In today's online course success story in our Bright Sparks case study series, we meet Mary Schiller. Mary is a successful author & coach who went from zero to 6 figures within 2 years of starting her business! Since 2016, Mary's books and programs have helped thousands of people give themselves permission to live the life they want to live.
In our interview, Mary shares with us the secrets to her success and how Content Sparks has helped her to grow her business and serve her clients.
Watch the video or read the interview highlights below:
Mary, start by telling us a bit about you and how you got started.
In 2016, I started my own business as a coach because at the time, I didn't know what else to do! I had just been let go from a publishing startup because I had the audacity to tell the CEO that he was doing something illegal. His response: “I know. If I get caught, I'll just pay the fines.” Yikes! What to do? Well, I knew that I didn't want to go back to being a professional writer.
I had been a journalist, editor and copywriter for more than two decades. Plus, I had taught writing at the university level and had spent several years designing and teaching online courses. So when I was let go from my job, I decided I wanted to be a life coach working online, helping people transform their lives. My own life had been transformed a couple of years before, and I thought, “I want to do the same for others.” I called myself a coach, put some prices on my fledgling website, and I've never looked back.
Within a year, I had earned my previous annual 6-figure salary and had moved to my dream city of Paris, France, with my husband and two cats. I am originally from California and had been living in NYC for 10 years before moving to France.
In 2018, I switched to being a full-time business coach because so many coaches asked me how I had gotten my business off the ground so fast. My business motto has always been Follow the Fun, because if it's not fun, why do it?
Since 2016, I have written and self-published several books and have helped thousands of people give themselves permission to have the life and business they really want. I have been able to do this for myself — doing what I want to do, living where I want to live and also being near my daughter, who lives in England — and I want other people to have the same happy ending.
Primarily, I serve coaches who are struggling to get their businesses off the ground or are having trouble making good money, and they are overwhelmed by all the steps they need to take. I simplify things for them and show them how to take small steps daily to reach their goals.
I have a signature online/group-coaching program called the Accountability Coach Training Program. People who join this program learn how to be accountability coaches or they add accountability into their current coaching services. I also offer online and group-coaching programs on business topics, all with the foundation that business can be simpler and a lot more fun.
I am giving people easy-to-access, actionable programs along with plenty of personal support to reach their business and life goals.
I was lucky in that I had business experience — sales, marketing, writing, technology and also freelancing — before I started my coaching business. I've come to realize that most coaches do not have this type of experience. My advanced degrees (master's degrees in English and in online learning) and my experience in teaching have also been extremely helpful. Since I started my business, my mission has been to help others achieve successful coaching businesses that allow them to do what they love and earn an income (primarily online).
I have created many courses over the years on all sorts of topics related to life and business. I really love the process of creating online programs. But I found that for some business topics, I was reinventing the wheel. I considered hiring someone to help me write the courses, but it was just too expensive for me as a solopreneur.
I was very impressed by all the training and materials provided through Content Sparks' Time Management Free 10-Day Course Challenge. As someone familiar with designing courses and curricula, I recognized the high quality immediately. I enrolled in the VIP version, and wow! I learned SO much from that training.
I have lots of courses now! I have an entire suite of them, which I'm turning into a business academy for coaches over the next 12 months (with a few life-related courses, too!).
I really appreciate the way the Content Sparks courses are organized. The Course Book makes it really easy for me to see the exact content included and how I can customize the course: add my own examples, personality, branding, stories and case studies. I also appreciate the level of detail in the courses.
So far, I am using the courses on Teachable as online courses with videos and pdf guides. I also plan to use a few of the courses for free challenges to bring people onto my email list.
I used the Time Management course as my first test of Content Sparks' materials in August 2020. I customized and created the online course in a week and offered it to my small email list for a launch price of $47. I sold 21 of them, so I earned nearly $1,000 over 4 days. I've now raised the price to $97 and will also use this course as an upsell.
So as we are talking, I am working on the How to Start an Email List from Scratch course. And so I have to pick that because it's by far one of the topics that my clients ask me about.
And they're very confused about how that whole process happens. And I love the Content Sparks course because it's really thorough and it explains everything from why email marketing is important and why it should be a priority in developing your business, no matter what kind of business, really. But for coaches and especially or anyone working online, it's essential. And then it breaks down all of the different pieces of that process and a really beautiful way. So I'm currently working on that and putting my examples and my spin on it, my experience in building an email list in there.
I wouldn't have a business without online courses. They have brought in at least half of my revenue each year. Now, I'll be able to create them faster and with even better quality.
I plan to keep offering my signature Accountability Coach Training program. I am creating an online academy with concise, actionable courses to help coaches get great results and have more fun with sales, marketing, and scaling their businesses. The academy will also include a few lifestyle-related courses.
Oh, my gosh! I have learned so much from working with Content Sparks. I love the way the company supports its customers with tons of training that is absolutely top-notch. I realized that I don't need to go anywhere else to get the support and business training that I'm looking for, too.
You're not in this alone. You can partner with a company like Content Sparks and consider them part of your team. That's exactly how I see Content Sparks: as my very own professional writing and instructional design team.
Since my motto is Follow the Fun, I can definitely say that Content Sparks is part of the fun I have in my business and life every day.
How can people find out more about you, Mary?
People can visit my website, www.maryschiller.com, on the home page, there's a bunch of free gifts that people can choose from. If they'd like to get something from me for visiting, that would be wonderful. And yeah, it's just been so much fun getting to know you and I can't wait to see what else I can do with all your wonderful materials. I feel like my next like three years is kind of laid out in front of me now. And I just get to sit and create and sell and invite people in and, you know, all that fun stuff.
Quickly put together your own online course, live workshop, or coaching program on How to Build an Email List from Scratch where you'll teach your audience a proven step-by-step plan to start building their most valuable business asset… an email list.