Jotform’s affiliate account manager Yaren Büyükdere interviewed Hunter Donia, founder of Hair by Hunty, who offers workshops to help people in the beauty industry learn about how automation can help them manage their businesses better. Yaren and Hunter chatted about the benefits of automating business processes, his experience as a Jotform affiliate, and how Jotform is an essential automation tool for businesses.
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Yaren Büyükdere: Can you start by telling us about your business, Hair by Hunty, its mission and vision, and its focus industry?
Hunter Donia: Absolutely. I am on a mission to make sure that every hairstylist in the industry, and even just beauty professionals in general, have all of the tools, education, and knowledge that they need to create a successful career for themselves within this trade.
We oftentimes as a trade do not get the education that we need to really thrive as businesses and live above the poverty level, really. And as we move into an extremely competitive era, it’s really a lot easier to get clients — however, there are a lot of other hair stylists who are getting really good at getting clients. There are a lot of high standards set for us as hairdressers and beauty professionals now, and it can be really, really difficult to stay ahead of the curve.
And so my mission is to make sure that no hairstylist ever feels like they need to quit, or they feel burnt out because they don’t have the knowledge and tools to keep it moving and stay successful in their career.
Yaren: Perfect. So how did you decide on which products or services to promote to your audience?
Hunter: As far as how I decide which tools and resources to be offering to my audience, it’s all about what I find to be innovative, and helping people, like I said, stay ahead of the curve, right? And what I find with tools, such as Jotform, or email marketing software and all of those things, is that they’re getting a lot better and consistently creating new features and staying up to date with the current needs of current business.
What I find is that a lot of people are solo business owners. Nowadays, there’s a lot of that, especially in the beauty industry. We are so inundated with so many mundane tasks, and digital forms, email marketing software, and automation, and all of those things can really help to streamline those operations and make sure that the business owner is spending time in spaces where it’s more important, and, you know, just doing their job that they signed up for.
A lot of the time, solo independent owners of businesses don’t understand that, like, they’re not just signing up to be, let’s say, the hairstylist, they’re also signing up to be the accountant, the salesperson, the marketer, you know like they have all these different roles. And the more that you can streamline as a business owner, and the more that you can delegate to technology, the better.
So I’m all about great tech, and Jotform is one of those products and tools that has really helped me in my own business, and hundreds of my students and their businesses really streamline and automate a lot of the processes that they have going on.
Yaren: I’m happy to hear that. So, how did you get started with affiliate marketing? And how long have you been involved? How important is affiliate marketing to your company and its revenue?
Hunter: So, for us personally, affiliate marketing doesn’t have a lot to do with our major revenue, to be quite honest. However, because we are offering these tools regardless because people are going to be signing up for these tools because we’re recommending them, we might as well make sure that we’re capitalizing upon that recommendation, right?
Like there are a lot of these people who come through my programs, they would not probably be hearing about Jotform or getting into Jotform or other products if it wasn’t for me. So I find it really awesome that Jotform and other software have affiliate marketing and affiliate programs and give us the resources and tools to make an extra living just by recommending software. I think it’s really excellent and I’ve had a great experience with it thus far.
Yaren: How did you get started with Jotform or with other brands?
Hunter: Jotform was probably my first big affiliate marketing situation because we were going to be teaching it in my course that I teach digitally. I knew that I was going to be recommending it, I knew I was going to be teaching it, and I knew I was going to be creating tutorials for it for my students.
So I was like, hey, I might as well make some commission off of it with my affiliate link. And so I added my affiliate link and walked them through everything and I told them why they should sign up. And that was really the beginning of how we started with my affiliate marketing with Jotform.
Yaren: Can you tell us about one of your greatest successes in affiliate marketing?
Hunter: The thing about what I teach is that I’m teaching technology specifically. And I’m teaching people a very specific step by step by step framework in my program. And they can’t implement this framework unless they have the resources and tools to do so, and the specific ones that I’m teaching to.
So it’s really great, because people will come into my program, and they are fully committed and ready to go with whatever I tell them to do. I’ve established myself as an authority, even outside of my course, as somebody who is really knowledgeable about the technology that’s out there nowadays that can help business owners. And so because I’ve established myself as that authority, I’ve been able to generate a whole lot of revenue with affiliate marketing, especially with Jotform, and I have people who I’m almost guaranteed to be committing to this software that I recommend, especially if they’re coming into my course because it’s a part of the course that they’re signing up for.
Yaren: Perfect. So how do you determine which affiliate programs would be best to work with? I mean, what have you learned about selecting the ideal affiliate programs for your company?
Hunter: I find that companies that are willing to create a relationship with me, that are willing to negotiate with me, companies that I feel like follow the same core values that I do, and ones that give you enough support and a fair split, I think all of the above are the checkboxes for me.
I’m actually very recently going through my entire tech deck and seeing all this different, other software that I’m doing affiliate marketing for, and I’m really reevaluating and considering who I want to continue to work with, and if there’s anything else out there, and one of the relationships that I’ve really valued thus far is with Jotform. I think that we’ve had a really great connection and have been able to negotiate a lot of really cool things and collaborate in cool ways.
And so definitely find a product that you know, you feel aligned with, and that you can really recommend from the bottom of your heart to other people in a genuine way, and not like a fake way, you know, just to make some money. I think that that’s the best way to go about it. And that is how you will be most successful in doing so.
Yaren: Yes, it’s essential. So what are the elements and features that enable you to be successful at affiliate marketing?
Hunter: Definitely my course and my podcast. I have a podcast and I have a dynamic insertion ad for Jotform. And that also adds my affiliate link to the podcast episodes. Then we have it in my link tree on my Instagram, we are posting my affiliate link in my Instagram Stories, we’re going to be launching a TikTok page and we’ll most likely have it in our link tree there as well, too.
So, putting the link wherever we can have it. We have it at the bottom of all of the marketing emails that we send to our lists. Having it everywhere and making sure that they’re consistently being reminded like, “Hey, this is the brand that we use, this is what we recommend for all the things we always talk about,” I think it’s really, really helpful. And making sure that you get the message out there and that you have a widespread effort with getting the affiliate links out there as much as possible.
Yaren: Definitely. In the services, you offer as a partner with Jotform, who do you think your ideal customers are? Do your clients ask for your services knowing Jotform ahead of time? Or do you assess the problem and recommend Jotform because you know that it would solve their issue?
Hunter: Great question. So, as I said, I have a pretty good step-by-step framework for how I’m teaching people. So I teach hairstylists how to create a pre-visit experience for their clients. I teach them how to handle taking in new clients and also managing their existing clients and using information and those digital forms as a foundation for how they’re communicating with those clients and onboarding those new clients, etc.
And since I have a really strong, set framework, I only recommend Jotform to everybody, because I think that it’s just the best digital form software out there and I think that, as I said, they’re always innovating new features all the time. There are certain things in Jotform such as Approvals that I have not really seen in any other software out there. And we rely heavily on Approvals within the framework that I teach, so it’s Jotform across the board for everybody.
Yaren: Thank you so much. We really appreciate your feedback. So to finish up, we are going to do some rapid-fire questions with short answers. What’s your favorite Jotform use case, feature, or product? You said you use Approvals but are there other features or products?
Hunter: Oh, it’s gonna be hard. Approval is so cool. It’s so freakin’ cool, we are obsessed with it, and just the fact that, like, you’re able to click a button and an email can be sent just like that without you having to write up an email or having to copy and paste or have a template, and how customizable it is. It’s such an excellent feature. And that is truly one of the biggest reasons why I’m a ride-or-die Jotform kind of person. I can’t stray away from Approvals.
I mean, there are so many elements that are amazing, such as Jotform Apps, like creating your own app with Jotform, that’s been absolutely fantastic as well too. Those are probably my top two for sure.
Yaren: Awesome! So what do you think the affiliate marketing industry will look like in the next five years?
Hunter: That’s a fascinating question. I think that it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger as digital marketing gets bigger and bigger and bigger. It’s easier to reach a large audience nowadays, especially with platforms such as TikTok.
It’s so easy to get such an insane amount of reach with the way that social media platforms are moving nowadays. And people are just getting more and more digital. I mean, this is nothing new, especially post-pandemic.
So I see affiliate marketing just getting bigger and bigger and bigger and more intense as we move forward. And a really great way for people to make a little bit of extra passive income in the back end is by just putting their link in a link tree or recommending it on their story every now and then.
Yaren: Yeah, I totally agree with you. What would be the biggest piece of advice you could give to other people or companies just starting out in affiliate marketing?
Hunter: What I would suggest is to become the authority. That’s what you want to do. You want to establish yourself as the authority on whatever the topic is or what you’re recommending to people. Because if you’re not the authority, if people don’t trust your recommendation, just naturally, then it’s just gonna sound like you’re being salesy, and you’re not being genuine, and nobody’s going to really care about your message.
The thing about me was, I had already established a lot of authority in this topic, and people are coming to me and asking me what I recommend, versus me just throwing it in front of people’s faces, you know.
And so when you establish yourself as the authority of whatever topic or whatever you’re recommending, and also when it’s something that you’re already being asked about all the time from your target audience, or whoever your audience is, those are definitely the top two things that you want to be focusing on. And you don’t want to be aligning yourself with brands or affiliate marketing that doesn’t make sense for who you are and who your audience is. You want it to be really nice and aligned.
Yaren: Who is your mentor? Who do you look up to and get inspired from?
Hunter: That’s a really good question. I feel like I have a hard time with this question because I read so many different books, and I consume them from so many different places. And I feel like keeping a really nice and broad stream of education coming in from all angles is really important.
I will say, Amy Porterfield, who teaches all about how to create digital courses and stuff like that, has been a really big influence on me in my career and definitely has helped me get started and launch off. And I’m forever grateful to her. And I will recommend her to everybody because I think she’s really fantastic.
Yaren: Perfect. Last question: Can you tell us your favorite productivity tip?
Hunter: Oh my gosh, project management is 100,000,000 percent. And being good at your project management, like taking things and breaking them down into small, bite-sized pieces, making sure that all of your resources and everything is super-organized digitally — we have a whole mini-course in our course called “Getting Organized with G Suite.” Because I think it’s so important.
If you want to get stuff done, you have to be organized, and there has to be a due date on it, breaking it down into smaller tasks is super important as well, too. So those are my tips for productivity, although I have ADHD and I’m probably not the best person to ask about this [laughs], but definitely project managing well, and breaking things down into smaller tasks have helped me very much.
Yaren: So we can understand why you are successful from your answers. Thank you so much for your time. It was a pleasure speaking with you!
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