Mariah McCullough is a full-time working mom who’s using her weight loss of 100 pounds to build her own business by helping women gain confidence, lose weight, and start living their lives again by creating their own transformation. In June she created a free 10-day low carb challenge and grew her email list from 180 to 3,800 in 30 days and started making money online. She has a thriving Facebook community filled with former challengers who are begging her for more.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How Mariah started an online challenge that completely blew up unexpectedly
- Why she started to run an online challenge
- if running a challenge is right for you
Tell us a little bit about you, Mariah McCullough, and what you do.
I’m a 36 year old mother of an 8-year old son. I currently work a full-time corporate job which keeps me very busy. I lost over 100 pounds and kept it off and so I started a business because so many people kept asking me, “Will you coach?” “Can you coach me how to lose weight?” “Can you do this?” I said no for the longest time, and I finally decided let me just do this. Let me test this out. I really found that not only did it inspire and motivate me, but I was able to help a lot of people who are stuck in places where I had been stuck. I started with 1-on-1 coaching and it’s kind of evolved to more of a low carb challenge program, other products, and coaching services.
Why did you decide to run an online challenge with your Facebook community?
I was doing one-on-one coaching. I have a full time corporate job that keeps me very busy, and I travel all the time. I realized that I was really limited on the number of clients I could work with. I also realized that continuing with that path, my business was never really going to be more than just a side passion. I was making some money, but I would never make it to grow beyond what it was because I didn’t have enough time. I decided that I was going to run a challenge. I never really participated in a challenge but I thought, “There is something to these challenges.” So many people are doing challenges. People in my industry get stuck a lot at the beginning because they need a little extra hand holding. They need a little more specifics on the rules. I decided instead of continuing to tell everybody one-on-one about my eating plan, why not I put together a challenge that walks them through their first 10 days.
How did your challenge affect your business?
My list was under 200, and it had been for 9-10 months. I was frustrated. I wondered how I was ever going to grow this business because I can’t even give people to want something from me for free. Taking this challenge to the Facebook group, honestly, I feel like that was the start of my business. I have about 1,400 people in my closed group. They’re talking to me all the time. I have sent feedback surveys with great response. I really just feel like I intimately know who is attracted to me, and I know how I can help them. After doing that challenge, I have the confidence that I can help people and people are hungry for what I can offer them. I did a second challenge. The last day of the challenge I wrote a low-carb companion guide because I still hadn’t figured out what I was going to do. I wrote a low-carb companion guide and sold it for $27. I made $3,500 from a $27 e-book which is crazy to me. It just shows me how hungry people are and they wanted more. The challenges have jump started my community. They built my list. They continue to build my list. I really feel like that was the catalyst to actually having a business that’s making money and that can grow instead of just the one-on-one coaching.
How did you find people for the challenge?
I utilized Facebook ads.
Where do you think entrepreneurs should start if they are thinking about doing a challenge?
The first thing is pick a topic. I asked, “What’s the number one thing that people ask me all the time?” It drives me crazy that I asked about it so much. Find something you get asked about a lot, and then try to figure out how you can create something, a challenge, where participants can get a transformation in that amount of time. but they will get a transformation.
How do you go from a challenge with the free information to a sale without feeling too salesy?
I started seeding information. I kind of struggle with that too because I didn’t want to feel that way. I also didn’t want them to think that like this is just a volunteer service. I added something simple that I learned from Simple Green Smoothies. I watched how they did their challenge, and I think it’s pretty smart. They just added the bottom of their challenge e-mails, “Don’t want to wait for the challenge materials? Grab it here for $5.” $5 isn’t going to make you a millionaire, but it suddenly plants the seed that everything isn’t free and this is going to be available for purchase, maybe something else will be.
Mariah McCullough is a nutrition and health coach with a B.A. in Sports Management. She helps women gain confidence, lose weight, and start living their lives again by creating their own transformation. In June she created a free 10-day low carb challenge and grew her email list from 180 to 3,800 in 30 days. She has a thriving Facebook community filled with former challengers who are begging her for more.