Wes Schaeffer: Erin Chase my fellow my fellow kovats survivor with Tiger blood back for more, almost five years to the day well
Wes Schaeffer: That's true. I just I just looked it up on this here blog post software techie stuff I got shown up. So, welcome back. How the heck are you
Erin Chase: Thank you. I'm okay, I think, okay, is a good word like
Wes Schaeffer: Okay. The 2020 that's, you know, good.
Erin Chase: Yeah, I just, you know, okay.
Wes Schaeffer: I mean your
Wes Schaeffer: Vertical your vertical. I mean,
Wes Schaeffer: The top half of you. Looks good. You probably got sweat pants on and flip flops, you know. But hey, at least what we can see. You look presentable.
Erin Chase: I am presentable. I actually have one jeans and booties.
Erin Chase: So I'm actually like
Erin Chase: Fully you know fully ready for today.
Wes Schaeffer: Are you saying you got your stuff together.
Erin Chase: Maybe just today. I can't say I did yesterday, but today.
Wes Schaeffer: I bring out the best in people don't. I
Erin Chase: Do
Wes Schaeffer: Man, so we met at entre port entre palooza to be specific.
Wes Schaeffer: We were all speakers we were speakers and you were so savvy, you were working the Twitter game and you were reaching out to fellow speakers so it wasn't a cold reception. When we showed up. But how did you get so smart.
Erin Chase: Well, listen, I have been to so many events and the events that I've gone to over the years and you know this year in events, you're an event you're on the event circuit.
Erin Chase: And you always know somebody always knows. I've never been to an event that I've either not known them via email or Twitter or back in the day there was Skype. You know, I've always known somebody. So I think that going, I was a new
Erin Chase: Customer user of entre port and I was going to go to the event. And I was like, I literally
Erin Chase: I knew one person at the time, or I should say new of one person at the time who used on support and I certainly didn't know anybody that was going to be at the event. And I thought, I need to know. I need to meet people before I go.
Erin Chase: And I, and people would say that my my superpower is connecting people and so I'm already like inclined to want to connect with people. And so that's that's why I hit Twitter and there you were
Wes Schaeffer: Nice and then I snuck up on you. I said something like, you know, his dinner like five bucks and you were like so confused. You're like, who is this guy, hey you reached out to me.
Erin Chase: Is this guy talking to me.
Erin Chase: And know about $5 dinners and definitely tough to do $5 dinners in California, all done not out of the question. But yeah, it was
Erin Chase: It was just nice. It's just nice to know you and I, at least, knew you even though we hadn't really met I knew you and you're a super connector.
Erin Chase: And so you connected me with. I don't know how many people because you already knew those guys from, you know, working in the CRM space, you know, years prior, so that it just sort of worked
Wes Schaeffer: So your $5 dinners started out in the last recession. Right.
Erin Chase: Yeah 2008 the summer of 2008 when the gas prices. Shut up. My I was not working at the time. My husband had
Erin Chase: You know, a teaching job, you know, long commute. So for us in our budget, it was the gas prices going up really pinched us pretty pretty good and
Erin Chase: I just thought I gotta do something. So I started with the grocery store and getting clever with
Erin Chase: The you know ingredients I was buying and the meals, we were making. And just a little bit of couponing. I've never been like really super extreme couponing. It is a tactic, but
Erin Chase: You know, I think meal planning and just being smart about what you're buying is is more practical for most people. So just started a blog about that. And here we are 12
Erin Chase: Years later, which makes me a grandma great grandma.
Wes Schaeffer: It's like an internet years they're like dog years but exponential. So each years like 70 years so we're
Wes Schaeffer: Yes. We're old like Methuselah
Erin Chase: Yeah, we are like biblical old here. It's what we are. Oh, so yeah. It's been a an amazing journey and I'm just tickled and honored every day to get to, to be this this leader for people who are just struggling
Erin Chase: To feed their families, every day, and to do it on a budget and so it is. Yeah. That's why I get up every day why they were already
Wes Schaeffer: Well, so I just had an epiphany you, you're going to be bigger than Sara Blakely with Spanx. Okay and here's why. Here's how you gonna do it. And it's going to happen in the next 30 days. Okay.
Wes Schaeffer: Tell me you're gonna bring my wife on
Wes Schaeffer: To create the coupon division of $5 dinners and it's going
Wes Schaeffer: She, she teaches Cole's employees, how to use their, their coupons. I mean, she tell you you need my wife for
Erin Chase: I do, I do. She
Erin Chase: She would be fantastic. I love a good deal. I really, I just, I love a good deal and and i think that's
Erin Chase: I'm not sure if that's personality or
Erin Chase: It's just kind of a money philosophy that frugality component of things and you know cuz and I don't know if we want to go down the money.
Erin Chase: Trail, but it's, you know, when I think about you know $5 dinners and saving money on groceries and meal planning and all of that.
Erin Chase: I really want to dig like all the way down and like figure out the motivation and the reason you know kind of why it's so exciting for me to do this every day.
Erin Chase: One is to make dinner easier for stressed out moms and dads because Oh my word. Why do these little people want to eat every day. I do not know.
Wes Schaeffer: I don't want to eat like three times a day, sometimes six times a day.
Erin Chase: Six times a day. Thank you so much, and especially in this 2020 season of like the kitchens always open.
Erin Chase: It's, yeah. It's more like
Erin Chase: 12 times a day. But anyways, um, but I think, too, is that when you need money for anything, whether it's
Erin Chase: Because something came up
Erin Chase: Or because you know like for us situate. An example of that would be. We had a kid who needed braces not braces, like a palette expand or and like we were thinking they would need orthodontic work when they were older but he was eight.
Erin Chase: When he needed this palette expand or because he had like cross draw and all this stuff. And so, like when i what i cramped way back down on grocery spending because I needed a little more cash each month to pay the orthodontic work.
Erin Chase: And so that's just like one example. And then that's to pay for like a thing that kind of comes up. The other is putting it towards savings, right, whether you're in sort of a payoff or a pay forward situation.
Erin Chase: The easiest place to find money is your grocery spending because it's the easiest to control and it's often
Erin Chase: The highest that you can control like we can't really control our mortgage unless you know you refinance this year because the rates have dropped so low, or whatever. You can't really control.
Erin Chase: You know your your household bills, per se, you might be able to negotiate like your internet bill or something every year. So
Erin Chase: But when it comes down to its food. And so I think you know that's that's also really exciting to me to be able to share with people like
Erin Chase: If you need 100 bucks. This month, it's in your pantry. If you need 200 bucks. This month, it's, it's how much you're spending at the grocery store. If you need 300 bucks. This month it's stopped going through the drive thru
Erin Chase: Mega rice and beans meal so
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, I grew up on rice and beans red beans and rice. Can I get an amen and I still like me some red beans and rice, but
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, I digress.
Wes Schaeffer: What I love
Wes Schaeffer: About your story is you you took something very ordinary rights up very that everybody experiences and you've made a business out of it right you
Wes Schaeffer: You didn't invent some new API or, you know, launch some crazy startup. You're like, like bloom where you're planted right like the acres of diamonds. You, you see that we take it for granted comedians right years ago a friend of mine owns a used to own up, stand up comedy store here and
Wes Schaeffer: I did a six week class with him to do an open mic and I've spoken for years and, you know, military and give me a microphone. No problem. But to do a six minute routine. That was literally the hardest, hardest speaking gig. I've ever prepared for it.
Wes Schaeffer: And we take it for granted. You see a comedian. They make things funny right everyday things go into the eye doctor, you know, they try and give a kid a bath.
Wes Schaeffer: So to find the opportunity right where we are, like, when, when did you make that transition right you were doing it out of necessity. When did you go, Oh man, I can teach this to others and make a business out of this.
Erin Chase: That's probably a three kind of a three phase approach, very similar to
Erin Chase: A lot of people how they start their business. The first was the idea for the name $5 dinners. I remember it so clearly.
Erin Chase: It was August 21 because I started the site. The next day, it was like it was like a fox news ticker or a sports center ticker like through my brain. It was just like $5 dinners $5 dinners, just like over and over. And that was just kind of the lightbulb moment and then my
Erin Chase: I had already been sharing a few
Wes Schaeffer: Things august 21 2008
Erin Chase: Uh huh.
Wes Schaeffer: Like right after you started just doing this for your husband.
Erin Chase: Yeah, yeah, I was making the meals already and I had a family blog and I was saying like, this is what we made and I only spent 60 bucks at the grocery store this week for all these ingredients.
Erin Chase: And here's what I'm going to make and my sister was like, Please, just show me pictures of the kids at the pool. I do not want to know what you're buying at the grocery store.
Erin Chase: So she had said that that week. And then I had this and i and i was that kind of got me thinking. And then when I had that little like ticker moment kind of all
Erin Chase: Came together and I already had a blog spot. I already knew what to do. So I just, that's when I started the next I started that the the next day I started the new one and just started adding recipes. I didn't
Erin Chase: Realize it could be a business until October, and I put it was two months later.
Erin Chase: I at the beginning of October put ads on the site not AdSense ads, but I got I had enough traffic already because it was just took off because of the concept and the recession and everything.
Erin Chase: And so I put ads on didn't even look. I didn't even log into look until the end of the month. I just decided
Erin Chase: That was all about. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I could buy all of our groceries. This month with just this cash, what is happening.
Erin Chase: And so that was kind of the moment of, okay, this could be a thing. If I really, that's when it turned from Hobby per se to
Erin Chase: Alright we're going all in. We're going to do ads, we're going to get more traffic. We're going to do some affiliate partnerships, things like that. And it just kind of
Erin Chase: took off from there.
Wes Schaeffer: Well, how did you even know
Wes Schaeffer: Those other things like if my wife started blogging right now. I mean, if we were to back this up. I mean, now she kind of just being married to me for all this time she's heard all
Wes Schaeffer: That all those phrases you talked about but
Wes Schaeffer: 2008 and I was literally
Wes Schaeffer: I got Infusionsoft for myself in 2008 so I didn't
Wes Schaeffer: When I took the infusion soft test. It was. It was around this time I want to say September, October.
Wes Schaeffer: Yeah, August, September I I had an Adobe dream Weaver website five page website that a friend of mine built for me. I couldn't edit it didn't know anything about it.
Wes Schaeffer: I did not have my own website. I had to get a a Weebly account at Infusionsoft.
Wes Schaeffer: To embed the web form code to pass the the practical version edition of the of the right so you're already ahead of me in 2008 I didn't know about affiliate marketing. I wouldn't have known how to embed a Google ad to get income. So how did you even have that baseline knowledge.
Erin Chase: I think it was a combination of straight trial and error and like Googling like HTML code and a blogspot page.
Erin Chase: It was pretty sketch. I will say, I mean, if you go and look at any sort of page builder, whether it's divvy or beaver entre port has their own now like it's a dream. They click click click click Publish.
Erin Chase: Right. And so this was back like oh that widgets in the wrong place. Well, I can't really move it. So we're just gonna leave it there. I guess that's a good place for it.
Erin Chase: And that. So that was one just straight trial and error and to I had a great pocket of friends who were kind of doing the same thing. And we were like, hey, did you know this program.
Erin Chase: You can have like a full coupon widget on your sidebar and I'm seeing, you know, twice as much revenue from that versus this. And so it was just a lot of
Erin Chase: I don't know camaraderie and sharing information. And once you, you know, learn about the programs and you sign up for them. They're pretty
Erin Chase: They were pretty intuitive to kind of figure out
Erin Chase: And then to it's kind of a combination of with affiliate marketing. Anyways, it's like once if you have traffic, you'll earn money because you're putting the right offer for us it was always
Erin Chase: coupon codes printing coupons signing up for, like, you know, Pillsbury newsletter and getting $1 coupon for whatever the seasonal promotion was
Erin Chase: So it was it was a lot of that. But when you have volume, it, it's, it's not hard to earn affiliate revenue per se, that's it's not something that I do now.
Erin Chase: Is kind of sunset at our entire affiliate marketing.
Erin Chase: I guess program and everything that we do now is just traffic to the website ad network. Plus, you know, selling your own products.
Wes Schaeffer: Mm hmm. So, you know, fast forward to, let's say,
Wes Schaeffer: I mean the economy's booming.
Wes Schaeffer: Has they're always been interested in what you're doing is they're always people always looking to save money, even in good times.
Erin Chase: Yes, I think so. The only Anna and think that goes back to people kind of wise up in the in the money space the personal finance component of it, like, oh, I could really
Erin Chase: Save money or if I want to hit that retirement savings max every year. I could find a couple hundred bucks in groceries or I can
Erin Chase: Cancel cable or whatever. Right. And so I think that, yes, it's always been the case. What we've seen is consumer behavior has changed slightly around the use of coupons mostly people just, it's not as, you know,
Erin Chase: Extreme is as it once was. Because I think people don't necessarily
Erin Chase: Or they think they don't need to, you know, I always think of coupons. This is just a smart strategic move if you could save 10 bucks a week 500 bucks on the year for your retirement account or for whatever right so we always encourage people to do them but not to go, you know,
Wes Schaeffer: I all I know is, is when Cole sends that magical. I think it's 30% off. I don't know. It's like, it's like Christmas.
Wes Schaeffer: New Year's Fourth of July, my wife's doing a dance. I mean, she calls, Mom. They like planning events, it's lunch. It's Breakfast it's it's cocktails and it's cold. I mean, so coupons, they still work.
Erin Chase: They do and you know cools is a great example of a retailer, you know, Old Navy super cash you know there's there's retailers that are still
Erin Chase: playing that game because it works for them. And because they've trained their audience and they've trained consumers to
Erin Chase: Buy around them. And so that's, you know, that's, that's part of the day, if you look at JC Penney. I don't know if you ever if you paid attention to that conversation but JC Penney tried to do away with their coupons. A couple years ago and Oh my word that did not go well.
Erin Chase: So if you if you're curious about that story. You can Google it and go read about it. And yeah, it's just like if your
Erin Chase: Market is trained for this, then
Erin Chase: Stick with it or get creative with it right JC Penney could have certainly kept the coupon magic going and just done something different with it and met their consumers needs and also met their, you know, sales, sales goals so
Wes Schaeffer: So you're making money on ads, you're making money with some affiliates, how, how did you
Wes Schaeffer: Learn or practice, you know, plan your growth.
Wes Schaeffer: Because all of that.
Wes Schaeffer: And that could work forever theoretically but add prices do keep going down right revenue Google's always trying to keep more of their own money.
Wes Schaeffer: But so you weren't you haven't stayed passive right you've created products, you've created programs like how, how have you plotted your growth and say, Hey, here's the next thing.
Wes Schaeffer: Next Avenue. I want to move into to grow my business.
Erin Chase: Oh, gosh. This could take a minute. So the, the first thing I would say is we didn't do any paid spent until we did a hot minute of it in 2016
Erin Chase: And then I
Erin Chase: backed it off and then we're back on it, as of last summer. Summer 2019 so it's really only been a year that we've had a full kind of ad program running, if you will. And so the
Erin Chase: Most of it was just organic word of mouth. We have we've had because we started early. We have great domain authority. We've got, I would say decent SEO.
Erin Chase: That changes so often and it's it's we try our best to keep up with it, but it's tough and and then we have
Erin Chase: Pretty decent social media platforms that have just grown as the websites grown that the social media has grown along with it. Pinterest being number one in Facebook being number two. And I think it's just
Erin Chase: It's, it's, you've got to feed all of them.
Erin Chase: We feed.
Erin Chase: We always joke about our team internally we joke about how we're basically trying to fill up the Internet of Things.
Erin Chase: And in being in the food space that's easy to do because there's tons of recipes. There's photos. There's videos. There's principles, there's, there's a lot that we can
Erin Chase: We can create to fill up the internet. But I think that the lesson and all of that is just the consistency of providing value and serving your community.
Erin Chase: And we do that with the recipe content and just different hacks and
Erin Chase: Principles and what's working in Aaron's kitchen and how she organizing this and how she hacking, that kind of thing. And so that's in part of it is it is personality driven, if you will. It is Aaron.
Erin Chase: Behind all of it. And I think because it's relatable, because it's happening in my own kitchen because it's the struggle is real. The, you know, all of that gets communicated
Erin Chase: Everywhere. And so I think that that the content creation plus being present everywhere feeds the BEAST. BEAST, if you will, and
Erin Chase: You know, SEO social media, word of mouth email is huge emails, what we would
Erin Chase: Predominantly Dr say
Wes Schaeffer: Oh, clearly, I need to end this interview at
Wes Schaeffer: Email is dead. Don't you know anything
Wes Schaeffer: How did I convince me to get on this show.
Erin Chase: I need saying that because I'd like to have some words of him about that.
Erin Chase: He should have like a
Erin Chase: Email sales like smack down West that'd be so good.
Wes Schaeffer: Look cold calling is dead SEO is dead. Email is that social media is dead.
Wes Schaeffer: I think my writing is coming back in vogue. We should get some planes.
Erin Chase: Gosh. Let's get some planes and some of those cute banners.
Erin Chase: Facts happy.
Wes Schaeffer: I think boxing is coming back.
Erin Chase: faxing faxing. Do you have a fax. Did you ever do that. Did you fax or was that you were after that.
Wes Schaeffer: No, I got, I remember I was working with a recruiting firm in Austin, at the beginning of 2000
Wes Schaeffer: And we could fax a little bit
Wes Schaeffer: And things kind of the tail end, we would get fax ads at the office. Do remember that the short minute
Erin Chase: We should bring that back. Let's make an app that brings back faxing some version of faxing. I don't know what that looks. Hey, Dan. Dan Kennedy shred
Wes Schaeffer: Dan Kennedy still does it.
Wes Schaeffer: And people still have what they do, it's all digital right just come to an email, but the headline is facts. And so, hey, I think it does cut through the clutter.
Erin Chase: It might very well may interesting
Wes Schaeffer: So email is still number one for you. Hmm.
Erin Chase: Let's have a smoke. I want to have a smack down with ever
Erin Chase: Most dudas emails a dead. Listen. Email is number one because
Erin Chase: Email is just where you talk to your people. It's where you serve them you're brilliant at email. I like to think that I am I don't know.
Erin Chase: So it's, it's, it's what I don't know it's just like, so we're going to chat. That's where I tell them about my house. Let it's where I tell them about
Erin Chase: What whatever is going on in life. Right. And I think that that again goes back to the relatable.
Erin Chase: Right, it's a hot mess too and but she's pulling it together.
Erin Chase: And this well so
Wes Schaeffer: So what, let's go back, though, because I think we went down a little different tangent, because I was, you know, starting about like you you monetize your website early on by placing some Google Ads right on your own site not unnecessarily running your own ads. So you're starting to monetize
Wes Schaeffer: It, but I guess I still consider like passive income right obviously you're working hard, creating the content.
Wes Schaeffer: But you're not selling a product you're not selling a coaching, you're not selling an event. I mean, you've you've put on before all this stuff happened you had your own event in San Diego.
Wes Schaeffer: So, like, what was the first. Did you make a cookbook. Did you make a coaching program like what was the first thing you monetized after you know just revenue from from visitors.
Erin Chase: The first is a series of cookbooks. I signed on with the St. Martin's Press to do three cookbooks and they were released in 2012 2011 2012 2013 it's pretty early on I signed that contract in February. After I started the blog in
Erin Chase: 2010 oh my gosh I should know those years, they're like children, I should know their birthdays. Right.
Erin Chase: So I signed that contract February after starting the blog in August. So it's pretty quick.
Wes Schaeffer: So by February oh nine, you had that
Wes Schaeffer: Mm hmm. Nice.
Erin Chase: Yep, I had the contract oh nine. I started working on them in April. The first one was do I think it was October, and then it came out there. So to come out into the person came out 2010
Erin Chase: So yeah, it was, it was real quick.
Erin Chase: Yeah, I got the cookbooks and all along. We're just building steam building traction building the audience. I had a Yahoo group.
Erin Chase: Do you remember what those were
Erin Chase: A little bit house.
Erin Chase: That had thousands of people in it. And then I switched him over to and that's something else that we've done really well. As we've moved our people.
Erin Chase: Where the next thing is right. So I think after that there was a Google Groups thing because I remember having like a widget. I think it was Google Groups. I don't think Yahoo groups didn't have a widget.
Erin Chase: Think it was Google something. I don't see seriously so long. And I remember. But then the next thing was something else. We did a lot of work on Twitter, way back in the day and then it was
Erin Chase: Facebook groups.
Wes Schaeffer: You should do $5 music and move them all into my space.
Erin Chase: Oh my gosh, would not be funny.
Erin Chase: And snap, sir. Is that even a thing anymore. I know, I know it's not. But yeah, yeah, it's like
Wes Schaeffer: Did you say
Wes Schaeffer: Did you say snap stir.
Erin Chase: It wasn't a thing.
Erin Chase: Napster Napster, what does it Napster you
Erin Chase: I think you need. What's his name is his name, start with an S Napster
Wes Schaeffer: Music name.
Erin Chase: The Napster guy.
Wes Schaeffer: I know I don't remember his name, but
Erin Chase: Yeah it all mixed up in my head was the file sharing the music file sharing
Erin Chase: Yes, that's what I'm thinking of. And we can blame this on coven brain.
Wes Schaeffer: Over brain. I know.
Erin Chase: It's real.
Wes Schaeffer: Hey, drink, drink some more electrolytes.
Erin Chase: Okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna
Wes Schaeffer: So that's cool. But, but you had a loyal group because you were active and real in your group, right, I mean, people got to know like and trust you.
Erin Chase: Yeah, they did I shared a we had a blog post every day, a recipe.
Erin Chase: What about a week.
Wes Schaeffer: Or who's we how long was it just you and before you started adding a team.
Erin Chase: Nine months.
Erin Chase: No 10 months because Jen came on that next summer.
Wes Schaeffer: And like full time or part time contract or what
Erin Chase: Part time contractor almost full time. Yeah.
Erin Chase: Yeah. So she came on, it was probably about 10 months after that. Okay. And it literally it was the minute that I could afford it.
Erin Chase: I need help here because this is this is this is a and I've always called this business in me kind of running it a freight train
Erin Chase: And I, and I've always called it that I mean when I send cookies or flowers to team. I'm like, thanks for helping me keep the train on the tracks like it's like a thing like we all know that this is Aaron's freight train and so
Erin Chase: I knew that if this was going to move at the speed that it was moving. I needed help. And so the minute that I could afford it. I was like, Come on.
Wes Schaeffer: So obviously, you start this out of necessity, you didn't have a grand scheme to take over become the next Martha Stewart.
Wes Schaeffer: But, but I know now if I had to guess, you've got plans, you've got a vision for this. When did it turn from let me know Tiger by the tail freight train sort of thing to all right I'm, I'm still gonna be a freight train, but I got a direction.
Wes Schaeffer: You know, when did it shift from being, you know, what the hell do I have to let me build this intentional thing.
Erin Chase: Probably the minute that I signed the cookbook contracts, really. I thought okay my face is going to be on the cover of these books.
Erin Chase: This is going to be a thing. I'm here to meet their needs, whatever they want and and that's really what we've done. That's how it's built. That's how it's a ball that's how we've added products. It's people asking for it.
Erin Chase: That's how you know we have two meal plan memberships, they're different from each other. And that's because people were asking and the solution that I was giving them for free was not ideal, not a great user experience.
Erin Chase: So we switched it to a membership and it's so much better now.
Erin Chase: Right, and so that's that's it's it's been a lot of listening and because we have an amazing team because we have amazing tools and because I am fearless. We can pull this stuff together real quickly.
Erin Chase: Because it's all there. It's, it's very easy for me to build the next thing, because when I know how to do it.
Erin Chase: To we have the resources to do it. And three, we have the team to do it so it's it's not you know this 2020 has been, you know, a dumpster fire for a lot of reasons for myself included, and we've we've launched, we launched one product and it was more like
Wes Schaeffer: Is that that good or bad. I mean you know me launching 10 or by
Erin Chase: It's bad.
Erin Chase: Yeah, and before that we hadn't launched in like
Erin Chase: We probably hadn't launched six months before the you know pandemic, it actually my my situation started when our house flooded, which was a year ago now. So it's my pandemic time was extended in three months earlier than everybody else is
Wes Schaeffer: Always going to be special huh
Erin Chase: Yeah, I know. My bad. But that's the button to really so we only launched one product and it was really kind of like, no, we didn't really launch that like it was just kind of like here's this thing we did
Erin Chase: Not the full launch that we typically do and for next year right here. I've got eight there. It's right on my wall, you can't see it, but there's eight that we're going to launch next year.
Erin Chase: And some of them are like a repurpose relaunch, if you will, and some of them are new products. And so again, it goes back to listening to everybody. This whole year.
Erin Chase: And so this year has been one where we had to slow down. I put for personal reasons beyond the coven in the pandemic in the lockdowns
Erin Chase: Just had to slow down. So basically this year was keep the lights on. Keep the businesses running listen to people. And then we're going to just launch right out of this year into all these new things that we have, you know, in the queue for 2021 so it's been it's been fine. Okay, I guess.
Erin Chase: kind of slowed the the momentum and the growth down, if you will, but I can see where things are going
Erin Chase: But back to your original question, I think that
Erin Chase: WE LAUNCHING or creating and launching products has just kind of happened naturally as the Community's essentially asked for it.
Wes Schaeffer: Mm hmm.
Wes Schaeffer: How do you balance and you may not need to balance me if you're listening, then maybe the balance comes from there. But how do you, how do you balance.
Wes Schaeffer: Like sticking with tried and true versus coming out with something new right it because sometimes I see entrepreneurs, they, they, water, the market down or they take their eye off the ball because it's
Wes Schaeffer: We're always balancing right one is, you know, go to the well as long as it's producing go to that. Well, but like Harvey MacKay said right dig your well before you're thirsty.
Wes Schaeffer: Eventually that well will run dry, you better have started and maybe even finished your next. Well, right. So how do you balance.
Wes Schaeffer: The tried and true what everybody's come to know us you know New Coke, you know, okay, no don't do New Coke. Just, just do Diet Coke right do cherry flavor code. Don't do New Coke, you know, how do you
Wes Schaeffer: How do you balance that
Erin Chase: That makes me think of when chick fil a change their barbecue sauce recipe. You remember that was like two years ago. Oh no, that's not go well anyways.
Wes Schaeffer: So to the ground. Get behind me, Satan
Wes Schaeffer: That's right.
Erin Chase: And now they sell it in a bottle. Okay, anyways, the balance is really challenging and I think whether that's because I'm
Erin Chase: wired to be an entrepreneur wired to be a visionary, but somehow I'm also wired to be like an operator, you know, if you took a look at like visionary integrator. I really couldn't do both fairly well.
Erin Chase: I think I mean if I took the test that would probably say one or the other. But I see the vision and I can do the work. And so it's, it's, I think part of it is, is, is my wiring, if you will. And I'm constantly
Erin Chase: stay in your lane stay in your lane stay in your lane constantly and for me that's food stay in the food bling.
Erin Chase: If this thing is related to food you're allowed to do it. I've tried to go off out of my lane. It doesn't work.
Erin Chase: Or it didn't for me. So stay in your lane is one thing. And I think with that, in that essentially a state in your well right
Erin Chase: But if you're going to dig another well dig it nearby in a row and relate related. So all of my stuff is related
Erin Chase: To each other. They're all their meeting different needs, they're solving different problems, but they're all related to food, they're all related to dinner, they're all related to saving money right
Erin Chase: So for me, that's the case, and I have gone off that script twice. I, I would say, over the last 12 years probably twice, and it's just not
Wes Schaeffer: I told you not to lie said alpaca grooming.
Wes Schaeffer: Business, but no, you had learned the hard way. But that's fine. Okay.
Erin Chase: Yeah, I know it's it's one day and I have another fabulous idea that is completely off script. And I actually think I'm gonna have my oldest son run with it because he's
Erin Chase: He's, he's selling merchant Amazon like you know he's already doing some of these things. And I'm like, I have a URL for you.
Erin Chase: I have a brand for you. Let's go. And so he if he wants to. He will. And I'm happy to kind of lead him through that process, but I'm not gonna, I don't have the bandwidth to do that work because it's not in my lane.
Erin Chase: And so for me it's stay in your lane. But if, but we all have this itch to be creative, like, give yourself that space.
Erin Chase: And it doesn't have to be in the online world like give yourself space to go out and do these things right and give yourself permission to have this creative
Erin Chase: You know flow, if you will, but that's not necessarily in your business if you need to. If you need to suit that creative itch whatever bomb, you need to use maybe that's not going to interfere with your existing
Erin Chase: What's working, you know, running your business now though.
Wes Schaeffer: And you're still running all this on entre port.
Erin Chase: Guess.
Erin Chase: Cool, yeah.
Wes Schaeffer: So you can build a nice business with a nice team with cookbook contracts all on an all in one platform.
Wes Schaeffer: Or you're listening to that I see people all the time. They think they try to overcomplicate things are they
Wes Schaeffer: Oh, I want to switch to catch a hobby. I want to add click funnels. I'm gonna do
Wes Schaeffer: I'm gonna do entre pages to click funnel. So entre pages to Infusionsoft. And then kick it over to Salesforce and then use Zoho. I'm like, Yeah, I'm already tired. I gotta charge you just to listen because that was like
Wes Schaeffer: My soul.
Wes Schaeffer: Dance with who brung ya. Huh.
Erin Chase: Yeah, the I do. I started with entre port. We use it to power membership courses in our email.
Erin Chase: Number one I did, I did have to add in a Shopify store that I have connected because we sell so many physical products I needed a storefront where people could quote sort of browse, if you will, and entrepreneurs doesn't have that
Erin Chase: Ecommerce solution. It has the solution to sell physical products. We do sell a lot on, you know, an upsell and cross cells down cells, we have all of that woven in as one purchases, but somebody couldn't come and pick six different things that we have available right
Erin Chase: So I did have to add in our
Erin Chase: Our Shopify but it's all integrated. So all the post purchase follow ups happen to be entre port and all of that stuff. So that has been that's kind of my my system is the CRM, plus the e commerce.
Erin Chase: Connected to it.
Wes Schaeffer: I think people overcomplicate things kind of I think deep down, it's a it's a crutch, or that uses an excuse. Why didn't grow because we had the conflict and it set us back and
Wes Schaeffer: I think they're just afraid to put themselves out there because if if you put yourself out there and it doesn't work then either you got it wrong, or people didn't like you didn't like your message or whatever but
Wes Schaeffer: Oh, if the software glitch. And, you know, okay, well I know it was still you
Erin Chase: Yeah, and I think to with with software with every, every single cloud flair for crying out loud AWS, everything's going to break at some point it's the technology, right. And so I think that
Erin Chase: It doesn't matter what technology are using your host can go down. Like it doesn't matter. Right. And so I think part of it is like you said excuses and the other flip the excuse into an expectation, like I just expect any day for something to go wrong.
Erin Chase: And we say in our, in our, in our team and actually
Erin Chase: We say the internets drunk. This week when things are just breaking down, whether it's sometimes it's our fault we just set the checkup. Right.
Erin Chase: And most of the time it's not and so like the week before Black Friday. The internet was getting a little tipsy.
Erin Chase: They were just like little things happening. And we were like, oh, okay. Please, no drunken behavior on Black Friday.
Erin Chase: Thankfully, whatever was going. It was just a little tiny things and it's just kind of our internal
Erin Chase: sort of joke of, well, this is, you know, but you kind of have to expect it. And so instead of excusing it just expect that things are going to happen and and then to, I think,
Erin Chase: Especially with the more complicated tools, whether it's on support or HubSpot or Salesforce, whatever you gotta learn
Erin Chase: You have to set aside time to learn how these things work, whether it's good. I've, I have learned so much by going to the entrepreneur events. I've been every year. Except this year, obviously didn't have it. I learned so much about
Erin Chase: Just how the tools can be used in a marketing strategy and we can implement that quickly.
Erin Chase: And then it's just off to the races to see how it does. And it's allowed us to be really creative and clever with connecting with people.
Erin Chase: Whether it's a different type of funnel or any type of challenge or different setup for our members like all the different things that we've been able to pull off.
Erin Chase: Is because we've taken the time myself and my assistant to learn how the software works.
Erin Chase: That we can it you know we're so deep into entre port, we're never leaving I've totally random. Like we're, we're good. Just tell me where to pay you.
Erin Chase: Know, but. But on the flip of that. It's like an employee.
Erin Chase: You know, it's, it doesn't cost as much as a full time employee per se, it sometimes
Erin Chase: Can get expensive depending on
Erin Chase: Well, we have a lot of a lot of contacts and a lot of emails that we send but the
Erin Chase: But that's how I think of it. I think this is this is an employee literally running the back end of our business.
Wes Schaeffer: Mm hmm.
Erin Chase: And having that mindset I think helps with
Erin Chase: You know, wanting to learn more about it. And it's almost like
Erin Chase: I would I would train an employee and, you know, raise an employee sort of through the ranks, if you will. It's the same thing with with, you know, it's a piece of technology.
Erin Chase: You've got to train yourself in it or hire somebody and get them to, you know, do whatever. And so that's that's kind of the approach that we've taken to it. And I think that's really helped us in the long run with with growing
Erin Chase: Increasing sales, you know, keeping the freight train moving at
Erin Chase: lightning speed.
Wes Schaeffer: So when upgrades come out. I had this with Infusionsoft. Right. I had started using await I still have some campaigns running, you know, 12 years later.
Wes Schaeffer: And back in the day though Infusionsoft email builder was just horrific. I mean, you just you just did you just held your nose and use it, really. I always tell people, you know,
Wes Schaeffer: Way back then Infusionsoft was literally not great at anything but they tied everything together and automated at a price point that you just couldn't say no to
Wes Schaeffer: And that automation was the key, right. I just had to tell people like focus, you know, keep your eye on the prize, but then they came out with a new email builder, right, that was
Wes Schaeffer: In his elegance and modular drag and drop, blah, blah. So when do you bite the bullet and go like when entre port comes out with an update.
Wes Schaeffer: You know, how do you know when to just leave the old stuff running, you know, plain text, not a sexy. You know, I, oh, we got to take this at seven step sequence. And we're going to update it to the new stuff. I mean, how often does that happen.
Erin Chase: We've had to go through that with entre port because we got in in 2000 April 2015. And so we've seen pages entre pages been added. And we've seen updates to forums. We've seen
Erin Chase: I mean, when I first started, it was html forms. They didn't have the form builder.
Erin Chase: And so
Erin Chase: We start with our highest our core products, if you will, because we have a number of different you know programs in there.
Erin Chase: And we go one at a time and we will update some things I have not updated. A lot of things. So I know you know entre port, but there's campaigns and their sequences.
Erin Chase: We still have like at active sequences and probably like 40 campaigns, if you will. And so, you haven't moved it all over, because it's just
Erin Chase: A bear and it's still working.
Wes Schaeffer: Right, it's
Erin Chase: Not it's not broken. I don't need the crazy fancy automation in most of what we've built into campaigns is reporting type related
Erin Chase: Campaign, so we can see the numbers really clearly on different different parts and pieces so the
Erin Chase: But we do I do something I call it an audit i mean i don't know what i guess that's what we call it. But it's where we go through the
Erin Chase: Like each little brand or each program or membership or course we go through the whole thing, start to finish. So I, I look at every single component
Erin Chase: Related to, let's say, the grocery budget makeover. That's our online course it's a it's a drip course it's evergreen people can join it at any time. So I will go from the beginning, from the homepage to the workshop page.
Wes Schaeffer: To the join pages. So the forums.
Wes Schaeffer: Regularly like once a quarter. Once you're
Erin Chase: Once a year and this year being a little bit of an anomaly. Just because we kind of everything got put on hold, but we are. So we've just done that with our freezer cooking membership and I'm actually going to move everything
Erin Chase: On two of our courses. So that'll be a big project, you know, I'll write up a huge project plan. And then my assistant and I I have several
Erin Chase: people on our team, but my you know entre port assistant. If you both she and I will tackle that together and kind of divide and conquer and and move it all. It just needs to be moved it needs to be updated. We're going to record some new content for
Erin Chase: Him, and that'll be one of the products I mentioned earlier that we will sort of repurpose and relaunch it just going to be in a new place, and it'll be sexier looking and it'll be it'll be better kind of user experience.
Wes Schaeffer: And it it's like it's cringe inducing when you do it, isn't it, because even if it's a year ago, you're like, Oh my gosh, I said that I could, I could say this better. I could. Oh, that image I get you. Oh my gosh.
Wes Schaeffer: Probably one or two or 10 broken links like how those links break you like, holy crap you know how long has that been broken and you can pull your hair out right you lose your
Wes Schaeffer: Mind doing these audits.
Erin Chase: Right, and I
Erin Chase: Do they're important and I think that, you know, when I have this acronym. It's called plan, implement evaluates we plan something we implement it and we evaluated. Well, this audit is the evaluate piece that happens.
Erin Chase: More often for certain things. I mean, I'm checking on I'm evaluating checking on things every day. Certain things right. But these bigger kind of system type things. I'm checking on
Erin Chase: Once a year, and I think it's important to do that because if you don't
Erin Chase: Then you start to get the angry emails and the and the actually got one this week for grocery budget makeover. I was like, I'm pretty sure that board got sunset and but let me check. I did not. And actually,
Erin Chase: This month is I'm updating grocery budget makeover like this week and next week for our January sort of relaunch of it. So I'm like well add that to the list of
Erin Chase: Things, but it's, it does. It happens quickly and and i think you know
Erin Chase: Sometimes I wish I had a ginormous map of everything that we had set up and I do have some mind maps in certain places, but I don't have a massive one because if you fix this.
Erin Chase: You don't always remember that A, B, C, D, and E. Oh, you forgot about f and g and h and I have been G are broken now. Because you fix what you thought you needed to fix, but really it's
Erin Chase: And it's, it's not. Not to say that it's complicated. I do feel like most of what we have is fairly simple but anytime you you have an automation setup.
Erin Chase: You can you can you can mess with that or break that by just changing one thing. And so the other thing that we do whenever we do do updates or new setups is I record a loom video
Erin Chase: Start to finish and I do 99% of the crazy setups in our entre port. If there's something super complicated. Then I'll hire, Neil. To do that, but most of it, I'm able
Erin Chase: To do, because I've taught it to myself over the years. And so after I'm done with a setup or an audit.
Erin Chase: I will go through field by field open every single section of every single form of every single thing because that does two things. It teaches
Erin Chase: My assistant goes over all of it as well. She's like, my second eyes.
Erin Chase: It teaches her what we've done so she knows what the customer is going to experience. She also learns the insight and the logic of entre port and then I catch what I missed.
Erin Chase: Does that make sense. So I think it's a that's a part of every single setup that we do. So that's like an almost like an immediate on it.
Erin Chase: But then if you're going to go change things later or do these annual type audits, then that's where you're going to see, like you said, the. Why did I say that I've had so many moments.
Erin Chase: That is not what I meant. Let me rephrase that.
Wes Schaeffer: So, yeah.
Erin Chase: I mean it's kind of kind of big picture, but also
Erin Chase: Important to do that, the micro level to
Wes Schaeffer: You talking about Black Friday.
Wes Schaeffer: How far in advance do you plan a big promotion and do you like just follow all the big holidays, you know, Fourth of July sale Black Friday sale. Do you do them as you as they strike you you know nothing fancy tickles your fancy like or how do you do
Erin Chase: Yeah, a little of both. A little of both. So part of it. A seasonality. So for us, that's January being the new year, kind of like I need to get my dinner act together again and
Erin Chase: Generally will do something over the summer. Just because things are cut people's schedules adjust and or their kids are in the kitchen all day long. I mean, the pandemic was a little tricky.
Erin Chase: This year it kind of was this six month long SUMMER AND THEN WE DO back to school, August
Erin Chase: January and August sales wise are traditionally our highest months and then we'll do something around Black Friday and Black Friday is actually improved for us recently because we have the physical product component
Erin Chase: I think that, you know, digital products in coaching products and this was four and five years ago, before we had the physical products. They were a little harder to sell because you can't like
Erin Chase: Package up a login email and put it under the tree, you know, although you could track, maybe a little gift card or something. But the now that we have the physical
Erin Chase: Products. That's our main focus and Black Friday is our storefront and then the memberships is what we run the rest of the year, type the courses and memberships. We run the rest of the year on
Erin Chase: You know, different promotions, we've added in. We do a number of like sort of hidden promotions, if you will.
Erin Chase: So one of them for our membership, we do an annual membership drive. So anybody who's a monthly or quarterly member. We're like, Hey, Switch to annual and you get this bonus and this thing and that thing. So we do a lot of kind of
Erin Chase: I don't know. I don't want to say hidden because we're not putting it out on social we're not putting it into email.
Erin Chase: To this
Wes Schaeffer: Remember sprinter.
Erin Chase: Yeah, so we do those mixed in throughout the year. And really I
Erin Chase: Except for 2020 we just got derailed but years past, and for 2021 have the whole year planned out. We know exactly what the product focuses what the launch is going to be, you know, what we want.
Erin Chase: Everybody social media team talking about emails. It's all we're trying to kind of pull it all. I don't know for consumer for our leaders in our community to make it easier for them to connect with the products that they need.
Wes Schaeffer: How much would you say is, is similar in each, you know, year to year, like do you
Wes Schaeffer: Do you take your Black Friday and just tweak it a little bit, you know, a 10% kind of makeover. Just to modernize it mentioned the year maybe mentioned some recent facts will people know its current, you know, or is it like a total redo top to bottom.
Wes Schaeffer: You know, back
Wes Schaeffer: From launch new year. It seemed like it would be pretty similar.
Erin Chase: As far as this setup and the technology and the automation logic, it's very similar. The front for the customer facing side of it. I try to keep it fresh and sexy, if you will, because
Erin Chase: I don't know if people are if you have someone who sits on your email list. There are people who engage in sit on our email list for 234 years
Erin Chase: I don't want them seeing the same thing over and over. So like this year we did Black Friday and door busters
Erin Chase: We've never done that before, if your, if your order was in before 2pm we added stuff to your order. Basically, we'd never done that before. And it did really well for us. And, you know, cost wise.
Erin Chase: We're already mailing them something. What's another six ounces. But, you know, so that's it did really well for us. And you know, I already have ideas of how I can make that better for next year.
Erin Chase: So I think it's, it's
Erin Chase: I always want to be able to sit. We don't say this every time. But I want to be able to set something up a campaign or promotion up in a way where I could say
Erin Chase: We've never done this before. We've never offered door busters before you know one year we've never we've had never offered a 25% discount. We did that last year, but we did not do free shipping because it washes right 20% free shipping or 25% not free shipping it washes
Erin Chase: So I it's not the same every year.
Erin Chase: But for us it's the same in terms of the setup and getting
Erin Chase: Everything ready and and all that goes along with that, but I want it to be.
Erin Chase: Fun.
Erin Chase: Huh, for the consumer side.
Wes Schaeffer: All right, I could go on forever. I got a client three minutes, so I gotta
Erin Chase: Hurry, hurry.
Wes Schaeffer: Once I've got a wrap. Something up on time. Where, where should we send folks. Where do you
Wes Schaeffer: Where do you want them to go after listening to this. To learn more about you.
Erin Chase: So $5 dinners.com is the best place to see what we're
Wes Schaeffer: Doing
Wes Schaeffer: Is it the number five, or do you have
Erin Chase: Five Little they'll all get you there. What
Erin Chase: You're Aaron Chase. It'll all get you there.
Erin Chase: The end. We have pretty much only consumer products. So if you want to hear other interviews that I've done about this type of thing search my name on a podcast player, but the
Erin Chase: I do a lot of chats like this, which I love to do. But I, again, stayed in my lane. So, come, come find me are stuck calm.
Wes Schaeffer: All right, I will link to you there. And then I go check out Pinterest. You know, I keep telling myself, check out Pinterest. I just don't, I don't know, maybe, maybe you're going to be the compelling event that gets me on Pinterest.
Erin Chase: And we should talk later. Yeah, for sure. You need to Pinterest.
Wes Schaeffer: I let my well she's 13 now probably from since probably 11 so a couple years I let her use my account. And so like I had all these boards and stuff of like women's clothing. I'm like, yeah, probably don't need that on Mike
Erin Chase: You can just turn those two secret boards and start new boards. It'll be fine. I
Wes Schaeffer: Think I did.
Wes Schaeffer: I don't know. Yeah, let's let's talk
Erin Chase: Alright. Alright, sounds good.
Wes Schaeffer: Alright. Erin chase fellow Texan fellow co bit brain.
Wes Schaeffer: Yes, entrepreneur,
Wes Schaeffer: Thanks for coming on the show's been great catching up.
Erin Chase: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Wes Schaeffer: Alright. Have a great day.