Doubling Her Income by Putting People Over Profit with Founder Natalia Gomez

Natalia Gomez grew up and lived in Mexico City with her family where she earned a degree in Marketing. She joined the Corporate world and finally began earning a steady income, until one day, she had to leave it all behind when her and her husband decided to move to the U.S. Natalia gave up […]

Natalia Gomez grew up and lived in Mexico City with her family where she earned a degree in Marketing. She joined the Corporate world and finally began earning a steady income, until one day, she had to leave it all behind when her and her husband decided to move to the U.S.

Natalia gave up all of her professional pursuits back in Mexico and came to place where she couldn’t legally work. But as a creative marketing strategist, she wasn’t the type to sit at home idly. She was determined to find a way…and she did. This is her story.

Natalia Gomez’s Website: https://www.green-studiomx.com/

Natalia Gomez’s Blog: https://www.themindful-choice.com/

Josh:
Hi everyone. This week we’re here with Natalia Gomez. She is the founder of Green Studio, which is a content marketing agency for brands with a purpose. And she’s currently bringing in about twice as much as what she was making in her previous job. So thanks for coming on the show, Natalia.

Natalia:
Thank you. I’m really happy and excited to share my story with you.

Josh:
Yeah, yeah. We are excited to hear it. So if you could peel back the layers a little bit and let us in on how you got to this place where you’re bringing in twice as much money as before. What happened? What kicked this all off? Where did it begin?

Natalia:
I studied marketing around five years ago and I used to live in Mexico City at first. At first I had this mindset that I had to chase this corporate job, become a manager or a director in a corporate field. I really never thought my steps would lead me to where I am today having my own business. So I was really focused on that, but obviously the personal side always comes in and I met someone, I got married and then my personal life had to move and I had to go to the US. So for me it was really hard because I actually got promoted in my previous job and then I had to give everything up and go to Michigan to a place where legally I couldn’t work because only my husband had a work visa.

Natalia:
So obviously when you make a personal decision it’s important to be aware of what you’re giving up and not carry that on your shoulders. But it was hard. I can’t say it was an easy step because I’ve always loved marketing. I’ve always loved working and I was 25 years old and I was like, “My life is over now. Am I going to stay at home every day and cook and just go out with the girlfriends?” That wasn’t something that I envisioned myself doing for the rest of my life. So even though I had that barrier of I can’t legally work in this country, since I also studied a master’s in digital marketing before I moved to the US I always knew that there were things that you can do online where there’s no boundaries and you can make an income from anywhere as long as you do it properly and legally and receive the money in your home country.

Natalia:
So I always had that idea in my mind and just for fun and because I’ve always loved also fashion because my mom’s a fashion designer. She studied that and we also had a very side small business in Mexico where we would sell clothes at pop up markets and stuff like that. So I really wanted to do something, but I just wasn’t sure what. So I started this fashion blog and I’ve always also loved the ethical part of anything in life of supporting artisans in Mexico, supporting brands that do things that are eco-friendly or sustainable. So I wanted that to be the topic of my blog and at first it was called … it had a different name because I didn’t really know what I was doing. You start experimenting and at first it was called my [inaudible 00:03:15] name because I wanted to sell some things.

Natalia:
But then it was a little hard because of the legal aspect of where I was. So I said if I can’t really sell things, I’ll just have it as a blog. And then I started experimenting. I started growing. I took some courses to learn how to drive more traffic to my blog. I started to see that that was getting traction and then eventually brands started to ask to be featured on my blog. They said, “Oh, we like your content.” And obviously since I have the marketing mindset of monetizing everything, I started to do my packages with brand collaborations and started monetizing that a little bit because I built a small audience for that. Also in my inner circle a lot of people started to ask me, “Hey, can you help me with my website?” Or, “Can you help me with social media and stuff?”

Natalia:
And it was all over the place, but then this idea came to me. Okay, I have a blog. I studied marketing and I have all these people that are asking me to do things because for me, doing a website was like, “Are you really paying me to do your website on Wix or on Squarespace?” Or whatever platform. For me it was ridiculous to charge someone for that because it’s super easy for me, but a lot of people started to say, “Natalia, it’s easy for you, but a lot of people don’t want to waste money or time doing it on their own and they prefer to just pay you whatever you charge so that you do that for them.”

Natalia:
But I felt really bad. The first website I charged $50, and now I look back and I see the whole potential of the clients that I had before and I guess I’ve also learned that you don’t have to feel bad about charging whatever you feel you need to charge, because you’ve learned your way up there and you have knowledge that other people don’t. And if you do something in five minutes, it doesn’t matter the price you put for those five minutes because other people are going to spend many hours or even days trying to figure out what you did in five minutes. So all of this was going on at the same time and it sort of snowballed into what I have today, which is Green Studio. And I started that this year and formalizing all my processes and aspects of doing online services for brands.

Josh:
That’s really cool. It’s almost serendipity in a way, but it’s also one of those things where you worked really hard and then the serendipity “happens”. I was curious, something that stood out to me from what you were talking about is that beginning part of building up your blog, because you kind of describe it and it’s like, “Oh, all of a sudden brands started approaching me,” but pulling from personal experience, it’s not that easy to do that. So what was actually going on? What was actually happening in those early days when you were trying to get yourself established with blogging?

Natalia:
I guess it’s a lot of perseverance because also I had to educate myself on the topic. You can’t just start a blog and just think that overnight you’re going to have traffic. I had to learn the strategies of how to create content that people are searching for, content that is useful, content that has a strategy and not just sharing my everyday life like a lot of bloggers do. So my strategy was very intentional and a lot of people that I talked to when I lived in the US were like, “Seriously, do you work eight hours a day and you don’t even get paid?” Yeah, probably the first year of blogging I didn’t receive an income because I was so immersed in learning and taking courses and looking at strategies and writing those first 100 posts or more to just trial and error and connecting it with an email marketing strategy so that I would collect leads and so that I would have something that can be monetized.

Natalia:
But it did take a lot of personal perseverance because I said I don’t know if I’m going to live in the US forever and if right now I can’t work and I’m 25 years old and I don’t have kids, yeah, I could have a very relaxed life and just go out and have coffees every day but it was also, I guess, my mental way of trying to think that I had a job, even though I didn’t have it. And that mindset really helped me to go through my days and to go through that phase of I was having a really busy life in Mexico, I had my steady income and then it was pause. So I just wanted to keep up with the flow that I had even though I didn’t have money coming right in. And that’s how learning and learning opportunities started to present to yourself and I also learned about affiliate networks. So I became part of some affiliate networks and that’s where most of my clients come from because it’s an affiliate network specifically for ethical and sustainable brands, which is what I love. So that’s sort of how it started.

Josh:
That’s really cool. I was curious to learn more about what your self-talk was during that time. What were you telling yourself, and how long did that go on for? Because you mentioned 100 blog posts, how long was it before it was like, “Okay, this is actually bringing in some money now”?

Natalia:
I think I started bringing in some money, I don’t really keep track, but it was probably six months after I started. I didn’t have the 100 blog posts yet, but it was because I had a high quality Instagram page also, and like my media kit also mentioned, the traffic that I was getting and I have newsletters, subscribers and all of that. So I think it’s different. And the way that I started to make deals with brands is because if you learn how to sell yourself, it’s easier. I don’t know how to explain it. If you do what someone tells you, but you don’t have that sales skill, it’s not going to be that easy. So I started to invent my own processes and my own way of approaching the brands and saying, “If you invest on my blog, I’m not going to assure that you’re going to have immediate sales,” because a lot of brands have the misconception of, “Okay, I’m going to pay you, but is it worth it? Am I going to get sales? Am I going to get 100 clicks?”

Natalia:
And I was really transparent about that. I was like, “My blog is an online magazine in which if you pay a sponsored post, obviously you will have a blog post, an Instagram post,” whatever I had in my packages. But I always mentioned, “This is very transparent. I share what I like and you’re paying me for the hours I’m working in creating high quality content.” But brands knew that I created high quality content and it’s not just an Instagram story. I took my time. I created nice blog posts. I took pictures. Since I like supporting brands that do cool things, I wouldn’t just be the person that if you send me something, I’ll post a picture and never post another picture of me wearing the shirt or the dress or whatever.

Natalia:
Until the day I still take pictures of the clothes that I received and tag the brands and you just create a meaningful, long lasting relationship and you’re paying once but I’m going to have your clothes forever because even in the ethical and sustainable niche, you try and educate people about not buying more and about re-wearing your clothes and ideas on how to style outfits. I repurpose the clothes that I received from brands and still create content with that. That was my approach. And even though maybe I didn’t have a lot of testimonials at first, I started to build my testimonials, being transparent with brands and just telling them straightforward what they would get and to not expect immediate sales. With some brands I have made some sales, but with other brands you don’t because as an influencer, if you want to call it that way, because I don’t think I’m an influencer.

Natalia:
I think I’m a marketing strategist. I do things and I’m a blogger, but I’m not the person that if I post something immediately like a superstar, someone’s going to buy things. If you have a blog, you have ideas, you have recommendations, but it’s also up to the consumer to decide to purchase. So maybe even though I’m posting a picture of this beautiful dress, if this beautiful dress is not your taste, or it’s too expensive, or you don’t ship to a country of the audience that’s watching that, well, it’s not my fault that it’s not selling. I think that was a main aspect, being really transparent.

Josh:
What was it like getting comfortable with that? Because I can tap into that same feeling in my mind of, how can I demand this pricing and how can I ask for these numbers when they may not get their money back right away in terms of sales, but what was that process like to become comfortable and confident in pitching your pricing even though from the other side, they might be like, “Well, what’s my ROI going to be?”

Natalia:
Yeah. I think it’s always been an evolution in that aspect because it still happens to the day. Every time I elevate my prices and my services with Green Studio, the first time I sent an email, I was obviously super scared, “This brand is not going to want to work with me. I’m so scared. I’m not sure.” You’re very insecure, but you have nothing to lose. I think that’s what I started to learn. I have nothing to lose if this brand wants to work with me or not, I might as well risk it and ask for a little bit more or change my packages or offer more in return so that they feel that, “Okay, maybe I’m paying a hundred bucks for a sponsored post, but she’s going to do a video and she’s going to include me in the newsletter and she’s going to post me three times.”

Natalia:
I try to compensate asking more with giving more maybe, until I had that balance of what I was willing and not willing to do for certain prices. So obviously it’s an experiment. Sometimes I did more than maybe the worth of the pay, but just to keep them happy to get a nice review so that I could potentially get more brands to be interested and that was a process. I think it’s been the same process also with Green Studio. I mentioned in the beginning with the websites, my first website I charged $50, but I included the whole … it’s not just the design because anyone can design a website on their own. It’s the brief, the call, the strategy, make sure the flow is right and all of those aspects and then training the people to use their website.

Natalia:
So when I started to chunk into pieces, “Okay, I’m doing all of this,” I started to learn how to charge the equivalent of the hours and then building up from there the packages and it just made sense to charge more. When you start losing that fear of losing clients, you start getting the right clients because I think that that also happened with Green Studio, because if you’re too cheap and then you do things and then you’re not satisfied because you’re doing it for that price point because you’re scared to charge more, you’ll always be in this cycle of having clients that probably will never be willing to invest more in their businesses. So that’s something that I really take care of and I’ve learned to not be scared of elevating my prices when I think I need to elevate them so that I attract the clients that I’m happy to work with because they value my work. They value the hours and I value their pay, and it’s a balance in which you don’t feel bad. But it has been a process of learning to not have fear because the more you risk, the more you can charge.

Josh:
Yeah. It sounds like what you’re saying is you kind of have to take the first step and change your perspective and then that will lead to working with the right people, but if your perspective is my services are not worth that much, then you’ll find people who believe your services are not worth that much. You get stuck in that cycle. I’m curious now that you’ve built this thing up, how long has it been since the first blog post?

Natalia:
Two years.

Josh:
Okay, so two years-

Natalia:
Almost three. Almost three.

Josh:
Almost three years.

Natalia:
Yeah. In December it would be three years.

Josh:
Almost three years. You’re at double your previous income. What’s the vision from here? What do you want to do?

Natalia:
Well, it’s been three years, but the first year was a lot of experimenting. So I wouldn’t really count it like I was full time monetizing it, because until I started to really, really monetize, it wasn’t until this year with Green Studio with the services and with all of that combining it and the blog is more like a side income when brands wanted to be featured. But yeah, I started to see that I built my strategy, I said these are the services that I want to do. So we do websites. We do copywriting for professional blogs with the process and with keyword research. We also do some branding for small entrepreneurs that want to know how to have a social media strategy. We do a small brand book or a logo design.

Natalia:
It was also a trial and error this year of, “Okay, these are the services that I want to do. First let’s try and get clients to see if it’s a business, if people are interested in this,” and in my inner circle, clients started coming. It was really mostly referral and for copywriting because they found me online because I took a course and I’m listed in some copywriting blogs. And also with writing for blogs I also get clients through the affiliate networks of my previous blogs. It’s like a cycle of, if a brand needs me, it’s sort of like you. You found me through my blog and then if you did a collaboration with me on my blog, I would introduce, “Hey, if you are interested in doing more with marketing, I also have Green Studio. I’m not just a regular blog influencer. I also have this other thing,” and that’s the cycle that I’ve had.

Natalia:
Yeah, I was really surprised to see that there are months that I’ve doubled what I was earning before I moved to the US and all of that. It’s fun because I’m in the stage where I’m learning how to delegate. I’m subcontracting other freelancers to do my job. So right now I have a small freelance team of three, four people that help me, depending on the project that needs help. If it’s websites, I have someone for websites. If it’s copywriting, I have someone for copywriting. It’s really interesting because I had that phase this year, and so I know that right now I can do more. I can have my basic websites covered because I’m learning to subcontract.

Natalia:
So the next steps I have is to pop into online courses and all of that because with the websites that I create, I want to do this complete package of, I’m not just doing a website, I’m helping you with your marketing strategy. So if you want to learn and you can’t afford my monthly services, then this is another option that’s automized and you can purchase a course about copywriting, about email marketing, about Facebook ads or whatever. So that’s in process. We’re going to have our first workshop in Spanish … it’s funny because I’ve also had a lot of a mixture of audiences. So there’s also a lot of potential for Latin American people that don’t really have an understanding of the whole digital marketing strategies that’s really developed in the US and that’s also something that I learned with my blog, which is in English.

Natalia:
So I’m trying to do a mixture of still having obviously an audience in the US or that speaks English, but there’s a lot of potential for Latin American people to just come into this world and understand how it is with someone that also speaks their language, because I do see that there’s potential in that. So I guess those are the next steps to build that audience that’s interested also in online courses in Spanish and in English.

Josh:
That’s awesome.

Natalia:
But obviously it might take me five years to get to that point.

Josh:
That’s awesome [crosstalk 00:20:25] and exciting. How do you feel looking back on three years ago when you got started and looking at now … just hearing you talk about your goals now, it’s so cool to be able to think about scaling a team and putting automation into your business and growing it. But then you look back and it’s like, “Just three years ago I was in Michigan sitting down to write a blog post.” How does that feel looking back on that?

Natalia:
Honestly, I’m really passionate about what I do. But I started this without really knowing that I would end up having my own business, because like I mentioned in the beginning, I had no idea that the freelancing path would be my path because I had the mindset of growing in the corporate ladder and having X position in a company, all of my friends are the same. So I really never thought that I would enjoy doing something like for me, because also the first jobs that I had were very related with numbers, with analyzing sales and I didn’t really have that creative aspect in my full time job.

Natalia:
So I guess I’m really happy with myself that because I had to quit my job and I had to just understand and get to know myself better, I explored this creative part of my brain somehow that sometimes when you work in a full time job, you just don’t understand or you don’t see your full potential because you’re obviously consumed by the work. You’re stressed. You have very little time on the weekends to catch up with your personal life. So your life just goes on and on and you can be stuck there forever and it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If you step out of that world, which is what happened to me, I got to understand myself. I got to understand right now I don’t have to work. I’m blessed that I have someone that can maintain me right now. So what do you like to do? If you received money for the rest of your life and you didn’t have to go to a job, what would you do?

Natalia:
Would you still be working, doing podcasts? Those are things or questions that I asked myself that made me understand that I like this. I like fashion. I like helping people. And it snowballed and I honestly didn’t know that I would also have the patience of working with people that I would have to sort of explain and be a teacher, because with the skill that I had in my previous jobs were very numerical and were very sales results, blah, blah, blah. Even your personality can change. Before I didn’t have a lot of patience. I didn’t have a lot of tolerance. I got mad very quickly. And maybe that was related because of the previous work. Obviously people grow, people change, et cetera, but I don’t know.

Natalia:
It’s been a creative part of my life that you never know what you end up doing and it’s fun when you find your passion. And obviously when you do what you like, it doesn’t feel like a job because for me, working longer than eight o’clock, nine o’clock because I’ve got this crazy idea at 3:00AM in the morning and I want to finish something, you do it because it’s your business and the sentiment is very different than working in a job. But I think that’s my takeaway. The reward that you get for your first $100 of whatever you do as a freelancer is way much more than a paycheck from a company. That’s how I felt. You get really passionate because nobody knew me and someone in the internet subscribed to my newsletter. I was so happy the first time someone subscribed to my newsletter. It’s someone from the UK. It’s not your mom. It’s not your friend. It’s not your next door neighbor. Someone literally found you on the internet and it’s really exciting. I don’t know. That’s sort of what happened.

Josh:
Yeah. Yep. No, I can resonate with pretty much all of that. It’s so exciting. You’re not even making money. It’s just, somebody subscribed to your email and you’re like, “Oh, going to work. This is going to work. This is what I’m doing forever now.”

Natalia:
Exactly.

Josh:
That’s amazing. I think that’s an awesome place to leave people with, that mentality of just how to think about it. I think that was an awesome way of describing it. For anybody that’s interested in learning more about the services that you offer or checking out your blog to see that side of things, where can they go to see those things?

Natalia:
They can go to my website. It’s green-studiomx.com, or you can also find me on Instagram by greenstudio.mx.

Josh:
Awesome. Cool. Thanks for coming on and sharing your story.

Natalia:
Thank you so much.

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Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Josh is an outdoor enthusiast, is very into health/fitness, and enjoys spending time with his community in San Francisco.

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