Founder of Pencil Kings
Mitch Bowler is the founder of Pencil Kings, a website that provides art education at a high level without the high cost.
Mitch went from having no team at all to having a well oiled course production machine that comes out with new courses twice a month, a podcast that goes out weekly, and a new community event that happens each month. All done with a virtual team spread all over the world.
Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Mitch’s success
Hiring and finding good people who are passionate about your brand and are aligned with your mission
Result if you follow the steps in Mitch’s session
Get work life balance, more profit and a more empowered and engaged team
Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more
Expert session snapshot
I think in the beginning, we are looking to produce, we’re looking to regularly produce courses for our members because people are paying a monthly fee. They expect something new every month. And so what we do is we add in new courses that people can take. And what I realized was that I wasn’t great at recruiting people to create these courses and my business partner wasn’t good at recruiting people for these courses.
And so I wouldn’t found somebody. And I think just as a stroke of luck, it was a great first hire, having a project manager, somebody who could go out and find people and have a system behind it, where she was able to systematically like go and do outreach. And we’re now to the point where we know exactly how many artists we need to reach out to, in order to get the amount of courses that we needed.
Just like any other process in your business, you know, you have certain number of leads, and those will convert into a certain number of sales, you have a certain number of artists we contact which will lead into a certain number of courses to get produced for us. And so that was the big one.
But then I was just feeling a lot of overwhelm. And I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling where you just have too much to do. And so one of the things I did early on was I created a mind map with all the things that I was doing so I was in the center and then around me I just listed all the tasks. That’s the only place I started. It wasn’t very sophisticated mind map.
And then I started breaking, grouping these tasks into groups like content production, writing articles, and editing videos, editing podcasts, and then assign a title to those. So I started with the task and then went to the title. And then I kind of had a blueprint of the team that I needed to build around me.
So earlier incarnation of the team, we had a video editor, content producer, project manager, customer support and development, and then me. We kind of like doing it a million things still, but these are the five main pillars of our business, then we later on added a community manager. And so these are all like, natural groupings of tasks.
And while you think you might be able to do all of them, and some people can, it’s you can’t really do them great. You need to focus on one thing, and I’m always amazed at how, even though with this membership site, we’re six years into the business, and I feel like I’m a master at this thing when I’m able to focus. I mean, I can just get so much deeper and so much better at a certain test.
So I realized that trying to do all this stuff around is it’s just not very efficient or optimized, it’s really a crazy process. And it just leads to having bad relationships, you know, with your significant other, your friends, you’re working all the time. And while it seems like a great lifestyle business, it ends up being a lifestyle nightmare because you have so much stuff to manage.
And one of the things about a membership site is that you’re constantly having to please these people, which you might not think about. Whereas if you have like a one off sales funnel, you can create that and step away with this, you’re always having to update something, give something to somebody.
So you really can, you know, save yourself a lot of problems by thinking through this and realizing, okay, I’m signing up for a hamster wheel where it’s going to be going all the time. What can I do to minimize the time that I spent on the hamster wheel having to produce content whenever. There’s different ways you can position your membership site, I don’t think we’ll get into that here, but you know, really think about these things into the future because it can save you a lot of pain down the road.