Fear is one of the main things that holds people back from going after a goal or dream. Anyone who has taken the leap to start something new has felt this intimidation at first and has found a way to push through it. I loved having this chat with Megan all about what it was like to start her successful YouTube channel, Megan Fox Unlocked. She shares all about why she started her channel, how she moves past the fear of what people think of her, her perspective on the negative comments, and the unique gifts of this job! Whether you are thinking of starting your own YouTube channel, online business, Etsy shop, or even a new hobby, Megan’s story is sure to help you move past your doubts and take the risk!
In this episode, we cover:
- How Megan took the leap to start her YouTube channel
- Why people with ordinary lives can be successful on YouTube
- Finding the balance between producing what’s popular and producing what you love
- Budgeting your time when you are making room for a new pursuit
- Options to consider when the work becomes too much for you to do alone
- Determining when it’s worth it to hire help in your home or business
- A mindset shift when fear is holding you back
- What it takes to handle failure and negative feedback
- Ways to learn the skills you need to know in your industry
- Behind the scenes of how Megan plans and executes her videos
- Discerning when to ramp up your business and when to scale back
- The importance of zooming out to determine where you need to make changes
- Does an online business owner need to be active on every platform?
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Megan Fox is a mom of three who is passionate about motherhood, homemaking, and sharing her life as a Mennonite in Lancaster County, PA. She hopes that through her YouTube channel you will feel inspired to notice (and perhaps even create) beauty in your home and life even in the busy stage of raising littles. Shop her line of beautiful handmade candles, robes, and home decor at www.meganfoxunlocked.com. Most of her offerings are handmade by local Mennonite women.
Want to start your own YouTube channel? In my free YouTube Success masterclass, I am sharing how you can grow your audience and make money on YouTube in less than one year! Visit bit.ly/farmhouseyoutubemasterclass to register and get started on your YouTube success journey.
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Thank you to our sponsors!
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Lisa Bass Welcome back to the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast. Our family just got back from a major road trip. We went over to South Carolina to go to the beach. We drove over 13 hours, so whenever we got home, I was so ready to be home, to make sourdough bread, to clean everything up, make yogurt, just spread my wings in my home which I so enjoy doing. I did create a video over on YouTube. You can go check that out where I shared a little bit about our trip, some behind the scenes. But today I am joining with Megan Fox from the YouTube channel Megan Fox Unlocked to talk about fear when starting something new. So Megan has a successful YouTube channel where she shares motherhood and recipes and life behind the scenes of being a Mennonite mom over in Pennsylvania. She has a channel that is so fun to watch. I love her personality and the heart-to-heart chats that she has with moms, the encouragement she provides. So she started the YouTube channel. So specifically we will go into YouTube and the fear she had before starting that, before starting her business, learning new things, putting herself out there. This can apply to a lot of different ideas that you may have, not just YouTube. There might be something that you want to start, but you have a lot of fear. And so we’re going to go back in time and talk about when she started her channel, some of the things that she had fears about, some of her encouragement. It will be a really great conversation. So without further ado, let’s dive into that with Megan Fox from the YouTube channel and Instagram Megan Fox Unlocked.
Lisa Bass All right. Well, thank you so much, Megan, for joining me. I feel like we’ve talked before, but I don’t know that we actually have. It’s probably just from watching your videos. I’m like, I’m sure I’ve chatted with her before, but really I think I’ve just watched her videos and commented on things, so I don’t know that we’ve ever actually talked before. So thank you so much for joining me. I really appreciate it.
Megan Fox Yeah, I feel the same. I feel like we are friends already. But I guess technically not in real life yet.
Lisa Bass Yeah. I’ve been out your way before. I wish I could have met you while I was out there in Pennsylvania. But yeah, I love watching your channel. I love that you really seem to share the reality. You know, it seems like you’re very real and you’re not trying to put on this show that some YouTubers do, but also you’ve shared some about work life balance. And so I wanted to go into a little bit of that too, because I feel like you’re very realistic about it, but you’re also a go-getter. So yeah, I thought we could chat about just all things YouTube. I actually got this question from a reader, so I’m going to read this question and then we can kind of dive into it and break it all apart. So someone said, “I would love to hear on your podcast about all the fears and feelings you experienced when you first launched your channel. Taking us back to that time period would be so helpful. I worry about what I will look and sound like on camera. I worry about running the camera and lighting equipment correctly. I worry about writing a script versus going freestyle. I worry about not being able to keep up with the comments and questions from viewers. I feel like viewers will automatically think at the beginning that I’m not professional enough because I don’t have a blog, a channel, Pinterest, all the platforms. To start all those platforms at once seems overwhelming. So anyways, long way to say that they want to hear about the fears of starting a YouTube channel. And I thought we could even go more not just starting a YouTube channel, but starting anything while you’re a stay-at-home mom, whether it be learning a new skill or trying out gardening or sourdough or sewing, which I know is something that you do. What are some of the encouragements that we can give somebody who is a mom who wants to start something new? So first, let’s talk about you and your channel. So can you introduce yourself for those who don’t know you?
Megan Fox Yes. Hi, I’m Megan Fox. I’m so excited to meet all of your viewers. I have been watching your podcast— I think I listened to it first and now I watch it because that’s just twice as fun. But yes, I started YouTube kind of as— it was a creative outlet, but I’m very driven and I know people ask how you get motivation and stuff. And I definitely think part of it is how you’re born and your wiring. And I definitely am a go-getter. I see that in my grandma. So it’s kind of something that I already have built-in. And so I had been teaching school for five years full-time as a second grade teacher, and then I switched to more part-time and I got pregnant that year. And then I was home suddenly before I knew it as a stay-at-home mom, and I was not really excited about that part at first. Like I knew I wanted to have a family at some point, but giving up the career— I just felt so fulfilled as a teacher. I felt like I was using my talents and my gifts, and then becoming a mom, I was at home every day, and I was trying to find my footing, and I all of a sudden had— honestly, I think it was too much time on my hands. Like some people have different capacities and that’s completely fine. For me, I felt like I definitely had time for more things, and I was always reaching and thinking and being on Etsy and trying to think up something I could start. And I had a couple of different ideas, and I could tell stories about waking up in the middle of the night and researching frantically on different things. But yeah, ultimately I realized YouTube was actually even a thing. I ran into some British YouTuber’s day in the life video in February, and I’m like, what? YouTube isn’t just for cat videos and grainy reruns of stuff? I was shocked. I had no idea that that whole genre existed. And so that was in February. And then I started thinking, wow, people would definitely find my life interesting. There’s so much bogus out there on TV about what the Mennonite and Amish lifestyle is like, and I just felt like I could provide some answers in maybe more of an entertaining way and not instructional documentary type of thing. So, yeah, I talked to my husband about it and we went back and forth for a while. I’m not going to say I just had all the confidence in the world, but at the end of the day, I knew I wanted to go for it. So I actually posted my first video in August of that year. So I went from knowing that YouTube was even a thing in February to starting my channel in August. And yeah, it’s been a wild, crazy ride ever since. I’m not sure if you have any questions you want to ask about that portion of it.
Lisa Bass Yeah. I mean, I think that a lot of people have the fear that their life isn’t interesting. Did you feel like yours was interesting just because that you’re a Mennonite mom and a lot of people had questions about that that they weren’t— there was a lot of misunderstandings about it? Or do you feel like any mom has some kind of interesting story to share even if it’s their everyday life? Because that’s a question I get a lot. People are like, “Well, I’m really boring,” and I’m like, I don’t even know what I share that would people honestly find exciting. But what is a way that you spin things to make it to where it is entertaining for viewers?
Megan Fox It’s like I tell Josh, it’s a mystery to me how my channel has gotten to where it is because I don’t feel like I’m that fascinating. But I do think people come for the content and then they stay for the personality. So I might have the same kind of content as somebody else. Like me and you, Lisa, have such different camera presences, I guess you could say. And some people might enjoy both of us. Some people might enjoy more laid back calm—and that would be you—or more like upbeat—and that would be me—and neither of us is wrong. But you know what I’m saying? You connect with different personality types through a camera. And so I think that’s why some people resonated with me and they stuck around. And I think also trying to be authentic helps with that. I do love watching highly produced YouTube videos and stuff too. That’s really fun. But if I tried to do that in the stage of life that I’m in with little children running around in the background, like it’s just not going to work as well. And so I realized pretty early on, we’re just going to have fun with it and show real life. And I know there’s— I live in busy Lancaster County, but I know a lot of the moms that watch or just the women in general that watch, might live in a more laid back quiet area or something—
Lisa Bass Well I think people assume that maybe only homesteaders watch my videos, but actually people who aren’t homesteaders watch it just as curiosity. And the people might watch you to see what’s going on in Lancaster County, see what it’s like to be a Mennonite mom. Not necessarily that they want to live your life, just as you take them along with it, that’s pretty interesting.
Megan Fox Absolutely. I get a lot of people that don’t even have the same faith as me or anything like that. And they still like to watch. I have to confess, there is a college girl that I like to watch because I never got the experience of going to college. And so it’s kind of fun to see what that all entails. So, yes, absolutely. I think our differences is what makes us interesting inherently.
Lisa Bass Yeah, for sure. So did you plan on it being a business when it started or was that just a nice bonus as the channel grew? Or did you expect your channel to grow?
Megan Fox No. I feel like what you do with your YouTube course and everything is so calculated and awesome. I love that. I feel that’s awesome that there’s women out there that are doing that, like they have a goal in mind, and I think they’re going to be way more successful or successful more quickly than I was because they’re going to start with a goal in mind. I was going back and forth—maybe we’ll touch on this later—like, do I really want to do it? Do I not? And then Josh is like, “Either A”—Josh is my husband—he’s like, “Either A, nobody’s going to watch and you can just give it up. Or if it’s fun, you can just keep doing it for fun. Or two, people are going to watch and it’s going to be a success and you’re going to find your people and it’s going to work out.” And so I guess that’s what happened, the latter one there, and it just kind of took off and I’ve had to— since I didn’t plan for that, I just had to always recalculate how I’m going to fit in my workload, how much do I want to upload, all that stuff kind of on my feet, which, you know, it kind of helped out. I think even if I would have had a roadmap all lined out before I started, I would have had to deviate anyway. But yeah, that wasn’t the whole goal at first. The goal at first was like, I’m at home with my baby. I needs a passion project, something to do. I felt like I had something to say and I felt like I could be creative. And yes, as I watched Sean Cannell’s channel a lot— he has Think Media— because like I am not tech savvy at all. I went from not knowing YouTube was a thing to all that so quickly. And so I Googled every little question. So I think through that, I learned that, oh, people are making an income. I didn’t dare to dream that that would happen. And it happened I would say like six months in. I think I had my first free product sponsorship type thing and then yeah it kind of just built up from there.
Lisa Bass Well, you said you didn’t start yours as a business. I think sometimes it actually can come across in a really beautiful, authentic way whenever someone doesn’t start as a business. Have you found it harder to navigate now that it definitely is a business? Do you find that you want to share things in a more calculated way that you see the income potential? Or are you able to just keep it how you originally started it? You know, when people say, “Never change when you get big,” has that been an issue for you?
Megan Fox That’s a great question. Wow. I feel like I have tried to be smart with the YouTube game, because if you want to start YouTube, you have to play by the rules. It is a game. You have to figure out what people want. Unless you don’t care about the validation of people watching and you don’t care about the numbers or connecting with a lot of people. Maybe that’s not your thing. Maybe you don’t even care, and you just want to put out what you want to put out, and jump all over the place. Maybe that’s what you want. But I think if you want to be highly successful or not even that, but just growing, you do have to kind of put out maybe things that people ask you. Not always what people ask because sometimes one person will say they have a video suggestion and you’ll be passionate about it, you’ll put it out, and then like two people watch it. But yeah, I think when it comes down to it, I have three kids. I don’t know how you do it, Lisa, but for me, I have— my husband still works, and I have three children, and I have a very busy— like my family’s all close by here in Lancaster County, a lot of friends. So I feel like I want to have a social life and stuff too. And so I feel like I have to be very calculated in the time that I work. And so if I’m going to work on a video for, you know, 20 hours a week, I have to like it, I have to enjoy it, I have to be passionate about it, or the whole week is going to just be— yeah, I won’t be excited at all. So I think that’s kind of how I gauge it. If I would want to watch it, if I like it, then I think I’ve found my people over the years that also will enjoy that as well.
Lisa Bass I want to take a quick pause from this conversation with Megan to tell you about my YouTube Success Masterclass. So if you are thinking about starting your own channel, you might be overwhelmed with a lot of the strategy behind it. I put together a one-hour masterclass that is free, where you can learn my strategy, things that I wish that I knew before starting. You can find that at bit.ly/farmhouseyoutubemasterclass. If you are wanting to start your own channel and you want to learn from some of my mistakes, make sure to check it out.
Lisa Bass There’s definitely a balance between like figuring out what the algorithm’s going to like, what’s going to get views, but then also the kind of content that you were originally trying to bring and figuring out where that balance is, like where this is going to land as a business, but then also work with my life. And that’s something that I’ve seen you talk about, like going from making two or three videos down to one so that you can fit your YouTube work time in hours that don’t affect your family because first and foremost, you’re a mom. So can you talk about that? What’s your schedule like? And people can apply this to anything. So whether it’s any hobby you want to start and you’re thinking, “I don’t have time for that,” how do you find time for it and then how are you able to cut it off as well?
Megan Fox Okay. Yes. First of all, I do want to acknowledge that most of you women that are watching, that we’re all hanging out together here I guess, most of you are not even— starting a YouTube channel is not even on your radar. But maybe starting a book club is or starting a little Etsy shop or just getting more involved at your church or something. I don’t know. But I think we talk so much about budgeting or money and I think we need to be— I’m very passionate about budgeting your time. It’s the same thing as money. You only have a certain amount of it. What do you want to do with it? How do you want to fill it? How do you want to spend your time and then put in all the stuff that you need to do— housework has to happen, all that stuff. Plug that in, and then what you’re going to have to do, which feels a little bit unnatural, is actually think— maybe don’t tell your kids you’re making a schedule with them, but think, okay, how much time do I want to be with them in a day? Like, okay, I want to make sure, like for me, every day before naptime— I have three children that are four and under, so they still take naps. So for that hour before naptime, I’m making sure that I’m doing stuff with them, even if they might be at a babysitter. I use my mom for babysitting one day a week and then my sister comes over and cleans my house and watches the children one day a week as well. When I say day, I mean four hours. It’s like a morning. So yeah, when they leave then I’m like, okay, I was just doing YouTube or whatever, my business stuff, and now boom, I’m with the kids and I’m like dedicated for that. And so it’s budgeting my time. And then the key is just to do the work that’s in that time slot, and then if it goes over that, maybe look into hiring or scaling down. I’ve had to make some tough decisions. I feel like there’s certain things I don’t really want to hire out, but maybe I will at some point when I learn to let go a little bit. But yeah, I feel like it has to start with that. Figuring out what time do you have. If you’re already overwhelmed—you have maybe a special needs child or a really big house, a large garden—maybe whatever your passion project, side project is, maybe there’s really not that much time to do it. Maybe you have Saturday afternoons and that’s it. That’s going to look completely different than somebody— like for me, I’ve set aside 3 hours a day in the afternoon from 2 to 5. Then I get a babysitter, like I said, occasionally, and then if it’s not working out, I sometimes will stay up late or get up early, that kind of thing. So I have to admit, it’s summertime here in Lancaster County. I’m very busy, so I’ve been getting a lot of early mornings and later nights, but it’s because I want to be out and doing stuff during the day with my kids. Yeah. I don’t know. I would say start with that. Write down your— like time block out your day how it normally looks, and figure out what time you actually even have to work with.
Lisa Bass It was funny you mentioned about budgeting your time. People really understand budgeting with money, and I find that people don’t put the same value on time. And the reason I know that is whenever you share something about maybe hiring somebody like your sister to come clean your house or someone to—I don’t know—complete a project around the house, people get really upset about that, like, “Well, you spent that amount of money.” Well, you have to understand that—with time being something that I budget as well—sometimes it makes sense to spend money to have help in some areas. It almost seems virtuous to spend less money and spend more time on something than the reverse. And I’ve had to learn that over the last several years because I had that same mindset and I’m like, no, sometimes we can reverse this and we can budget for both. And so I totally know what you mean.
Megan Fox Yeah, but I would say, too, if you are at the place that you’re thinking about hiring someone or branching out a little bit, like I’m essentially creating a job. Like how awesome is that? I mean, I know my sister has her other job. It’s just a part-time thing or whatever. But maybe you have a mom close by that you decide to help you package Etsy orders or something like that, and you’re giving her a couple of hours a week. Like she’s grateful for those hours and look what your little business—or larger business, even—like look what it’s able to do. I think that’s something to be proud of. It’s a little bit hard, though, for me—I have to be honest—to like delegate. And YouTube—the business I’ve chosen for myself or has chosen me—is very creative based, so I feel like I want my fingers in all the creative aspects. And so it’s a little bit hard sometimes to divvy that stuff out.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Oh yeah. I completely understand that. There’s been times where I’ve tried to give out a lot to a lot of different people and then pulled back a little bit, too, when I realized that certain things I still needed to have my hand on. So that’s a whole balance that grows and happens over time. But as far as actually starting, I was asking people on Instagram—this was whenever I was going to launch my YouTube course—why they didn’t want to start or what was keeping them from starting, and fear of looking dumb on camera and putting themselves out there—especially in front of people that they actually know—was the number one response. I think it’s what stops a lot of people from starting a lot of things is just fear of failure, fear of looking dumb. Did you have any of these fears when you started? You seem like sort of a confident person, but I’m sure you had some fears.
Megan Fox I was so excited when you said that you wanted to address that question here, because, girl, I feel you. If you’re out there and you just don’t feel— like you’re excited about something like, will it work? Won’t it work? Nobody can guarantee it’s going to work. But I feel like some people don’t even try because of what people will say. And I think it hurts the most people in your own life, like your actual physical life. I’m online, so I sometimes get criticism and critiques from people I have no idea who they are, you know? And that’s a little bit easier to take in some ways because they don’t see me in real life. But when you get that in real life, I think that is a little bit hard. But wow, I’m going to pull my phone out here. I was going on a walk with my kids earlier today and I was thinking of some stuff. I’m like, if I could tell my younger 25-year-old self, this is the stuff I would say, because I did struggle with that a little bit. But my husband has a good head on his shoulders and when he was like, “Go for it,” I’m like, he wouldn’t tell me to do something that’s going to totally drag our name through the mud or anything like that. I had his vote. And I think another thing too, don’t wait for tragedy in your life or a loved one’s life or something like that to give you the maturity to realize, most things— they don’t matter. I’m sorry, it sounds kind of harsh, but you don’t want to get to the end of your life and you didn’t try something. That sounds so cliche. Or also, let’s say you did fail. Let’s say you started an Instagram page centered around whatever your hobby is and you go on Instagram live or you post stories and they’re cringey or whatever. Okay, sure. I make Instagram reels and stuff, especially lately, that I look back later and I kind of cringe a little bit. But, you know, I was having fun at the time. They might have performed well, maybe not. Whatever. But take it with a grain of salt. You can laugh at yourself sometimes and it takes that experience to get better. You know, if you just never even start, you never try, you will never get good. Like there’s just no chance. But if you give yourself the chance, you definitely can grow. So yeah, I definitely wanted to say just realize that a lot of things don’t matter. Like your children are healthy, your husband. I don’t know. I’m just trying to think of the positives in your life and stuff.
Lisa Bass The big things. Yeah.
Megan Fox Yes, exactly. It’s all relatively small. If you fail, you’re not going to fail huge, at least if you start small at the beginning.
Lisa Bass Yeah, right. You’re not putting everything on the line by making a video that people might not like. And also I always tell people, everybody—which I know I’ve heard this before a lot, but it just bears repeating—everybody thinks about themselves way more than they think about you. So they’re really like— if you put something out there, people comment negatively, I don’t think they’re going around the rest of that entire day thinking about you and that horrible video. I think they’re just like, “Ah,” and then they go and they think about something else, or they move on and they criticize somebody else.
Megan Fox Yeah, that’s sad. That’s true. I had that on my list as well. Absolutely. It’s like I tell my little sister who’s going through the teen years, I’m like, you’re just not that important. She’s like, “Oh, I can’t go to the store or I can’t drop something off for you at the P.O. Box. My hair looks crazy,” or whatever. I’m like, “Trust me, nobody’s going to remember. It sounds kind of harsh. You’re just not that important.” But I think it’s also comforting in some ways, too, to remember that people— if they’re dropping hateful comments or something, they’re going to move past it and they’re not— I mean, and do you really care about that person, I guess, anyway? I did hear the quote one time, “Don’t accept criticism from somebody you don’t want to take their advice from.” So I think that’s a really good way to gauge sometimes, too. And I don’t know. I think, too, we sometimes can be very quick to be like, “Oh, the haters, the haters. Like they’re just being mean, whatever.” I’m talking like more online stuff. But I think most nowadays, no matter what business you start, there will be an element of online. Just because marketing online and all that, it all comes into play. But I feel like—I hesitate to say it—but sometimes there might be a small grain of truth. I feel like random people, if they might be like, “Oh, your audio’s not great,” or like “You talk too fast,” or you know, if you’re getting comments like that a lot, sometimes they’re beneficial. Like, don’t always just throw everything out the window either. Don’t absorb it all and also don’t throw it all away because they’re going to also help you to be better. And it’s nice when you get criticism from people that are on your team that want to get you better. It’s a little bit harder to take it from somebody who wants you to fail. But yeah, I think that takes some maturity and stuff too, which is why I’m never going to let my like 13-year-old daughter start a YouTube channel and be reading all the comments and all that. I think it takes a little bit of—and I’m not saying I’m so mature and stuff, but I did go through some struggles of not fitting in when I was in middle school, and I feel like that did help me to realize that at the end of the day, when I lay down at night on my pillow, do I like myself? Do I like how I reacted in hard circumstances? Because that’s who I can really control. And so I think that helped me, too, as well. And I think they say being in your twenties, like that’s learning to get your footing and then by your thirties, right, when I turn 30, I’m going to be so confident, right? I don’t know. But I think that’s what everybody hopes, right?
Lisa Bass Yeah. No, I definitely feel more confident in my thirties, but I didn’t actually even start my blog or business or anything till I was 30. And then I started my YouTube channel when I was like 32ish maybe.
Megan Fox Wow. Okay. I did not realize.
Lisa Bass So maybe I had fear holding me back.
Megan Fox Well, I don’t know. You might just had— you have a lot of children, too. You might have been raising them and didn’t have time to even think it up.
Lisa Bass That’s true.
Lisa Bass I want to take a break from today’s chat with Megan to tell you about the first sponsor of this episode, and that is Toups and Co Organic skincare. I love using natural ingredients on my body and in my home because I know that things that go on your skin actually make their way in and can introduce so many bad things that you would not eat so you shouldn’t put on your skin. Just this last week we went to South Carolina and that meant that we were out on the beach all day long. And we do long sleeved swim shirts, we do hats, but still when you’re in the sun for that long, something like a natural sunscreen becomes really important. That is something that Toups and Co offers. So they offer a mineral based sunscreen. They also have tallow based, natural, organic, grass-fed tallow skin creams like the frankincense balm. I am loving that on my skin to keep it moisturized. It’s easier this time of year to keep my skin moisturized, but in the winter a nice rich tallow bomb that actually absorbs into my skin—because it’s not made with a plant oil, it’s made with an animal fat—really does nourish and protect my skin. I also love their oil based cleansers that really go deep down into my pores and clean out everything from the day, like makeup, dirt, garden dirt, sweat right now. Also loving their charcoal bar, their makeup. I’m not wearing any right now, as you can probably tell. But when I do like to get a little bit dressed up for church or a date night, I love using Toups and Co Organic makeup. I love supporting a small company made right here in the U.S., a husband wife team like Toups and Co. I know that you will love them too. If you want to check out some beautiful organic skincare items, if you’re in the market for replacing your toxin loaded skin creams and makeups, make sure to go over to ToupsandCo.com and use the code FARMHOUSE for 15% off.
Lisa Bass So when you started, did you worry about how you’re going to figure out all of the technical aspects? It sounds like you just jumped in and started like Googling it and figuring it out as you went.
Megan Fox Yeah, I get people asking me questions a lot, like specific things on Instagram in my DMS and stuff, and I’m like, “You have to Google it. You have to search it out.” I’m not a tech savvy person. Just ask my husband. It’s quite embarrassing sometimes the stuff I have to Google. And I just literally Googled everything like starting with what software I wanted to download and then every little thing in how to use it in there. I would watch tutorials and it would just take a long time, but I think if you are going to start out with a YouTube channel specifically, you don’t have a specific launch date that you have to have it done. So that first video can take you a long time to create if it needs to. Or let’s say you’re starting your own— I know some people just in our area opened up a restaurant and they had to announce an opening day and stuff like that. Then they had like a harsh deadline. It’s like sink or swim. You got to pick it out. So I know it varies for different industries and stuff, but I would say if you’re going to start something on Etsy or whatever, give yourself enough time to learn. Like there’s going to be way more components that you don’t realize are involved, down to weights for shipping things. Like I have my own line called Fox Sparrow. It’s a bunch of handmade products mostly made by local Mennonite women, but yeah, I’m really proud of the stuff we have on my website. And yeah, that was a whole learning curve in itself, too. Like all that getting things out and best rates. The mail system can be so tough, and you can find most things online. I would definitely say that I didn’t pick a lot of people’s brains. I just tried to figure it out on my own. I didn’t want to be that annoying person that was always asking my cousin or whatever how to do everything. But yeah, it’s a learning curve for sure.
Lisa Bass Yeah, pretty much everything you see online has this whole like this is the iceberg underneath like of information behind what you see actually sticking out of the surface.
Megan Fox And I’m not going to lie and say that it was very fast. It took a lot of time. So if you want to take a shortcut, like take a course on how to do it or something like that, you don’t need that, but it definitely can maybe get you going faster, too. I just didn’t do that at the time.
Lisa Bass Yeah, it depends on your goals and how much you want to hit the ground running, but definitely the information is all there. I know that when I started my blog and my YouTube, I did not take a course. I just like— late, late nights Googling, reading. The information is there. So specifically on your videos— I was going to just— out of curiosity, do you script your videos or go completely freestyle? Or to what extent are you planning out your content?
Megan Fox That’s a great question. If I’m going to do a sit down video, definitely I have to at least come up with my main points. I don’t like to just make a video to make a video. I like to have something I want to actually convey. Like I have a series on romanticizing your life as a mom. I know that was a trend for a while, but as a mom it looks very different. And so then I would be like— I want to be very focused and hit the points and then demonstrate them through video. It wasn’t just a talking head video. But most of my day in the life and stuff like that, I’m going to be— I don’t know when this video is going out, but right now we’re in the back to school season. So I’m planning today— I’m going to be sitting down and planning a back to school video, and so I’ll probably just jot down the things that I want to show, and then I won’t script any talking at all. I like to have mom chats sometimes and stuff, break down something that’s been on my heart lately or something just to connect with my audience. Because I feel like sometimes we feel way and we think we’re the only ones. And I feel like every time I’ve shared from my heart, there’s always somebody else who totally identifies. And so if it’s something like that, again, I don’t script it, but I might have down a point or two that I don’t want to miss. So I would say it’s pretty go with the flow for the most part. Definitely I don’t script everything I say. I did do that with a reel or two because you have to get really small amount of information in like 15 seconds or whatever, but not with YouTube videos. I don’t. I feel like I want to be more of a conversation with my audience, and I can always edit the junk out later.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. I always wonder, to what extent should I plan so I have less editing later? Or am I saving more time by just going about my day editing out later? There’s kind of that like— it’s going to take more on the front end or more on the back end of it. And I usually kind of land somewhere in the middle. Now, do you just choose like a specific day a week or does it change whenever you do like a day in the life type of vlog?
Megan Fox I kind of do reverse planning, but if my videos all go up on Thursdays and then I have a kind of podcast series called Honey I’m Homemaker I do with my cousin, and those go up on Mondays. But for my Thursday videos, I always try to have them done on Mondays, and then I watch them on YouTube. Like I have them private and I just watch it myself and make any edits I want to do. And then I do the thumbnail and all the edits. Make sure that’s done on Tuesday. Maybe send over recipes that I want to add to my website to my— my cousin is my web developer so that’s really cool. Or Josh’s cousin— family anyway. So yeah. And then it goes up on Thursday. So that’s the only thing. I just filmed a week in the life, so that obviously was a little different. I don’t have a specific scheduled day, but I’d like to have the video part of it done—like recording it—by Friday usually, so then I have the whole next week until the next Monday. So it takes like— I take a long time on videos. I don’t know why, but yeah. So if you’re watching a Thursday video, I probably filmed it a week and a half before.
Lisa Bass Okay. Yeah, yeah. Well, and you work with sponsors too? So you have to figure out how to plan all of that.
Megan Fox And that builds that in, too. Yes, but even when I’m not working with a sponsor, I try to stick to that schedule so that I can pop in a sponsor. Because they want to see that video on Monday and then it goes live on Thursday. So yeah, I just try to keep myself on that schedule. So I’m never really playing catch up, except we go to Florida every winter and then I’m like— try to do double speed so I can actually truly relax when I’m in Florida. But yeah, I’ve learned to have a rhythm and then if you’re falling behind, maybe take a little extra time after the kids are in bed that evening to get back on track because it’s only going to snowball. And it’s summertime right now, so we’ve been doing cabin trips and stuff like that. So there’s no buffer Saturday day to use up like I would maybe in the winter more. So yeah, I’m not going to lie, it’s a balancing act. And I feel like in the summer sometimes things can spin out of control so quickly if you don’t have boundaries and have somebody in your life to keep you accountable to hold those boundaries.
Lisa Bass Would that be your husband for you in your situation?
Megan Fox Yeah. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without him, for sure. I think I could definitely make my business— I could accelerate it if I had him come home. But he’s as passionate about his job as I am about mine. And I think we’re great business partners, but I don’t know how great we would be as co-workers because at the end of the day, I would— I mean, we could delegate it out. I’m sure it would work, but I’m really glad that right now we’re both really loving what we’re doing. For now, it works. We’ll see in the future. I don’t know.
Lisa Bass Yeah. I know what you mean. There’s as much of a self-discipline aspect behind pulling back on certain business things as there is on pushing forward, I find, because once the snowball really gets going, there are just endless opportunities. You could launch more physical products, digital. You could write a book. There is no limit to what you could do. Sometimes do you find it difficult to— like, what do I say no to? What do I— how do I continue keeping this work life balance?
Megan Fox Oh, Lisa. Yeah. I could be designing a clothing line right now, doing a planner. I could be writing a book. I could be— yeah, so many things. But at the end of the day, I do know that I’m a mom first. Like, my children are really young yet. They’re pretty needy. Like four-year-old, three-year-old. I have an eight-month-old, so I think—
Lisa Bass Yeah, we had babies around the same time. Just like a week or two apart, I think.
Megan Fox Yes, yes. Our youngest. They’re both about the exact same age. They’re so fun, but they’re really busy. So. Yeah, I think just realizing— I don’t know, I feel like every other year I have a baby, and every other year I start something new. So a business baby or something. I don’t know.
Lisa Bass Like on the off year, you always start something new?
Megan Fox Not on purpose. That’s just kind of how it works out.
Lisa Bass Yeah, it just happens.
Megan Fox And I look back, it’s 2019— a baby. You know, like every— 2017 baby, 2018 YouTube, 2019 baby. You know, on and— it’s like a pattern.
Lisa Bass Yeah.
Megan Fox But I feel like that’s always because there was a crack that I could fill, and I was feeling antsy or a little bored or let’s try this out, you know? And I feel like that’s probably going to slow down with— I have three kids now, and that’s definitely a different ballpark from two or one. And so, I don’t know— I’m definitely experimenting with my YouTube channel, adding new products to my Fox Sparrow line. Right now, I’m designing a planner. Little things like that that aren’t necessarily huge. But I forget the question again, Lisa, I’m just having fun chatting with you.
Lisa Bass Well, I’m just— yeah like, how do you figure out what to say no to? Because as you grow, I’m sure you’re presented with opportunities all the time and sometimes you probably have a really good opportunity that comes along that you actually just have to decline for personal reasons. You want to do it so bad, but you’re like, I am a mom first and foremost.
Megan Fox Yeah, well, some things I just am not excited about, so I weed those out right away. I don’t have to be working. My husband works, you know, whatever. I could drop YouTube tomorrow if I needed to, and I know that that’s— I don’t own YouTube, so I try to hold it with a light hand. Or my subscribers, my viewers could go away or— God forbid. I’m so fortunate for what I have. But yeah, I think what I do is, one, if I’m not excited about it, that’s that. Two, if it’s going to be taking more time away from my family, it needs to either be adding to our lives or adding to our investing or our savings, our future for our kids. Our kids are going to a private Christian school, Lord willing. So yeah, I guess I try to also look at things through a monetary value as well. So I’ve been pouring a lot of energy into— very hands-on with designing leather products for my website, and I was designing all kinds of stuff. It was very labor intensive, but the return really wasn’t there at all. It was just more of a passion project. And I realized I had just as much fun recording YouTube videos and they were where the money was at anyway. And so that’s how my extra video every other week happened with the Honey I’m Homemaker series. Me and my cousin just added that in because I was like, that is really fun, one. And two, it’s more lucrative than— I had just been spinning my wheels with some of the really hands-on product development, I guess you could say, with my Fox Sparrow line. So I now work just as hard, but I work a lot smarter. I only select products for my website that people already have developed and I like them and I don’t have to like put 15 different spins on it to be just Megan’s. There’s a few things I still have my fingers in pretty deeply, but I have some more parameters now so that I’m not so involved with that because I just don’t have the time for it. So yeah, I guess you have to know your goals. And if you’re trying to make money, well, look where the money is coming from. And then also follow your passion, too, I guess I would say.
Lisa Bass Yeah, definitely.
Lisa Bass All right, I want to pause to tell you about another sponsor today, and that is Redmond Real Salt. So if you are cooking from scratch like I am— making homemade bone broth, fermenting your own vegetables, you will find that you need a lot of salt. I know that every time I turn around, I’m refilling my little salt canister that sits above my stove. I’m sprinkling it all over our meat, into our homemade bone broth. Everything just tastes better with a good quality salt. And when you’re using that much of anything, you need to make sure that it is quality, that you aren’t introducing something into your food—after all of this hard work—that is going to have negative impacts on your health. That’s why I trust Redmond Real Salt. I actually purchased a huge bucket from them so that I don’t run out. I find that that is one thing I can’t do without. I can have staples on hand like eggs, like whole grains, so that I can mill them and make flours and breads and milk from our cow. But if we don’t have salt, I really can’t pull a meal together. So head on over to bit.ly/RedmondFarmhouse and that is where you can get a discount on Redmond Real Salt. They’ve offered they’ve offered this for Simple Farmhouse Life podcast listeners. So make sure to stock up on a good quality salt for your kitchen. While you’re over there, check out their seasoning salts. You can find so many things to dress up those summer barbecue meals, any meal that you are cooking from scratch. Again, that’s bit.ly/RedmondFarmhouse to get a discount on clean quality salt to add to all of your homemade dishes.
Lisa Bass So what have been some of the things that you have put into place to—I think you said your husband keeps you on track—but like to make sure that you have a work life balance and you’re getting everything done. How do you know for sure something isn’t going to like encroach on family life?
Megan Fox Well, I think, one, you have to have—whatever your business is, not maybe YouTube or whatever—but you have to have the mindset of if something is hard, don’t just wallow in it and be like, “Oh, this is so hard. Again, my kids are in my Cricut supplies and they’re wrecking it all up while I’m trying to get my stuff done,” and you know, whatever it is, and actually put some thought into troubleshooting. How can you solve this problem? Maybe instead of doing it while your kids are awake, you can get twice as much done in half the time after they go to bed if they don’t take naps anymore or something like that. Maybe you can hire someone. And yes, you’re paying them to watch your children for those couple of hours or whatever, but then you’re getting twice as much done. I don’t know, just think creatively and don’t just wallow in the hard and be like, “This is hard. It has to be hard. There’s no way around it,” you know? I think just thinking creatively will go a long way. I’m trying to think of anything like specific that I’ve done.
Lisa Bass Those are all such good points, though, because I feel like sometimes you get so busy in your routine doing things that sometimes you forget to just stop and step back and assess and see how everything’s working and figure out any trouble points and assess how I could make this better. And not just, like you said, wallow in it because I’ve definitely been guilty of doing that.
Megan Fox Yeah. And some practical things that—down to the nitty gritty—when you find something that works, repeat that and do that again and again. So on Fridays, I go work out. I’m on the road already. I go for my groceries. I just do that system and it works really well. We eat the same thing for breakfast all week long. Maybe that’s not revolutionary to a lot of people, but breakfast makes a lot of dishes if you’re going to do like the toast and the eggs and the meat and stuff. Batch cook. That’ll give you extra time right there. Have your baby’s nap time— my eight-month-old still takes a nap at 10:00 every morning. So I have all the stuff there. I have a system down. I can pretty much do it in my sleep. His nook’s in the crib; his swaddle’s there. You know, I put him down really quickly. It’s just those things that we do over and over again— create a system. Your children can be such a big help if they know what to expect. I’m just talking about ways to squeeze in— to make more time for yourself, I guess is where I’m going with this. Tell your children what to expect, like, “Okay. When it’s time to go away, here’s the shoes.” They know where everything’s at and they know what to do, so you don’t have to tell them each step. And my three-year-old, I’m still working with him on that. But my four-year-old by now, she’s got it down, and we’re going to have to start having new routines when the school year starts. She’s going to kindergarten away from home this year. And so I’m going to come up with a plan. It may work. It may not. We’ll hold it loosely for the first couple of weeks. And if something’s hard, maybe figure out a way to fix it. And that just helps to— I think even if you have no intentions of starting a business, you’re probably not listening anymore by now I guess if you’re not, but if you just are listening cause you want to hang out with us today and you really have no intentions of starting anything, I think that’s still really good lessons to do. Absolutely. Be smart with your time and it can make being a mom of littles a lot less frustrating.
Lisa Bass Yeah, I think sometimes we’re just sprinting so hard that it feels like if we stop for a second that everything’s just going to— the laundry is going to pile up, the dishes are going to pile up. But sometimes you’re right, it makes sense to put the phone down and just think through everything. Like, how can I be smarter about that? Because a lot of what you were saying just required you to think through what happens in your day and then strategize how to fit it all together so that it makes more sense.
Megan Fox For sure. Yes.
Lisa Bass Yeah. So I realized that we are winding down, but I forgot to ask you one question, so I’m just going to ask you anyways, even though it’s kind of back up in the conversation, but how do you balance the other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, blogging? Or are you strictly focused on YouTube? What’s your take on all of that? Because it can get very overwhelming for people.
Megan Fox Oh, it can. Absolutely. And you’re working with platforms you really don’t understand fully. And so that’s a little bit hard, too. So you can, one, just like sprinkle yourself all over the place and just try to do it all with not really any specific goal. Or you can narrow down a little harder and just pick a couple of platforms. I don’t know which one is more successful, but for me it wasn’t really a choice. Like, which one do I want to do? For me it was, you’re going to narrow it down. You don’t have that much time. So for me, I’ve been doing one and a half videos a week—I guess I’ll say—on YouTube. And then Instagram, I don’t make a rule. I go very sporadically, but I was not really a reels watcher too much, and I’ve become one because I’m always looking for a new sound or something that I can save and then use when that comes up in my life. Or sometimes I feel like I do a lot of day in the life content on my YouTube channel, so I do that as well on my Instagram. So if I know I’m going somewhere fun or interesting, I’ll maybe look ahead of time and find a sound. I’m like, oh, I could shoot this or that. Sometimes it just ends up being a little video montage, and sometimes I don’t do anything at all. But that’s kind of what I’ve been experimenting with now. I can’t say I’ve gone viral or anything like that, but I feel like that’s good for my business. It’s something I’m having fun with again. And it’s also reaching a new platform of new people and stuff. So I make sure I always—every so often, periodically—make sure people know there’s more on my YouTube channel if you enjoyed this or I have a YouTube channel, if you’d like to see this finished product or things like that. I pretty much drive all my traffic back to my YouTube. And then on my YouTube in the description box, I always drive traffic to my website where they can get free recipes or they can purchase products and stuff like that. So it kind of is a circular thing all kind of just— I mean, yeah, try to create a cohesive brand, but I’m not on TikTok. I did download it for a little bit and I just thought, oh, this is the place for dances. I’m not a dancer. I mean whatever. And so I didn’t really do much with that. And now I realize it’s not just for that, but I haven’t branched into it because I just can’t do it all.
Lisa Bass And you don’t have to.
Megan Fox Yeah. And maybe at some point, I’ll have that crack of time. I’ll have more free time and maybe I’ll want to. We’ll see. But for now, I just can’t do it all and I just can’t let that bother me. So I just kind of put it out of my mind, like, not now, I can’t do it. And Facebook, I just literally I make sure my Instagram stuff gets posted to Facebook. That’s it. I’m hardly on there very much at all.
Lisa Bass Yeah.
Megan Fox So that’s kind of— I don’t know, I’m trying to think. I’m not on Twitter. I’m not on the other platforms. But yet Pinterest, I’m on there for my own inspiration, but I don’t pin my own things. If I ever hired, maybe I could get somebody to work on that for me. But yeah, I’m not on there currently.
Lisa Bass Well, the encouraging thing is you can build a successful business and YouTube channel without having to be on every place. It sounds like you really focus on your YouTube. Instagram kind of happens when it does for fun. You know, if you were to go to Florida, for example—like you were saying, you have a trip coming up—you will make sure you have your YouTube channel. But as far as planning ahead for Instagram, that’s not as much of a concern. It’s mostly like you focus on YouTube.
Megan Fox Well, and it might need to be more of a concern if you are a product based Instagram page or something like that. For me, it’s more like my daily life. I never post on Instagram to make noise. I like to have something to say, something to show. Maybe it’s not always unique, but I’ve learned, don’t let that scare you. If you think, “Oh, everybody’s heard that before,” I guarantee you not everybody has. So if it’s something that you just learned yourself and you’ve been learning this little hack or whatever, and you’re excited about it, post it. Somebody’s going to be like, “Oh, I should have thought of that sooner.” You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel because not everybody is everywhere. I feel like that’s something I need to keep in mind more often.
Lisa Bass I know. I think that just because I’ve heard something a thousand times that everybody else has, too. And that’s not always the case.
Megan Fox Absolutely.
Lisa Bass So tell us where all we can find you. You also mentioned your products, so where everybody can find that. Where you are on YouTube, Instagram, all that good stuff.
Megan Fox So my YouTube channel is called Megan Fox Unlocked, and the name— back when I chose it is because I wasn’t allowed to use the name Megan Fox because they thought I was impersonating the movie star. Right? So I added Unlocked on the end just because I wanted people to understand what an actualy Mennonite does, not the sensationalized version on MTV or whatever. And then also on Instagram as well @MeganFoxUnlocked, and then I have my own website MeganFoxUnlocked.com. I have a line of products called Fox Sparrow, but everything is on there. I have free recipes. Check those out for sure. And I have free printables and things as well. I’d love to add more to that library, but yeah. Then there’s handmade products made by acquaintances or people that have reached out to me, and it’s all curated. It’s stuff I use in my own home. So either you like my style and you’ll like pretty much everything on there, or it’s not your thing.
Lisa Bass Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to share. And I know that what you’ve shared will be very encouraging to anybody who has fears about starting their own thing. Sharing your story really, really does help.
Megan Fox Yeah. And I wish I had something profound to close with, but just know that if you are feeling scared, it’s okay. I did too. But do yourself a favor and try it out. Nobody says you have to do it for the next ten years. Try it out for the next six months or a year, and really commit to it for that time, and see where it goes. You might be really surprised.
Lisa Bass Totally. And if it didn’t work out how you hoped, you’ll learn something anyways. So not all is lost.
Megan Fox Yeah. Think what you would say to your daughter. That’s what I like to think.
Lisa Bass Oh yeah. Yeah.
Lisa Bass All right. Well, thank you for listening to this episode. Make sure to go check out Megan’s YouTube channel. Subscribe. You will for sure enjoy her videos. I know that I do. She’s one of those creators that I love to watch. Whenever we sat down to do this conversation, I felt like I already knew her just from watching her channel. And I know that you will have that same familiarity with her after you follow along. So thank you so much for listening and I will see you in the next episode of the Simple Farmhouse Life podcast.