My name is Caitlin Bacher, founder and CEO of Scale with Success®, and I’m on a mission to help course creators all over the world grow their business in a way that is profitable and scalable. We are sharing revealing conversations about what it really takes to scale an online course business to millions of dollars per year. Join us here to discover the tough decisions we’ve had to make, the biggest failures we’ve had to bounce back from, and the learnings that emerged every step of the way. We are so grateful that we have the chance to share it all with you right here on Scale with Success®: The Podcast Built for Course Creators™. Let’s get started.
What Julia Child taught me about selling online courses. Let’s get started. So a couple weeks ago, we were having a discussion at one of our all hands meetings at work. We were talking about some of the women that inspired us. I knew that was going to be the topic of the all hands meeting. And so I had some time to really think about what important woman in my life do I really want to highlight? And there are so many inspiring women in my life.
In my family alone, my grandmother, one of the strongest people I’ve ever met physically and mentally, also amazing sense of humor. My mom, one of the most generous, sincere, warm, open person I’ve ever met in my life. My sister, one of the most loyal, and I would say the other thing about her is that she always, she is not afraid to fight for what is right. She operates in a way that is very much in integrity with her own values. So another inspiring woman right there.
And then the more I thought about it, I kind of let my mind wander and I started thinking about a woman who has inspired me greatly. The funny thing is, she has no idea I even exist. And that woman is Julia Child. I guess my love of Julia Child really started long ago when I was a little kid in elementary school. So growing up, we lived out in the country kind of in the middle of nowhere. I remember we had this old TV. It was the kind where, like there were no remotes back in the old days everyone and you had to turn the dial in order to get the channel that you wanted.
And because we didn’t have cable or anything like that because we were out in the middle of nowhere, we pretty much got two channels. We got PBS and we had CBS. And on PBS, there were two shows that my sister and I watched all the time. And those shows were the Bob Ross Show. I don’t know if that’s the official name, but we watched Bob Ross, and the other show that I don’t know if my sister was so much into it but I absolutely loved to watch was all of the Julia Child shows. Julia Child really stood out to me because, I don’t know about you but where I grew up and how I grew up, there was a lot of focus on as little girls being told that we had to kind of live up to these expectations of being nice and not making mistakes, being great at everything. Almost kind of like being perfect basically were the expectation.
I didn’t hear this so much, of course, from my mom or anything like that, but just growing up in society, a lot of the messaging that we get is that we have to be these perfect little women, right? One of the things that I remember vividly is that it was so incredibly refreshing to be able to invite this woman, this very tall woman who had kind of like an interesting sort of warbly voice who made mistakes all the time on live TV, well, I guess it wasn’t live at that point, on TV and in front of the whole world because it was all being broadcasted out, and she was able to do all of those things without apology.
I was always even more amazed because not only did she make mistakes in front of everyone over and over again, but she also called them out like, “You guys that are watching, in case you didn’t realize what I just did. That was a mistake. That’s not how it was supposed to go.” She was so open about it. The really cool thing that she did that, I know I was just so enthralled with her as a little girl and I didn’t really realize it until now and going back and re-watching some of those episodes, one of the things that she did is that with every single mistake that she made, she always used it as an opportunity to learn and to teach.
And so the really, kind of like I think the true testament to Julia Child is that she was constantly putting herself in situations where she was uncomfortable, where she didn’t know something. She was putting herself in those situations over and over and over again, and kind of feeling and fumbling and making mistakes all along the way. But by making all of those mistakes, because she was able to reflect and learn from what she did and kind of take some takeaways, and the fact that she wasn’t ever shaming herself for making those mistakes or making it mean something about her and that like because I made this mistake, I’m a bad person and I’ll never be a great cook and blah, blah, blah, she didn’t do any of that.
She was just always like, well, made a mistake, learned, moving on. Made a mistake, learned, moving on. And it was just like this really awesome thing to witness as a little girl because I didn’t have a lot of exposure to women like that in my life. And the fact that she was doing it on such a grand stage in front of all to see was just really awesome and special. If you haven’t had a privilege of watching Julia Child, I highly recommend it. She’s such a beloved character. And so if you look on YouTube, there’s tons of really funny clips about her cooking show and things like that. And so today what I wanted to do is highlight three quotes or three scenes from her show that really had an impact on me, and I want to kind of show you how I was able to apply that in my own business.
The very first thing… Oh, before we get started too, I wanted to also show you guys, if you want to learn more about Julia Child, this book, I don’t know what the cover… This one is kind of old. I don’t know what the cover looks like now. Julia Child wrote an autobiography called My Life in France. And you’ll notice that Meryl Streep is on the cover. That’s because they also made a movie about it later. But this book was written by her and there’s tons of awesome photos. Here’s one of her little cat, which I love that she had a cat that was just running around the kitchen. But anyway, this is an amazing book. And I think there’s an upcoming mini series on Julia Child as well.
So let’s talk about three things that Julia Child taught me all about selling online courses. Number one, there’s this really popular scene on her cooking show where she’s making some kind of sugary sauce. So she has her little pot on the stove top. The sauce has already been made. So it’s clear that the sugar has already been melted in with water and the butter and all of that. And so she calls out that these sugary sauces are oftentimes invoking fear in people who are attempting to cook those things. And the reason why is because they’re very fragile, right? Like if you’ve ever made your own caramel or anything like that, you know it burns so quickly. And so you have to be very diligent about continuing to stir the whole time. You got to make sure it’s not too hot, it can’t be too cold. You got to be focused, right?
Sometimes I do this when I’m making apple pie. I’ll be making kind of the sauce for it. My husband will be there. He’ll want to like chit chat or whatever. I’m like, “I got to focus here. I’ve got my whisk.” Like I am focused. And so in any case a lot of people, Julia Child says, are kind of afraid to make these sugary sauces because they are so sensitive and because there is a very good chance that you will burn something and that you’ll need to start over, right?
One of the things that she says, and I wrote it down right here because I want to make sure I’ve got it word for word, she says, “If you’re not going to be ready to fail, you’re not going to learn how to cook.” If you’re not going to be ready to fail, you’re not going to learn how to cook. One of the things that I’ve learned throughout the years selling online courses is that there are failures that come along with that every single day. One of the things that I always like to say is the only difference between you and someone more successful than you is that that more successful person has probably failed 10 times as many times in order to get to where they are.
Having that perspective I think has really helped me have the confidence that I need in order to move forward. And as opposed to kind of avoiding failure or avoiding mistakes, of really leaning into those. And sometimes, honestly guys, failing and making mistakes doesn’t always feel great. Okay. So I’m not trying to sugarcoat this by any means. It doesn’t always feel great.
But what feels even worse is living a life where you are trying to present that every single thing is perfect and you’re never able to get to where you want to go because at every turn you are avoiding failure and ultimately that means that you are avoiding growth. And so Julia Child’s quote could easily be, if you’re not going to be ready to fail, you’re not going to learn how to build a million dollar course business, because there is a lot of failure involved in that.
The second quote that I absolutely love, and this one is super, super famous. You’ve probably seen it on clips. It might even have been talked about in her autobiography, I can’t remember. But basically she’s making this potato dish where it’s almost like the potatoes are mashed but then they’re in a pan and she’s flipping it, right? Well, she’s supposed to flip it. That’s the caveat there. She’s supposed to flip it. And so she’s making this like… It’s like this what she calls a loose mass of potatoes. And on the show, again, tons of people watching, she goes to flip it, and guess what? The potatoes fly all over the place. They fly all over the place.
Now, when is the last time you were watching a cooking show where something like that happened? Now everything is just so overproduced and nobody ever makes a mistake. Here’s Giada walking out here looking amazing and making pasta and like, I don’t know, all this stuff. So anyway, Julie Child’s like the opposite of that. So she’s literally trying to flip this thing and it goes all over the place and she does not even lose her cool. In fact, she does one of those things that I was telling you earlier where she literally calls out the mistake. She doesn’t try to just like hide it or pretend that didn’t happen.
So she kind of calls out that she made it. And then towards the end she says something very poignant. She says, “When you are flipping something, you just have to have the courage of your conviction, especially when it’s a loose mass.” And the loose mass she’s referring to is like the potato. But it’s so true. When you’re flipping something, you just have to have the courage of your conviction. And I know for me, a lot of times when I start something, I am obviously hoping that things will go well and I definitely have a plan for how I’m going to execute and I’ve definitely surrounded myself with people who can help me execute.
What I also have is the courage of my conviction. So I know I am not looking to live a life with no fear. Do you guys remember those baseball caps from like, I don’t know, when was that, ’90s? Was it ’90s? And they said no fear. And it was like on the t-shirt, no fear. I have to be honest, there’s a lot of times where I am afraid. I think fear gets kind of a bad rap. I don’t think that fear is necessarily a bad thing. If we try to kind of position fear as something bad or something to be avoided, I think that kind of sets us up for a bigger chance of not a failure of not getting to where we want to go, because like we’re waiting for this opportunity where we don’t feel afraid anymore.
The reality is that in my experience, I found it more helpful to lean into courage. So for me it’s not about living a life with no fear, it’s about recognizing that fear is present and at times it goes up and at times it goes down. But in that moment, we always have a choice that when we feel that fear or when we feel that like unease, because there’s like definitely a spectrum of fear from like a little bit nervous to like, whoa, this is totally terrifying, right? But when you’re in those moments where you are feeling fear is to kind of put on your coat of courage. Okay. That’s really cheesy. But whatever. So put on your coat of courage, everybody.
But it is about kind of stepping into that mindset where I’m not looking to pretend the fear isn’t there and I’m not looking to pretend that I’m like perfect, I’m just going to look the fear head on and be like, “Hey, I see you fear, and I’m going to proceed with courage. I am going to muster up the courage that I know is inside of me and I’m just going to keep moving forward.” And if you go to flip that loose mass of potatoes, if you go to flip that and if you’re in a state of mind where you’re feeling scared and worried and afraid, well, guess what? It’s going to flop all over the place, right?
And Julia even says that. She’s like, “I did not have the conviction that this was going to work.” She’s taking accountability. She’s taking personal responsibility. She’s not blaming the pan. She’s not blaming the cameraman like, “Oh, you guys were too loud over there. And now look, you made me make a mistake.” She’s like, “Hey, I just tried to flip this thing. It didn’t work out. And now it’s all over the place. And the reason why is because I didn’t have the courage of my conviction in that moment.” Courage of conviction. And so this is a huge learning piece, I think, for all of us is to have that courage of conviction that what we are ultimately trying to achieve is going to happen, and not being afraid to make mistakes or kind of go off track along the way.
One thing I love about Julie Child is her growth mindset. So she’s never someone to, and if you read this book you will know, she was a terrible cook. She didn’t know the first thing about cooking. And even on her cooking show, she would choose to kind of give these little tips for like, “Hey, here’s this fancy thing that you can do. But also here are some tips or strategies that you can implement and practice over time to get really good at the thing that you ultimately want to be able to do.”
So like one of the cool things that she… She’s not showing up on the cooking show and be like, “Whoa, look at me flipping omelet. I was born for this. I just naturally came out of the womb and here I was flipping these perfect omelets.” And so there’s this one episode where she is making a beautiful French omelet. One of the things that she does afterwards is she’s like, “Hey, a good way to practice is by using beans.” She puts some dried beans into a pan and she’s basically showing like you got to go back and forth, back and forth. And so she’s like, “Practice with dried beans because it won’t make that big of a mess and it’s easier to clean up.”
But what she’s doing is she’s meeting you where you are. And that’s something that I always try to do with my own students is I’m trying to say like, “Hey, I know this is where you want to go.” A lot of our clients, they’re like, “Hey, I want to build a million dollar business.” “Okay, great. But first things first, let’s get to six figures. Then after that we’ll do multiple six. And after that we’ll go to seven.” So it’s kind of like meeting you where you are. And it’s an awesome testament to her dedication to really helping people. She’s in this to serve others. She’s in this to help other people, and she’s not in it to make herself look good.
I think that a lot of times, especially for those of us that have a personal brand, sometimes we can start to become overly concerned about looking good in the eyes of complete strangers and trying to please people who are not students of ours, are not clients. And when we do that, we’re not really serving, right? So it’s important to make sure that when we show up for our audiences, whether that’s with our students or with our YouTube audience or whoever it is, that we’re showing up as our authentic selves and that we’re being real and not trying to present that like, oh, this was so easy for us. Because guess what? It’s not easy. And sometimes we all need to have our little pan of beans and flip and flip and flip until we can get it right.
I know that it’s easy for us to get caught up in our own fears about what people might think of us when we show up online. But just remember that each mistake you make is a gift for your audience, right? You may very well be the most influential person in someone’s life that you don’t even know exist. So no matter what, keep showing up for your audience, keep making mistakes and keep serving.
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