an email that goes out that says, Hey, Colleen, we'll be doing Facebook live on Tuesday.

[00:36:32] This is what it's about. Blah, blah, blah, Tuesday morning, Hey, Facebook live today, blah, blah, blah. And then at the next Friday's email for the reminder for next week, it's also like, Hey, and if you miss last week so it's kind of this constant, directing people to the content and making it easy, kind of clickable, like click here, click here, kind of thing.

[00:36:52] So yeah, , it's very systematized. And once you get it systematized, it's, it's a lot easier, especially if you can, then that's one of those great things you can outsource and say, here's the Facebook live, the script sheet I do. My VA would take that she would pull all the bits and pieces.

[00:37:11] She'd do the email. She. You know, do all the automations, et cetera. It kind of.

[00:37:15] happened seamlessly behind the scenes. And will again for me soon, hopefully when I find another, 

[00:37:22] Greg Mills: Yeah. Are you interviewing in process now?

[00:37:25] Colleen Kochannek: I am not, well, I'm not for the month of August. Cause I said, I'm traveling for the month of August, September 1st. It'll be a number one priority. Having a VA is definitely, an incredible help in terms of a lot of the little details. That really helped. I will say this, I have noticed engagement and my reach since I have been more sporadic is also more sporadic.

[00:37:50] And so the more consistent you can be, it's so much better for your business. So absolutely. I will have a VA be doing this again. 

[00:37:58] Greg Mills: Feel free to not answer or decline to answer, but what is a fair price for a VA for, for doing that?

[00:38:05] Colleen Kochannek: oh, you know, the sky's the limit and you ask a hundred people, you get a hundred answers. I had a virtual assistant who was in the Philippines. Obviously their pay is tends to be significantly less than ours. So for example, I had a full-time VA She was between 800 and a thousand dollars per month.

[00:38:25] Full-time full-time. So that is, very, very reasonable for, you know, full time person who. All of those things, if you, it just depends. If you hire a VA and it's also obviously depends on what it is you want them to do. There are, very specialized VA's. for example, I have a contractor right now who.

[00:38:47] A VA, but she's an automation specialist doing some really high tech automations. You're going to pay them a lot more of course, because it's very highly technical. You can get VA's who are content writers and so they're expert writers, so you're going to pay them more. so it depends on if you're looking primarily for.

[00:39:04] Kind of administrative process oriented systematize tasks that?

[00:39:11] kind of all the instructions are there and they're executing versus those that are, taking on more responsibility or, you know, deeper level activities. It's really just going to depend really just gonna do it. 

[00:39:22] Greg Mills: How long does it take typically for a VA to get up to speed? There'd be a difference, obviously between the automations and something that's more systematized than, with somebody that was trying to write or to generate content in your voice.

[00:39:37] Colleen Kochannek: Well, for example, the virtual assistant I had. . I had, you know, talk to people about hiring a VA and they were like, you really need to set aside the time, to really train them. You have to give them the information they need to do their job. And so it is incredibly time consuming in the beginning, but I will say for administrative tasks, like content repurposing that are very systematized, like this goes out on Friday, this happens. Once you have that process in place it's transferable.

[00:40:07] So I have all those trainings now that I can transfer to a new virtual assistant who can just come in and obviously start implementing that process oriented type of activity. If you want a VA that is going to get up to speed on say copy and whatnot. That's a little bit of a longer road because they're not just learning a process.

[00:40:28] They're learning your voice.

[00:40:30] your brand parameters, how you talk about things, et cetera, et cetera, that they're able to do things. For you with less oversight from, from you yourself. But it is, it's always going to take time in the beginning. And I think one of the biggest mistakes people do make with contractors and VAs is they just like hand it over,

[00:40:52] like here it is and expect them to do it. Something that's taken you three years had to figure out how to do and you just expect them to do it. It definitely is worth the investment in the training and time and to build out those SOP, the standard operating procedures and the processes and, which I do have for some things, not all. It's definitely worth doing, and that's something I'm working on in my business because then you can hand it over.

[00:41:20] Very detailed process for like one-off projects for automations and whatnot. Like this project I'm working on now, it was pretty straightforward. It was like a two hour phone call. This is what I need to happen. This is where everything is. Here's access. Here's this here's that. And now we're just kind of communicating back and forth on Voxer and email.

[00:41:40] So it's pretty easy. It's, you know, as far less time investment upfront, but it's more of a one-off kind of project. 

[00:41:46] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, speaking of time, how much time do you think that somebody needs to put in at a minimum to ensure success in their business?

[00:41:57] Colleen Kochannek: Great question in the beginning, I would say as much as time as you possibly can. If that's a 40 hours a week. Great. If that's 20 hours a week, great. Make it consistent and just know that the more time you can put in, in the beginning, The quicker you're going to get to the flexibility part. What do they say?

[00:42:18] Freedom comes from disciplines. So the beginning part is a lot harder, but it's one of the things that I definitely talk to my audience about. Like eventually when this business is established and going, how much time do you want to be spending in it? Do you want to be spending 20 hours a week, 30 hours a week, 15 hours a week?

[00:42:36] I mean it's whatever you decided to be, but you have to be able to build in the systems to make that happen. And that's, it's going to take a lot more time upfront than you really think it's going to. So if you don't have 40 hours a week, so you only have 20 hours a week, you just have to know your expectation of time.

[00:42:53] It's going to take you longer to get things up and running people who are going to try to do this for two hours on the weekend. It's going to, it'll be 2050 by the time. It's just it's it takes longer than we think. Yeah. 

[00:43:07] Greg Mills: What are some of the typical mistakes that you find people make when they're starting out?

[00:43:12] Colleen Kochannek: Some that I've already mentioned. They want to DIY everything. They don't want to invest any money at all in it. And it backfires because let's say you do learn how to set up your website. And guess what? You're not a coder, you're not a designer. So you now have a website that looks like, 1982 threw up all over it, it looks amateurish.

[00:43:39] So then it devalues your business, so this notion of not wanting to invest anything in your business is I think is a real problem. It's not, business-minded, it's maybe more hobbyist and there's a big difference. So trying to DIY everything takes too much time and you can't be great at everything.

[00:43:58] So it's going to show for sure. I think another mistake is not managing expectations. Actually believing the gurus that, you can work from the beach, drinking your Pena colada and make money while you sleep. It's not going to happen. I mean, eventually it could happen, but it's not going to happen till you put in the work.

[00:44:18] So you have to come at it with that. It takes a lot, the learning curve is steep. It's really steep. So you have to be in it for the long haul. I see a lot of people get in it. It's like I've been doing this for three weeks and it's not working and I'm like three weeks. And so we have to give it a fair shake.

[00:44:36] We have to give it a fair shake. Another thing I see kind of along the same lines are people who kind of jump from like magic bullet to magic bullet. Because they're looking for something to grasp onto, which I totally get because that learning curve is steep. but I think if you can, settle onto one thing that you want to do, give it six months, give it six months.

[00:44:58] And even if that idea doesn't work, you've still learned how to do all the things. So, but you have to give that idea a fair shake . That's a huge mistake I see. But definitely the not wanting to invest any money. Another thing I see is not wanting to, , hire, I mean, outsource for things like that, but also to get help like education or get a coach or something like that, which I don't understand because I jumped in coming from education because I know that if I can go to an expert, who's already done it.

[00:45:31] I can learn it that much faster. So I think a big mistake is not investing in a coach or somebody who can help you move faster in your business. for sure. if you're serious about getting your business up and running. 

[00:45:45] Greg Mills: Now, what are you doing now in 2021 to scale your business, as opposed to when you first started out?

[00:45:52] Colleen Kochannek: oh gosh, I actually have a system in place now, Greg. So I, have a regular content marketing plan. In place. I have a regular list building plan in place. I have this low ticket offer. I mentioned this slower that I use for list building. I run ads to it. And I have, I had a membership program that I have since closed down and opened into a high ticket program just because it's better.

[00:46:22] I dunno, I hate the word aligned to what I want to do, but it's like such a buzzword, but it definitely is. And it's bringing in the students that, that are definitely in the same place that I am and they want to get their businesses going. So I have August off, I'll be launching again in September

[00:46:40] with a push with my low ticket offer and a webinar, like an info session that I'll be getting people to and pitching my program on that, for sure. And I'll say I pitch all the time. Like you.

[00:46:53] will not see a Facebook live that I do that. I don't pitch something at the end. 

[00:46:57] Greg Mills: Now, what do you consider the, the best business book that you've read? 

[00:47:02] Something that's changed your business. That's helped propel it.

[00:47:06] Colleen Kochannek: I would say one of the best ones I've read is The One Thing by Gary Keller, it is really this notion of focus. You have to become known for the one thing. And I think we have to be willing to. Uh, that's another mistake. People. I forgot to mention this mistake.

[00:47:25] We want to be right for everybody and you will never be right for everybody. So we have to focus on the one thing and find our one. I always tell my students, you need one person. Who's your mentor. Person and you sell only to that person. I sell to women over 50 from the typewriter generation.

[00:47:44] Men want to join my group. I'm like, sorry, not for men. Sorry, not for 30 year old women. Sorry now. And they're like, but you're losing money. I'm like, no, I'm gaining a much more solid audience. So I think that book, the one thing was a really good one about focus and becoming known for one thing and focusing on that one thing.

[00:48:06] Greg Mills: Do you have a book in you?

[00:48:08] Colleen Kochannek: I do not have a book, but I would like to write one. 

[00:48:11] Greg Mills: Yeah. What would you focus on?

[00:48:15] Colleen Kochannek: I would focus on the myth of the online business world, because you know, something, we see a lot of my audience. They don't get into the, they don't actually execute on their online business because they don't see themselves there. They see Forbes doing the 30, under 30 and all these, you know, fast company doing like these expos days on these young millennial entrepreneurs.

[00:48:41] When the fact of the matter is if you're over 50 you're twice as likely to succeed in starting a business than if you're under 25. And so it's kind of like this great mix of, the online business world and how the opportunity is right, for us over fifties. And I think I, it would probably be a book about that for sure.

[00:49:02] Greg Mills: That aligns right with the reason that I started entrepreneurs over 40. You hear about all the millennials jetting off to their businesses and doing deals over avocado toast. And it's really, it's really not the way it is.

[00:49:18] Colleen Kochannek: it's not the way it is. And I also think there's this whole massive shift right now where society has not caught up to reality. There's an ad on TV now and it could be insurance or something. I don't know what it is.

[00:49:33] but. You are more likely to spend more than half of your life over the age of 50 than you are under it.

[00:49:42] Right. I think that's how it went. But society says you work your job, you retire at 65. Then you sit on their front porch and wait for the end. And reality is like you retire at 65 you could have another good 30 years ahead of you. What are you going to do with that time? have you saved enough money for living that long and being as healthy?

[00:50:04] I always say that we're half the age that our grandparents were at this age,

[00:50:08] in terms of health and activity and doing and traveling. I mean, I just took a hip hop class, like I'm dancing hip hop now. It's like ridiculous, but anyhow, but I think, society is still in that, you're 65 and you're done, put them in the corner, wait for the sunset and it's just not reality.

[00:50:26] Not real. 

[00:50:28] Greg Mills: Let's get ready to wrap this up. What's the number one piece of advice that you can give for our listeners?

[00:50:34] Colleen Kochannek: If you want to start an online business. I know that doesn't sound like super deep or anything, but stop overthinking it. Jump in! There are resources. Do it. It's certainly like a low, lower barrier to entry. It's not like starting a brick and mortar store for pizza. Like you go on, you get online and start a business because you definitely have something to offer.

[00:50:58] You definitely have something to monetize. You cannot be over the age of 40 or 50 and not have something you can do. It's impossible. 

[00:51:08] Greg Mills: Softball question. What's the best way for people to check you out and get in touch with?

[00:51:13] Colleen Kochannek: Oh, easy Scrappy 

[00:51:16] Greg Mills: Okay, well, that's a wrap. Thank you Colleen for being a guest on Entrepreneurs Over 40.

[00:51:23] Colleen Kochannek: Thanks so much for having me, Greg. I appreciate it. This is fun. I love, I love chatting about this topic. 

[00:51:28] Greg Mills: My pleasure.