Find out how the Merrymaker Sisters turned their healthy lifestyle into a profitable business.
In Episode 47 of the Bean Ninjas Podcast, Bean Ninjas CEO Meryl Johnston talks to the Merrymaker Sisters about their incredible journey from a “safe” government office job to creating their own company.
Back in 2012, Emma and Carla Pappas were working for the Government in Canberra. At the time, they felt like they were wasting their lives away at a desk job they didn’t enjoy.
“Surely life is more than this… the working, the grinding, and then counting down until your 3 week holiday, then spending all your money on your holiday. Then coming back and doing it all again for 11 months until your next holiday. We just knew that we were not meant to be doing this.”
This sense of doing work just to pay the bills and out of alignment with your passions and desires is not an uncommon one for many of the freedom seekers in our community. Perhaps you’ve felt it too?
Tune in to this episode of the Bean Ninjas podcast to hear their story, and tips on how you can start your own passion business, leverage social media, and monetise your expertise.
Who are the Merrymaker Sisters?
Emma and Carla Papas grew up in Canberra, Australia. They’re now currently enjoying a laid-back lifestyle on the Gold Coast.
They both had issues with their body image from the age of 11. Like many young women in similar situations, they indulged in fast food and were falling for fad diets.
In 2012 they discovered the real food aka. “Whole30” diet and decided to cut out the crappy junk food. Their shift to healthier eating gave them tremendous wellbeing results, so they started sharing their journey to healthier living on Instagram.
Not too long after they had their first 1,000 followers. This was a signal to them that their content was resonating with their audience and a growing trend in healthy living.
One day they Googled “how to start a blog” and the Merrymaker Sisters blog was born. That was when the idea of creating an online business to help people across the globe live better – started to come to life.
Like so many, they had a mortgage and starting a business from scratch was a huge risk. But not following their dream was an even greater one.
“The Merrymaker Sisters means to bring joy to, so the word “merrymaker” actually means that: to bring joy to your life and everything around you and the reason we came up with that is because we discovered a new way of living that brought us so much. One day we just decided to share that online”.
In the beginning, they weren’t making any money. However, that changed pretty quickly.
Things took off when the Merrymaker Sisters started sharing their healthy food recipes on social media. They built a huge following base and started turning their hobby into a business.
Making money by doing what you love? What could be better?!
In the early days, they monetized through brand partnerships. They were connecting with brands and that way influenced people to start living healthy.
If you are a natural marketer, you should definitely consider collaborating with brands.
The Merrymaker Sisters ended up making 5 ebooks and 2 self-published cookbooks. Also, they launched the #1 mobile recipe App and started live challenges featuring meal plans, recipes and guest appearances by experts and doctors.
Curious about their income? They made over 30K from their first challenge!
But at this point, they decided to take a break.
View this post on Instagram
WHY WE ARE GIVING UP PALEO. We started eating paleo and didn’t look back. It changed our lives in epic ways. It led us to further health study, where we realised that it’s not just food and exercise that makes us healthy (or not healthy). That our thoughts, relationships and what we do/how we spend our days also play a part to health and happiness (a HUGE part). Which led us to following our bliss and quitting the jobs we hated. Right now, we love what we do everyday and it all started with changing our diets to paleo. We’re still advocates of the paleo diet, after all, it changed our lives. But we want to make sure y’all know we’re not ‘just paleo’. In fact we’re probably (definitely) way more passionate about people doing stuff they love and getting happy in their heads. Don’t worry… you’ll still find LOADS of paleo recipes right here… but you’ll also start to see other lifestyles as well as plenty of passion/bliss/biz talk. To be quite frank, we’re totally over the negative flack in the media/within the paleo world/within the whole wide world that paleo receives. We’ve read enough self help books and learned enough to know that surrounding yourself with negativity is never a good thing. Oh… and we also occasionally eat organic corn chips, dairy and sushi and (gasp) wine and cocktails. Because we want to. It’s fun. And it’s all yum. And we feel great. We’ve been meaning to write about this for a while. Huge thanks to our amazing Make Life Merrymakers for giving us the inspiration! Read the whole blog post in our bio. 😘😘😘
The Merrymaker Sisters shifted their focus on what they really enjoyed doing: Yoga and Pilates, so they created an online yoga, pilates and mindset studio.
Find out more about the Merrybody community here.
If you’ve made exercise a habit, and you enjoy working out, then you should definitely listen in to get tips on how to turn your passion into a business.
Merrymaker Sisters on the importance of email marketing
The Merrymaker Sisters started off with an e-book with cooking recipes. That was the first thing that brought them money.
Do you want to know how to market such a product? The Merrymaker sisters suggest focusing on social media promotion.
Want to find out more on how to utilize social media? Refer here.
However, what really helped their business grow was email marketing. If you want to form a personal connection with your potential customers, email marketing is, simply put, crucial.
“The reason why you want to capture emails is because getting into their personal inbox is so much powerful than just reaching them on Instagram, reaching them on Facebook. If you think about it, who is sending you emails, sometimes you’re getting emails from your mamma, from your friends, your sister, all of the online shops you’ve signed up to, that’s why you want to be there, you want to be in there so it’s nice and personal, you can call them by their name, you can try and figure out exactly what they’re after by monitoring what they’re doing on your site”
Once you capture emails, you launch an email campaign.
Right after you figure out exactly what they are after, you offer your product, and it’s very likely they will buy it. Your goal must be to give the most value to your customers.
Make a connection, be seen, just so that you can keep selling products to new people. There many software services that will make that easy for you.
Startup Tips from The Merrymaker Sisters
Adding value to people’s lives and inspiring them to make positive changes is what drives the Merrymaker Sisters forward. Their advice to you is to inspire, educate and entertain people with your product.
“The best thing with those products… to make it was so low cost, this really was our time and making recipes, and the thing is we love connecting with our people. I know, follow your passion and you’ll never work a day…no, you will work and you will work harder than ever but connecting with people is something that doesn’t really feel like work”.
Also, find your support and establish connections. Having people around who can provide guidance is essential.
Make learning your goal and expand your horizons. The Merrymaker Sisters admit to finding inspiration for their transition in the books by author and philosopher Joseph Campbell.
Here’s a list of recommended startup books from Bean Ninjas CEO Meryl.
The Merrymaker Sisters also want you to know that they don’t spend on stuff, they spend on experiences. So cut down expenses and save money. Become more appreciative of small things in life and be content.
Related: Mindfulness and Yoga at Bean Ninjas
Listen in to learn more about the MerryMaker Sisters journey.
Meryl and the Merrymaker sisters discuss:
- Their transition from office jobs to launching their own company
- Seeing the monetary value of a healthy lifestyle
- Using technology and social media effectively to grow your business
- The valuable lessons the Merrymaker sisters have learned about work and life
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