Rachel Miller is a serial online entrepreneur and a mom of six kids in five years. She began as a mom blogger and went on to build audiences ranging in the millions. She’s a published author of multiple books, including a best seller that sold more than 100 thousand copies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America as well as national magazines. In 2017, she began teaching others how to craft their own viral content and helped thousands of businesses grow engagement. With her help, her clients have had their content in front of more than 10 million people.
In This Episode
Rachel Miller started creating content for kids but it quickly morphed into something bigger. She discovered her knack for building audiences and connecting to large groups of people. Knowing her friends could benefit from this skill, she invited them to learn how she did it — 47 of them said yes. This was the start of her second business which has helped her friends and clients reach millions of people. In this episode, Rachel shares her strategic approach to building audiences and how you can craft your own viral content.
0:45 How a Mom of Six Got Started
Rachel is an extrovert and felt the need to connect with other people. She started small by creating content for kids and house hacks, but this quickly turned into something much bigger.
1:57 Collecting Audiences
Creating multiple audiences for different niches proved to be a success for Rachel. She turned to her friends and found that many wanted to start a business so, with 47 friends on board, she launched her second business.
3:38 Not All Entrepreneurs Are Extroverts
Even introverts can be entrepreneurs by mirroring their audience back to them, like a “geeky mom” who shares about how she plays dungeons and dragons with her tween.
5:05 Learn About Affiliate Marketing and Creating Products
Rachel has used nine different monetization methods to grow her business. She teaches these methods to her clients along with affiliate marketing and how to create products.
5:46 A Formula for Overwhelmed Moms
With over a decade of experience Rachel found a formula that works — interview your audience, find out what they say about themselves, and create content that validates who they are.
6:42 It’s About Your Audience and Not About You
It’s the opposite of personal branding. When you speak to your audience, it’s about making them look good.
7:56 Find Your Die Hard Fans With Paid Ads
With a budget of $2 per day, Rachel uses paid ads to find the most active users, then taps into the communities that are the most engaged who will help push content into the world.
10:11 A Love for the People
Rachel gives a damn about her audiences and knows that her products will make their lives better. It comes from a real love of connecting with people.
10:58 Make Your Readers Look Good
Talking about your readers’ problems makes them look bad. Position your content in a way that makes your audience look and sound good.
12:11 Geeking Out on Marketing
Even after ten years, Rachel is still having fun learning about Facebook ads, funnels, monetization and how she can use the same tactic for multiple niches.
12:47 How to Love People Better
It’s a two way road. To create fans who truly love you, you have to love them back. Rachel wants to know she helped people make a difference with their customers and really connect with their audience.
13:53 From Bulletin Boards to Social Media
The day of posting a flyer on the community bulletin board is over. We have the ability to communicate with an entire town using Facebook and online platforms.
– Rachel Miller
LR: Welcome to Modern Ontrapreneur. I’m Landon and this is Rachel Miller. She’s a serial online entrepreneur and a mom of six kids in five years. She began as a mom blogger and went on to build audiences ranging in the millions. She’s a published author of multiple books, including a best seller that sold more than 100 thousand copies. She’s been featured on Good Morning America as well as national magazines. In 2017, she began teaching others how to craft their own viral content and helped thousands of businesses grow engagement. With her help, her clients have had their content in front of more than 10 million people. Rachel, thank you so much for being here!
RM: Thank you! I appreciate it, Landon.
LR: This is great! We’re not gonna talk about how you had six kids in five years. Although maybe we will. I want to start again…about what it is you actually do. So you’re at home with five kids in six years, six kids in five years, and you’re trying to figure out what the hell am I gonna do with myself, and then what happened?
RM: I was basically just lonely, and I needed to make a business that would fill that extrovert need that I have which is to talk to people and have people talk to me. So I created content that got people to engage with me.
LR: Content. What content?
RM: It began with kids activities. Like Play-Doh and recipes with your kids.
LR: How to make it?
RM: How to make Play-Doh, how to make slime, cookies your kids would eat.
LR: You did not do the how to make slime videos?
RM: Oh, my word! We did, yeah.
LR: My daughters probably watched those for days.
RM: I know. My daughter now makes them.
LR: So does mine. I’ve got stacks and stacks of slime jars.
RM: So I started with content and then house hacks to help parents, and then it morphed because eventually you get tired of play-doh, you get tired of glitter, and then it morphed into my second site, which is house tips. So how to repair a garbage disposal, how to buy a vacuum cleaner that takes care of…
LR: You seriously just like, “Whatever…get it on YouTube.”
RM: Yep, pretty much.
RM: Pretty much. I like collecting people, and so that’s truly what it is. I like collecting people so I created an audience of pre-school parents. Then I created an audience of people that want to fix their houses. Then I created an audience of cat lovers. It’s kind of a joke a bit because I actually don’t have cats, but it’s a longer story than for today. And then I made an audience of crock pot people, and I also made an audience for make-up and another one. So I asked a hundred of my friends, “Do you want to do this too? I’ve made all these audiences. Do you want to learn how to make an audience?”
LR: Why would they want to do that?
RM: Because they wanted their own businesses.
LR: How did you monetize these audiences?
RM: Affiliate sales, product sales. I had seven private label products, my books, courses.
LR: Okay so now they’re like, “Yes I do want to do this.”
RM: 47 of them on Halloween said yes. On Halloween.
LR: The people you collected to come to your house.
RM: The other ones didn’t know.
LR: They’re like, “Trick or treat.” You’re like, “Do you want to build an ottoman?”
RM: No, a hundred people on my list. So I started my second business, which is teaching people how to grow audiences, with a hundred people on my list. I emailed them on Halloween. 47 said yes, and the other ones were trick or treating with their kids so they didn’t get the email.
RM: Yeah. I know.
LR: That’s amazing.
RM: And my business was born. This new business.
LR: This new business. And so now you’re teaching people how to build audiences. So, how do you do this?
RM: Essentially you want to have conversations with people. If you can mirror a person back to themselves, they tend to talk to you more. So if I sit similar to you, you see there, more interested. So it’s the same type of thing that you do with your audience like you would do in real life. I just make content that I know my audience would say about themselves.
LR: So, I’m curious because you’re obviously an extrovert, like you said, and an engaging person. Somebody that will talk to you about cats or crock pots.
RM: Deadly, and I don’t cook.
LR: I presume that not all of the people, the 47 people that started with you, are as engaging of people. How has this process worked for them?
RM: We’ve had 10 people grow audiences … Excuse me. We’ve had 34 people grow audiences to over 10 million, reach a single post to over 10 million, and some of those people are introverts. One of my clients, she’s extreme introvert. You will not see her picture on her own wall and I’m friends with her. So you won’t see her online. She grew her audience from zero to a million in one year, one month, one week. So even introverts can do this because introverts who love people, it’s the same thing. They want to mirror their audience back to them. So it’s almost perfect for introverts as well.
LR: Sitting like me is one thing, but how do you mirror somebody on Instagram?
RM: Well I’m a geeky mom. So what does a geeky mom want to say about herself to her friends? What kind of content does she want to engage with? What kind of post does she say? She might talk about how she was playing Dungeons & Dragons with her tween. That might be something she would talk about. So, how can you position that content as if she was saying it.
LR: Because people want to know they’re not the only ones playing Dungeons & Dragons with their tween.
LR: Got it. So then you build these audiences and then you’re teaching people how to do affiliate marketing basically. Or create products, write books.
RM: Affiliate marketing, create products, write books. We’ve got nine different monetization methods that I’ve used and I’ve grown.
LR: So this is a full on program at this point.
RM: The monetization one is kind of a side. We focus on just building the audience, and then if people want to know how to monetize it … Honestly you can only be truly good at one thing and I’m okay at monetizing at all those nine methods. I’ve made over $3000 a month on each of them, but I know people who’ve made a hundred thousand on each of those monetization methods. So I kind of give a little taste and then direct you to the person that’s best to teach those.
LR: Yeah, got that. So you’ve been at this for … Well you said your kids were up to 12 now, so you’ve been at this for a decade-ish.
RM: Yes, I’ve been growing audiences for over a decade.
LR: If you could give your early overwhelmed mom a bit of advice about how to have done this more smoothly, or something that would have smoothed the road for the next person, what would it be?
RM: To interview your audience first. Find out what they say about themselves. Create content that says that.
LR: Literally create content that says that, because people just want validation.
RM: They want validation of who they are. They want to look good to their friends and family on social media. So when they comment on your post, they’re commenting knowing that their sister’s watching on their comments. They’re sharing, knowing that someone is seeing their shares so, they’re not going to share my story of my success. They’re going to share something that shows them that they’re successful.
LR: So the like or the comment is really more about how they look out there.
RM: It’s all about your audience and not about you and not about your product. I can sell more of my product without my face on it.
LR: Yeah. Well yeah, of course.
RM: I know there’s a lot of people that love personal branding so it’s kind of the opposite of personal branding a little bit.
LR: It’s the opposite of personal branding because you’re not branding?
RM: Yourself. You’re branding your audience.
LR: You’re branding your audience as a group of people that are quirky, weird in this particular weird way, and are proud about it.
RM: Yeah, or they love their local town. You’re a realtor and you’re branding the people that love this town, and you happen to say that the lost dog is near the house that you’re selling on this street, if you’re interested in buying the house right there. The people, when you’re collecting them, you’re collecting the people who love a certain topic.
I collect crock pot people, and I love crock pot people, and we talk about crock pots, and I help them look like good cooks to their friends and family with the content. Even though I don’t cook. My cat people, I don’t own a cat, but I love cat people too. I can talk that I’m a cat’s mom, because I interviewed my cat people to find out what they say about themselves, and they say things like, “I’m a cat’s mom. I’m a crazy cat lady. I take care of cats.” So the words that they literally use, I will use those words in all my content.
LR: And then let it just be viral. Do you advertise?
RM: I do advise some advertising. So that’s just to find where your die-hard fans are. So with cat people, I had to find out where cat people are most passionate and most active on Facebook, so I can find that cat person that knows all the other crazy cat people. If I find her, she’s going to share that content and, when she shares it, the people who see it are also cat lovers, and so now my content has a chance of amplifying. I use ads to target that specific person, to start my page.
LR: Hold on. You said you use ads to find out where they are, but you can find out where they are without the ads.
RM: You can find out where they are without the ads, but it takes a little bit more time. When I use my ads, I use like $2 a day. So with one of the pages that we grew, the introvert I told you who grew her page to a million, she did it with $683 in total ad spend.
LR: In total, so you’re putting out these low dollar ads, getting a bunch of views and some clicks or whatever, comments?
RM: The goal in that is to find where people are most active in that niche.
LR: What pages? Where the big pages are?
RM: So in cat niche, I didn’t want the big cat pages. What I wanted was the big cat page that has everyone who can’t help themselves but comment, and share, and like whenever I post a cat thing. So I found them at no kill shelters.
LR: So the most active ones.
RM: I could find the big cat pages, but they had people who weren’t necessarily … They loved cats but they weren’t passionate, gung-ho, crazy bunkos about cats. I find the bunko crazy ones inside of no kill shelters. Now I don’t want to target “Grumpy Cat,” even though they’re a massive cat one. I don’t want to target “I Love my Cat,” even though that’s a massive audience. I want to target these big cities and their no kill shelters, because that person who likes that page, they also are friends with the most other cat people, and they can’t resist a cat in their feed. They have to comment and share. So then they push my content out to the world.
LR: Very strategic.
RM: It’s really fun, and Audience Insights in Facebook tells you exactly who the most active people are, so you know where you can begin putting that $2 of ad spend.
LR: Yeah, very interesting. What do you feel like … I mean building audiences seems like the most obvious answer here, but what do you feel like your unique skill set is?
RM: Collecting people.
LR: Collecting people. It’s a little bit sketchy.
RM: Essentially if you love people
LR: Are they always alive?
RM: That sounds weird, yeah, that sounds weird. I don’t know why I say that one, I mean it sounds weird but truly that’s what it is. If you love people, you’re going to serve them. You’re going to ask, “How can I make your day, your life, better?” When you do that, you love them, you serve them, you can also sell to them because it kind of changes the sales perspective from I’m selling you my product, to I’m serving you and here’s this product that’s going to make your life awesome and amazing, because you’re already awesome and amazing, but it’s going to make you even a little bit better.
LR: So the unique skill set in there was?
RM: Loving people.
LR: Just loving people really.
LR: Just giving a damn.
RM: Yeah, giving a damn. That’s it.
LR: Yeah. I think that’s right. It’s interesting because people in this chair a lot of times say things like, “I want to serve, I make sure it’s all about them. I don’t talk about my problems, I talk about their problems,” but underlying all that really is just really being motivated to make a difference.
RM: And make them look good because if you truly love someone, you’ll make them look good. Sometimes talking about their problems makes them look bad. So, for example, in my DIY home site, if I talked about, “10 ways to clean your carpets,” and your mother or your friend shares it, what does that say about them?
LR: Dirty carpets obviously.
RM: That they got dirty carpets.
LR: Yeah, gross.
RM: That doesn’t make them look good. So you want to share your content in such a way that makes them, your reader, look like they’re amazing even if their carpets are dirty. So it would be something like, “10 ways to get your carpets to clean themselves,” or “10 ways to encourage your husband to clean the carpets.” The carpet’s not her fault now. The carpets cleaning itself.
LR: Lazy ass husband.
RM: That’s shareable. It’s just positioning the same content in a way in which it makes your audience look good.
LR: Good insights. What do you feel like you’re learning right now? What are you the most engaged in the next level for you?
RM: I’m totally geeking out about marketing and everything else right now, so I’m stuck in that. I’m having a lot of fun with it. Funnels and Facebook funnels and collecting audiences, yeah.
LR: The monetization part?
LR: Even 10 years in? You’ve been at this for a while.
RM: Yeah. You like one thing, you just stick with it, you know?
LR: Well ot you, you got cats and crock pots and …
RM: It’s the same thing though. It’s just collecting different audiences, but I’m doing the same tactics with those audiences.
LR: Well, what do you feel like you’d like your legacy to be when you look back on your career 20 years from now? What do you want it to have been all about?
RM: I’d love for it to be that I’ve taught people to love other people better. Because that’s what we’re doing when we’re marketing…..essentially loving people and serving them, and making a difference in our audience’s lives. And if I can help people make a difference in their customers’ lives, that would be awesome.
LR: What about people who don’t love people?
RM: Then maybe you shouldn’t go into marketing.
LR: Don’t go into marketing. So you think it’s an intrinsic thing, that you need to love people to begin with, and then you’re talking about…
RM: For the engagement yes. You could use ads if you didn’t love people and kind of brute force sales. True. But if you’re going to get them to become a die-hard fan of yours and love you and engage with you, you have to love them back. It comes across on the camera. It comes across in your content. Yeah, you have to love them.
LR: And so for you it’s about how people express that in a way that works and feels authentic, and…
RM: Makes a difference.
LR: Makes a difference, yeah. Got it. That’s exciting.
RM: It is.
LR: So Modern Ontrapreneur, to try and get at what’s unique about this moment in history and even in the 10 years that you’ve been at this, or whatever it has been…
RM: It’s exploded this.
LR: It’s changed a lot right? So what do you feel like that’s unique about being an entrepreneur today?
RM: Oh, my word. If we were an entrepreneur 10 years ago, we’d be using bulletin boards and those street things, and those people that put those signs out on the road. They’re like $10 a sign and they’re like posting them on the side of the street, I’m like, “How’s that working for you?” With the price of a single sign, we can reach a whole town using Facebook and get those people to talk to us. No one’s talking to that sign on the side of the road that someone’s putting out in little … Yeah.
LR: So our ability to reach audiences is obvious.
RM: Reach. Target. It will become more expensive because those people who are doing the door-to-door, putting the lanyards on peoples doors and stuff, you know those papers that we all have stuffed in our doors? That’s going to go down right?
RM: We’re going to see a decrease in that. We’re going to see a decrease, I think, in the junk mail in our physical box as people are moving more to … They’re realizing that Facebook and Google … Regular businesses are seeing the benefit of going online, and that also means it’s glutted so our ad prices are going up. Which is why I’m in demand because I help you have lower ad prices.
LR: Because you’re doing it
RM: With $2 a day, yeah. That reaches millions, yeah.
LR: Well hey, thank you so much for being here.
RM: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
LR: This is awesome, I really like that conversation. Would you sign our wall?
RM: Of course.
LR: Awesome, thank you.
Want more Modern Ontrapreneur Podcast?
Check out the previous episode featuring Marcela DeVivo, found of Gryffin.