Florencia Pyke of Business School for Mums explains how she turned one year of maternity leave into an opportunity to build a community for entrepreneurs who are also mothers, helping them start and grow profitable small businesses from home.
Florencia and her business partner Anna Jonak have an extremely unique skill set from every angle of business and marketing. They’ve grown three successful businesses and coached upwards of 600 clients, generating millions in revenue.
Chris Davis: 00:24 Welcome to the ActiveCampaign podcast. I’m your host, Chris Davis. On this episode, I have with me Florencia from Business School for Mums. Yes, that’s m-u-m-s. Business School for Mums where she is the co-founder of an online community catered to help teach mothers small business, help them get started and provide the tutelage, knowledge share, and support to start and grow a successful small business, but that’s not all that we cover in this episode. One of the highlights that I really enjoyed speaking to Florencia about was getting to the point in the business where it no longer made sense for her to do the marketing. How she handled the transition of automation power to someone on her team to allow her to do more outside of the necessary technical implementation of her marketing. It’s all in this episode. Enjoy.
Florencia, welcome to the podcast. How are you doing?
Florencia Pyke: 01:33 Hey, Chris. Thank you so much for having me. I’m doing really well, thanks.
Chris Davis: 01:37 Yes.
Florencia Pyke: 01:37 Thanks so much.
Chris Davis: 01:39 Yes, thank you for coming on. Tell our listeners, give them some insight about yourself and your business.
Florencia Pyke: 01:47 Okay, awesome. I’m Florencia, and basically I am the co-founder of Business School for Mums with my business partner Anna Jonak. We actually run a few different businesses now, with Anna, and Business School for Mums is very much one of them. It’s at the forefront of what we do, where we help mums to start and grow profitable small businesses from home. Then we also work with female entrepreneurs who really want to scale their businesses and are making over $100,000 in their businesses with a mastermind called Beyond Brave.
Chris Davis: 02:30 Got you. Now, were you always in the entrepreneur space?
Florencia Pyke: 02:37 Not always, but that’s a funny question because before I started my own business, so I had a digital marketing consultancy prior to meeting Anna and launching Business School for Mums. Way back when before that when I was studying at university and completing my Bachelor of Commerce degree, I remember there was an opportunity to specialize in entrepreneurship, like whatever that means, but I was like, “Yeah, that’s me, because I’m going to be an entrepreneur.” So there you go. I guess it was always in my mind.
Chris Davis: 03:16 Yeah, that’s interesting because now, you’re starting to see formal academia around digital marketing and entrepreneurship-
Florencia Pyke: 03:29 Yes.
Chris Davis: 03:29 Whereas before, you were just taking a chance and you starting a business was just unheard of, depending on the circle or where you’re from. Now it is; it’s very much common practice, and we’re seeing the educational facilities and the university start to respect it more and more.
Florencia Pyke: 03:49 Yeah, definitely. To be honest, I think I always knew I wanted to do something for myself, but I was waiting for the right time to a degree. We had moved to Australia with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, from Canda. I wanted to just get some local work experience to build my resume up and start meeting people, because I didn’t really know many people. I was like, “Okay, I feel like I need to tick that box before I venture out on my own here.” When I fell pregnant actually, and I working in a corporate job, I knew that was my ticket. When I had a one-year maternity leave, I was like, “Right, this is the time to hustle. I’m going to make this work and I’m not going back to corporate.” That was always kind of at the forefront of my mind, and I was able to make it happen. Yeah, it was pretty exciting stuff.
Chris Davis: 04:49 I want to spend a little bit of time on that too because first off, hats off, right? As a recovering from bringing new life into the world individual, right?
Florencia Pyke: 05:01 Do you every recover [crosstalk 00:05:03]?
Chris Davis: 05:04 Right? I don’t want to gloss over it because it’s the most important thing that could be done in the world, is to bring life in, but you had to have so many excuses to not do it, right? “I’m tired,” “Oh, I have aches,” “Oh, I have to feed.” How many did you have at the time? Was this your first or your second?
Florencia Pyke: 05:30 So at the time when I started my digital marketing consultancy, I had one, and when I started Business School for Mums I had two, and I’m about to have my third actually.
Chris Davis: 05:38 See? Who could tell you that you need to just suck it up and just do it? “Forget those kids” or, “You’re being a wimp.” Two kids. I’m overwhelmed. Anybody could be overwhelmed. Just walk me through just a little, just briefly, what was the mindset? What was the mindset after having your second child and saying, “You know what? I’ve got this year” instead of saying like, “Oh, finally a break. I can relax for a year?” Just tell me about some of the motivations behind it.
Florencia Pyke: 06:13 Well I think that was part of the driver, is that I only had 12 months. I knew I was on a time crunch. Fair enough, I felt that I had to prove it to our family from a financial standpoint that this would be worthwhile for both my husband and I to take, obviously you take a bit of a financial step back when you start something. We decided, “All right, well let’s set a target that you’ll make X amount by the end of the first 12 months starting this consultancy, and then with the aim to double that,” and so on and so forth the following year. For me, that was really at the pinnacle of my thinking, is that I just knew I didn’t want to go back to corporate. I don’t like working for someone, I never have. I always was kind of the person who wants to run their own race. With those targets in my mind and the time pressure basically, like it’s a ticking time bomb, that was a huge motivator to be honest, because I had to prove it to myself and to my husband. It really came down to that, I think, to be honest with you.
Chris Davis: 07:36 Got it, got it. Well I love it. I mean, any day you have hundreds of valid reasons not to do something, right? Any day-
Florencia Pyke: 07:46 Yeah, totally. I couldn’t agree more with you, Chris. It’s so funny you say that because especially with our audience that we work with, mums obviously, especially with Business School for Mums, that whole element of having excuses not to do something, it comes up so much. It comes up time and time again amongst our audience. There’s always an excuse, and you always have a choice, but it really comes down to how committed you are to your vision and to making this work. It boils down to you, so I couldn’t agree more with you. Do you really want this or not? That’s really what it comes down to.
Chris Davis: 08:34 Yeah, and it sounds like what you and Anna have created is a community to help with that, right?
Florencia Pyke: 08:47 Absolutely. It is a really strong community; in fact, that’s one of the key things that a lot of our audience really rave about when they join us and the program. They just love the community. Further to that, one of our key points of difference in fact is very much around this mindset element. You were talking about excuses, and for me I was like, “Ding, yes, absolutely” because as a mom in particular, excuses, lack of time, lack of self-belief, you might be out of the workforce for a few years, having to prove it to your partner, what have you, there’s so many challenges that we see our community of mums come up against when they set out to start and grow a successful small business. Anna actually, my business partner, she is a trained life coach, so she studied psychology and neuro-linguistic programming. It is such a wonderful and poignant addition to the program that we’re able to extend in that not only do we offer your key foundations around business and marketing, but we weave these elements of mindset throughout every turn at every module.
It’s really great because it enables our student base to believe in themselves and to know that they’ve got this, and to have their own backs. Especially for a mom, that’s the key in being successful. If you don’t believe that you can do it, who’s going to believe that you can do it? It really boils down to you.
Chris Davis: 10:30 Yeah, and it’s a different type of support, right? Like having spousal support is one thing, but it does not compare when it’s coming from somebody that not only looks like you but has experienced physically in their body what you’ve experienced. It creates a bond, right, on a different level, and there’s a different type of respect and appreciation that comes from somebody that has gone through, they’re encouraging you to essentially get up when you want to lay down.
Florencia Pyke: 11:04 Totally, and I think it goes back to that whole saying of following those who have traveled the path before you. We are huge advocates of investing in your education and in programs and coaches. We always are investing in our own education and business coaches, namely because why reinvent the wheel? If someone else is doing it and you can model what they’re doing and they can teach you how to do it, and you’re watching them succeed and it’s relatable, exactly like you said, then it’s really inspirational I think. Our students, I think they certainly look to us; if we can do it, they can do it, and it’s so true. We always say that. “Guys, this is not rocket science. We’re doing it with almost six kids now between us. You guys can do this too.”
Chris Davis: 12:08 Yeah, yeah. It’s more encouraging than anything.
Florencia Pyke: 12:13 Yeah, exactly. It’s not impossible, put it that way.
Chris Davis: 12:17 Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). So, in the Business School for Mums, I’m just really intrigued. Any of the listeners know that I love niche communities because I just really think that going forward, what technology has done is it’s connected everyone, and the second you’re connected, it pushes you apart, right? Because it connects you by communicating via technology, which is really hard to build a relationship. We’ve got emojis and text now, but it’s really hard to get a feel for someone’s emotional state of mind reading a text and seeing an emoji or looking at pictures. What has happened is the need to connect on a deeper level has really strengthened.
Florencia Pyke: 13:03 Yeah, yeah.
Chris Davis: 13:03 So when you have something like what you have where you’re targeted to moms, it almost, I don’t want to say “sells itself” but the value is so quickly received. Then when they go through it, it captures them immediately. I wanted you to speak a little bit about that experience. Is Business School for Mums for just women who have children? Aspiring women who want to be moms one day? What are you seeing that attraction and experience being like?
Florencia Pyke: 13:43 Yeah, definitely. To answer your most recent question, it’s certainly targeted toward mums but we have students at Business School for Mums who are women and don’t have children, put it that way. The program material is applicable to anyone, but obviously there is a huge focus on mums particularly because we weave these mindset elements into the program, which is really, really helpful for mums. One of the things that you mentioned that I so agree with when you were talking about niche communities and how niche communities bring us together but then kind of separates us too because it is all online. One of the recent changes actually that we’ve made in the program to really facilitate connection and community aside from having a Facebook group where all of our members are in and they can support each other and collaborate, we also have developed a personal coaching forum so we individually, myself and Anna, are personally connected every day to every single student.
Chris Davis: 13:43 Wow.
Florencia Pyke: 15:05 Every single student has the ability to tap into our coaching expertise across business marketing and mindset. Anna has her sets of skills and I have mine, and so we teach different modules in the program. When they go through those modules, at every turn we’re encouraging them to come and talk to us in the forum, which is this personal coaching thread, so that we can understand, “How is this going for you?”, “Do you want to brainstorm about something?”, “How can we support you?” We’re really trying to emphasize and add that personal layer so that it isn’t just exactly a Facebook group or an emoji here and there; it’s really, really personally supported and we hold their hands the whole way through. For us, success really hinges on our students getting results. It’s full circle here; like if they don’t get results, then we’re not successful. It’s so, so important for us to have that extra added layer of personal connection with each and every student so that even though we’re serving this niche community and facilitating the community, we’re also really personally facilitating their success.
There’s different layers in building that community, if that makes sense, online, which I think is really cool.
Chris Davis: 16:33 Yeah, sure, sure. So shifting gears a bit, you all are strong advocates for the platform and sing our praises loudly.
Florencia Pyke: 16:44 Oh yeah.
Chris Davis: 16:45 Talk about some of the technology that’s involved in the community. Are you the one that’s been mainly responsible for understanding how the tech pieces come together?
Florencia Pyke: 16:57 Yeah, so essentially we’ve been in business now for almost three years. In the last six months, we started to delegate the day-to-day execution, updating technical management of ActiveCampaign to our student liaison. Her name is Jo and she’s absolutely fantastic, but I am very well-versed in ActiveCampaign because until that time and before then when I was doing my digital consultancy, it’s what I sued and it’s what I encouraged my clients to use. I’m a huge advocate of your guys’ platform. It has served us incredibly well in being able to expand our reach and growth and to sell. Put it that way.
Chris Davis: 17:47 Yeah, yeah. Now that transition for Jo, I’d imagine documentation wasn’t all the way up to par and things weren’t just perfectly laid out-
Florencia Pyke: 18:00 [crosstalk 00:18:00].
Chris Davis: 18:01 Right, and I know as you were talking about it, somebody is in that exact situation. You reached a point in growth in business where it’s like, “You know what? I was doing this, but this is not the best use of my time at this level.” I wish that we could all just say, “I knew this day was coming. That’s why I have this folder of documentation. Look at these videos and these walkthroughs.” Walk me through a little bit about the handing- off of the technical implementation to someone on your team.
Florencia Pyke: 18:35 Yeah, it’s funny you say that because there was certainly no standard operating procedure there give to Jo, bless her heart. She was such a champion and took it all in her stride, but to be honest, I mean ActiveCampaign is a really intuitive tool. It’s not hard to navigate, and I think that if you’re pretty web savvy, like if you use Mail Chimp, et cetera, ActiveCampaign is even easier in my opinion. She hit the ground running on her own pretty quickly, to be honest, and in terms of the hand-over, what we did was we did a lot of Skype calls and I’d share the screen and show her automations, conditions, tags, the different lists we had, why we were segmenting people in different lists, how to keep the back end clean because you want to keep your lists clean and have that hygiene in place on a frequent basis, and all those things.
We did a lot of screen-share meetings in the beginning where I would show her through the back end, but like I said, she really got it really quickly. She was great, and furthermore, once she hit the ground running and she really started to own the platform, it was awesome because she really took the reigns and started to implement different automations and whatnot that we didn’t have necessarily in place. Then it became a point of, she was better off talking to your guys’ support team because there were things that I wasn’t necessarily [inaudible 00:20:25] with. That support has been awesome, and it’s always so responsive and prompt. It’s been a really easy journey. I mean that’s why we have a student base of over 600 women and they’re starting out and they’re always asking us, “Well what platform should we use?” We’re always saying, “Yeah, ActiveCampaign. It’s awesome.”
Chris Davis: 20:55 Yeah, I love what you’ve done because I’ve always been a firm believer that the best marketing that you’ll ever have for your business is marketing done internally. It’s not a knock against agencies or anything like that, but to really achieve the level of continual success with marketing your business, that individual has to be involved in the day-to-day. There’s so many little things that go along that we just dismiss as not important that are extremely important. Like you said, they get to the point of ownership. That’s the key. When they get to the point of ownership and then they start seeing things that were in your blind spot or things that weren’t even on your radar and can accurately take care of them and they’re familiar with the platform so you can trust that they’re not going to do anything to break it or whatnot, that’s when you’re really getting the most out of ActiveCampaign and your business.
Florencia Pyke: 21:52 Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. You’re absolutely right. It’s gotten to a point now where she’s the go-to on all things ActiveCampaign. It is a wonderful feeling on so many fronts and levels as I’m sure you’ve heard on the podcast, like other people getting to that point where they can, exactly, get a little bit of help and support in the day-to-day functions of the business that are so, so important to growing the business. It’s been such a win to, you’re exactly right, to enable her to take it over and then for her to take that one step further and to really own the platform and how it works for us in growing the business.
Chris Davis: 22:41 Yeah, that’s amazing. One last question for you before we sign off here: talking about ActiveCampaign, the automations, business growth, all of that, can you give our listeners something else, I shouldn’t say “something else.” Beyond email, one of the things that you’re leveraging ActiveCampaign [inaudible 00:23:00].
Florencia Pyke: 23:00 So, I can tell you exactly a great example that we’re looking to implement. We’ve tried this before and we haven’t used it for a while, namely because we haven’t had an activation solely focused on webinars but we will be really soon. In September, we’re going to be launching a marketing mini-course. It’s a three-day course and it’s going to be facilitated by webinar, so there’ll be three webinars. Recently, we ran like a [inaudible 00:23:39] webinar where we found, and I’m sure this is a topic that a lot of your listeners might be able to relate to, but despite that we had 250 registrants for the webinar, the attendance rate was quite abysmal. It was low. It’s certainly not something that came as a surprise to us, but it just confirmed for us we need some extra layers of communication and touchpoint here to ensure that these registrants and these leads actually show up. One of the things that we are working on implementing for this marketing mini-course is to add this extra layer of SMS, which I’ve been looking on ActiveCampaign at, and I love that you guys offer that tool as an added touchpoint.
As a marketer myself, I listen to so many podcasts and shows. SMS at the moment, it’s a highly relevant touchpoint that is being used because email is awesome and it has facilitated our growth by leaps and bounds, but to have that extra layer as well, like how fantastic to ensure that these people actually show up. I’m pretty excited about using that tool.
Chris Davis: 25:08 Yeah, I have found that SMS done right is, I mean for me personally, I’m a huge advocate of ordering things online.
Florencia Pyke: 25:21 Yeah, love it.
Chris Davis: 25:22 So I love getting those notifications, “Your package is on the way,” “Your package is at the door.” Then on the flip side for professional services, if I have an appointment, I appreciate getting that SMS reminder like, “Hey, just reminding you your appointment’s later today,” almost to the point where when I don’t get it, I kind of judge the business like-
Florencia Pyke: 25:46 Yeah, I totally agree. It’s now become for, especially on that appointment front, like an expectation.
Chris Davis: 25:53 Yes.
Florencia Pyke: 25:54 If you want me to roll up to this, I need to be reminded. I totally, totally agree. Yeah, I think it’s really powerful. I’m excited, I’m so excited to use it.
Chris Davis: 26:06 Yeah, I’m excited too to see the results. I have no doubt in my mind that it will definitely increase show-up because I don’t know anybody who has a phone, you know what? Even when it’s on silent, I see people reading their text messages. You don’t miss a text, you really don’t, and as long as us as responsible marketers don’t abuse it and start to send garbage-
Florencia Pyke: 26:33 Of course.
Chris Davis: 26:33 But of course you wouldn’t. It is, it’s a value add. It’s a value add for [inaudible 00:26:38].
Florencia Pyke: 26:39 Yeah, I definitely think so. Often, even when we send a reminder email, especially for our audience because they’re juggling kids and dinner and hubby arriving and there’s a thousand things going on at once, they’re really appreciative. I think exactly right, sending them a reminder text, they’ll be even more pumped so that they don’t miss out because they don’t want to miss out. You register for something, it’s for a reason. You want to go.
Chris Davis: 27:06 Yep, exactly. I can’t count on hands, toes, feet, limbs of myself or my wife or my children how many times I truly have wanted to attend an event that I registered for and just forgot, just forgot to check my email or just got busy, like you said. I love the thinking; you’re spot-on, and like I said, I have no doubt that it will work well. Florencia, this has been great. Where can people find out more about the business?
Florencia Pyke: 27:37 Oh, thank you so much for having me, first of all, Chris. It’s been really fun. So in terms of Business School for Mums, you can find us over at www.businessschoolformums, that’s m-u-m-s, dot com. Also, we encourage you to check out some of our other brands; you can do and do that over at annaandflori.com. Yeah, come check us out, come say hi. We would absolutely love to connect with you if you’re listening and you found this podcast episode valuable. It was great.
Chris Davis: 28:14 Great, great, and all of those links will be placed below the podcast, activecampaign.com/podcast, so you have them forever, everybody. Don’t worry if you couldn’t jot them down or you spelled it wrong. We’ll have it all there for you. Florencia, again, thank you so much for coming onto the podcast. It’s been great.
Florencia Pyke: 28:34 No, thank you, Chris. Thanks so much. I’ve had a great time.
Chris Davis: 28:37 Yes, no problem. I’ll see you [inaudible 00:28:39].
Florencia Pyke: 28:40 All right, see you.
Chris Davis: 28:44 Thank you for listening to this episode of the ActiveCampaign podcast. I hope that if you are a mom or mum listening to this one that it was really encouraging for you to do what you know to do. Do that thing that you’ve been longing to do and for some reason you just lack the motivation, the traction. Maybe you’ve tried it in the past before and just couldn’t get it off the ground and you put it in the archives. I think now’s the time to revisit that. With a resource like Business School for Mums, I believe that there is more than enough support, there’s more than enough resources, there’s more than enough information out there to really truly help you get to the next step or the next level, and I won’t limit that to just moms; if you are anybody who is facing any form of frustration or just lack of motivation, sometimes we just need to get connected with like-minded individuals to help encourage us along our path. If that is you, I highly encourage you to just keep fighting the fight. Don’t give up. You are always so close, so close to the breakthrough if you just don’t grow weary.
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This is the ActiveCampaign podcast, the small business podcast to help you scale and propel your business with automation. I’ll see you on the next episode.