I’ll never forget the first time I watched one of Lisa Irby's video tutorials. I was searching on YouTube for blogging and marketing tips and found one of her WordPress videos was one of the first results on the page. That was back in 2009 and I’ve been a huge fan of Lisa’s ever since. We’ve chatted many times on each other’s blogs, on social media and in her online forum Website Babble, and quite honestly I consider her one of the most highly respected people I've met online.
With that said, today it’s my great pleasure to introduce Lisa Irby to the fans and readers of Basic Blog Tips!
Enjoy the interview with my online mentor Lisa Irby from 2Createawebsite.
Blogger Interview with Lisa Irby
Q. Lisa, please start off by telling everyone a little about yourself, like where you’re from and how long you’ve been online.
A. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri and I have always been known as the “computer girl” to people in my family.
I still remember the very first one I received — it was an Apple IIC. Once I got my teeth into that Apple, I was hooked. I knew I wanted to do something with computers in my career, but before the Internet, you really only heard about people becoming programmers. I knew I didn't want to be involved in that area of computing because I hated math and was always more right-brained.
So when the Internet took off in the mid 90's and I discovered you could make money from a website, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. As a matter of fact, I still haven't. 🙂
I made my first buck online in 1998. I believe Amazon.com was the very first affiliate program I joined. I used to create one-page (doorway) pages on various keywords, rank the pages in Infoseek, AltaVista, Excite, HotBot, Lycos, etc. (Anyone remember those?) Each engine could bring you good traffic, and the key was to figure out what each engine liked.
Q. Wow, that sure is a walk down memory lane. I remember all of those search engines except for HotBot. lol
Lisa's Productivity Tip!
Well Lisa, in addition to making YouTube videos, you also do blogging, podcasting, internet marketing and so much more. How do you find the time to tip your toes into so many different waters so to speak?
A. What's interesting is when I first started, I had zero time management skills. And I liked it that way. I used to brag about how I didn't need a schedule, to-do list, etc. But as I started getting my hands into more projects, I realized I needed a schedule. Otherwise nothing gets done and I end up with half-done projects everywhere. I won't say I'm perfect with time management but I do try to stick to a list and make sure I'm only focusing on one or two projects at a time.
In the past year I've slacked off with a lot of content and YouTube publishing to work on video courses.
It was the only way to keep me focused. I have that shiny object syndrome a lot, like a lot of marketers, so I get distracted easily. This year has been about focus for me.
Q. That's a smart move my dear, very smart! Now before we get into the discussion about your online courses, let’s talk a little bit about blogging and the importance of publishing content on your own platform. Please tell everyone what you think are some of the biggest benefits of starting a blog? Is it something you think everyone should get into?
A. A blog or website is your hub. It's your home. You always want a place to send your audience to because you don't own Facebook, Twitter, etc. And with what we've seen with Facebook and their changing algorithm over the last two years, that's proof that you have to build your audience on a platform you own and control.
Having a website gives you a place to establish and reveal your own voice while collecting email addresses so you can keep in touch with your most loyal followers.
As great as social media and YouTube are, most of my sales come from my site. So I think having that hub is so very important.
YouTube and Social Media Tips from Lisa
Q. That's such a great point. I guess everyone knows I share your sentiments about the importance of having your own site. But I do want to take a minute and talk about your success on YouTube. Your videos are so well produced and professional.
Do you have a team working with you behind the scenes or are you doing the filming, sound recording and editing all by yourself?
A. No. I do everything myself. Although I do plan on getting some consulting from a local sound person. I've been experimenting with different wireless/external mics and am just not happy with the setup. That's one of the reasons I've not put out many YouTube videos lately. I'm sort of in transition with equipment. As much as I love creating and editing videos, I've never been a fan of the lighting, audio and technical pieces. So it will be good to have help from a professional.
I took Caleb's Wojcik's free DIY Video Course and it was super helpful. I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking to step up their video production game. I got a lot of tips on equipment and production. It's a really solid resource.
Q. Getting outside help sounds like a good idea. Currently, how long does it typically take for you to produce a video from the first spark of an idea all the way through to the final upload to YouTube?
A. It depends on how much editing is involved, but usually between 1-3 hours. The final publishing piece with Final Cut Express takes the longest. And sometimes I'll create graphics for intros, etc. So that takes extra time. Filming the videos is actually the easiest part. The editing takes the longest time.
Q. Let’s switch gears a little and talk social media. What’s your favorite social media platform and why? Also, what’s your least favorite social platform?
Definitely Pinterest. I'm more of a creator than a marketer, and I love creating images and watching how they perform. I know people don't really consider it a social network since there isn't much interaction going on there, but it's my favorite because I get to improve my Photoshop skills and it drives good traffic to my natural hair site.
Twitter would have to be my least favorite based on traffic results. I am not really consistent with the amount of time I spend there so results are minimal.
But having said that, I do love that my followers sometimes use Twitter to ask me questions. It's so much more convenient than email since I check my Twitter stream multiple times per day. And because of the character limit, that minimizes those lengthy questions and answers. I can blow through the questions much faster than email.
Making Money With Udemy
Q. Glad I asked that question because I would have never guessed that about Twitter. I'm such a Twitter lover I always think that everyone else should love it too.
Now let's transition over into our chat about online learning. I promised we were going to talk more about this so, let's not disappoint. I wrote a post recently about teaching online courses on platforms like Udemy and I know you have a few courses over there in the Udemy Marketplace. What has the experience of making money teaching online courses on Udemy been like for you? Was it what you expected?
A. First of all, that post you wrote on Udemy was epic. I really enjoyed “meeting” the people I had not been introduced to before.
As far as Udemy, yes I am really enjoying the platform. Thanks to Rob Cubbon, who I know has been a course creation mentor to both of us, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect when getting started.
I crossed the $10,000 earnings mark and hope to get to $15,000 by the summer. I thoroughly enjoy creating video tutorials, and it's a great platform for those who want to teach online and get the course up and running fairly quickly.
Of course, there are downsides. There is a minimum amount of promotional content you can send to your existing customers, and those limitations wouldn't exist if you sell from your own site. But if you are new to creating courses, it's a good starting point so you can get a feel for course creation and get organized.
The other thing I like about Udemy is about 40-50% of my sales come from their marketplace. So these are customers that wouldn't have necessarily found my courses otherwise. So there is that added benefit. However, my ultimate goal is to sell my courses on my site too. But it's good to start on Udemy because you can build up your passive sales there first.
Check out the Promo Video Lisa made for her course called: Customize Any WordPress Theme
A. I start by looking at competing courses in the marketplace. I check the length, price and contents of their course.
When my courses are new and have fewer reviews, I price lower so I can compete and get some sales. Then once the paying students and reviews started coming in Udemy started sending me more organic sales. After that, I raise the price.
I read you should start with $50 per hour, but as you can see, no one really follows that in the marketplace. I think it's better to look at the competition and start there. Then once your course is getting consistent, good reviews, you have more room to raise the price. I believe people will be willing to pay more if the reviews are good and plentiful.
When Udemy runs big sitewide sales, I sometimes price my courses a little higher so the discount they offered would be more attractive. Since I drive all my own sales through coupons, it doesn't really impact the price for people I referred directly. So I like to experiment with price when they are running sitewide sales in the marketplace.
Lisa's Next Online Venture
Q. Lisa, I know that you and I have so much more to chat about but for now, can you please just let everyone in the Basic Blog Tips family know what’s in store for you next. Give us a little sneak peak into what you’re working on that you haven’t shared with your YouTube audience or on your blog. Give us the first scoop!
A. I am looking to create another niche website for P.O.D. (print on demand) sites like Spreadshirt, Zazzle, Teespring etc. I haven't completely committed to it yet because I'm holding out to test demand, interest, etc. But I would love to tap into that space because it hasn't really been touched upon a lot as a whole and I have so much to share. That would be a big project and it would mean putting a lot of 2 Create a Website work on hold. I'm still in the planning/research phase.
So if there are any big launches coming from me in the future, it would be from that arena. It's such an untapped space when it comes to educating other bloggers about it, and there is lots of money to be made there if you put on your creative hat. 😉
Q. Once again, I want to say how grateful that I am that you would take the time to share your insights. Please let everyone know where they can get in touch with you, or where should they follow you online.
Thanks so much for taking the time to feature me on your blog, Ileane. We go waaaaay back and it's an honor to be here on your fabulous blog! 🙂
Ileane: Lisa, the pleasure is all mine!
Wrapping things up
It's been a pleasure having Lisa here and I'm sure that everyone picked up a few ideas or got motivated to take action. What are you going to work on next? Did you get inspired to start a new blog or create an online course? Let us know in the comments!