Sam talks with Sales & Marketing Funnel Consultant and Kartra expert Jess Sciuva. Jess talks about why she decided to leave her job as a full-time teacher to start her own business, funnel opportunities many online companies miss out on, and provides form optimization tips for generating more leads.
Sam Chlebowski: [00:00:00] We were looking at some affiliate software It’s like manage our affiliate program and two of the companies I had reached out. One of them had a sales process where I just entered my name, I entered my email, and I was redirected to a page where I could book a time to schedule with them. The other company that I was inquiring with, I sent them an email.
I filled out a form, I did all of the things they wanted me to do. It was a six or seven question form. As soon as I sent that form into them, they send me another form which I have to fill out in order to be able to book a time. I’m not gonna lie like that frustrated me to the point where I was like, I don’t really wanna work with you I already filled out this form once. I have things going on. Like, do you not? Respect my time. it was frustrating for me as a potential customer. And I think that there’s things that you can learn from that because the other company, they asked us some questions on that call that I scheduled where they were clearly.
Vetting us to see if we were a good fit. But I was okay with [00:01:00] that because I was able to ask them questions too. And it was a much more conversational approach.
Jess Sciuva: I think time is so important. No one has enough time these days, right? so we don’t wanna be, making people spend too much time doing something that maybe isn’t really necessarily important. Right? as a mom, like. my attention span is so sure, because I’m constantly pulled in different directions and, you know, I might be filling something out and then my kids are like, mom, I need you.
And then I’m like, oops. And then I just forget to ever come back to it.
Sam Chlebowski: Happy Thursday everybody, and welcome back to Designing Growth. Sam Chlebowski here. In today’s episode, we have a fantastic guest joining us. Jess Sciuva, the owner and founder of Tech with Jess. For a little bit more about Jess’s business, she helps business owners bring in more qualified leads and [00:02:00] sell high ticket programs with Kartra, as well as help them learn more about systems and funnels they can use to grow their own businesses. So Jess, I wanna start by first asking, how you doing today?
Jess Sciuva: I’m doing great. How are you?
Sam Chlebowski: I am good. It is a snowy day out here in Denver. and I had mentioned it a couple times on this podcast recently just because it’s been getting closer and closer with each episode. But my wife and I are expecting our first child and she could go into labor now any hour. So kind of just waiting and seeing what happens there.
But other than that, we’re really excited and, yeah, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
Jess Sciuva: Congratulations to both of you. Super excited.
Sam Chlebowski: Thank you. Thank you. So cool. I wanted to start off here and just ask you a little bit about your business for some background for those people listening to this podcast, Jess and I had spoken a couple weeks ago and Jess, on that call you had kind of told me. You had started as a [00:03:00] virtual assistant, and then over time you’ve kind of slowly evolved into more of a specialized approach, and that’s focusing on a lot more systems and design and things like that.
Can you kind of tell me how your business got started initially and what that process looked like and what the recent developments have been that have led you to this? Slight pivot within your.
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, absolutely. So I started out kind of doing some general virtual assistant stuff, mainly focusing on admin tasks because I was transitioning out of being a teacher and I was coming into this online space where I didn’t really know how I could make a business out of this. And I was like, well, you know, I could do some admin things, right?
I can organize inboxes, I can help with scheduling. answer maybe, you know, customer emails and whatnot. But then, you know, I kind of jumped into it and right away I had clients asking me to help with tech stuff I [00:04:00] had no real clue what I was doing. so I did a whole lot of learning myself through.
Just jumping into different softwares, trying to figure that I’m out, searching through documentation, YouTube videos. Facebook groups for support and, slowly I started getting to know these different systems. although it was slightly terrifying because , when you’re working with systems, sometimes things don’t always go as planned.
But I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed learning and I was like, wow, I actually do have a knack for this because. I was able to do things pretty easily. My clients were like amazed that I could do this stuff, and I really enjoyed just having to dive into something new.
Sam Chlebowski: Wow. So that is really cool. And I didn’t, know that. so you had been a teacher previously prior to this business. I’ve spoken with a lot of people who have left other full-time jobs to. Start their businesses, but I’ve never spoken with anybody that was a teacher previously and I think that that’s really [00:05:00] cool because that is something that is totally different than what you are doing now. And I think that that’s really impressive how you’re able to like, make that pivot. Made you decide to want to sort of walk away from teaching and then become a business owner?
Was it the flexibility or was it just a desire to do something different? what did that look like?
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, I think it was definitely probably a combination of both. So I had my second child. . and that whole year I was just having a hard time trying to figure out care for my kids. daycare’s super expensive. There also weren’t any great daycares around that I could also afford. And then, you know, trying to find a nanny and one had to leave us and I had to look for another one.
And it was just really stressful, um, trying to figure out how to make it. I also was just kind of tired of, all the things that teachers are expected to do with the limited amount of pay in return. so while I loved working with kids and I still do and I still want to do that, [00:06:00] just was a lot that they put on our plate and for.
I’d rather be raising my own children. so that was the decision I made. thankfully I was able to do that. I know not everyone can just up and leave a full-time job to be home with their kids. but thankfully we were able to make that work and I actually found a course on how to become a virtual assistant, which is what kind of led me down this path and which helped me start.
So that was.
Sam Chlebowski: Amazing. The whole thing with a set of expectations and then being tied to those expectations for someone else, whether it be, any type of employer, whether it be a school board, can be really challenging. I think especially once you see that there’s a different way that you can go about things where you can have complete.
over the amount of time that you work, the, input versus output. I think for some people having a sense of that and having a sense that they are in complete control of that is like one of the [00:07:00] best things that you can do for your career, and oftentimes the only way that you’re gonna get that is starting your own business.
for me personally, after we had sold. The last company that, I joined, I was a web design agency. I joined as employee number three, went on to go work for the people who acquired us. And it was, you know, in some ways a similar problem to what you face as a teacher. It was a set of expectations where there just physically wasn’t enough time in the day, and probably a little bit differe.
was being expected to do things that I didn’t really see the value in. I didn’t think that they were driving the mission of the business. They were driving my career personally forward, and I ended up just like quitting on a dime because it was not for me.
Like I need to be back in the startup space. , I need to be in a position where I can make a difference, where I can help provide a place to work for other people, in a really positive way and make a positive change in the world where it’s not just looking at the top line [00:08:00] revenue, but it’s looking at all of the parts of your business.
I think in some ways, That’s a lot of what you’re doing now. you know, not only are you responsible for those inputs and outputs and kind of in control of your own destiny, but you’re also helping business owners do vital things within their business that is going to help them, succeed.
Can you talk a little bit about some of the common sales funnel and work you do around that aspect of people’s businesses? Because I know that this is so. that has been an increased focus.
Jess Sciuva: Yes, absolutely. So I do a lot of work within a system called Kartra, and I love that system because I can do everything for my client within it without having to figure out how to make. two different softwares work together and, communicate cuz that can get pretty complicated, and frustrating sometimes.
But with Kartra, all your pages in there, your products, your membership sites, automations, anything you really want. and I do a lot of funnels within there. So, big one that most people start off with is [00:09:00] something like an optin funnel. usually you have some kind of freebie you’re giving out to people, and that’s like an incentive for joining your list.
You’re giving them a freebie. So that could be like a free guide. it could be like a free mini course, or even like a. private podcast episode. So you are getting them to opt in so they can get this cool thing that you’re offering and you know, you create the page for that where they can opt in, you create the form, they get added, you know, to the email list, they get tagged appropriately, and then you’re making sure the automations go through where.
They’re receiving that download or that freebie in an email. So I would set up all the pieces to that, and that’s a really good starter. Fun off for people, for people just jumping into business who want to grow their email list.
Sam Chlebowski: That is an amazing service that you’re providing and it’s kind of wild for me to hear just because has been the foundation of. marketing at nearly every single business I’ve been a part of. we always had some type of [00:10:00] system running in the background that was, here is this guide, here is this freebie, this giveaway, and then there’s a landing page that funnels into an email sequence It’s something that I honestly think a lot of business owners miss an opportunity for because they think. this guy, this freebie, it isn’t generating me as high quality of leads as something like word of mouth referrals. Do and I would love to hear your take after I share this. my take though is that that’s okay.
It’s okay if not every lead from every channel is a perfect. The most important thing is that you are building and you are designing for growth across your funnel. That means you have a of funnel lead metric that is a mix of people you know, some are qualified, some are not. a mid-funnel metric where those people are a little bit more qualified, they’re better quality, and then a bottom of funnel where it’s people who are super ready to buy.
What do you think about that? Do you think that. having [00:11:00] this sort of demand gen strategy is something that other businesses like tend to miss out on.
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really something that everyone needs because even though, like you said, some people might think, well, these leads aren’t really going to buy stuff from me. Like they’re just trying to get the freebie and then they’re out. you have to start somewhere, right? And we have to grow that list.
And what we really wanna do is nurture them after that. Where else can we push them to nurture them? So for example, I have a Facebook group, so that’s where I’m like, come join the group, come to join the group. And that’s where they get to know me. They get a lot more value. and, you know, we can connect personally, so that really helps.
but the list is a great starter point for them to see who is this person or who is this business and what can they do for me? Or, you know, what are the things that they offer? And it kind of piques their interest.
Sam Chlebowski: so with some of these funnels that you are creating, somebody fills out the form, they get maybe a, freebie or a giveaway. What are kind of your top tips for nurturing [00:12:00] them into becoming a customer or scheduling that Consultation, what are the things that you are sending them?
What are the things that you’re recommending business owners do to achieve sort of that end?
Jess Sciuva: so I love having what’s called a trip wire after the freebie. a trip wire is a small offer that you. Present to them right after they actually opt into that freebie. usually it’s something that goes really well with the freebie. You know, they connect well together and it’s is something more affordable because again, when you have these new people coming onto your list, They’re more hesitant to buy from you.
So you wanna provide something that is really a great value at a really good price. So I love having those where they opt in, they land on that tripwire page and it says, Hey, purchase this. and a lot of the times, you know, if it’s a really good offer, those people will go ahead and purchase that offer to get a taste of like what you do and what you.
So that’s a great way to turn people into [00:13:00] customers, actually like immediately. And from there, if they really love your offer that they purchase, then they’re more likely to go on and buy more things from you. So that’s one way to kind of get people moving, into your products. And then also just through an email sequence.
So typically after they opt into a freebie, you’re going to have some emails nurturing them and kind of moving them into the next steps that you want them to. . that could be, a low tier offer or like you said, pushing them to book a call with you. but that sequence is going to be really important to get them to the next steps.
Sam Chlebowski: The framing of calling it a trip wire. I really like because it’s something I have done before and some of our sales and marketing automations and things like that, but I’ve never known like exactly what to call that. so I really like how you think about that. The timing of this interview is lining right up with some of the big things that we’re doing right now, so it’s very top of mind for me right now. We just, launched a couple of [00:14:00] campaigns, so I launched a YouTube ad. Campaign. And then I launched kind of a Google Ads campaign, but then we’re also simultaneo[email protected] in the process of setting up our HubSpot account.
So that comes with all of these automation emails and things that we’re doing. so part of me like nerding out for a second, but I know you’re interested in this stuff too. So, For the marketing of your own business, like what are you doing?
What does your sales and marketing funnel look like for, your own business?
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, absolutely. Great question. So I have been in this business for a little over three years now. I started on just the service side, but now I do a lot of training of other virtual assistants. So I kind of have this door sided business where, can be a little hard trying to market both at the same time.
know, we make it work and people I think are pretty familiar with what I do because I have been around I’ve been consistent with marketing. first off, consistency, trying to just stay active where I’m at. my email list, my Facebook group, and then I’m on Instagram [00:15:00] mostly all the time.
being consistent there is definitely a big thing for my marketing. and. Far as everything else, showing up and continuing to talk about my services. I did start my YouTube channel as well, which has really helped, bringing more people to me because I do a lot of talking about tech and how to do this with your different systems.
So that’s been really great as well. But, you know, it’s really a compounding effect. Like I’ve found that even now, like sometimes I’ll take breaks from being really active, especially over the summer and. But I still have people coming to my email. I still have people, joining my programs, my products, and it’s because I’ve put out all this content to where, you know, people are still finding it, which is awesome.
Sam Chlebowski: that is so cool. And it’s something that I have only kind of just begun to learn. my first real marketing role, that wasn’t like for my own freelance business now to.
Marketing of my own freelance business wasn’t marketing, it’s just, that was mostly referral based. But when I stepped [00:16:00] into my first marketing role, the whole landscape looked completely different. this was 2017, and it was all about like, on page SEO for your site, and then your blog, and then your newsletter, and then running Google.
the way that things have changed since then and you had kind of hit on some of that is video is just so much more important than it ever was, I am already kind of seeing the fruits of my labor for each video that I put out is that it makes tremendous evergreen content, I’ve noticed the exact same thing.
There’s times within. This sort of getting started phase of motion.io that I’ve noticed I don’t post a YouTube video a certain week or maybe I miss out on a couple of days of TikTok, we’ll still get leads from those previous videos during that time. what’s most important though is that I pick it back up like either that next week or that next month, and if I can just really focus.
and put out a lot of content during that [00:17:00] timeframe. When I’m active That’s what’s more important, rather than posting, on a set day every single week, it’s more important to stay consistent over the long term, three to six months or whatever. And less important in the short term, like three to six days and staying on that schedule.
Looked at a couple of your videos for example, your video on how to embed Calendly on your WordPress website, 16,000 views. that’s awesome and I’m sure that that continues to bring you business. So, that’s something that took a long time for me to learn was how powerful YouTube is for that sort of content and how people are going to continue finding.
And in some ways I think it has benefits over your blog or your newsletter, even though I do think those things are still important, we still do [email protected]. that was kind of just me rambling about like where I think that the state of marketing is right now. But I did want to ask. When it comes to working with your clients what does a typical client often look like for you? Like how do they move through the process, from [00:18:00] beginning to end? Are you doing different sort of bespoke packages for clients? do you follow like one set process?
how have you structured your business in the sense of client experience and package?
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, that’s a great question. So I get a lot of people coming to me, about, different tech services or Kartra. So Kartra actually has like a. Referral program inside of it or a directory. And I get a lot of leads that way. which is great. And then I also have just a lot of connections from being in the online space and, you know, meeting people, which is definitely important if you’re not doing that, getting out and meeting people.
but they’ll come to me and say like, I need this done. Can you help? And what I like to do is figure out what systems are you using, first of all? and a lot of times I only like to stay with Kartra if possible, because I know it really well and I can complete those really easily. But when it’s new systems to me, it’s, you know, things are gonna take longer to figure out.
And I, really like to refer people out as well, so I have a whole. Directory myself of Tech VAs, who I refer out to, and those are people who have been in my programs [00:19:00] or I’ve coached and trained myself. So I love referring out to them when possible or when I’m like fully booked. if I have availability, what I like to do is just kind of get on calls with the clients and see what do you need?
Exactly. Let’s talk through this whole process of like what needs to be set up and get that really detailed. And then after that, I give them a custom quote. So I usually do these custom quotes because every client needs something different. So it’s hard to I’ll set up your sales page funnel for this price because there’s so many different pieces that go into people’s sales funnels, and I wanna make sure that I am getting everything listed down so that way I can price accordingly.
and that is good, but sometimes people just need a little support. Like I just need to figure out how to use this one email service provider. and I’ll do what I call a tech coaching call where I jump on a call with them. they pay for that session for 60 minutes and we just walk through their systems or we start setting things up together.
And that’s really great for. Who aren’t quite ready to have someone do it for [00:20:00] them and make that big investment, or they just really wanna learn how to do things themselves, because sometimes a tech can be a little scary. So having someone to be there and help you through it can be really helpful.
Sam Chlebowski: Something that you said that resonated particularly with me. Was having a list of other providers that you can refer out to. That’s something that I think often people are not doing and not being intentional about but, There is so many benefits to it.
may seem like on the surface, you were only referring out either because you can’t take on the work or because you know you’re doing something nice for another, business owner But the reality is, and kind of what I’ve seen is the power of like referring people out.
It all comes back to this mentality that I really carry with me every single role. Every single company I work with or start in the case of motion.io is Givers game. if you are doing things where you are helping other people, whether it’s other business owners, whether it’s your clients that’s [00:21:00] gonna come back to you at some point, it might not come back every single time, but it’s gonna come back to you.
And I have been consistently. the number of times when I referred a client out to an alternative service, or to somebody I knew how that came back in a really powerful way. Whether it was them sending a client my way or was them saying, Hey, by the way, Sam offers this really great service doing X, Y, Z.
Just wanted to tell you about it because we’ve been great partners throughout the years. So there’s all of these opportunities that happen, I think when you adopt that mentality. And I love the way that you were so intentional about, and you have that list of other, businesses that you can refer out to that’s really.
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I think, like you said, it does come back to you and really it makes me so excited to see them actually get clients from people that I’ve referred. nothing makes me happier than to like share the love, so
Sam Chlebowski: Amazing. Amazing.
One thing that I wanted to ask when you are [00:22:00] looking for information trying to like, of stay up to date on what’s going on within your space, system sales and automation, do you go? Who do you look to for resources?
Are there any, particularly good? People that you follow or content channels,
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of these systems have Facebook groups So if you are working with a specific software, you can go into their Facebook group to learn about updates and how to do things, and that’s really, really helpful.
jumping into those groups, following, you know, people on YouTube as far as like these different softwares where you can learn more information about how to use those systems. And then, as far as Sales and funnels and learning about that. funnel Gorgeous is a really great business that teaches a lot about, funnels and, creating offers and whatnot.
So I love them. I’m actually going through a certification with them right now to get certified as a, master marketer, so that’s super exciting. Um, but definitely a great place to go and learn.
Sam Chlebowski: a couple last questions for you, [00:23:00] and this one that I’m about to ask. be surprisingly controversial. I don’t think it’s controversial, but some people out there disagree. my question for you, as somebody who is doing this work, of setting up, funnels for people, one of the things I see a big disagreement about online is Whether the ultimate call to action for a funnel or a campaign, whether it should be like a long form that allows them to properly vet people, or it should just be like a simple form. enter your name, email couple notes about yourself, then you can submit when it comes to how complex you wanna make those forms.
And the goal of that. what is your opinion of that? what do you do on your website and for your clients? Are you doing these sort of really in-depth forms with 10 questions that vet them perfectly, or do you go to the other end and you just make it as simple as possible?
Jess Sciuva: so I definitely recommend just keeping it short for like join my list or, you know, get my free. you really wanna make it as short as [00:24:00] possible because when there are more hoops to jump through, a lot of times people will be like, uh, nah, I don’t wanna do all this . So then you lose out on that leap.
But there are times when longer forms are necessary, like. before someone joins your, high ticket program, you probably want to vet them to make sure they’re a good fit before they’re paying thousands of dollars be in a program or a course that might not be good for them. So definitely having, long form.
Questions, for those types of situations. But if it’s something as simple as like, join my list or, you know, sign up to receive updates about this offer coming out, like definitely keeping it short and sweet. you can also use long forms when you are wanting more information from people on your list.
So maybe you want to know. who are these people? How can I learn more about them? You know, sending out some surveys to people on your list where it’s optional, they can fill it out or not. But if they do, you can get a lot of great information from them.
Sam Chlebowski: That’s great. And yeah, I completely agree [00:25:00] with you and that’s kind of like where I stand to is you need an easy way. To collect people’s contact information that are ready to learn more about you. And if you are trying to perfectly vet every single lead, every single inquiry, every single email subscriber, think that you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.
it’s my personal opinion that business owners cannot be afraid of vetting people throughout the process. That’s the one thing that I don’t. you should rely on automation so heavily for I think that you can try and put some guardrails up, but that first touchpoint where that person is just giving you their email for the first time, that needs to be as easy as possible.
we were looking at some affiliate software for motion.io. It’s like manage our affiliate program and kind of see where people were in the process. And provider. Our affiliates are really like clean dashboard where they could see, hey, this is how much money you’re getting paid out at the end of the month.
these are how many people are still pending and waiting to sign up. Two of the companies I had reached out. One [00:26:00] of them had a sales process where I just entered my name, I entered my email, and I was redirected to a page where I could book a time to schedule with them. The other company that I was inquiring with, I sent them an email.
I filled out a form, I did all of the things they wanted me to do. It was a six or seven question form. They then, as soon as. Sent that form into them. send me another form which I have to fill out in order to be able to book a time. I’m not gonna lie like that frustrated me to the point where I was like, I don’t really wanna work with you I already filled out this form once. I have things going on. Like, do you not? Respect my time. and I ended up saying, no, we’re not gonna use this company that had this really long form. Because it was frustrating for me as a potential customer. And I think that there’s things that you can learn from that because the other company, they asked us some questions on that call that I scheduled where they were clearly.
Vetting us to see if we were a good fit. But I was okay [00:27:00] with that because I was able to ask them questions too. And it was a much more conversational approach. So I did just wanna share that anecdote because I think that there’s a lot that you can learn and a lot business owners can learn from that.
about how they can structure their own sales and marketing.
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, absolutely. I think time is so important. No one has enough time these days, right? so we don’t wanna be, making people spend too much time doing something that maybe isn’t really necessarily important. Right? as a mom, like. my attention span is so sure, because I’m constantly pulled in different directions and, you know, I might be filling something out and then my kids are like, mom, I need you.
And then I’m like, oops. And then I just forget to ever come back to it. So just keep that in mind. when creating your forms,
Sam Chlebowski: it’s a great point. It’s like, I’m about to be a parent too. If I was. Filling out this form and then, my kid needed me. company one would still get my business, probably company number two would never hear back from me.
it’s not to say that longer forms like that aren’t okay later in your sales process, really just to highlight initially, those [00:28:00] things need to be easy. this has been an awesome discussion here, Jess, and thank you so much for sharing, all of this insight about your business and your expertise.
it was really fun for me to be able to nerd out on some of these more technical things within sales and marketing. It’s a big part of what I’m passionate about and like I said, what we’re in the process of setting up now at Motion dot. I. If people want to find out more about you and your business, where should they go?
Jess Sciuva: Yeah, so you can go to my website tech with jess.com. You can also find me on Instagram at tech with Jess. And then I do have a Facebook group for anyone who is maybe a virtual assistant who wants to kind dive into the tech stuff. It’s called Become a Tech va.
Sam Chlebowski: Amazing. And we will put links to all of Jess’s resources in the show notes take a look at those Thank you again. Anything else to add here before we sign off?
Jess Sciuva: No, I don’t think so. But thank you for having me, Sam, and this has been great. And yeah, good luck with the baby and everything.
Sam Chlebowski: Thank you. It’s gonna [00:29:00] be a wild ride and uh, we’re really excited. really looking forward to it. So it’s gonna be fun. make sure to go check out the links to Jess’s website and all of her other, content that she’s putting out in the show notes of this episode.
Until next time, my name is Sam Chlebowski, Co-founder of Motion.io. Take care of everybody. Bye-bye.