I’m chatting today with fellow educator and podcaster, Laylee Emadi! She’s the host of the So, Here’s the Thing Podcast and the founder of The Creative Educator Academy. I personally really enjoy her podcast, and I was a guest a few months ago on episode 108. This interview is so insightful if you are someone who has ever wanted to get into education as a business owner. Whether that is education like speaking at events or being interviewed on podcasts OR things like educational offerings within your business, like creating an online course.
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
What Laylee Emadi Smith Does in Her Business
"I am an educator for creative educators, but I'm also a photographer. That's where I got my start in the creative industry. Before and during some of that, I was a high school teacher, which is why I now serve creative educators. I love teaching and helping people get paid and build a life they love doing something they know so well. And I love being able to help them communicate that to others in their industry because I always say that industries thrive when experts can share their knowledge and share it well."
Laylee Emadi Smith's Advice on Speaking to Your Audience When You Have Multiple Niches
"I used to say, ‘it's okay, talk to all of them. People will find what they need.’ Now I say you can only talk to some people at a time. You can do whatever you want. You can't do it all at once.
It's easy to incorporate talking to brand clients while I'm talking to education clients because they're all usually in the creative industry. They're all small business owners. My senior and dancer photography has its own Instagram account.
They tell their friends about me. So that takes care of itself. But I still share it sometimes when I want to. It's just hard because you have to prioritize where your audience will find you and what you want them to see when they find you."
How to Get Started With Teaching What You Know
"Ask yourself why you want to teach the thing you're so good at. There's no right or wrong answer. However, people often assume I'm implying that the answer can't be because you want to add another revenue stream to your business. So I ask that question to find out what outcome they're looking for. That will help determine how you approach the type of teaching you want to pursue.
When I started offering education, I would hear educators say, 'If you don't have the heart to give it all away for free, then you shouldn't be teaching it.' I don't believe in that. We all need to make a living, so it's okay. However, it's important to approach it from a self-aware standpoint. This will help you determine how to teach what you know to others. It will also show you your bandwidth for creating/selling. Then, lean into what you want to teach in terms of the topic and the best format for that."
Laylee Emadi Smith's Advice for Making Time to Create Before it's Profitable
"The number one thing that I advise people to do once they know what they want to teach is that you're going to have to scale back for a certain amount of time on the other things that you're doing.
For example, I have a lot of white space on my calendar, and I have for the past year or so because that's what I wanted to set my business up as. I want to pursue new projects without having to completely change my life around them. However, six years ago, when I was creating my first educational offering, I had no white space in my calendar.
So that meant I had to make a decision. Am I willing to create this white space to build a new offer and take that financial hit temporarily while I'm building a new revenue stream that will hopefully make up for that? I'm at the place where I tell my students and myself if things take a little bit longer, there's no downside to that. But, on the other hand, if we're supposed to be having our businesses for the long haul, what is another few months?"
Laylee Emadi Smith's Course Creation Advice Pet Peeves
"I do not believe in pre-selling a course before the course is created. All of these predatory educators for educators are telling perspective course creators to 'sell the idea. You don't need to create anything.'
You could not pay me to do that. My signature program has a live component, but the core content has been tested, reviewed, and changed. I've kept up with it because quality content is thorough, concise, and tried & true. You are asking for people's hard-earned money in exchange for your knowledge delivered in a way that will be impactful and effective for those people. My biggest pet peeve is when people jump in before having a concrete plan to make sure what they are teaching is effective for people.
People should work harder on not going overboard and over-teaching. I commonly see that with my students. As experts, we know so much that we feel like we have to pack everything into a course.
Sometimes that's fine if it's a very high-level course. But if it's smaller, shorter is better. If you can teach something in 10 minutes but take 40 minutes to teach it, that is a mindset issue. One more thing I encourage people to do is not overthink it to the point of not taking action. You can have high ethics, expectations, and standards, but you also have to start somewhere."
Laylee Emadi Smith's Advice For Steps to Take Before Course Creation
"Inside my Academy, I kick off by saying, 'If you're here because you want to create a course, I'm going to tell you that the place you need to start is one-on-one.' If you can get somebody on a call and figure out what they're struggling with, you'll know the needs of the many. A pitfall people fall prey to is not getting on one-on-one calls every time they create something new. I still get a few people on a one-on-one call. It's a healthy practice because you can't pay for that feedback.
Laylee Emadi Smith's Advice for First Steps in Finding Your Audience
"One good example is a copywriter. Are you a copywriter who's going to help other copywriters with their craft, or are you going to help them with their business? One thing that coaches and mentors struggle with is they don't share what outcome people can expect from working with them. So instead, they say, 'Do you need help with copywriting? Work with me.'
You want to identify what you're good at helping people with, or what you're really good at, and what you've found great success with within your business. Another thing many people wait on is having a home to share everything they are offering. If you grab somebody's attention, you need to have an online home for them. Have somewhere to send people before you start selling. Otherwise, you'll be overwhelmed when you get the inquiry."
What is The Smartest Type of Package to Offer to Start?
"A lot of it comes down to the outcome you want to reach with whoever you want to coach and how you want to coach them. For example, you decide you want to teach people about marketing strategy. You know that a marketing strategy takes more than a couple of weeks to put into play because you have to test, look at your results, and keep track of the data to see what needs to be tweaked and how long it will take to come to fruition. That's how I base the frequency and the amount of time you offer people in mentoring sessions.
When people inquire about working with me one-on-one, I'm clear that I have a six-month coaching opportunity where we can create and launch a course in six months because I know that I can do that in six months."
Being a First-Time Conference Speaker
"Figure out what you want to speak about and what you are passionate about. Then, in terms of getting started with speaking, start pitching yourself for podcasts and virtual summits because they're everywhere right now. But, I turn down a virtual summit a day at this point because, typically, they're unpaid, and I'm not at the point where I can take unpaid work.
If you were talking to me several years ago, I would jump at the opportunity to get practice. So any opportunity you can get to practice, take it. Whether it's paid or unpaid because you can work up to getting paid, in addition, start looking at local organizations and pitching them to come to speak in person because the creative industry, in general, doesn't pay very well. You have to be showing up, willing to serve, and hoping you may walk away with some new clients and get your investment back that way."
The Breakdown of Paid Speakers at Creative Conferences
"It differs from conference to conference, and some conferences are put on by corporations that have a lot more money to put into their event.
They can afford to pay their speakers a decent amount, especially those on the main stage. But, on the other hand, you'll often see breakout speakers not get paid at all, or maybe the company will cover just their hotel room.
On the flip side, you have the individuals who are hosting conferences. It's a double-edged sword because many speakers are paying to speak in our creative industry. The good part is that the audiences then get to know them. They get to see how they teach and decide if they want to invest in working with them one-on-one as a coach or purchase a program or product."
How to Make Your Speaking Application Stand Out
"Now that I'm planning a conference, I was inundated by applications, which made me realize I was teaching the right things. First, pitch appropriately in the appropriate setting. I know many leaders out there teach pitching in the DMs because the worst people can say is no. That is true, but I don't agree that you should pitch wherever possible.
So if you want to pitch an event, do your due diligence, do a little bit of research, see if they have a website, see if they have an application, and see if they have a deadline. You also need to take your application seriously. The worst thing is when people feel that the friendly person they're pitching to means they can casually throw a bunch of stuff into an application and get the position because we've established a relationship, which is just not the case. I want a speaker who puts work into the application and doesn't answer questions haphazardly. Treat it like a job application because it is a job application."
The Creative Educator Conference
"It's the first official conference I've hosted. I've hosted retreats and workshops for years, but this is specifically for creative educators. It's called the Creative Educator Conference in Dallas in January, and I'm thrilled about it. We have a great speaker lineup, and it will be very different from your typical conference. Because I attend so many conferences, I realized there was a need for more hands-on work where you're not just sitting in a ballroom listening to motivational messages. Of course, there is a place to be inspired and motivated, but I also believe that if you invest your time in something, you should walk away with some tangibles. That's what I'm hoping to deliver at our event.”
I’m thrilled to be speaking at the Creative Educator Conference in January 2023. So, come learn from me and Laylee there! You can use the code “ELIZABETH” for $100 off your ticket.
Laylee Emadi Smith's Unpopular Business Opinion
"In terms of the online education space, it is neither true nor untrue that this space is so saturated that it can't work for you anymore. So many of my students have this fear that just because a lot more people have started selling education, it means that they can't. Like any industry, there are good, great, and not-so-great things. All you can do is the great work that you're able to do. Show up and do the best you can."
Laylee Emadi Smith's Best Team Tip
"Figure out what you want help with before you start hiring because you might find that the things you need the most help with have nothing to do with your business. They could be things in your home or things you can outsource because that's where you're spending time you don't have. Maybe you think you want a VA, but you look at it and realize you actually need a content creator. Identify where your pain points are and see what would help you if you took it off your plate."
How Laylee Emadi Smith Creates White Space in Her Business
"A year and a half ago, we had some personal stuff come up where I was forced to create white space. I realized that the world didn't come to an end when I came back to work. Things were still running, and I still had an income, which made me think about what is important in my life, where I want to spend my time, and what is worth it to make that happen. From there I took a step back, and I stopped bringing in certain revenue streams at the level I was before. I was willing to take that temporary cut to focus on more important things, like my health and my family. See what you can do, and then be okay with readjusting your goals and your expectations for your business."
Looking for an event to help you grow as an educator!?
We talk briefly about Laylee’s new conference, The Creative Educator Conference, and fun fact — I’m a speaker at it! It’s January 17th-18th in Dallas Texas. I love a good in-person event - the community element is incredible, you make new friends, and when you have a conference that is hands-on and implementation focused, you grow so quickly too. This conference is for up-and-coming Creative Educators who are ready to grow and established Educators who are dedicated to scaling and bettering their craft and current offers! Attendees will get hands-on, action based education. This is not your average sit-and-listen conference! You’ll be able to chat and get help directly from myself and other speakers. If you're ready to level up your educational offerings, this is for you! Get all the information and sign up here. You can use the code “ELIZABETH” for $100 off your ticket.
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Thanks to our podcast sponsor, Haute Stock! Haute Stock is my favorite stock photo company, and I use their images ALL over my business. You can get 15% off your subscription with the referral code: ELIZABETH at checkout or by visiting this link: https://elizabethmccravy.com/hautestock
December 13, 2022