Episode 12: How These Best Friends Turned 2 Failed Launches Into a Six-Figure Business

Melyssa Griffin

30 min



Traveling the World, Full Time Travel, Online Business Ideas, Bali, Digital Nomads



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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel the world and make a full-time income while doing it?

Cassie and Shay are best friends, business partners, and founders of The Bucketlist Bombshells, an online educational community that teaches millennials how they can create a business that allows them to work remotely and travel the world. Their online courses teach everything from graphic design and website design to business tactics for freelancers. They’ve been featured in places like Forbes and Elite Daily and are currently based in beautiful Bali.

And you won’t believe how they met.

They were both living in Mexico at the time, in an area where few foreign millennials tended to frequent. They saw each other in a cafe and instantly bonded over the fact they couldn’t find friends their age in town.

Now, they run a majorly successful online business together. The Universe works in mysterious ways, eh? 🙂

Cassie and Shay enrolled in Blog to Biz Hive after having a couple of unsuccessful launches (their words – not mine!) of their own online course. While I take no credit for their amazing success, you’ll hear in this interview how they turned those early course launch disappointments into a thriving 6-figure business that allows them to live their purpose, every single day.

Traveling the World, Full Time Travel, Online Business Ideas, Bali, Digital Nomads

Check out the episode below:

In this episode, we cover topics like…

  • Why having a business partner can be tricky – and how Cassie and Shay do it so well!
  • The lessons they learned from their first two failed launches, and how they shifted things in their business to see massive success after that.
  • The importance of using your email list to listen to your audience and build a true community of raving fans.
  • How the pricing of their course evolved (with the realization that their target audience was willing to pay for more value!

I can’t wait for you to dive into this episode! I know you’ll love the MAJOR wisdom that these two ladies have to share.

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Links from the interview:

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Loving the podcast? I encourage you to use the hashtag #PursuitWithPurpose to show our PWP tribe how you live your purpose everyday. Plus, you’ll get to sift through the hashtag to find other business owners who care about community and connectedness over competition and comparison. And I’ll be reposting some of my favorite images and stories, too. 🙂

Thank you for listening!

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Read the Interview Transcription Here

So last week, you got to hear from one of my Blog to Biz Hive student, Allie, who used her blog to launch a successful yoga business. Well, today’s guests are Cassie and Shay, who also went through my Blog to Biz Hive program, and ended up creating an incredible business in the process. They are best friend business partners and founders of The Bucketlist Bombshells, which is an online educational community that teaches millennials how they can create a business that allows them to work remotely and travel the world. Their online courses teach everything from graphic design and website design to business tactics for freelancers. They’ve been featured in places like Forbes and Elite Daily, and are currently based in beautiful Bali. Now Cassie and Shay enrolled in my Blog to Biz Hive course after having a couple unsuccessful launches of their own online course – their words not mine. Now they wanted to learn the tactics to have a successful launch and while they take no credit for their amazing success, you’ll hear in this interview how they turned those early course launch disappointments into a thriving six figure business that allows them to live their purpose every single day.

In this interview, we discussed their story from freelance designers to successful coursed creators, as well as their launch strategies, the most important lessons their business has taught them, and their advice for having a successful business partner relationship. Let’s dive in.

Melyssa Griffin: So first of all, you both are business partners, and the way that you met is actually a pretty unique story. So can you share a little bit of how you two met?

Cassie: Yeah totally. So after college, I graduated and my mom was actually living in Mexico at the time. And so, I was going to school and working part time. And so, when I graduated, I knew I didn’t want to go into corporate. So she was like why don’t you just come down to Mexico and you can sort of figure it out and take a little bit of a break – which kudos to my mom because she’s awesome. I went down there and I didn’t really have very many friends. Majority of people that are living in Playa Del Carmen are expats, a lot of Canadian expats. And so, I had gone to the coffee shop and Shay was sitting there, at this little coffee shop. She was on her computer, this little blonde girl that looked my age, which was shocking at the time. We just sort of started chatting, and that’s when you were sort of studying* freelancing. That’s sort of how we met, which is super odd. And then we became really roommates shortly after. And then I really connected because a) we connected on a friend level, but b) there wasn’t really very many people around us that we had as friends because a lot of people were way older. So everyone was like you guys need to be friends because you’re 20 and we’re all like 40s and 50s.

Shay: I know. I had already been there for three months like friendless.

Melyssa Griffin: That’s so interesting.

Shay: I was actually preparing to leave around this time. I was struggling a bit with trying to figure out what I wanted to, and that’s when I decided to start freelance and deciding that I’m going to do this. And then I was like but I’m so – like I don’t have anyone else that wants to do this or really supports this. I’m living in a different country. And then in walks Cassie, and I was like oh my God, be cool, be cool.

Cassie: Yeah, and really from that, I think – I mean obviously it was fate and totally meant to be, but she had just started freelancing. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to even do and I had just started a travel* blog. And so, we just put both of our minds together. And then especially when we were roommates, we spent so much time just like over breakfast* being like okay, how are we going to find our next client, how are we going to do this, how are we going to do that. And so, that’s really where it started. In Mexico, we didn’t know each other at all before, so that’s mind blowing.

Melyssa Griffin: This is so cool.

Cassie: …as well, like I had been out of school for a year and the internship was ending. I somehow convinced them through my first client and I was like alright, I’m going to Mexico. Bye!

Melyssa Griffin: And you said you guys were 20 at the time?

Cassie: So I was 20… yeah, I was 21.

Shay: I was 23.

Melyssa Griffin: What year was that? How long ago was that?

Shay: 2013. August was when I went down, so I think we met November?

Cassie: Yeah. So I graduated 2013 and Shay is a year older. So she had been working in corporate.

Melyssa Griffin: That’s amazing. That’s actually the month and year that I started my business too. So that’s really cool. Obviously, you guys have such good energy together and you’ve done some amazing things with your business. So I feel like having a business partner is tricky. You have to find somebody that it really works with and you have to know how to make it work. So how did you guys make it work? How do you do it so well, having a business partner that you didn’t even know for a long time before starting a business together?

Cassie: Yeah, I think a couple things. So when we first started our businesses, they were separate. I had a graphics design studio and Shay had like a VA studio. And so, we were running our businesses separately and I think the way we wanted to run them, but with the help of each other. And then through that, we also started traveling.

Shay: That’s a big one for me. I think you really get to know someone through travel has always been my thing. And so, when we started travelling and we were balancing work, new languages, new countries. We were young. We didn’t have a lot of money at the time. There was a lot of obstacles. I think you see how someone* problem solves. So later on when we were talking about going into business together, a big factor for me was that we had travelled and solved problems together. I’d like the way that we thought and the way that we solved problems, and the way that we were really respectful, and the way that we communicated with each other was a big one for me.

Cassie: Yeah, it wasn’t really like we just had met in a coffee shop and then we were like let’s build this business. We had no idea for the BucketList Bombshells at the time. And so, I think it was really just like we gave ourselves the time to grow our own businesses. I think that was important, and like have the freedom to kind of do what we wanted, but we had the ability to bounce ideas off each other. And then when the idea for Bucketlist Bombshells happened, it just made sense that we did it together. I think by then we knew each other personally a lot more as well, just like Shay said, like how we deal with problems. I think when it comes to having a business partner, because you’re two separate people, you need to have the same mission at the end of the day and hold a lot of the same values. You also need to be able to communicate and know the other person. So we’re not the same person. We talked about this before. It’s kind of shocking. I think that sometime to realize that because we’re different people, we have different ways of dealing with problems, we have different ways of looking at situations. I think once we realized that and made it a strength, like we are very different people and Shay sees things from a different lens than I do, then now we’re able to advise* or strengthen our business because we come from two perspectives. Building our businesses separately at first, made us like our own entrepreneurs. So it wasn’t even like – when we came together, we had already seen like how we were –like our different strengths were in the entrepreneurial landscape as well. So we also complement each other in that area where we’re quite different in our entrepreneurial skills or in our business skills and what we handle within the business. And so, in the beginning, this was a huge asset for us because we didn’t have to hire out. We could literally cover every aspect of building our business. I think that made it also really easy because it just was the two of us working together. We weren’t trying to bring another person in, and it was just us focusing on the vision of the business and creating it together from scratch.

Melyssa Griffin: That is a really cool aspect, where it’s like – because a lot of people starting a business feel overwhelmed, where they have a certain skill set but they feel like they have to hire somebody or just have to do everything themselves, even if they don’t have that skill set. So that’s kind of neat advice, where you could have a business partner, obviously somebody that is like you two, where you have different skills, you mesh really well together. That seems like an interesting solution to that problem of just overwhelm or not being able to afford to hire somebody at the time. So I’m curious about your business timeline. I know you guys met and started talking around the end of 2013. When did you start your business together and what did it look like at that time?

Cassie: Yeah, we started our business in January of 2015.

Shay: That was like the official first launch that we had. So probably a couple months before that was when we were creating the course. Well I mean kind of like a year before that actually.

Cassie: Yeah, our first course launched June 2015. The idea I feel like…

Shay: In a kitchen in Mexico was where the idea started. It was developed in a kitchen in Rome.

Melyssa Griffin: So a very international business.

Cassie: It was interesting because at the time when we decided to go all in with Bucketlist Bombshells – and this was one of the major mistakes we made in the beginning, because we were starting a new business and we had no email list or we didn’t have too much of a concepts other than that we knew that we were filling this gap mainly because of ourselves. We wanted – when we were starting freelancing, we didn’t have any sort of mentorship or women to look up to that fit our style and felt empowering. At the time, the digital nomad world was very male focused on a lot of like affiliate marketing, which is totally fine, but we were doing something quite different. We wanted to be super passionate about website design and graphic design and other stuff.

Shay: We wanted a career too whereas a lot of the nomads we met were more just about making money so that they could travel. The travel aspect was much larger for them. I think in our hearts, like having an entrepreneurial career was bigger for us too.

Cassie: Yeah. So then we had the idea for Bucketlist Bombshells and we finally decided to put it into action. We said the only way to do it is if we drop all of our other clients in both of our business and go full time into course creating and learning and marketing and building an email list. And so, that’s what we did. We were living in Mexico at that time…

Melyssa Griffin: This was June 2015 or around there?

Shay: It took us like three months I think, like full time…. prior to that.
Cassie: Prior to that, so probably January or so. It was a big lesson for us because we – well a) we dropped everything which was our source of income and stability. And then, we literally – I think for three months, didn’t even see the light of day. We would have wake up and work. We would go and get tacos around the corner. We would come back and we would work. Even if it was 3 AM, we…

Shay: We watched the sunrise on way too many days. We didn’t sleep.

Cassie: We just had this fire. I think that’s now part of the drive that built a successful business, but I also think that we learned a lot in that state because since then, now whenever we’re doing course creation or like longer term things lives, we realize like I’m super productive in the morning, she’s not as productive in the evening. So we kind of know now like when to stop and when we’re tired, and before we didn’t. We would just keep going and push ourselves. I think that also in those off times we were making decisions that weren’t the best. There’s so much now about, obviously having a morning routine and all these things. We didn’t know any of that. We didn’t do any of it. We just like went so hard in our first launch. So we had this expectation going into our first launch that we were going to have this insanely million dollar launch. It was actually Shay’s birthday in June – we were launching during her birthday. So we were like don’t worry, we’re going to go to Vegas and we’re going to celebrate this amazing launch. We had received so many emails. At the time, we were writing for Elite Daily, which is a very large online publication for millennials. That’s where our audience is hanging out. And so, we were receiving like hundreds of emails after we were featured on Elite Daily from all these millennial women around the world that connected with our – at the time we had a landing page, but connected with our message and just what we were doing and wanted to learn more. They were interested in the course. So we knew that we had good content. Then we watched and we followed kind of the structure that we had seen and…

Melyssa Griffin: Real quick. What’s the course about? What’s it called and what’s it about?

Cassie: Yeah, so our signature of course is the work online and travel the world course. It’s the course we first had had since the beginning. Since then, we have more courses. That was basic, like how you do you take a service based – or rather, how do you even figure out what your online skills are, like what are online skills. So we walk people through how to take their past experiences, things they’re naturally good at, and turn those into what we call service based online business which is essentially freelancing online, and offering things like website design, graphic design, operations business management. And then, the course teaches you how to find clients, how to land clients, how to build a website to gain clients. All of those business side of things. So the content was amazing. We had been – I mean it was things that we had done ourselves and we had done a lot of research. So we knew the content was great. We launched the course to a very small email list.

Melyssa Griffin: How big was your list?

Cassie: I think 1000. We had heard that you can only launch a course when you have at least 1000 people on your email list. So that was a huge, huge goal for us, and writing for Elite Daily really helped. We had a lot of the ideas. We knew we had no audience. We need to go to where our audience is at. We have a great idea so we need to get in front of these women. We launched and I think we had six sales?

Shay:12. We had 12 students.

Cassie: We had 12 students. See, it’s so interesting, like in my head, we epically failed. I think oh we had 2 students and we had 12 with a 1000 people on your email list.

Shay: It was still the average conversion rate.

Cassie: 2.4% conversion rate which now we know…

Shay: Which we know now is the industry – like a little above the industry average. The industry average is 2% so I learned a lot from that.

Cassie: Getting real here. So we launched or we clicked live. We sent out the first email that was like this course is open that we’ve been talking about for so long. And crickets… So we expected to go to sleep and wake up – especially since we went to bed I think that night like 4 AM, to wake up and have all these sales. I remember waking up at like, I don’t know, 11 AM. It was so late because we were in just in such an odd time…

Shay: Time, yeah, we had been working for 24 hours around the clock.

Cassie: And we didn’t have any sales. We were so crushed. I’m pretty sure we cried. We were just like, I don’t know, I think we were at a loss of words. We just felt really defeated. So over time, obviously, like in the course of our launch, we had gained those sales, but it still – every time we made a sale, we were excited, but then it was still that we had such high hopes and we dropped all of our other clients. After that launch, we kind of took a really long and large break from Bucketlist Bombshells. I think partly because we felt so defeated. We didn’t really have good measurements at the time either for our success, like we were successful and we were so new…

Shay: … so new. I think that taking a break was actually beneficial in the long run for us. We ended up going back into our own separate businesses. We became really successful in those businesses and learning even more things that later on we brought back into Bucketlist Bombshells, and it’s what made it successful.

Melyssa Griffin: That’s really interesting. I know you guys, so I know you’ve launched four times. Is that right?

Cassie: Yeah.

Melyssa Griffin: Four times in total. One of the things that I just love about both of you so much is that you’re so persistent, like you took this break, you needed that time away which I totally get. Then you came back into it and you launched this course again. So how did the second and then the third and fourth launches go?

Cassie: Yeah. So the second launch…

Shay: The second launch happened like a couple months after the first one…

Cassie: And this was not good because we launched because we needed money.

Shay: We had dropped all our clients. And so, the second launch was really focused on getting money which I don’t think you should ever launch with that focus ever, or create a product or service or anything, always focus on the money. So again, we had another – it was the exact same size launch. It was 12 students, but that is what also defeated us I think even more in a sense, because we again, had so many more high expectations. And then that’s when we took our breaks. So then our third launch came later on.

Cassie: Yeah, and our third launch was probably like a year…

Shay: It was a year later.

Cassie: I think going back to what you said, like the persistence. We knew, we were so passionate about Bucketlist Bombshells and the story, empowering more millennial women. And so, that’s always been there. That was more of our passion project, where our other businesses, we were really good at and that we enjoyed, but it wasn’t like your purpose, like you know this is what you’re meant to do. And so, I feel like when we went into the third launch, we had been away from it for a year. When you’re away from what you feel like your purpose is for a year, you just get all of these ideas. So we finally sat down – this is when we were living in Austin at the time, in our little bungalow. I think we had so much more experience. We came to the table with so much more expertise, because we have been working for our clients, helping them launch businesses and launch online courses and membership sites. So we were so much more knowledgeable. I know we sat down – I think the biggest thing for our third launch – and to us, we sat down and we were like okay, if this launch isn’t successful, then we’re going to most likely need to leave Bucketlist Bombshells behind. We were still paying all our business expenses. It still just weighs on you, because we still felt committed to our community, hadn’t sent very many emails out. So we sat down. We were like what is it about the past launches and about our business as it is now that’s not working. And so, we had kind of followed this in the box model of running or starting and launching an online course, but there were things to us that kind of felt off, but we just did it because…

Shay: The expert told us.

Cassie: Yeah. It was kind of the expert way. That was like so empowering for us because we immediately, right off the bat, we knew what those things were, that felt off to us. And so, we decided okay, these are those things. There obviously can’t just be one way to go about doing it. And so, we said who are the people in our industry that we look up to. You were one of them and there were a handful of others. We were like let’s go and see how they’re doing this. And then, so we came to the table with so many ideas and at least four different ways as to which something was approached. That really let us make an informed decision for our business and our audience. And then that third time we launched – I don’t remember exactly how many students we had.

Shay: We tripled. So we had like 72.

Cassie: No, we didn’t have 72. We had like an $18,000 launch. So it’s something along those lines.

Shay: Yeah, essentially it tripled from our last launch. We weren’t – when we say like, “if this launch is successful, we’re going to celebrate”. We didn’t put a monetary value on that success. It was going to be how we felt afterwards. This was successful. Did we see that the new tactics that we implemented actually worked? And so, yes seeing the numbers was helpful to be like yeah I tripled our sales. In terms of it being successful, I think that was more of like a gut feeling for us. Like Cassie had said, we had started to follow our decision making process, not some other person’s decision making process. We put together bits and pieces, and then becoming entrepreneurs and being confident in ourselves and in our decision making process. So when we came out of that launch, it was like our launch. And then we were like okay, let’s do Bucketlist Bombshells.

Melyssa Griffin: How did that feel?

Cassie: It felt so good. We went into the launch feeling confident, which that had never happened before either, because we talked about this so many times – we’re like this makes so much sense. Why didn’t we think about this before? This makes so much sense. This is so good this. We told ourselves that so many times. I hope it doesn’t seem narcissistic, but it’s so great when you feel super confident going into it, not like we feel confident overall and there are maybe a couple pieces that feel off. I think that felt really, really great for us, especially because Bucketlist Bombshells has always been a passion project on the side, but we’ve always wanted it to be the full-time thing. When we’re having coffee, we’re coming up with more ideas. It’s like we knew that’s what we wanted to be doing. And so, I feel like this third launch really validated that for us. That was like an amazing feeling.

Shay: I think, yeah, the validation feeling was like okay, we can do this. This idea is something that people want. This vision we have is being realized and it feels so authentic to us too.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. What do you feel like were the differences that helped you grow this launch so much between the first couple launches and this launch? What did you implement that really made a difference?

Cassie: Yeah. So in our third launch, the main things were our pricing. And so, that was always a touchy thing because we know that we’re millennials, a lot of our students are just out of college or have only been in corporate for a handful of years. And so, we wanted to make it…

Shay: Accessible.

Cassie: Yeah, accessible for them, but we also had put so much time and value. There was so much content. We were in this like friction place of we want to get paid for the amount of time and energy that we know we put into our course and our community, but we want to make it accessible. So we moved into a three tier pricing structure which we bought from Nathan Barry. I’m sure it’s like from before, but that was really – it made so much sense to us. And so, that three tier pricing structure really allowed our students, our community to choose what works for them financially, but also what they felt like they wanted to pay for if they wanted that extra value, then they could choose to pay for it. What was shocking was that we had three tiers, but not one person purchased the lowest tier. Not because it was like nothing was in it – the whole course was in the bottom line, but we had made the other two so valuable. That was really, really interesting for us.

Shay: Yeah that was a shock because I thought it would be more to the lowest side, because I was like oh people are probably price sensitive in our target audience, but our target audience just wanted more value.

Cassie: That’s the whole – and it’s so funny because that’s what Nathan – when I was researching pricing structures, this is one of the things that felt so off. And so, I was just like I went in a rabbit hole learning pricing and pricing structures and different models. It made so much sense because we come from such different places, I’m much more price sensitive than Shay. Shay is an easy buy if you’re like this is what you’re getting. Shay, you really want it.

Shay: Tell me what’s in it and I expect you to put what you say you would and I’ll pay the money for it.

Cassie: Totally. No, which is great. There are two different types of people. And so, Shay will purchase it much easier, where I’m like reading all of the FAQs. I’m the one that’s like am I sure this is what I want to spend my money on right now or even like this year. Will I regret my decision? And so, we talked about this so much, but we had to come to a one price in our past launches. And so, it was always this odd thing like I would pay for it but you wouldn’t. So with the three tier pricing structure, that’s basically the whole concept behind it, is that there are certain people that are price sensitive and there are others who would rather you give them a whole lot of value and they’ll buy it. They don’t want to take the extra time. That was huge because there are both people in our audience and we allowed them to have the freedom to be able to choose which one they wanted. I think that was for sure one of the biggest things. We laos did live webinars. Those were the sorts of things we had done, workshops. The third launch actually was, I would say a couple months after we had purchased Blog to Biz Hive. So that was really where we were able to go into your course and be like okay, what were those other things that we should be doing. The live workshops was definitely one of them. I felt like our email structure launch…

Shay: The emails were a lot better as well.

Cassie: So yeah, that was like shortly after we had implemented a lot of those things. Our most recent launch, I feel was really where we did it all.

Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, you definitely blossomed in that one. One quick side note. I feel like the pricing, it’s really interesting how you guys have different ideas about pricing, like Shay will just buy something if it sounds right for you, which is my kind of thing too. That’s what I do as well. And then Cassie, you’re more like you want to make sure that this is a good fit. It’s funny because I feel like a lot of course creators or entrepreneurs think from the mindset of like is my audience going to think the same way as me, or kind of assuming like oh well I’m this way, so they must be that way too. It’s cool for you guys because you have this dynamic where you have opposite opinion sometimes, so you can kind of tell that your audience also has different opinions about things. So kind of an interesting thing that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t really get to experience.

Cassie: Yeah, I feel like we might not even have known. I think I would have like – that was one of the issues too with like even when I had my own design studio. I was always nervous to charge more. And so, little by little, I started charging more and getting more confidence where Shay was on the other end and she was like just going for it. And so, we had – we definitely had this dynamic, but I feel like if we didn’t have each other, I might not have even noticed that – or like know that that was…

Melyssa Griffin: Existed.

Cassie: Yeah. See something and you tell them what you get, and they’re like yeah I want it.

Shay: … may not have gotten as many clients if I didn’t become a little bit flexible at times too, like making adjustments because they’re the right client, but maybe they can’t afford the whole package or something like that.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. I think that’s just good advice for all business owners, that you are not your ideal client or customer. They might be completely different than you, and to not really like think of how you would buy something as the basis for how to price or sell your products. That’s really cool.

Cassie: …sometimes you are your audience – like you’re in your audience genre, like we are millennial women, but more so much deeper. There are so many different personality types, so they might not think the way you do. So I think that’s a really good point. I think for other entrepreneurs, I would say take your concept out there and ask other people in your audience, and see what they come back to you with, as opposed to sometimes you’re so stuck and you’re so in it, you only see things from your lens. You would be so surprised how other people, even in your own audience, view something.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. So we’re about to talk about your fourth launch, the most recent lunch. When was that?

Shay: That was just last end of May, June. Just this year.

Cassie: No, I would say about a month ago.

Shay: A month ago, yeah.

Melyssa Griffin: 2017, cool. How did that go?

Cassie: It went amazing. Like I said, our last launch of the work and travel course; work online, travel the world course, was in 2016. So it’s been a while since we had launched this course. Since then we had built our audience, and so we knew that girls in our community really wanted it but…

Melyssa Griffin: How big was your audience at the time?

Cassie: I think we had…

Shay: Was it around 6 or 8000? Because before in our third launch, we only had a landing page, or up until our third – up until last November. We only had a landing page. We didn’t have a website. We didn’t have a full brand. We didn’t have a large email list. All these other things we have learned as entrepreneurs in our separate businesses and working with our clients. And then that third launch became successful. That’s when we sat down, so we took another year before we launched again and basically to build our business and our brand and our community, and focus on the individuals out there that were wanting that support and help to create this lifestyle. And then came back and was like alright let’s bring out the course again. We also created new courses that were in need in our audience. We were really listening to our audience and really building this community.

Cassie: …was just taking the time. There were a lot of things like Shay said, since working with other entrepreneurs that we knew that we should be doing, and who we would recommend to our own clients because that’s what we were doing. We just hadn’t taken the time to do them for ourselves, because at the time, between the two of us, we were running three businesses, and with our other two business, those had gotten really successful. So we were just kind of like juggling it all. And so, I feel like when it came to about last November, we really sat down and started writing out our goals. What are our long term goals? What is our vision? What do we want to be working on? Of course, Bucketlist Bombshells was top priority in that. And so, we were like if this is ever going to happen, it needs to happen now. We’re good at our other businesses. I feel really confident that we can say that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that was our vision, like that’s what we should eb doing. And so, going into – sitting down and writing out all of our goals, once we decided what those were, we knew that we need to have an indoctrination series and all of these things that we knew that we need to have, we just didn’t implement. So we just wrote out this task list. We got super organized in Asana. Once we have goals, especially between the two of us, we are like all in.

Shay: I would say we achieved every goal that we wrote out from last October.

Melyssa Griffin: That’s amazing. What were some of the biggest goals on that list that you achieved?

Shay: For me it was being full time Bucketlist Bombshells by June. And so, not having any more clients. So this time around, we didn’t drop all of our clients. We kept our client work. We ended up actually beginning full time – I think I was full time by April, I was able to let go and kind of close down my other – or not close it down, but working in that other business. That was a huge one for me personally.

Melyssa Griffin: That is so exciting.

Cassie: Yeah, I would say definitely that was like – I feel like both our number one. Because from the first launch as we had talked about, from the first launch, that was I think one of our big fears that we knew that we had messed – I would say like sort of messed up in a sense by dropping all of our clients when we didn’t have too much of a proof of concept or like a successful business…

Melyssa Griffin: It’s almost like when an entrepreneur quits their job or they want to start a business, so they’re like I’m just going to quit my job and then do this, without actually making money yet or having it be a business.

Cassie: Yeah and I think it works in certain instances, I do because like we have – some of our students quit their jobs and started building successful freelancing businesses within one to two months. I feel like it’s a different type of business, like that, you’re doing service based, you’re one on one, like someone is like okay great, I’ll pay you for this service that you’re going to offer me right now. Okay great, we get started tomorrow. It’s much more like a faster pace, where we’re building content, having to explain that message to people. And then especially for our audience, who is a bit of a higher price point, getting them to trust us especially it was the first time we had ever launched the course. There are so many different things. I think it depends and I’ve heard so many different stories. The other big one on our list was being featured in Forbes. That was just like…

Shay: I’ve wanted that since I was 15 years old. When I decided to go to business school, I decided I was going to get featured in Forbes. And so, this is a huge moment for myself and for my family too because I’ve been talking about it for so long.

Melyssa Griffin: That’s awesome. I love that.

Cassie: Yeah. It’s just so great to get – and I don’t know if you get this, but because we’re younger and we’re like super sassy and bubbly, and I love that about us, I think not all the time – like people don’t always take us super seriously right off the bat from the beginning. And so, as much as we love the travel side of our business, and that’s part of what we teach, like running a business while traveling, the business side is something that – like that’s 90% of it. If you can get the 90% down and have a successful business, the 10%, like the cherry on top is being able to travel. And so, we totally pride ourselves on our courses, like teaching valuable business content, like how are you going to get clients, how are we going to strategize this. And so, the Forbes feature was really I think the business validation for us. For us personally, that we know what we’re doing, but also to the outside world like we know what we’re doing.

Melyssa Griffin: Like take us seriously, we’ve really done some amazing stuff.

Shay: Yeah they build that trust and credibility with that side of our business with the business skills and the teaching side, and all of that stuff. Because the travel side was easy to validate; they could see our lives. We were physically doing what we were saying. So being able to have that validation from Forbes and being able to also in that interview, explain like how we’re entrepreneurs, explain what we’re doing, talk about all of the knowledge that we have, I think that really helped in our credibility as teaching others to build an online business.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. Yeah I love that. So for your fourth launch, you said it went amazing. How amazing was it? I know it was super awesome.

Cassie: Yeah. It was… we had our first six figure launch. That was on our goal list for sure. Not because again, like we talked about the monetary side, not because we were like we need to make a million dollars now, it was more like we knew that we’re capable of doing it. We want to be able to scale our business because the more that we’re able to scale, the more people that we are able to help. We had so many ideas.

Shay: The amount of ideas we come up with over coffee is insane.

Cassie: I mean not all of them are amazing, but some of them are really awesome. The more that we’re able to – like we a team now, that’s amazing. My mom is actually on our team, and that was one of our goals, things. I was like I want to be able to support her because my whole life she’s always been like you can do this. And so, that was one of the things on our list. I was like I want to be able to support her with Bucketlist Bombshells. She’s amazing at what she does. It was just like we needed the avenue to be able to support her. And so, there’s so many aspects that the monetary side just gives you the freedom and the flexibility to implement all of these ideas to support this amazing team. We have an amazing community manager, who is actually one of our past students. And so, to be able to like work with her and to be able to pay her the amount that we do, like all of those things have really – that’s what the monetary side has really done for us I think.

Shay: Monetary goal is a little bit easier when you’re doing a launch. Before we were focusing too much on the monetary side in one of our launches or like having really unrealistic expectations. I think that now we have realistic expectations and we’re doing it for a different reason. We’re still fulfilling our vision for the business. We’re doing it from a place of “this income isn’t going to build our team. It’s going to help us build new products. It’s going to build our community”. So again, we’re not really focused on the money, it just helps grow the business.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. It’s almost like when you are grasping something so hard, you can’t ever seem to attain it. You guys, it seems like more for this launch, you were kind of like we know we’ve got it. We’re not going to push anything and set expectations. We’re just going to do our best with what we know how to do, and then it turned out into this beautiful thing which I think is so cool. Shay, you kind of touched on earlier, where you were talking about how between the third launch, the 18 K launch and then this most recent launch, the biggest thing was that the previous launches, you just had a landing page. You didn’t even have a website or a blog, or anything like that…

Cassie: …ridiculous, like you saying that, I cringe.

Melyssa Griffin: But it’s amazing that you had such a successful launch previously with just a landing page. I mean that was pretty awesome too. It kind of shows people I think that you don’t have to struggle, like you don’t have to overwhelm yourself with writing five blog posts a week, you can have an $18,000 launch which is definitely no small beans* and only have a landing page. But then between that and this fourth launch, Shay, you touched on how you started focusing on community, growing your list, and really making this more of a tribe. What are kind of the specific things that you did during that period of time, leading up to this launch that you feel had a big impact?

Shay: Yeah, I’d say getting a full website – so were able to full convey our message. We were able to show – we changed our branding. We added the blog. We’re adding more content, share more content that’s attracting our audience. So I would say that was like the first big step and then from there, creating a free Facebook group. So we ended up creating a community on Facebook, where we’re able to have other girls connecting with like-minded individuals. We were in there guiding them and helping them achieve their dreams as well as just having that community online for people to be able to connect with others. A lot of them are in 9 to 5s. A lot of their parents don’t understand what they want, like this travel lifestyle, but also just being entrepreneurs. Sometimes people really don’t understand the want and the passion for that. They want you to stay in your stable 9 to 5. When you’re so unhappy and if those are the people that are surrounding you, you stay there. You stay unhappy because you don’t really know anything else. So we noticed that there are Facebook groups with great ways to be able to connect people internationally or connect people from all over and build that community in there. So I would say that was my big thing.

Cassie: Yeah, that was very big. And then we also added an indoctrination series, so like an automated email series that goes out when someone signs up. So that way, you’re always nurturing your list. We also created a four part video series. That’s like… [crosstalk] thousand pf girls go through that. We have amazing content on there. So that was really, really important.

Shay: I think the last piece of the puzzle or another big chunk was the new courses. So we created skills courses which ended up now being the foundation courses to the work online and travel the world course. I think oh, we’re filling a huge need. Every time the girls were wondering how they could find skills, what skills are clients looking for, what are the most common skills online, what are skills, what are services I should be selling. And so, we made these two just jam packed with everything that we knew, everything that we did as VAs and graphic designers to really fill that need for them. I think that it’s just a really great way – it’s just a foundation to what they need before going into the work and travel course.

Cassie: Yeah. I was just going to say I think the skills courses have really been so powerful, because we have a lot of lack of confidence, obviously, in being so young and people want to quit their stable 9 to 5s, and start their own businesses. I think it’s like learning tangible skills just like when you take a course and you’re kind of thinking like – it’s this big concept that you’re like I don’t even know what that means or what it is, what does it mean to be a graphic designer or do design online. And so, they dive into these courses and the mini projects that we have set out and it becomes so actionable and so tangible that they graduate the course. Even if they haven’t started landing any clients yet, they already feel confident. They’re like I feel so much more confident in my skills, whether they were validated based off of what they already knew, or I didn’t even know anything about design or website design or email marketing. They graduate the course feeling confident in that. So I think like, just that – we’ve learned a lot from that, like the educational piece of feeling confident in taking courses and in learning new skills. And so, I think that’s a really big piece and kind of why we’ve gone the route of being an educational community, because just like the power of education, like feeling confident in – you have to be educated when you’re making a decision and obviously in building a business. You need to have those skills. So that’s been huge.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. What I like about that is that you figured out what are the objections that people have to buying our signature course, what’s holding them back from making a purchase. You figured out that it’s that they just don’t know what their skills are, that they don’t have marketable skills yet. And then you created courses to teach them about design and other things to make them feel like, oh now I have something that I actually can sell to people through this other course. So it’s like the perfect stepping stone which is what you want in your product ladder anyway. So you totally figured that out and that’s amazing. So I love that too.

Cassie: Yeah. I feel like we do tend to do that. We see a lot – between the two of us, we see a lot of gaps. When there is a gap, even if we don’t fill it immediately, like we keep it on this little – we have these slots*. So we have a channel just for ideas. We’re always like – we continue to see this, we continue to see this, we need to fulfill this need. We just need to figure out the rest. Like you said, I think that’s an awesome way because it’s not you always coming up with the so called genius idea. It’s like an idea that’s sparked by your community. We’ve even implemented things that other girls or students in our community have wanted. So I think that makes for, where it’s not just us. I know that we’re kind of the face of it and we are a brand, but the community itself is what makes it so big and powerful and positive. The amount of girls in our community that are positive, which is something that we sat down and talked about, especially with Facebook groups, like there can be behind the screen just so much negativity. We’ve seen it. I think we wanted to create a community that’s positive and empowering no matter what. I think we can model it, but it’s up to the girls in our community to really support each other and have that positive tone to their messaging and stuff like that. So that has actually come to fruition. I feel like we’ve created sort of the base for that. That’s like I think really grown on community too because it’s a place that people want to be.

Melyssa Griffin: Right. Yeah absolutely. So just to wrap things up here. I know we didn’t talk – this interview is actually a bit different than the ones I normally do, because it’s more about your business tactics. We didn’t really talk as much about purpose, but I feel like even just hearing you guys speak about your business journey and the decisions you’ve made along the way, it’s so clear that you operate from a place of heart and purpose. It’s not just that you want to get featured in Forbes to be famous. It’s that it was a goal of yours since you were 15 and you want to show people that you’re an actual business woman. It’s not just that you wanted to have a six figure launch, but it’s that you wanted to help more people and really expand this mission and message that you’re trying to spread to more people. So even just like hearing about your journey is so inspiring. I like to ask this question as the final question for all of my guests and I’m sure you guys have some interesting things to say about it. What do you feel like entrepreneurs can do to live more meaningful and fulfilled lives or to just feel more fulfilled with their businesses?

Cassie: Yeah, I love this question. I feel like it’s a simple and complicated answer. My first thing would be I think that people need to bet on themselves more. I think that goes back to when we grow up, when you’re in kindergarten and preschool and you’re growing up, everyone is always like cheering you on, like you can do anything, you can be anything. And then you graduate college and the whole dialogue shifts. It’s like you get a stable job. This is the real world. It’s almost – I felt like people were – they’re being lied to in a sense. And so, they graduate and they jump into these lives that, just like you’re talking about, aren’t filled with purpose and meaning because they look to the outside for validation. A lot of the outside world is telling you need this stability. You need to be in this job so you can have this retirement. There’s so much fear in that. I feel like if people were to stop looking for this outside validation for what they know their purpose is, regardless of where they are in life, just because you graduate now does not mean that you can no longer have fun. It does not mean that you no longer need to enjoy your life. And so, I feel like if they stopped looking for outside validation and looked inward and were like I can do this, I will do this, I think that we would find so many more people, finding purpose and meaning in their lives.

Shay: Yeah, I completely agree. On kind of the same topic or along the same lines, for me, it’s really about making sure that I know who I am and what my core values are, and making decisions that fall into one of those. If it doesn’t feel right and it’s not sitting right with you, you’re not going to be happy in the long run. I see people making these decisions in their personal lives and in their business lives that I can tell just don’t align but that they think it’s either the right thing or someone is telling them to do it or it’s money driven. For me, it’s like I’ve always been vision driven. The money will come. The money will follow if I’m focused on the vision and I’m really, really true to my values. And so, that would be where my biggest thing is for feeling more fulfilled. Life is just sit down and really figure out what your values are and make decisions based on those always. It may be hard to go against that, because especially in the world, like someone might even be – you might lose friends because of it, like it might not sit well with someone else, but at the end of the day, you have to be you and live with yourself and your decisions. You should be allowed to be happy in whatever that is and whatever your values are.

Melyssa Griffin: I could not agree with both of those more. I feel like if you bet on yourself and you operate from a place of your values, you make decisions from a place of your values, like you can’t go wrong. There’s nothing you could do that would go wrong. I think that’s amazing advice. So thank you ladies. It’s been so awesome to hear more about your journey. You guys are really inspiring and just such sweet, bubbly, energetic women. I love the business you’re creating.

Cassie: Thank you. This was so fun. Thanks for having us on.

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My name is
Melyssa Griffin

I believe that an unstoppable mindset can be your #1 business tactic. So, my job is to lead you back to yourself and to help you reprogram the limiting beliefs and patterns that are keeping you small. 

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