The passionate ones. The changers of the status quo. Those who put in hard work at their 9-to-5, come home, and start working even harder on their own business.
They are the side hustlers. And they are exactly who Nicaila Matthews helps every day.
Nicaila is a side hustler herself. Her day job is impressive enough: she’s Senior Manager of Social Marketing at National Public Radio. Since last year, Nicaila has been writing, recording and producing Side Hustle Pro—a podcast that highlights bold black women who’ve made their passion projects into full-time endeavors.
Every week, Nicaila single-handedly debunks the myth around entrepreneurship being a pie in the sky.
“You don’t need the next Uber idea or idea that’s going to change the world,” she says. “Simple ideas make people millions of dollars.” By making entrepreneurship accessible, Nicaila is helping people realize that they can get started with their own side hustle—no matter who they are.
To help spread the spirit of the hustle, Nicaila uses Leadpages in several different ways—in fact, since she’s started using it to get leads, Side Hustle Pro has tripled its subscribers. But today I want to take a close look at one particularly clever campaign: a social media challenge that garnered more than 1,000 opt-ins in just 5 days.
If you’re inspired by Nicaila’s strategy, I’ve also got something to help you put it into action to help grow your following while helping others with their social media woes. Click below to download your Social Media Challenge Planning Worksheet:
The Hustle Begins
Nicaila started Side Hustle Pro with a major advantage: the social media knowledge she’d deployed for the likes of Google and MTV Networks. But it took some experimenting to find the right format to build her own audience.
In 2015, Nicaila returned to blogging after a long hiatus with a plan to post interviews with women who inspired her. After crafting a handful of epic blog posts, she realized that even though they were stuffed with entrepreneurial insight and expertise, her audience was often too busy to read at length.
So she turned to podcasting. In true side-hustling fashion, Nicaila started doing all of her own outreach, interviewing, scheduling, recording, and marketing (although she recently teamed up with a producer who adds the final touches to her polished podcasts).
It didn’t take long to realize that her focus on entrepreneurial black women was filling a serious void in the world of startups—the podcast became a quick hit. Nicaila was ready to provide other inspired side hustlers with practical resources for creating, selling, and marketing their passion projects.
The problem was, though, that Nicaila was creating these resources—how-to cheat sheets, guides, and courses—and had no way to get them in the hands of hungry entrepreneurs.
Before Leadpages, Nicaila relied solely on pop-up opt-in forms on her website. She found them to be inefficient and felt they had a poor user experience. With so little room for content, they didn’t allow for thorough explanation or direction, and she found they weren’t a good indicator of whether subscribers were really interested.
It didn’t take long for Nicaila to realize there had to be a better way to provide resources to leads while simultaneously growing her own subscriber list. Frustrated with the limitations and inefficiencies of the simple pop-up opt-in option included with her email platform, Nicaila started doing some serious research.
Nicaila saw how Leadpages was paying off for the experts she followed. A slew of marketers and content creators sang the praises of Leadpages. After doing her own comparative research between landing page platforms and heeding the advice of influencers, Nicaila signed up and dove in.
Side Hustle Pro hasn’t stopped growing since.
How Side Hustle Pro Landed Subscribers (and Kept Them Coming Back for More)
Earlier this year, Nicaila came up with a 5-day “Instagram for Side Hustlers” challenge to help subscribers double their Instagram follower count.
While helping her audience build their Instagram influence, the challenge would help Nicaila grow her email list and identify leads for her paid course about mastering Instagram. She used a winning combination of landing pages, social media, and a downloadable worksheet.
First, Nicaila built a Leadpage outfitted with a unique offer, a clear call to action, and a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency. Her page promised a workbook as well as the daily 30-minute live video for the course of the challenge (which she later turned into an evergreen video giveaway—check out how she repurposed the page below).
After registering, leads were directed to a handsome thank you page that reminded them to check their inboxes and encouraged them to spread the word about the challenge on their own social platforms.
Nicaila used Leadpages’ built-in Lead Magnet Delivery feature to automatically send out the workbook. We’ve seen the value of this tactic at Leadpages, too: when you’re filling a live event, sending out an instant download keeps registrants excited and increases the chances they’ll show up.
Here’s a peek at Nicaila’s workbook:
This total package was approachable, digestible—and very successful. Nicaila began promoting the landing page through Facebook Ads and organic posts to her existing Facebook followers, setting off a sequence that immediately started filling her list with highly interested leads.
Success with a Social Media Challenge
Fifty-five percent of visitors to the challenge page signed up—earning 1,020 new leads in just 5 days.
It can take some entrepreneurs months to build a list that size.
But Leadpages made it easy The drag-and-drop landing page builder “is very user-friendly for non-designers,” Nicaila says. “It’s just easy to put up a professional page.”
While the social media challenge was free, Nicaila used the opportunity to offer her new leads a paid course—an upsell many took advantage of. Those who didn’t make a purchase right away remained active subscribers to a unique email list, which continues to show above-average open rates and engagement.
From Podcast to Platform: The Future of Side Hustle Pro
With roughly 1 year of podcasting under her belt, Nicaila’s vision for Side Hustle Pro is boundless. Nicaila wants to transform her side hustle into a true platform where entrepreneurs can access resources and connect with one another.
“I’ll for sure be utilizing Leadpages to do more digital teaching as well as special challenges and other opportunities to get in touch live,” says Nicaila.
On top of landing pages, Nicaila also hopes to set up an army of Leadboxes to grow her list by offering cheat sheets; concise summaries of the key points of Side Hustle Pro episodes. She likes the convenience of Leadboxes, since “You don’t have to put up a whole landing page.”
She’s seeing success with this tactic already: one of her most popular cheat sheets accounts for 10% of her email list.
Nicaila’s advice to other entrepreneurs is simple: “The first rule is trying different things and different pages based on what your audience likes. Find out what your audience wants to know, then create content for them while highlighting how it’s valuable.” And with that simple strategy, Nicaila has built a wildly popular community to help side hustlers everywhere hit their goals.