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031: How to Build an Online Community with Jadah Sellner

Learn how to build an online community with heart, and in a way that creates genuine connection, authentic engagement, and raving fans!

How do you build an online community?

Building genuine, human connections is key to any business. These days, in the stew of the digital age and social media, it’s easy to feel anonymous, isolated, and disconnected from other people.

This is why it is SO important, now more than ever, to build real relationships and trust with your peers and community in order to have a business that lasts the test of time.

When you nurture a community of people who love what you do, you can create so much success and impact!

Even though everyone seems to talk about community building these days, creating an engaged audience is easier said than done when you’re competing for small attention spans in the digital world.

Joins us today to talk about how to build an online community with heart, and in a way that creates genuine connection, authentic engagement, and raving fans!

How to build an online community + create a successful list building challenge

My guest today, Jadah Sellner, is the host of the Lead with Love® podcast, Business Mentor, and a TEDx speaker redefining the future of work for female founders.

As the co-founder and author of Simple Green Smoothies (featured in Oprah’s O Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and CBS’s The Doctors TV Show.), serial entrepreneur and business strategist, Jadah built a community of 355,000 email subscribers and 415,000 Instagram followers.

With a simple and inspiring model, Jadah dedicates her time consulting companies and personal brands to build a business and life with love, service, and impact.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • The importance of connection and building community, and how Jadah built two businesses from scratch
  • How to unhook your self worth from your net worth
  • Why love over metrics is so important
  • How to use free challenges to grow your email list and sell digital products

Subscribe and Review

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Also, please leave an honest review for The Success with Soul Podcast on Apple Podcasts so we can improve and better serve you in the future. Plus, you could be featured on a future episode during our listener spotlights. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts to get automatic updates. My goal for this podcast is to inspire those who seek flexibility and freedom in their lives by making something happen with holistic, soulful, step-by-step strategies from me and other experts.

Links + Resources Mentioned in this Episode: 

Related Episodes:

More Ways to Enjoy Success with Soul

Kate Kordsmeier 0:00

Oh Welcome Welcome. Welcome.

I'm your host Kordsmeier. Today, I have a true Soul Sister on the podcast I'm so excited to share Jadah Sellner. with you You may recognize her from simple green smoothies. This serial entrepreneur and business strategist built a community of 355,000 email subscribers, and 415,000 Instagram followers by sharing simple green smoothie recipes, and connecting with her community. We are diving in today to talk all about the importance of connection and building community. Why love over metrics is so important and how to unhook your self worth from your network. Jada is sharing her secrets behind using free challenges to grow your email list and sell digital products. And this one is a goodie. So let's get into it. You're listening to the Success with Soul podcast with Kate Kordsmeier ex journalists turned CEO of a multi six figure blog and online business. But it wasn't that long ago that Kate was a struggling entrepreneur who lacked confidence, clarity, and let's be honest money. But all those failures, experiments and lessons learned helped Kate create a thriving business that impacts thousands and brings freedom, flexibility and fulfillment to her life. If you're ready to do the same and make something happen with holistic, soulful, step by step strategies from Kate and other experts, you're in the right place. here's your host, writer, educator, Mom, recovering perfectionist, bookworm and sushi connoisseur Kate Kordsmeier. Jadah, welcome to Success with Soul.

Jadah Sellner 1:50

Thank you. I'm excited to be here and just the conversation with you. Me too.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:56

I have been a fan of your work for many, many years now. And I'm so honored to finally have you on the show.

Jadah Sellner 2:02

Yes, I know, there's been, you know, just rescheduling and finding a rhythm to connect. So I always trust timing and how it all unfolds.

Kate Kordsmeier 2:11

Yes, I'm trying to be better about that. Because my type A you know, hates having to reschedule and always worried like, I don't want people to think I'm flaky. But I feel like in 2020, especially all bets are just off.

Jadah Sellner 2:26

Yeah, yeah, I also think that's an invitation for us to explore different parts of ourselves, too. You know, that throws us off of our status quo, right of like, day of what we're used to, and even invites us around our own identity. Like there's a lot of identity shifts that I've made in 2020, as well. So I think it's a great invitation for us.

Kate Kordsmeier 2:49

Yeah, well, that is such a perfect segue into kind of our introduction here. So speaking of identity, tell everybody a little bit about who you are. I know that a lot of people might recognize you from simple green smoothies. So if you want to kind of give a little backstory from that brand, and now what you're up to with your identity in 2020.

Jadah Sellner 3:12

Yeah, I love even just thinking about identity in general, just because I feel like there's been a huge reclamation of my own identity, being a multicultural, black woman, an entrepreneur, a mom, a wife, a poet, and business coach, and author all of these things. And it's interesting. For me, I'm 40%, African, 30%, Asian, 30%, European, like I cover all continents, in the world, minus Australia, it's the only one that there's no colors and my 23andme so I've been an entrepreneur for over a decade, you know, I started my first brick and mortar business, the height of the recession, and in 2009, when my daughter was just one years old. So I've been you know, figuring out how to build and rebuild businesses over these years. And my husband and I, we close down that business moved into my in laws house for six months, which is hashtag really fun, but nereo and, you know, $42,000 in credit card debt, and just really trying to find my way of how can I build something meaningful, and still have time for my family? So that's always been my, like the question that I've always been leaning to throughout my entire entrepreneurial career and also being an artist, a creative as well with that. And then in 2012, I started an Instagram account called Simple green smoothies. With my friend and business partner, Jen Hansard, and it was never supposed to be its own business. It was really just an idea to help promote an E book that I wanted to sell in my parenting blog at that time, and then turned into you know, generating seven figures in two years of kind of building from zero And I always say that we all start at zero. So we had zero followers, zero email subscribers, zero, actually negative money in the bank account, and being able to also grow our following to over a million followers. And I always say if you want to make a million dollars to help a million people first and, and not that you have to exactly help a million people, but really leading from that place, like I'm all about leading with love and our businesses and our lives. So we focused on building a community, simple green smoothies was never supposed to be a business, we were able to, you know, grow our email list to 355,000 email subscribers, over 400,000 followers on Instagram, million page views a month. And we did this with no paid advertising, no affiliate marketing, we were we weren't guest posting we were barely posting. So really figuring out how to grow in a community from a very organic like heart based place. And then just to kind of fast forward, I sold my company in 2016, to my business partner who's still running it today. She's released a second book, and I actually wrote the book proposal for the second book, but walked away from it knowing that I was just really following that heart whisper of the work that I really wanted to do in the world and being able to impact other women to build meaningful businesses without compromising their health, their relationships. And I think that that's just my, the mission that I'm on right now is really empowering women to build a successful business and also have a present fulfilled life too.

Kate Kordsmeier 6:38

Wow, so impressive and beautiful. And I have so many questions for you. I think the first one that comes to mind is, how do you just walk away from a seven figure business?

Jadah Sellner 6:53

Yeah, you don't just walk away.

That's the first answer.

You mull over it for many years. And you know, bring it up in every mastermind hot seat that you have talking to all of your mentors questioning, are you crazy, all of those things happen over a three year time. Actually, we did our first launch our first big launch, we did with simple green smoothies, we did $86,000 and 10 days. And that was like the beginning of of the rest of my life, you know, really, my husband was able to quit his his full time job that he did, you know, for over 13 years. And we were able to travel the world and I was able to speak on stages. And from that launch, the seed was already planted that I wanted to help other people create this same type of life. And so I would actually have to play with being torn for the next three years on how to move closer to that vision to that dream, and also still maintain my commitments and uphold my responsibilities in the company that I had built. I'm such a builder, I love building from scratch. It's my favorite thing. So you know, when I finally you know, in 2014, I spoke at World Domination summit. And I remember asking my friend that invited me to speak their friend and mentor Jonathan fields, and he's like, you want to speak out? Well, domination summit in front of 3000 people, my very first keynote, I was freaking out. Yeah, no pressure at all. And I was like, oh, like, should Jen and I speak together? And you know, like thinking it's like the Simple Green Smoothie story. And he's like, no, this is your story, like, tell your story. And that was when I spoke on that stage. I knew like I wanted, I wanted to tell my story. And to reach more people from that perspective, not talk about green smoothie recipes, and all of those, those other things. So I would have to play that dance for the next couple of years. And I remember, I wrote my three year vision, and I read it to my business partner at the top of 2016. so that she could see that it wasn't about her. It wasn't about the business. It was just like where my heart was calling me was to do this work and coaching and mentoring other women. And I had that dream, even before I started simple green smoothies, I just didn't have the proof for the credibility to actually help people do that. So you know, it was a lot of a lot of coaching. A lot of business therapy, you know, and so sentences and having those conversations and I remember with Jonathan fields, you know, I said, am I crazy for leaving this business, you know, you know, I built something, you know, there's a lot of success attached to it. But that was also starting to, to dip because my heart was no longer in it as well. So I was actually holding the business back in some capacity because I that wasn't the heart project that I wanted to grow. And he said, You're asking the wrong question. You know, the question isn't, are you crazy? The question is, does magic strike twice? And the answer is yes. And the got goosebumps Really? because really what I was questioning was like, do I have it in me to build again? You know, or do I just stay, I've created these entrepreneurial golden handcuffs in a way, right? Like, it's the same as leaving a six figure nine to five job working in corporate that I wasn't sure if I could trust myself to rebuild something as meaningful and as impactful as I did with simple green smoothies. And there was also a lot of fear and hesitation of people aren't gonna invite me to speak on their stages anymore, they only do that because of simple green smoothies. They're not gonna invite me to be on their podcast anymore. They only you know, only if I'm with that business. So I was integrating my identity with the business, my worthiness with the business with the amount of revenue with the amount of reach and so I had to spend a lot of time unhooking my self worth from my net worth. And really rebuilding from that place of trusting that magic could strike twice. And it definitely has I have been able to rebuild, Jen has been able to rebuild inside simple green smoothies. And I think it's an invitation for us to really see where we're out of alignment or out of integrity with our work. And it doesn't mean that like, for me, simple green smoothies was a building block to something bigger and greater for me, like from my soul's work my path, this unique path that I'm taking in life. And so I know that's a long winded answer to your question. But I'm really not just walking away I hemmed and hawed for years.

Kate Kordsmeier 11:40

I'm so glad you said that for so many reasons. But I want to just take a moment here as well to for anybody listening who thinks like everyone else has it figured out except for me. I think this is such a beautiful lesson in this. And there are so many parallels between the story that you just told and my story as well, where I created Root + Revel, I built this holistic wellness blog. It makes multiple six figures every year. And then I wanted to do something else. And it's even very similar what I'm doing, you know, teaching now other women how to build their own businesses as well. And I still do Root + Revel, but it is something that I have been hemming and hawing over for many years to, and I'm not sure what I'll ever decide. But I think just you know, I like to be transparent on the show and really show people that

there's just a lot of

heart equity that goes into figuring out the right thing and really listening to, I love that what you said, with listening to the heart whisper and unhooking yourself worth from your net worth. That's, that's good. That's Yeah, amazing. So, okay, a couple quick follow up questions about the disconnect there or about the departure? So how did it work in terms of removing yourself from a business that you were more or less like, kind of the face of or one of two faces?

Jadah Sellner 13:15

Yeah, totally. I mean, both of our faces are on our book cover, right of our cookbook of I mean, I think we have over 1000 reviews on Amazon now which is just wild to see that it's still growing and impacting people in that way. You know, there's a lot of conversations behind the scenes of like, do I stay do I like use my face but not be in the business have a small percentage, there was all those back and forth conversations. And I think for both of us to fully step into our body of work to grow it that we needed to set like fully separated ourselves. I remember in a business mastermind, was like, we signed up for this business mastermind I was like the last Hail Mary like, can we make this work? Can we stay together? And the last meeting of that in person mastermind in New York City, we were like, We are consciously uncoupling, you know, from really having to just make that full separation, and also even full space from each other to like, we had we had to take a break so that we could find ourselves. It's a bit of like, you know, it's totally like she was my business wifey, you know, and I'm like, I can't see pictures of you anymore. Or it's, you know, like, all of those things to really find myself and my voice. So for me, that worked really well for me to kind of create this space. Because there's also this like, Did I make the wrong decision should have asked should I have stayed and so, you know, for me, really having coaches and mentors in my corner as well as like women who get me like I have my own pure based mastermind, you know, we're talking about even like Nicole Walters, right, like I have amazing friends Jennifer cam Nikki Elledge Brown. There's so many people that were with me In that transition, to help me not lose my voice and like lose my way, but I was in a whole identity crisis, like I'm just rebranding. Now when it's like, almost four years since I exited that company, just because I just wasn't ready to like, Who am I? What am I doing? Who do I help and serve and like, it's so clear and get in my head and all the overthinking, it's not. So, you know, for us, it was a very clean break of her, like purchasing my half of the business. And, you know, she had a heavy To Do List of removing, like all the photos and like rewriting things, but we still have like, our baby together, right? We still have her book baby like, both of our faces are on there, you know, my thumbprint. And what I poured into the company that that culture of love is still there. But also it gets to create its own identity of who it is from, like Jen's full expression. And I think that's, that's a huge piece for me that I didn't feel fully expressed in that business. Because we were taking pictures and sharing recipes. And I love using my voice for good like, to me, that's the best way for me to express my ideas is like through podcast, speaking on stages, leading retreats. And that business model didn't match my full expression of how I want to be expressed in the world in this season of my life. And so that was definitely a sign for me that I actually figured out in 2013, and still had to find my way for the next couple of years and be brave enough to to make that that leap into the next direction that my heart was pointing in.

Kate Kordsmeier 16:39

Yeah, gosh, it's so good. And I mean, I'm just I'm thinking personally of like, all the things that I think about when it comes to selling my business, and I don't have a partner in it. So I'm kind of envious that you had like, Oh, perfect, there's this, this perfect person to hand this over to. But it is hard. I mean, there's things that I think about with like, if I sold Rutan rebel, would I have to remove all of the photos of me on the site? Like what people still think that I had some say in the business? And then if I didn't, would I be okay with people thinking that, like, do you have that issue at all, with people thinking that you're still a part of simple green smoothies? And I mean, I don't know if, if, if Jen took it a direction that you didn't want it to? You know, that you would?

Jadah Sellner 17:28

I don't know. Yeah, I think, no, we both had like community statement letters that we put out, like I put out to my own personal branding community, she put out two simple green smoothies included, like how did this become a business, you know, there's, there's certain elements to kind of highlight the origin story. But now from here on out, it's me and my team. So a big part of, of letting people kind of know what's up is actually just communicating it publicly. And explicitly, you know, and not trying to hide and cover it. But that's a dance to kind of figure out. But first, what what I think we do is we overthink the other side of action, before just making like, is this right for me? And then if I lean into that decision, if I say yes, I'm going to, you know, exit route and rebel, the other steps will unfold for me. But as long as you haven't made the decision yet, you actually can't figure out your you'll overthink your way through all of those different, what if scenarios on the other side, that will stop you from actually making the decision. So we have to look at the decision that's right in front of us first, and the other steps will unfold over time, but it's not a real decision for you to make. Should my photos be there? Should they not what other people think because we just have to decide, do you want to be in it? Or don't you? And then the other steps, because other ones are just hypothetical. And we can just overthink our way through that. It's like, No, I know, I'm not supposed to be in this company anymore. Like I know, my heart is pointing in another direction. And I have to follow that. And I'm going to figure out all this other steps on the other side. And something that one of my friends told me, I think this NFL player he had to make these decisions of what what team to play for and and what he did was he made the decision and then he said I'm going to do everything in my power to prove that I made the right decision. So instead of making a decision and then backtracking and like and being in regret, or resentment is actually like once I make the decision to exit this company, I'm going to do everything in my power to prove that I made the right decision for myself. And I think that can help us especially as women you know, we can be very indecisive or at least I just raised my hand I am very indecisive and that indecision also comes from like our you know the the inner critic inside who's like don't mess this up. You're gonna get it wrong and all of those those fears those are fingers. I don't know. If we just said, What if I did everything in my power to prove that this was the right decision to make, then we can move from that place. So as if when I make decisions because there's no right or wrong decision, it's just a decision, decide and then cut the other option off, then we can move forward in our lives. Otherwise, we're just in this indecision loop. And it's, it's crazy making.

Kate Kordsmeier 20:23

Yeah, I love that. And then just on kind of the strategy side, or you know, more of the details of it. How did you figure out what you were willing to sell it for? You know, like you said, I know you mentioned, is it a flat fee? Are you getting some kind of percentage moving forward? How did you how did you figure that piece out?

Jadah Sellner 20:45

Yeah, I mean, that piece is really hard, because now you're putting money on your value. So now you're trying to value yourself, value your contribution. So that was, you know, it was very, very tough for us. We had had to do a lot of research and a lot of phone calls with people who had accident partnerships in the past, you know, an example Stu McLaren was some, somebody that I talked to exiting WishList Member and like, you know, so just kind of paying attention to that. And just kind of the typical pieces, there were a lot of scenarios that we explored. And I can't share like exact numbers or anything, due to non disclosure agreements and things. But yeah, there was there was a buyout, there was a purchase amount, and I still have royalties in our book. Um, so those are kind of the the pieces, but there's not like an ongoing payment or anything like that it was a really clean cut. And that was like, the best energetically, and sometimes people do have buyouts and have percentages or royalties from the company. But for us, it would be like, Oh, now I have to like, look at your quarterly statements. And, you know, like, it just feels like we're still kind of entwined in some way. And so I think the desire for us was, how could we do this in the most loving way, even though it was very hard to make that separation with our team and all of those pieces, but really, I think a clean, like, clean, energetic split was what we were both after that we could fully step in and not feel like there was anything that was going to hold us back, or there was like, lingering elements in there. So

Kate Kordsmeier 22:18

yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I love the asking yourself the question, too, of how can we do this in the most loving way? I think you could approach everything in your business with that question. I like to ask like, what if this was easy? or How could I make this easy? And I'm going to add that to my list of

Jadah Sellner 22:36

too. Because I think it's a great question to ask, how can we make this easy, but also in love and in relationship and business? Not everything is easy, we can make things easier, but like love in general, it's just complicated. And love is not always easy. And it's not always, I don't know, it's there's complexity and layers. And like, sometimes we have to put up boundaries and communicate boundaries. And that's not easy to do to communicate. Like, that's actually not working for me. But yeah, for me, it was always really setting intentions, even in our conversations around the buyout, you know, it's like, here's my intention, really leading with that is very helpful and kind of negotiating and going back and forth, and all of those pieces, but it was very emotionally draining as love and partnership is going to go and make those really big decisions.

Kate Kordsmeier 23:25

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, let's come back to the beginning. Now, you talked about everybody starts at zero. So you built this company with hundreds of thousands of email subscribers and Instagram followers, but you started at zero. So what was that first month? Like?

Jadah Sellner 23:43

Yeah, so I mean, the first month was zero.

I remember actually resisting going on to Instagram, a friend of mine, mine Uyen of my healthy dish, she grew her Instagram, following to a million followers, but she didn't have that many followers. And she was encouraging me to get on. And I was like, I don't want to like that Facebook, Twitter, like, I can't think of another thing. And we tend to feel that in a lot of stuff. So also, you know, leaning into resistance, and invitations for things that might stretch us or be uncomfortable, I think is good. I like I live a life of I want ease in my life. I want fun and joy. But if I look back at some of the steps and decisions that I've made, they haven't always been like taking the easier road, you know that I did not want to build an Instagram account. And I don't even like taking photos. So it was a really a big push. And my friend said if if you get nine photos on your grid, I'll give you a shout out and that grew our following from zero to 800 followers, and

I'm like, wow.

Kate Kordsmeier 24:48

And then no. So how many followers did she have? At that time? Do you remember? I want to I think she might have had like 30,000 followers at that time. Maybe?

Jadah Sellner 24:59

Yeah, I think Then I remember the leap from 800 to 3000. followers, this fitness instagrammer, I actually went to her boot camp in person in San Francisco brought her green smoothie, took a picture with her, and then she gave me a shout out. And that grew us from 800 to 3000 followers. And the reason why I want to share that story is because so often we think that building online community is just about online. But we can also build relationships with people offline, and build those authentic relationships with people because those are the people that you want to give shoutouts to, those are the people you want to have as a guest on your podcast is like someone you actually are either inspired by, or have had a human connected conversation with. And so often we just send these like blind, like, I'm just making these requests for things. And it's like, there's no relationship there. There's no reciprocity. So I really use relationship building, like one on one relationship building to build a following that was larger. And I just geeked out on Instagram, like I was my thumb's were so sore, I was double tapping on everything scrolling liking, and it wasn't just about creating content on our platform, I think this is really important for people to know even now, is to actually embed yourself in the online platform. It's a social media. So it's about connection. So we probably post two to three recipes a week on our Instagram account. And then all those other times I was focusing on building relationships with people commenting on other people's blogs, following other people see, like, like, hey, Oh, my gosh, you made a recipe, post a photo and tag me when you do it. And I'll comment, it's like, not just about like, like me, follow me, it was like really building relationships with people. So I spent more time connecting than creating content. Again, I said, we didn't write any, but we barely wrote any blog posts. And we posted two to three times a week. So it wasn't this like constant hamster wheel of content creation, you know, it was really, I put the majority of my time in connection versus content creation. And so I think that's a differentiator for me just how I build community and how I build online. Because it I like connection is such a high value of mine and making people feel seen and heard is something that I think is important, and that we shouldn't just look at people as numbers, like there are beating hearts behind those numbers, which is why I talk about like love over metrics, like, how can we bridge meaning to the metrics? And and I think as humans, we need to feel and see that, that meaning behind it, or at least I would say like half the people need that some people are metrics driven. And like, that's enough to get them going. For me. I'm meaning driven. And so I need meaning first, and then the numbers will follow.

Kate Kordsmeier 27:56

Yeah. So how many like hours a day would you say you were spending on Instagram in the first year? So

Jadah Sellner 28:03

yeah, I would say

maybe like

two, maybe two to three hours, because also I had a daughter. I was like the full time mom and I was doing like part time jobs on the side is like a virtual assistant for $15 an hour. The office that I'm in right now used to be a yoga studio, and I used to be the front desk receptionist making like 12 to $15 an hour. My father was in the childcare center. Yeah. So you know, I spent my the free time that I had, when I could when my daughter was either napping or sleeping. Those were the times when I was was was building those hours. And with just that strategy alone, I know it like it was time intensive. It was focusing on connection, and also finding ways of how can I get shoutouts from other influencers by building meaningful relationships. So that was really what helped. And then that in six months grew our Instagram following to 30,000 followers. And where we grew and really grew was we hosted a free 30 day green smoothie challenge in January of 2013. So after kind of our six month stint, I was like, I know from an online marketing perspective, we need to grow our email list Instagrams not gonna be here forever, you don't know like, Is it gonna disappear? It was like Periscope, and you know, all kinds of stuff out back out and that day So for us, that was the huge thing that not only helped us build and grow our community, but also helped us build the revenue inside the business was hosting that free 30 day green smoothie challenge and that was the game changer for us in the business.

Kate Kordsmeier 29:46

Want to connect with other heart centered entrepreneurs? Don't forget to join the free Success with Soul Facebook community at I go live often to answer your burning questions. Plus, you'll get to hang out with like minded bloggers and other heart centered online business owners exchanging priceless feedback, encouragement and other golden insights from the trenches. That's See you there. Okay, so I want to get to the challenge for sure. But one last question about this. Well, two part question. What year was this that we're talking about? You said, the first year?

Jadah Sellner 30:30

Yeah. Yeah. So before it was officially a business, you know, when we started the Instagram account, we didn't even have a website yet. That was 2012. So that was definitely early adoption for Instagram, like, not everyone in there, Mama was on there. But I also like to bust the myth that I've had friends and influencers who have grown from a couple of thousand to 100,000 to 200,000. Last year, you know, we can use those of like, I didn't get in early enough, and so I'm not and that can help us stop it. And I had the same thought of blogging. I, you know, I had a parenting blog before simple green smoothies. And I was like, oh, but all the bloggers, you know, this was 2011. And I was like, What came in in 2008. They're ahead of the game. But you know, like, those are the things that will stop us from sharing our message and helping people and so we, you have to get over that hump. And just you need to create and connect and also look at like your unique differentiator of like what's in the marketplace, and what standing out. So I can just share a couple of examples of how with simple green smoothies, I saw the unique differentiator for us of how we stood out. Were also the things that could hold us back at the same time, which is, I don't have a college degree. Jen and I are not nutritionists. We don't have any certifications. We didn't go to school for this. We use that actually as an advantage. But we could have used that as something to hold us back. Right. We don't have to speak so scientific and research base and like, we're just real moms. Also, a lot of the women they were they were boring. Like I would watch their videos. And I was just like, snooze fest. I want to fall asleep. And so we decided like how can we make this feel fun. And so we'll use words like Rossum and rock on and, and kind of add in that young, youthful energy. And then also another thing that we saw was people wouldn't use exact measurements on the recipes. And I got confused. I was like, hold up, you want me to put a handful of kale but like how big is your hands, like, you know, like, like for those newbies. And so we also got clear, we're not here to make recipes for raw foodist, who are like hardcore Yogi's, this is for the mom who eats corn and potatoes for like that, who just wants to put more veggies in her kid's body like so we got really clear on how we were different. And also beautiful photos. Like all the photos we saw were stock photos. And it was just a glass of bleach green sludge, and it looked unappetizing. And so with Instagram, I leveraged like, hmm, red and orange is really pop well, like so it's like fresh mango and fresh strawberries are going. So find ways of how you are unique in the marketplace, like what is missing. And sometimes the thing that you think is your weakness, like I'm too young, I don't have enough certification degrees or anything like that. I'm not as scientific or research base can actually be used to your advantage to relate and resonate to people who are looking for a different voice. I always say there are no unique messages, only unique messengers.

Kate Kordsmeier 33:40

Hmm, so good. I'm glad you said that. I wasn't asking about what year it was for that reason. But it is such a good reminder, because I didn't start routing rebel until 2015. So it was like here, you were in 2002, the 2011 saying, you know, oh, I'm probably too late. And then I was thinking in 2015, I'm probably too late, but I did it anyway. And then, you know, it's like now people in 2020 are going to be thinking the same thing. And it's like, you're never too late. There is always more room at the table. I love that so much. But the reason I was asking that was because I wanted to just get a sense of like, Okay, this was in 2012. If you were starting a similar business or something, you know, like this online, would you take the same approach of going to Instagram first now,

Jadah Sellner 34:29

right? So I really actually depends on the community that you're trying to serve, and also how you want to express yourself what's the easiest, most joyful way to express and quickest way actually to express your message. I do believe that we have to create some type of content to kind of build that expertise in that trust, and then also being able to invite people into an experience. So I would follow a very similar method of creating content that really reaches and connects with people. But when you're thinking about what platform, so it might be a podcast, it might be Instagram, it might be YouTube, it might be blog posts or writing articles on LinkedIn or medium. Or you might, you know, maybe not in 2020. But you might do all in person, like, I'm going to be on other people's stages, or I'm going to host my own event and invite people to my stage, like, so we get too caught up in like, which platform should I be on now to like, get in. It's really like, which platform serves your highest expression, like you can get your message out as quickly as possible. And it's easy. So for me, accepting simple green smoothies, it was not Instagram, I'm like, like, thumbs down, like no things. I don't want to take any pictures. I started my podcast lead with love. And I also say yes to being on being a guest on other people's podcasts is the easiest, most fun way for me to get my message out there. So that but also making sure to cross reference are your people hanging out there? Right? So if you are a food blogger in the health space, it's like, Where are people searching for recipes or searching for health tips? Are they googling on YouTube? Are they on Instagram? Are they looking for recipes on Pinterest, so also creating that context to know where your people hanging out. And that's why I went to Instagram because my friends, a recipe blogger, and she's like, you should share your green smoothie recipes. But I'm like, I have a parenting blog, like I share some green smoothie recipes. But that's not everything. But I kind of hyper focus. So also thinking about what's the core, like one thing you want to be known for, and go all in on that for the next nine to 12 months. We're so impatient, we're so impatient, we really have to create content and connection on like one big idea for a long enough time for it to build traction, and for you to refine your messaging and be okay, being messy and not having it figured out. When we started simple green smoothies. We were sharing, like, wash your hands and like, you know, like health stuff, just like how to like boost your immunity. And I was like, I think that people are following us for these recipes. So for the next nine months, let's talk about nothing but green smoothies, anything that's like the health benefits of chia seeds that go into green smoothies, like everything had to be green smoothie focus. And so also, that's my invitation is like picking a platform, easiest way for you to express your voice, making sure that that's a platform that your people are searching for answers or support or inspiration from, and then focus on one core message you can kind of sprinkle around it if you want. But like what's the one idea? Like? Do you want to be known for community building? Do you want to be known for nutritionally balanced meals you want to be known for like AB workouts? It's just like, what's the one thing that you can go all in on and commit to for the next year? And really, to allow yourself to build some traction and see, do you like it? And are people resonating?

Kate Kordsmeier 37:57

Yeah, such good advice. I love that. And we talked about this actually, in Episode 18 of our podcast with Brett colo, she talked about she has a brand called marketing personalities. And it's like, there's everybody's talking about your ICA. And it is so important to look at where are they hanging out? And where did how did they like to consume content, but if it doesn't feel good to you to produce, it's not going to feel good for anybody to consume. So I love that you said like, you have to balance that with what feels joyful and good to you and as your fullest, you know, expression of yourself and so important.

Jadah Sellner 38:34

Yeah, yeah. Okay.

Kate Kordsmeier 38:36

So challenges. I'm dying to ask you all the nitty gritty about challenges. So

You said, okay, you started a challenge after that kind of, I think you said after the three month mark, right? or six months, six months? Yeah. Okay, so started this challenge. How did it work? Exactly?

Jadah Sellner 38:55

Yeah. So it was really simple. Nine emails total, I actually have a whole like roadmap if I can share that resource of how people can get that for free. If you want me to share that with you. It's like a step by step process of just like, how many emails are needed. It's not that many, nine emails. For us, we did a 30 day green smoothie challenge because it was 2013. And people had longer attention spans, I highly recommend doing five to seven days max of challenges today just because of people's commitment. And there's just so much distraction and noise in the digital space. I have a client right now who has done multiple six figure challenges this year, kind of following the process that we did. And they do a shorter challenge, not not super long. So basically, you know, we have a free opt in page that people can sign up for drink one green smoothie a day for the next 30 days. Don't change anything else about your diet, what you're eating, you can eat whatever you want, but just drink one green smoothie a day, and we really replicated my own process. I lost 27 pounds in three months. And my Domino was drinking one green smoothie a day and not changing anything else about my my diet. So often we try to create experiences for people that feel very overwhelming, and like a firehose of information. So really making sure that the topic, the transformation that you're promising is simple. Like it's an easy win. So you want your challenge to be a quick, small, easy win, where they can build confidence. And then they want to take the next step with you. And that's where they can go into the buying decision and actually invest in an offer or product that you have. So people would opt in, they would exchange their email, we grew our email list from 2000 email subscribers to 30,000 email subscribers, with the challenge, and then we doubled our Instagram, in a month from 30,000 to 6000. followers. And you know, it was also New Year new user, we're like, oh, my gosh, like this is this was a fluke, it's only because it's this time of the year when everyone, and then we repeat it again. And three months later in April, and we doubled our email list again. And by by doing four challenges, in one year, we grew from 2000 email subscribers to 200,000 email subscribers, just using challenges alone. So we would just to kind of go back to how it works. people opt in, they get a welcome email, and then they would get one email a week, you know, for that month of their shopping list. Like here's the smoothie recipes to me each week. And then at the end of that challenge, you know, sending a weekly email and then alike Yeah, you did it type of email at the end. And then we would invite them into an offer. And we repeated that every quarter, a challenge, a free challenge. And then we would promote a product and offer and that's what had us generate seven figures in two years, over a million dollars in two years with a $47 250 $9 digital product, focusing on building community, creating an insane amount of free value. Because the challenge is a lot of work. It is like a paid product. And I always say make your your free product better than someone's paid offer. Because that allows people to test drive you and your teaching style, and they want to continue to learn from you from that place. And if no one can afford us, it also creates accessibility as well of like, I know people's lives aren't going to change. I know people are going to lose weight and have more energy, their kids are going to be eating veggies, if they just did four challenges a year. And that's for free. So then I could feel good about charging for a paid offer later. So I think that's when sometimes people are like, I don't want to do free Look at all these free loaders are free. I mean, yeah, you can totally build a business and not even focus on that. But if you're someone who like generosity and contribution as a high value of yours, you're going to want to do some free stuff to balance out you asking for money for stuff. Otherwise, you might like be afraid to charge for anything, which is that's a typical mindset to have I we were definitely like $5 I'm like our first product. Like I don't know if they'll buy it. And yeah, and now I've gotten up to where I can ask for, you know, up to $95,000 proposals for with companies that I can work with, you know, so we have to start somewhere, we have to start small, it's like free, then $5, then $100, then we can get to 1000, then 10,000 and 100,000. Like we can really expand our mindset. But we have to start small, like when we're starting from zero. We're trying to fast forward ourselves to a million followers as soon as we start and then we feel like we fail after every initiative. And it's like, we need smaller, we need smaller goalpost.

Kate Kordsmeier 43:39

Yeah. Such a good point. I do feel like because especially in this online space, it's so easy to see what your quote unquote competitors are doing. So you can sit you can say, Oh, well, you know, I have a smoothie blog. And look, she they already have a million followers and it's like you forget, yeah, but it's been eight years of building this or, you know, and in any industry, I think having all of these vanity metrics so accessible to everybody does make everyone feel like they're never measuring up because we're not comparing apples to apples. Yeah,

Jadah Sellner 44:15

something one of my favorite tools is the wayfinder machine. It's like wayfinder or something like that. And it's an archive of people's old websites. And and I love looking at that or like going in someone's YouTube channel and looking at their like I go from oldest to newest. So I can compare myself to their beginning of like, oh, you're sitting on your living room, couch with your laptop in your lap got it. You didn't have any fancy lighting equipment. You know, you're just really helpful to kind of if we're going to compare ourselves to people we admire like just check back to where they actually started what year was that? And what their their first looked like what did their first website look like? It's the funnest thing to do. And then it's super grounding and inspiring. Like, oh sweet, my site looks better than their their round. One so I went ahead of the game.

Kate Kordsmeier 45:02

It's so funny to me that you say that because recently somebody I'm in Amy Porterfield digital course Academy and her momentum membership, and somebody shared in the Facebook group, one of her first YouTube videos, and it made me go down the rabbit hole. And I did exactly this, I went to first to last on her YouTube channel. And you know, here she is today running an eight figure business. And it's so easy to forget that she has not always been this woman. And I just created this imposter syndrome guide a couple months ago. And it was like that was one of the things that I tell people to do is like, pick somebody that you admire, and go back to their first stuff. And you're, you'll feel so good about.

Jadah Sellner 45:51

Yeah, I also think it's important when we're looking at how big of business people have is, like, really understanding the mechanics behind the scene of how, how big their team is, like I I consult, you know, female founders who have a team and there's conflict, and there's, there's like, you know, there's new problems. So you just have to figure out which problems that you're willing to take on, like, how big do you want to get? And what's enough? Because Also, I'm not on a mission to grow another community to a million followers. In my business that I have now I'm like, how can I reach 1000 women who then they'll reach their 1000 people, and then that's a million person impact, right? Like, there's so many ways and like, I can charge, you know, 10,000 20,000 30,000, for someone to work with me, I don't need to serve as many people for the million dollar impact. So also playing with numbers. And also sometimes, like, I know, my baseline survival number, I know my lifestyle number of how much revenue I need to make, and it's not a million dollars. So I my mind map and journal, different models of like, who I could go bank, and I can, this next business could be a $2.2 million. Okay, and then I know the team that it takes to get there. And then I'm like, Oh, I can do this. take home is the same. And I have one right hand and blah, blah, blah, right, like, so also like, it's like the vanity metrics can really confuse Yeah, type of lifestyle I want to have. And there's nothing wrong if you don't want to eight figure or seven figure business, if you just want to pay the bills, or you just want to be able to pay for your family's vacations and your partner is able to pay for the rest. Like there's nothing wrong with the scale of business that you want to build, either I think, I think, a lot of distraction around like, what do we really want? And what's the life that we really want to live? And what's the business that fits like how you were talking about the marketing personalities, it's like business model personality, like, I don't want to be responsible to a lot of people like those are you would have to think about some of those things of how that freedom and reporting and accounting because as your team grows bigger, you've got accountability meetings, you've got teams and ups, you've got reviews, and yeah,

Kate Kordsmeier 48:09

yeah, no, and I'm so glad you said that about take home pay, too, because like just to use myself for an example. In the last two years, I have three or four x my income. And my take home pay is almost the exact same, because I have been focusing more on building a team and scaling. So my expenses have skyrocketed. But I've had to stop along the way many times and say, What is enough? What are my goals here? What am I really trying to do? And is this just growth for growth's sake? Or is there something on? Is there meaning to this growth? What is my impact? You know, it's like checking in with yourself all the time to make sure that you're doing things with intention, and not just because everybody's telling you that you should scale or everybody's using the term seven figure business now or 10 k months, or whatever it is. It's like what feels good to you. And what do you really want? Yeah, yeah, so good. Okay, so coming up on the end here. But Gosh, I could ask you so many more questions. One question. I do want to ask you about these challenges before we head out is you did these were live challenges, right? So do you recommend doing that doing if somebody else is going to try a challenge that they do it live with a cohort versus having an evergreen challenge that somebody could opt into at any point?

Jadah Sellner 49:31

Yes, if you want to build community, and if you want the highest impact, where people will actually do it because there's something about a life start date and an end date and that community interaction again, highest value for me connection community. For someone else, they could totally evergreen it, they're not going to have the same results, numbers wise but it's like also not the same amount of work right like so. So it just depends like There's no I feel like there's no right or wrong answer for anything. It's just like, what type of results do you want to have how engaged and connected to your community members do you want to have, you can automate things and get similar results. But you're not going to feel as connected to your people. And those are just trade offs that you make. But kind of the momentum of a start date. And an end date really creates that community bonding. And also like, I can do anything for five days, and you're cheering people on and then they want to keep that momentum going, and they'll want to take that next step with you. But if you have a more automated business, and like community isn't on the other side of that, maybe you don't need to do that. So there's, there's no, wrong or right. Yeah, it's just the pathway that I've taken. And the results that feel the best for me is to like, get my hands dirty, and be with my people live and in real time.

Kate Kordsmeier 50:50

Yeah. And so since you now recommend more of like a five to seven day challenge length, how often would you say is, is a good amount to to redo these challenges live? Yeah,

Jadah Sellner 51:01

I, I'm still a huge fan. Like I do a whole quarterly planning system with my clients. I'm just a huge fan of doing big output projects once a quarter. And it gives your team to kind of reassess that back, reflect and then get back in the game. I know there's other people that might recommend doing something like this every eight weeks. I just like more space in my life. And I like I always say burnout is not an option. I'm not a fan of exhaustion and burning out your team. And so I like quarterly initiatives. So that's my my personal recommendation. And because I'm just so committed to sustainable leadership and businesses, but there's I know, there's other recommendations that you could do it every eight weeks, if you want. So yeah, that's that's my thoughts.

Kate Kordsmeier 51:48

And for your simple green smoothies challenge you had, was it your Instagram audience, that that's how you were getting people into the challenge? Or you didn't use any paid advertising? No,

Jadah Sellner 51:59

right? No paid advertising. We just leveraged Instagram and Facebook. And I would you know, and I like my clients now that are doing challenges. Some of them don't use paid advertising. And some of them do. Like I just had someone who, you know, grew, they're growing like 8000 every challenge, but they're also using ads, they have a higher price point product to like we were selling under $100 product. So yeah, but if you're not getting the reach, or if you're wanting it faster paid advertising will accelerate those results. I put in the long game up front, where we made nothing for a couple of years, and put that into community building. And there's, there's many other people have done it that way, too. It's just like, do you have more time? Or do you have more money? Whichever one you have? leverage it. And you have a lot of money. So I had?

Kate Kordsmeier 52:48

No, I love that. Okay, so I want to hear a little bit more about your she builds advisory program, can you tell us about this program you've launched and what it's about? Yeah,

Jadah Sellner 53:00

so I you know, I'm really committed to helping, specifically female founders. I do feel like women have a different societal pressures than men do. And building businesses, there's already a lot of challenges and just building a company in general. So I have a huge heart. But I do have a few good men behind the scenes and my one on one consulting that I do work with. And really, it's about leading with love and business. And I talked about this of us, l o v, which is about leadership, and being able to make those hard decisions of like leading for ourselves and leading others, and not compromising our health and our sanity and our relationships in that process. About boundaries and like, what's the schedule that we want to live in our in our lives? And then optimization, I'm a Maximizer. Number one on my strengths finders. So I'm always like trying to make things the best, like just a little bit better than the last time. So how do we simplify our businesses or our business models? How do we simplify our lives and really have the support the structure the systems in place that we need and able to grow however big we want to grow? I have clients who are at 500,000 in revenue to 5 million a year in revenue, and then to vision. And so that's about connecting to that bigger vision, right? I talked about reading my three year vision into my business partner. And that's a huge gap that I think most founders who are looking to scale to the next level, they don't realize they have to recreate another vision for their lives and for their companies. It's like, Okay, great. I wanted that six figure revenue, I accomplished it. And then you just kind of feel disconnected from your mission from your why and you're just like, I'm just doing it just to do it and kind of, you know, in that place. So I really help women connect to their next level of vision and being able to step into that. Whatever that is. Sometimes it's like simplifying, and sometimes it's amplifying and going bigger, and then the E is expansion. So that's about really reaching more people growing the community that you feeling more connected, adding more love into your systems with your team, right being able to appreciate and acknowledge your team to help you grow that movement. And also an expansion. It's really about like expression of like who you are. And kind of going back to identity of reclaiming. Like, I'm a mother, I'm a business owner. I'm a poet, I might like really reclaiming those, those full parts of who you are inside your business so that you are ready for that season of expansion and growth. And so we really work through like the systems and the slps of how do we streamline that within your team within your life. And being able to do that I like I love, love, love, love the work that I do that I get to do with founders in this way. So that they can build in a sustainable way without burning out and not overwhelming and exhausting themselves. And so that's, that's a real big piece of my work and being able to have people step in to their mission and being able to clarify that vision that they have for their lives, and then being able to amplify that in a bigger way.

Kate Kordsmeier 56:00

Yeah. So beautiful. I love it. We have so many parallels to I'm glad to have you on. So before we let you go, I have this quick lightning round of questions that I asked everybody. So just first thing that comes to your mind. What's your favorite way to make time for self care?

Jadah Sellner 56:18

Oh, I take a hip line dance class A several times a week. I've been doing it online during quarantine. And I've gotten my 13 year old daughter to join me once a week, but it's all about getting in your body. We're shaking our booties to be on say and just like fully embodied connecting to our breath and just being Central. Yeah. Yeah, so good. What is one tool or strategy that you use to help with time management? Hmm. So there's two that pop up, but I'll share I do pomodoro so 25 minute pomodoro is for things that I don't want to do that need to get done. And also for bigger picture items. So Wednesday's are my Wednesday's wi n ds. Why I'm where I focus on the non urgent projects in my business. So that's what I'm working on writing my book or creating a planner or working on my website like those. They're not urgent. But for me to move my goals forward and the vision that I want for my business in life. I kind of pulled that day sacred for me to create and not be on any calls.

Kate Kordsmeier 57:26

Yes, I was gonna say I Wednesday's, I just started implementing this because my my call schedule has gotten a little out of control lately. And I'm like, I need one day a week where I don't have to show up for anybody but myself. Yeah, no, so I Wednesday's is my day as well.

Jadah Sellner 57:43

Nobody bothered me on Wednesday. And Tuesday, Thursdays are my talk days so that's when I have client calls and then Mondays are like meetings and money making things and Fridays are my free flow days where I'll have a date with my husband or mastermind with my girlfriends I kind of like female like

Kate Kordsmeier 58:00

crazy how almost identical our schedules are love it my boys and my money and meeting like my team meeting and just kind of planning for the week and getting centered. Tuesday's our podcast recording days, Wednesdays are no calls and Thursdays are visibility days. So it's when I do all my coaching calls and things like that. So very similar. I love it. What is a powerful business or mindset book you've read recently and loved? Um,

Jadah Sellner 58:33

oh, my goodness, I'm trying to totally blocking right now. I'm rereading right now one of my favorites, which is essential ism.

Kate Kordsmeier 58:42

No, good. I love evangelism.

Now there's

only a few breaths.


Jadah Sellner 58:47

Yeah, and only a few that I reread. And that's one that I'm rereading. It just grounds me and like, focusing on what matters most and yeah,

Kate Kordsmeier 58:56

yeah, so good. I need to reread that too. Do you have a mantra or an affirmation or even just a quote that you like to tell yourself when things get tough in business? Or maybe just something that you're telling yourself these days?

Jadah Sellner 59:09

Yeah, I feel like I live in mantras or for myself. But for me, like, don't put a timeline on your dreams is a huge one that I tell myself and my clients like to expand the timeline of our ambition, because our ambition is so big. Like I even have to tell my bookkeeper, I'm like, yep, I know. I'm not doing this right now. Because I'm bleeding to something that's actually not gonna exist for another three years. So I think that big and so I have to constantly remind myself not to put a timeline on my dreams, but that I can put a timeline on my actions and my projects that I do with my team, but for not all my dreams, I think will be realized in this lifetime. And that's okay, too.

Kate Kordsmeier 59:53

Yeah, I like that too. Because it kind of reminds me that like, there's no end point or destination, especially when you're an entrepreneur, because even if we set like, I want to hit six figures or I want to hit seven figures like then you do it and then you Okay, now what? Yeah, you know, so I like that like there's no timeline, just dream big and it'll take as long as it takes so enjoy the process. Yeah,

Jadah Sellner 1:00:20

yeah. Okay. podcast is called Success with Soul tell me I know we've been talking so much about this already. But what does Success with Soul mean to you? Hmm It means making time for meaningful moments in your life and in your business. For me, it's about leading with love and being able to not only have love for yourself and being able to, to serve from the overflow, but also to extend that love that overflow to the people in your life, life, you know, the people that are closest to you, but also your team who are like your warriors are like front of the line, to connecting to your community and your clients. And then extending that love to your community and your clients and also just to the world and like how we can make that ripple effect impact through just making those decisions. I have a tattoo on my arm that says choose love. And so for me, that's that's my decision making mechanism of how I how I do everything is through love. I love it.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:01:20

Thank you. Where can everybody find you Jadah?

Jadah Sellner 1:01:22

Yes, they can go to I'm also on Instagram and Facebook @Jadahsellner. But the lead with Love podcast is where you're going to hear conversations with me find that the easiest. And it will also wanted to share if people want that free roadmap of kind of the next step. And like there's a whole just a map of how to do a challenge you can go to build your challenge, calm, and that would be free for you to opt into.

Kate Kordsmeier 1:01:48

Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. We're gonna put that in the show notes for everybody to so thank you so much for being here today. Thank you. Thank


Thanks for listening

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