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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
Entrepreneurship allows for freedom—in business and in life. In this episode, Sandra van der Lee of Damn Copy joins us to share how she’s pursuing the digital nomad life, how she’s adjusting her business to fit her lifestyle, but also exploring opportunities to serve her clients well! Listen in as she shares how she’s been traveling country to country for the last five years, along with the good and bad that comes with the life of a digital nomad!
The Business-First Creatives Podcast is brought to you by CRM and Dubsado expert Colie James. Join Colie each week as she discuss how to build a business that brings you joy and a paycheck! From business advice with fellow entrepreneurs to sharing automation tips and tricks, Colie and her guests are sharing industry trends and resources, along with a little bit of sarcasm.
Sandra van der Lee is the brains and the badass behind Damn Copy, where she writes conversion copy for biz owners and sells templates so you can get great conversion copy without the custom price tag. She also teaches service providers how to be more profitable and sell without stress.
Here are the highlights…
[:48] Get to Know Sandra
[2:09] Sandra’s Journey to Entrepreneurship
[6:55] From Designer to Copy Conversion
[11:44] Creating the Template Shop
[23:08] Biggest Fuck Up
[36:27] Why Bonuses Aren’t Necessary
[41:05] Where She’ll Be Traveling To Next
[43:22] Business Plans for Next 12 Months
Dubsado – Use COLIEJAMES for 30% off your first payment, month or year!
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello everyone and welcome back to the Business First Creatives podcast. I have an amazing guest today, Sandra from Damn Copy. She is like one of the most brilliant people. First of all, you guys know I love to cuss, so the fact that her business name is damn copy is amazing . So I’m gonna let her tell.
Who she is, where she’s from, where she currently is, and you know who she services. Because that is a big part of this podcast is talking about where she’s from versus where she lives her life Now,
Sandra: okay. So I’m originally Dutch from the Netherlands. people know us as blunt which is maybe why my company’s called Damn Copy. I am currently in the beautiful Laguna Hills, California. This is a
Sandra: we’re gonna talk about digital. No, Met Life probably later. And I have probably run my business from four different continents in the last five years,
I dunno, I’d have to count. And am a conversion copywriter over at Damn Copy. So I do custom copy projects. I’ve done a lot of sales pages and sales emails, like selling over emails, sales pitch. That’s kind of my jam. I sell templates and then I have courses and programs because my strategic kickstart brain can’t getting all out into people’s
so yeah, I mainly work with, B2B service course creators, et cetera. then I have a smaller subset of to C who are. don’t wanna say they’re my favorite, like I love most of my clients, but they’re just such a fun challenge because the B2C niche is a little bit differently. So for me, that really gives me so much variety in the kind of work I do. And they, you know, they position differently, they speak differently, they price differently. So that’s just a really fun, sort of side effect affected my business. so that’s who I work with.
Anything else? Did I
Colie: No. I’m gonna get right in. So, Sandra,
did you become an entrepreneur? Like what did you do before you owned your own business and how did you start your own
Sandra: All right, so my story is kind of different and fun. Um, I’ve actually never had a regular grown up job in the sense that I have a master’s degree. So I did a research master’s and by that time I’d already, I went on my first solo trip when I was I discovered I love to travel. That was in my first year of university.
Sandra: And by the time my masters rolled around or my bachelor finish is like, I wanna do something where I can travel. So the a masters in, Tourism Society and Environment, which is kind of about the impacts of travel and tourism. Super fascinating except that afterwards you can go into research or you can go into some kind of job consultancy thing.
And by that time I kind of realized that a job is a lie, right? Like if you do really good work, You might get a 20% pay increase and a hundred percent responsibility
know, there’s a limit to how much you’re allowed to travel.
The only perk is
If you make really good money for the company that goes to the stockholders in larger companies.
Right. Or to the bonus for your boss’s boss’s boss, but not to you.
Sandra: So I was just kind of looking at it, going like, Can I swear on this podcast?
Sandra: Okay. So I just kind of looked at it and went like, This is a bunch of bullshit, right? Like I started applying for jobs at consultancy firms and universities and there were some really cool things, but I was like, Okay, first of all, starting salary kindness sucks. Time off is not so bad, right? In Europe
Sandra: We got a lot more time off, but still, I was like, yeah, okay, so that gets me my six weeks trip in the summer, but what am I gonna do in the winter? Right? Like what ? I just kind of went like, um, I’ve had two pretty gnarly like long-term interview things where.
It went wrong where I thought I would, was pretty much guaranteed to have a job, and then one of them was a recruitment agency that did something wrong and suddenly I didn’t have a job and I just like, you know. Fuck it. how this? and I made an appointment and it was this incredibly hot summer’s day.
was going to the beach, right? Because that’s where you have to go to the chamber of commercials near the beach. I was like nicely dressed up cuz I was going to the Chamber of Co with all these beach goers and it was so busy and like public was crazy. Uh, I don’t know, it wasn’t even a holiday, but everyone was just had taken the day off to go to the beach and I was like, going to the Chamber of Commerces.
I was like, I guess I’ll be a web designer now because I can do websites on Squarespace, . so yeah, that’s kind of how I got started and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it because it is, you know, the of years were rough. Yes. didn’t know anything. I had no network. I had, you know, very little skills. I would not recommend that you start the way I did. That said, you know, it took a few years to get kind of financially stable, enough to be like, now I’m traveling. And then, you know, free years later, you know, for free years. Everyone like, Are you sure? Shouldn’t you look for a job? You’re struggling.
You’re working all the time. It’s not really happening. You’re not really making, you know, the starting salary at that point started to look really good ,
Sandra: right? Those first two years was like, Damn, I should have taken a job after all. And then I took off traveling and everyone was like, Oh, I want that too.
Sandra: so that’s kinda how I got started. Yeah.
Colie: I mean, you said a couple things and
we’re gonna go a couple different directions, but just to let you know, I have the same feeling when I’m now in the business world people are like, Oh, my corporate job, cuz I’m like, Oh no, I never had one of those. So went straight from undergrad. To graduate school,
to teaching, being an adjunct, having a graduate teaching assistantship, a graduate research assistantship.
I did all of that and then I just quit to be a stay-at-home wife slash stay-at-home mom for a few years. So, . I never did the corporate life, so I’m with you. When people talk about that, I’m like, No. I mean, I had a boss in academia, but being in academia is so different like
an actual corporate hub
Colie: I am like you in that.
How I created my business was after I had my daughter and we were ready to put her in preschool and I was thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I was like, Well, I’m not going back to the classroom. So let’s figure out what else I’m gonna do. I wanted to open a childcare center, or I wanted to be a real estate agent.
Like I was looking for things
that basically no one else would tell me what to do. I be the boss. And when I realized that, I was like, Oh, well what can I just start myself? So that’s how I became a photographer before I did, you know, the system setups that I do. But I wanna go backwards because I actually did not know that you were like, Oh, let me design Squarespace websites.
So Sandra, how did you go from Squarespace websites into being a copy conversion? I,
Sandra: Oh, so, so the website thing was more of a, what is a service I can package up and do? And by that time I’d been kind of in the blogging world and tinkering around with websites. I’m like, I don’t understand why people are on WordPress. It’s the worst know, there are lots of ugly websites out there, so I’m like, it’ll be okay to find clients, I guess. And when I started doing that, what very often that the people I ended up working with, they.
Colie: Had no copy
Sandra: Well, I, no, like, not even like that. They just had other marketing needs where it was like, Ah, but we should probably do a newsletter and we should probably do blogs and we need, can you make some graphics for this and that.
So it kind of morphed and that, you know, that help for me to take the step of being like digital nomad instead of,
Sandra: my parents’ attic for free, right? Like that was the first couple years, is living in my parents’ attic. where like a retainer feels safe. And especially even if I wanted to rent an apartment, like back in my country, you need to make like free or four times to rent right now.
Sandra: was pretty steep. it’s like retainers will help me get that consistent money and so it makes me feel safe because I’m not constantly hustling for clients. There’s a base level of money. I started just working on like hourly marketing retainers and I would do their website stuff, but I would also do, you know, Write their newsletters, scheduled them in that sort of, cuz a lot of people had nothing, right?
They’re like, Well, we have a website, but there wasn’t any strategy on it. and how, how that website, would help them was also of an afterthought. which was, you know, especially at the beginning, not as much in the online but more like small consulting firms, like little local that sort of thing. So it kind of developed and then, During, So I became a digital Noma at the end of 2018 and then 2019 So I looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got stuck in Bali when the borders closed for Australia. So I had
Sandra: visa. For Australia. And then my friend from the Netherlands was in Bali and she kept like, Here’s my $1 coffee, here’s my co-working.
It has a swimming pool. And it’s like, okay, fine. See you next week. Right? I was like,
Sandra: I’m done living in a hostel in Australia. It’s great. But now I want like lush Bali, my friends Digital nomads It’ll be fun. I got sick there, so I called Dengue Fever and I ended up in the hospital.
So I got really, really
Sandra: the borders to Australia closed So I couldn’t go back. and that was kind of a year and a half where, you know, the first six months I barely worked, which kind of worked out because that was the first lockdowns in the US. I lost half of my clients overnight. Pretty much like half of my workload just evaporated, was fine because that was kind of simultaneously when I was in the hospital and getting out. And I was living there. It was the, the cheapest time ever. Right? Cuz the island was empty.
Sandra: It was very interesting, you know, I got lucky being there, but it was a very interesting time. So it was this thing where I could kind of scrape by even on what little clients I had left and a little here and a little there.
I just, at some point I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
Sandra: and there was just this little voice. I was like, I wanna write more. And I kind of packaged that up into a sales page, was just like, What do I love to write that most people complain about? I love writing sales pages. Right?
Colie: Which is so
Sandra: thing was
one likes writing sales
Sandra: I do.
And I think that for me it’s like, I love what I create. So writing the copy to sell it is a fun experience. Like I love it. And the thing is, because I can design too, right? Like I design on the page. I don’t, for clients, I write in a Google doc, for myself, I literally write into squares. I design
Colie: It awesome
Sandra: time, which is a really big advantage for sure. yeah, so I packaged it up into a little offer stuck like a ridiculous price point on it.
Colie: I remember that price point
us what that price point
Sandra: I think it was like four hundred and eighty
Colie: Yeah, it under 500. Mm-hmm
Sandra: was wild. Like it was this, this thing, but then to me, like making $500 in a day would make a huge difference.
Colie: you were still in Bali.
Sandra: yeah. So I didn’t put, I think I put this together while I was in value and I didn’t start selling it until I came back to the Netherlands, to my parents. and then I just increased often.
Colie: I did that too with my Dubsado
Sandra: And I love
Colie: 1250 and every three people I just raced it
Sandra: then there’s this launch effect too of like, look, the price is going up.
Colie: Mm-hmm. Book now
Sandra: in advance. I booked out months in advance because it was like, Look, guys, price is going up. These are the spots do you want ’em. So that’s
Colie: and so, okay, so we’re designing websites Squarespace, and then you transitioned into writing sales pages. So then what was the impetus for you to leave, Well, you still do one-to-one services, so let me
not say leave but what, what pushed you to create your template shop?
Sandra: so that was just this thing where I had more people that wanted to work with me than I had time to actually write.
Colie: Good problem to have.
Sandra: Yeah, but there have been months where I write, like on Tuesdays and on Thursdays, and it’s, there’s just no creative juice. Like if you, if you try to write like two sales pages a week and then some of them come with sales emails too, right?
There was just no more space. And the other thing was that people asked me for help with things that I don’t specialize in and
Sandra: well can create a process for this. Right? Because the thing about how I do sales pages is that people love to work with cuz it’s like pick a day, you fill out the form, I email you, follow up questions, or I email you.
Okay, I’ve got it. on the day I write, I make a little video, I deliver your copy. There’s no calls, right? I
Sandra: bother you. And the result is good, right?
Sandra: 99.99% of the clients love their results. So it’s this thing where it’s really easy because normally copywriters are like, We need to grab the nuggets, right?
And I go into what you already have, and I go into your social media and I go into your form. And so I have a process and I have a set of questions. Helps me pull out what I need without it being a painful, experience.
Sandra: Um, and I was like, Well, I can develop this for about pages, for homepages, for websites, for social posts, right?
is it worth it because I can’t, you know, I can’t keep up with the amount of client work I
Colie: You already have Mm.
Sandra: why would I add more Um, and that’s where the template shop really came in, where I was like, Wouldn’t it be cool
Colie: that’s just so interesting though. So I thought you created the templates because you had more work than you could do, and so you wanted to help more people with their sales pages
Sandra: It’s both, right? Like it’s
Colie: me that it was like, Yeah, but I also did it because there are these things that I don’t think that I’m an expert in, but that I can still help you with. so you created those kinds of templates. That’s
Sandra: then it’s this thing too of like, know, I have a Dubsado set up for my sales pages and for my sales email sequences. , but then if I’m gonna take this process and do it for different types of things, like I need 10 more automated right? When I don’t have the time to serve my sales page clients.
So it just didn’t make a, I was like, this is just adding a lot of work and effort for, you know, unless I get free more Sandra in this
Sandra: no way we’re, I’m gonna be able to do this. Right. So it was also a conscious choice of like, do I wanna go agency? Do I wanna go direction? Um, you know, the other alternative is do you go really high end and only work with a small amount
Sandra: on larger projects?
Right. So there are options, but at the time I was like, I know I can reverse what I do for other things. It’s just a lot of work for someone who’s booked out a few months in advance,
it didn’t make any sense.
Colie: So let’s talk about those
automated sequences. See that
She mentioned Dubsado and I didn’t have to ask her. I I, knew you would eventually, I mean, I had faith in you, Sandra,
Sandra: Okay. Okay.
Colie: One of the things Thank you.
So, and just disclaimer guys, I did not set up her do Sodo, just to put that out there.
That’s not why
Sandra’s here. But I was listening to your training inside of a summit
Sandra: Mm-hmm. .
Colie: what you were saying was that, you know, once you got that process automated, it made it to where you were able to help more sales page clients. Because when you’re trying to do like the booking process by yourself and you’re trying to.
Like you were, you were helping way less people then. So how did your business change after you implemented systems to your sales page and email clients?
Sandra: ,it just made it easier. So to me, like a sales page is the best sales pa salesperson in my business ever because it sits there the whole day. It doesn’t require a salary, it doesn’t drink coffee. It just sits there and does my job me. Right. . But then the thing is, if people still need to reach out to me, like there’s still that effort and you know, I’m not gonna lie, there was a moment last year where. I was increasing the price. This was way back at the beginning. I think it was the first sort of second time. I raised the price a
Sandra: and I literally had like a paper sheet with like the dates and penciled, and this person wanted like five sales pitch and this one was penciled in and people were in my dms, but then I needed to make sure they got their contract and if they didn’t confirm, it literally came to where someone would message me on Facebook.
I would message them back three hours later, would be asleep because of their time zone. And the next day I had to be like, Sorry, the spots that I told
Colie: It’s gone.
Sandra: gone now. Right. But it was literally me and a sheet and a pencil
Colie: sounds bloody awful. Sandra
Sandra: Honestly, like it was a really fun time because I was like, Look, who’s miss popular?
Like, right? Like that sort of represented for me, like free months of steady client works, like all different clients, all one off, right? It’s not the most strategic way of,
Sandra: know, the most strategic way would be to get them on retainer or to like fill it up with four people consistently and call it done, but it wasn’t as easy. so that was, you know, when I just started setting this up and I ended. . I hired someone for certain parts, and then I ended up doing a public with dubbins Mm. made and I hacked the scheduler in there. So it’s Yeah, right? It’s not perfect, but it works.
And I remember the first time that I was walking the dog and I
looked in my email
Colie: and you paid notification.
Sandra: got, I got like, no. So the thing for me is I have to do v a t, so I still do some things manually.
Sandra: is manual just
Sandra: fat numbers. But I got like four emails and it was, from Blue Chic, it’s the WordPress
Sandra: who was, I remember her from when I started looking into online business and finding her own Pinterest.
Right. So she was, to me that was like Blue Chic
Colie: You made it.
Sandra: they were around like four years ago when I just started. Right. and it was just Kathy. She, I didn’t know her. We never spoke. She just a day, filled out the form, filled out the prep work, I literally kind of came back and I sent her an invoice and sent her a prep work and she paid.
And it was like I was walking the dog and I saw that someone famous book to me, right? And I said, This is
Sandra: Right. I don’t even, We don’t know each other. Right. She just heard my name, found me somewhere, and just went on the website, booked herself in, and that to me
was just like magic. was like
Colie: Auto magic Auto magic guys.
Sandra: That was
Colie: So, now I’ve got a question because something
mind. You know, we talk a lot about lifetime value of our
clients and when you said, Oh, it would be smarter if I put them on retainer. , but So what is like, do you have recurring clients? Cuz like I know for example, Elizabeth Goddard hired you for like one or two and then she hired
you for a bunch of them.
Sandra: hired me for one and then for eight more. And then, Oh, I have three things here and emails. Yeah. So
Colie: mean she’s probably.
Colie: She’s probably the client that keeps on giving. But do you have more Lizzies, like
Sandra: Um, so.
Colie: for like
additional sales pages or additional sales
emails? Or are you working with most of your clients? Just the one time.
Sandra: no. So lots of people do end up coming back for, you know, a second sales page. I’ve had people come back like eight months later, was like, I was stupid. Can I now get the emails for the sales page you wrote eight months ago? Because we’re trying to get them into a funnel, right? So that sort of thing happens. And then now, so I’ve currently got of my done for you writing services wait listed. And I have the copy quickie, which is like a 90 minute intensive where you need, right? This is kind of my other, other solutions for, Oh, you need help with your about page, You book this, you get me for 90 minutes.
Colie: Pick my brain. Mm-hmm.
Sandra: And I’ve done a few of them now where it’s. They walk away with different messaging or they walk away with like, Okay, cool, so now we have better emails, but we also have a plan to restructure this entire company.
Sandra: I was like, Damn. And I, I literally come off these calls, I’m like, this should be probably 10 times the price, what we just did in 90 minutes.
Colie: totally do that too.
Sandra: I can’t help myself,
Colie: know when I do Dubsado setups
that someone often tells me is, Okay, but you gave me so much more than like my Dubsado Like one client I was doing and she wanted to do like what she was calling a repeat client day, like you. She has so many clients and those people, she’s a photographer.
Those people didn’t really need like the whole song in dance. They also didn’t need as much time because she’d already gotten to know their family, to know their kids. And when she told me how she was planning on doing this, I was like, No, that makes no sense. We’re gonna do it this way. then she told me later that she sold out all her slots in two days.
And I was like, Oh my God, that’s amazing. I’m gonna put that on my sales page somewhere.
Sandra: That’s, that’s incredible.
Colie: I mean, sometimes when it comes to
people with one thing, we end up giving them strategy for other because like you said, we just can’t help ourselves.
Sandra: Yeah. And it all kind of works together, right? Like if, you know, I’ve had people come to me and I’m like, well, There was one in particular. It’s, they’re targeting really high end, high net worth individuals, right? Cause they work for, donations and doing
the people making a donation site, it’s like, Look, you can hire me to fix all of this messaging, but if you don’t fix the design, like, , you’re asking people to trust you with,
Colie: A lot of money.
Sandra: upwards of $50,000 into the millions.
Sandra: like, like a fricking toddler made it. I didn’t say it like that, but I was like, that’s just a reality of your client. Like it needs to look high end and sound high end. And right now it does neither. So it’s like, yeah, great. We fixed the emails, but like, you know, unless these people never actually look at your website, it’s not gonna, But yeah.
Back to the original question, I do see where there’s people who get me for a sales page and then another one and then some emails, and then they come in for a copy quickie. Cause they’re like, you know, there’s one returning V to C client that I absolutely love she’s coming back because now she’s doing a summit and she’s like, How do I position this?
What should a tagline be? Here’s what we’re selling after. I’m stuck on the naming process. Right. There is a bunch of them. And then the funny thing is that they will often also buy my templates,
Colie: as I have templates
Sandra: done for you clients is not usually the same as the sort of digital product
Sandra: I see that a lot of my people
get everything or get both.
Colie: Well, because when they work with you, they’re seeing the value and they’re like, Okay, well maybe I don’t need her to do this, but she’s this template for this, so let me try it I mean, I have several of your templates, as you know,
Colie: So let’s back up because I I don’t think that this is a good time to ask, but I wanna make sure that I So I ask every single person on my podcast, What was your biggest fuck up in your business? What did it cost you and what did you learn from it? And I’m only asking you this at
this point because we’ve talked about your automations, we’ve talked about all your different and it all seems really great.
I mean, I’m, I’m tempted to go live a digital, no med life,
Colie: although I have a husband and a kid,
Sandra: know why you ask. I never fuck up. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. Uh, yeah, no, I actually, I had to, I’m glad you sent me this as a preparation question cuz if you just asked me
this, I would’ve just sat here like I never fuck up. Which is like completely untrue,
Colie: And Sandra, that’s one of my fuck ups. Recently, to send it to of the clients that I already knew and I didn’t real, or one of my guests that
I already knew and I didn’t realize that they didn’t know that I asked that question. And so then we sat here in silence for like two minutes while she thought of her answer.
So that’s why I to you yesterday. I was like, Let me make sure that she
Sandra: I was, Yeah. No, that’s good. You know, aside from, think there’s a big part of my personality and kind of looking back where it’s like it would’ve been smarter if I figured out what I wanted to do immediately. Then again, I started copywriting and I love it, but I’m also like, Well, here’s my personal brand where I also, of course, it’s on this because this is what I do and I wanna teach it.
And everyone, it’s amazing, right? Like, I can’t help myself. I love new products, I love I love sharing what I know. So I think that, you know, everyone’s like, you need to specialize and you need a niche and you need to be known for something. And I’m kind of like, well, yes, but also people work with me because they like me.
I have people that followed me all the way from my little marketing retainers to my high end copywriting to
Sandra: I offered that. So it’s this thing where, know, buy into view on the world. So I feel like that advice, it would’ve been easier if you’re the kind of person that can focus and nation specialize.
It’s easier for sure. So yeah, looking at it, I wouldn’t call that the biggest fuck up, but that is a thing where I’m like, Oh, that would’ve been an advantage if there was one thing that I would absolutely love for now and forever in the future. and other than that, I think that my biggest fuck up or.
Things where, an area where I’ve struggled is that as I grow, I’m like, I need help with certain things and I’ve definitely hired the wrong help or picked the wrong person for the job. I think a part of that is also like I hired last year and this was. Significant, like a significant investment and kind of scared me.
I hired a content creator on a retainer cause it was like, I need consistent social media and blogs and SEO and all that stuff. Right? And it makes complete sense. And I wanted someone that worked on a package because I’m like, I don’t really care about your hourly rate. I need this work to get done. I wanna know what I’m getting.
I wanna know what I’m paying. And I kind of got on the call, but I already decided I was gonna work with her cause she was one of the very few people that actually worked the way I prefer where you have a package and you have set outcomes instead of, well it might cost you around this and this is maybe what I can do in that time. Like it just a fan
that either. Sandra
Sandra: I’m it doesn’t work. Like someone needs to tell them all, it doesn’t work. and you know, it was great and they did really good work and. You know, with the damn copy branding, there’s almost no one’s graphics I actually like, that’s kind of a, difficult thing. but they did really great work and they got me great blog posts and great Instagram captions and all this great stuff.
The problem is that it just sits in my Google Drive
they don’t actually schedule it
in for you,
Colie: you know what Sandra
Colie: Yes. I, I made that mistake. And it’s actually similar to you. I hired someone to write a sales page for me, right? And I legitimately did not consider that while I was sa having, I was saving time by having her write it. I then had to find the time to put it into the website.
Colie: so then I was like, Oh,
if I ever do this again, I’m gonna hire someone that does both, because
then I just kind of
Sandra: team that does
Colie: Yes. And so I just kind of,
with it and then was like, Oh, well I need to hire someone for this. So I tried to hire someone. I think I sent out like three different requests and I didn’t get a response from any of them. And
like, You know what I know I know. So you know what I did? I sat down and I did it on myself, and then I heard from one of them, like a week after I’d finished.
But I was thinking to myself, I had contacted you like two weeks ago. really? It was a very weird thing, but
Sandra: I’ve had
Colie: thinking through.
Sandra: they don’t
Sandra: like Uh, are you like a hundred percent booked out? Like, are you, And then at the same time, these are often people that complain about not getting clients. Like, well, maybe respond to the leads you do get. Right? Like what?
Colie: Yeah, no. So I do think, I mean, and it’s, I’ve heard the one about hiring the wrong person before, but I have not heard yet on the podcast where someone didn’t solidly think through, like they hired the right person, but then they didn’t think of the extra work that comes
Sandra: Yeah, I, I hired the wrong, or I hired the wrong, I should have paid extra or I should have paid someone less for less, but that would implement. But, but then the thing is, I have a brilliant tech VA who’s like, she’s magic, right? Like, I don’t even wanna call her a VA. and if I was of pulling together what I needed and wanted to happen and give it to her, it would’ve also been done right?
But that’s not how my brain, my brain doesn’t work that way. but yeah, I learned from that. That’s why I now, I’m one of the very few small, you know, six figures, but in the, you know, not
Sandra: six figures, whatever, I’m, I’m one of the smallest companies probably to actually have an integrator, like a sort of, not an opm, but like seriously have an integrator cuz she kind of sits between me and everyone else and everything else that needs to happen when I was growing to a point again of like, I need help, I was like, well I need help.
Colie: Getting help
Sandra: like I need help outsourcing things too, because my VA’s amazing, but I kind of, you know, I let things sit half finished or I ask her to do something and then I never follow up to, Actually found it half finished free on my website the other week, like literally two days ago was like, What’s this dad?
I was like, Oh, this is awesome. And like the start of a drip wire patient, it’s like, right. I asked my VA to make this and it’s a beautiful PDF and it’s still good. And I keep telling all these summit hosts, I don’t have a free me just sign
Sandra: my newsletter
Colie: my gosh finish that today, this week finish that
Sandra: On no my VA is finishing it. I’ve like, I’ve handed it off in my team chat, like, no, it’s not even me.
Colie: Good. I actually wanna ask you something since it, because I’m always obsessed with hearing about all the things that people outsource Sandra, what do you outsource in your business
Sandra: so I have general VA who is incredible. She. and I’ve worked with her before and also for like a longer time. So she’s the one that if I’m not doing it, she’s doing it. And that goes as far as that I have her customized my own
templates if I’m selling something and I don’t have the time to write from
Colie: think I read an email
Sandra: Yeah, Yeah I literally, like I,
Colie: write this.
Sandra: Sandra did not write this email. Like her VA using her own templates did this. Right. I have her sometimes design stuff, the bundle we just did
Sandra: she managed most of that. That was, I made the decisions. I made some of the outreach. I’m kind of the face of it, but she implemented probably 80% of that. Yeah. so she’s incredible. She does all sorts of backend stuff. and the thing is, I find it important that I know how all the systems work and I can deal with all the tech because I’m also like, I have an idea now and I wanna sell it today, I could do it right. Like, I don’t need to wait for anyone for anything in my business. But yeah, so she’s that the, the magic. The magic behind the scenes too. got my integrator who’s, you know, we have a weekly meeting. There’s certain stats week track. She’s kind of my, um, if I’m the ideas cop, she’s the bad cop, right? She keeps me on track. She tells me I don’t necessarily want to hear, and she goes like, she kind of, I don’t wanna say she holds me back, but she kind of tones it down and makes sure.
Colie: She keeps You honest.
Sandra: You know? Yeah. And if, and it’s this thing where we have an ideas parking lot and there’s, you know, $25 million ideas on there. But I know that I can’t do them all at once. They’ll definitely won’t make a million dollars if I do them half-assed a little bit, get them
Sandra: done. and then her job is, I mean, Danny and I, who’s my va, we work together so closely and we’re all def free of us are in a group together. but they’re, she’s kind of, her job is to follow up with other people I hire and make sure that things are happening on time. make sure that things that I’m supposed to do happen on time. so yeah, her job is to kind of, know, manage Cause I also have an affiliate manager, so there’s an affiliate program manager.
She does. and you know, we’re kind of working towards a point where I’m kind of like, Oh yeah, I’m launching this thing, but no one told the affiliates because I decided last week. Right. That’s kind of
Colie: So can
tell them, Thank you,
Sandra: And we’re very, Yeah, so we’re very much, and that’s again where the integrator comes in, is also to keep me on track and on plan, where we’re coming up with, know, tentative the next year.
What are we launching? Because if we’re on time or if we’re early, The affiliates can actually be involved, right? And we can
Sandra: affiliate graphics, we can have affiliates swipe,
Sandra: all the, instead of, Oh, it’s me. I’m, you know, if I’m launching my calendar rule says, launch this thing. And that’s all it says, right?
I don’t do SOPs, I don’t do tests. I know what needs to happen and I automatically just do it on my own. it’s her job to get us, you know, SOPs, to track the stats, to kind of be the data or the brain, I don’t know, right brain, left brain to be one half of the
Sandra: there, . I think that’s it.
And then I will, know, I have an instructional designer that I love, who’s one of my favorite people in the world and she’s helped me with my programs. But that’s like one off project. I sometimes hire a photographer if I meet you folks, right? There’s one off things. but yeah, core team is me, my my va, and then our affiliate manager.
Colie: Awesome. Speaking of those programs, Sandra,
Colie: I’m gonna kind of ask this as multiple things,
so I think everybody has a template in them, and maybe I’ve actually heard you say that phrase, Everyone has a template in them, but. I know that you launched your group program help people put their digital products out into the So if someone came to you and they said, Okay, I think I wanna do digital or digital products, what’s a piece of advice that you would give them?
Sandra: I mean, do it today,
Sandra: and don’t like. Don’t overcomplicate it and make it very big. And this is one of my pitfalls that I look at, oh, at a calendar for next year, Oh, I wanna do this launch and that launch and that means we need a webinar for this and we need this, so we need that. But I need to fix this and I need, and I look at the mountain and I, instead of thinking like, okay, once step at a time, I get up the mountain and I’m like, Fold out the chair, open the cooler, get the lemonade.
I’m like, I’m just gonna sit here cuz that mountain’s too big, me just go to Netflix cuz that mountain’s so big. I noticed that people have a tendency to. Get stuck in the thinking phase. The problem with that is you don’t know what’s gonna resonate until
you actually put it out into the world.
Colie: So is that what you do in your group program? You push people out of the, out and be like, Go put this
Sandra: a little bit. So I very much have that kickstart, that sort of energizer, let’s get it done. That’s one of my top five Gallup strengths too.
Sandra: but no actually in the program and I think, you know, that’s where the instructional design comes in and. Something that we get back in the feedback a lot.
It’s like, this is actually the first course where I’ve looked at all the lessons and done all the work is
Colie: Ah, awesome.
Sandra: know, there’s, there’s, Yeah. But the, the thing with that, and I didn’t realize that until I worked with an instructional designer, is that yes, we can tell people what we do and want to do, but actually teaching and implementing is a different skill.
So it’s like the lessons Super short. And I feel like a lot of courses now they try to, here’s all this value and here’s like a hundred bonuses and here’s 90 minutes of death and an hour of that. And it’s like I’ve come into programs where I’m like, you want me to watch 12 hours of video? And that’s just a on ramp.
would much prefer a high ticket program. Like, and these are high ticket programs, like I would much prefer like a high ticket program where there’s two hours of videos and I get the same results. Right? So that is very strongly white. We have really short lessons and then, , there’s an actionable, So everything has a worksheet.
So there’s either you make a decision, you decide something, you brainstorm something, right? There’s, because the thing for a lot of these things is that people will teach you everything. And what we’ve kind of done is we teach you everything to get to this point and then get to the next point,
Sandra: means that you have your template launched.
Colie: So you’re getting rid of decision fatigue.
Sandra: have you noticed that a lot of courses will talk for 60 minutes and
then there’s no conclusion and no next step. And I’m like, what’s the point of this?
Colie: See, my is
not like that, so I.
Sandra: Yeah. So. So we’ve gotten so specific that it’s like, it’s kind of combined in the sense that, you know, me coming and kicking your ass doesn’t work if you don’t know what to do or if you feel overwhelmed or like, Right.
I can talk you of the scary ledge. I can talk you into the mindset. I can talk you into that feeling of I can do this, but if the materials doesn’t actually back it up. Right. So I feel like there’s just a sort of magic in that I’m, I’m in there in the live round, specifically. I’m in there to kick your ass.
But it’s also this thing of you dig in the video’s, four minutes, you answer free questions. Now you’ve made a decision, you move on to the next step, right? It’s this
Sandra: is just really good.
Colie: Yes. I think, and I mean, in today’s world, no one has time to watch a 60 minute video, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard you say this. I also loved your take on bonuses. I cannot remember if I heard it on a podcast, Sandra, or if I heard
in you’re like, I don’t need to give you any fucking bonuses. Everything that you need is included in my course. Point blank And. I remember I was listening to it and I spit my drink out when I heard you say that, because with my own course,
one of the critiques that I got one time was, No, you need to
like, you need to like lay out your bonuses. Oh, you’ve got these email templates.
Those can be your bonus. I’m like, No, that’s part of the core program.
Colie: no, I mean, but they don’t need them. Well, no, but like that’s my, I’m telling them, I wrote these emails for you. This is what you get to use. That’s not a bonus , that’s part of my
Sandra: is what you need. Yeah. So I do like, I have certain bonuses and I do have things now where, you know, for the template shop course I’ve had. Dama from the Thrive Cart template shop. She did a checkout and a sales page template for us. had Erin, who’s one of my long term clients and friends, pretty much bought everything I’ve ever done across five years.
teaches on Shopify, so I had her do like a little beginner Shopify thing where it’s like these are extra things that are. Helpful. Right.
Colie: But not needed Mm-hmm.
Sandra: Yeah. And it’s this thing where, you know, I’m doing a live training soon, that is gonna be a bonus for my course on sales emails because I feel like if you’re in this situation, it will be useful for you and
Sandra: don’t need it.
Sandra: that is something that I will actually sell and has a price point, not some sort of, here’s a five page PDF and the value is $197. Right. Like sure. You know, I just, Yeah. But I do feel like people need to get to the end result or the big promise without any of your
Colie: I agree. And it’s funny when you just said that you had, you know, Dama do this and you had that other this. The funny thing is I finally realized I don’t think there’s anything that I would ever put in my course from me. That’s a bonus. Everything that you’re getting from me, you need.
Colie: It’s to get you from A to Z.
But then I realized recently I was like, Oh, I should ask a few of my business friends to do bonuses on because then that truly is value added to help you do something. But I’m not trying to tell you, Oh, well, you know, I’m gonna give you this, but then these things over here are totally bonuses.
No. Everything that I give you, you, need in order
you know get to the
Sandra: feel like there’s, especially for my sales email course, I feel there’s a thing that. There’s a generosity. So I very often if people, you know, I have variations on higher ticket ways of working with me, either in group settings or one on one. Like if I’m doing a $22 challenge, get a ticket.
Right? If there’s something I feel like will really help them, or, you know, I, I, for long term, so my big group program is for the template shop, and I also have a group program for service
Sandra: they were all like, How do I email about this? And it’s like, Email templates on that, but they’re not part of this program.
Right. rolled them their own It’s this thing of, I feel there is sort of an adding out of generosity and an adding out of this is what people need in this program or a. You know this life training like what you actually sell to people. After hundreds of people join your list
Sandra: and summons and stuff, I’m like, Oh wait, cool.
I have a larger high ticket program on writing sales emails. You don’t need it. But if you’re in this situation, it would be a really cool bonus to get with it too, right? But it’s not from a, you need to buy it. It’s more like, Hey, if you’ve bought it, you can use this money and apply it to
Sandra: if you want to, because it’s included in that.
But it’s not from like you need a bonus and I’m gonna stick it on a sales page and get it for the bonuses.
Colie: the sales receipt, is that what it’s called? The thing at the end where you list all the values? That
Sandra: Oh, the stack.
Colie: I don’t have that on my course page.
Sandra: I might start doing it, but only for things where you know, the value is real. So I add the value for Dama’s templates
she sells them. Mm-hmm.
Sandra: she said. Yeah. Not the exact ones that I have. So we have exclusive for templates, it’s. This is the value because this is what they charge for it in their template shop, right?
It’s if my program, my email program comes with like 30 free email templates, those have an actual value because my five email sequence is $150. The free emails for that is, you know, $75. So there’s a real way to say like, this is what it’s worth, right? Because this is what I would charge this was available separately.
Sandra: yeah, this whole like, here’s a stupid pdf. I had my VA making 20
minutes and it’s $500 worth
of, I’m like, nah. Not.
Colie: Okay, Sandra, I’m gonna ask you two questions in closing. Number one, where do you think you’re gonna travel in the next 12 months?
Sandra: Oh, this is a hard, So honestly, between you and me, I did not see this coming, but I love California. It’s just not so easy to move here, but
Sandra: And it’s also like probably double anywhere in the world. I can live like a queen on my kind of income, Yeah, not in California? Right? Why come
are there more expensive places?
Yeah, probably New York, right?
Colie: I mean, California’s almost New York prices. I Colorado and pretty close to
Sandra: So I mean, I love it here. There’s a difficult question around immigration. You know, if anyone wants to get married, you know, . No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. So the US is tricky. I might have a trip to Dubai because my company legal structure needs to change just based on, I’m not in my home country that often. so I might go to Dubai for corporate setup. I’m going to Hawaii next
Colie: Nice. I’m a little jealous.
Sandra: awesome. I’m excited for that. I will I might swing through Europe for an event. I know Denise Duffield Thomas is probably doing an event in the UK
Sandra: in the spring. Honestly, I don’t know. I, you know, between you and me, I am ready for a place to have as a home base and to kind of settle it and belong.
Have the same Pilates teacher.
Sandra: my same friends from brunch every Sunday. um, know, people love,
Colie: California, right? How did you feel about Mexico?
Sandra: you know, so I was actually in Mexico to figure out if I wanted to live there because it’s quite a simple
Sandra: get residents cuz like if you have no money, you can come and live there.
Right. I didn’t love it so much.
Sandra: and I think that, you know, the quality of the food and the restaurants and the water, like I had more health issues than I do in most countries.
Sandra: so it was just this thing of like, Playa Del Carmen is great, but it’s so Digital Nomads again. I’m like, Well, I want roots and I don’t want friends that leave,
Sandra: time, and I’m one of them.
But I was like, Well, if I wanna live here, then I don’t wanna be friends with everyone that leaves all
Colie: Aw. Okay.
Sandra: so it’s, um, not sure we’re gonna find out, but yeah, Mexico, I loved it, but it’s not, I haven’t missed it since
I left, which I think
Colie: Let me ask you one more question.
what, knowing what’s working in your business now, what are your business plans for the next 12 months?
Sandra: uh, make more money than I know what to do with, because let’s be real. Immigration issues are always solved if you have lots of money.
Colie: you have lots
of money and yeah,
Sandra: honestly, we’re kind of working on it now. I think that, you know, I’ve wait listed my services for a little bit just cause I’ve done so much copy that I need a breather. That’s the thing about being a digital nomad. Everyone thinks like, Oh my God, you’re always on vacation. I’m like, Bitch, I haven’t taken a real vacation since I started my business.
Right? Like, what is I’m like, Next week I’m on vacation in Hawaii and I’m also speaking at an event. Right? Like that’s kind of, so yeah, I’m kind of, we’re kind of flattening it in with where I will have actual
Sandra: there will not be me in my inbox.
Colie: Yay. I’m here that
Sandra: one-on-one services.
I don’t know. They might come back, they might change, you know, there, there’s options there. I’m kind of playing with them, but honestly for me, my group programs and not really the self, mean, the self study version is fine. Like go ahead and buy it. It’s awesome, right? But. For me, like there’s a magic in doing things with groups and working
Sandra: so love these sort of collective group programs. So that will be, for me, a very big part of next year, just because they’re so, like short term, not those high ticket hybrids. Six months being no, like four weeks, six weeks we go, And
Colie: I think that fits with you Sandra
Sandra: Yeah. It’s like we get there, right. So that’s a very big thing. And then I’m kind of tinkering with do I want like a, I did one-on-one coaching in the past and it’s really fun and interesting and I feel like now I’m in a place where like, do I want to bring that back
Sandra: you know, so that’s an option, done for you copy ongoing offer.
I always think about that, but then I like, it’ll bore me within six months. So it’s this thing where I’m like, this would be strategically amazing.
Sandra: then again, if I wanna move to the US on a business visa, I might have to start something that’s agency. Like, so there is surprises. Damn Copy isn’t going anywhere. My group programs aren’t going anywhere.
Colie: The rest of it is up in the.
Sandra: yeah, yeah and I think it’s this thing of, you know, I love creating new things, but I have such an amazing body of work. So many people can use that. It’s like, stop making new things, get people into this thing because it’s awesome. so it’s gonna be a bit of a surprise.
Colie: Well, Sandra, I’m gonna be following along where can, because you talked about beginning. Actually, I lied. I have one more question.
Why did you split your websites? So you have
damn copy, and then now
Sandra: okay. Yeah.
Colie: brand. But why?
Sandra: right. Can we go over time? .
Colie: Go ahead.
Sandra: All right, so there’s, um, there’s two separate things, right? One is that I feel that damn copy is a copywriting brand, and I want that to be a copywriting brand. And it might have to, and this wasn’t a thing back then, but if go the, come into the US agency route,
Sandra: sense that that’s not necessarily tied to me.
Sandra: thing is that I very much wanted, I love that company name, but I was also really honest about the fact that if I’m bored of this in four years times, I want it to be a sellable asset.
Sandra: and that means that it cannot be completely tied to my name. It needs its own branding and its own things.
The other thing, it just felt cluttered,
Colie: To more than
Sandra: have, Yeah, and it’s this thing where, , You know, I had two brands for a while and I was like, This doesn’t make any sense. I’ll just have one brand. And I started him copy and six months later I was like, I’m back at that problem. Okay. So I still own my sandra van lee.com, right?
Colie: Let’s just back
Sandra: I, and it’s like, let’s just have both again. So I think it’s a way of setting things up also so that, you know, I could sell parts of it, I could sell the whole thing, but it’s also a thing where, Depending on what happens in the future, Damn copy might just be a copywriting company.
And yes, it’s tied to me and people associate it to me, it doesn’t have to be
Sandra: It doesn’t have to be. And I know there’s a few really talented writers I know where I’m like, Oh, if I wanted to go to agency route because, or if I wanted to go a route where, You know, I do the positioning and the sort of packaging and the sort of first iteration, like I have a, you know, a really cool high end service mapped out and we could even do it in person where the positioning and the strategizing and the messaging is done with me.
decide everything you need for your launch, but that doesn’t mean I have to be to one to write all your launch copy. Right. I can still proofread it and edit and tweak it. there’s sort of, that gives me kind of options to have like a brand name instead of, This is Sandra Vander Lee. Right. And then my personal brand is kind of where I get to tinker a little bit and you know, it’s like booked out is all about service providers.
Sold out is all about template shops. Like it doesn’t really quite tie into them copy, so it just felt.
Colie: that it needed its own separate space. I got you girl.
Sandra: Yeah, it needed its own home. which is, again, this is just like how I started a business. I know that’s not the most strategic way. Right. I know if I want to get some real serious growth next year, I should just be doing that copy or I should just be doing my own business, but I don’t work that way.
Colie: And don’t have to work that way. thing is business and you get to do what you want. Sandra, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. Everyone, all of her links are gonna be available in the show notes. Thank you for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time. Bye.