222 | Rethinking Wealth & Leveraging Podcasting to Build Your Business with Stefanie Gass

Stefanie Gass



Welcome to episode 222 of Love, your Money! In this episode, I’m talking with Stefanie Gass. Stefanie is a Christian business and podcast coach, boundary boss, boy mom, multi-six-figure CEO, and host of “Online Business for Christian Women,” a top 25 globally ranked business podcast. Stefanie’s mission is to help women grow their online businesses and make money online, using podcasting.


In her 20s, Stefanie embraced the corporate grind. After making 6-figures by age 27, she transitioned to network marketing. Again, she worked her way up, reaching the top 1% of her company. But once Stefanie got there — she still felt empty. And she realized it was time for a change.


Today, Stefanie and I discuss the pitfalls that come with tying your identity to your income. You’ll also hear about how to build a business that aligns with your purpose, how to create a simple (but effective) sales funnel, and why podcasting can be the answer to growing your presence, your business, and your client base.

Here’s what you’ll find out in this week’s episode of Love, your Money:

  • The danger of making income your identity
  • Finding work that has purpose 
  • How Stefanie built an $800/hour coaching biz
  • The simple sales funnel
  • How to stand out in the saturated podcast world
  • Do you need social media to grow your business?
  • Advice for handling the stress you face today

Inspiring Quotes

“Sometimes the answer to our money problems is not actually in the money itself. For me, the answer to all my money problems began with getting myself right again.”

“If your spirit is telling you that it's no longer joyful for you to continuously pump out all this organic content, you don't have to do that. It actually does not help your business anymore in the day and age that we’re in.”

“The point that everyone is telling me this is not going to work, and the fact that everyone is telling me I am not going to be successful at this is just more fuel on my fire that I'm going to make this happen.”

“If you start having four or five offers, everybody’s confused. They don’t know what to buy from you, so they buy nothing.”

“If you just wait out the people that quit and you’re consistent and you’re good at your content, there’s no way you don’t win.”

“Because you’re podcasting, you’re actually taking 10,000 people to coffee at the same time.”

“Really sit for a minute. Just sit and enjoy today.”

Resources and Related to Love, your Money Content

Enjoy the Show?​

Hilary Hendershott: Welcome to Love, your Money. Stef, I’m happy to have you.


Stefanie Gass: Thanks for having me, Hilary. I’m so excited to be here.


Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. So, for those of you listening and watching, Stef and I met at an incredible mastermind that we participated in down in Southern California. Let me read you her bio so you know who Stef is. Stef is a Christian business and podcast coach. She’s a boundary boss. I’m going to ask about that. She’s a boy mom, a multi-six figure CEO. She helps women grow online businesses and make money online using podcasting. She’s an unabashed advocate for podcasting. She’s the host of a top 25 globally ranked business podcast, which is called Online Business for Christian Women. And we will link to that show in the show notes. I’m excited to talk with you about this.


Stefanie Gass: Yeah, me too.


Hilary Hendershott: Would you give us the synopsis of your business journey? Tell us how you started and how it evolved and kind of if you would, just include how money evolved for you over that journey.


Stefanie Gass: Sure. And just stop me whenever, Hilary, if you have a question.


Hilary Hendershott: I will.


Stefanie Gass: So, I grew up in a family where I think generationally the way that my dad grew up very, very poor and my mom grew up very poor, both of them raising their other siblings from this family where you come in and you have this mentality around, “I have to be safe with money.” And so, the safety story that was created for me as a kid was you go to college and you need to get a regular, safe job. And the regular, safe job will have some benefits, that way you can pay all these bunches of kids that we all decided to have. So, you’re going to probably do that, too, right? And so, that story that was created for both of them and my mom having no education and her being a stay-at-home mom and my dad being the first in his family to get a college degree ending up being successful for himself. That was the story and so cool. There was no other option. I never heard the word entrepreneur in my life and that’s what I did. So, I went to school and I achieved and I got the As and I went to college and said, “What should I do in college?” and my dad said, “Do something safe.” So, I picked finance and accounting and ended up going and getting my bachelor’s in accounting, my master’s in finance. I was working at a financial investment company all the way from the age of 19 years old.


Hilary Hendershott: I remember.


Stefanie Gass: That was great. I actually absolutely loved it. I was learning stock trading and it was like I was like this kid playing with these multi million-dollars accounts. I’m like, “Ooh, I got $2 million to invest in Apple stock right now.” And I had a great time with the whole thing but there was some level of discontentment that whole time of like, I guess, it was like restlessness if you would call it that. Like, maybe there’s a different job for me. Maybe there’s something else I should do. Maybe it’s more money I’m looking for. And I constantly had that feeling of like, “This isn’t really sitting.” Now, my money story, until that point I was just born a go-getter and so I would just look for what’s the next step in this job that I’m in, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to do. So, what happened was the partners of the firm, of course, see in me this, “Oh, maybe she’d be good at sales and marketing. So, they start putting me with them in the meetings and taking me to the 401(k) meetings to meet the people and do the things. And I start to like sales and I’m like, “Okay. This is really fun.” I’m having a great time in sales, a little bit more so than the finance actual sitting behind and doing the finance work.


And so, from that point, I ended up leaving and I went and got a corporate job at a solar company, and I came in as a financial analyst and I thought I was making it was like probably 60K at the time. I’m like, “Man, this is great, making some great money.” I was so happy and proud of myself, had a good job, and started working there and same thing started to happen for me, Hilary, where I was like, “What’s next?” I guess just inside of me inherently, there’s this piece that’s always like, “What’s next? How do I go and conquer?” And I think…


Hilary Hendershott: Maybe it’s the desire to be self-determined.


Stefanie Gass: Self-determined, I think that’s a great way to put it. And also going back to the way that my dad was he rose up and went against the odds and ended up being the county administrator of, you know, he did a great job and he’s very successful for himself. And so, that heart of work ethic was really instilled in me really young. And so, partner that with like those of us who are a bit more on the natural leadership side and you can really do anything that you decide to do and sometimes that’s to the detriment. So, I’ll get to that story in a minute too. So, I end up rising the ranks in that solar company and I became the financial controller of the company and I was 27 and I’m going to Germany and Spain and it was great. Again, here we go. I was making over six figures at 27. I felt really proud of myself but I was also a workaholic. I was also completely tied to my BlackBerry at the time. The BlackBerry phones. Remember those?


Hilary Hendershott: You don’t look old enough to know what a BlackBerry is.


Stefanie Gass: Yes. I have a BlackBerry. Sure did.


Hilary Hendershott: I had a Handspring. Do you know about the Hand?


Stefanie Gass: I didn’t have that. Don’t know about that one. But I did have the BlackBerry. And so, what started happening here is interesting because I went from the switch from healthy money mentality to, “Oh, now I’m making so much money that money’s now actually filling a void inside of me.” Money has actually become an identity in a way. And so, I started just – it was always work. It was always work. And this started a relationship with work that was very unhealthy for probably the next decade of my life.


Hilary Hendershott: Let me ask you, when you say money became an identity… So, this comes back to this distinction I teach called the Money Operating System. I’m wondering, did you feel like money was… Were you communicating to people, “I’m making a bunch of money?” Like, did everyone around you kind of know whether it would be explicitly or kind of implicitly or are you just kind of…letting people know, “I’m a baller?”


Stefanie Gass: Yeah. I would say so. And it got even worse when I ended up… So, that was happening and I was single. I was dating people and stuff, so I just worked all the time. And I was really, for me, like my greatest accomplishment was becoming this controller, right, and making this amount of money and working and being busy and being important. In my mind, it was like, “This is my identity in a way. This is where the worthiness is coming from. Okay.” And so, I’ve labeled now worthiness as this achievement and you have to be very careful when you start to breach that line because anything good can also turn into something that can become an idol in your life. And that’s exactly what happened for me. And so, my company ended up going out of business about three years into all of this. I think I was like 29-ish, I’m 38 now, so about ten years ago. The company goes out of business and I was newly engaged and I had this crossroads. And my husband said to me, “Well, we want to start a family. You’re not going to move to Germany for the job that they’ve offered you. We want to stay with our family.” Yeah, it was kind of crazy.


Hilary Hendershott: You’re not moving to Germany.


Stefanie Gass: “Not going to move to Germany. So, we’ll stay. What do you want to do? Do you want to go get another corporate job? Do you want to stay home for a while?” He had a great job. He worked at KPMG. He was an accountant at the time. And I said, “Why don’t we? I think I want to stay home. I think I want to try something different.” And I didn’t really know what it was going to be, but I knew I’m going to take a year and figure out like maybe I can try something else. Like, maybe it could be something entrepreneurial. Maybe I could do something in sales. I wasn’t sure. So, for the first time in my entire life at this point, I stopped moving, which was crazy, and it was very uncomfortable.


Hilary Hendershott: You stopped. You mean the achieving or progressing? Is that what you mean by moving? Okay. Got it.


Stefanie Gass: Yeah. So, maybe for like a couple of months, it was like just this stillness of what am I going to do? And I think that’s so healthy. And it was really important at that time in my life. So, my mom actually comes to me with a network marketing opportunity, of all things. This was back when it was kind of… The rage hadn’t started yet and it was a skincare company and my mom’s like, “I’m going to do this thing. Like, do you want to do that?” And I was like, “Well, that chick on the video said that she made $1 million, so why not?” Like, I truly had just nothing else to lose at that point, thinking, “I’ll try it.” Well, the second that I say I will try something, it’s not I will try something.


Hilary Hendershott: I will be obsessed with it.


Stefanie Gass: I will be relentlessly obsessed with this. And the point that everyone is telling me this is not going to work, and the fact that everyone is telling me I am not going to be successful at this is just even more fuel on my fire that I’m going to make this happen. So, I go in and just I go all out and I did not do it right and I did not do it in a healthy way. I was definitely back in that mentality of hustle and working really hard, working relentlessly hard, not healthy hard, right, but I mean, all hours, all the calls, I was the one good at sales. So, every call would funnel to me. My entire downline would come to Stef. She’ll close your deals. And so, I’m closing these calls. Anyway, a couple of years later, Hilary, I end up really getting close to the top rank of the company. And another year later, I hit it. I hit the top 1% of this company. I’m walking the stage. My money story at this point is similar to what was before. I equal my recognition, my achievement, and the money was great. Like, we didn’t mind having the money.


Hilary Hendershott: Did you make $1 million like the woman in the video?


Stefanie Gass: Did not make $1 million but I was making a couple hundred thousand at that point and it was great. And I had the free car and the trips and all of that kind of little stuff that they also kind of exemplify as your success and so you’re wearing all of these badges, so to speak. And so, but what was happening inside was the part that was really interesting because while the money was there, the money had to, in a way, be used to show your success. When you’re in an industry like that, show the purses, show the car, show all of these things that you have for your success. That way other people will believe you and they will join.


Hilary Hendershott: Right. That’s how you build the sales force.


Stefanie Gass: It’s how you build the sales force. And so, I’m just bleeding money like, “Oh, let’s go on this trip and spend the money on this and do my nails all the time and have my hair all the time,” and did it like I’m just like money, money, money out, out, out, all like but thinking, “Oh, but I’m just going to keep making money,” and it was this relentless wheel of like work harder to make more money to spend more money so more people will join. And it stopped feeling good. It stopped feeling healthy. I was drinking a lot. I was leaning on all these other coping mechanisms for the level of anxiety and the level of coping that I was having to do to maintain at that level. And here’s the pivotal moment for me. I walk across the stage, I’ve got a $60,000 bonus check in my hands, hit one of the big bonuses. 20,000 people are in this auditorium.


Hilary Hendershott: Twenty thousand?


Stefanie Gass: Twenty thousand people. Yeah. And I’m walking across the stage and I’m like, “This is it.” This is the moment where me taking calls when my, you know, six-month-old son, I should be spending time with him but instead, I’m outside hiding from him so I could take the phone call. One more phone call. One more. Like, this is the moment that it makes sense. This is the moment that it makes sense that I am drinking just to turn my brain off because I’m working too hard and I get off the stage and I’m expecting this momentous thing to happen like these like fireworks of this is it.


Hilary Hendershott: I have arrived.


Stefanie Gass: I felt nothing. Nothing. And I know that so many of you listening who are achievers and who are successful and you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and you have this decision. Okay. Let me just go for more then. I must not be there yet because I don’t feel it. But that’s not what happened. Something inside of me was so shaken, Hilary, that I was like, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. If I made it but nothing is different, I did not make it.” Like, it’s not money. It’s not recognition. It’s not like I am missing something. And so, for me, what happened was I actually had this huge awakening in my faith that was brought on by me thinking money was my identity and money was my worthiness realizing that was not the truth and feeling left completely open and broken. And mind you, a year later, one year after I walked the stage, all that money was gone, by the way, all of it, to the point of we sold my husband’s Harley to pay the bills kind of gone.


Hilary Hendershott: Oh, wow.


Stefanie Gass: And the reason it was gone is because it was never foundational anyway, right? I think it was like show money and the money that was built on other people’s backs. It’s not something I had built that was mine. I was not smart and savvy about it. And also, for me, because I am a faith-led person, I believe that money can, one, be used for good and also not be used for good. And the way that I was operating was not using money for good.


Hilary Hendershott: Your story is very much one of a woman who is seeking. There’s a journey that you’re on and you’re great at telling the story of how you went from thing to thing to thing and not finding that fulfillment. Fulfillment is an elusive thing when you don’t know your core values, what it is that gives you life and love.


Stefanie Gass: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that awakening, though, was so pivotal because I desperately needed to see what was missing in my life so that my money story could ultimately be complete. So, money had to go. It had to go. And I almost had to have this like breakdown moment so I could be reborn in how I was to use money for good, right? And for me, to really figure out how am I worthy without the money so that money is then just a supplement to the things that I’m called to do here that actually matter. Right? And how am I going to get myself in alignment with God’s will over my life? And then money is this amazing supplement for greatness that I can use while I’m here. So, what happened next is I had this breakdown year. I call it my Britney Spears year. You know 2016 when she shaved her head and she just lost it? It was bad, Hilary.


Hilary Hendershott: She lost it.


Stefanie Gass: She lost it. It was so bad. So, in this year, I’ve got one like two-year-old child. I’m pregnant with my second. I’m 60 pounds overweight because I had decided to now eat my feelings and emotionally turn to that coping mechanism, you know, addictive personality. So, you got what are you going to be addicted to? Good things or bad things. And so, I kept turning to these things that I thought would just help me in the moment. And I just had no idea what I was going to do with my life. And everyone knows I’m a failure. I failed at the network marketing. I don’t really want to go back to corporate America at this point because now I’m going to leave the kids at home and I’m really loving being home with the kids. What should I do with my…? I was so confused. I was so lost. And so, for me, I began with and I think this is an important lesson when we talk about money, sometimes the answer to our money problems is not actually in the money itself. So, for me, the answer to all my money problems began with I needed to get myself right again.


So, I started with my health and then I spent time with my family, really refocused on my marriage again, got my faith in order. It took about a year of intentional decision-making and working on myself and working on the decisions that I make, and teaching myself and journaling like it’s okay not to work today. It’s okay that the money is uncomfortable right now. Trust. Trust. Take the next right step. Trust. And so, I kept leaning on that. And what happened was, as I think my heart started to heal and I started to see myself as just this whole person again, I’m loved by God. I’m in a healthy marriage. I’m so blessed with these children and this home that I have and the time that I even have here. That’s enough. And as that perspective started to shift, I then could look at business and go, “What am I actually called to do?” instead of, “What do I do that makes money?” It became, “What do I do that helps people? What should I do that I’m really great at that I think could help the world?” And I started to ask these bigger questions. And of course, it’s not 100% clear but I started to get these little nuggets like these people would come in my inbox and be like, “Hey, I saw a Facebook Live that you did. Do you coach?” And I was like, “Sure. Let’s go.”


Hilary Hendershott: Sure.


Stefanie Gass: So, I kind of started following the breadcrumbs of my purpose work. Instead of like panicking and going and getting a big safe job, I started asking myself, like, what am I called to do?


Hilary Hendershott: During the year that you were really reorganizing yourself, by the way, that was lovely, were you working? Were you earning money during that year?


Stefanie Gass: Oh, gosh, this is so funny. So, I started making, no, not really. I was panicking, which is what do we do with ourselves? We do anything to make money, right? Like, “Oh, no, this isn’t working. Something’s failing.” Instead of like stepping back in trust and being like, “You know what? God’s got this whole thing, and I’m just going to sit in this,” we go like, “Let me control it. I’m going to control it.” And so, I decided to control it and make Amazon merch T-shirts. I’m making $3 profit per shirt, Hilary. I’m an awful graphic designer. I’m doing weird things like that. I’m doing like, “Oh, let me do some social media management for somebody.” I’m doing it like, I’m panicking, right? I’m doing Pinterest blogging. I’m an awful designer. What am I thinking? And a friend actually came over because you can feel it when people are like in that desperate like panicky place. She sat me down and she looked me straight in the face and she said, “What are you doing?” And I said, “I don’t know. I made like $50 on the t-shirts last week,” and she’s going, “Stop doing everything you’re not supposed to do and just do the one thing you know you’re supposed to do. That’s it. And you need to just trust the rest.”


And I was like, “Okay. What is the one thing I’m supposed to do? I’m supposed to help women start these businesses. I’m supposed to help women in sales. Like, that’s the one thing I know I’m so great at doing. Let me get back.” And that’s when I started doing the Facebook Lives. I just did them with messy… I’m just me all the time. So, I had my messy hair. I had a baby on the hip. The two-year-old would run in and throw the fruit snacks and we’d laugh, and then I’d get back to talking about sales and they’re like, “Huh? Like, she’s interesting because she’s relatable, but at the same time, she knows her stuff.” And so, I was like this strange phenomenon of like somebody they could approach, but at the same time, somebody who is smart enough to help them have success. And they started to hire me for coaching. And what happened next was I was intentionally praying on, like, how do I reach more of these women? Because they’d come once in a while through the Facebook groups. But it was slow. I didn’t feel like it was really working that well. I felt tired again. So, I was showing up on Instagram and all these places trying to get these clients. And I had a dream in 2018 and I heard, “Start a podcast.” I mean, very clear.


Hilary Hendershott: It was in your dream?


Stefanie Gass: In my dream, very prophetic. It was like a download, Hilary, just, “You will start a podcast.” I went, “A podcast?” I didn’t listen to shows five and a half years ago. I didn’t even listen. I’m like, “About what? Okay.” So, I have this staticy mic because we were, you know, we are fine. My husband had a fine job, so not until like, I mean, thank God that he was able to get us through this whole period of time but I wasn’t like rolling in the dough to be like, “Let me go do this whole setup.” So, I plugged in this old mic I had. I was like, “What should I call it?” Meh, picked a name, ran with it, started talking to these women about what I knew sales, marketing, growing a business, and within 12 months, my coaching business had grown over six figures from the podcast, Hilary.


Hilary Hendershott: Really?


Stefanie Gass: Yes. So within…


Hilary Hendershott: What were you charging people?


Stefanie Gass: So, I started at $80 an hour and the demand came so fast and so intently, which is how I know that I was now in alignment with what I was supposed to do.


Hilary Hendershott: Right. It just magnetizes.


Stefanie Gass: It was like, boom, and I went, “Okay. I can’t take all of these calls. I still had littles at home,” so I doubled prices and I went to $160. That lasted about two months, Doubled again, and I doubled it again. And I landed at $800 an hour within that 12-month period of time. And this was called Clarity Coaching at the time because people would hire me and go, “I don’t know what my business is.” And they would tell me all these words and things like, “Oh, I’m so excited about decluttering and also this.” And then I have my kids and I’m this and I would be able to take this whole mess of this thing that they would hand me, put it together, and hand them back a title and a tagline of their business. And then they would go take my podcast course and start their own show. This little evolution started happening and it just completely flourished and the money story was complete. There was a few hiccups in there where I’d go like, “Ooh, I can’t go next level. Uh-uh. Like, I’m really safe right here. This feels really safe.” And then someone would come in my life and be like I’d have a coaching call with someone randomly like I wouldn’t even ask for that coach to appear. And they’d be like, “Let’s do a call.” “Like for free?” “Sure.” Like, it was crazy.


The people would appear that needed to help me and my mindset go, “No, no, no like next level is available for you and it’s let’s go.” And so, I push myself and I do the next thing. And I started to feel a difference around money where I wasn’t in control of the money, like I have to create the money and I’m the one that has to create the money. And if I don’t do this, there was complete peace over the money creation process. I felt I truly felt that this business was so blessed because of the way that I was in obedience to what God had asked me to do, helping these people, trusting in the whole thing, and also standing in my authority of like, I can own this market and I’m going to go there like I’m going to become the best podcast coach that help faith-led women grow businesses from these shows. And I just stood in that and I owned it. And I felt that as the money came, instead of it feeling like pressure or something I had to grasp, I felt like just this big welcoming around like this money is so incredible. What should I do with it? Let’s grow the team. Let’s give, let’s serve, let’s invest in this. And it was like this money was just simply this beautiful exchange that I was like a vessel for, if that makes sense, instead of mine and me holding it so closely. And so, the last bit of that story is where I am today, which is now it’s been five and a half years of the podcast and will be a seven-figure business this year, which is…


Hilary Hendershott: Congratulations.


Stefanie Gass: Thank you. It’s huge. I’ve never been a seven-figure business before. And so, that is incredible. And I can’t believe it. And I feel so excited about it and it’s so much fun. And we’ve created this beautiful stairstep for people that they go through. They get the clarity, then they start the podcast, and then they monetize the podcast with a course or a coaching offer. And so, people go through the three steps with me and they’re with me for about eight months. And it’s just so incredible. I work less than I’ve ever worked. I have an incredible team behind me. I am much smarter about business, the systems that need to be in place, team, learning about money, and learning about those next-level things that I need to start thinking about at this point as we start looking at that. But that’s the money story, Hilary. It’s crazy.


Hilary Hendershott: It’s really incredible. I can tell you’re a financial powerhouse. You’ve discovered, you use slightly different language than what I teach or share. But for example, thinking about money as a flow rather than an object to be held or lost and you experience yourself as a medium for that or a catalyst for that. The same thing, the download happened for me. I got that I was supposed to serve women. I just had the thought. My business doubled in two weeks. I didn’t even do anything differently, right?


And so, now, I find myself. I’m like, “Where’s the next download? Where am I going to download, please?” I liked that. I was happy about that. So, same thing happened for you, and you’re super, super niched. And so, this is all fantastic. Would you share? You’re very, like I said in the intro, unabashed about people should start a podcast, and something else unique about you is and I hope I’m not going to say this inaccurately, you don’t do social media.


Stefanie Gass: Yeah. I do not organically utilize social media to grow a presence. So, we do do paid advertising, but I think they’re two very different things. So, I can get into that too if you want me to.


Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. So, if you would start by sharing the– do you call it a sales funnel, the funnel that people go through with you? You are sharing ways that people– are you publishing? I’m asking 10 questions in one question for it. I think you publish five podcast episodes a week and you’re constantly inviting people to come work with you in free and paid ways. Just talk a little bit about how you bring people in and invite them to come into your area.


Stefanie Gass: Yeah, I love this. So, I teach something called the simple sales funnel and I know the people that listen to you, Hilary, are very successful, and so I think they will appreciate the difference between I’m going to show up everywhere and specifically those of you who aren’t making, let’s say, $100,000 a year yet in your business and you say, “I’m going to show up everywhere. I’m going to do social media organically and ads and blog and podcast and this and Twitter” and find that like it’s so much that you can’t actually shine and become an expert at anything. And so, now, you’re burnt out. You don’t really have a team to support showing up in 100 places yet. And it just feels icky, plus what is actually working to grow?


And so, for me, I constantly go back to if you look at the data, what of all of these places you’re showing up is actually moving the needle? What is growing the list and what is making you money? That’s it. Or which one brings you absolute joy? If you’re like, but stop, something brings me absolute joy, fine. You get to have that freebie, but only one.


And so, what I do is I actually have my students simplify all the way down to one, I call it your house. So, you get to pick your house, but I need it to be made of brick. And that brick house is long-form content. So, you only have three options. You can do video, like a YouTube channel, host your own video marketing. You can blog, but I even feel that today, that’s not a great option with AI. And the last one would be podcasting.


And so, pick your house. So, my student’s house is podcasting. Why? Because podcasting has no shelf life. The content that you’re putting into the world is evergreen forever. Some of my top downloaded episodes are from two, three, four years ago. It keeps working for you. And when you are strategic about how you set up your show, you use keywords and phrases in the content of your episodes. Your art looks a certain way. And we also are strategic about how we market in the episode, like share it, do this thing, leave a review, do this thing to start to have that podcast work for you. So, that’s the actually for me, top of funnel is the podcast, which is people are like, “What? How can that be?”


So, the podcast is top of funnel where leads come in, listeners come in. Then they funnel down into the middle, and in my middle is nurture. So, how we nurture is email marketing and a Facebook community. It doesn’t have to be Facebook, wherever you want a community, but how do you get your people to talk to your people? And this creates this beautiful little bubble of people who just are like you because they listen to you. And so, they become friends. And there’s a lot of morale that’s built in there. And people are posting about your courses and other people are going, “Oh,” so it’s good and they’re buying. So, these people are all collaborating.


We send one email a week, which is our nurture email. It’s a story. So, something fun and new that we’ve learned this year is people are super sick of the regular sales emails. So, once a week, I send a story from my personal life that no one else gets. Like, I burned the cookies and this crazy thing happened. And then here’s why this cookie story relates to the episode this week. And so, we do that and people love it.


We’ve grown our open rate. I had an awful, I’ll just be honest, I was really bad. It was like 15% open rate because I would blast my mark to the point. So, I’m like, “Here, buy it or don’t.” My team’s like, “Okay, so we’re going to have to stop that because your email is bad. Stop talking. Stop typing, Stefanie, stop.” I’m okay. I can talk. I can’t really type, right? And so…


Hilary Hendershott: I’m the same.


Stefanie Gass: So, we started, “Tell me a story, Stef.” So, the team will help me finesse a story and bring it into email marketing. And so, once they’re nurtured, these people are like, “Oh, my gosh, Stef had another episode this week.” Boop! The email drives them back to top of funnel to listen to the podcast again or the group or posting a question, like for example, are you struggling to make money from your podcast? People comment. We go, “Oh, go listen to the episode this week.” Boom!


We’re making this big circle all the way through the funnel back through it, right? Because until you listen to the show enough, you won’t buy. Now, why? So, then at the bottom is offer and up until people have a six-figure typically revenue from one product, do I say to add more? So, my students are typically under six figures. So, they start with one offer which is coaching or online course.


And the reason is, is if you start having four or five things, everybody’s confused. They don’t know what to buy from you, so then now they buy nothing. So, you have one thing change their life, get known, own your market, and then when those people are having a big result, they go, “Hey, what’s next?” So, your own students will dictate what your next offer will be.


And so, I have three offers now that we’ve reached this level. So, they come in and get clarity on what the business will be, then the podcast, then they go through a six-month mastermind with me to optimize the podcast and create the offer and all of that. So, what’s happening for anybody listening that wants to create this funnel is, on my show, let’s say I had an episode on not making money from your podcast, the number one thing you should do. They listen to that episode and I tell them that they need to create a coaching offer or a course, and I’m talking about this in the episode.


I’m not just going to leave them with that. I’m going to say, “And here’s the solution for you. You’re going to come into my mastermind. I’m going to teach you what it’s going to–” I’m going to sell throughout the episode what the solution is that I have for that topic. So, we actually see a 1% to 2% conversion rate, Hilary, on every single podcast episode.


Hilary Hendershott: Wow. Good for you.


Stefanie Gass: Just completely organically and…


Hilary Hendershott: What’s that price point?


Stefanie Gass: So, I’ve got all the way from a $397. I have $1,000, and then I have a $5,000. And so, it depends on where that person is, which one that they’ll purchase. But we also try to do bump offers and stack the offer at checkout. And so, a lot of people do end up buying the first two together. And then we have a 50% conversion from that middle podcasting course up into the $5,000 mastermind. 50%.


Hilary Hendershott: People just love you. When they buy your stuff, they’re just like, “I’m in.”


Stefanie Gass: Right. That’s the testament of like when you create trust through your podcast, people buy quickly and then you create really great, incredible products, they will go through with you all the way. People are like, “You’re my person. I’m 100% here.” So, even those of you that have smaller offers and I know not everybody here has an online business, but even your smaller product line, your smaller service, how can that be exceptional? That way, people have no choice but to fall in love with you and get a result and move to that next level with you because you’ve gotten them such a complete transformation. So, that’s kind of what that funnel looks like and why I believe in podcasting so intentionally. And then tell me what you have, and then I’ll go into how social media fits in.


Hilary Hendershott: Okay, great. So, podcast is top of funnel. There’s something like 9 quintillion podcasts out there in the world. How do people find your podcast?


Stefanie Gass: Yeah, that’s a really good question. The first thing is that podcasting is so easy to start one, right? There’s zero, what’s it called? Barrier to entry.


Hilary Hendershott: No barriers to entry.


Stefanie Gass: So, anybody can start one, which is seemingly bad. Oh no, everybody has the podcast. But here’s the reality is only I believe, don’t quote me, it’s between 5% and 10% of people actually make it over six months.


Hilary Hendershott: They just don’t do the consistency.


Stefanie Gass: There’s no consistency, there’s no discipline. And I would argue in many areas of online business anymore, it’s fickle. Jump to this, try that, do that. Everything’s overnight, which is why no one’s actually making any money because that’s a lie.


So, you got to pick your house and you got to build it and you have to make it fully brick and you are not allowed to move out until you have reached that full appreciation of that house. And so, they’re living in this house and my students, I’m like, “You’re not moving out for 12 months. You must podcast for 12 months consistently, dedicated every single week, every single week, every single week because you’re going to weed out all those other quitters.” And now, you’re going to be here and you’re going to be stuck in this category of whatever your podcast is about, and you’re going to rise to the top. And so, if you just wait out the people that quit and you’re consistent and you’re good at your content, you will win. There’s no way you don’t win.


And what is next is being strategic about your podcast. So, example, for Hilary’s podcast, Hilary is going to be thinking about what would my person be looking up? What would they be searching for? What are the pain points that my person might have? And I don’t know, Hilary, they might be looking up financial planning or too, what’s cool for you is you have some really niche terms that are in the upper echelon, too, of the financial world, like three ways you’re not saving taxes, like three things you haven’t thought of as a seven-figure earner to save tax because that’s where I’m sitting now going like, “How else can I save taxes?” And these questions that your ideal person is asking, you want to phrase them in a way that your person would say them to you verbally or type them into a Google Search bar, right?


And so, stop thinking in terms of you as the podcaster or as the content creator, start thinking in terms of your buyer, of your listener. Get in their shoes and go, “What are they saying?” And the best thing any of you can do, go into your database of emails that came in or of phone calls you have recorded, Zoom calls, listen back to the verbiage that your people say to you. They say the same things over and over again in different ways.


But for me, for example, I found, I thought, “Oh, people want to start a podcast.” So, I’m making this podcast about podcasting. I’m doing all this stuff. And it was really stagnant. I wasn’t growing for about 12 months. And so, I’m like, “I’m missing something.” I got back into the market research. I met with, oh my gosh, a dozen people. We had 4,000 lines of data collected from all the different places, and my team and I were going through it. We found the same core problems. It was, I want to work from home, I need to make money from home, and I want to start a business. I wasn’t saying any of that. I thought it was– they don’t want to start a podcast. Nobody wants to start a podcast. They want to make money from home. And so, they’re going to listen to Stef, tell you how to make money from home and trust me to do it my way, right?


And so, using their verbiage in your podcast, and I’m talking about in the titles of your episodes, even the title of up in the top of your podcast, do you have those specific phrases? Is it on your art, the tagline that you’re trying to portray? So, all of that actually works in the algorithm for your show to get found…


Hilary Hendershott: So, you’re talking about not only the episode titles, but the podcast description.


Stefanie Gass: The description up in the top, where it says like Hilary Hendershott. Next to that, you’re going to be putting like financial this and that, like put your edification. Those words are searchable inside your app. So, all of that helps organically. And then we are strategic inside the episode too, where we’ll do giveaways three or four times a year. Share this episode with a friend, post this somewhere, and we’ll get you entered to win. We’re constant.


My number one goal is grow the podcast. So, I’m going to go and be a guest on people shows, just like Hilary and I are doing today. We’re going to be a guest on each other’s shows and then everybody gets to know about it and they go listen and learn from each other. That’s a great way to grow your podcast.


And then, of course, as you grow bigger and bigger, you can also even run paid advertising to the podcast because why am I doing all of this to my show? Because when somebody listens to me for 20 minutes, they’ve already decided if they’re going to stay or not, they’ve already decided if they’ll ever buy or not, right? They’re like, I like her, I don’t. Where else can you create something that in 20 minutes, you’ve just secured a lead for yourself that will buy or will not buy?


Hilary Hendershott: And the thing I find is people get on the phone with me and it probably happens with you too. I get on the phone with people and they say, I’m like, I feel like you’re a celebrity. I feel like I already know you. And I’m definitely not a celebrity. It’s always kind of odd, but it’s nice that I– and just like you’re saying, I have built relationship with people that I haven’t met yet simply because I choose to reveal my life and talk about my own struggles and fears and concerns. And so, that’s what can happen. I mean, there was this thing I got so tired of hearing it. But they say podcasting is very intimate, you’re in someone’s ears, right? And I heard it and said it so many times, I got tired of it.


Stefanie Gass: It’s so true.


Hilary Hendershott: There’s a truth to it, right? A lot of the people I follow on Instagram are people whose podcast I listen to and they’re dumb, their Instagram presence is dumb. There’s nothing to do with what they podcast about.


Stefanie Gass: And the only reason you go look at the Instagram is because you care enough, you become curious enough to go, “I wonder what they look like. I wonder what their family is like. I wonder what they’re saying over there.” But it’s all because you’re listening to them on the podcast, that’s the thing that’s creating the curiosity versus, oh, I landed on someone’s Instagram, whatever. It doesn’t have any staying power. And so, that’s, I believe, why the profit potential for me, it’s grown exponentially compared to some of my peers that I meet in these masterminds who don’t have podcasts and they are struggling so hard to continuously generate any type of organic lead at all. They’re having to pay for their leads at this point. They’re having to do that.


And I think it’s important that we diversify, not just financially, but in the way we build our business where we have this beautiful thing we’ve created that will organically grow for us. And if we want and if we choose to put money behind it and grow more leads to that organic, beautiful thing that you own, great. That’s a great strategy.


Hilary Hendershott: Right. Perfect. Okay. And then you were going to, five or so minutes ago, you said, “Ask me questions, and then I’ll talk about social media.” Did you want to circle back to that?


Stefanie Gass: Yeah, I do, because I think the belief is that most people have, that have a business is, I must use social media to grow my business. So, the question that I have is why do you believe that to be true? Have you proven that social media is actually growing the business? Now, when I look at my organic presence on social media, the answer was no, it did not grow my business. I and my team were showing  up – it’s gross. I was showing up four to five hours a day for a while on Instagram, making the videos, doing the reels, doing the things. And then I tried to pass it to my team, but then they weren’t as good as me at it. So, then I would take it back and it was like this whole thing.


And what I found was that we weren’t actually making any dollar bills from Instagram. So, why am I spending all of these hours making $0 bills? Because I think I need a presence. Why? I have a website. I can put up a few photos and be like, “Hi, go to my website.” Why? Why do I need this?


And so, I actually got off of Instagram for 30 days. I did a whole experiment, social media experiment, and said, “Let’s find out if this hurts the business.” Told everyone on the team, “No one is to touch social.” We did no ads. We did nothing. We stopped touching everything. And everything grew in 30 days. The podcast downloads. But what happened? I grew. I could see, I was the visionary of my company again. I had time to do another episode. And now, I do three a week from two to three. I do three, yeah, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I have all this time back. I don’t want to go back.”


So, we stayed off for six whole months, Hilary. Six whole months, and everything exploded. The list, everything grew. And other people started to say to me, like, “How are you growing without social media?” And then I was telling them, “The podcast is completely growing everything.” I’m telling you, like, “This is so cool. There’s all these cool strategies that you can use to grow the show.”


And so, I ended up not going back at all on an organic level. We don’t post things anymore because why? Like, we post these things and people see it and they’re like, cool, but there’s no exchange actually happened. We’re not actually bettering anyone’s lives truly with a post anymore. We can’t even absorb it. We’re too busy. We’re in this dopamine hit loop, right? So, we’re just like, “What’s next? What’s next?” We’re not internalizing and really stopping and going.


Hilary Hendershott: You’re not changing people’s lives.


Stefanie Gass: You’re not. And so, why do it? So, there’s a difference, though, between I think when you get to a level and I typically tell my students, it’s around $200,000, $250,000 plus, where maybe start looking at some paid advertising, you have that budget at this point. Paid advertising on Facebook or Instagram, now, that’s different because you’re doing literally nothing and you’re putting your money behind it and they’re going to push things out to the right strategic buyer. That’s different. And I do do that and we do have success with it.


Now, the day that we stop making money, we stop profiting on ad spend, we won’t do that anymore and we’ll shift our strategy. And I tried lots of different things. I’m not afraid of marketing and advertising, but as far as a personal, showing up all the time, feeling like it’s a stressor, feeling like if your spirit is telling you that it’s no longer joyful for you to continuously pump out all this organic content, you don’t have to do that. It actually does not, I believe, help your business anymore in the day and age that we’re in.


Hilary Hendershott: So, a key takeaway for me, this has been a very rich conversation, and obviously, I’m doing long-form content, but what you said about your house has to be made of brick and the bricks are long-form content and I learned long ago, similar to you, I’m great with a microphone, not so great with a keyboard. So, I’m doing podcasting. That is my thing.


And you had shared in the mastermind where we met, I believe you said, it got to the point where you felt obligated to, rather than participate and be present with your family, you had to be Instagramming it. Am I remembering correctly?


Stefanie Gass: Yes, you are.


Hilary Hendershott: And I’ve never gone quite that far with it. But I know exactly what you mean when you talk about if you open up a platform and it just feels dead inside, like why am I doing this? And you’re great at following the numbers and tracking the data, but yeah, track your effectiveness. For example, the LinkedIn strategies are all about DMing people. And I say, “Well, I’ve never read a LinkedIn DM.” I go in there, there’s 10,000 things and they’re all just pitches. Why would I add to that useless chorus, right? I don’t want to do that.


Stefanie Gass: One, there is a visual that somebody gave me once. You walk into a stadium and there’s 20,000 people inside the stadium. You all walk in with your big sheet of paper saying what you do and you’re screaming at the top of your lungs, all 20,000 of you. That’s what’s happening on the social platforms. How do you get out of the stadium and take one person to coffee so they actually hear you? But because you’re podcasting, you’re actually taking 10,000 people to coffee at the same time.


Hilary Hendershott: One at a time.


Stefanie Gass: Everyone’s listening to what you have to say. That’s the difference. That’s how you make money, because no one’s going to buy from you if they don’t trust you. If you don’t change their life in a free episode, do you think they’re going to trust you to spend money with you and work with you on another level?


And the one rebuttal I’ve heard to this that I want to touch on, people say, “But Stef, if I don’t have a business card on my Instagram that looks a certain caliber, no one will work with me.” But my question back to them is, “Well, how come your business card’s your Instagram, and not your podcast? How come that’s your business card? How come your business card is something that can be gone overnight? Choose a business card that’s also a foundation of stone. Build that.”


Hilary Hendershott: Love it. And the other thing I sometimes think about social media is it’s like these platforms are all thriving because we’re free content producers for them. Here, you have people dancing in their home offices in front of a mobile phone, making these videos for Instagram for free, right? Movie and television stars get paid to do that.


Stefanie Gass: Exactly.


Hilary Hendershott: So, very good. Yeah, I think, what I’m taking away from this conversation, you’re incredibly values based. I mean, clearly, you’ve niched so deeply and you do talk about that on your podcast, but also you’re incredibly smart about following the data, tracking the metrics, and also very empowered about money. So, I think that’s a really lovely thing for listeners to take from who you are is- you can elegantly combine all these facets of being a great human being, being deeply connected to who you are, and also being very clear that you intend to make money and being happy when you do it. And I think a lot of women, in particular, struggle with that as a gender role kind of thing. So, thanks for sharing that. Before I ask you my signature question, is there anything that I didn’t ask about that you want listeners to know?


Stefanie Gass: The only thing I would, I guess, want to say is, just if you can, I don’t know where this episode finds you. Maybe you’re like, I already make $4 million, I’m so great. But I know even at that level, there’s always this moment where it doesn’t feel like enough. No matter where you are, there’s always another level. And I want all of us to remember that it’s not about that end result, it’s not about the pot of money under the rainbow. While that’s nice, that is very far away.


And so, to remember and to just sit in gratitude and gratefulness for what you do have right now in the journey where you are, whether it’s not much, whether it’s a lot, I think that we are all perfectly positioned right now for a time such as this. And so, the moment that you’re in, just enjoy it. Because if I could look back, I would have told myself, like, “Look, the money sucks right now, but look at your life. The money will come.”


And for myself today, I remind myself like, “Hey, it’s so great. You’ve got money right now. Maybe there’s a day you won’t. That’s okay. Love the money and give the money and enjoy it and be with your family.” Because we don’t know what tomorrow holds, and so, just enjoy today, really sit for a minute and just sit and enjoy today because I know so many of us who were go-getters and were achievers. And we are meant to do big, incredible things in this world that do take money, we forget sometimes why we’re doing it.


Hilary Hendershott: Wow. I feel like you just gave– I mean, the name of the show is Love, your Money and I think you’re the first guest who proactively said that phrase without me prompting them. That was really great.


Stefanie Gass: High five.


Hilary Hendershott: Yeah, absolutely. Love Your Money, like it’s not going to love you back unless you love it first.


Stefanie Gass: Yes, exactly.


Hilary Hendershott: Great. Thank you so much for this amazing conversation. Let me ask you, if your money were writing you a love note, what would it be complimenting you or thanking you for?


Stefanie Gass: Yeah, I think my money would say thank you so much for letting me be free. Thank you so much. Thank you for stop hiding me and holding me and crushing me. And thank you for letting me breathe and run and be free and go to other people and be part of this initiative and be part of this thing and be part of this person’s life. I think they would just be so excited to finally just be free and know that it could come home at any time.


Hilary Hendershott: Amazing. Stef, remind me the name of your podcast.


Stefanie Gass: Yes, it’s Online Business for Christian Women. Anybody’s welcome, of course.


Hilary Hendershott: Yeah. And again, we’ll link to that in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. It’s been an amazing conversation.


Stefanie Gass: You’re welcome. Thanks, friend.


Hendershott Wealth Management, LLC and Love, your Money do not make specific investment recommendations on Love, your Money or in any public media. Any specific mentions of funds or investments are strictly for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice or acted upon by individual investors. The opinions expressed in this episode are those of Hilary Hendershott, CFP®, MBA.


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