I launched a website very recently for women starting over in mid-life. My tagline is, “Be Your Own Rescuer”. I want to create a community of support and information for women starting over at a point in their lives when they thought they would be settled. I will offer entrepreneurial opportunities, feature other women who’ve been through it, a blog, private Facebook community, etc..

When I was in that situation, I was in despair. After my divorce I thought all the good in life was behind me. But I started cleaning houses and then I realized I could grow the business by hiring people. So I quadrupled my sales and I have ten employees. Now I want to do more. I want to show women to know they don’t have to settle for the crumbs of the life they lost.

A few things I’m working on:

I am creating a course on how to start a cleaning business, with support from me through the process.

I am also creating an 8 week group coaching course for these same women. At the end of the 8 weeks, I want them to have a plan and know what next steps they will take toward creating the life they want….

My first step is putting a bunch of irons in the fire to build a mailing list, direct them to my site, by offering freebies online through Facebook ads and instagram. Possible example: Offer the overview module to the courses for free, save the meat for the paying. Create freebies my target would be interested in: controlling negative thoughts, overcoming fear and worry, 7 days of radical self-care, the number one thing I did that changed everything, how I went from homeless single mom to successful business owner with healthy, happy, grown sons, “Be Your Own Rescuer” – how I rebuilt my life in midlife, etc….

I could also join online groups catering to my target market, get face-to-face with divorce recovery groups, addiction recovery (addiction and single mom can go hand in hand at times…), single moms groups. Write blog posts relevant to my target, share them online..

My question for you is: Do you sense that I am on track with all of this? Is there anything that jumps out at you that I’m veering off-track with?

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10 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Ok so here is your plan: Facebook, Instagram, Online groups, face to face, and guest posts.

    1. Facebook ads
    These cost money. You’d need to invest a lot of money before you earn any money. In this case you’d need to have cash on hand to start the business.

    2. Instagram
    You need to first build an Instagram following and then convert that following to emails. At best you will get one email address for every ten Instagram followers.

    3. Online groups
    You will have to get to know the group before you can solicit. A rough estimate is that each email you collect will require 30 mins of work. (So, for example, you participate for 10 hours total – writing comments, reading, etc) And in the best case you’ll collect 20 email addresses from that.

    4. Face-to-Face
    You can collect emails addresses from probably everyone in the room. But it takes about 2 hours of work to book yourself (accounting for lots of no’s for every yes) and 2 hours to prepare your speech and 3 hours to travel and give the speech. Let’s say there are 30 people. It took you seven hours to get 30 emails.

    5. Guest posts on other peoples’ sites.
    Big bloggers charge for this and it is definitely not cost effective for you. So you will have to go to small blogs. Or you will go to huge sites but few people will see the post. Figure 100 people see the post, 10 click to your site (in the best case) and 2 give you an email address (that would be a high conversion rate). In this case you add 2 hours to pitch a bunch of sites to get one yes. And 2 hours to write the post. That’s four hours for 2 emails.

    It’s very difficult to convert social media followers to sales. To give you a sense of that, I have 135,000 twitter followers. If I offer something free on twitter, in the best case, 10% of people will click, and 10% of that 10% will give me their email once they get to the free offer page. Those statistics are high for online marketing – the industry average is lower.

    Additionally, once you have someone’s email address you need to spend time building a relationship with them with free content. In the end, you might be able to sell to 10% of that audience, which would, again, be high for the industry.

    I am writing all this to show how much work it is to build an email list. And, most importantly, its all about being able to write amazing content. The people who make a lot of money online from email lists are great writers first and foremost.

    Here is a course that I did to help people learn to write content that builds businesses:


    But that is a course that will only help you once you have a really clear business model. In an online business your business model is how will you build your email list. You need to have very clear plans and metrics in place before you start in order to know what will work.

    Here’s a course I created to help you think through the model:


    As I write this advice, I think I should sell a package where you get a coaching session where we start with your personality type to figure out the way to leverage your natural strengths to build an email list. And then I start feeding you (an unlimited number of) courses that you need to get the job done. And we talk as you go so the courses add up to a great marketing strategy that allows you to build a list doing work you love.

    I should sell that. That should be my tagline: build an email list doing work you love.

    Actually. I’m gonna do that. I’ll try it right here. For $1200 you can get the following:

    * A coaching session where we determine the best business model for you, and we create a marketing plan to build your email list.

    * Unlimited courses so you learn the skills you need to execute your plan.

    * Unlimited email coaching for three months to guide you through the launch phase and get some traction with your business plan.

    * Unlimited editing for six months – of blog posts, emails, and pitches so you can get high conversion rates from the very start of your business.

    * A bonus coaching session to use when you feel stuck. You will learn tons about launching and running an email-list based business. And you will learn everything very fast – a typical entrepreneur would take years to learn all these tactics. You can use this bonus coaching session to clarify when you are unsure about next steps, or you want to find a mentor, or for any type of advice or support you might need.

    If you want to sign up for this offer, send me an email. Also this is an experiment, and it might take way more time than I’m thinking, so just warning that I’m only going to do this with three people to start.


    • carmen
      carmen says:

      This would be an empowering offer for women especially who are currently being trashed behind their backs by former predatory employers. Women who have defended themselves and stood up for themselves, and as a result got fired and are targets for defamation and slander.

      I would’ve taken advantage of something like this myself for exactly those reasons.

      I have a former friend and colleague, Jennifer, who is trapped doing sales for a lecherous sales executive. I’m sure she’d love an alternative to being exploited and her life always being in danger when she goes on sales calls.

      I’m considering recommending this for those reasons, but if you’re against it, let me know.

      A lot of women are looking to get out of dangerous freelancing and sales situations.

  2. J.E.
    J.E. says:

    You might check out the Being Boss podcast with Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson. They podcast is geared to creative entrepreneurs and they cover a variety of topics and have guests who work in various ways as entrepreneurs themselves or supporting entrepreneurs. https://beingboss.club/

  3. donna
    donna says:

    Wow! You must be really hard up for money. Every time i click on your posts of late, you’re selling your “services”

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      Donna, it’s hard to imagine why you would feel it necessary to take the time to make a comment like that. YOU came to Penelope’s site, she didn’t drag you here. Also Penelope is always very honest about her relationship to money, her business ideas and projects, and what her services are – not “services” as you so rudely put it, but actual, valuable, desirable services. Everyone’s gotta make a living, Donna! We should all be so lucky to have the skills Penelope has to offer.

  4. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    It would be great if that were true. I mean, I *should* be selling something on every page because I’m in the content business.


  5. Caro
    Caro says:

    You can also get free traffic through google. Spend some time on a keyword tool like semrush to figure what people are looking for and write some 1000 word blog posts about that. It takes time but SEO is a powerful tool.

  6. Cindy
    Cindy says:


    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my inquiry, it got me thinking…..
    1) Facebook ads. I do have money to spend on those, so I’m going to give them a shot.
    2) This one will take more time, so I’m not expecting immediate results.
    3) Online groups. Bingo. It reminded me of an online group I’ve been involved with for 13 years, am well-known in the group, have a good reputation with the women, and it’s made up of quite a lot of who my target market would be. So, I can introduce my offering to those ladies…
    4) Face-to-face: I do think I want to do this, at least initially, to reach the women who could use this opportunity and get some immediate feedback. I started this business after I lost everything, was homeless and broke. Still, I managed to scrape the money necessary to start it. I’m going to make some calls today and see what I come up with.
    5) Guest blogs. It’s worth a try.

    One thing I thought of is this…Six years ago the Denver Business Journal did a story on me and my business, about how I built a cleaning company after difficult times. I’m still in touch with the writer of that article, so I could pitch a follow-up article, how the business has grown to a point where I am teaching other women how to start their own as a way to become entrepreneurs and still have the flexibility to take care of their lives – especially good for single moms…which I was for 12 years.

    I was happy to find, after reading your response, that I looked at it as a challenge and was not swayed away from my plan. In the past, I may have been crestfallen. It was nice to realize I am confident in my plan, even though you pointed out the pitfalls. I know I’m onto something here, so I’m going for it.

    Thank you, Penelope, it was really good food for thought. I’ll follow up in a few months…..

  7. Amity
    Amity says:

    I think you should join the Teachable Tribe on Facebook. All of your questions answered there, again and again. I am there too. I am building content and relationships in my niche to sell online courses in my niche.

    It takes time to build content and relationships.

    PS Penelope I really like you! Your offer is fantastic, but I do think she can get a handle on this by joining this large group focusing on many of the questions she is asking.

    • Cindy
      Cindy says:

      Actually, I posed this question to Penelope because I was interested in what Penelope would say. I’m not unsure of myself in this endeavor. I’m committed to my path/plan and know it will work out fine. It was Penelope’s perspective I was after…..

      Having said that…..I’m hoping Jessica comes back here and sees this:

      What you and your husband did for me is priceless. I sent two emails of thanks, and have not received a reply, so am not sure you saw them.

      Please know, what your husband created brought me to tears. I came across the email P sent me on Christmas Eve. What a beautiful present. Thank you. Thank you for taking action and passing it to him. Thank him for taking the time to do what he did. Thank you P for being the go-between.

      I’m astounded. It’s going to be a wonderful year, thanks to you. It was such a gift….

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