Entrepreneur: Molly Mahoney

Biz: The Prepared Performer

Tilt: Teaching how to create content that gets clients

Primary Channel: Facebook (individual, 14K) (business, 21K)

Other Channels: Newsletter (17K), blog, Facebook group (10.2K), Instagram (23.3K), X (1.1K), YouTube (5.99K), LinkedIn (2.6K), Pinterest (1.9K) 

Time to First Dollar: 6 months

Rev Streams: Communities/groups, mini-courses, business coaching, digital product, affiliate marketing

Our Favorite Actionable Advice

  • Realize your “Quesadilla of Awesomeness:” Make a list of 20 things that make you a uniquely awesome human being to understand your strengths and authenticity. Molly was prompted to realize hers after an audition where she was told she couldn’t access the restroom unless she had her Actors’ Equity card.
  • Be OK with a pivot: Molly launched her business to help performers learn to run a business, but the launch of Facebook Live prompted her to change and help business owners learn how to perform.
  • Do your homework before asking for partnerships: Molly partners with brands that sell products she uses and loves. She also participates in their communities and writes about their products before she pitches them a partnership program.

The Story of Molly Mahoney

“Do you have a bathroom I could use while waiting?” 

Such a simple question can lead to a life-changing decision. 

In 2003, Molly Mahoney stood in an audition line and needed to use the bathroom. Naturally, she asked for directions. The receptionist replied, “Do you have your Actors’ Equity card?”

“No,” Molly replied.

“Then the bathroom is down the stairs and outside around the corner at McDonald’s,” said the receptionist working in a building operated by the actors’ labor union.

Molly looked around at the hundreds of people in the audition line and left. On her way home, she realized the audition process didn’t seem right. She was constantly trying to prove herself to others. Instead, she decided to find out what made her her – her “Quesadilla of Awesome,” as she calls it.

Molly continued going to auditions but changed her strategy, and it worked.

The Chapman University graduate booked gigs, and a year later, Molly received her Actors’ Equity card. She did seven shows in Wisconsin, where she met her future husband. She landed a role in a Dick Van Dyke movie, Buttons: A Christmas Tale – a dream come true. “I cried the whole way home,” she says. Eventually, she performed on the national tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang The Musical. 

Often cast as an understudy to a main character, Molly was always the prepared performer, ready to go on at a moment’s notice. That talent would later manifest in name and sentiment as her content business, The Prepared Performer.

The business beginnings

When Molly first moved to NYC to pursue her musical theater, a friend leaving town handed her a notebook full of the things she learned while performing and auditioning in the city. It prompted Molly to realize that being an actor was more than performing; it required operating a little media company.

Seven years later, Molly and her husband moved to California, where she performed and taught musical theater, dance, singing, and acting. She soon realized teaching and coaching could be her thing, but she was unsure how to position it. 

A year later, in 2011, she gave birth to her first child and decided a performer’s life wouldn’t work for her. So, in 2013, Molly officially launched a website offering her services as an acting coach and teaching people how to “do the business of acting.” And the first version of The Prepared Performer was born.

Molly produced content that taught performers how to have a career. At first, she just produced content, and her digital presence was all over the place. In fact, her site still ranks No. 1 in search for tap dance terminology, though she evolved into a different content tilt. Using her contacts and experience, Molly built a six-figure business. 

Not quite as planned

By 2015, Molly realized to wanted to evolve from a client-based business to a content business. She launched her first course, Prepared Performer Profits, about how entertainers could use social media to build a business and increase exposure.

Fifteen people participated in the pilot six-week program, and Molly launched it publicly.

“I opened my computer, and I was like, ‘My god, what is actually happening right now? No one is buying this, and I had it all planned out that it was going to be this $30K launch, and it just did not work,” she says.

It gave her a moment of clarity: She either had to go back to teaching voice lessons or figure something out.

She did the latter and flipped her idea on its head. Instead of teaching performers how to have a business, Molly opted to teach business owners how to perform on the recently launched Facebook Live.

The Prepared Performer name remained, but she had a new audience. 

The course that worked

Molly launched the Camera Confidence program by reaching out to friends and connections. The students paid $47 to access a private Facebook group where Molly went live every day with short videos. The program ran for 30 days and was a success. 

Molly raised the price to $97 the next month and taught the course again. In the third month, she raised the price to $197. In those first three months, she generated $50K in revenue.

Molly became known as the expert in leveraging Facebook Live and teaching how to perform on camera. With the success of her students and expertise in her content tilt, Molly launched a higher ticket offering to follow the 30-day program – three months of individualized coaching for $5K. It evolved into a $5K membership program over the next few years before she ended it in 2022. A shorter version is still offered for $197 to applicants who aren’t accepted to her other training groups.

Partnerships as a part of the business model

Because of her expertise with Facebook Live, Molly landed a partnership with BeLive. They paid her to be the brand ambassador and a marketing consultant. While not something she envisioned as part of her business, Molly embraces partnerships of this nature. It gives her more visibility as the face of the company and drives more traffic to her own site, where she can convert people to buy her products. 

In 2018, Molly went all-in on combining messenger bots with live video on Facebook. Manychat featured her as a leading expert with one of the most engaging chatbots.

Molly reached out and became a partner with Manychat. They paid Molly to speak on their behalf at conferences. “Having these partnerships with tech tools has been so valuable. As a creator and content entrepreneur, don’t rule out a brand partnership,” she says. 

Most recently, Molly partnered with Jasper with a focus on AI in her teaching and content. 

Molly is careful to point out that the partnership doesn’t just happen. It takes work on her end to find a tool she loves and uses before she considers partnering. She creates a ton of content around it, signs up for their affiliate program, and shows up in their community to provide value. Finally, she reaches out directly and says, “I want to work with you. How can I help and support you?” The brand sees the value and traffic she has already provided before the ask and then continues the conversation. 

Capitalizing during the pandemic era

As more people needed help getting online and reaching their audiences during the pandemic, The Prepared Performer saw increased traffic. Molly developed a three-tiered offer to generate more revenue. The first tier, The Content Club ($97 per month), is an entry-level membership group focusing on content creation.

Tier two, Social Sales Stars ($10K a year), is for individuals who earn at least $5K per month. It focuses on using organic social media without complicated funnels or ads to generate $10K per month in revenue. Molly has around 75 members. 

The third tier, GLAM ($30K a year), is designed for business owners ready for a mastermind community. Most business owners in this group generate revenue between six and eight figures.

Social Sales Stars and GLAM members receive business plans, tools and templates, coaching calls, video feedback sessions, and support within the Facebook community. The GLAM members also have in-person meet-ups and even take a trip to Disneyland. 

Molly also turns to organic social and her newsletter, The AI Times (17K), to generate leads.

Molly recently hit the seven-figure revenue mark. 

Advice for content entrepreneurs

Molly advocates for people to find their “Quesadilla of Awesome.” List 20 things that make you a uniquely awesome human being. This process helps uncover your strengths and develop authenticity.

Content entrepreneurs should also focus on their social triangle. Show up as a human being on the platform. Go where your ideal clients are. Post content that provides conversation and engagement on the platform so it receives more exposure.

Also, a library of content should be created to act as a resource. Send people to it as an introduction to your content and content tilt. Keep the conversation going after you direct them to your library. The conversation with your audience is what really matters.

About the author

Marc Maxhimer is the director of growth and partnerships at The Tilt. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and mathematics education and a master’s degree in educational administration.  He previously taught middle school for 16 years.  Marc lives in (and loves all things) Cleveland with his wife, two daughters, and dog.