Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Morgan.
Sarah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My current business teaching online marketing launched in 2011, but the spark that started everything came way back in 1997. I was 13-years-old, we had just gotten internet in our house, and I was fascinated that I could write something and post it online for other people to read or read things that others had publish online. I became obsessed with writing blog posts, teaching myself to code, and redesigning my website over and over and over.
Back then I had no idea that my teenage hobby would be a major stepping stone into my corporate job and becoming self-employed. Right out of college I spent seven years as the web designer at a Detroit TV station. I loved the excitement of the newsroom for the first few years but eventually, our website was taken over by a regional corporate team and my “design” job turned into mostly filling out forms and clicking buttons.
Having the creativity sucked out of my job led to a quarter-life crisis as I panicked over losing my passion for the thing I’d been obsessed with for years. However I quickly realized it wasn’t web design that I’d fallen out of love with, it was my job. Determined to build a business that would allow me to make the leap into self-employment, I worked non-stop for about 9 months. I used my blog to attract clients, designing logos and websites for other bloggers and business owners and at the same time turning my hobby of teaching and performing aerial arts into a second side hustle.
I like to joke that I worked 25/8 instead of 24/7. I blogged in the morning, spent eight hours at the TV station (fitting in freelance projects whenever possible), then I would head to the aerial studio to teach or train for evening and weekend gigs. In 2012 my boss, sensing my loss of passion, offered me a not entirely ideal alternative schedule and an adjustment to my duties and I knew it was time to make my escape. Over the past six years, my business has evolved from building websites to now creating online courses to help bloggers and business owners attract and market to their audience online.
My clients had no problem hiring me to build their websites but were getting stuck on what to do with the site once I handed it over. So I began creating ebooks and online courses to help them figure out what to post on their blog and social media, how to grow an email list, and how to manage it all without feeling overwhelmed. Now, having moved from Metro Detroit to San Diego, I spend my days supporting my students, hosting live online coaching and classes, writing a whole bunch of blog posts, and yes, still teaching aerial on the side!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Building a business, all online, from my couch probably gave me the best chance of avoiding many of the normal business-building struggles. There have been a few bumps in the road like technology fails and online trolls, but the most significant roadblocks have been mental.
For the first couple of years, because I was doing everything in my business myself, even if I worked a 14 hour day I’d still feel guilty closing my computer at the end of the night. I’d have so many ideas and opportunities I had anxiety over doing it all. And then, because all the decisions fall on my shoulders, perfectionism and fear of making the wrong choice sometimes slowed me down.
But I’ve been lucky enough to connect with a bunch of fantastic women business owners online and here in San Diego and their support has been extremely helpful when I just can’t figure out which path to take.
XO Sarah – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I teach bloggers and small business owners how to build their online presence without overwhelming getting in the way. My students and clients come to me for no-bs advice on creating content for their blog and social media, growing their email list, and doing in a way that makes them excited about what they’re sharing online.
Writing a blog and using social media are pretty much a non-negotiable for businesses nowadays and there are endless resources on how to it all. My mission is to break digital marketing into a step-by-step process, cut out all the unnecessary crap, and get my audience taking action immediately so they can start seeing results.
My courses are self-paced and available on-demand so students can work through the lessons and put them to use immediately. In some courses, I’m available within a private Facebook group to provide feedback and support.
Though my courses I’ve had students launch digital and tangible products, land new clients, triple their Instagram audience and turn their hobby blog into a business, start conferences and podcasts, and feel a whole lot more confident about marketing themselves online.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’m pretty grateful to run my business online so I can get a hit of pride almost daily.
When my student accomplishes goals they’ve been working toward for years. When people respond to my emails with things like, “I’ve been hesitating on what I want to do for months, I’m getting started TODAY.” Or comment on my blog posts with, “I’ve been trying to figure this out FOREVER and your post helped me finally make it work!”
But on a more personal note, the moment I realized I was making more money being self-employed than I was at my corporate job was a pretty big deal. I assumed, as I took a huge pay cut leaving my job, that I would never make much more than just enough to get by. Trading a big chunk of my income for the freedom to choose my own clients, projects, and workspace was worth it to me. But I distinctly remember standing in my kitchen, having just looked at my accounts, in disbelief that I was out-earning my corporate paycheck.
Giving my students little wins that could add up to a similar big moment for them is pretty strong motivation to keep my business growing.
- Online courses start at $29
- Monthly membership $79
- One-on-one sessions start at $249
- Website: http://xosarah.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/xosarahmorgan
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/xosarahmorgan
Chasing Daylight Photography, Cheryl Willard Photography