Music Therapy Ed: $11,500/mo in One Year Even Though Her Launch was a Total Flop - with Kat Fulton

Imagine having zero customers one week after launching your business to 1,000 people who said they couldn't wait for your product? Now imagine you spent $10,000 to build it. This is what happened to today's guest when she launched her business one year ago.

Kat is the founder of Music Therapy Ed, a site that provides online courses to healthcare professionals and music therapists who are looking for continuing education credits without the hassle of traveling to a workshop or conference. Today her business is doing nearly $12,000/mo but that didn't come easily.

When Kat launched she had 1,000 people on her list who told her they were eager for a product like the one she was building. So she spent $10k and four months of hard work but when she launched, no one bought. One week and zero sales later she had an idea on how to fix the problem. She implemented it and the sales started coming in. Now she uses this strategy every month and her sales prove it works.

In this interview you'll learn...

  • 5:20  What caused her to stop trading her hours for dollars
  • 13:10  How she began the transition from a hobby blog to something that would bring in revenue
  • 18:43  How she created her first online product and what she learned from its failed launch
  • 19:59  How she made her first real profit through her online business
  • 20:42  What she did differently in this launch to make it a success
  • 24:50  How she came up with the idea for Music Therapy Ed
  • 25:51  Why she moved on from an already successful business
  • 29:52  How she built her marketing list and marketed to them
  • 32:09  How she felt when her launch was a failure and the one strategy that changed EVERYTHING
  • 37:38  How she’s growing the business from $11,500/month


Show Notes

Podcast transcript:

Andy: Welcome everyone to another episode
of Starting from Nothing, the Foundation Podcast. Today, I’m
coming at you from Des Moines, Iowa where we got our five people
from our team which is really, really fun. We’ve got Kat Fulton with
us today. Kat is the founder of A site that
provides online courses to healthcare professionals and music
therapists who are looking for continuing education credits without
the hassle of travelling to a workshop or conference. Kat also runs
her own private practice as music therapist so this is an industry she
knows really, really well. Music Therapy Ed is a little over a year
old and they just celebrated their biggest month ever since launching
last month. Congratulations Kat. [Inaudible 00:00:58] come on the
show and tell us a little bit about what you did. Thanks for coming.
Kat: Thanks for having me. It’s a blast. I was looking
through your other interviews and I’m so honoured that I’m one of
the lady interviews; the lady interviewee.
Andy: I know.
Kat: There are a lot of gentlemen you guys have on that.
Andy: I know. I’m glad you pointed that because we
haven’t had as many as we need to. You might be ... Are you the
first? I think you’re the first so far.
Kat: Awesome!
Andy: Congratulations.
Let’s talk about Music Therapy Ed. This is incredible. You’re very
open which I totally appreciate. Can we talk about like revenue for
last month for you guys?
Kat: Yes. Yes. Last month ... yeah. We hit 11.5K which
sounds like really big.
Andy: Whoa!
Kat: It sounds bigger to me than 11,500. Yeah, we
started ... really, we started from zero a year ago so that’s just such
like that’s ...
Andy: A year ago.
Kat: Yeah. Yeah. We’re excited.
And this whole site was just really an experiment. Because we ran a
private practice, we’ve got that going on but the site just happened
to be an experiment that worked. I’ve been experimenting for a little
while and this experiment really took off. I’m just really pleased ...
Andy: Cool.
Kat: Not to mention the revenues but also we are helping
people. Seven hundred people have come through and taken our
courses and we got the most amazing feedbacks saying “Kat, while
you’re actually helping me stay in the profession.” Our profession
has a little bit of a dropout rate at some points when people are in
their career because most of the people who are music therapists are
women and women tend to like have babies and go ... you know,
and dropout and then come back in later.
Andy: Yup.
Kat: We’ve gotten just the most amazing feedback saying
“you’re really helping with burnouts. I’m not feeling this burnout
anymore.” All the support from the community online is amazing
and so ...
Andy: Oh, wow.
Kat: It’s really fulfilling in addition to revenue stream
so ... Yeah.
Andy: It’s such a great idea. I think it’s a great idea because
it was something you just kind of stumbled upon. Tell us ...
Actually, let’s go back to ... tell me a little bit about how you got
started in the music therapy space and exactly what music therapy
Kat: Sure.
Okay. Music therapy is an evidence-based practice. Really the
profession is an allied healthcare profession. If you think about
physical therapy or even MDs or nurses, basically you go through a
standardize curriculum and get a Bachelors or Masters Degree. Then
you attend a six-month internship and when you complete that
internship, you’re eligible to seat for the Board Certification
Okay? And then you can get your credentials. If you pass the exam
you become MT-BC and it’s a huge deal and you got the
credentials. There’s a national board for credentialing music
Andy: Oh, wow.
Kat: And it’s called Certification Board for Music
Therapist. Basically, when you become MT-BC then you’re eligible
for all source of jobs and employment opportunities and you can
practice music therapy. Just like physical therapist, speech
therapist ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: ... nurses and certain types of counsellors out there
too have to maintain their certifications.
Every five years as a professional music therapist, you have to turn
in your Continuing Ed Units and get re-certified. We are required to
turn in a hundred units every five years. There was a bit of a gap as
far as online in Continuing Education ...
Andy: A hundred unit so a hundred hours? Is that
Kat: It’s basically ... one of our Continuing Ed Units is 50
minutes, five zero minutes of interactive learning.
Andy: Got it.
Kat: So, it’s a little less. It’s less. Basically, if there’s 450
minutes then that’s nine continuing ed credits. Right?
Andy: Got it.
Kat: If you divide it by 50 minutes. Yeah.
Andy: Got it.
Kat: Yeah. So, there was a gap. The thing is that I didn’t
start with continuing education, I start ...
Andy: Yeah, tell us where you started with your own
Kat: Sure. Well, with my own practice, 2005 I started in
San Diego and I grew it from zero to full time here, locally, by
making presentations and doing in-services. I got to a point in 2009
where I would work so many hours. I was trading my hours for
revenue, right? Like a lot of us start out doing that.
Andy: Yup.
Kat: But in 2009, at the end of my days, I would come
home and my whole body was in pain because I was working so
many hours.
Andy: Wow.
Kat: As a sole entrepreneur, going solo, you have to not
only provide the work but also do the marketing and also do
business stuff outside of everything else. So ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: I was coming home ... I was in pain. I remember
coming home and just crashing on my floor and lying on the floor
and almost coming to tears saying “I’ve got to figure something else
out.” I love what I do and this is the reason I’m on Earth.
Absolutely. Hands down. I love what I do. I’m so passionate about
music therapy but I can’t put myself through this pain. I can’t live
on like this.
So, what I did is I Googled music therapy blogs and just kind of
exploring kind of figuring out what’s going on and I found a couple
of blogs that were written by some of my colleagues and I’m like,
“Oh, I can try that out.”
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: What if I try that out? Try out blogging and see if it’s
kind of my ally or not and ...
Andy: What year is this?
Kat: This is 2009.
Andy: 2009.
Kat: At the end of 2009. Yeah.
Andy: Got it.
Kat: So, I decided for the New Year in 2010 I would try
writing a blog and see how it goes and if it’s something I want to
continue or if it’s something that just makes me feel even worse and
Andy: Did you have a plan with the blog? Of how to make
money from it or what were you hoping to get out of blogging?
Kat: Great question. I did not care about making money. I
cared about having fun. I wanted to have so much fun because what
happened in 2008. When I moved to San Diego I was playing beach
volleyball three times a week. I was playing dodgeball, I was
playing kickball, I was like playing all these sports. 2008 I decided
if I want to increase my quality of living, I’m going to really focus
on my business. I dropped a lot of the sports but I still played a few,
you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: I needed more fun in my life and I wanted the fun to
be somehow connected to my field and my profession, my trade.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: So that I could maybe eventually to turn it into
revenues. But that was at the back of my mind. I just want to have
Andy: Cool. That’s an interesting choice for having fun.
Kat: Yeah.
Also ... At first I was like “Oh well, I really should make it businessy”
and so I started writing. I really should have fun and make it
business-y and start writing to my clients. I realized after three
months my clients ... I would send them my blog post, eventually I
would ask them I say, “Hey, are you reading this? Is this helpful to
you?” and they would say ‘no.’ “No, we don’t care.” That was after
three months of figuring out how to blog and studying it. I mean,
everything I get into I go 150%, you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: So, this is like “I can’t believe they’re not reading it.”
But, you know, there were people reading my blog though and it
was not my clients. It was other music therapist and it was other
healthcare professionals and counsellors and things. I knew that I
was helping because a couple of my posts had been shared quite a
bit and stand in ... I think it was May of that year or maybe the
fourth or fifth month of blogging. I produced this very silly crazy
video because my whole idea is I want to have fun, that’s number
one is that I want to have fun.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: And so, I’ve ...
Andy: I love that.
Kat: ... created this video that I loved creating with my
shoes dancing and kind of like of a stop-photography-motionpicture
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: My shoes had all these little musical instruments in
them called Boomwhackers. If you don’t know what Boomwhackers
are, they’re colourful tubes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and
purple tubes. And with each colour, they produce a different tone.
Andy: Cool.
Kat: The video look like shoes dancing with
Boomwhackers in them. Like the Boomwhackers were personified,
were coming alive. And then the music was my arrangement of a
Black Eyed Peas song using Boomwhackers. Okay, played over the
Boomwhackers instead. So, it was so fun.
Andy: Cool.
Kat: And along with the video came an arrangement that
people could pick up for free and so is this pop song that you can
play with your groups using Boomwhackers and it was a blast. It
was a blast for me to create. That went viral. It got like 20,000
views. Little old me like just look on me. This crazy, silly video got
20,000 views. Now, it continues to be shared and is like my most
popular video on YouTube. That’s what made me decide, okay, this
is my next step. This is my direction. Now, I know.
Andy: Okay. Let’s go back to this. One, if you can make
sure Chris has a link to that, we’ll post in the show notes so people
can check it out.
Kat: Okay.
Andy: But two, you mentioned that you gave yourself four
months of blogging. Four months to make it work or not. What were
the metrics to decide if you’re making it or not?
Kat: Yeah. That’s really ... there wasn’t really a science.
Well, number one, I wanted to make sure that I was having fun and
make sure that I wasn’t getting anymore burnt-out because I don’t
think I could have gone anymore burnt-out at that point because my
whole body was in pain when I was at the end of 2009. This helps
me also ... It’s crazy. I don’t know how but I actually was able to
free up my time and do more exercise and feel better about myself.
The metrics were really ... really just social engagements. I was
really on top of the comments that people would leave on my blog
post and I would reply back. And whenever ... and, I did not just put
my PDF up there for people to download. I said, if you want the
PDF, please email me. Because I wanted to get to know people.
As soon as anybody emailed me I said, “Awesome. How are you
going to use it? Are you a teacher? Are you a therapist? What group
are you working with? Are you working with older adults or
adolescence? Tell me more about who you are and what you need
and how else I can help you.”
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: I really wanted to get ... I wanted to build
relationships with people.
The metrics were really ... I guess like 200 people ask for the score
within two days then those were enough metrics for me. Those are
enough metric. And then I couldn’t keep up with my emails, right? I
couldn’t keep up with my emails anymore.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: I didn’t have something scientific planned ahead of
time but I just really want to ... I followed my gut and I want to have
Andy: Totally. Totally. So, this is actually ... It’s fun but it’s
probably creating more work for you on top of everything else.
Kat: Yeah. Yes, it was. It was. But it was thrilling and
invigorating because I knew that I was helping people ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: And then, check this out. It was 17 minutes after I
published that YouTube video, 17 minutes after that someone in
Scotland emailed me and said “Kat, you would never believe but
that same exact song is the theme song for a Girl Scout Camp I’m
doing this summer and it’s the theme song and I’m bringing
hundreds of Boomwhackers.” Like, 400 girl scouts”
Andy: That’s awesome.
Kat: And he said, “You’re the answer to my prayers. I
can’t believe that you’re giving the arrangement away for free.
Thank you so much.” So that ... Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Andy: Super cool. Super cool.
Kat: So it was invigorating, it made me feel really good. It
made me feel like getting out there and exercising again and eating
well again.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: It was feeding my soul.
Andy: So that’s 2010, right?
Kat: That’s 2010.
Andy: Still 2010, so halfway through it. Is when this video
kind of caught on?
Kat: Yeah. About April or May.
Andy: April or May.
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: Great. So, it’s going well. No plan to make money
from it. You’re just doing it because it feels good and it feels right.
Kat: At that point then I released a Lady Gaga
arrangement on Boomwhackers and then some other and it got more
popular and more popular. Then I was like, “You know what? I
have to turn this into something that feeds me financially.
Otherwise, I’m not going to do it anymore.” I actually self-produced
a DVD specific to drumming with older adults. Because that’s really
like ... that’s my love and my passion. The reason I’m on Earth ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: ... is to drum with people. Really. Like bring drums
into people’s lives because ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Music is so part of our biology.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: We walk to rhythm, we breathe to rhythm, we dance
to rhythm. We have a heartbeat that such to rhythm. I really believe
we’re biologically programmed to make music, right? So, the
whole ...
Andy: Oh, that’s ... Wait. Let’s stop there for a second. Can
we talk about that?
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: This is totally off interview topic but music is ... I
love music and I love just like going to ... like good electronic music
and just dancing our faces off. You think you believe that’s part ...
like, we’re hard-wired to do that?
Kat: I absolutely believe we’re hard-wired to make music,
to drum, to sing ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: ... the voice is something ... is an instrument we carry
with us wherever we go. Even if you don’t think you carry a tune
you can make beats with your voice like beatboxing. I mean there ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: When people say “Oh, I don’t have any rhythm. I
can’t dance. I don’t have any rhythm.” It just kind of like ... I totally
like ... I’m a therapist so I validate that. I say, “Okay, I hear you. I
understand.” But on the inside I’m like ... “You are wrong!” On the
inside I’m like ... we are born with rhythm. You can’t escape it.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: The sun comes up, the sun goes down, the seasons
happen, everything. Rhythm is surrounding us, rhythm is inside of
us. And so I really believe ... and that’s really the [crucks 00:15:07]
of music therapy is using music in order to create a really safe
container, like a safe space for people to express themselves and to
be themselves and to be yourself fully, you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: So that’s why in our practice, we go to hospitals and
we use song writing, relaxation techniques, active music making
improvisation in order for ... They say that when you feel good on
the inside then your outside heals faster.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: And it’s so true. There’s research that backs this up
as well. I can provide you guys with research. It’s well-documented
especially in the last 20 to 60 years. There’ve been 60 years of
randomize-controlled studies on music and its effects on our health.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: Got it. Okay, cool. Sorry for the tangent but that’s
really fascinating stuff.
Halfway through 2010 and you do this DVD.
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: You produced the DVD because it’s something that
you just feel is your passion and what you really want to share with
the world. How do you produce it?
Kat: I produced it with my flip cam and ...
Andy: Nice.
Kat: Way back in the day when flip cams weren’t
obsolete. And then I also went to my sessions and I got inform
consent signed by a lot of my clients and I recorded a lot of my
older adults drumming with me and drumming together.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Showed tons of different techniques and I had
separate chapters. It’s called ‘Get Dramafied’ and it’s all about how
drumming is dancing with your hands.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Even if you’re wheelchair-bound you can still drum,
you can still ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Drumming is really accessible to anybody and
everybody in the world.
Andy: So you produced the DVD and then ... how did you
promote it? What did you do to get sales?
Kat: Through my blog mostly. I promoted it through my
blog and ... You know, it was so interesting. What a great learning
experience going through this all. I promoted it through my blog. I
also had a lot of blogger friends in the industry. I said “Hey guys,
here’s my launch date. I’d so appreciate it if you could do a little
shout for me and put it out there.”
Such a great learning experience because November 16, 2010 was
the launching. I’ll never forget that date. And guess what, so I put it
out there and I got, like, maybe five sales on the first day and I’m
like ...
Andy: Yes!
Kat: Okay. That’s cool. But just four months ago, I had
like a hundred different people commenting on my blog, why aren’t
you guys buying my DVD?
Andy: Yes.
Kat: Then I realized, you know what? I really need more
education in this area of marketing and sales and business. That’s
when I went out and got a lot more education and I took tons of
online courses. I took every online course I could possibly sign up
for. Like I said, when I go into something, I go in a 150%. I just like
dedicated my life to studying marketing and sales and online
interactions and things like that.
Andy: So, you do this. Did you consider that DVD a win or
a loss or like ... how do you look at that?
Kat: Definitely a win. Definitely win because I sold out all
the DVDs for sure. I ordered about a hundred I think at the time. I
ordered a hundred and I sold out. And I realized, when ... as I evolve
over time, my branding changed and my mission changed and all
the stuff and I realized that the DVD doesn’t fit in with what I’m
doing. And it will eventually. I’ll bring back some elements of the
DVD but so I graduated the DVD. Absolutely, absolutely a success.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: It’s just the kind of thing when you’re new to sales.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: That day is the biggest day of your life. And then you
launch and then you get ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: ... five sales and you’re like “Oh, my God. What
[inaudible 00:18:59] going to do?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Yeah. Crazy.
And to know that it’s really a long-term investment, it’s like ... I
teach my music therapist now, you want the three Ls. You want
long-term, loving, loyal people coming back so like ... just think of
it in the long-term. It’s okay. Yeah, so anyway ... That’s what
happened and that’s when I got a lot more education and then I
study, study, study, studied and ...
Andy: What was the next project you did?
Kat: The next thing I did was ... The next product was
called Online Zen and it was teaching music therapist ... mostly
music therapist, some drum circle facilitators and others, how to
build a website for your private practice. I realized that no one was
teaching us how to do it and we’re kind of creative and [cookie
00:19:48] people that ... we’re always thinking outside. So maybe I
could create a training that was custom-made for music therapist the
way we think, based upon our training and do that. So, it’s Online
Zen, yeah. And that one, actually, that one ... I hit it out of the park
with that one.
Andy: Really? How so?
Kat: I was so, so happy.
Andy: Tell me ... Yeah, tell me about it.
Kat: I put in about a thousand dollars to get like all the
plugins that you need, the wish list member; all the little things into
the website and also just to get some really pretty graphics so I hired
a designer. By putting about a thousand dollars and with our first
course, the revenue is coming in more $7,000. So, it was one to
seven so I thought that was pretty cool. And then I did the course
again, just four months later, and it was the same return. At that time
I didn’t have to invest that much. Not much cash into since it was
already setup.
Andy: What shifted? What did you do differently from a
marketing standpoint? For people ... if they were in the position
where they may have launched their first product and it failed. Well,
not failed but just wasn’t what they expected.
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: What did you do different?
Kat: Here’s what I did and I think ... I’m so, so thankful
that in all my education something dawned on me to do this. I
invited every single music therapist who was already running a
WordPress website for free. On the inside of the course, there was a
boogie video. It was like, “Oh, you’re [inaudible 00:21:21] up.
Woo-hoo!” Is me celebrating. And so when the music therapist
came in who already had WordPress websites, they came in for the
first time and they saw the party video. People got excited and was
like “Oh my gosh! This course is the cool ... This is so fun.” They
spread the word for me and that became my core tribe who have
now become my instructors on, who have now
just [inaudible 00:21:51]. We all just are so on the same wave length
with each other. We know the importance of having fun because as
a therapist, you see a lot of people in pain, anxieties, struggling day
to day to day to day.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: But sometimes you got to let loose and have fun and
shake it off. Shake it off. We all have the same idea, I think. A lot of
us share this vision of how life as a music therapist would be just
perfect. Like having fun, interacting with our colleagues. Because a
lot of music therapists are isolated out there interacting and having
lots of engagement and lots of high fives, lots of virtual high fives
going on.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Lots of encouragements and lots of like ... When I
see someone in the press, I find them on Facebook and I send them a
message. They may or may not get it but a lot of times they do and
say “Oh my gosh. That was so awesome. Congratulations.” You
know? That’s how I built the tribe because I let people in for free
who are already ... who probably didn’t need the education but ... A
lot of people who also had WordPress website said “Kat, I learned a
trick or two from you. I had no idea that you could do X, Y and Z.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: You know? This is something I wish I had when I
first started my website. I let a bunch of people in for free and they
became awesome. Awesome, my tribe.
Andy: At the beginning we talked about the business that
you have now is a year old. Let’s talk about the evolution of
doing ... selling websites and selling your ... not websites but to
tutorials on how to build websites and the DVDs to Music Therapy
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: Let’s talk about where the idea came from for Music
Therapy Ed.
Kat: Okay. Great question.
Looking back at it, even though I didn’t know it at the time; Online
Zen, the DVD. I did. I also did a course on toning which is using
your voice for relaxation. All these little projects I did were just
feasibility studies that lead up (crosstalk).
Andy: Stepping stones.
Kat: Yeah. I didn’t even know it at that time but ... What I
knew is that music therapists love getting continuing ed, loved
knowing that their education also went towards their continuing ed
that they’re required to turn in every five years. So I knew that that
was a must.
I also knew that I didn’t have all the answers and at some point I
would reach a limit where, okay, guys. I’m happy to share you more
of my brilliance but I’m not sure really it’s really going to help you
because ... I mean. Maybe I want to get brilliant at cooking instead.
Maybe I don’t ... It’s not building websites that really makes me
tick, you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: It’s more like helping other people. Right.
I knew that I didn’t have all the answers and I especially didn’t have
all the answers in my field and there was ... there were only a few
little opportunities for music therapies to get continuing ed online. I
don’t know when it was or how it was but it just dawned on me. I’m
like, ding. I’ve got to start a website with multiple instructors with
the variety of topics that’s completely comprehensive of our whole
And I also want to speak directly to music therapists. This whole
time, I’ve been marketing music therapists, drum circle facilitators,
counsellors, yada, yada, yada. I want to honour music therapists
Andy: Was there a moment when this idea clicked for you?
Where there’s the ‘aha’. Like, “Oh, this is what I need to do.”
Kat: It was after the second launch of Online Zen where I
started feeling like, okay, I could update all videos to keep up with
updated WordPress. Is this why I’m on Earth? I always comes back
to that question for me.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Is this why I’m on Earth? Why am I on Earth? Why
am I on Earth? I feel in my gut. I feel when something is the right
direction, the right path. I just ask myself tons of questions. Is this
what I want to be doing long-term? Is this what I want to be doing
for ... is this what I want to be doing in the next year even. When the
answer became ... not real, anything less than yes, yes, yes. If it’s
ever anything lessen than, “Yes! Oh my goodness! This is the most
amazing thing.” If it’s anything less than that then I know that I’ve
got to ask more questions and explore. It’s kind of like starting from
zero all over again.
Andy: Yeah. My friend Amber Rae has this framework
where she’s like ... she’s like it’s either a ‘hell yes’ or it’s a ‘no.’
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: One or the other. It’s binary. One or the other.
Kat: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s like a 150% or no, we’re
nixing it. Like, forget it. You know?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Yeah. That’s why I have no problem saying my DVD
is off the market guys. Sorry. It’s like, “No, that was a couple years
ago. It will come back.” Actually, the concepts comeback but blah,
blah, blah. You know?
So, yeah. Yeah, I think there was a moment when I was looking at
all the domains that I had purchased. I don’t know if you guys are
domain purchasers.
Andy: Oh, yeah. I think it’s like a rite of passage when
you’re playing the internet space. You go through a phase where
like, “I got an idea for this and I got an idea for that. Let’s go get the
domain.” Yeah.
Kat: I’m like, “Wait. That’s a good
one.” And I had actually been working with a friend of mine named
Nat Mullis on this idea of helping music therapy business owners.
Like, “Yeah, let’s call it” I emailed her and I
said “Hey, I remember when we’re talking about that. How would
you feel if I took this and turn it into this?” She was torn. I had her
blessing and everything.
Andy: Oh, yeah.
Kat: So then it was like February 2012 and I was a
keynote speaker for the online conference for music therapy. I just
had a landing page and it was like ‘enter your name and email for
updates. We’re going to launch July 17.’ I knew I needed that much
time just to collect instructors, video files and curate the course.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: So, that’s when I announced it in February 2012 and
I said, “Okay. Everybody go to this site and enter your name and
email and watch out July 17. There’s going to be something big and
Andy: Why July 17? Just picked a date?
Kat: It was a Tuesday. I like Tuesdays. We got the shutout
Tuesday. Tuesday is great because it’s like after the weekend but
people aren’t exhausted from the work week yet.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: It was in the middle of the summer and I also had
kind of something lined up. I had already recorded maybe one
course already and I ... So I kind of timed it out. I’m like, well, if I
record ... if I get together with instructors and we record one course
a month, then we could open with like five courses then ... Yeah.
Andy: Nice. So, you’re speaking to this event. How many
people are at the event?
Kat: At the online conference for Music Therapy?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: At the time I think there were about 65 or something
like that. So, it’s a very small conference. But at the same time I
had ... I’ve been building up my presentations and things elsewhere
at or National Conference which has 1200 people.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: I think the previous year I had presented ... let me tell
you. Like, the first time I had ever presented solo was 2010 and it
was after I’ve been blogging and so people knew me but I didn’t
know them and it was the weirdest thing. And I present ... it’s
standing room only. It was so weird because I’m like ... I was so
nervous because I never presented before.
So then, fast forward the next year, I think I gave a presentation on
advocating. Advocating is a huge thing in our field because we work
with people who are in special circumstances. So we’re always
advocating for our client. So, I talked about web advocacy, like
advocating on the web. Positioning yourself as the leader in our field
so that we can consult with other professionals and speak from the
music therapy standpoint kind of thing.
Andy: Cool.
Kat: I presented. My presentations were fairly
successfully and happily attended. Giving high fives to everybody
who I had been giving virtual high fives to on the internet previous
too. I had it built it up like that; presenting at other conferences.
Andy: How many people opted in before July 17th?
Kat: I would say probably ... I think before [I said a
thousand 00:30:31]. I think it was more like 700.
Andy: Okay.
Kat: Because then after July 17th we had a big boom
when the site was out and about. And then by February, we had
about 1300 people on the list.
Andy: Okay. Seven hundred at the time and did they just
come from conferences or did they come from your blog as well? Or
where ...
Kat: Yeah, the blog one. I have a different list for my
blog, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: When you’re multi, multi passionate and stuff. So I
have a thousand people on the rhythm for good on my blog list and
then ... So, yes. I would invite them over. I would say “Hey guys,
this is my new project and I hope you can join us on the list over
here because this is where all the action’s going to be happening
from stand ...” you know. “This is where all my creativity is going
to be flowing for the next few months. I hope you can join us.” Yes.
Also, I released videos, little sneak peek videos leading up to the
site launch. The sneak peek videos were basically me going into my
designer’s mark up thing.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: “This is where we you’re going to be able to click on.
Da, da, da, da. This is ... you can see our instructors here and ... So
up until social media and things, I would just be kind of like giving
people sneak previews and saying “Don’t forget to sign up for the
list so that you’re the first one to know.”
Andy: Yup.
Kat: Etc., etc. Yeah.
Andy: What happened when you launched?
Kat: We got fewer sales on my DVD when I was like
when ... Oh my gosh, we got zero sales. Zero. Zero.
Andy: On July 17. Like the ...
Kat: Zero.
Andy: Really?
Kat: Zero sign up. Zero.
Andy: After promoting this for like four or five months. Oh
Kat: Yeah.
Andy: What were you feeling? What were you thinking?
Kat: Oh my gosh. I mean ... I was crying. I was shaking. I
remember. So, I was still ... now, I’m only working about three
sessions a week but at the time I was doing 20 sessions a week. I
remembered driving to my clients, drumming, bringing my drums
and everything and just pulling the drums out and just shaking the
whole time thinking “Oh my gosh. What did I do wrong?” I invested
about ten grand in this, you know.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Ten grand that I invested from my own pocket. So, I
got zero sales on Day 1, zero sales on Day 2, zero sales and signups
on Day 3, Day 4. At this point I’m thinking, you know what? I
really should ...
Andy: Oh crap.
Kat: I should throw the towel. I made a mistake. I should
not have done this.
And I started second guessing myself and then Day 5, I got on the
phone and I ... ugh. It was horrible, horrible. Seriously. I was calling
up some of the instructors I’m like, “Do you know why nobody is
signing up? Do you know why nobody is signing up?” And they
would be like, “I don’t know, Kat. This is your ...” I did my job ...
Andy: Yeah, I created the content.
Kat: Right. I called this one instructor and I said “Jamie,
we have to start a revolution. There’s no way ...” People are not
going to sign up unless they’re inspired, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: But what if they don’t sign up even if they’re
inspired? I don’t know. I don’t know. But let’s just give it a try.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: So, we decided to start something called the
Reimbursement Revolution. This is all about ... Now, you know,
when you go to a doctor’s office and they take your insurance
information and they bill your insurance and you maybe co-pay.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Well, music therapists are also able to get private
insurance reimbursement for our services that we can write. But
hardly anybody is doing it, right?
Jamie is our reimbursement expert and she created this content for
this course. I said “Okay Jamie, let’s start this Reimbursement
Revolution and basically what we’re going to do is we’re going to
add two bonus calls, just add some value to the course and then
we’re going to give everybody a deadline.” The reason they have to
sign up by Friday is so that they can get in on the phone calls
because otherwise after that they won’t get in on the phone calls.
Andy: Yup.
Kat: I said, “I don’t know if this is going to work.” She’s
like, “Is it going to work? “I don’t know. Let’s try it.” “Okay.”
I went in there and I wrote the copy and I’m just like, okay. How
can I really, really inspire people? We added value, we limited time
and then people came and what seems like [droves 00:35:10]. After
seven days of nothing, nothing, nothing, it felt like people came in
and drove. Like we got ... I remember ... I think we got the first day
maybe 15 sign ups.
Andy: Nice.
Kat: It’s like ... okay, okay, okay.
Andy: Yes.
Kat: This might be worth it. This might be worth it to not
just close the site down. Okay.
Then I remember that was on Tuesday and then by Friday I was out
with my friends on a concert but I had my cell phone with me in my
back pocket. Every time I felt the buzz I knew it was another sign
Andy: Getting a sale.
Kat: I was like, “Oh, thank you.” You know what? I just
pointed to my girlfriends and be like “Oh yes! [Inaudible 00:35:50].
Yehey!” Because everybody knew what a big deal this was to me,
you know?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: All the money I invested and all the time and oh my
gosh, the heart and soul that I put in to this website was just like ...
Andy: Yeah. I remember my friend at one point when we’re
doing stuff like five years ago, he made something ring on his phone
so that every time he got a sale it would make a little ca-ching sound
like cash register. Awesome. Yeah. How many people did you sign
up during the week?
Kat: We got 30. Since then we’ve had well over a hundred
people just for that one course.
Andy: Wow.
Kat: Yeah. Yeah. Just for the one course and we have
about 17 courses on the site now. I mean, totally crazy, crazy
transformation since then. My feelings. I’m just what it feels like
inside where you’re like “Oh, what have I done all this time” to
complete opposite like “Okay. Okay. We’ve got ...”
Andy: [Inaudible 00:36:51].
Kat: Yeah. Yeah. We’ve got to promote every course and
we’ve got to... Really, it’s just a matter. I mean, I really believe it’s
just a matter of inspiring people to move out of procrastination and
to taking that action that is going to help them elevate their practice.
I feel like I am like an ambassador for an entire field because we’re
getting this amazing success stories talking about how people are
getting insurance reimbursement for their services and this and that.
Really, it’s a matter of elevating our entire fields by every person
who signs up for a course, makes our field that much stronger.
Andy: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Totally.
So, this goes, you do the ... you cut the deadline, right? Like Friday
they have to sign up by. What did you do for marketing to keep
people coming in? Are you like ... how are you getting people now?
Kat: Yeah. Currently we release courses ... we have a very
aggressive course release calendar right now because I have a goal
of having a hundred Continuing Ed Units on the site. Which should
be an entirely re-certification. I want our unique selling proposition
to be ... you can come here and get your whole reservation time,
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: We’ve got an aggressive course release calendar right
now and every single course we put out there, we add value. We
add ...
Andy: How did they get certified as continuing education?
Kat: Oh, I am an improve supervisor through our
regulating agency. That, also, that was in with the $10,000
investment where I had to pay application fees and I had to get
approved and I had to send them materials to let them know that.
Because this is ... because my site was one of ... not the first but one
of the first online continuing education opportunities in our field and
so they needed to dig in and real ... Are you sure people are going to
be learning from this?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Yeah. I used to have our regulating agency on speed
dial when I first ... Oh, because I ... that’s absolutely a deal breaker
with me. We’ve got to have ... we’ve got to be able to provide the
continuing ed. That’s why our regulating agency is called the
Certification Board of Music Therapist and they have approved
providers. We’re an approved provider ...
Andy: Wow.
Kat: That provide continuing ed. Yeah.
Andy: Super cool.
Kat: Yeah. Yeah. So with each course too we have to pay
a fee. It’s kind of sensitive but it’s so worth it because we get so ...
Everybody who signs up who’s a music therapist wants those
Andy: Yup.
Kat: It’s just so convenient because then people don’t
have to travel. People who become stay at home moms, they can
keep up their certification until they get back into the field practicing
Andy: Yeah. Tell us about your biggest month last month.
[Bring us till 00:39:42] today.
Kat: Okay. Cool. We’ve had this really aggressive course
release calendar and we’ve got maybe ... at the time of this
recording, maybe 16 or 17 courses on the site. I can’t remember. But
basically in May of this year, this has always been in the vision but I
wanted to create a course that was just free and you can could free
CMTs through this course. I created a course called Tech Basics.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: It’s just basic computer maintenance. As music
therapists, we have a ton of music on our computers so ... Hey,
when your computer is running slow, it may be because the hard
drive ... [inaudible 00:40:28] to check your hard drive space ...
Really basic stuff. And also MIDI is like ... it’s like an interface,
digital music interface connection.
Anyway, we did all this tech basic stuff for music therapists. And
that brought in about 400 course participants. Well, maybe 400 extra
or so, in May. And then we had a course released in June but then
we had this really strong course release in July done by a gal named
Kristine Stevens. She’s pretty well-known in our field and also
outside of our field. Her course is like information that every music
therapist needs to know. It’s called drum circle facilitation 101.
Andy: Nice.
Kat: Yeah. It’s not just for music. It’s for any therapist or
counsellor or camp counsellor or you know ...
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: All sorts of people can sign up. It’s really a basic
course and it’s taught by this gal who is just phenomenal. I mean
like incredible public speaker ...
Andy: Are the courses live or is it just like slides and
material and then they have like Q&A? How does that work?
Kat: They are asynchronous which is ... they’re self-study;
they’re pre-recorded videos. However, when we release them, we
add value and the added value is usually a life elements to the
course. Basically, people can sign up for a course, get two months
access and when we promote a course then they’re in on a
conference call or they’re in on a webinar or they’re in on getting
their materials reviewed by the instructor ... stuff like that. Yeah.
Andy: Cool. Beautiful. You know what I love about your
story is that you just kept doing things. Like you just kept taking
action and like every step just kind of lead to the next one.
Kat: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that the most
important thing for us to pick upon is just information, right?
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Information that ... and once we have a certain
piece ... Before that comes the question. We have to ask the
question. Once we ask the question, we get the information then we
can figure out what path we’re going to go down absolutely. I’ve
said no and I’ve had lots of failures, tons of failures before.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: Especially when I was feeling burnt-out. I mean, I
just wanted to quit my ... quit music therapy, quit ... quit it all and I
really felt like a failure too. But yeah, I agree with you. Just a matter
of getting the information ...
Andy: Plugin away.
Kat: ... and asking the right questions.
Andy: Yeah.
Kat: And always fun.
Andy: Yes. Absolutely. I think that goes overlooked
especially in our space when people are working so much. I think
they’ve ... I know I’ve lost sight of that in the past.
Kat: [I have to go 00:43:16].
Andy: Where can people find out about you? Anything who
want to get in touch with you. Where do they do that?
Kat: is the site that we’re talking
about. You can read more about me and connect with me there on
the About Page. Yeah. Head on over there and that’s pretty much it.
Andy: That’s awesome. I will put all of that in the show
notes and some other stuff that you referenced during the interview.
Thank you for coming on today Kat.
Kat: Thank you so much for having me. You guys rock.
Speaker 1: Thank you for joining us. We’ve taken this interview
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