Are you sitting on a great idea for a business, but you’re just not sure where to begin?
We’ve been there too!
It seems that more and more people today are leveraging things like social media to create and grow their business ideas and even to see their products. But where should you begin? And which social accounts are the best fit to drive your passion?
During this week’s episode of Do The Damn Thing, Laura Foy picks the brain of Shannon Stewart, the CEO and Founder of The Modern Hustle.
Shannon talks about how she went from being a struggling single mom with very little money to building a huge social media coaching business with the aid of Instagram and Facebook.
But who helped her along the way? And what inspired her to get things going in the first place?
Be sure to watch our video now to find out how she did the damn thing!
Read the script:
Laura: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another fun-filled episode of Do The Damn Thing, our weekly show where we talk to entrepreneurs who are actually doing it and see if we can pick their brains and get a lot of good information. This week I am joined by our good friend Shannon. How are you, Shannon?
Shannon: I’m good. Thank you for having me.
Laura: Of course. So it’s a funny story. As I was stalking you, looking for people to interview, I noticed your son’s name is Kingston. And my son’s name is Kingston, so immediately I was like, “I like her, she’s got great taste.” From there, I looked at your content, and you talk a lot about purpose-driven brands and things like that, which we will get to. But what really sparked my interest was your headline. It said that you “went from the food bank to making the bank.” I want to hear your story. Tell me what that means and what happened?
Shannon: I started out in the corporate world, and I transitioned into working for myself, not by choice. I was pregnant with Kingston, my first child, and I got laid off from my job. It was a beautiful thing, though. They kept me on for maternity leave. Here in Canada, we get a full year, so they paid for maternity leave with my full benefits and everything. So I had a year basically paid to figure out what I wanted to do from there.
I knew that I didn’t want to go back to the corporate world, but I didn’t know what to do. I started out with the mommy blogger thing. And so I tried that, and I did well. I was getting collaborations with big brands, and it was great. But I wanted something more. It wasn’t enough. So I transitioned into being a social media manager. And throughout that time, it was great. I was getting clients. Four clients were the max that I could take because it’s a lot to manage people’s accounts.
Unfortunately, I was just slowly getting annoyed by clients. They weren’t meeting deadlines, and I always had to chase them for stuff. But then, when they needed something, they needed it right now. I don’t like that sort of environment. It was supposed to be a partnership. I slowly started to resent them in a way. And eventually, they all just left for different reasons. And so I was left with no clients and no new clients coming in. I had a child. I was pregnant with my second one, and we were drowning financially because rent is super expensive.
Laura: Yeah! They like it when you pay, and they like it when you pay on time… every month they want that thing.
Shannon: We ended up moving out of our condo, and we moved in with my mom. We just had to end up going to the food bank because I didn’t have money coming in. And we had two little kids. What else can you do, right?
Laura: You are not alone. I think that there are many people who’ve ended up there when they never thought they would, especially in the current climate. There’s no shame in that.
Shannon: Yeah. That’s the big thing. It’s like a huge stab to your ego. You’re just like, “I don’t want anyone to know that I went to the food bank. This is embarrassing.” But at the time, we were just in survival mode.
Throughout that time, I transitioned into the coaching world, which is where I’m at right now. And throughout these past two years that I’ve had my coaching business, I’ve had to really work on my inner self.
Working on my inner self was really what has brought me out from the bottom of the barrel to where I’m at today.
Laura: I was so interested in your food bank story that we never set everyone up with what you did or what you do. So you got into the coaching business, and that led you to what you do now. Can you tell everyone what you do? What is The Modern Hustle?
Shannon: I’m an intuitive business coach. I help female entrepreneurs and service providers really solidify and take ownership and power of their mindset and energy and incorporate that into their business strategy.
I’m a firm believer that you cannot have too much hustle because that’s when you see burnout happen. And you can’t be too much of what I call “flow” – in your head and your feelings – because then you’re not going to take action. You really have to have the balance of both in order for that happy marriage to happen in order for you to see those results.
Laura: I agree with you wholeheartedly. How did you figure that out? Did you have a mentor or a coach that showed you the way, or did you just stumble your way through it?
Shannon: A bit of both. When I was making the transition from social media manager into the coaching world, I was like, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I want to do. What I do know is I just don’t want to be a social media manager.” And so I hired somebody, and that was the worst experience of coaching I’ve ever had. It was just terrible.
Afterward, I kind of just went blindly into everything. I’ve always been kind of interested in the spiritual realm, like the stars, the moon, and astrology. I’ve always been interested in that stuff. And yes, I’ve hired coaches along the way for sure because I’m a huge believer that every coach needs a coach because we don’t know everything. We have to learn as we go as well.
I just started diving more into it on a personal level. I feel like I need to do meditation just to calm the anxiety and Zen-out. So I just started dabbling with it personally. That just evolved into it flowing into how I run my business as well.
Laura: Now looking through your Instagram… opens in a new window to Shannon Intuitive Biz Coach Instagram page…, which is beautiful, by the way, Kudos. One thing I’ve noticed is that you have a really great way of making pictures. Do you always wear the same colors? Cause everything on your feed has the same color palette. There are a lot of pictures of you. So I’m like, “Does she always wear colors on purpose that matches her palette for her Instagram feed? Or am I just crazy?”
Shannon: You’re not crazy. I’m probably crazy because that’s just my wardrobe. I’m not wild. I’m very neutral when it comes to color palettes. I’m just looking, and I have a gray hat, a cream hat, and a black hat. That’s just my wardrobe.
Laura: There’s no fuchsia. There’s no bright yellow. You’re all in this zone, which looks beautiful. It makes for a beautiful Instagram page.
Shannon: It’s nice that you pointed that out because that is a big thing when it comes to branding yourself online. I get clients that come ask me, “How do I make my page look cohesive?”
Step one: Look at your wardrobe. What do you wear? What are the colors you wear? Are you colorful? If you are, then your Instagram page is going to be colorful. People tend to overthink that part.
Laura: That’s the first way to be authentic. You’re just wearing your own clothes.
We’ve got a question from Charlie out there. She wants to know, speaking of your beautiful Instagram page, “How do you make your photos so bright and airy? Do you use a filter?”
Shannon: Good question. So, I do have a filter that I had my photographer create. But saying that, lately I’ve been steering away from using that, and I’ve just been using either just the filters on Instagram that match, or sometimes I’ll just take it into Lightroom… opens in a new window to Adobe Lightroom website…. You can even take it to Instagram.
There’s a whole bunch of different apps on your phone that you can use to brighten things up. There are also tons of filters out there that you can use if you like a specific look.
Laura: Now, another thing that I noticed scrolling your Instagram page is that you have a product out there. Is it the purpose-driven brand or the purposeful driven brand?
That is something that we talk about a lot at HipCat Society… opens in a new tab to HipCat Society website…. You have to find your Why and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Make sure that it’s your passion. So, I want to hear about your product and what led you to develop it.
Shannon: I love that that’s the one you pointed out because that one has a little something-something happening next week. So, I really say that that is the foundation of your business; you have to have a solid mindset – but other than that, your brand is the foundation of your business. You need to understand your Why. You need to understand your purpose. And you need to understand who your ideal client is.
You can’t have a brand that speaks to everybody because when you speak to everybody, you speak to nobody.
So you really have to understand who your ideal client is. You need to know them inside and out like they’re your BFF. And so that’s really how that course came to be. I noticed that people were just speaking to everybody. You can’t do that.
Laura: More people, more sales, right? I mean, that’s what I think people assume: “Everybody is good for my product, or my product is good for everybody.”
I’ve got another question here from Melissa, “Do you ever use video? And if so, what do you use?”
Shannon: So I use video on Instagram and my Facebook Group… opens in a new window to The Modern Hustle Community Facebook Group…. I don’t do YouTube or anything like that. But video is massive. If people are not doing video, you got to get on video.
If you’ve noticed, Instagram’s come out with reels that give videos. Instagram – and just social media in general – favors video way more than your feed. You should still use your feed, but you 1000% need to be on Instagram stories on a consistent daily basis.
Laura: Let’s get back to your products. You say you’ve got lots of products. I want to talk about the one we were talking about The Purpose-Driven Brand. So it’s a course?
Shannon: Yeah, it’s a course. It’s a self-paced course. And it’s my four-step method to really becoming clear-minded, nailing down your niche, understanding your brand, and just having a solid foundation.
Laura: And what other courses do you have? Do you have quite a few? And what’s the little something-something happening? Can you tell us? Or is it a secret?
Shannon: It is a secret, but I’ll tell you guys. So my course is part of a Black Friday bundle that is coming out next week. There are seven of us entrepreneurs that have come together to offer seven courses in this one bundle for under a hundred dollars. You’re going to get it on Black Friday. If you’re on my email list, you get access to it early, which is Monday. It launches to the public on Wednesday.
The beauty of it all is you’re basically paying for one course, and you get seven of them. That course alone is $97, but you’re getting seven courses for $97.
Laura: Nice. We’ll plug all of Shannon’s courses and things that she has available at the end. And we’ll, of course, include all of the links to find all of her goodies below.
Let’s talk a little bit about your day-to-day. So when you were building this course, and all of these courses and your brand as a whole, what was your day-to-day like? And is it worlds apart from what you imagined it would be?
Shannon: I have two small kids, so there’s not one day that is the same. I’ll just put that out there. But the one thing that I am very, very consistent on is I am up at 5:15 every single morning. Then I get my morning ritual done.
I call it my magic mornings, where I do meditation, some journaling, and I practice gratitude. That is what is consistent in my day, along with movement of some sort, whether it’s going for a long walk or whether it’s a quick and dirty workout. Then it changes depending on the day. Maybe today I’m doing interviews, or I’m just working on content and on one of my courses. My day-to-day really differs. But my morning is the one thing that is consistent every day.
Laura: We’ve got a question from Curtis. He says, “They say that with purpose-driven branding, you want to be more than just about selling stuff? What are some tips for doing that?”
Shannon: Yeah. You really need to go inward and think way deeper about why you want to start a business. It always goes beyond making money. We all know we want to make money. That may be part of why we have our own business because we want to make money. But what is the deeper reason for wanting to start your own business?
For me, I’ve always loved helping people. I used to go to Mexico every year when I was in high school and go to an orphanage, and we’d help build something, or we would help with the kids. I’ve just always loved that.
With my business, I want to help other women in this world make an impact online by using their superpower and using their gifts. And I really love the domino effect that happens. When I work with my clients, I’m creating a domino effect because I’m helping them help their clients. And then their clients are going to help their clients. It’s such a beautiful domino effect. It’s a circulation of knowledge and energy that’s moving around. We’re all helping each other at the end of the day.
Laura: We always say that there’s enough success for everyone. You don’t need to horde it all. It’s better to give it away and watch it come back tenfold.
Since the show is obviously about Doing The Damn Thing, and potentially people are watching who maybe are blocked – I’m sure these are a lot of the people who you coach, right? – They’ve got an idea, but they don’t know how to take action, or they’re not sure what steps to take next. So what was that first step like for you? How did you get your first clients, and how are you now getting clients?
Shannon: I got my first clients through Instagram. I started super small and just went for it. I was just like, “Okay, I’m going to take them through and teach them how to use Instagram as a marketing tool. And each week, we’re going to go through how to use different pieces within Instagram to reach that end result that they want.”
What I do now is way more complex than that. I teach Instagram marketing still, but it goes beyond that. It’s more like strategy.
I asked myself, “What am I good at? What do people come to me for? I’m going to do that. And I’m just going to go for it.”
Laura: I saw you were doing a few posts on three tips: Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. Is that something you talk about?
Laura: I’m assuming that you then use those strategies on your own, in addition to preaching them. Does that help you get your own clients?
Shannon: Totally. I only preach what I do.
Laura: That’s good. What are you most proud of in your newfound career?
Shannon: Not giving up.
Laura: Do you find that when you’re coaching people, a lot of people want to give up? It’s harder than they thought?
Shannon: Yeah. It’s really hard. Especially if you have a significant other or you have a family. There’s so much pressure on you to make money or do the damn thing and see results.
That’s why you have to keep going back to your Why, and that’s why you need to understand what your Why is. Keep going back to your Why, and when you want to give up, you have to go back to that, and you’re going to be like, “No, I got this! I just have to keep moving forward.”
A lot of people get overwhelmed. And when you get overwhelmed you want to give up. You just have to take it one step at a time and just always go back to that root reason.
Laura: Do you have a formula or a process to help people find their Why?
Shannon: Yeah, it’s all in The Purpose-Driven Brand.
Laura: Of course it is! Aaron’s got a question here. He says, “When marketing on Instagram, what are the most important things to track? And do you have any tools that make it easy?”
I know a lot of us are so into vanity metrics. Like, “Oh my god, I got 700 likes!” But what do you find is important?
Shannon: Yeah, stop looking at the likes. I’ve had this conversation all week with some of my online business friends. The Instagram algorithm is so different now that nobody understands it.
The two most important things, if you’re going to look at metrics, are the number of shares that you have and the number of people that are saving your content. A saving – which looks like that little bookmark in the corner – is what I call a super save.
The more saves that you have pushes through the algorithm to Instagram that people are interested in this content, that they want it, and they’re going to share it with more people. And then you have a higher chance of going viral. Those would be the two metrics I would look at. Those are things that you can control.
Laura: It’s really easy for someone to just hit the like button, which is probably why on the hierarchy of weightiness, the algorithm weighs it as the least valued of the engagement options, whereas a share is awesome.
Obviously, Instagram is a huge part of your personal marketing. Are any of the other platforms integral for you? Do you use Facebook a lot?
Shannon: Yeah, I do use Facebook… opens in a new window to The Modern Hustle Facebook page… a lot. I have my own Facebook group as well, so I bring tons of value each week to that.
The people that are in your group, they’ve chosen to be in your group. It’s just like the people that follow you on Instagram have chosen to be there. But your Facebook group is a little bit more tight-knit. Those people are super interested. They’re more of a warm lead. So by the time you go to sell to them, they’re more likely to buy.
And then, of course, there’s email marketing. If you’re not doing email marketing, you have to do email marketing!
You have to remember that you don’t own your social media platforms. Those can be taken away in a heartbeat. But you do own your email list. As much as you can, funnel people through your email list. You will always have those people to connect back to.
Laura: So you’re always actively building your list. Everyone says that the money is on the list, but I think that’s a term that only marketers are maybe familiar with. Do you have specific ways or things that you do to grow your list?
Shannon: Yeah, totally. Handing out freebies to people. Of course, they have to be freebies that are bringing value to your audience where they can actually apply it to their business and start seeing results. That is like the golden ticket. I love doing video series freebies. I actually have a three-part lead gen video series: How to Generate More Leads. It was a huge hit.
And there are two reasons for that. People are able to watch you. They get to hear you. They get to know and trust you. And then they’re also able to apply those things to their business so that they can start seeing results.
Laura: You’ve got thousands and thousands of followers. How long did it take you to get to 8,000 followers? And what is a good growth rate? For people just starting out, how long can they expect for it to take them to get to 8,000?
Shannon: It depends on how active you are on Instagram. I have pivoted my business three times now. I’d say my growth is a lot slower. Around four years ago, I was just under 2000 followers. So it’s been a slower growth. But if you’re active and consistently engaging with people, and you’re consistently bringing value to people, you could easily bring in 500 new followers a month.
Laura: Wow! That’s nice. Now you’ve obviously got a ton of content. You’ve got your freebies, and you’ve got your courses, and you’ve got your videos. I’m sure there’s a laundry list of content that we haven’t even touched upon. Did you launch with a pretty good arsenal of content? Or did you have only one thing?
Shannon: I had nothing.
Laura: Nothing? What were you selling, just your smile?
Shannon: I was just like, “You know what? I’m just going to try and sell one-on-one packages.” And that’s what I did.
Laura: So you just said, “Hey, I’ll teach you. I have no credibility. I have no bestselling book. But I’m going to teach you.” And it worked. I don’t think you’re alone in that story. That’s amazing!
I mean, it must have been scary going out there and proclaiming yourself an expert.
Shannon: Totally. You feel like a fraud sometimes, for sure. And then imposter syndrome comes up, and you got to deal with all of those feelings.
Laura: What’s imposter syndrome?
Shannon: Oh, it’s like you are limiting yourself. You’re telling yourself you’re not good enough—those sorts of negative thoughts and beliefs.
Laura: Ok, negative and false beliefs. Got it.
Shannon: You just have to remember the people that you’re helping are not in your shoes right now. They are six months to a year behind you, and they’re trying to catch up to you. Those are the people that you’re helping because you are teaching them how to get from where they’re at to where you’re at.
The more that you grow, you’re bringing them with you. A lot of people get lost in the noise on Instagram because they’re like, “That coach is doing this, and she’s making this, and she’s doing this.” They’re looking at that when you shouldn’t be looking there.
You gotta be looking at what you have, what your superpowers are now, and helping those people that are behind you that want to move forward.
Laura: So really, you only have to be one or two steps ahead, right? You don’t have to know it all, which is another call to action for those of you watching to just do it. You don’t have to have a Master’s Degree. You just have to have one more college course than the person behind you.
Speaking of the people watching and the name of the show, what advice do you have for them? What would you say to them? Run fast and go get a job in corporate America?
Laura: No, I would say sit down and just really think – journal, write it all down, whatever you need to do – but think about your ideal dream life. What does it look like? What does your day-to-day look like? What do you want to be doing? What will your social life look like?
Think about every aspect of your life and what your dream life looks like. And then think about what you can do to get there. For the majority of the people, when I ask that question, they don’t want to go back to a nine-to-five or go to the corporate world. Nobody ever says that.
Most people want to be working for themselves. They want freedom. They want time freedom. They want financial freedom. So what can you do now that you are passionate about, that you love, and that has helped you as a human get from point A to point B? Then you can help other people do the same thing.
Laura: I love your message, and that’s why I reached out to you. I was like, “This girl’s got good stuff to say.”
Another thing that we talk a lot about at HipCat Society is niching down. We’ve touched on it even today. Do you serve a specific niche or specific genre or industry?
Shannon: I specifically like to help coaches and service providers. I will teach you how to craft an offer, launch your offer, market it, warm up your audience, and all of the things in between. That’s when the strategy comes into play.
I could help anybody, but that is what I love to do. I love helping people launch things cause it’s exciting. That’s when you start to see the money roll in, and you see so much transformation in other people’s lives.
Laura: We are just about out of time, but I wanted to obviously find out what’s next for you. What are you building, and what are you working on now? When can people expect to hear from you?
Shannon: I have my new signature program coming out in 2021. I don’t have an exact date yet, but it’ll be early. That will be The Modern Hustle business school. It teaches the mindset, the energy, the work, and how to incorporate all of it into your strategy. So I’ll teach you how to launch crafts, offer sales, psychology, etc… All of the goodness that you need to be successful. That’s the next biggest thing that I have.
Laura: Do you offer one-on-one coaching?
Shannon: Well, I do it all.
Laura: Of course you do. You’re a modern woman!
Shannon: The Purpose-Driven Brand is a self-paced course. I have an Instagram course that’s a self-paced course. And then, my signature program is a group program with group coaching calls. But then I do one-on-one coaching as well. So it depends on what stage you’re at, how serious you are, and what your goals are. And then I would direct you towards what the best fit is for you.
Laura: Well, thank you so much. I want to give you a chance to tell everybody where they can find you, get in touch with you, and all of the amazing products we mentioned today. So where can they find you?
Shannon: Yeah. So the best place to find me would be on Instagram. So it’s @Shannonheth… opens in a new window to Shannon Stewart Instagram page…. And from there, I can direct you.
You can find me on Facebook too at The Modern Hustle Facebook group… opens in a new window to The Modern Hustle Community Facebook Group…. And it is totally free to join.
Laura: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. I’m sending love from my Kingston to your Kingston. I’ve had a blast talking to you.
Please like us on Facebook… opens in a new window to Hipcat Society Facebook page…, follow us on Instagram… opens in a new window to Hipcat Society Instagram page…, and connect with Shannon at The Modern Hustle… opens in a new window to The Modern Hustle Facebook page….