In This Episode
Facebook is an invaluable yet complex platform for small businesses, and Amanda Bond has mastered it through years of hard-fought experience. Along the way she’s learned things about letting go of control, the dangers of con men in the industry, and being true to yourself. Get a unique glimpse into her rise to the top and some golden advice in the 49th episode of Modern Ontrapreneur.
1:07 The Evolutionary Journey of Entrepreneurship
It wasn’t an easy or straight road to where Bond is today.
4:10 Be Authentically You
If you want to go on stage with ripped jeans and cuss a bit, do it.
5:37 Trials and Tribulations Molded a More Resilient Human
Helping others achieve success makes the early failures worth it.
9:22 Simplify it, Make It Relatable, and Make It Fun
It’s not about intellect; it’s about taking something complex and being able to teach the masses in an entertaining way.
11:52 The Punchline
Facebook isn’t the magic bullet for your business.
15:39 Relinquishing Control
Growing a rad team is harder than it sounds.
16:11 There Is No Five Step Blueprint to Success
Take who you are authentically and use Facebook ads to amplify that.
17:17 Do No Harm
With the ability to reach so many people and ask for their money, it’s essential to be transparent about success to empower others while on their journeys.
– Amanda Bond
LR: Welcome to Modern Ontrapreneur. I am Landon Ray and today I have Amanda Bond, who is the owner of The Ad Strategist. She helps people stop guessing and start getting results with Facebook ads. The brand quickly shot to success in its first year with a booked out wait list after working with brands like Natalie MacNeil of She Takes on the World, Screw the Nine to Five, and Nikki Elledge Brown. After analyzing hundreds of millions of client ad impressions, Bond, which we’ll be calling her, teaches a framework, The StrADegy System (it’s got an “ad” in the middle, StrADegy System) on turning digital attention into revenue on the Facebook platform.
LR: Thanks for being here, Bond.
AB: Thank you so much for having me. I’m pumped about it.
LR: Okay, good. So, you’ve been doing it longer than a year now though, right? Come on?
AB: Actually, no. I’m still quite maybe brand new entrepreneur.
LR: You were just totally brand new. Okay, so we’re not talking about your struggles. We’re not talking about …
AB: No, we definitely can talk about those things.
LR: I thought you just shot to success instantly. What happened?
AB: There’s a lot of things that happened along the way to success. We just celebrated our two year …
LR: Three weeks ago this happened.
AB: Yeah, no, … Two year anniversary. But I’m … I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last decade.
LR: Oh, okay.
AB: And in the first two years of our business, we experienced fraudulent PayPal chargebacks and just experiencing too much growth too fast and having our business implode on us.
LR: Oh, really?
LR: What does imploding look like?
AB: Imploding looks like me waking up in panic every single day just sobbing uncontrollably.
LR: I feel like that’s familiar.
AB: But not understanding why.
AB: So we actually changed the business model along the way. And we no longer offer Facebook ads management but, because we have all the data and insights from working with the people that we do, we help people on the consulting end, strategy side, and helping them be able to implement with their teams internally, the systems that we learned.
LR: Interesting. Interesting. So … And what did you do for the other eight years?
AB: The other eight years I … Everything. Everything under the sun. And …
LR: But always as an entrepreneur.
AB: Always as an entrepreneur. I owned a social media marketing “agency,” a.k.a I was a freelancer, but I didn’t want to call myself that. I was a contractor that was a PR director for North America’s largest yoga conference.
AB: And so I thought that I wanted to start a brand teaching social media to yoga instructors. I just … I didn’t resonate with that target market because I’m a data nerd. Math was always my favorite subject in school, and so I wanted to talk to people that understood my language. And then before that, we attempted and failed to start a barbecue rig, a competitive barbecue rig.
LR: A competitive barbecue rig? I have no idea what that might be.
AB: Have you ever been to Rib Fest? Is that a thing that you know of?
LR: No, but I can imagine what that might be.
AB: Okay, so traveling Transformers. Think of it like long transport trucks that you park at an event, a festival, and they fold out like Transformers.
LR: And they become a barbecue.
AB: And they become a barbecue.
LR: Okay. Gotcha.
AB: So you compete with your food. I realized that the capital to start that was quite …
AB: Quite high. So that never got off the ground. And then before that, my very first parlay into business ownership was a franchisee for an exterior home painting company.
LR: Wow, so you’ve definitely been through the ringer.
LR: This whole “it worked from day one” thing is a complete fraud.
AB: Complete lie.
LR: Okay, got it.
AB: And I failed so many times that I actually had to go back to corporate along the way. And so I do have corporate sales and marketing experience with brands like Pepsi and Labatt. So all of those things put together is what led me to be able to train on Facebook advertising today.
LR: Got it. So then think back ten years. If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice that would’ve had you smooth out the mini bumps you obviously did have, what would it be?
AB: So many times I was trying to prove other people right. I was trying to show them that their model of success was something that I could emulate ‒ and whether that looked like me wearing clothes like my mentor or aspiring to be or behave like them ‒ when I realized that I could just be myself and myself in my own business, cusses a little bit, maybe a lot a bit …
LR: Maybe a lot a bit.
AB: But when I just realized that I could show up that way, I could be that person, that is when all the cues started to fall into place saying, “Oh. Looking back, you were always into math. Looking back, you were always creative.” And now the profession that I’ve built around that is authentically me. I get on stage in jeans, ripped jeans and a t-shirt. It looks like I can’t even afford jeans that don’t have holes in them.
LR: You probably paid extra for that though.
AB: Yeah, I probably paid extra for these ones. But it’s all about just being me and being comfortable in that and, when I do, how I show up in my business, how I show up for my clients. How I conserve is coming from a place of authenticity instead of constantly striving to be something that I’m not.
LR: And what about all the false turns … crazy like … you’ve tried a lot of different things. We all have, right? But is there a way, something you could have seen … some of us just go, “Yeah, it was all … I had to learn all that, and that was my MBA.” And then others of us go, “You know what? Actually, I could have saved myself some of that time.” Is there a way, something you could have seen that would have had you skip some of your two year false starts or wrong turns?
AB: I believe I could have skipped it for a certain reason, and I’ll give you an example of that, but I also believe fully that everything that did happen along the way was meant to. There’s nothing that I look back on and I’m like, “Oh, shoot, I wish that didn’t happen.” Because I grew. I learned. I got more resilient. I became a better business owner through the struggles. It’s not the fluffy fun rainbows and unicorn time in your business. It is when you’re being tested to the max that you learn how to get through that fire, to rise that phoenix.
For me, an example of that, something that I could have predicted had I given myself the opportunity was that we had a $10,000 fraudulent PayPal chargeback and initiated on us. So we worked with the client for three months, delivered the results and still had that chargeback initiated. We submitted all the documents that we needed to, and PayPal sided with us. However, the credit card company didn’t. And so looking back on that experience, there were red flags. There were things that I could have, if I was paying attention, if I got quiet enough to listen to the cues that were happening around me, that I should have realized that I was getting into bed with a con artist in that example.
AB: And so I say con artist because it’s happened multiple times and I actually know other people who have been in the exact same situation with the exact same person multiple times. But I would never exchange that experience because of how it has allowed me to become a better entrepreneur and allowed me to trust myself in the process because now anytime my intuition is, “Ding, ding, ding. There’s something wrong here,” I take extra time and due diligence and say, “What is it trying to tell me?”
LR: What is it that gets you through the failure after failure? What is the thing that makes you not give up?
So some days I feel like … I don’t feel like, I can’t get out of bed because my mind is going crazy, it’s telling me all the reasons that I’m a failure, it’s telling me why this isn’t going to work, why people don’t care about my message that I have to put out there, and I just give myself the permission to have those days because on the flip side of it, there’s the positive days that light me up. There’s the days that I get on stage and people resonate with the message, or the days when I do training and I help somebody connect to that greater level. And I see those signs of success and helping other people to achieve those, and that’s what keeps me going. It’s just that feeling, that momentum. That’s the thing that just lights me up.
LR: Awesome. So enough about failure. Eventually, you kind of worked through it and you found something. And it’s funny how when you do, when the pieces finally clunk into place, it does take off. You know it, right?
LR: When it happens, you know it. So what is the thing that your unique skill set or your talent that is driving your success now? What makes you …
AB: At first, I would have thought that it was just my intellect. And I know that … When I say it out loud, I feel like I’m being conceited.
LR: Yeah, I’ve seen that, too.
AB: Right? You’re like, “Bond, tone it down, girl.” But I was always put into enrichment curriculums when I was growing up. People always focused on that element of “my brain understands complex things in really easy ways.”
I used to fall asleep in math class and then I’d wake up after the class was taught. My friends would be struggling and I’d look at the board. I’d be like, “Oh, you just do it this way.” And they’re like, “No, I don’t understand how you do that.” So, that used to be my answer, because it was the easy answer. It was the thing that I could hide behind because I didn’t have to step up into the spotlight. I didn’t have to put myself out there; I didn’t have to think about other creative ways that I expressed myself. I was just like “Oh, it’s just ’cause I’m … It’s fine, it’s just ’cause I’m smart.” But it’s not. It’s about making Facebook ads, something that’s super complex, super difficult … The freaking platform itself, the user experience is challenging.
AB: And taking that, and making it entertaining. And relatable. And feel like somebody else can do that. And so that has been what has helped us create momentum in the business. It’s because it’s not about me; it’s about helping the people get results. And the way that we help people get the results is just by simplifying the complexity of Facebook and doing it in a fun and entertaining way. Like, going live on Facebook and dropping some f-bombs gets a point across. And it gets people fired up and excited about Facebook ads. So now they believe that they can go out there and do that. They take the actions. They start to see success, and the momentum builds.
LR: Obviously you teach Facebook advertising as a … your business. And so, is there something, though … I know, it’s a big subject, right? But is there something you could give people that are watching right now, what is the thing of the moment? What is a punchline you could give them that would make … Because everybody’s struggling with this right now … You know, you could be in a hotter market in terms of a problem we’re all having, right? We spend a shit ton of money on Facebook every month. And you know, you’d think, given our budget, that we would have got it all figured out, but it’s a battle. Constantly, right? And still, in the back of our minds, we’re like, “Are we doing this all wrong?” Right? Like, maybe we’re doing it all wrong. So, what is the punchline that would help somebody like me or somebody who’s just getting started to think about Facebook in a smarter way?
AB: I’m gonna say two answers – one for somebody who’s just getting started, and then one for somebody that’s a little bit more advanced in their business. So, for the people that are just getting started, I’m going to tell you, you’re probably not ready for Facebook advertising. So many people wanna think that it is the magic bullet, that if only they understood Facebook ads that is the thing that is going to make them successful. So I just say, “no.” It will amplify what is either going right or going wrong in your business. So, if your sales process is broken, your Facebook ads are just going to break it even more. So for people who are just getting started, you might not be ready for Facebook ads. What you should focus on first is really dialing in that sales process, using the tools available to you to create your sales funnels, your automations – the sequences that will allow you to scale when you bring more attention to your business. So that’s for the newbies.
For the people who are a little bit more advanced, I like to tell them to focus more on the customer journey, from start to finish. ‘Cause most advertisers are just like, “Cold traffic ads to your webinar – go!” Right? So it’s just one touchpoint. And sometimes it works; most times it doesn’t. And then people discount and say Facebook ads don’t work at all. So I just want them to shift their thinking. Instead of it being one ad that leads to the results, I want them to think from start to finish of their customer journey. Through connection, in creating attention, into getting a commitment from your prospects, the lead generation phase. And then through to the sales process, the purchase consideration phase of your business. If you cover all those three things with Facebook ads, you can actually create a curated journey so when they have a first touchpoint with your business, you can direct them exactly where you need them to go to understand if your product or service or offering is a fit for them.
LR: And then once they have that first experience, then you deliver them the second one. Is that the idea?
LR: I’m not saying everybody starts at step one.
AB: Everyone starts at step one and then you can use … Facebook’s got these really rad dynamic audiences, so if somebody watches three seconds of your video, as soon as they watch those three seconds of the video, you can serve them up the next ad, which might be just telling them a little bit more about you and your brand and what you stand for. Or showing a really neat feature of your software. And then once they see that, a few days later you can serve them up the next ad. Maybe they wanna get a demo. Maybe they wanna understand or get a checklist. Something to make a little commitment, which then kicks off the sales funnel – the automation side, the back end side of the business. And as they’re going through that, you can speak to people who are in your email funnels, you can speak to people who hit certain pages of your website, and just again, direct them exactly to where you want them to go in that customer journey.
LR: Awesome. What are you learning right now? What are you struggling with? What is your current challenge?
AB: Ah. What is my current challenge? I am at a place where I’m really good at being a freelancer. I was a terrible agency owner. Just going to straight up admit it. So, one of the things that I am focused on is how to relinquish control over some elements of my business, so that I can focus on growing a rad team.
LR: Yeah. Hard.
AB: Hard. So hard!
LR: Especially when you’ve got so many opinions, like you do.
AB: Yeah. Definitely. I get how you noticed that.
LR: So, you’re still … You’ve around ten years but still you’re starting out. You’ve got a long career ahead of you, but do you have a sense yet of what you’re building? Like, what your legacy is going to be all about?
AB: The Facebook ads side of my business is doing incredible. We are creating partnerships with some really cool brands out there. Really notable brands. But one of the core undertones of my messaging is, “Take who you are authentically and use Facebook ads to amplify that.” Stop trying to fit yourself into the cookie cutter way of doing it. There is no five step blueprint for success. There’s your way of success. And so figure out what that way looks like. Figure out who you are, what you stand for, what your business stands for, and I do say that as a person or as a business. Once you do figure out what those things are, then use all the platforms that we have available. Use all the tools to build things around meeting those needs first and foremost. So for me, Facebook ads are just a tool in helping people to realize that they can just be themselves, and create a life around that.
LR: Beautiful. So, Modern Ontrapreneur. We’re trying to get at what is unique about this moment. Right? It’s … You know, things are changing so fast. New stuff is coming at us a mile a minute. What are the kind of unique opportunities that you see in this moment? And maybe the unique responsibilities that we have as entrepreneurs today?
AB: Ooh, I like that. The unique opportunity is, as the platforms are changing at the speed of light, there are new ways to bring attention to your business that are very cost-effective. So, for example, Facebook right now, They’re focused on video. They wanna dominate video. They’re bringing in new live streaming tools all the time. They’re iterating on that. New custom audiences are coming in. So they’re making it easy for people to bring Facebook live video, live streaming, and video, to audiences for really cheap. So, right now, if you’re not using video, definitely try and figure out how to add that to your marketing toolbox, because it is just really good right now, in terms of cost.
LR: Yeah. And responsibilities we have as entrepreneurs?
AB: We have a responsibility, as people who are learning things, as people who are understanding how to use tools and frameworks. We have a responsibility to make sure that what we are teaching is not going to hurt or harm a business. Especially when you’re dealing with something like Facebook ads, because you’re essentially telling people what to do with their money to get results.
LR: Yeah, it’s a lot of money.
AB: So, people can lose a lot of money. So you need to make sure that in your communication, whether it is Facebook ads or its teaching them how to use different platforms, that you’re empowering them to make their own decisions, and not just teaching in a cookie cutter way, saying, “We got this success this way one time,” but there’s 95% of the puzzle that we’re not talking about. We just need to be transparent about what that success looks like so that people can be empowered to make their own decisions along the way.
LR: Yeah. Awesome. Bond, it’s been a pleasure to have you. Thank you so much for doing it.
AB: Thank you so much.
LR: Would you sign our wall?
AB: Yeah, absolutely!
Want more Modern Ontrapreneur Podcast?
Check out the previous episode featuring Ryan Gromfin of The Restaurant Boss.