Charlotte, North Carolina-based Kristen Bousquet is on a mission to teach creators how to monetize their online influence and creativity; whether she’s helping people develop brand partnerships, create digital products, or sell their services, her goal is to help them do so full time.
She teaches from experience; her own route into online content creation started in 2015. After graduating from fashion school, she opened a hair, makeup and photography company, which she built into a 15+ person team. “It was a lot of fun, but I eventually realized it wasn’t for me,” she shares with Thinkific. “I wasn’t excited to go into work every day.”
At the time of operating her business, she was running its social media accounts. She was also taking outfit pictures and posting them on her own Instagram account, @kbousq. “I started wondering if I could do social media as a full-time job,” she says.
At that point, she was working on paid brand collaborations. Despite her self-doubt, she decided to go for it and try to turn social media into her career. She sold her share of her hair, makeup and photography business in 2019 for $100K and, with the backing of that money, went all in on being an influencer. Now, along with getting paid to work with big name brands like Crest, Shutterfly, and HelloFresh, she offers a host of services under her business, Soulcialmate. These include one-on-one coaching, selling digital products like templates, ebooks, and planners on her Etsy store, and teaching two self-guided courses and one membership course, which has over 134 members and brings in $4,000+ USD per month in recurring revenue.
Here’s how she did it:
- She listened to her audience
- She shifted from a one-on-one to a one-to-many model
- She created a low ticket offer: the membership program
- She developed a simple sales funnel
- She used multiple channels to market her course
- She chose prices she was comfortable with
- She hired a team to help give her a greater work-life balance
- She was open to pivoting
In 2018, when she was running her hair, makeup, and photography business, she began posting consistently on her own Instagram account. She built her following and gained momentum and, after a year of posting consistently, she pursued social media full-time.
Her niche of content creation was fashion; she shared her outfits and shot them creatively. “It was about the clothes, but it was also about the cool locations that I was shooting and my post-production process of editing my photos,” explains Bousquet.
Her followers began to become more interested in the photography and logistics side of her business. “That’s when I started to shift into sharing more of that photography and business part, versus just fashion. It wasn’t about the clothes anymore,” she shares.
In the beginning of 2020, she began getting questions about how she worked as a content creator full-time. “I realized I was getting many of the same questions that I was spending so much time answering in my DMs over and over again,” continues Bousquet. “I thought, ‘clearly, I’m onto something if people are consistently coming to me with questions.’”
She says it felt like a light switch went off in her head; she realized that another stream of income aside from brand partnerships was possible through the form of one-on-one coaching.
As she began coaching online creators one-on-one, she noticed that she was again saying the same things over and over again to each client. “I thought, what if this was just in a course?”
She ended up creating her first course, Impact to Income—-which is now her highest-ticker offer priced around $1,000—that includes four, self-guided modules and three one-on-one coaching calls.
This course was first hosted on Kajabi, however she was frustrated with the user experience, and felt like she had to jump through hoops to put her course together. She switched to Thinkific because of how easy it is to navigate.
“I like how simple everything is on Thinkific, but you can still do so many different things,” she says.
After launching Impact to Income in 2021, she created another course in 2023—-which is her mid-tier option priced around $500—-Brand BFF. This course includes a community, resources like templates, tutorials, and workbooks, and a four-module self-guided course.
Bousquet says that accessibility to information is important to her. “Spending $500 to $1,000 on a course isn’t an option for everyone,” she says. “I wanted to offer a lower ticket item, but in order to do that, I also wanted to make sure I was respecting my time; I couldn’t offer everyone a $20 one-on-one coaching call.”
She decided that a membership program—Soulcial Suite—would be the perfect low-ticket option; it would allow her to offer people access to great information and community, as well as gain consistent revenue from the folks who were in the membership month after month.
She launched the membership in June 2022. Currently, it has 129 students in it—with each paying the monthly fee of $44 USD. For those who have been through her other courses, she offers them a small discount on the monthly rate (and readers can also take advantage of this discount by applying the code THINKIFIC). “A lot of those members have been in the program since the beginning,” she says. “We have a great retention rate.”
Most people stay in the membership not only for the resources she shares—such as video tutorials, templates, and ebooks—but also for the community; Bousquet hosts live group meetups multiple times a month where everyone gets on Zoom. “We hang out and talk about our struggles and our wins—virtually. We call them date nights,” she says.
“Having this safe space of creators who are going through all of the same things as you is really great for bouncing ideas off each other,” she adds. “Plus, members have access to me and a community of people who may have gone through the same things.”
She also shares brand opportunities in her membership each week, and students are able to get discounted one-on-one calls with Bousquet. “We scour the Internet and find great opportunities that creators can apply to,” she says.
The best part? She only spends two to five hours a week on the membership by answering questions, plus another hour per month creating a new resource that goes into the course’s resource bank. “It’s not a huge time commitment from me.”
She also sends an email newsletter welcome sequence to around 2,000 subscribers. This sequence shares results and stories of people who are in Soulcial Suite, as well as about what being in the membership actually looks like. “That newsletter is probably the most important part of our funnel,” she says.
When her membership students want to go more in-depth with their businesses, she leads them to her other courses: Brand BFF and Impact to Income. “A lot of people who have purchased my courses are members of Soulcial Suite,” she says.
Her audience is mostly made up of creators and people who are looking to use social media to monetize their business in some way—-whether they’re entrepreneurs or small business owners. To host her communities in each course, she uses Circle.
She says she has a widespread demographic. “Some creators I work with have never done a brand partnership, whereas others have been doing this full time for five years. Everyone is at a different stage in their journey.”
Mostly, she works with women between the ages of 18 and 34, but there are also a few men, too. To reach her audience, Bousquet uses a variety of channels; she gets her message across her podcast, Instagram account, and regularly goes live on TikTok. “Almost every time I go on TikTok live, I get at least one new member in Soulcial Suite,” she says. “Sometimes it’s a little exhausting, but it’s so effective.”
“When I first launched Brand BFF, I went live on TikTok every day for a week,” explains Bousquet. “I think the majority of the people who purchased the course came from TikTok live and Soulcial Suite.”
She also uses Instagram to market her courses. There, she shares her members’ wins and tells her followers to send her a message if they want to learn how they can experience these things too. While Instagram is helpful, she uses it more so as a longer conversation plan with folks. TikTok, on the other hand, converts quicker. “A lot of people in the membership are people who have been following me and in my community on Instagram for a while now.”
According to Bousquet, pricing is the most challenging part of being an online creator. “Everyone says to charge your value and worth, but then is your worth only $500 or $1,000?” she laughs. “It’s difficult to put a number on yourself.”
To choose her pricing, she decided to look at what her competitors were charging. Then, she thought about her audience. “A lot of creators that I work with are just starting out, so it would be difficult for them to feel comfortable investing $6,000 in becoming an influencer when they have no idea if it’s going to work out,” she says.
“I hear from people all the time who tell me to raise my prices,” she continues. “But I know that these prices are accessible for my audience, and that’s what I’m comfortable with.”
For Bousquet, choosing an accessible price represents being in the coaching industry for the right reasons. “It’s easy to get scammed by a coach, and it’s happened to me,” she says. “One thing that’s important to me is that I’m not overcharging people. I’m here to actually support them.”
In order to have adequate time to focus on creating content and marketing her courses through her podcast, Instagram, and TikTok, Bousquet hired a few team members: a podcast producer, two virtual assistants, and a community manager who helps her manage the Soulcial Suite community. Eventually, she’d like to have a virtual assistant help answer member’s questions, too.
With her team taking over many of the everyday tasks to run her business, she’s able to focus on her priorities—which is pushing her membership program. “It’s been really great for me, because in the last few years I’ve spent too much time working and was getting burnt out way too often,” she shares. “I feel like I now have a great work-life balance.”
Plus, since building a team, she’s had more time to dive into other things that she’s interested in. “I’m super involved in the animal community; I speak in front of city council and volunteer, and it just fills my soul so much.”
When it comes to hiring people, she recommends online creators take the time to do their homework before hiring each person. “Don’t be afraid to ask for writing samples or stats of things they’ve worked on for other people,” she says.
For those who want to create an online course, she has some advice.
“There are online courses for everything at this point,” she says. “I don’t think you can reinvent the wheel with your topic, but you can put your own spin and experience into it.”
“Make it special to you,” she continues. “There are so many courses out there about how to gain brand partnerships, but you are the secret sauce. You’re the one that’s going to make it different, even though there are so many courses that are probably teaching the same things.”
She recommends that online course creators avoid going into online course creation with a rigid plan. Rather, she suggests that they be open to experimenting with different course formats and content, and pivoting when needed.
While she wants to continue growing her impact, she says she’s going day by day; she has no idea what online creating will look like in the future—or even six months from now. “My goal is to really just continue with the membership,” explains Bousquet. “That’s the most important part of my business for me right now.”
“Honestly, I think if I just continue on with what I’m doing right now, I’ll be happy,” she adds.
If you’re ready to step into the ring of online course creation, now is the time. Sign up with Thinkific today—for free.