547 Days — Rebuilding Her Life From The Ground Up
“For someone with no prior entrepreneurial experience, or even a product to sell, the journey to 7-figures was both lightning fast and excruciatingly slow. Every day that went by was one less day to be away from my kids…and I often worked 16 hour days until I could see the hard work beginning to pay off.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Stoian, a 2 Comma Club Winner and Funnel Builder Coach at ClickFunnels, as well as the founder of the business and lifestyle brand Create Your Laptop Life. Julie started her journey to entrepreneurship as a blogger and writer, garnering the attention of media outlets like The New York Times and Washington Post with her no-holds-barred approach to social media. After a rocky divorce and unexpected pregnancy in 2014 that left her needing to build a profitable business quickly, Julie transformed her passion and love for internet marketing into the 7-figure business she has today. She now works both in her business and with Russell Brunson as a coach and writer.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
When people ask for my story, I tell them, “547 days.” That’s how long it took me to rebuild my life from the ground up. In the beginning of 2014, I was a stay-at-home mom to three kids. By the end of 2014, I was in the middle of a divorce, jobless, and pregnant with a fourth child. After giving a decade to my family, and depending on someone else for my financial future, the crisis of divorce and pregnancy at once awakened this need to build a business that would sustain me and my family. I couldn’t interview for jobs because no one would hire a pregnant woman. I didn’t have health insurance. So, overwhelmed with the prospect of starting over, I had to relinquish custody of my children for those 547 days so I could figure out how to “catch up” with my career. My passion for psychology and tech led me into marketing, where I discovered ClickFunnels, sales funnels, and Russell Brunson. I built a marketing agency and a business brand, and within two years, I’d gone from a side-hustling freelancer to a millionaire, and was able to buy a home, a new car, regain custody of my kids, and start planning for the future.
For someone with no prior entrepreneurial experience, or even a product to sell, the journey to 7-figures was both lightning fast and excruciatingly slow. Every day that went by was one less day to be away from my kids…and I often worked 16 hour days until I could see the hard work beginning to pay off.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
I’ve had some crazy adventures since starting my business. I’d say my most interesting tale has to do with a client who came to me because she wanted to teach others how to proofread. And not just regular ol’ proofreading — transcript proofreading for court reporters. Talk about a super-specific niche! She hired me to help her set up sales funnels for her business. Believe it or not, within 9 months of building out her marketing campaigns and sales funnels, she did over $1,000,000 in revenue, earning her the ClickFunnels prestigious award of making it to the “2 Comma Club.” This award is given out to business owners who process a million dollars inside a sales funnel with ClickFunnels.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company is tiny compared to most. It did $1.3 million last year in gross revenue, and when I tell people the size of my team and the number of followers we have, they are astonished. When you learn how to serve your customers well, you don’t need millions of followers or 50 employees. I’ve been able to bootstrap my business, debt free, with a team of four and only 20,000 followers. Anyone can sell to a person once. My story proves you can sell again and again when you treat your customers well.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
All my life, I’ve struggled to trust in others for my own financial security. Every time I would (a parent, boss, or spouse), something would happen. Layoffs, broken promises, etc. It wasn’t until I met Russell Brunson that I finally found someone who could teach me how to be in charge of my own financial future, and actually give me the tools to do it.
I discovered Russell’s book “DotCom Secrets” and read it in a day. I quickly devoured everything he put out and when I look back on my business over the past two years, it’s been his training that changed the trajectory of my business.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Through my writing, videos, and courses, I’ve made it my mission to inspire as many everyday people as I can — their financial security is not out of reach. Security is not always the nine-to-five. They can build a business from scratch, even with horribly imperfect circumstances. People always tell me, “It’s not the right time…” and then they wait forever. Because the right time never comes.
Since starting out, I’ve received hundreds of emails and texts from people in horribly stressful situations who work their way out of it by grabbing hold of the freelance economy and carving out a niche that’s profitable.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I founded my company” and why?
You will want to quit at least once a week, and that is entirely normal. There were days where I’d start first thing in the morning — absolutely high on life — and by 4 p.m., I was ready to throw in the towel. It happened almost like clockwork, once or twice a month. I’ve learned never to make business decisions during the extreme highs or lows.
You will grow directly in relation to who you know, not what you can do. When I first started my freelance business, I focused on skills, skills, skills. What skills could I bring to the market? At some point though, I looked around and saw people succeeding faster than I was, with a fraction of the skills. That’s when I realized I needed to spend as much time developing relationships as I was growing my skills.
Get a mentor as fast as you can. I made several business decisions early on in my business that were painful and difficult lessons because I didn’t have a more experienced mentor to smack me. Seriously. I thought signing up 200 people at $97 per month in one month (with about ten people dropping off) was horrible. Little did I know that churn rate was incredible, and I changed my WHOLE business model thinking I was failing when, in fact, I was not.
The person who can spend the most to acquire the customer wins. This is a quote from Russell Brunson, and the day I heard it, I thought he was crazy. Wasn’t it the person who spent the least who won? But what I didn’t realize at the time is that the person who can “afford” to spend the most, does so because of a sales funnel. The sales funnel helps liquidate the cost of advertising by effectively selling low cost products to put all the advertising dollars back into the business owner’s pocket to spend again and again. When you do that, you can outspend your competitors ten to one. And then you win the game.
Sales fixes everything. The rush and high of starting a business can lead people down a lot of expensive rabbit holes. Branding, for example. It’s important, of course, but I’ve now witnessed so many successful entrepreneurs who earn millions of dollars without a ton of fancy branding. Sales really does solve most business problems, at least to a point. I remember reading the backstory of how ClickFunnels grew so quickly; Russell said it was because he spent one day, every week, just purely selling. That’s it.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would LOVE to have a meal with Mark Zuckerberg. Talk about a man who’s changed the planet! I’m a huge lover of community building, grassroots organizations, and the organic nature of mass movements. A lunch with him is definitely one the biggest things I’d like to check off on my bucket list.