87. How To Make 6 Figures With a Small List with Sal Frances

19 January 2021 | By Salome Schillack

Welcome to Episode 87 of The Shine Show, How To Make 6 Figures With a Small List with Sal Frances!

Yep, you read that right - 6 figures with a small list. Sounds crazy, right?

Tune in to find out how Sal Frances pulled it off. Sal is a Canva Template Designer and the Founder of The Template Tribe, where she creates time saving Canva templates for coaches, educators, and niche experts creating online products and programs.

Sal has put together a beautiful membership that offers so much value to its members and her story is fascinating. Join me today to hear Sal’s interview and learn some handy tips and tricks for pulling off your own launch and building your audience.

Psssst - speaking of building your audience, don’t miss your chance to join A-Lister!! The doors close VERY soon (21st of January for Australians, 20th of January for our US friends). If you’re an online business owner who wants to learn how to dependably build your audience and start selling to them sooner, check out what A-Lister is all about here: https://shine-and-succeed.mykajabi.com/join-a-lister-2021

When you subscribe and review the podcast not only does that give me the warm and fuzzies all over, it also helps other people to find the show.

When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!

So do a good deed for all womenkind and subscribe and review this show and I will reward you with a shout out on the show!!


175. We’re Taking A Break. Here’s Why And How You Can Do It Too


174. Some Thoughts On Making Lots Of Money


173. 3 Reasons NOW Is The Best Time To Start A Digital Courses Business with Amy Porterfield


172. 25 Biggest Lessons In Online Marketing I Learned From Amy Porterfield


171. Social Media: One Thing That Makes All The Effort Worthwhile


170. How to Choose the Right Name for Your Online Course


169. Content Planning For Posts VS Content For Your Course And Launches


168. Managing Your Money As A Small Business Owner with Darcie Milfeld


167. 3 Lies You Were Told About Hiring An Ads Manager


166. How To Create Your Online Course Faster with Gina Onativia


165. The Only Way Low Dollar Offers Are Working Today


164. New Ad Targeting Options That Are Working Now

Salome (00:00):

Hello and welcome to episode number 87 of The Shine Show, and today on the show I have Sal Coombes who is a Canva Template designer and the founder of The Template Tribe and Sal has graciously agreed to come on and share with us how she built her six-figure business with just one ad, one lead magnet and one offer. And before we jump into that, I wanted to let you know that Sal is a student of mine from A-Lister and from a few of my other courses and A-Lister is now open for enrollment.

A-Lister is the fastest way you can build your engaged audience and make your first or next sale using Facebook and Instagram ads without wasting your money, without selling your soul on social media, or getting a tech degree, and everything that Sal is talking about in this episode, everything that she's applied, she learnt inside A-lister. And when you go to shineandsucccess.com/join you can also join A-Lister for another about 48 hours, the doors will be open and then they're going to shut and I don't know when they will open again. So after you listen to my episode with Sal, head to shineandsucceed.com/join and I'll see you inside A-lister, but here is the episode.

Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi, I'm your host, Salome Shillack and I help online course creators launch, grow and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you're ready to be inspired, to dream bigger, launch sooner and grow your online business faster, then tune in because you are ready to shine and this is The Shine Show.

Sal, thank you so much for joining me. I am so excited to share with everyone your success.

Sal (02:10):

Hello, I'm excited to be here too. We can talk all day so I hope you've got the timer on because you and I could talk all day.

Salome (02:18):

I know, yes we can and we have. Well you and I go way, way back don't we?

Sal (02:26):

Yes, I think we've both seen each other cry.

Salome (02:32):

Multiple times. I do have to say a lot of people have seen me cry because I'm a crier. You get me in a mastermind group or a coaching group or anything, chances are the first time I open my mouth, I'm probably going to cry.

Sal (02:46):

You're allowed to when it's 04:30 AM [crosstalk 00:02:51].

Salome (02:51):

4:30 AM in the morning we were on mastermind calls together and everything like that. This is even before I quit and went back to my day job I think, if I remember correctly?

Sal (03:02):


Salome (03:03):

Or I was working in my day job, this was 2017 I think.

Sal (03:06):

That's it yeah, when I met you, you were still working full-time and you'd resolved to quit your job and then you quit earlier than you had hoped.

Salome (03:17):

I did. It's been amazing to go on this ride with you and to see how we've both grown and to remember the goals we set for ourselves in 2017, and here we are.

Sal (03:28):

And here we are on our [crosstalk 00:03:30] journey.

Salome (03:30):

It's only three years.

Sal (03:32):

Yeah, and it continues.

Salome (03:34):

It continues yes, it continues. And I would say, the whole experience is not easier now than it was then, it's just different.

Sal (03:43):

It is, it is just different, yeah. My husband's always asking, "So when's your business going to be done? When's your website going to be done?" I'm like, "It's never done!"

Salome (03:53):

It's never done and I know you love going back and finishing things and doing them over again.

Sal (04:00):


Salome (04:00):

So for everyone listening, can you just tell us who is Sal and what is it that you do?

Sal (04:05):

Okay, yes my name is Sal. I'm in Queensland, Australia and I have been working for myself, self-employed for about two and a half years now and I come from the corporate, full-time, 9-5 grind background where I was a digital all-rounder. When you're employed you just tend to be put the digital or online marketing space and do a bit of everything. So I was working for a media company and then I decided to quit that, quit my job and take a leap of faith and I thought I was going to sell e-books because I thought that this whole passive income thing would work out for me where you just make money in your sleep, and it did in a way but I'm definitely not selling e-books, but that led me down the path to what I'm doing now which is, I have a membership for Canva Templates.

Salome (05:06):

That is amazing. You undersell that, you have an epic membership for Canva Templates. Is it just for people who create online courses?

Sal (05:17):

Yes, so that has been one of the challenges along the way is deciding who and what to specialize in because you can't just have Canva Templates because that's what Canva is, Canva is the big generic broad-based templates, so I had to decide what to niche in. And for a long time I felt pressure to choose an industry, people kept saying, "You've got to work out who you're going to help, what industry is it? The health industry? Is it authors or copywriters or social media people?" And it just didn't sit right with me to have to choose an industry. I'm like, "Hang on, this isn't about choosing an industry, I don't need to choose health or copywriters, it's about the business model," so now yes, I've narrowed it and it's people who are creating online products and programs.

And there's different terminology, we all call it different things but essentially it's course creators, membership creators, but then there's a lot of people now creating baby packages and things so it's really online products and programs, or people that want to do that but they're still building their email list. So it's people who get this concept of building an online audience, packaging together their expertize and information into an online product or program.

Salome (06:43):

Yeah I love that, and that means that you can really create specific social media templates and specific lead magnet templates, specific ad image templates.

Sal (06:54):

Yeah, it's the purpose of the templates, so whether you're in the health industry or the finance industry, you can use the same template but the purpose of the template is the same. If it's a checklist template then different industries can use it, but the purpose is it's a checklist that your audience is going to check off items, list items on that list, or if it's an ad graphic, so it's all about the purpose of the templates.

Salome (07:27):

I love that, that is so cool. And your design, the look of it, it's so gorgeous and it's applicable to so many different brands.

Sal (07:27):

Thank you.

Salome (07:35):

One of the things that you and I have spoken a lot about is you're very clear on how you don't want to show up and the things you don't want to do in social media and in building your audience. Talk a little bit about that.

Sal (07:49):

Yeah, well like many others say, I am an introvert and it seems like 99% of the online population says they're an introvert at the moment, but then the introverts get online and they're absolutely show ponies and performers and can sell on video. I love jumping on to have a chat, I'm fine chatting, but the thought of me doing a sales pitch or sales presentation on a webinar, it just gives me the heebie-jeebies. It's not my strength, I don't think that it would do me any favors putting myself out there trying to doing something I'm not competent at, I feel like I look awkward. And to be honest, I've seen other people do it and if they feel awkward then the audience feels awkward.

So yeah of course everyone gets better at it and it takes practice but it's just not my strength and not my thing, so I haven't really focused on that and instead I've just focused on what I'm good at and my strengths and I lean into those. So I don't do Facebook lives, I have never done a webinar. I do video tutorials, I'm fine doing that and love having a chat but just I don't like showing off on video on a graphic scale.

Salome (09:14):

I love that and you've never been the girl who goes after the shiny object. Instagram reels is all the rage right now, everyone's freaking out, I can't stand it because I absolutely refuse to make a video of me dancing and pointing at words.

Sal (09:32):

I am going to be completely honest, I've unfollowed a couple of people who have done it because for starters, that's what I'm on TikTok for, so-

Salome (09:45):

You're on TikTok? I'm not even on it.

Sal (09:48):

I can't even watch the corny dancers on TikTok because that's what I'm there for, whereas Instagram, I'm not on Instagram to watch corny dancers and then I've seen people present information with this dance, I'm like, "I don't need the song and dance routine to get those five tips, just give me the five tips and a nice graphic or something where I can actually process the information."

Salome (10:16):


Sal (10:17):

Especially if they're not comfortable dancers, because as I said, if they don't feel comfortable and they feel awkward, that's how the audience feels too.

Salome (10:25):

Yeah, I feel like Instagram needs to take a leaf out of, what's the expression? A page [crosstalk 00:10:33]. It's just niche already, stop trying to be everything for everyone and cramming every other social media platform that is doing in any way, shape or form well into Instagram.

Sal (10:47):


Salome (10:49):

You were very clear on how you didn't want to grow an audience and what you didn't want to do, so what were you clear on? What did you want to do and what did you do?

Sal (10:58):

I definitely wanted to grow and audience.

Salome (11:00):

You knew you didn't want to do it with video?

Sal (11:03):

Not through video. Just like everyone saying going live on Facebook is the best way to get reach. So I started up with 35 to 70 people on my email list, this was probably just over a year ago and obviously I'm a DCA in Brookfield [student 00:11:24] and a tribe with those students so I know all of the strategies and tactics, so I chose the ones that worked for me and the concept of creating a lead magnet where you give something of value that your audience actually wants, they're willing to give you their email. That's what I did, so I created a lead magnet of four lead magnets, it was a Canva... I changed it now, I'm experimenting but it was a lead magnet Canva Template pack. So that was my lead magnet and then I put that out there and people absolutely loved it. And then to get the audience, that's where I started Facebook ads.

To begin with I was like, "I'm just going to spend 25 dollars a day, then 50 dollars a day," and then I was, "Salome's going to be so proud of me, I'm just going to try this, I'm putting 500 dollars a day down," and it worked, it really worked out.

Salome (12:34):

It did, so you've just said it paid for itself so I just want to backtrack a little bit. So you were running ads for a lead magnet?

Sal (12:43):


Salome (12:45):

A lead magnet about lead magnets?

Sal (12:47):


Salome (12:47):

And if I opted in for your lead magnet, what happened after that?

Sal (12:52):

They would get one email with the actual lead magnet itself, that's it. I didn't even have an automated email sequence set up, not because I disagree with that strategy although I do find it's because we're in the industry that we're used to this. We enter our email and then in five days we receive the scripted automated email sequence that we just expect and it all feels very automated, but I think that's because we're in this industry, I'm not sure about that but anyway. It's not that I disagree with the strategy, it was just that I was experimenting, I was busy, I could only do so much. We can only do so much.

Salome (13:34):

You've done a ton just creating a template.

Sal (13:37):

Yeah, so I just had one email in which I sent the lead magnet to them and then that converted into sales because they tried it out and then they loved it, and then they wanted more. So simple.

Salome (13:54):

So you didn't even send them an email saying, "Hey you tried it, you loved. Want some more? Sign up."

Sal (14:02):


Salome (14:02):

So hold up, this is the point that I've never heard, so they literally just download the lead magnet and then they'd get the templates. And then how do they know there is more, where do they go to get more?

Sal (14:17):

Just through my website, just having a very, very simple website and that's probably something else different about me compared to a lot of people, I just have the one thing. So I don't have a podcast, I don't have a course, a membership, a baby offer, a blog. I don't have all the things, I just have the memberships. So it's very obviously when you come to my website what it is I'm offering and the journey is run the freebie, and at the moment I still have the trial out, I've got the try the freebies, and then if you like the freebies, join. That's it.

Salome (14:58):


Sal (14:58):

But the thing is, when I first launched it I had pages and pages of things on my to-do list that I was going to start doing a blog post every day, I was going to do all the strategies that I had been taught, but then I started Facebook ads and it just took over and then I didn't have time. I didn't have time to do the blog posts, I was too busy looking after my members because Facebook just gave me the audience, gave me the numbers without having to do all of the podcasts and the blog posts and the weekly content piece. It was just instant numbers and then a percentage of those numbers convert. So simple.

Salome (15:48):

I love that, I love that. And most of the people joining, they then become annual members? So what's the value of an annual member? What's the value of your membership?

Sal (15:58):

So I've recently made some changes, but for a good eight to 12 months I just had the annual membership. I did have some requests, only a couple, for monthly but the structure didn't work, so I just had the annual. So for about eight to 12 months, that was the only thing that could be purchased, the annual membership and it converted really well. I do have the monthly now because I've made some changes to the structure. [inaudible 00:16:26] was the annual membership.

Salome (16:29):

That is fantastic, I'm a little bit obsessed with these less than 300 dollar sales numbers because I feel a lot of the time we get really bogged down on these mega courses, 1,000 dollars or more, that does require the audience building, it does require the podcasting and the blogging and all the things in order to get an audience for that, or we get bogged down on what you're calling baby offers or tiny offers, these little 27 dollar little bits.

Sal (17:02):


Salome (17:03):

People forget about the 247 or the 297 dollar thing that you can sell so easily, so easily in literally just having the right offer to the right audience, and I would say a few emails but in your case your product is so good, you don't even need the emails.

Sal (17:27):

Yeah, I think that was the sweet spot, the 297, around the 300 dollar mark because it's not your baby, baby offer, it's not your high offer item either. And for the people that did ask for the monthly because they said, "I can't afford 297." I understand that all these things add up, there are so many tools and courses, it all does add up but at the same time I did have to tell myself, "Well, if you can't afford 297 at the moment, perhaps it's not the right product for you because of the purpose of the templates." The purpose of the templates is for people who are launching, so if you're not launching and making money then you probably don't need those templates yet.

Salome (18:15):

I love that you say that because that's yet another way that you're saying no to something. The power in saying no to it, you're just being so clear in who it is for and who it's not for. I totally agree with you, if you can't afford 300 dollars then it's not for you.

Sal (18:36):

Yeah, and there's definitely power in saying that. Some people won't like it and that's one thing, you cannot please everyone. That's probably the biggest lesson I have learned, when I launched it was all very feminine, airy vibes and lots of people loved that but then I got requests, "Do you have some more masculine, more bolder corporate styles?" So then I changed things, started introducing those kind of styles and then some people were like, "No, we like the feminine, airy," you just cannot please everyone.

Salome (19:11):

What did you decide about that, how are you doing it?

Sal (19:18):

I'm still experimenting really, I have added additional styles so now it is more unisex because I have seen a gap in that and there's just so much lady blogs out there when it comes to templates and designs, a lot of feminine lady blogs. I have seen a gap because a lot of my client members also have clients, so they use the templates for their clients and those clients aren't always feminine brands either so there's definitely a need for it and I have made a strategic decision to try and cover both. So I'm trying to please everyone but it's hard. And also your natural mind, I'm into pastels, I cannot escape pastel colors no matter what I do they creep back. So as a designer, naturally my natural style is going to come through, I think I can't really avoid that.

Salome (20:17):

That's true, but I like that you have the brand guides in your template which is quite unique. I always think you can give me as many templates as you want, I'm still going to mess it up somehow. You can give me the Canva Template, I'm still going to mess it up unless you give me the, "Well just stick to these seven colors." And that's what yours does so well because you can take your template and apply it to a different brand pack and change the masculinity or femininity of it that way.

Sal (20:51):

Yeah, a template isn't a color palette or a font style, it's a structure or framework of which you then apply your own colors and fonts to. So that's been something that I have learnt is that so many people just assume that the template's for their branding solution and that's not the case at all, you still need to establish your own brand colors, your brand look and feel, fonts and everything of which you then apply to the template.

Salome (21:19):

So you have been able to build your email list to 7,500 people?

Sal (21:27):

Yeah, it's just gone over 8,000.

Salome (21:31):


Sal (21:34):

In a year.

Salome (21:34):

In a year, yes. You've built a six-figure business literally off of one Facebook ad, one layer in that funnel and you're just sticking to that one thing that works for you. How does that feel?

Sal (21:50):

Well it's a big deal to me and I think as I've said to you before, you can't compare yourself to the Amy Porterfield's of the world where they own multi-million dollar homes and they have stalls in Africa. I'm not doing that kind of thing.

Salome (22:06):

But that doesn't matter.

Sal (22:06):

I compare it to, I'm earning more than my full-time job, but now I get to work whenever I want, wherever I want and how I want, and that's a big deal to me.

Salome (22:21):

That's a giant-

Sal (22:24):

Yes, I work way more than I would if I worked in a full-time job. But it's okay, it's worth it.

Salome (22:32):

But you're building something that you can scale.

Sal (22:35):

Exactly, and I didn't mention, I did client work, I did one-on-one client work and I think that everyone needs to do that, I think everyone has to have a year or two of doing the client work because that's the best way to learn as you would know. So I did that but it's not scalable, unless you have an agency model as your job but then you've got team management then. You're just a solo entrepreneur. Client work, you can't scale it, you can only take so many clients at a time. Now I don't do any client work, I have no capacity to do any client work because I'm so busy with the membership. It's great because I feel like I have 500 clients.

Salome (23:24):

It's great, the thing that got me about client work was the fact that you can't go on holiday without working. I was working on holiday all the time.

Sal (23:32):

Yeah exactly.

Salome (23:35):

So you have done phenomenally well, building a six-figure business with just sticking to your one thing. I want you to talk a little bit about the importance of understanding what your ideal customer wants and creating an offer for them, because that's what you've been so good at doing, is just creating an offer that they want. So how did you get to that?

Sal (23:58):

Well that's the thing, it wouldn't have worked if my audience didn't want what I was putting out there. And I knew what they wanted because I'm part of these Facebook groups, we're part of the same circles, we're part of Amy's group. So if you just observe and listen to what people want, I would take note of what they're asking for in the Facebook groups, and then I just created the solutions around that and used their words. I don't have the best marketing strategy, I don't have the whole sales funnel and sequence set up but I've got the thing that they want, so it works. Whereas you can have the best marketing strategy in the world but if the actual product and offer isn't what they want, it's not going to work. So the product has to be right, and the only way to know that is... I learned it through client work and just hanging out in my circles and my Facebook groups where you just learn what they want from how they talk and what they're asking for.

Salome (25:20):

Yeah, and then once you have an offer, it's like the foundational marketing principles. Once you have an offer that people want, you have what the starving crowd wants, then the ads just becomes the traffic that you're driving to this offer.

Sal (25:38):

Yeah, and as part of the membership as well I have my members drive it, so I release templates every month and they get to decide what they are because I have a suggestion or a template request feature.

Salome (25:53):

That's cool.

Sal (25:54):

Yeah, they will submit their ideas so every decision I have made in the membership hasn't been my own, it's come from the members.

Salome (26:02):

That is fantastic.

Sal (26:04):

Sometimes I'm like, "Oh, I don't really want to create that, but that's what you want so that's what you're going to get."

Salome (26:11):

That is fantastic, that's brilliant. I love everything about this, it's been a privilege for me being on the journey with you but also seeing how you've grown and what you've created. I love that... I know that your overnight success wasn't overnight at all but I love seeing how massively you've grown in one year, just in one year. You deserve all the success and your template membership is amazing, you've created a phenomenal product so if you can leave the audience with something. If someone is where you were a year ago, or three years ago, what would you say to them?

Sal (26:59):

I would say just focus on what you are good at, work out what your special thing is and that needs to be a combination of what you enjoy doing and what you're good at doing, and then make sure that your audience wants that and then just focus on that because you can't possible do it all, and don't be afraid to say no to all the strategies that you're learning because I know that a lot of your audience would be course addicts like us, doing all the courses and online programs. And just take from those courses what works for you, you have to adapt these strategies otherwise we'll all just be robots sending out automated email sequences and there's already a lot of that. The whole online market, it all feels so repetitive and automated, everyone's doing the same so take the information and adapt it to your own strengths.

Salome (27:58):

I love that, I love that. Well congratulations on everything you've achieved, you're an inspiration. Please tell me where people can find out more about you and your amazing templates.

Sal (28:09):

Yes it's simple, it is thetemplatetribe.com.

Salome (28:14):

That's fantastic and we'll link that up in the show notes for everything to go and check out too please. And Sal has also generously contributed an amazing bonus to the A-Lister Program where she is generously donating Facebook ad image templates, Canva Templates that can easily be used, but it's only available inside A-Lister.

Sal (28:37):

I want to thank you as well because honestly I wouldn't have had the guts to put that much money on online Facebook ads.

Salome (28:47):

It's my pride and joy, is giving people the guts to spend money. Thank you so much.

Sal (28:53):

Yeah, because I think that's what has made the difference because it gave me an instant audience.

Salome (29:00):

And I want to say thank you, I want to say to that it is something that I take very seriously is to how people spend money on ads in a way that is not just throwing spaghetti on the wall, or going to be wasteful because there's a lot of wasting money when it goes to ads, and I love seeing my students not waste money. So thank you for that.

Sal (29:22):


Salome (29:23):

Well it's been lovely to see you here, thank you so much for coming today. I wish you all the best.

Sal (29:28):

Thank you for having me.

Salome (29:29):

You can all go and check out The Template Tribe. Is it thetemplatetribe.com?

Sal (29:33):


Salome (29:35):

Fantastic. Thank you Sal.

Sal (29:38):

Thank you for having me.

Salome (29:39):


Sal (29:39):


Salome (29:41):

That is it for today, but before you go I want to remind you that the enrollment for A-Lister is now open. Most of the strategies Sal and I talked about, we cover inside of A-Lister and so I will teach you in A-Lister how to build your engaged audience, how to use just one ad, a good ad and a good offer and who knows? Next year this time I could be interviewing you about your six-figure business using one ad, one lead magnet and one great offer. A-Lister is the fastest way to build your engaged audience and make your first or next sale using Facebook and Instagram ads without wasting your money, selling your soul on social media or getting a tech degree. And if you go to shineandsucceed.com/join you can join A-Lister right now, see you inside A-Lister.

Thank you so much for listening. If you had fun please come back next week and remember to hit that subscribe button so you never miss a thing.