Jody: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to this episode of Online Confidential. Now I am super excited to bring with me a lady that I have known met over the years and actually have had the pleasure to meet in real life. She is just such a gem. Heart for the people that she serves and is really transforming lives. Literally sharing her knowledge and expertise with people.
So I’m so excited to bring her to you. She is the real deal and she is Julia from GeekPack. Hey Julia, how are you?
Julia: Hi, thank you so much. What a lovely introduction.
Jody: My pleasure! I’m so glad to have you with us!
You’re someone who’s got a heart like myself to just like, here’s this expertise, this knowledge that I’ve gleaned over the years. Let me help you to also learn these things and break out of that nine to five. Completely reinvent your life, get away from the status quo and, you know, live your dreams. And I mean, I love seeing your Instagram posts of where you are [00:01:00] living out in the middle of nowhere. You certainly wouldn’t want to be doing a daily commute from there.
So, it’s just fabulous. Enough of my rambling. Introduce yourself, tell us in a few words, who you are, expand on that a bit more and who you serve.
Julia: Well, thank you again. It’s a pleasure to be here. Like you said, Julia Taylor, and I’m the CEO of GeekPack and we empower women to learn tech skills and use those tech skills to reskill upskill, start their own business, grow their business, whatever it is they want to do that confidence that comes along with learning any tech skill, coding, building websites, all of it.
That’s what we do. And we primarily serve women. Adult learners I’d say is our prime audience. And that’s really the people that we love to serve the most. Awesome.
Jody: Awesome. Now you didn’t go to school and leave school and say, I want to learn how to do coding.
How did you get into this? [00:02:00]
Julia: Sure. I think the thing that was a real catalyst for me is, I’m a military wife. My husband’s retired, but when we first met, he was in the military and we first met in Afghanistan actually. I used to work for the US government and I was deployed, we met Afghanistan and fell in love.
We did long distance for a long time. I finally left my job with the US government and moved to the UK. My husband is British and I became a military wife, which, you know, I’m immensely proud of, but my career progression really took a nose dive.
We moved a lot as you do being a military spouse and every time we moved, it was kind of, oh, okay, new job and you know, new this, new that. And I was typically kind of doing low-ish level admin jobs. The career progression that I had before was gone. So I found myself kind of like, Ugh, I wish I could work remotely. Now, this is 2011. So it was pre COVID time, right, [00:03:00] before remote work was so popular.
And I remember looking and kind of Googling ‘how can I work from anywhere?’ I wanted career progression that would move with me. Rather than every time we moved I’d have to find something new and of course I didn’t have any luck. But in one of those jobs, I came across coding, completely random, no tech background, no tech degree.
And my boss told me to do something with their website and I Googled it. I figured out how to do what he asked for. It was this real, like magical ‘aha’ light bulb moment. I thought, I just figured out something techy in five minutes. If I put more effort into this, what more could I do?
And that was really the start of it. I learned as much as I could on Google and YouTube. And I took that knowledge and eventually started my own business where I had a web design agency and I built that up. And then I kind of transitioned into teaching, which [00:04:00] is what we do now.
Jody: Fantastic. Love that story. And that’s the journey so many of us have made, it’s been looking for that freedom for you it was that relationship and moving around with your husband. For others, it’s okay, like for myself, kids have come along, what can I do just working from home, let alone, you know, traveling around, that’s going to give me that freedom.
So it’s something that we just fall into, at some point in our life. And that’s how we’ve got here, but I would love to unpack a bit more. So, you learned this tech skill, and it’s one thing to have these skills, but then a lot of us as we’re working from home, we need to find clients. So how did you go about that?
Julia: Oh, it took me years. When I first started learning it was probably 2014 and I didn’t find clients until 2016 and I was imposter syndrome. I could never learn enough. I was just so terrified and really, [00:05:00] I didn’t really know that I could start my own business.
The entrepreneurial bone is not in my body. I’ve just learned it over the years. It never occurred to me to start my own business. I was learning all those skills to get a remote job. And it was only when that was never working that a friend of mine was retiring from the military and starting his own business and he needed a website and he said, build my website.
And I said, that’s not a real thing. See, of course it is. So I did and he loved it. And then he said, this is what you should do. You should start your own business and do all the tech stuff that small business owners hate and drive them bonkers. And that’s when I found our current marketing coach that we both work with.
And then it was just kind of off to the races from there. Yeah.
Jody: And I know that imposter syndrome is just so real for so many of us. And the irony of that is it’s often, you know, [00:06:00] studies have showed that it’s often experienced by high achieving women. So if you actually feel like you have imposter syndrome, chances are you actually don’t, you’re not the imposter at all.
We’re often our own worst critic. So when you went, oh, okay, I can get clients myself and call this a business thing. Again, myself, someone said, oh, that’s very entrepreneurial of you when I started out. And I was like, what does that even mean? I had no idea what that was the first time I think I’d ever heard the word.
So when you got that realization of I’m in control of my own destiny here, and I can get my own clients on board, where did you go to find those clients?
Julia: Oh gosh. I started out with the friend and then I built a website for my mother-in-law. And then after that, it kind of dried up because I didn’t really know what else to do.
And it was not long after that when I [00:07:00] started getting more into social media. Because of my previous job with the government I didn’t really have any social media. So I was getting into it a little bit later and I came across a community of women business owners who were helping each other out.
I learned a lot and to be honest, from then on, I found most of my clients in Facebook groups just by adding value. That’s it.
Jody: Yeah, absolutely. I know that works well. Like some of my Elite Ad Managers are in Facebook groups and they’ve just dropped some value, like you said, and as we people go, wow, you know your stuff, can you tell me more now?
A lot of them maybe aren’t right as done for you clients, if you’re more advanced. But if you’re just starting out, then that’s a great place to start and get some case studies because you know, I’m a big advocate of charge when you are just starting out, but maybe don’t charge your premium rates, right. You charge less but it’s okay. And you’ll do it in [00:08:00] exchange for a case study. Yep, that is awesome.
So, with that, you’ve helped hundreds of women now learn about coding, realize it’s not so techy and scary and that they can do it and provide a valuable service to people. So tell us about one of your students that’s really just thrived and grown and you know makes your heart swell and bring a tear to your eye when you think about the student.
Julia: I always think of Erin and she’s in North Carolina. She joined our program, which is called WP rockstar in May of 2020. So not long after COVID kicked off.
We we were doing our business like normal, but then all of a sudden COVID kicked off and we decided to host a, a big event in May called Geek Week, which we’ve now done three times, and we love! But anyway, she joined then, and I remember when she joined she posted in our private community and she said, right, my goal is to be able to leave my nine to five by this time, next year.
So [00:09:00] she gave herself 12 months to build up the business enough to where she could quit her nine to five and three months later she’s like, you guys, I just put in my notice. Three months.
Julia: And then after that, I know I mean, she’s had way more success than I ever did when I had my agency. And then at the end of the year, she said she was starting to hit 10k months and she was making, three times as much as she ever did in her nine to five. And she absolutely loves what she gets to do and the people she gets to serve. So that’s one of the ones that’s always top of mind.
Jody: That is just awesome. Yeah, goosebumps, tears, all the things, because you’ve probably experienced this as well as I have, you know, as you’re training and teaching people, you kind of go, oh man, is it really working for people? Am I really helping people? And then when you hear this kind of stories where people have taken these seeds that you’ve planted for them and run with [00:10:00] it. It’s like launching that arrow, right. Pulling out a quiver and launching it and away they go. And it’s just so amazing. So congratulations on that for being part of her journey. That is so awesome. And that’s why we do what we do.
So when it comes to now sharing your expertise, Facebook ads is one part of your marketing strategy. I really love how you have diversified. So if anyone listening or watching is on TikTok, run over and check out Julia @juliathegeek you’ll see her in her robe quite a bit. I really love that you don’t have to do all the wardrobe changes.
Genius. Tell us about Facebook ads and you know, it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride as all the changes have happened. What’s one of the things that you’ve particularly found when it comes to your Facebook ads, is working most effectively for you?
Julia: Sure. You’re right. Rollercoaster, love, hate relationship, you know, it’s been like that since we first started running ads, which [00:11:00] was I want to say it was November of 2019 when I really started putting a lot of effort into it. And then the next year we just took off with it in 2020 and the thing that we do, we have kind of a two pronged strategy when it comes to our paid advertising.
We have launches that we have several times throughout the year. So we’ll have a huge ad budget for that to get people in for the big event. But then we also do kind of evergreen type content. And that is isn’t for a particular thing. It’s for staying top of mind. And to be honest, it’s your your training that we follow.
We constantly have the top of mind stuff and it’s interesting because I had a call before this where someone said ‘you are everywhere’. Yeah. Like how do you create so much content? And I’m thinking to myself, well, the only content I actually create is TikTok videos that get repurposed [00:12:00] everywhere.
And then I have some picked old pictures. We have old content, everything from the last three, four years is just repurposed all the time.
Jody: Oh, that’s good isn’t it.
Julia: And I have a team that does all of that. It’s amazing that we’re able to take everything that has been done and continue to use it.
And we change things up and we switch things out, but I feel like people think that I’m everywhere, but I’m actually not doing very much, which is incredible. I mean, granted it’s taken years to get there, and it’s a lot of work to get there. But with Facebook ads, we use that two prong strategy where we’re constantly staying top of mind, not just with Facebook and Instagram and TikTok even.
But we use that and we email our list regularly. We post in my community regularly. So it really is a full marketing ecosystem that we have set up. And the paid aspect of it just amplifies [00:13:00] everything else that we’ve done. And we will never stop doing it because we know that our prime audience is on Facebook. So we will always be there and use that two prong strategy.
Jody: That’s awesome. And even though ad costs have gone up, like you say, your audience is still there. So you can’t afford not to be there and it’s incorporating those extra strategies, nurturing campaigns, and then emailing your list, right? It’s one thing to get people on the list, then you need to nurture them, which you do, and you’ve got this complete holistic thing which is just so beautiful to see and watch and see that you’ve diversified.
Because again, what I see a lot of successful businesses do they just focus on Facebook and then something will happen and everything’s been on Facebook. Whereas you are there on TikTok and you’ve got the reels and the YouTube stuff going on as well. So that’s fantastic.
Now with that as well, I know you’re quite an introvert, right. How do you go about psyching yourself up and [00:14:00] getting visible and on camera then?
Julia: It’s taken a while. I think what I always keep in mind is, yes, I’m a massive introvert. And if I didn’t have to be on, and I don’t have to be on camera, but I choose to be on camera because I know it works for the business. But if I had a choice, I wouldn’t. However my vision for GeekPack is very clear.
It is reach. It is impact. It is how can we get in front of as many women as possible to show them they can learn these tech skills to up level their life in some way, whether it’s confidence, mindset, promotion, getting a job, whatever it is. And that is what I want more than anything.
So, if that’s what I want and it means that I might need to get on camera a little bit. Of course I will. You know, absolutely. My discomfort is not worth not reaching more women. And that’s just what I remind myself all the time.
Jody: [00:15:00] Yeah, I love that. I love that. And my, one of my mottos is getting comfortable being uncomfortable.
Right. So that’s where you make the impact as you are doing here. So that is awesome. So, okay. So have gone through who you are, who you serve, the amazing things you do, people that have benefited from your service, how you go about getting visible because a lot of us ad managers as well are also very introverted.
We’re used to hiding behind the computer. So as I talk to ad managers and say, come on, you need to get visible. It’s like, ‘oh my gosh’, it can be so scary doing those kind of things. So what you’ve shared there can really resonate with a lot of ad managers, for sure, as to why they need to get visible, so that they can help other people grow their businesses.
What is one significant insight that you would give to other business owners when it comes to running Facebook ads?
Julia: I would say I’m going to list a few things, 1. Test, which I know requires a budget, but still you know, test as much as you can. The very first time we [00:16:00] were consistently running ads, I think we started at $300 a day and I was absolutely petrified.
It was absolutely terrifying and now it’s a lot more than that, but test. And I would also say consistency. Because there are ups and downs, but your people are there. So ad cost may be high. They may be low, but your people are still there. So test it when you can and just be consistent because that’s been one of the biggest things for my business, the consistency of me being everywhere. People think I am everywhere and I am not. Personally.
Jody: You’re out walking around out in your little Oasis that you have? Nice. Awesome. Okay. Well, one final question and I nearly gave it away there with your little walks.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
Julia: Oh, dog. A hundred percent. [00:17:00]
Jody: You’ve got your beautiful chocolate Labrador ‘Blue’. How did Blue get his name by the way? Because here in Australia, if something’s colored red, like me, yeah, you get called blue. It’s like the airlines, Virgin Airlines. We had Virgin Blue here because the planes had a red tail.
So how did he get his name by the way?
Julia: I always wanted a dog named Blue when I was growing up and yeah, I just always wanted a dog named Blue and I thought it might be amusing because he is a chocolate lab to call him Blue. And I like blue. It’s my favorite color. It’s my husband’s favorite color.
And yeah, clearly I’m wearing it now. So yeah, an easy thing.
Jody: So you guys can see Blue for yourself by heading over to Julia’s Instagram and seeing the amazing lifestyle that she is living, having developed these skills and created her own destiny all those years ago learning how to code.
So Julia, where can people go [00:18:00] to learn more about you?
Julia: Sure. The easiest place is probably the website geekpack.com. But as you said, if you’re looking for me on social, if you want to laugh at me in my robe on TikTok or Instagram or YouTube even, @juliathegeek is my social media handle.
If you want to see any of those and maybe get some inspiration on some short form videos which we repurpose to ads as a nurture campaign.
Jody: Love it. So go and check Julia out. She’s got a lot of great information and if you want to learn how to code and get some clients on board that way, head over to geekpack.com.
So thank you so much, Julia. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you today.
Julia: Thank you so much!