This is not the sort of post that I usually write.
Usually, I write about science and education-related issues, and I share fun experiments and activities that you can do with your child.
But that’s not what this post is about.
Instead, I’m going to “break out of character” and tell you a bit about the behind-the-scenes workings of ScienceWithMe!
If you’re only interested in education, then this isn’t for you – go ahead and browse through our archives, or sign up for our free activities, or just come back in a few days for a new post.
But if you’re interested in business and marketing, or just want to know how our business works, then read on…
Inspiration and Passion Meet Opportunity
We didn’t start ScienceWithMe! with the intention of turning it into the site that you’re on today – or a business at all, for that matter!
It started as a bunch of experiments that I did with my kids.
Then other parents heard about what I was doing, and asked me to put together an afterschool program.
That turned into videos on VHS cassettes, and a bunch of other things, before ultimately becoming the site you’re on today.
But that wasn’t originally the plan, and so we had to figure out along the way how we could make money doing it…
Why We Have To Make Money
We really wanted to make everything free, but we realized pretty quickly that we had to make money, because running this site was expensive.
It’s not just the hosting, or the emailing (which is a lot more expensive than you might think when there are over 50,000 people visiting the site and subscribed to your lists!), it was really about the content.
We wanted our content to be as great as it could be, and that cost money – money for designers, animators, writers, and music producers.
(Not to mention that for me to work on this full time, it had to provide some sort of income!)
Well, we tried all kinds of different things, and we did okay, but never made enough money to grow the site in the way that I really wanted to.
Which brings me to a fundamental business lesson that I’ve learned the hard way…
Know Your Strengths, and Get Experts for the Rest
There’s a lot that goes into running any kind of business, and eventually I realized that it was silly for me to try to do it all myself – especially the things that I don’t particularly like, and I’m not particularly good at!
And yes, marketing is definitely on that list. My perfect life would be dividing my time between my kids (of course), and creating new content for you guys. That’s the stuff that I really love.
And honestly, marketing just seems to get in the way of all that.
But it has to be done. No marketing means no sales, no sales means no money, and no money means no freedom to do all the other things that I want to be doing.
(For those of you who run your own businesses, does this sound familiar?) 😉
So finally I decided to bite the bullet and hire someone to do my marketing for me. Which brings us to Danny, my new marketing director…
Enter Danny Iny, the Marketer from Montreal
I actually met Danny years ago, when he was much earlier on in his career.
I had hired him to do a bit of freelance work for me (part of those ongoing costs that I mentioned earlier), and he did a fantastic job. This is the testimonial that I gave him when the project was done (this was back in 2006):
“Super, super super!!! That’s what I have to say about Danny. He was great to work with, never complained about revisions – in fact he always went the extra mile. He cared about my project as if it were his own.”
Well, I kept tabs on him, and I was *very* impressed by what he accomplished last year.
He started a blog called Firepole Marketing, and in just a year he’s been featured in pretty much every major publication and news outlet in his industry. He’s actually been so prolific that he earned the nickname “The Freddy Krueger of Blogging” (“wherever you turn, he’s there” – the name doesn’t work in the other sense, since Danny’s actually a really friendly and approachable guy).
So I reached out to him, and asked him to get involved again with ScienceWithMe!, and he agreed to take us on as one of his few consulting clients.
He came on board, and started pointing to all the things that we needed to change…
Changes to ScienceWithMe!
And that’s exactly what I was afraid of.
See, the thing with marketing consultants is that they’re just like hairdressers – the first thing out of their mouth is “My goodness, who did this to you?”
(I’d love to see a hairdresser forget that I’m their client, and answer them “you!”)
I’d been through the ringer with a whole bunch of consultants in the past, and they all point to things that need to be changed, and they’re all about creating billable work for themselves.
But Danny was different.
He didn’t just say what we should change, he also explained why, and talked through it until I understood what his reasoning was, and felt completely onboard.
Then we made the changes. We redesigned the site, and restructured our products.
And then we announced it to all of you, and held our breath…
The Results Were Explosive (in the Good Way) 😉
To say that the changes were good for us would be an understatement.
On one hand, the changes were pretty subtle – most of our readers wouldn’t have noticed a significant disruption to their experience with our site and content.
But on the other hand, the changes were massive; we were getting more traffic, more subscribers, and waaaaay more happy customers – parents and educators, just like you.
Business is all about numbers, so here are the numbers. If you compare December and January with the two months prior, we’re looking at about 10,000% growth. That’s not a typo – he actually increased our sales by 100 times. That’s how good he is.
So… why am I telling you all this?
I’m sharing all of this with you because over the years, a lot of our subscribers have emailed me saying that they running businesses of one kind or another, and do we have some marketing advice for them – one business person to another.
The answer has always been “no, not really” – I’m a chemist, mother, and lover of science education, but I don’t see myself as a marketer.
Which is why I brought Danny on board. And whereas I don’t have any advice to offer, Danny certainly does.
Now, of course, everyone can’t hire Danny to do their marketing. For one, he’s expensive, and probably out of the budget of most smaller businesses. But really, even if they could afford him, he just doesn’t take on that many private clients (he’s just one guy, after all – I think the only reason he agreed to work with us is that we had a history with him, and education is something that he really cares about).
But there is a way that Danny can help you with your business, without it costing an arm or a leg.
It’s all about Marketing That Works
See, the thing that I like about Danny is that he not only knows his stuff, but he really knows how to share and explain that stuff to others in a way that works for them.
And in addition to his consulting work, he also offers a training program called “Marketing That Works” that he opens up to new students every so often.
The training is designed for busy business owners, which means that it only requires a few hours per week, the schedule is flexible, and the results are impressive (which is what I’ve learned to just expect from Danny).
The training program is open right now, and will be open until Tuesday, February 28, or when 50 spots are filled – whatever happens sooner.
It’s not for everyone, but I’m sharing it here on the off-chance that it might be right for you. Take a few minutes and watch his overview video (it’s short). It might not interest you at all – or it might change your life.
This post is a departure from what we usually do, and I’ll be back with my regular education-related fare in just a couple of days.
But Danny’s done a lot for us, and he could do a lot for you. So I wanted to share this with you, while his training program is still open.