Chris Miles from MoneyRipples.com tells us how to get our financial situation in order. We cover everything from an easy tool (and app) you can use to track your in and out (plus business AND personal) expenses called Mint.com. He also tells us what to do whether you’re a spender, saver, or steward of your money. And a whole lot more!
Chris Miles: Just fantastic, man. How are you doing?
Robert Plank: I am super. I’m fantastic times a thousand. So you say you’re a cash expert. I don’t really know what that is, and when I think of cash flow expert, I think of Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki. Is that kind of along the same lines or is that different?
Chris Miles: Take Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman and then totally do the opposite of the advice that they give, and that’s basically what a cash flow expert is.
Robert Plank: All right.
Chris Miles: Closer to Kiyosaki, yeah. What I really help people do is one, increase income, and then two, make sure we get expenses down any way we can but not to the point where you’re living on rice and beans.
Robert Plank: Okay, so not as crazy as Dave Ramsey gets?
Chris Miles: Definitely not that crazy. It’s really about how to have lifestyle freedom, be able to really enjoy the life that you have and get your money working for you so you’re not always working for your money.
Robert Plank: I mean, that sounds good to me because you never know. Any day you might get hit by a bus or something crazy might happen.
Chris Miles: Exactly. Yeah. That’s exactly it, man.
Robert Plank: I’m seeing that your average client finds $33,000 per year laying around, and I’m seeing that you have all these skills and all these things you can do for people. The thing that really jumps out for me is you can tell people how to find $4,000 in 45 minutes. That’s pretty crazy.
Chris Miles: Yeah, it’s actually not too hard. That’s the funny thing. Especially if you’re a business owner. Business owners, they leak more money than anybody that I’ve seen. It’s not just what you can lose at home, it’s what you can lose in your business. I’ll tell you, sometimes the biggest money leaks we have is the money that we never make in the first place, the money that we don’t earn, the lost opportunity cost, right?
Robert Plank: Right.
Chris Miles: Things like that. When I’m working with somebody one-on-one, typically I find about $33,000 a year or so. That’s pretty average.
Robert Plank: Where the heck does $33,000 come from?
Chris Miles: It comes from two places. Well, two general places I mention. One, increasing income, or two, maximizing the expenses you’re doing. For example, one place that’s easy that almost everybody will find something is starting to track your money. It’s interesting because a lot of business owners that I work with, they’ll say, “Hey, you know what? Chris, I always thought that the way to financial freedom is just make more money. If I just make more money then I’ll solve any money problem I have,” but what they’re finding out is that as time goes on, the more money they make, the more they end up spending, too.
Robert Plank: Oh, yeah. I’ve noticed that, too.
Chris Miles: Yeah, it’s Parkinson’s law. It’s human nature. We tend to have our expenses rise to meet wherever our income is, right? Even if we free up money, you’ll end up finding a way to spend that later on and say, “Man, wasn’t I just like this a little while ago? I feel just as broke as I was before.” I get a lot of people that say that, so what I have them do first and foremost is to start tracking their money.
A great way to do that in your business, first and foremost, is use things like QuickBooks to kind of track your expenses and income and everything coming in. Don’t just look at your expenses, by the way. Don’t just try to be cheap, because that’s just the broke, crappy way to wealthy. Nobody saves their way to wealth. Nobody saves enough money in their little piggy bank to become wealthy. It’s about also making money, too, right?
Robert Plank: Right.
Chris Miles: We want to look at both ends of the spectrum, make sure we are wise with what we’re spending, be wise stewards, but make sure we’re also making more money, too. We look at both. We look at what’s coming in and what’s going out, both in the business and also at home. When you’re looking at home, I recommend tools like Mint.com, which is a free website you can use or phone app you can use as well. The great thing is, you get to see all your finances in one place. Everything downloads there. You can see all your transactions. You can see how much you’re spending in which categories, which is so cool. You can see what you’ve spent for the month and how you’re doing and all the kind of stuff. Seriously, it takes only a few minutes a week to do all this.
It’s funny, because I had one client where she was out in the Midwest. With them, she was spending a couple hours a week just doing their finances with their business and home. In fact, she was spending so much time on her business, she didn’t even worry about the home, which stunk because then they lost money at home, too. Once we had them do that, I said, “Hey, listen guys. You shouldn’t be spending more than 15 minutes a week, 20 minutes max on both the business and the personal.” I cut that down, saved them hours and hours and hours a month just doing that.
Robert Plank: Just by using the app, you mean?
Chris Miles: Yeah, just by using Mint for personal and then QuickBooks for business.
Robert Plank: You’re saying that, before this person was using Mint, was she tracking it on paper or something like that?
Chris Miles: Yeah. She was using spreadsheets, Excel programs and things like that, trying to track it that way. Doing it old school. Looking up the bank account statements online, which if you think about it … Think about how many times you go to gas up your car. You’re going to check out how many transactions you have, and you’re trying to add it up on a calculator or put it in. You’re entering all that in. What if you mess up? Then you have to start over again. It’s a pain in the butt. I seriously time myself on Mint, just for my personal expenses and income. From logging in to logging out, it took me four minutes and 17 seconds to update a week’s worth of stuff. Four minutes? That’s nothing, you know?
Robert Plank: Right. How does Mint save time? I’ve heard of it. I’ve never used it. How is that such a time-saver as opposed to going back and looking at the bank statements?
Chris Miles: It downloads all your transactions in one place, even loans. Any loans, credit cards, savings accounts, checking accounts, everything can show up in one place. You can see your balances all real time. You don’t have to log into different websites to do that. That’s one. Then two, with your checking account for example, if you’re looking at your expenses and your income, you can actually see all the expenses.
The nice thing is, it remembers how you categorize things. Say, for example, you go gas up at Chevron or ARCO or something like that. You gas up there, normally it’s probably going to guess, “Oh, that’s gasoline.” It’s going to put it into that category for you. You don’t even have to teach it half the time. Occasionally, you might have to tell it, “Oh, it’s this category or that,” and then it remembers what you categorized it as. Say the next time you go grocery shopping at your favorite store, if it didn’t get it the first time, the next time it’ll say, “Oh, groceries.”
What’s cool is, you’re not doing any of the adding up. It does it all for you. It’ll say, “Hey, here’s what you spent for the month.” It has even a little bar thing that shows you how close you are; if you want to create budgets on there, you can do that, too. You can do all that stuff. It tracks it all for you real time. You just have to go in, make sure that it’s categorized right. That’ll take a matter of seconds, if not a few minutes max. Then voila. You can see exactly what you’ve spent in every area.
Robert Plank: I love that because I’ve tried doing that before with all these different bank websites. They try to help you with that, and you have to do it manually. Same thing, they try to guess, but they never remember. If I manually set something, I have to go and set it for every single thing. I have different cards and different banks and there’s different websites, different passwords, different interfaces. I hadn’t even thought about until you just mentioned that even just logging into the different banking sites, even that time is saved, let alone the category and all the importing and stuff like that.
Chris Miles: I’ve had people actually say, “Hey, I really like using my bank’s site. It’s cool, because they do the same thing.” Yes and no. They can only track what you do through that bank, but if you charge on a credit card that’s through something else, you won’t ever see that in your bank. This says, let’s take everything and put it into one place. If you’re trying to look at your loan balances, you can see exactly as you’re paying it down what the balance is. No more logging into five, six, 10 different sites. You can see it all right there, real time. It’s so awesome.
Robert Plank: Cool. Kind of along the lines of what you mentioned a couple minutes ago, you mentioned that there’s a difference between being a cheapskate and being wasteful, I guess, right?
Chris Miles: Yeah.
Robert Plank: Could you explain that or unpack that a little bit?
Chris Miles: Yeah, you bet. My big thing is, I teach people about being wise stewards. If you look at it, there’s really three perspectives around money. There’s the spender perspective, which we all know. That’s all in scarcity. That’s where you blow money. If you’re given extra money, you blow it, or you blow more than what you were given.
Robert Plank: Like the college years, right?
Chris Miles: Exactly. Now, the hard thing with college years, if you were probably broke like most people were, it’s not that you maybe didn’t want to have money, you just didn’t have any.
Robert Plank: But if you had 100 bucks in the couch cushions, it was gone the next day, right?
Chris Miles: Exactly, yeah. It’s that easy come, easy go. It’s not … I’ll tell you, some people think they’re spenders, and sometimes they’re not. For example, I had somebody tell me at an event, they said, “Well, Chris, I’m a spender.” I said, “Well, how do you know?” “Well, because I hate spending money.” I just said, “No, no, no. You’re not a spender; you’re a saver,” which is also in scarcity. Spenders do like to spend money. Savers don’t. Savers will even say, “I had to spend money on bills, so I’m a spender.” No, that just shows how much of a saver you are. You’re so much in scarcity, you’re desperate. You’re the type of person that would make everybody pay for you.
Robert Plank: Right. You’re the kind of person that would fight someone at a restaurant just to get $1 less if you’re eating out with a group or something.
Chris Miles: Right. You’re the Black Friday person that beats the crap out of people.
Robert Plank: Yeah. I think that … In my own personal life, friends and family and stuff like that, I see a lot of people just getting way into debt or buying a fancy car they don’t need just to show off. Then on the saver end of the spectrum, every now and then, I’ll see some news article about someone who survived on ramen noodles and crackers for 10 years and rented out every room in their house just to pay off the house by the time they were 20. I’m thinking at first, “Woah, they must be a really financially savvy person.” Then I read the whole story and I’m thinking, I hope that that era of their life is done, because if they keep watching every penny, that seems like a really stressful way to live.
Chris Miles: Exactly. That right there … You can never have financial freedom in that place. I know, because I was a financial advisor back in the day. All financial advice is taught from that saver perspective. It’s all in scarcity, and scarcity does not put money in your pocket; it only takes it out of your pocket. When you’re living in a place of limit and lack and fear and everything else, there’s no way you’ll be financially free. You could put any number in your bank account and you will still be scared. In fact, the more money, the more scared you become. Money is only a magnifier of your soul. It only makes you more who you already are. To think that, “Oh, if I just have more money, then I’ll be abundant,” that’s a bunch of crap. It’s not true.
That’s why you have to be a steward first. See, the stewards, they’re in the middle. They take the best of the spender and the saver and they put it in one. At least savers are willing to be wise. They do want to do the right thing. Usually their default is, “I’ve got to save it all,” or, “I’ve got to pay off all my debt.” That’s their whole focus. They’ve got to save it all, pay off my debt, and they’ll never save enough. They’ve just got to keep saving.
But a steward says, “Okay, I’m willing to use money, but I want to use it wisely in a way that comes back to me at least more than one-fold.” They’re investors, in a way. They’re people that are business owners the way it should be. Whether you’re at home as an online entrepreneur, or whatever you do in your business, you obviously want your money to grow and improve and magnify. You want to be able to put that back in your business ideally so you can go and serve more people, because dollars follow value. The more people you serve, the more money you can make.
That’s what a steward does; they let money flow. They don’t let it just sit there and grow and compound for five million years in hopes that they become a millionaire. No, they’re saying … They’re like my brother-in-law, who taught me a good lesson when I was a financial advisor. He came from a wealthy family. I remember him telling me, after I gave a nice little presentation, he said, “Chris, you’re telling me if I give you $10,000, you say you might make me 12% a year, or 1,200 bucks in a year. Is that right?” I said, “Yeah, isn’t that awesome? Think about what that’d be like in 40 years. You’d be a millionaire,” even though he already was.
Robert Plank: Nice.
Chris Miles: He’s like, “Chris, but I can take the same 10 grand. I can turn around and a few months later make $20,000 out of that in my business, so why would I invest with you?” I remember thinking, “Well, you should be diversified. You shouldn’t put all your eggs in that basket. That’s risky to put all your money in your business.” He just kind of looked at me and smiled and said, “All right. Well, cool, thanks for your time. That was great.” That was it. Didn’t do any business with me, which was the coolest thing he could have ever done.
That’s how stewards think. Stewards think, “What’s the best use of this money and the resources and the time that I have to be able to serve more people in a way that the natural byproduct is more money.” Then they can take that money and do it again and keep multiplying it and growing it. It’s not about letting it sit in some crappy mutual fund or IRA or 401K and let it compound. It’s about how do we make more money with it and create it fast. How can we Mark Zuckerberg it, right?
Robert Plank: Right, and invest in yourself.
Chris Miles: Exactly, exactly. Invest in yourself. Invest in your business. Then when you get to the point where a lot of my clients get to, then they’re like, “Okay, I can’t even invest this much in my business. I’ve got that extra money sitting around. How can I make that money make me money, so then I can create other streams of income as well.” That’s the things that I work on as well. That’s the fun part. There’s so many cool things you could do. When you live in that world of being an abundant steward, you’re wise with your resources. You’re not just gambling it. There’s a big difference. Gamblers will think they’re stewards, but in reality, high risk does not create high returns. It’s low risk, investing in things that you can control and that you know you can create more with, that is what a steward does.
Robert Plank: If someone is a spender or a saver and they want to become a steward, is there an easy way to get there? Are there a set of steps or guidelines, or is it just a judgment call kind of deal?
Chris Miles: Yeah, absolutely. The best thing you can do is … Let’s say you’re a spender. The best thing you can do is become more like a saver. If you’re a saver, the best thing you can do is become more like a spender. Spenders, for example, a lot of times they don’t let money … They need to almost learn to let money sit for a few months. Just sit there. That’s the best thing you can possibly do is, if you’re a spender, start to grow a little bit of a savings account. It might just be an emergency fund, but just let it grow. Start putting some money away.
Robert Plank: Let the hot money cool off a little bit, right?
Chris Miles: Yeah, exactly. Some people, like I mentioned, some people get confused. They think they’re stewards, but they’re really just gamblers. I can perceive there might be some people listening right now saying, “Oh, yeah, I’m a steward. I’m going to take some money and go make money with it,” and then they blow it all and they lose it. That’s not being a wise steward. Wise stewards make money. They don’t lose it. Spenders got to understand, hey, it’s okay to let money sit. Like you said, let it cool off. Actually build some peace of mind. You’ll find out that you’ll hit this new level of abundance that you’ve never hit before.
On the flip side, if you’re a saver, you don’t need to save more money. In fact, you need to do the opposite. You probably need to see what you can do and take that money and make more with it. Stop sitting on it so long. Granted, if you don’t know what to do, this is the big thing I teach a lot of my clients. If you don’t know where to put your money, the best thing is putting it somewhere where it’s safe and it’s guaranteed you’re not going to lose it. Don’t throw it in your IRAs or 401Ks. Keep it in savings. Keep it somewhere where you know you can get to it, even if you just keep it in savings. If you’re a saver, it’s okay to spend some money.
I had one client in North Dakota. He was a chiropractor. I remember his big thing was, they didn’t have much money. They were pretty much paycheck to paycheck. We were actually able to free up over $6,000 a month for him. What was so cool is that after we had done that, he finally gave himself permission to buy a $6,000 four-wheeler. His wife bawled. I finally got to meet them face-to-face, and she was just bawling in gratitude. She said, “You don’t understand what this means. He would think he always had to keep working his tail off, never give time to his family, and now he’s giving time to his family. That four-wheeler, some people might say that’s an unwise investment because they’re thinking he’s blowing 6,000 bucks on a toy, but no, that was family time. That means so much more to us than anything he could have spent his money on.”
Robert Plank: As opposed to just growing a number, which … First of all, what are you growing the number to, and what does that get you? If you have $6,000 in the bank vs. $6,200, what’s the dang difference?
Chris Miles: Exactly. It’s really about … Especially if you come out of that saver paradigm where he didn’t give himself permission to ever spend money. That was big for him. That broke a big, huge fear barrier in his mind. That allowed him to loosen up and become more like a steward. I’ll tell you, it makes a world of difference. When you’re willing to let money flow, whether if you’re a spender, let it flow a little bit differently, or a saver, at least let it loose a little bit, what happens is that you’ll tend to find that you have more income starting to come in, too. They’re all tied together. How you spend money also determines how you make money, too. I don’t want to get too deep into that, but let’s just say that, just like water, just like blood, money’s meant to flow. If you stop that flow in any way, shape, or form, or you let it bleed out, that’s where you run into problems. If you want better spiritual health, if you want to have a lot more money in your life, just learn to do it in a very healthy way.
Robert Plank: There’s these two ends of spectrum, it sounds like, a spender on one and saver on the other, stewards in the middle. Would you say that most people are one of the extremes, or are most people in the middle? What are you seeing?
Chris Miles: Most people are at one of the two, I would say, one of the two sides. They’re in scarcity, and either a spender or a saver, but there’s different varying degrees of that. I wouldn’t say they’re so far extreme they’re using up flat Coke to make bread and things like that. Not Depression-era, quite. There are a few of those people, too.
Robert Plank: Cleaning your own motor oil or something.
Chris Miles: Seriously. Reusing your own motor oil somehow. No, it’s not like that at all, but most people are on those two extremes. Very few people I ever see have really mastered being a steward. That’s okay. If you think about how most of us are raised, we’re usually raised by parents that are one or the other or both. My parents, my dad was a saver, my mom was more of the spender. She had some steward-type inclinations, but she hadn’t quite mastered it yet. I had to learn from two different parents who, like most parents, most couples I work with, they usually come from different ends of that spectrum.
Robert Plank: That makes sense. I think that with me, I think that both of my parents were savers. Somehow my sister became a spender. Then I was a saver for a long time and I didn’t even realize it. I had a period of time when I had 40 grand in the bank, and not even in the whole bank but just in savings, and I wanted to buy a $2,000 couch. I delayed it for years and years because I couldn’t stomach it. Then finally, I just put it on a credit card and paid it off over four months, and then that way I had … It seems like you’re alluding to, use money as a tool. Even though you could pay off all of the debt, or you could go super crazy, you kind of manage what you have. Almost like you’re saying, you figure out what you are and then go in the other direction and go against your nature because it’s better to have the best of both worlds.
Chris Miles: Absolutely, yeah. It’s interesting. There’s always a price vs. cost to money. For example, just this last year, I went through a divorce. You ever want to have a way to rock your financial world, just go through a divorce, right?
Robert Plank: Oh, yeah. Permanently. Not only the lawyer fees, but then that recurring income. You’ve got to pay that alimony or whatever.
Chris Miles: Oh, absolutely. For me, it was then being on my own for the first time in years. I’ve got six kids and everything. I was pretty much strapped down. Then being on my own … I remember one time I was thinking, “You know what? I haven’t bought good whole foods, eating really healthy.” We didn’t eat bad; we always cooked at home and things like that. We weren’t eating horribly. But then all of a sudden I’m like, you know, I could get more fresh vegetables and fruits. I haven’t given myself permission to do that ever, even when we were married. I just thought, “I’m going to eat more fresh.”
It’s funny now … Of course it raised my food bill a little bit, but I’ll tell you, it wasn’t nearly that much. It was mostly in my head that those things were happening, because I had those saver tendencies. You hear your dad’s brain in the back of your mind saying things, or hearing their voice, and you’re like, “Oh yeah, got to keep it cheap.” I’m like, “No, let’s get this grocery bill up higher.” I’ll tell you, my productivity and what I do in my business, I work less and make more. I feel better. When you feel better, you tend to make more money. In business, that’s huge. That’s why investing in vacations and time away from your business sometimes can be the best investment you make in your business, you know?
Robert Plank: Oh yeah.
Chris Miles: Be aware of those things. Be aware of what makes you most productive, what makes you the best producer possible. Really, the other way I find money for people is how to get them to create more value for people. Where can we do that? Dollars follow value. If you want to create more money, stop asking how do I make more money. In fact, remove that question from your brain. Never ask how do I make more money. Only begin asking, how do I create more value for more people? There’s a lot of different ways to do it that sometimes are in your business but also outside of your business, too, and how you take care of yourself and how you allow yourself to be the best producer possible in people’s lives.
Robert Plank: That makes a lot of sense. I hadn’t even thought about it in the way that you’re explaining it, how not only is there following the money coming in, the money going out, but also all this interrelated stuff. Almost like you’re … whatever that money personality, or your relationship to money at home affects your business and vice versa.
Chris Miles: Oh yeah. They’re all intertwined. Your physical health affects your money. Your spirituality, your mental state of mind, your state of being, things like that. All these things are intertwined. Your relationships. Everything. They’re all interconnected. When you’re looking at trying to create real wealth, you’ve got to look at it in more than just with money. You’ve got to look at it in all areas of your life. I’ve seen friends who went from having $100+ million empires to nothing because they couldn’t take care of their health, or they went wayward and they let their mind take over and do some crazy things. Next thing you know, the money’s gone.
I’ve seen also the reverse. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been in the hole $1 million, $16,000 in the hole each month. I’ve been in those places where I had no money, no credit, no savings. I had to battle back and pay off over $900,000 in three and a half years. That required a lot of mental and emotional discipline. That was huge. That was the stuff that I did with … That’s not even stuff that you do with money, because I didn’t have money to make money. You don’t need money to make money, but you need to be really resourceful to make money and to really focus on how you provide value the best way you can to other people. When you start to understand those true principles, and you start to combine the strategies with that, that’s when everything just works like magic.
Robert Plank: Could you explain that a little bit? How do you make money without money?
Chris Miles: We all did it. You mentioned college, right?
Robert Plank: Yeah.
Chris Miles: If it really did take money to make money, we would all be dead. We would be trying to search in our couch cushions for money. The thing is, if you think about it, a resume for example, when you maybe first created a resume once upon a time … When you did a resume, you’re putting the things that don’t require money. You’re putting down your skills, your experience, your education, your work history, your references or relationships. All those things are part of what make up who you are. The more valuable you are, the more you can charge people for that service, for that work, for that job.
It doesn’t take money to make money. Like I said, don’t ask the question, how do I make more money. Ask instead, how can I create more value in such a way that people want to exchange money with me for that value. You have to be really good at figuring out how to solve problems and serve people and add value in such a way that they say, “I want that in my life, because having you in my life makes my life worth more than not having you at all. Let me exchange these pieces of paper so I can have more of you in my life.” That’s really the secret to making more money.
Robert Plank: It reminds me of Think and Grow Rich and specialized knowledge and stuff like that.
Chris Miles: Yeah, absolutely. Specialized knowledge is huge. Generalized knowledge is huge, too, when you’re a business owner, because if you become the CEO of your company, you’ve got to be able to speak all the languages of your different departments. You’ve got to speak the language of sales. Even if you’re not the one selling all the time, you’ve still got to understand that language and that world. You’ve got to understand the financial world and speak that language. You’ve got to understand the operations world and all these other things, all these things that help make up your business. You’ve got to be able to speak those languages when you’re the CEO.
It’s specialized knowledge, creating that niche to make you rich, so to speak. As a business owner, also having enough general knowledge, too, so that you can turn around and be able to communicate and work with those relationships. It is through those relationships that you can create more production, more money, more value for more people. You can’t do it on your own. You can try. You can go so far doing it on your own, but eventually you’re going to need more people to leverage to be able to create something that’s bigger, something that’s more of a legacy that lasts beyond you.
Robert Plank: Like a really good reason why.
Chris Miles: Oh yeah. You’ve got to have a great purpose, you’ve got to have a great reason why, and great people around you to support you.
Robert Plank: If someone was trying to get in that frame of mind, get in that state, and they were … If someone was … I don’t know how even to ask this question. There’s a lot of people out there who just kind of, they’ve been going on a certain path for a certain amount of time, just stuck in certain habits. How would someone get from just a place that they don’t want to be into being this person in a good money mindset?
Chris Miles: It does take practice. That’s why with my clients, a big part of what I have to teach them is looking at money differently. That’s why I even have my own podcast. I have The Chris Miles Money Show that I do as well just for that reason, because there’s a lot behind that between business and money and everything. I’ll tell you, one of the coolest strategies that I teach, it’s something that you can do every day and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime … That will help you change your state each day, is doing what, if you’ve ever heard of Tony Robbins, the Grand Master of personal development … Tony Robbins, he teaches a thing called “the hour of power.” Some people call it “power hour” or “morning ritual.” Whatever you want to call it.
The thing is, first thing when you wake up in the morning, don’t go to your computer. Don’t go to your phone. Don’t go onto technology. First and foremost, get out. Get your body moving. I notice when I move my body, better ideas start to show up. I start to feel better. When I feel better, I get better ideas. When I have better ideas, then I can create more value, and that’s where I make more money. I focus on the physical aspect, make sure I get up and work out. I do maybe more intense stuff than some people do, but heck, if it’s just a walk or it’s just going up and down your stairs, whatever it does that gets your blood pumping. Do that. Wake your body up. Then do things to help control your mind. Start listening to things like podcasts or reading good books and things like that. Meditating, or whatever you might need to do. Then even spiritual-type disciplines, too, like prayer or reading a scriptural text, or again meditation, journal-writing, whatever you do.
It gets you sharp right from the get-go, first thing of the day. You’ll find out that you’ll get into that top percentile of whatever you’re doing compared to everybody else. People don’t do that. People usually just roll out of bed and get their cups of coffee in, and then the next thing they do, they’re just getting out there, they’re on the computer, and they’ve lost the whole ability to create and make more money. To switch things around, especially if you want to change your state, you’ve got to start changing what you’re doing each day. Some of those habits or things like that, doing something simple like that each day. It doesn’t have to be an hour. It could be a half hour. Whatever it is, doing that …
That’s the thing that helped me get out of my mess and stay in a good enough mental state so I didn’t have to declare bankruptcy, even though I could easily have done it. In fact, I’ve had bankers in the past say, when they looked at my credit history, “Yeah, we want to see your history.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, I’ve got some history. Check this out.”
Robert Plank: How much time do you have to look at this thing?
Chris Miles: I know. They look at it like, “Wow. Man, if I saw your situation, I would have told you to file for bankruptcy.” I’m like, “I know, but I didn’t feel like I needed to.” Unless somebody’s going to threaten to throw me in prison, I wasn’t going to do it. It was a hard battle. It was much harder than filing for bankruptcy, but I’m glad I did, because that’s the resourcefulness that I learned that allowed me to find extra cash flow for my own situation to dig out of a $16,000 a month hole, to getting back into positive cash flow. That’s why when people come to me … Every entrepreneur will come to me and say, “Chris, I’m a little bit embarrassed about my situation.” Doesn’t matter how many thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year they make, they’ll still say they’re embarrassed. I’m like, “Listen. You can’t have been any worse than I was.” I’m probably the one financial guy that’ll say I’ve been worse than anybody that I’ve ever met with, and that’s okay. I can’t judge you for it. That’s why I can see it from a very optimistic angle.
Robert Plank: Right, because you’ve been there, and you’ve been worse than where they were.
Chris Miles: Oh yeah.
Robert Plank: Would you say that, to dig yourself out of that hole, would you say that having those better habits and having that better resourcefulness was the reason for that, or was it something else?
Chris Miles: I really do. I think that was all part of it. I did have certain things that I had to say in my head. Some days were more challenging than others. There were days I just woke up in despair. That’s why I had to get out and do something, get my body moving, meditate. I remember I had to do a walking meditation, just deep breathing while I’m walking after doing a little workout. I remember exhaling the words, “Be still and know that I am God.” Then taking off one word at a time. “Be still and know that I am. Be still and know that. Be still and know. Be still. Be. Be.” Doing that as I’m walking, just to try to calm my mind down because I’m freaking out. Just like Kung Fu Panda. Have you ever seen that movie?
Robert Plank: No, I haven’t.
Chris Miles: I’ve got six kids, so now I just quote kids movies instead of cool ones like Tommy Boy and stuff. In that movie, the kung fu master said, “There are no accidents.” It’s that law of synchronicity. There are no accidents. I remember saying that to myself. “Okay, there’s no accidents. This is all happening to me for a reason. I don’t know why, but I know that I’m going to come out on the other side of this. I don’t know how that’s going to happen, but I know I will.” That was critical for me. I had to tell myself there was a higher purpose. I just told myself, I said, “Hey, listen. If I can help at least one person benefit from all the crap that I went through, if my pain could be somebody else’s gain, then that was worth it.” I’ll tell you, it’s led to now tens of thousands of people’s lives that it’s helped because of it. All because of the crap that I went through and that struggle.
That’s the thing I think is key is that, you start to realize that everything happens to you for a reason. Even if you think something’s crappy, you don’t know if that might be the better path for you. If that hadn’t happened to me, I can guarantee I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be as wise as I am today. I wouldn’t be teaching what I teach today and helping as many people had it not been for that. Up to then, I thought I had the Midas golden touch. No one could stop me. Since then, since learning that hey, I am fallible, I can violate principles like every other human being, and I need to make sure that I am wise with what I’m doing … That’s led to so much more wisdom and patience, and it’s allowed me to guide people and save them. Literally, I think I’d probably say in total in the last six years of people I’ve worked with, I’ve probably helped them make or save at least $100 million cumulatively.
Robert Plank: Cool. It sounds like it all connects. You think just looking at it, if someone’s really deep in debt or makes really bad financial decisions or doesn’t have a lot of cash flow or has a lot of cash flow but then the Parkinson’s law catches them up, you think, “Oh, they just had bad luck or they just had bad decisions,” but it seems like what you’re saying is it’s something deeper. It pretty much connects to everything. It connects to your morning routine, your mindset, your relationships, all that good stuff.
Chris Miles: Everything. There’s definitely strategy to it, but the mindset’s huge. If you don’t have the right mindset, your strategies will create something different than what you want. That’s key. I see people out there that teach only strategies that try to be financial gurus. That’s all they teach, and then they wonder why people aren’t getting results. On the flip side, you’ve got people that teach only mindset, but then people don’t know what to do with it. You’ve got to have both to be able to figure out that one-two punch of, okay, I’ve got the right abundant mindset, that steward mentality. Add that with some strategies now, and now we’re more intentional. Now my business improves, and that grows and I start making more money there. I bring home more money. I actually have more time. I’m more free to do what I want to do, which is the whole reason why I became a business owner. That’s why most people do. They wanted more control, more freedom. Not to live the American nightmare but to live the American dream.
Robert Plank: Yeah. All that makes a lot of sense to me. On one hand, if it’s all mindset, there’s nothing concrete to do, but if it’s all steps and strategies but there’s no … you don’t fix the root of the problem, then you’re just going to find yourself in a worse hole. You don’t have a better way of going about things. You increase the income and then you get in even more debt, even more of a hole than you were when the income was low, right?
Chris Miles: Exactly. That’s why I have even my own clients come from all over the U.S. and Canada to my own live events, because I’m like, “You guys got to make sure you learn the mindset.” Even though I give them audios and stuff to study, still I’m like, “You need more of this because this mindset stuff is huge.” At the same time, the strategy is, where I teach people tax strategies where the average entrepreneur finds at least five to 10 grand a year that they save in taxes, or how to pay down debt the right way, not the way that everybody else has been teaching, but in a way that actually creates the biggest bang for your buck and best rate of return. How do you make more money in your business, and all that kind of stuff. How you save money on insurances, all that kind of stuff that I look at.
That strategy has to be there, but if I don’t have the mindset piece with it, I’ve watched that people don’t get nearly the results. Especially if I’m teaching them how to make more money. If I don’t give them the mindset piece too, they screw it up. They end up gambling their money away, and then they lose money instead of making money.
Robert Plank: They backslide back to the person they were before they came to you.
Chris Miles: You got it.
Robert Plank: We covered a lot of really cool stuff today. My favorite part out of all of this … My second favorite part was the Mint.com thing. I’m going to be signing up to that. Then just the way you laid it out about spenders, savers, and stewards, and all those little nuggets of the meditation, Tony Robbins, power hour, all that stuff. Aside from all those cool little tidbits, is there one big mistake you’re seeing over and over with all of these clients you’re helping out that you just … It’s the number one thing that you always see happening?
Chris Miles: I would say definitely tracking the money is the thing that they’re not doing. I very rarely ever find someone who’s tracking their money properly, to where they feel so confident they know exactly how much money they have, where it’s all going. That allows them to move faster in business, too. Doing that properly. They might be doing it a little bit. They might be looking at their balances, but they’re not tracking money. I’ll tell you, if you ever say you’re too busy to do it, you’re losing at minimum $500 a month, or $6,000 a year right there. I’ve had people where … I had one lady in Silicon Valley, California, who was making a quarter million a year but still broke. Found out she was spending $5,600 a month eating out. $5,600, you know? That’s crazy. It’s California, but still, we both know California’s not that expensive.
Robert Plank: Right, it’s not like Dubai or anything.
Chris Miles: No. Even another guy I worked with, a dentist in Virginia. He was great, but he was just focused on making money. We found an extra $16,000 a month in his practice, just in his business, on top of the $6,000 a month we helped him free up. In total, we helped him save over 300 grand that year. That’s the kind of stuff that, if you’re aware of what’s going on, you’re watching what’s happening, that’s a great start. If everybody would do that … Man, when I coach them, it makes it so much easier.
Robert Plank: They can at least find the problem. Isn’t that what the drug addicts and stuff say? The first step is knowing you have a problem, or admitting you have a problem?
Chris Miles: It’s that awareness. Once you’re aware of what’s going on, it’s such a big eye-opener. People find money just because they track. Not because they spend less, but because a lot of times they’ll say they’re just more accountable. Whatever extra they have, they’ll say, “You know what, maybe I’ll put that money away. Maybe I’ll keep that in emergencies, just in case.” Especially if you’re a business owner. It’s not just emergencies; you need it for opportunities. A lot of times you miss opportunities because you don’t have the money laying around.
Robert Plank: Oh yeah.
Chris Miles: That costs money there.
Robert Plank: I notice that, too. I probably haven’t gone back as much as I should, but I notice looking back in bank statements, because I don’t have Mint.com set up, looking back at memberships I’m not using and stuff like that, and little $80 a month things in my business. My attitude used to be, “Oh, whatever. It’s 80 bucks a month. Who cares what that adds up to?” Then I say, once I actually drill down, there’s 10 or 20 of those things that are dinging me 80 bucks every single month. What is that every year? What could that have built up to for five or 10 years, like you said, not just to get a higher number but to have the peace of mind to be able to use it for whatever opportunity. Just kind of a different way of thinking.
Chris Miles: It all adds up. I had a graphic designer who, we found an extra $1,500 a month from the little things that just added up. We didn’t have to sacrifice their life at all. They still were able to be free and do stuff, still go out and eat, things like that. $1,500 a month. That’s 18 grand a year back in your pocket that you didn’t even know you were losing in the first place.
Robert Plank: Imagine over a lifetime how many cars that would buy or how many college educations for the kids or something.
Chris Miles: That’s true. I mean, 18 grand a year, after 15 years, that’s over a quarter million dollars, right?
Robert Plank: Yeah. Phew. All right, so you have all these cool success stories and all these cool strategies. I want to send people over to you so they can find out all about what it is you do, what it is you sell, about these seminars and this coaching stuff that you do. Where can people find out more about you?
Chris Miles: If you want to hear some actual, real specific strategies, kind of like what we mentioned today but a few more, even how to pay off debt and things like that, you can go to www.moneyripples.com. Right there on the front page you can actually get the e-book called Beyond Rice and Beans: 7 Secrets to Free Up Cash Today. That’s kind of my slap at Dave Ramsey right there.
Robert Plank: Nice.
Chris Miles: Then also, if you like podcasts, go on iTunes, look up The Chris Miles Money Show, and you can listen to stuff there, too.
Robert Plank: Cool. The Chris Miles Money Show. While you’re doing the power of hour and the mantras, perfect complement, right?
Chris Miles: Absolutely.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Well, cool, thanks for being on the show, Chris, and sharing all your cool knowledge and wisdom.
Chris Miles: Yeah, you bet, Robert. I appreciate it.
Alex Genadinik, whose Android app is ranked #1 in the Google Play store for the term “business” has 87 courses on uDemy and has sold to over 66,000 students. He’s going to tell us how he sells on a high traffic platform called uDemy (which is as “hot” as the iTunes app store was years ago), how he comes up with ideas and gets traffic to his video courses.
Alex Genadinik: I’m excited to share everything that I know about uDemy with your audience.
Robert Plank: Awesome, so just to make sure that we’re all on the same page, could you explain to us what uDemy is?
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, uDemy is this really rapidly growing place where their model is anyone can learn anything. It’s basically the idea of elearning that’s been around for maybe the last 20 years, but they’ve really taken it to the next level and they’re making it mainstream. It’s high quality, really good learning, things like that. Whereas I think everybody is familiar with elearning here and there, but before it was kind of hacky you know, it was spotty, you didn’t know what you were getting, maybe you got it in a university, but this is like … uDemy is legitimately … They have I think over 20 or 30 thousand courses on all kinds of topics and they’re high quality courses so it’s a fantastic marketplace for … Literally anyone can learn anything but also anyone with expertise can teach and make money.
Robert Plank: That’s pretty cool because I think that sometimes I’ll want to learn a new skill or a new piece of software, I’ll want to know Photoshop or Google Analytics and the choices in front of me used to be either to try to go through some free YouTube videos and I would get sometimes old information or I’d buy a Kindle book and sometimes get just words and no screenshots, or something like Lynda or something. I’ve used uDemy a few times as a buyer, like I’d pay $10 or $20 just to learn something really specific. As far as you selling on uDemy, what kind of stuff are you selling? What’s your favorite course on uDemy, I guess, that you’re selling?
Alex Genadinik: For me, my favorite course is, I have a course … Mainly I teach people entrepreneurship, business, and marketing, and my favorite topic is marketing. The more advanced the marketing technique, the more they are my favorite. Because it takes more creativity and more insight and more experience to really become proficient at them. My favorite course that I teach is it’s called “Marketing Strategies to Reach a Million People” and it’s got everything, right? It’s got social media, it’s got SEO, and it’s a really long, like 14 hour course with I think over 120 different lectures.
I really take a person from being a new marketer and take them through almost everything, like offline marketing, social media marketing, SEO marketing. Often the combination of those things, right? Because sometimes social media platforms have a big search component, right? YouTube for example, or iTunes for example, and not only search, but there’s secondary algorithms like the recommendation algorithm right, like in podcasts. If you like this podcast you will also like this one, on Amazon if you like this book you will also like this one. I take a person from very beginner to pretty advanced and understanding how to leverage those SEO and even more complex algorithms online and really get as much traffic to their business as possible.
Robert Plank: Okay and I’m looking at that exact course and you had 6200 students take that course. When I see you doing courses on that and things like that, I’ve seen some people, and especially internet marketers put out uDemy courses and I see that sometimes the course has thousands of students have gone through it. Does that mean that if I’m looking at the page right now, 6200 times $20, does that mean that all of those thousands of students have paid you $20 or is there some kind of strategy to make it free first and then charge for it or … What’s the deal with that?
Alex Genadinik: You can make a course free. In the case of that particular course I only in the very beginning gave away a few copies for free so most of the students there are paid students. None of them paid probably exactly $20 because at different times this course was different prices. Sometimes this course used to be $500, and then uDemy said courses can only be $300 and then the course was $299, and then uDemy had another price change and now the top possible price on uDemy at the moment is $50. I think that might change soon too because they’re also experimenting on their platform. I’m kind of just rolling with the punches of uDemy and what I do is often people who enroll in my courses, they get emails from me with discounts to my other courses. Usually if the marked price is $20, anyone in my other courses can get this particular course at a discount. I like to give discounts so it’s nicer for people, there’s less risk for them and they buy more and I’m happy.
Robert Plank: That’s pretty cool and I think that when you look at platforms like this and uDemy and it’s great that … From what I understand it makes it easy to put some videos online, it’s easy to have it hosted, so you don’t have to make your own website, but I think that, and let me know if I’m right or wrong here, but it seems like the biggest advantage to uDemy is there’s just so much traffic, right? There’s so many people looking to buy something from you, right?
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, exactly. That’s the main draw of uDemy as an instructor. By the way one point I forgot to make is that if it makes sense for your audience maybe on your show notes page we can post a link, I have a page on my site where I have a very steep discount to all my courses so even your listeners who are not necessarily students of my courses can get pretty steep discounts if they’re interested in any of courses so maybe we can have a link to that.
The main draw is the buyers, right, because it’s an elearning platform, but it’s also eCommerce just like Amazon is eCommerce, and just like on Amazon, right, where are you going to sell your book? Of course you’re going to sell it on Amazon or the Kindle so the same things happens for uDemy. uDemy is like the Amazon for courses.
Robert Plank: Okay. Speaking of Amazon, I resisted Amazon for a long time because I saw people selling books there and I’m thinking well why would I want to sell a book on Amazon for $0.99 or $2 and the same way on uDemy I say well why would I want to give away like … You have that course that has twelve hours for $20 but I mean if you make $20 sales times, or $200 sales times whoever knows how many students then that’s great. The other thing too is you don’t have to live on uDemy. That kind of leads me to wondering okay, so you have a course on uDemy, for example, this marketing strategy to reach a million people, does that have to be specific to their platform or are you allowed to sell it other places?
Alex Genadinik: Their terms of service dictate that as an instructor you are 100% allowed to sell anywhere else.
Robert Plank: Cool. But it seems like from a marketing point of view you could, like you said, you have your discounts and things like that, you could have your same exact course for sale for $200 off of uDemy, but then someone finds it on uDemy and it’s at a huge discount so they can jump and buy it, right?
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, exactly.
Robert Plank: Where did you specifically find out about this and find out how to put these uDemy courses online?
Alex Genadinik: Years ago … I mean I’ve been on uDemy for over two years and years ago I had some apps for entrepreneurs that were successful and I wrote a book and people liked the book but a lot of people literally were telling me … I got the same line from a lot of people, they were like, “Hey your book is great and your tutorials are great but can you make a video? We don’t like to read.” So I started dabbling in YouTube and it took me a while to become proficient with video and once I became proficient with video, to a degree, because video, it’s almost endless, there’s always room to become better, but I became kind of good enough. YouTube unless you’re a mega star and unless you have millions and millions of views a month, it’s really hard to make significant money there. You have to be like above the top 1%, right?
Robert Plank: Oh yeah.
Alex Genadinik: I was looking to monetize my videos better, and especially like I’m not viral, I’m not a cute cat, I’m not an elephant-
Robert Plank: You’re not a hot girl, right?
Alex Genadinik: Right. There’s not that much chance for a boring guy like me who talks about business to become tremendously successful. My channel has over a million views on YouTube, but still you need so much more there to do well. I just kept looking for better places to monetize video and I came across uDemy, which even at that time, I felt it was mature at the moment … At that moment it felt mature, it felt competitive, it was hard to get ahead, not different from how I feel about it now. It took me a while to fully understand how uDemy works with all their ins and outs and all that stuff but I just stumbled upon it really as a … It was necessary for me because I was searching for a better way to monetize video that’s better than YouTube.
Robert Plank: Right, because I mean like we were saying a few minutes ago, usually when I’m on YouTube I’m looking to get some information for free. If you had your videos on YouTube and you made money from ads, like little two cent … Two cents of income every little now and then. What I like about, we’re talking about Amazon and uDemy, is that literally everyone on Amazon, everyone on uDemy, is looking to buy something, right, there’s nothing for free on uDemy. I guess there are some free courses but in general, it’s not like YouTube where’s it an entirely free site. You mentioned some of these things about getting started. Is there a place to find out the rules or … Because you can’t just throw up any kind of video you make you have to abide by what they want, right?
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, there’s a lot of rules. The most basic things are every course is a minimum 30 minutes of video and five different lectures, meaning five different videos. There’s some topics that are off limits like something like guns are not allowed, porn is not allowed, but almost everything … Gambling might not be allowed, but almost everything else is allowed. Once you get into creating the course, there’s really a tremendous amount on how to create a good course, how to promote a course. uDemy has their own courses that they make to help aid instructors on it.
Also sometimes I actually coach people who are new to uDemy but they have some knowledge, maybe they’re software engineers or maybe they know about business or some other life skill and they want to be able to monetize that but they don’t want to spend six months learning uDemy, so sometimes I offer pretty affordable coaching. I do an initial consultation call for fifteen minutes for just $5 just for a person to get a sense if it’s right for them. That’s also an option because there’s a lot more that I can explain in a conversation. There’s also free resources like uDemy Studio Facebook group, where there’s I think there’s 30,000 uDemy instructors and aspiring instructors so it’s a fantastic place for free and it’s a community where anybody can ask any question and get answers to almost all their questions.
Robert Plank: Okay cool. I’m kind of clicking through some of the courses you have and I mean you have courses about podcasting and Kindle and stuff like that, but there’s you know Bit Coin, yoga. Just out of curiosity what’s the weirdest or craziest uDemy course you have?
Alex Genadinik: I don’t do too many crazy things. I have some health and fitness courses that I did with a few of my fitness instructors. Just as an experiment and I think those courses came out okay, you know, people seemed to like them, but that’s not really my focus. I do have one unique course that’s really unique. When I was in college I really liked philosophy and I was a computer science major so I mostly had to learn on my own, it was a passion thing. I have a course that’s like a philosophy course, it’s a philosophy of religion, but it’s not a religious course.
It’s more like I took all the philosophers through the last 2500 years and I took their perspectives on religion, largely emphasizing existentialism, because that’s where the big crux happened where instead of people asking, “What should I do with my life?” Instead of getting the answer from religion most people started looking inside themselves and looking for the answer … There is no answer, right? Everybody has to create that. That was a big switch in how people thought about it. That course I really like because it’s like a passion project from my own passion. I mean, religion can always get weird, but it’s really a philosophy course first and foremost and it just talks about religion.
Robert Plank: I mean if you have the knowledge anyway and you were going to have a conversation about it anyway why not just make a video about it, or make a video course about it, right?
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, that thing I just wanted to share. That course doesn’t, philosophy, doesn’t make a lot of money, but it’s just for me to kind of share something I myself was passionate about. I think it came out pretty cool. I quote different people from the best philosophers to Bob Marley, because he has some things to say about it in his songs. He has some good quotes there. I think it came out to be a well-rounded course and I aimed for it to be the equivalent of a couple of college courses. The main takeaways that you would get from a couple of college courses that I got. I think it came out okay.
Robert Plank: Awesome. Speaking of that, I’m looking, I mean you have courses on all kinds of crazy stuff like Android apps and LinkedIn. Is there a method to the madness? Do you just wake up one day and have an idea for a course or is there any kind of research involved or what’s the deal there?
Alex Genadinik: Well largely I try to share things that I’m an expert in. Because how I got here is I made some successful mobile apps so I do have a deep understanding of the app business, I am a software engineer. It made sense for me to make those courses. Especially since one of my apps did really well on Android. If you search for the word business on Android my app has been number one for the last three years or something. I teach people how to do the same thing for them, right? But it’s something that I literally accomplished on my own and I’m like here are the exact steps so that made sense. For the most part, my goal is to help people kind of start and grow their businesses. All the courses they kind of help people with some aspect of it. Maybe personal branding, maybe like you mentioned LinkedIn.
Lately I’ve been focusing on soft skills like motivation, and motivation is funny because sometimes people are not motivated because they chose the wrong path for themselves, right? Sometimes somebody else chose the path for them and suggested it and they just went with it, right, but it’s not necessarily the right thing for them and then half of them is not into it so they’re not motivated. They’re wondering why am I not motivated, why am I procrastinating, you know? It’s like goal-setting, motivation, how to find your own life purpose rather than having it handed to you by society or your parents or somebody else.
Because no one really knows as deep as you do what really will drive you and it’s important to find that because if you, let’s say started a business but it’s not really your thing, or even if it is your thing, but you’re starting a business in the wrong … Dealing with the wrong people, in the wrong niche, wrong industry, you’re not getting motivated and you’ll be like why am I not motivated, what’s wrong with me, why is my business failing? It’s not even any hard business skill, it’s like a soft business skill, almost like life skills first. Now I focus on that because I see a lot of people failing in business precisely because of a mental issue, mental process, motivation issue, right, nothing to do with the actual business.
Robert Plank: Right, it’s like they have a bad foundation so no matter what they do, the foundation’s still bad so they’re still failing.
Alex Genadinik: Precisely.
Robert Plank: I mean, this is crazy. I thought that uDemy as far as it got was like PowerPoint, like as far as it got was like photography. I didn’t know that you could make it as, like you said, as soft skills as, like motivation or philosophy, and it seems like what’s cool about those topics is that they stay evergreen, right? As opposed to if you teach like WordPress or Facebook or Android apps, five years later the whole video has to be different, right?
Robert Plank: Is there a problem with that? If you want to make a course about Android apps and you go and look at the existing courses and there’s hundreds of courses already, do you just go ahead and do that anyway or do you try to make yours unique or what’s your thought process there?
Alex Genadinik: Any time in the marketplace you want to be unique. What’s your differentiation, right, like in any business. That’s an important part. You want to have something catchy, for example like my course “How to Market to Get a Million People,” well, that course used to be just “Marketing Strategies,” it used to be just called “Marketing Strategies” which is like a name that does not stand out as well, and it wasn’t selling. As soon as I renamed it to the million people thing it became very catchy and started selling. You definitely want to stand out and be catchy at all times. That’s not it. You also want to be discovered, Boolean search, all that kind of thing. There’s a lot of components, really, to making a course successful.
Robert Plank: You keyword stuff the title so that it shows up on search. You kind of add a hook or a promise so that when they’re scrolling through the search yours kind of grabs the attention, I guess.
I mean, what are basically the steps to putting something on uDemy, is there a special link to click, is there a fee? I guess you have to upload videos and get it approved. What are the steps there?
Alex Genadinik: It’s really easy. You really just go on uDemy, you have a profile there, you say you want to become an instructor, you start uploading your videos, you click I want to make a course called XYZ, they take you through a step-by-step asking for your experience and filming experience and then they just take you to a screen where you start uploading lectures and it’s really that simple.
The hardest part is to come up with a good course topic and create the lectures that cover the course well. You have to be relatively good at presenting it. Make sure that when you plan the course that you cover the course in a complete way so that when a person … They start at maybe zero but when they finish your course they feel accomplished, they feel like they know what they’re doing. You really took them from a to b. That’s really important to achieve for the student.
It’s really important and it’s something that I guess took me a lot of time, is to cut the fat from a course, so I used to repeat myself a lot, I used to adjust to make sure people really picked up on the important details, but that kind of made the course longer. It added extra time in the course and then people got bored and then they quit the course. Now I also focus on making the course kind of quick and delivering information really quickly and moving on and moving forward and moving along so that it’s entertaining for the student and not boring, that’s important as well.
If you’re starting out, you’ve just got to get the recording equipment, which is not expensive, you can record with your computer, so you don’t even need recording equipment really, like you don’t need a camcorder, it’s really cheap to start, uDemy charges nothing. All you do is just upload the lectures, submit your course, they have a review process, most of the time your course will pass the review process. For a first time person there’s another process of becoming a premium instructor, but that’s also only a day or two that it will take and then you’re off to the races with your course.
Robert Plank: Along those lines, what big mistake are you seeing these other uDemy course sellers making?
Alex Genadinik: There’s two mistakes that I’m seeing right now that are very flagrant. First, poor quality courses. Let’s say if you’re making YouTube marketing course, there’s over a hundred YouTube marketing courses on uDemy so you better make a really great course or something really unique, because if you just give the basics of YouTube, then-
Robert Plank: They’ve already done that, yeah.
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, any kind of intermediate student, half of them have probably already either taken other YouTube courses or they’ve gone through the whole thing themselves and they’re going to be irritated by your course. Your course doesn’t offer that much value and they’re just going to give it a bad review. That’s one thing, so your course … It’s in a marketplace, it’s not in a vacuum, so you’re going to have to make sure, do your market research. What are the existing courses and how can yours stand out and be different and what can it really deliver? That’s one thing and it’s very important.
The other thing is sometimes people teach for the purpose of making money rather than really teaching something that they’re really an expert in. Because I see sub par experts, novices teaching, saying hey I’m an expert, and making a course and teaching … Again, in a marketplace that doesn’t hold up. If you’re a novice and maybe you’re delusional or maybe you’re hoping it will squeak by, you can’t teach half a topic or the basics, it just doesn’t fly anymore. I see a lot of people teaching something where they’re truly not an expert in that. It probably can be said something like that about my courses, like am I a philosopher? No, right, am I a PhD in philosophy? No, but I did take … That course I think the defense is that there’s almost no ideas of mine in that course. I just took a survey of the great thinkers, so I didn’t need to be a philosopher myself. I just summed up the works of other philosophers, but if you’re trying to show your stuff, you better be a super expert.
Robert Plank: That makes a lot of sense and it’s like you’re teaching philosophy because you know it and you love it and you’ve done it for years. As opposed to if someone said, “Hey I’m going to make a philosophy course,” and they open up Wikipedia. Or you have your course on WordPress and I saw that there’s things about how to hire someone to get it developed, how to do technical support, as opposed to if someone said … They just opened up WordPress and clicked through the tabs and said, “Check out this tab, check out this tab,” I guess that’s the big difference, right, is that you kind of have a mastery to some degree?
Alex Genadinik: In WordPress, my course doesn’t promise a lot from the get go, for example. I’m not the number one WordPress guy and my course didn’t intend … That particular course is a very niche WordPress course, it’s basically how to get up and running in a day. Just how to get your hosting set up, how to get the domain name, how to get it all set up, how to be up and running in a day or two. That’s the goal, because I see a lot of people taking months to get their website up or something.
By no means did that course intend to be some super duper WordPress advanced course. It’s a very beginning course so I only promised a certain amount and I delivered that limited amount in that course. It’s for some people. For people who are intermediate for advanced, it’s not for them. That’s another thing, you should be clear in your course what your course promises. Because a beginner, like a super duper dense course, it’s not right for them, it’s going to overwhelm them, so my course is like a niche WordPress course for my audience because my audience specifically they struggle with setting up their business. For them it made sense because they need to set up all the basics. I either kind of limit the premise of the course or make it a niche course. Sometimes some topics, they’re limited, in WordPress you literally can just walk people through how to set it up to a certain degree and it’s black and white. Here’s how you do it, follow the steps, but what about, some topics they have more gray areas.
Social media marketing, why does something go viral and another thing does not? That’s more like a voodoo slash gray area slash a lot of creativity involved there and there’s so many different approaches to it. Different courses you really have to approach them in different ways. Some are black and white, some are totally gray area, but in all cases you have to be an expert enough to teach to the degree that your course promises.
Robert Plank: I like that way of thinking and I like a couple things about uDemy and about the way you title your courses. First of all, I like on uDemy that when I search something I can narrow it down by beginner, intermediate, or expert, so that if I’m searching on YouTube, I guess there’s boxes to check where I can be like okay only get the expert courses. The other thing I like about the courses that you have, you have your courses like … I saw one somewhere where it was like how you got on like fifty podcasts or something. If I get that I’m like okay, Alex is going to show me exactly the steps that he took to get this result, but it’s not like you’re saying, “how to get a billion views,” and it’s just some kind of foggy idea, right?
Alex Genadinik: Exactly. If there is some promise that the course makes, I make sure that the course really delivers on the promise. That’s super important. Otherwise people will just complain. If you bought a watermelon at the store and it was blueberries … It’s an impossible example but you know what I’m saying, right?
Robert Plank: It’s a bait and switch.
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, certainly people should get what they think they are getting, at a high degree of quality.
Robert Plank: I mean, that makes a lot of sense. If you sell a lot of courses on uDemy and if you’re courses get rated highly, does uDemy reward you? Do they kind of make you appear higher in the search results, kind of like Google and stuff?
Alex Genadinik: Kind of, yes. It’s interesting. On different websites like Amazon, YouTube, there’s different paths to generating a lot of sales and views or whatever. One way to think about it is on YouTube, and Amazon too, there’s on the right side of YouTube other people liked these videos, right? You might also be interested in these videos, and very often videos which get a lot of views, it’s not from search. Because if you think about it, search always has a limit. You cannot get more views than the number of people searching.
So search actually, it’s something that we see and it’s something that’s on the forefront of our minds because we see it and we want a rank, but the true secret of getting a lot of views on YouTube, a lot of sales on Amazon, a lot of sales on uDemy, or any of these kinds of things, even a lot of discovery in podcasts, or whatever, even apps. Almost all of these things work on this principle that the stuff that’s really good gets recommended a tremendous amount. Because all the search terms have a certain limit. You’re not going to get past that but there’s almost no limit to how much the platform can recommend you.
If you become one of the top sellers within your category, like one of the top podcasts or one of the top books on Amazon, your book is always going to be recommended in your category, like people who bought this book also bought this book and that recommendation will appear on thousands and thousands of pages everyday. That’s the better thing than SEO but almost nobody focuses on it because it’s not as visual, we rarely see our products there and we don’t picture, it’s not viable for us, we don’t aim for it, but that’s really where people become wealthy.
Robert Plank: I like that, and I hadn’t thought about that before. You’re looking to get ranked on recommendations not on searches. As far as you moving forward with uDemy and making your courses and things like that, do you have any big plans, you have anything coming up that has you really excited?
Alex Genadinik: Yes, I have a couple of things. I am slowing down my new course creation and I’m going to be focusing on improving my existing courses and really improving my own speaking, my own presentation style, because it’s infinite how much you can improve that. That’s one thing I’m doing.
One really exciting thing that I’m doing is I’ve set up a coaching program of sorts where I kind of set people up with a website, an eCommerce website, and allow them to license courses from me and sell them on their site so they can have their own mini uDemy. Basically it’s, like I mentioned earlier, it’s an eCommerce business so it’s directly, somebody buys something, they get revenue. It’s transactional, money comes right away. Essentially I set people up with their own small uDemy and all they have to do is just sell the courses and keep the profits. I think it’s a great business because elearning is a rapidly growing young market.
I kind of equate this market to maybe how the mobile apps were in 2009, people were like what the heck is this? They kind of knew what it was, but the people who got into it early, a lot of them made significant money. Then of course once the app marketplace became crowded and everybody else got on it, but it was a little late. Now I feel like the elearning market is that early time, like 2009 for apps.
This is a way for people to get in on having their own eCommerce platform which they can grow, have more courses or grow their students and just make a lot of money out of it. I think it’s a lucrative business and I’m excited because I can help people get set up with the whole thing, the courses, the website, and even teach them how to sell.
Robert Plank: Do you have a web address for that?
Alex Genadinik: It’s really just people have to email me and like I mentioned I do that fifteen minute, $5 consultation, and during the consultation I have to talk to a person and ask them what they want … Do they want to teach themselves, do they want to license existing content? I have to get a whole bunch of things in a conversation from a person to really see what makes sense for them. I really should make a written program for it, almost like a coaching program. I don’t have that at the moment, but I’m in the middle of going through it with a few people, but I really should make it more formal.
Robert Plank: Well there’s only so many hours in a day, right, for you to do those fun things? Well cool, I’m really glad we had you on the show, Alex, and we’ll put the links that you want at robertplank.com/102. Pretty much every course, especially of yours, that I click on, I’m just seeing thousands and thousands of people took these courses and so there’s got to be crazy traffic on this and I’m just blown away by how many reviews things have and how many people are clicking around. It just seems like a huge marketplace where it’s still growing.
Alex Genadinik: Yeah, it’s a fantastic market to get into. Either by teaching on uDemy or having your own small uDemy of your own. It’s one of the good businesses of today. One of the things that’s still growing. It’s saturated but it’s not saturated at the point where it’s over. There’s still room.
101: Fine Tune Your Greatness and Optimize Your Branding with Business Advisor, Speaker and Author Loren Weisman
Loren Weisman: Well Robert, I came with … I’ll summarize it quickly. I came from a background in music. I was a session and ghost drummer which meant that I worked behind a lot of people for a lot of years, about 700 albums in very behind the scenes fashion. I saw the largest successes, the biggest failures, the smallest successes, and everywhere in between. As I went to producing music, I went over to television, I started to venture out and see that a lot of the blueprints around marketing and branding really applied to every type of business from real estate to restaurants, import, export, hair styles, lawyers, and everywhere in between.
A lot of people spend 20 some years getting into music. After 20 some years in music, I found myself opening some new doors and talking a little bit more about branding and the different levels of engagement and conversion with businesses outside of entertainment.
Robert Plank: Okay. What’s really cool about you coming from a music background is we all come across those people who have really good talent or they’re really passionate about some subject. It’s a shame because they don’t know how to get themselves out there or they don’t know how to build their own brand, their own tribe, or their own list, or any of that stuff and it’s just like you kind of have to both sides of it, right?
Loren Weisman: Absolutely and that’s where it flies so much into business as well. When you think about that band that you saw and you just love them and you couldn’t understand why they couldn’t go anywhere while the band you weren’t as big a fan of became superstars. The same thing applies to business. You could have the greatest concept. You could have the best business plan, but if you don’t have the branding, the marketing behind it, even to go into the funding stages, you’re going to sit there and spin your wheels. I’m sure that there are so many amazing entrepreneurs out there, maybe even some listening to this show that feel like, “Wow, I’ve got this concept but it just won’t catch. Is it my concept?” Usually the answer is no. The creativity, the improvisation, the ideas that people come up with are amazing. It’s just the fact that they’re not quite connecting with the ability to market that out to whether they’re soliciting for funding, partnerships, networking, money, or just sales.
Robert Plank: If I’m getting this right, so what it is that you do is that you were a consultant mostly for musicians. Is that right?
Loren Weisman: I used to be for musicians. Now I’m the … Like I was sort of in the back for musicians, I’m the consultant in behind businesses and actually other consultants. A lot of the business advisors out there, I work behind them with branding projects that they’re working on. I do work with some individual clients, but I like to be one of the guys behind the curtain of other guys. Then looking from a whole of what they’re developing with a given client and then saying, “Okay. I see this as a possible run. I see this as an area where developing at a lower cost.” You might say to a client of yours, “This needs six months of development in this area.” Then I would come in and say while you’re working, doing this with Robert, let’s talk about the branding before this product or service is even out there and slowly begin to allocate a little time to create and build the brand of that non-existent product yet so that upon launch or upon solicitation for funding, or upon selling, you’re already out of the gate that much further.
Robert Plank: You could say you’re like the guy behind the guy behind the guy behind the guy, right?
Loren Weisman: Exactly.
Robert Plank: I love that movie. Could you give me an example of some kind of situation where that happened where maybe you came in and say someone’s consulting business or something wasn’t doing too well or could use improving and you kind of added your magic touch to it?
Loren Weisman: Oh well moreso a consulting business and the consultants that are out there, they’re doing a great job but they are so focused in the area of, okay, we’ve got to pull this together. We got to figure out how to put together your project. How to put together your workday. The coaches and consultants out there like that, they have all this great information that allows them to share their stories, just like your story and where you went. I love on your website, by the way, the I had worked. You switch, I am working. I had worked at this as a day job and this is when I left in 2009. I love that kind of stuff. At the same time, that’s not me. I’m more from looking at a client that somebody has and saying okay, what could they start to do for different levels of content? What could they start to create? Where is their bio or the questions that people ask?
A lot of this stuff, it’s not keyword searching and spending a fortune on AdWords. Even if you go and ask Siri on your iPhone, or if you have an iPhone, how do I add music to my radio show or podcast? Immediately it’s going to come up with an ad that I did, a podcast I did for a client that wanted information about music publishing. In other cases, where should I eat in this town? These new phrases and algorithms in YouTube, in podcasts, can upreach and outreach so much wider and the beautiful thing about it is all of this can be built simultaneously while this client’s consultant is taking care of all the organizational stuff that they know how to do, that they know how to organize.
Robert Plank: Would you say when you have the consultants or the clients like this and you go to get them more traffic or get them more business or whatever, would you say that you kind of look at it and you eyeball it or is there a specific step by step sequence that you go through in this process?
Loren Weisman: I find every client to be really individualized and that’s what I love about what I do. I feel like a detective and it’s where are the strings? Where are the weaknesses? Where’s the potential funding? I find myself that I’m a lot less about traffic as much as I’m more about conversion and engagement. While certain sell points are put together to sell an offer, I like to make sure, okay. Do you have a content management system, an editorial calendar of what you’re going to create to talk about who you are, what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, or even how you’re going to do it, how that allows you to stand out. From the funniest things and the most humorous things.
I was on a book tour for my second book. We drove through Albuquerque, New Mexico. We stopped exactly where they shot this one particular scene in Breaking Bad, and I grabbed a shirt and a pair of tighty whities at a Walmart, I stood there holding my book and made the joke for musicians saying, breaking bad habits. That got a lot of engagement. It got a sense of humor. There was another guy, he was talking about cleaning computers and as opposed to these very boring, mundane videos that he put up that had no engagement, we shot an iPhone video of him walking into a car wash. Just walking into the front, it was only cold water, nobody got hurt and no real computers were damaged.
That got so much more engagement because there was something there that was reaching, the term I call the three audiences. The people that already know you, are engaged with you, have bought from you or plan to buy from you, the people that are familiar with you but haven’t converted yet, and the people that have no idea who you are. When the content branding and marketing is angled at all three of those, I found in the conversions that I’ve seen across the board inside and outside of entertainment, you keep that much more engagement happening in the people that have already bought every single product you have to the person that’s never even heard of you.
Robert Plank: It’s like you have your hot people, your warm people, and your cold people, right?
Loren Weisman: Exactly. By keeping those hot people hot as opposed to the inundation of the sell, then they become sales people for you. If the call to action of your sell, the buy button, and all those elements come down in the bottom where you start on the top with some kind of funny content, with something to draw everybody in, they’re sharing that as opposed to the sell pitch right out of the front where it’s, well I’m already buying. I don’t need to pay attention to this.
People use that fact in many businesses of continuing and engaging connection with their best customers because their best customers then are going to serve as their best testimonials as they share a funny post or an interesting post or something informative that they haven’t necessarily seen and oh, I worked with this guy or I bought this or I did that. They become some of your best free advertising.
Robert Plank: Cool. You do a lot of different things but out of the last couple of scenarios that you’ve described, you kind of do these PR stunts, in a sense.
Loren Weisman: We create the concepts around more of an editorial calendar. I’m not as much going out there to shoot. I left Los Angeles. I live in Vero Beach now so I telecommute to clients around the world and really, most of my sessions with either the other consultants or the clients themselves, it’s creating these editorial calendar plans and figuring out, not just the ideas of this will be funny and this would be a stunt, but what ties in at this point down the road. The more that they can learn to take over the marketing internally and not always necessarily have someone doing it outside where they have the templates and making it so that a two minute video is shot and it’s thrown into an iMovie template and its saved and everything from those little rules of more than 35 characters, less than 65, it’s popped up very simply, very quickly, and reaching the most people and capturing the highest level of conversions with spending the least amount of money, or in this case, no money. That’s where I’m seeing a lot of people thrive.
Robert Plank: Cool. I think that what’s cool about what it is that you do is when we see all these people who … I mean, they’re too close to their own storefront, their own brand, their own book, whatever, right? They don’t see it from that outsider point of view and they don’t really know what would be kind of like a viral video or they don’t know what would really catch on. It sounds like that’s what you’re for.
Loren Weisman: I’m definitely about that. Also, it goes into more of the breakdown and I think that you discuss it on your site. I’m forgetting the exact wording that you used. I call it compound content. I think you call it … What do you say? You said something about a stronger … Oh. Blanket.
Robert Plank: There’s like repurposing content in different modalities.
Loren Weisman: Oh, no, no. I think what you mentioned was content muscle.
Robert Plank: Oh yeah. Content muscle, like basically if you haven’t created any content in a while it’s tough to do it but if it’s something you do on a regular basis, the muscle’s strong.
Loren Weisman: Exactly. I liked that when I was going through your site because in the same way, I tell most people, and this goes for everything all the way down to auto repair shops. I just spoke with a guy up in Greensboro, North Carolina and it was an idea of saying if you can put out one blog a week, and it doesn’t have to be this … And people get overwhelmed. They’re like, “Well I have to put this out and it’s got to be perfect. It’s got to be edited. I have to shoot a $5,000 video.” I view that like the Ruth Chris or the strip house evening that you have. You’re not eating Ruth Chris for lunch every single day and dinner to. You’re going to go there on special occasions but certain mornings you might just make that healthy shake or you might have the wheatgrass shot, or I personally do that apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, lemon in the morning.
Robert Plank: Oh, that’s nasty. So gross.
Loren Weisman: It’s so terrible but my skin, the energy I have in the morning before going for a walk. It tastes awful but it’s so good for you. I’m 42 years old and not to sound like an infomercial but people are surprised. It’s kind of hard. It’s really good for you but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Robert Plank: Nice.
Loren Weisman: With the content muscle, the constant compounding of templated content that’s created inside of an editorial calendar that lines back into your brand, it bumps your SEO so you’re not spending a fortune on keyword advertising or YouTube advertising. You’re not wasting too much time in saying okay, I just built this amazing $5,000 video and now I’m going to keep sharing it. Now people are tired of seeing it and not enough people have seen it but they lost it. I say if you’re going to do one of those big videos, do them twice a year and the rest of the time, once a week, put up a strong video that hits your point. That point, and that video, and those keywords, everything compounding, it allows for that much more.
My podcast, it’s the Business Marketing and Branding Podcast, went really okay. We’re only 22 episodes in. We’ve got three-quarters of a million listens on a starting of podcast and it’s all, again, it’s not advertising. It wasn’t excessive marketing. It was planning the brand and naming the podcast and really directioning the content to fit what the message is and when people are creating the message, the other consultants are really organizing this is what you can do, this is how you can do it. This is everything from the style of webinar things that you do. The, what is it? Your double agent marketing. Then behind the scenes, you got all these great ideas for Robert, here’s a couple twists and turns to embellish. It’s why I love doing what I do because I don’t have to be out front and I get to work with some really cool people that have excellent ideas and we just add all the fine, the plumbing and the electric that nobody scenes.
Robert Plank: Right. The behind the scenes stuff. Right, because it seems like you and I kind of have the same kind of problem where it gets boring in your own business, right? It gets kind of boring talking about the same five to ten things to be able to kind of jump into someone else’s business and maybe for the past five or ten years they build up this huge list, so there’s a huge following or all these, whatever, repeat customers that are offline business and you can just kind of take their potential and make it way better, right?
Loren Weisman: Absolutely. I think on the standpoint where you and I differ, I mean, you have that great concept with the email auto responders and the different elements your backup creators, the member genies, all those elements, it’s why I contacted you. I saw what one way to connect with you and then when I saw what you were doing I’m like okay. I want to connect and have a conversation that goes out there but I want to network and potentially see where we could work together with somebody that you’re working with or vice versa.
I like to bring, again, it’s being a couple steps back behind and watching different things work and it’s fun. Everywhere from import to export businesses, to an auto shop, to small restaurants. It’s fascinating to me and every day I get up and it’s so much … To me, it’s newer than it was in music and television. In music and TV, there’s such this block of this is what you do and this is the publishing option. I wrote a couple books on the music industry. I did Music Business for Dummies. I did Artist Guide to Success in the Music Business and I dealt with a lot of people that have that excess of arrogance of if it’s good enough, it’ll just go.
As I’ve stepped out into business, I see people that are hungrier. I see people that are more driven. I see people that are saying okay, I’ve got something amazing here, but I want to treat it right. I said it in music and television, I say it everywhere else. I’m like, treat your business and your dream like a child. Are you really going to shortcut in this area or are you really going to pre-launch when you’re ready to? Are you just going to take a two year old and put them in their own room, turn off those little monitors and say hey, have a good night. That’s what a lot of people unfortunately do with their businesses, their models, and their products and it’s part of the reason that they don’t mature or develop.
Robert Plank: It seems like a lot of them have already done the work or they’ve already … You know what I mean? The things that you do or with the editorial calendar or putting out a real campaign type of deal every single day. It doesn’t seem like it’s that much extra work for them. It’s just doing more of the right things, right?
Loren Weisman: Exactly. In so many cases we make the joke … One of my companies is called Leveraging Smart and the tagline is, you’re smarter than you think. Make it work for you. The concept that you’ve done so much, you’ve built up, you’ve learned so much, you learned about all these things, you created this, now take everything that you’ve learned, take everything that you’ve done and put these final touches to allow it to reach that many more people. You made a great point about people that get so close to it and they think, “When I put this message out, that’s great,” or, “1000 people shared this post.”
Okay, that can be amazing but you can buy that for $20. Then of 1000 people that share a post, what converted to your actual clients. We get lost in views, in likes, in friends, in shares and we feel good because a lot of these only SEO experts and the social media maven artist crazy life-coachy types explain that it’s so hard and it’s so difficult. When simple steps are broken down, not to be overwhelming, to have conversations with your clients instead of talking at a client, that gives them the information to say hey, you can achieve this. Creating videos for YouTube, creating your own simple podcast, it doesn’t have to have tens of thousands of listeners, but it’s more information that markets, you, your knowledge, your persona and personality, and draws in that much more.
The other thing I really like and turning it back to you, when you’re giving people information, that makes them that much more feeling a sense of trust and wanting to work with you. Going right down your main page with your updates. You’ve got quotes, you’ve got tools, you’ve got mind hacks, you’ve got rules of content creation. You give so much to showcase the information that you know and the people that you work with or talk to or interview that makes you that much more of a reliable, experienced, and professional source as opposed to the BS artists that are like, “I guarantee you’ll be making this in two weeks,” or, “Welcome to my pyramid scheme,” or, “You just need to sign up.” That’s a beautiful thing that I see that makes you stand out.
Robert Plank: I think that … I mean, a lot of what you’re describing like all the stuff not to do, a lot of these guys that kind of repeat what looks good or kind of just takes someone else’s hype and make their hype better. I think that what’s really cool about what you … The big thing about all the things that you’ve described so far is that it seems like that you really personalize everything you do. When you go and help a new business, it’s whatever strategy or whatever actions to be taken are super just for them, and even when you’re talking to me you’re making sure that the things that you’re explaining relate directly to me and what’s really cool about all this is that it’s like you’re taking your musician skills and putting towards business, right?
By the way, what do you play?
Loren Weisman: I was a drummer for a lot of years.
Robert Plank: Oh, right. Drummer, that’s right.
Loren Weisman: I played trombone for horn and cello for sting.
Robert Plank: All kinds of stuff. It seems like with all this music stuff, I was in band for five years and there’s the mechanical part, like there’s the rules, the reading of the music part. There’s the creativity, there’s the undefinable part where you actually have to think. Then there’s the part where you got to do the repetitions and repeat and just get better at what it is you’re doing and I think that as it relates to you and your consulting and your coaching clients and stuff like that, it’s just you being the social butterfly that it seems you are and just plugging away and putting yourself out there and networking and stuff like that.
Loren Weisman: Absolutely, and testing out things. Certain people find … They find results don’t come immediately and then they jump ship. It’s like you went on a diet and you had a really healthy lunch and you didn’t enjoy it and you didn’t lose any weight so you stopped. Like I said before, we’re hitting about 15 to 17,000 listens per episode. That doesn’t mean anything until I see the conversion. Now when I’m on Periscope, I have only 10 to 20 people. Now because Periscope is new and I’m testing it out, I’m trying it out for three months. I’m constantly looking at the change as opposed to some kind of rule of, it’s all here, it’s all there.
I found with YouTube there was a while where everything was YouTube. I was getting 90% of my conversions for speaking, for consulting, for networking, and for cross-marketing with other consultants on YouTube so I dropped everything else and I just made videos five days a week. Then as that shifted and it was like, okay, this is starting to pull back. Now I’m going to play in blogs. Now I’m going to play in audios. The ability to create not just a calendar that it’s not so rigid and linear, but stating let’s play with time. Where can we touch on this? The hot, cold, and warm audience, the things that are happening, the things to be careful in like last night.
I’m not pointing at a Republican, I’m not pointing at a Democrat. I turned on the DNC and watched a terrible performance from Paul Simon, and I love Paul Simon. I tweeted out, I said, “I love Paul Simon. I mean, I love Paul Simon. But this isn’t coming from being a part of a DNC or being a part of the RNC. This was just B-A-D. This was an awful performance and where’s Art Garfunkel?” In a sense it’s funny. It’s not hitting one side. It’s not pro-Trump, it’s not pro-Clinton, it’s not anti-this. It’s connecting with the widest audience. For too long, and I think with the emails, that funneling exactly where you want to go, I’m all the way behind that but when it comes to the social media, the more people you can reach, the wider your stretch it, then from there, even if someone isn’t necessarily interested, they might dial it in.
For example, one of your things, your episode 98. Content ideas. How to never run out of ideas for WordPress, blogs, posts, and iTunes podcast episodes ever again. I would dial in that just a little bit more into a question. I would shorten the length to make it more of a headline online, and how do you never run out of ideas for blogs and episodes?
Robert Plank: You got to listen to find out.
Loren Weisman: Exactly. Not only that, but if you optimize that and then have that phrase repeated a couple times, then you did into Siri without having to pay Siri. You have that fly into YouTube or a blog or Google or Bing or Yahoo and you didn’t spend a penny. Again, it’s all the fine tuning. Most of the consultants … I mean, I do the strategy stuff and sometimes I work along side them, but a lot of time I’m just that background, fine tuning of you’ve got something great here and I’m not taking away from it. In a sense to summarize my job is I want to take the greatness of someone or the greatness that’s being created with a team and make sure it can get out just that much further to up the conversion.
Robert Plank: You’re basically looking at all the different things they’re doing, right? All the things they’re doing correct, all the things they’re doing incorrect, and you find the hot button, the hot topic. When you were looking at my blog, it didn’t even occur to me to expand or make that term of the content muscle to keep on repeating that or even make a whole book or make a whole series just based on the content muscle. I like they way that you termed it is the fine tuning.
In all of your adventures with helping out these businesses, helping out these brands, what would you say is the number one mistake that they’re all making, off the top of your head?
Loren Weisman: I’d say the number one mistake is as soon as they get everything dialed in and in line, they just don’t have the patience to maintain the execution. That, where they get things to a great point and then money starts to come in. Some conversions begin to create, and then they sit on their laurels. I’ve seen these washes of money come in and profit and it’s like, okay, this is part of the proof of concept that this working. Next week, now, now that you have the money to pay your team, your self, now that you’re able to quit your job, now reinforce your marketing that much more. I’ve always played that after you get to that level with the extra moneys that you have, that it’s 90/10 marketing. 10% into what needs to go on with product development after the fact, but 90% different styles of marketing and not making the assumptions or the mistakes of, well this is going to go great or. Like you said before, repurposing content can be a great thing, but continually repeating content for the fans that have seen it or the customers that have seen it, that hurts.
The other thing too is, the other mistake, I would say these are the top two. The summary of who they are. The who, what, when, where, why, and how is such a big thing for me and so many people are not justifying those elements. They’re having that assumption of no, no. You’ll read a little bit deeper. If you go to youtube.com/lorenweisman, every single video has two weblinks that immediately take you out. Just like you say, I think you said somewhere if you don’t know what to put, put a buy button there. I like that.
Having those links, having those correct titles, and knowing how is that summarizing and that summary. What do you put on your business card, if you don’t mind me asking, Robert?
Robert Plank: I honestly don’t know. I think I have my name, my picture, I’m digging in my wallet.
Loren Weisman: What’s your tagline?
Robert Plank: I don’t think I have one. Let’s see. Okay, I’m looking at one that I have and it says backup clone protect. WordPress plug and makes it simple for you to backup, restore, and protect your WordPress blogs.
Loren Weisman: Okay, but you’re bigger than just that. You are, from a marketing standpoint, from the web standpoint, you’ve got more of a renaissance vibe going on and an array of experience. It’s summarizing that thing. One of the things, and it becomes a bit of a challenge, but I always tell people, “Put on your card what someone could search for that tagline online and lead it right to you.” My card says business advisor, speaker, and author. If you search that on Google, I come up number one. You go to images, you see me. You go to videos, you see me. Dialing in some of those simplistic, tagline one-liners so that it immediately takes over.
This isn’t knocking anybody. You do what you do and you do it well and I work with million dollar companies and famous artists that even still apply these things to get to that next level. About Robert Plank. There’s a problem. You’ve been led to believe that running your own online business requires a huge amount of time and tons of technical know how. I love that sentence, but that’s not about you. You’re so much more with the speaking element, the podcast. I want to get the smack hit me with who you are so that from the most negative connotations or the people that have felt sold by snake oil salesmen that right off the bat, they know you’re not one of them.
Even with your reach, even as successful as you are, it doesn’t matter at any level. I’ve worked with some of the biggest names where they’ve even said, okay. This audience knows me but I still need to reach further. Okay, we’re going to flip the bio around. We’re going to find the one-liners. We’re going to develop the tags and it’s being humble in a sense of going, okay, yes. I’m continuing and I’ve got my audience, but I’m going to dial it in for the people that have never even heard of me so that when they’re looking for what I do, not looking for me, they end up on me.
Robert Plank: With all that, with getting it dialed in and everything, how do you avoid either being too cutesy or how do you avoid being like everyone else. I think your phrase, business advisor, speaker, and author, would you say, doesn’t that kind of sound like what everyone does?
Loren Weisman: In a sense, it does but because of how I’ve optimized and setup the editorial calendar, when you search that, it lands right on me. Even if your phrase, like you said, without being cutesy, if that phrase is individualized and it’s something that you can take over and not have to spend money on, then you become that guy or that girl. That’s the beauty of it. It’s finding the words and the phrases that lead to you. That in itself is so much more powerful. I challenge you or any of your guests, type it right in. Business advisor, speaker, and author.
Robert Plank: Oh yeah. I did. You own that whole front page.
Loren Weisman: Right, so in a sense as wide as that is, I don’t need to worry about it. You can go into YouTube and type in IHeartRadio Business Podcast and there are a lot of business podcasts that have been around much longer and have much larger audiences than me, but I still come up right in the top. That’s some of that cross-branding for, it’s SEO without paying for it and without being overwhelmed for it, so finding those phrases that dial you in. I end up being more strategy. I end up being more behind the scenes. I’m a consultant to the consultant. I’m the guy behind the guy behind the guy behind the guy. All these different phrases become subsidiary lines, but I can attack in and from the proof of concept for what I create for myself, that’s how I try to help other people.
In the same sense for you. Even with all the people that follow you, all the clients that you have, just as that extra thing about finding that one phrase that makes you that much more identifiable, and then people realize all these other aspects about you, as opposed to, and I’m sure you’ve seen it. You get those people that hand you the card and it’s got like 90,000 different things on it. I try to stay in the three area. IT’s like, okay. Advisor, speaker, author, we’re going to tie it in with music. I get these people that are entrepreneur, investor, venture capitalist, marketing, branding, promoting. It’s like okay, so you’re doing all these things but nothing really dials in.
Now for you, you’re doing an array of things, but dialing it all in to a shorter term that leads everyone to find out all these other things you do, I mean, I did that in music. I don’t have on my card or my websites I’m on 700 albums and I don’t sit there and list out my discography. I find it better that when people search or find out certain things, they’re like, “Wow, you did this and you didn’t even bring it out front. What else did you do.” You vicariously engage someone to want to connect with your knowledge and with what you can deliver and it helps you stand out over all these people promising millions of dollars in Lamborghinis overnight.
Robert Plank: It sounds like even though you might have all this cool stuff to list about yourself, only narrowed down to just three things, that way you can kind of capitalize on their short attention span. As we’re kind of winding down this discussion, can you tell me if someone was just getting started or someone had nothing built up yet and you wanted them to build up their business to the point where they could hire you, what would you tell them that they should be doing or focusing on?
Loren Weisman: I would say in a lot of cases to begin to build the brand foundation. Know as you’re working to create your business, your product, or your service, work to create the content that’s going to drive behind it. From your logo to your font to the tagline that goes on your business card to the one-liner to the different content elements from videos to audios that will describe things and optimize for you. That brand foundation is probably my biggest service that I do both for clients and consultants alike and a lot of people, it’s horses midstream. They’ve taken the business to this far and then they do that but right in the beginning to really be able to brand as you’re trying to put things together, it makes it easier to find the capital and find the team.
If you’re creating a concept and a vision and you’re beginning to brand it, you’re not lying or saying it’s available when it isn’t, but when people see the aspect of that brand already in motion, it takes the risk of investment or the risk of involvement down exponentially. My advice would be as you’re working with someone like you, work that brand. Get the foundation of that brand. Have those call to actions, the signatures. You still got to learn all the elements that you talk about, that you teach, and you coach on in your webinars, but having that brand behind it and reinforcing that brand behind, it becomes a service and something that once it’s templated, it will make life so much easier and make marketing so much cheaper.
Robert Plank: All that makes a lot of sense to me and it seems like once you kind of repeat or you have your catch phrases or your terms or your brand, it kind of looks like you actually know what you’re doing for a change, right? Compared to everyone else.
Loren Weisman: Absolutely. That becomes part of the beauty of it. You have this sense that it’s like, okay. This is coming. How isn’t this there yet? Well I want to be involved with that. To talk about, to open a restaurant and you’re doors aren’t even open but you’ve prepped and cooked the dishes and you start doing some video, some audios, and some pictures about what’s coming, why you cook that. You’re beginning to showcase what people can have and that hits people and it resonates with people so much more than coming soon and wait till you see this and the best this and the most that. Even in development of different services. I work with consultants to help pre-promote webinars that they haven’t even completely created.
It’s not just, you need to come to this, you need to subscribe to this, but it’s all what I always call the foreplay and the teasers. I’m going to lead you in for a minute and half. I’m going to talk about all these things and right as I get to a point where you need to hear this, I’m going to cut off and say hey, this webinar will be up in two months. Apply these little things where you can and then come back and visit me later. Those teasers and that engagement, it’s so much better than just saying look at me, like my, buy me, share me, find me.
Robert Plank: Right, and I agree. I really enjoy, and I think you do too, pretty much the marketing aspect of everything. You were mentioning the RNC and the DNC and stuff like that and I really enjoy when if a movie’s coming and sometimes they’ll put out a five second clip. The trailers not even but they’ll give like a trailer for the trailer and they’ll say here’s five seconds but next week we’ll have the actual trailer. Then a month later they’ll have an even better trailer and then they’ll have the final trailer. By the time the movie comes out you’re like, for the past six months I’ve been so hyped up, now I really want to see the movie as opposed if they were just like, here is the movie, go see it. The anticipation is half the fun.
Loren Weisman: Oh exactly. You take last week in San Diego or last weekend in San Diego, people lining into a room, even just to stand in the back a quarter mile away or 100 yards away from some actors to try to be the first to see the Walking Dead premiere clip for season 7, and people flipping out about that to see it first and then it comes out online. The constant element to tease and keep that foreplay of marketing happening. It’s amazing and yeah, I definitely rather see five seconds of, oh my gosh, what’s that? What am I drawn into? As opposed to some extended trailer of movie that’s not going to come out for nine months.
Robert Plank: Right. I think everyone who has any kind of business wants that kind of effect, the Comic-Con effect or whatever. I don’t want to keep you too long but I want to send people over your way so that if they have business that could always be improved or they have a business where they don’t know the branding, where should they go to hire you and find out more about you?
Loren Weisman: Well they can go to LorenWweisman.com, and with that same name you can hit YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. There’s a lot of information there, free tips, and my podcast which I’ll have to have you on Robert if you like. I’ll say this right now to your guests. I do a lot of interviews and I see a lot of people and there’s a lot of hype behind it. I really like what you’re about and if anybody’s working with Robert, and I can get confirmation of that, I’ll do a special discount. We’ll do a 25% discount. If you’re working with Robert, I’ll do 25% off any of my hourlies or any of my branding services because I really love what I’m reading and have heard about you. I think that if you’re taking the right step with Robert, I’d be happy to help out and I think that saving some money, it probably end up saving me time because they’ve already learned from you.
Robert Plank: Yeah. Might as well reward people for coming from a good place. LorenWeisman.com, tell them Robert Plank sent you.
My business partner for the past 7 1/2 years, Lance Tamashiro, is going to share with us how he “cracks the free traffic” code on Twitter, Fiverr, iTunes, Amazon… using just a few simple rules:
- Model what already exists so you can reverse engineer for an easy starting point
- Know where you’re at — check out your existing rankings, clicks, etc.
- Login to that “platform” or marketplace once a day so they see you’re active and checking
- Send external traffic whenever possible — for example, send Twitter traffic to Fiverr or Amazon
- Know which variable you want to improve and watch that number improving with small tweaks and tests (once per week)
- Use relevant keywords to give users of that platform a better experience and to “please” the owners of that platform
Then I saw him doing this thing where he would pay people a dollar per new subscriber that they sent to his list. Then I saw him doing something else even crazier where he would go and contact other Internet marketers, other people in the same niche as us and go and say, “Hey, I see that you have a list. I see that you mail to it pretty frequently. How about I give 300 bucks and then you just copy and paste this message that I give you.”
Nothing on the Internet ever happens without traffic. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you just make a really good software product at membership site whatever, it’s really easy to think, “Well, I’m just going to build it and then they will come. All these people are going to flood it, and come and buy from me, and see what I have and love what I put out,” but unless you’re actually actively focusing on multiple methods of traffic, free methods, paid methods, all these different things, then you’re going to have a real struggle with your Internet marketing process whatever niche you’re in.
The good news is we have Lance Tamashiro to talk about all kinds of things traffic-wise, what’s working right now, the strategy of what’s always worked. How are things today traffic-wise, Mr. Lance Tamashiro?
Lance Tamashiro: Man, things are awesome. The one thing about traffic that I think is so important that everybody understands right off the bat is that there is no silver bullet. We’re doing business on the Internet so it’s not like it is if you have a storefront in a mall where there’s just people walking by and you’re trying to figure out how to get them into your store. You’re competing with the Internet. The one thing that I see so many people doing wrong with traffic first of all is they find … And we’ve fallen into this trap in our business, is we find something that works and then we just put all the eggs into that basket and that’s all we focus on. Then a year later we’re like, “Whoa, the traffic’s not the same.”
I think that understanding that there are so many forms of traffic on the Internet that you have to get one set up get it working and then move to the next. The balancing act is sort of maintaining multiple sources of traffic at once. My big message is don’t put all your eggs in one basket with traffic. We’ve seen multiple businesses go down because of that.
Robert Plank: For me, there’s a balancing act, 4 different ways. On one hand I’m tempted to try 20 things at once. Let me try retargeting, Facebook, Ad Words, Bing, all these different things, then my focus is split all these different ways. On the other hand we can say, “All right, well let’s put all of our efforts for the next couple of weeks into Facebook ads.” Then a lot of people that we see they go to slow. They kind of just dabble with Facebook ads a little bit and by the time they actually have a handle on it then it’s changed. Either some rule has come down, some slap has come down, all the other evil marketers have gone and ruined it. Yeah, it’s like this thing that’s always changing, but if you can figure it out even for just a few months then it seems like you’re well on your way.
As we’re getting started here, can you can you tell us what is your favorite traffic method at the moment?
Lance Tamashiro: Yes, and then I want to say something else to qualify it.
Robert Plank: Perfect.
Lance Tamashiro: First of all I would say today as of right now my very favorite traffic method is Twitter. I know that’s crazy, because we’ve been playing with Twitter for years. We’ve had dead accounts for years. We’ve come up with a way where you don’t need to have any followers; you can still make it work. They key is to think about it a little bit. Here’s what I want to say and then we can talk about Twitter or whatever else you want, with any form of traffic the very first thing, and the focus has to be, is why are you getting that kind of traffic, or why are you focusing on that, or what is that traffic for?
It’s the why. You talked about Facebook. There’s a million reasons to get traffic on Facebook. You can build a page. You can build a group. You can send clicks to your website. You can send them to an opt-in page. You can send them to a sales page. You can send them to a podcast, to a webinar replay, to a webinar sign up. There’s a million things. I think what everybody misses, whether you’re talking about Facebook traffic, Solo Ads, Google Ad Words, Twitter, is they get too caught up in the method of traffic, meaning the platform the traffic is coming from and they forget why they are getting that traffic.
I think that before you do anything on whatever platform it is be very clear am I my doing this for brand awareness? Am I doing this for sales? Am I doing this for opt-ins? Am I doing this for followers? If you don’t do that and stay very clear on why you are getting that kind of traffic the first thing is you have no way to measure your result. You’re always going to think it’s failed. I know Robert that’s been the trap that we have always fallen into. With any type of new traffic sources we just go, “Oh, it doesn’t work.” The reason it doesn’t work is we didn’t know what we were judging whether it worked or not on, so you have be very clear on why you’re doing the traffic so that you can judge whether it was successful or not. That’s going to change depending on why you’re getting it.
The second thing is if you don’t know why you’re doing it you will fall into the trap of going down the rabbit hole. You will start by setting up Facebook ads and pretty soon you’re learning about Google analytics, and you’re learning about making a video, and you’re learning about having a podcast when all you started with was you wanted to make a Facebook ad, but then you heard this, and then you heard this, and you heard this, and while all of those things might be true it might not be true for the reason that you are trying to get the traffic. I think that no matter what your traffic source is you have to understand that one thing or you will fail.
Robert Plank: That makes a lot of sense. I think that when I see you playing around traffic and when I play around traffic it almost seems it’s like you get a few things set up and that’s half the battle right there. Then it seems like you get almost to 80% to the place you want to get. Like you said, whatever that means. You’re breaking even on some ads, or you’re taking a little bit of a loss to get some opt-ins. It’s almost getting it set up is half of it. Then there’s always just a handful of almost like got yous or rules in place where … First you have to get something set up. Then you have to figure out 5 or 6 rules in whatever traffic source you have, whether it’s twitter, whether it’s Facebook, there’s always a couple of little tidbits that you wouldn’t have figured out without any kind of trial and error, right?
Lance Tamashiro: Right.
Robert Plank: I’ve seen that over and over again. I remember back when you used to pay for Solo Ads or do things like that, I would see that … You paid all this money and you just barely lost money, but then you added an extra little up sell and then suddenly now you were profitable, or you joined all these joint venture give away things and it was losing money but then there was some kind of paid boost type of deal to do, and then you made money that way. Same thing with Twitter like we’re playing around lately. We play around with Twitter and did the game of following thousands of people, or posting once a day. Then you realized that, “Well, if you post every 10 minutes suddenly the traffic picks up.”
It seems like with all these different traffic sources, all the loopholes and stuff come and go, but then there are these almost unwritten rules with all these different places and if seems like it changes based on the traffic source. As soon as you first put up a couple of ads, even in an incorrect way, and then you figure out some of these unwritten rules then you can make money for a little while with this traffic source.
Lance Tamashiro: The way that I look at it is there’s the art and the science. Everybody will teach you the science. The science is for Twitter, set up an account, make some tweets, find some hashtags and do it. Your job after all of the mechanics in any type of traffic is to figure out the art of it, which means what’s the thing that … I hate … It’s such an abstract thing to talk about, but it’s like you get a feel and you learn how your audience, and it’s going to be different for every niche, responds to things that you’re doing on those different platforms, and nobody can teach you that. I guess you could have a mentor that walked through it, but there’s some things that you just learn through experience.
Once you have that experience of getting things set up, of understanding the platform, of seeing how things are working, you start to go, “Oh.” I can’t explain it other than it just starts clicking for you where you go, “Maybe if I do this. Let’s see what happens,” but you need to understand how to set up your Twitter stuff, how it’s all working, what you’re doing and then looking at your results. Then you just start going like, “What if I do this. Does my traffic go up or go down? What if I do this?” That’s really where you got to know the mechanics to get in the game, but once you’re in the game that’s where you’re just starting. That’s where it gets fun and where you really got to start taking it to the next level, which is adding in the Robert sauce, adding in the Lance sauce and seeing what happens. I think that so many people, especially in the niche in the circles that we run in, it’s like everybody wants one-size-fits-all. “I just want to set up a Google ad and make it work.” Yes, setting up a Google ad involves certain things, but once you have that there that’s when the real game starts.
I think that’s what’s missing in so many traffic things, and it’s such a hard thing to teach without one-on-one mentoring or somebody going through with you. That’s the skill that you have to learn is how to go beyond Robert and Lance said, do step 1, 2, and 3 and I did it. Yes, that’s going to get you some results, but the real magic happens when you take it to that next level that you can only get through having that experience of getting the initial set up going.
Robert Plank: What you’re saying is it’s really important to basically put those repetitions in so that you can look at whatever campaign you have and course correct.
Lance Tamashiro: You can’t learn it before you do it. We see so many people where they’re like, “I got to plan this out. I got to build the map. I got a do all of these things.” They spend a year or 6 months or however long planning out this perfect traffic strategy and then they start implementing, then they get into it and find out they just wasted time because they didn’t know what they didn’t know. You got to just dive in, get your feet wet, get it set up and go in because you’ll figure out the next step once you’ve got the step behind you in place, if that makes sense.
Robert Plank: Yeah, it does. As you were describing it what was going through my head visually was I was just thinking of if you’re driving down the highway or whatever and there’s someone in front of you who’s driving super crazy, or super weird, you don’t quite know what’s off, but we’ve all been there … We’re like, “There’s just some crazy driver on the road, and something’s kind of off,” just because we’ve done X number of hours of driving a car. Everything’s kind of orderly, but then if there’s just something that’s not working we can just somehow tell. If it’s your first day driving a car you can’t tell because everything’s new to you. You have that experience. I look at this, either it’s something’s good, something’s smoothly, and something’s not quite working smoothly.
Since we’re talking about Twitter, could you give us maybe 3 or 4 quick bullet points for someone who wanted to get some traffic with Twitter?
Lance Tamashiro: Yeah. I’m going to say first of all, and you know this, I had a dead Twitter account for years. Had a totally dead Twitter account. With my podcast, revived it, built it up. I think I’m at 18,000 followers now, like something crazy. All I do is just tweet over and over on my podcast; I never tracked any … Back to why am I doing the tweeting? Well, I don’t know. I really didn’t know. It was like, “Well, I guess I’ll just do tweaking. My podcast seems to be ranking,” but I never tracked what that actually meant for ranking or for traffic or for anything, and so I was just judging it by, “Well, I’m getting new followers, so great,” but that doesn’t really do anything for my business. It makes me feel good. I was tracking the wrong thing.
I took that whole idea, and we’ve got this course where we teach about how to build a business on Fiverr, it’s called Profit Dashboard. We were talking to some of the students with that and they’re saying, “Well, how do I get more traffic with it?” What I started doing was going, “Well, I got these Twitter followers, let’s see what happens if I send out my tweet to this group.” I started getting traffic. I was getting 200 visitors a day to my Fiverr gig from Twitter, which is pretty awesome. Here’s the problem, I can’t teach that. I can’t to go to somebody and go, “Well, here’s how you get traffic to your Fiverr gig, or to your sales page,” or to whatever, because what’s the first objection they have. The first objection they have is, “Of course you can do that, you got 18,000 followers.”
I’m like, “Dang it, they’re right. Step 1, get 18,000 followers. Just do that and then send a bunch of traffic from Titter.” What I did was I created, in front of this group, a brand-new Twitter account. I actually set it up right in front of them. Brand-new, from scratch and within 24 hours I was generating 700 to 800 visitors to traffic with no followers. What I found out was Twitter has this thing called “hashtags.” What’s great about hashtags is if you use them correctly you have an audience without having an audience, if that makes sense. I can start with nobody following me on Twitter and I can send a targeted tweet out to a hashtag … Let’s just say, “hashtag explainer video,” for people that make explainer videos. I can send out a tweet from a brand-new account that says, “I can make you a great explainer video. Check it out here.”
If I do “hashtag explainer video,” now anybody that is on Twitter searching for something, basically Twitter categorizes everything, so if somebody goes to “hashtag explainer video” I now have an audience with all of those people that are searching for “hashtag explainer video.” What I did was I research my niche. I found where there’s a lot of traffic, where there’s a lot of people using these hashtags and started tweeting to those hashtags. Just from doing that, in whatever niche that you’re in, you can generate a crap load of traffic fast with no followers.
The key is, like you said, tweet a lot. We use automated tools to do that. Make it targeted, and make sure you understand why you were tweeting. For example, Big Brother, the TV show that I watch, they have a hashtag called “BB18.” If I tweeted, “get your explainer video at hashtag BB18” with my link nobody’s going to give a crap. A bunch of people might see it, but it’s not targeted for that group. Can you get a bunch of irrelevant traffic? Sure. The key is how do you get targeted traffic that’s interested in what you are. That’s the little bit of research. You got to find the hashtags where not necessarily your competitors are looking, but where your potential buyer is looking or your potential customer is looking. If you do that you’ll be shocked at how fast you can generate a huge amount of targeted traffic to whatever offer why that you have.
Robert Plank: That makes a lot of sense. Just to make sure that we’re all on the same page, you keep using this term hashtag or tagging. This whole thing of a hashtag that’s where you might have a tweet and then like you said you have like #BB18 … What do you do … Hold down the shift key and then hit the number 3.
Lance Tamashiro: The number sign, right?
Robert Plank: Yeah, the hash mark. Let me know if I’m correct here. It seems like on Twitter you can you can do a search across all of Twitter, right?
Lance Tamashiro: Yeah.
Robert Plank: If someone mentions the term say, “Big Brother,” since that was our example you can search the term “Big Brother” but you don’t know if they’re talking about the TV show, or Edward Snowdon or the NSA. You don’t know the context. It seems like by having this hash mark and then some kind of abbreviation that everyone agrees on that basically categorizes it so someone who is looking for all the discussions about Big Brother or wants to get alerts about anyone talking about Big Brother they can just basically search for this pound sign, hash mark, whatever and then some kind of abbreviation that people are either using or looking for. Is that right?
Lance Tamashiro: Yeah. The key is to figure out where your potential customer traffic that you’re looking what they would be searching for, or what they would be following.
Robert Plank: Okay. Go ahead.
Lance Tamashiro: I can tell you a couple of easy ways to do that. The easiest way to do that is find somebody that is your target market. Okay, so let’s just say voiceovers. Let’s say you want to sell voiceovers to people that make whiteboard videos. What I would do is I would go to the hashtag and go to the Twitter search and put in “hashtag” and just start typing in “whiteboard video,” because those are the people. That’s a good starting point, but that’s not a good ending point, because most of the people using that in this example, if you go look at and probably the first thing that comes to your head, whatever your niche is Word Press whatever, is going to be people that are talking about marketing, not necessarily marketing about it.
My target is not necessarily let’s say for the example, it’s not necessarily people that are interested in them, or looking for them, or trying to figure how to make them, I want to target even more specifically people that already make them and might want a voiceover for it. What I would do is go to their hashtags and start looking at all the people that are tweeting on whatever came to my mind first, so whiteboard video. Then I’d start looking at them and clicking through their profiles and going, “Oh, this guy actually makes whiteboard videos. Oh, this guy’s looking to buy one. That’s interesting. That means the right people are here, but I’m looking for people that make them.” Then I’d click through and find 4 or 5 profiles of people that are actually making whiteboard videos. Then I would look at their profiles and see what they’re tweeting about and what hashtags they’re using to promote their services.
Then what you do is you start making tweets that are targeted towards … Again, it’s all targeted marketing. You can’t just throw it out there and hope somebody finds it. Then I’d figure out what hashtags they’re using and I’d say, “Are you a whiteboard video maker that’s looking for a pro voiceover? Check me out here.” It’s taking it to that next level and actually making a targeted message to a targeted group. If you do that that’s how you’ll generate a lot of great traffic.
Robert Plank: What it sounds like you’re doing is you’re basically like modeling what it seems is working. Even by doing that it seems like you can do better than everyone who’s already marketing on Twitter, because some people who are marketing on Twitter, some of them are using hashtags, some of them are tweeting the right things, but like you said they don’t really know what the goal is, they don’t really know what it is that they’re doing. It seems like what you’re telling people to do is go out and check out your competitors and your potential buyers and check out a lot of their tweets and Twitter profiles, and specifically look for the hashtags that they’re already using that way you can basically ride that wave of traffic, right?
Lance Tamashiro: Yeah, because you want to know where they’re looking, and where they’re looking is where there tweeting to. You got to figure out who that target market is. Be very clear. Write messages that are very targeted for them and put them in front of them.
Robert Plank: Cool. That makes a lot of sense. I want to switch gears a little bit, not the whole gearshift. You mentioned a couple of times that we have been using Twitter to send traffic to the site called Fiverr. We’ve been playing around the last couple years with not just getting traffic to our own websites, but also using some of these other big marketplaces; using iTunes, using Amazon, using Fiverr. I think that the big reason for that is that these sites have all kinds of existing built-in traffic. List something on Amazon, list a book or a product; you’re going to get tons of eyeballs on that. What’s been really cool is that we’ve been getting the best of both worlds.
We’ve been listing our stuff on say, for example, Fiverr where you can provide services for whatever price you want so that we can get paid whatever amount per hour that you want. Fiverr on its own sends a lot of traffic built-in, but it’s kind of fickle. Just like how Amazon’s fickle, just like how Google and Facebook if fickle. They give you some traffic, but it’s kind of hit or miss. It seems like by combining a site that already brings you a lot of traffic, with this Twitter stuff you can have more control over it. Is that right?
Lance Tamashiro: Yeah. I think the whole thing, whether you’re using Amazon, or Fiverr or iTunes is the benefit of it is you get going right away because there is built-in traffic, but you don’t want to rely on them, because nobody knows how their ranking engines work. If you’re starting to get some traffic it can be gone the next day. My thought is, whether it’s iTunes, Amazon, Fiverr, whatever I want to be sending as much traffic as I can. Free traffic is good for a couple of reasons. One, I’m not dependent on their ranking system, which I don’t necessarily know how it works and it could change tomorrow.
The second is they see that I’m sending traffic. Again, why are you sending traffic? Well, if you’re iTunes, or Amazon, or whatever and there’s 2 equal products in the same niche and you’re trying to decide which one to rank higher, I’m not saying that this is how it works but I’m saying it makes sense if you look at from their perspective if they’re the exact same, they have the same reviews, they look like the same products or competitor products, who do you rank higher? Do you rank higher the guy that is riding your coattails just waiting for you to make them money, or do you rank the guy higher that is putting some skin in the game and some extra effort and sending outside traffic, which they all track? I don’t know this for a fact. I’m just saying if it was my site I would be rewarding the guy that is helping me out.
A lot of what I’m doing is for that purpose. Yes, it’s to get some new buyers, which does happen, but more importantly it’s because I want them to see that I’m putting effort into it.
Robert Plank: It’s getting those extra clicks and buyers is your secondary goal, but your primary goal is to impress Fiverr, Amazon, iTunes, whoever?
Lance Tamashiro: Right. Remember, these are search algorithms are machines. What it means is they’re looking at some set criteria for the most part. They’re looking at how many people look at you, how relevant you are, how many sales you make, what your conversion rate is. My thought process is with these other marketplaces is I bet you somewhere in their search algorithms there is a waiting for are they promoting and sending traffic. It triggers that and you move up in the rankings, and I have. On a couple of these sites I’ve moved up in the rankings as I’ve sent traffic. Now, is it coincidence? Maybe, maybe not, but my guess is my gut feeling is I move up in the rankings because I’m triggering something in their search algorithm.
Robert Plank: Let’s talk about that. Seeing what you’ve done the last couple of years with whether it’s Amazon, Fiverr or iTunes, it seems like even if you don’t know their exact ranking factors and stuff, it seems like there’s been a handful of things that you’ve been maybe checking on a daily or on a weekly basis and a handful of actions that you’ve been repeating in order to get more eyeballs in order to increase your rankings. Could you talk about that? Maybe off the top your head, could you list just a couple of things that you’re looking for and a couple of things that you do to climb those rankings, whether it’s Fiverr, Amazon, whatever?
Lance Tamashiro: Yeah, I would say the first thing is know where you’re at. Know where you’re at before you start. Are you not in the rankings, are you number 300, are you number 10, because that way you can see what happens. The other thing that I do with all these … First of all know where you’re at. Second of all, login at least once a day. If it’s iTunes, login to your iTunes account and look at your thing one time a day. If it’s on Amazon, login and look at it. If it’s on Fiverr, login and look at it. Why? Because my thought is these marketplaces they don’t want to promote you and then have you disappear. That happens all the time on the Internet. My first thought is I’m triggering that they know that I’m at least checking, that I’m active. That’s very easy for machine to be able to tell. I want them to know that I’m active, so login at least once a day.
The second thing is send external traffic. Make sure that you’re sending external traffic. Then the third thing is make sure that you’re watching your numbers and improving whatever your listing is with small tweaks. If it’s on Amazon make changes to your description that make it easier to understand. Add pictures, add videos, add things that make it easier for the customer to make a decision to buy from you. If it’s on Fiverr, same thing. Tweak the way that you word things. See how people react. Change your video, change your offers, change your pricing. If it’s on iTunes, change that description at the top, change the way that you do your show notes.
Change things constantly for improvement purposes. My reasoning for doing that, and I do that about once a week so I can just test it out, and my reasoning for that is the same thing is that these sites want to know that you’re improving their customer experience. Even on Amazon, I’m sure you’ve gone to listings and you’re like, “I’m confused. I’m not really sure what I’m buying. It’s not answering the questions that I have. This is laid out funny.” Just make small, incremental tweaks. I like to do once a week because I can look at it with fresh eyes. I’ll go back to my video on Fiverr and I’ll go, “Oh man, this would be cool if I did this,” or I go look at my gig and go, “Man, it would make more sense if I changed this based on the feedback that I’m getting.”
These sites, remember they’re all about their customer not about you as a seller. They’re about the buyer. If they see you making changes that are making a better experience for the buyer, my thought is they reward you. Obviously, then you do the normal SCO stuff, like make sure you’re relevant, make sure that you use the keywords, all of that stuff. What I think is happening as a trend in general across marketplaces is the focus is not so much on the SCO part, while that is important, the focus is on the user experience. The better user experience that you can show to the marketplace the more that they will reward you.
The only way that you can do that is by being active, which they can measure, making changes to make it better, which they can measure, and sending outside traffic, which they can measure. Everything else everybody’s doing the same thing. They can’t programmatically measure those things. Those 3 things they can measure programmatically and say, “Lance is doing these 3 things. Robert isn’t. Let’s increase his thing.” Otherwise it’s all the same. I’m looking at a way to what they could look programmatically that I could do that my competition isn’t.
Robert Plank: The best thing so far about your mindset of all this is the side-by-side comparison. If there are 2 people and they’re very, very identical, like the Fiverr gig is almost identical, or the Amazon product listing is for just about the same product, has just about the same number of reviews, about the same amount of traffic, the same ranking, if they’re almost identical then they’re going to be ranked about the same. If one person sends an extra 20 clicks a day, that’s 1% more, but all you need is 1% more to be ranked higher than that other person.
The other thing that sticks with me is that, you and I have a saying that you have to separate the forest from the trees. What’s coming in my head as were talking about this traffic stuff is that I think a lot of people get frustrated because they see a magic trick, they see someone say, “Check this out.” I’ve got my Facebook fan page. Here it’s at zero followers. Then a day later 100,000 followers. Then they buy a traffic course, but the course only shows how to get set up, or, “Check out my Amazon ranking. Check out all my sales,” but then the course only talks about how to get it set up. They don’t talk about the course correction they’ve unpacking in this call.
What they makes me think back to is all these people, especially copywriters, people making webpages, they say, “If you’re not making sales, what you should do a split test.” Usually when someone says you should split test that they just mean you should just go and get lost. Let’s say you split test it. They don’t really know what advice to give you. I think what you’re basically doing on Amazon on Fiverr, especially is, like you said you’re looking at where you’re already ranked, and you say, “Let me just tweak one little variable. Let me take out some of the text on my listing. Let me add a picture. Let me add a video.” Then let it sit for a week to do its thing. Then you eyeball it later on and say, “Well, that one change I made, did that lead to more sales or less sales? Did my ranking go up in the rankings or drop?”
That’s a pretty easy way of more or less split testing. All those people who don’t know what advice to give you they say, “Split test it,” that’s basically what you’re doing there. You’re making your best guess, taking a stab at it, change one thing, see what the results are.
Lance Tamashiro: Again, back to how we started … That one change I know why I’m making it. Sometimes I’m making the change because I want to see if it increases conversion rate. Sometimes I make that one change because I want to see if it changes my placement in the search. Sometimes I change something because I want to see what the click through rate changes. Again, you can’t just make a change. You have to know why you are sending traffic, why you are making that change, so that you can judge if it’s successful or not. If you aren’t really clear on why you’re making that change then you’re going to find yourself in trouble.
Robert Plank: What’s really good about the way you’ve explained this is not only know what you’re changing and shy you’re changing it, but know what metric you’re trying to hit. When we set up something on Amazon, we’re not looking to make money from it for a while. We’re looking to maybe get ranked, looking to get some reviews. For a while we’re fine taking that hit. On Fiverr, ranking is good and stuff like that. Maybe for one month we’re only focused on getting ranked. We don’t care too much about the traffic, number of sales, but once we get ranked then we can shift our focus to making some sales. Maybe not even at that point making some money, but making enough sales where we can get those repeat buyers, and then jack the price up.
It seems like there’s a lot of little bits of strategy there. What I think is cool about the way that you’ve laid this out is that this can pretty much apply anywhere. If you’re looking at Twitter, you figure out like you said first what is my goal, and then I get it set up. Then why am I trying to improve this one little piece of my Twitter? Am I trying to get more followers, more clicks, better ranking, whatever? Then if I know what I want and I know why I’m changing what I want, then I can change one thing and see if that gets me to where I want to go, if that make sense.
Lance Tamashiro: Yeah, it makes it measurable. I think that’s the problem with everybody in traffic is they don’t do things that are measurable. They just go, “Oh, I need traffic. Great.” They’re counting the amount of traffic. They’re not counting something that actually matters to their business.
Robert Plank: If you do that then now you’re not being a mindless Joe. You’re not just following someone’s instructions for the heck of it. You’re actually being a real business owner. It seems like there’s a lot of cool things that you mentioned today. The best part about our discussion today is I think there’s basically 5 things that people need to keep in mind. Number one, whatever marketplace you’re at you need to look at what people are already doing and model what it is they’re doing. If it’s Twitter, Amazon, Fiverr, even just a regular webpage you have to start somewhere. It helps to look at what’s already there and kind of reverse engineer, and figure out, “Okay well, this looks good enough. That’s going to be my starting point.”
Then the 5 things you listed as far as just what to do once a week to increase whatever it is you’re trying to increase; sales, clicks, ranking, whatever. Number 1, know where you’re at. Know where you are in the rankings, because if you miss that very first step and you play around with sending clicks over Fiverr, or Amazon, or your webpage, or whatever, you don’t know if those clicks actually helped you. Number one, know where you’re at.
Number 2 that you said was login once a day. It seems like all these different websites, it doesn’t even matter if it’s a search engine, if it’s a marketplace, or anything like that it seems like they all reward some amount of activity. They want to reward you for at least logging in and you seeing how well your own kind of stuff is doing. For example, on the site called “Fiverr” logging on the web browser, they have a mobile app. Do whatever it takes just to show this website that you’ve taken it seriously enough to at least just check your own stuff once a day.
Number 3, send external traffic because you don’t know if you’re going to get Amazon slapped with Kindle books or whatever it is. Send your own traffic.
Number 4 is watch those numbers so that you know what it is that you’re trying to improve. That means for a webpage track your clicks. For a site like Amazon if you have Kindle books see where you’re ranking compared to everyone else. That way you can make those small little tweaks.
Finally number 5, have relevant keywords, because all these sites the way that they are all headed based on what you said is that they all want a good user experience so that if someone is searching for, for example, if they’re searching for someone to provide them with a voiceover. If they’re a person who provides explainer videos as a service, they want to hire someone else to dub in some audio. Well then that whiteboard provider might search Twitter for your hashtag, for hashtag voiceover, for whatever and then if Twitter sees that someone searched that, clicked over to you and didn’t come back, then they say, “Well hey, this must have been a relevant search result. This person has a pretty good Twitter account.”
Same thing with Google. If someone searches Google for “American male voiceover,” they click over to your site, they don’t come back, then Google says, “Well hey, these are some relevant search results.” Whatever marketplace you’re in, then you do whatever is specific to that. For example, with iTunes, put out some more stuff more frequently, get your episodes transcribed, whatever it is. It just seems like instead of trying to find the trick, the loophole, whatever kind of bug that they haven’t fixed just yet, it seems like instead of trying to fight this big giant website, help them out and make their website better and it seems like they will reward you for that.
Lance Tamashiro: They reward you long-term, which is most important.
Robert Plank: That way you don’t have to keep starting from scratch every couple of months. Like you kind of sort of have to do with Ad Words, or Bing, but it seems like with this long-term strategy once you have that momentum going, like you have a high ranking on Fiverr, or Amazon, or whatever, once you have that ranking then you don’t have to frantically scramble every single week it seems.
Lance Tamashiro: Yup, way easier life to live.
Robert Plank: Cool. Makes a lot of sense to me. Could you tell everyone what’s your website? Where can people find out more about you?
Lance Tamashiro: I think the best place to go would be go to lt.show. We’ve got a lot of more information for you. You can find out about our courses. You can find out about how to get in touch with me, but check lt.show, and I look forward to hear from you all.
Robert Plank: Perfect. I’m going to add that to my bookmarks right now.
“You are rewarded in public for the things you practice in private.” — Tony Robbins
Catchphrase of the Week: Content Piggy Bank: What Would It Take For You to Record Just One Quick Video Per Day?
Resource of Week: X-Mirage to mirror iphone/ipad and record it on your computer
Quote of the Week: “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” — Napoleon Hill
Quote of the Week #2: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” — Robert Collier
Quote of the Week #3: “Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better.” — Jim Rohn
Become Better: 30 minutes to say something that could be said in 1 minute?
System & Routine
1. Small goals: 10-minute spurts or 500-word days. Create a sense of urgency to avoid Parkinson’s Law (and possibly run a countdown timer)
2. Update an editorial calendar so you know what you’re writing each day (Seinfeld productivity where you want to “avoid the broken chain of events”)
3. Use writer’s block to perform more research
4. Wake up an hour earlier (Elmore Leonard)
Tools & Mechanics
5. Delegate transcription and speak it out instead (MakeAProduct.com)
6. Use Google image search to find relevant images (don’t forget to source them)
7. Grab a YouTube video and explain your reaction to it (before or against)
8. Break down pages into paragraphs, into talking points + time
9. Read a lot
10. Unplug distractions
11. Write your chapter/article titles as questions and paragraphs as questions, then delete the questions later (record yourself and send questions and answers to yourself via instant messenger)
12. Use a daily prompt
13. Break up your monotonous routine: go for a drive, walk, swim, run
14. Combine a task you don’t like to do with one you do like to do, i.e. Write a quick blog post by the pool
15. Set a fake meeting schedule on your calendar and use the time for yourself
Bonus: Toughen Up That Writing
- Avoid “ing”… say “set” instead of “setting”
- Repetitions: remove “click here” every 2 sentences. “Please” every 2 sentences.
- Words to stop using: Try, start — Trick, loophole, hacked -> secret — Work, learn -> discover, uncover
- Tone down these words: Money-back/refund
- Words to use: System, formula, roadmap, blueprint, Machine, Push button, Secret weapon, Magic bullet
098: Content Ideas: How to Never Run Out of Ideas for WordPress Blog Posts and iTunes Podcast Episodes Ever Again
Today’s Sponsor: Make a Product
Quote of the Day: “You cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes’.” — Stephen Colbert
Thought of the Day: Is internet marketing a scam? Yes, if you believe that going in. Classic fear of success, self sabotage, self-fulfulling prophecy
Nine Rules of Content Creation
- Questions Must Be Answered: so if you’re stuck, answer a series of questions (asked TO you by one single imaginary person) that lead to the end
- Solution: Fix a real problem that the marketplace is asking about, and lead to a call-to-action if possible
- WWHW: Why, What, How-To, What-If (the basis for any start-to-finish piece of content)
- One-Take Content: write (or talk in video) the way you would in everyday conversation (no “fancy talk”)
- Mindmap: rearrange to figure out the categories, hierarchy, and sequence of what you’re explaining
- Notes: Have bullet points in front of you to keep yourself on track, don’t leave things out, and unpack in the correct order, but don’t script anything
- Content Muscle: the more you put out blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and videos… the easier they become
- Content Piggy Bank: instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck, record more than you need and schedule it out
- Demo or Magic Trick: show what you’re building towards, explain what you’re about to show, show that thing, and show it again
Be sure to grab our Make a Product course to up your game with content creation and self-publish your own book (on Kindle and CreateSpace) in just 56 minutes.
097: Buy Now Buttons & Low Hanging Fruit: Increase Online Sales Using Launch Scarcity in Your Digital Offers, Landing Pages, and Sales Letters (with Real Case Studies)
Question of the Day: Why is offering a 50% discount a really bad idea with your online business?
Quote of the Day: “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” — Robin Sharma
Thought of the Day: Don’t have “just” a traffic or AdSense or guitar course.
- add a buy button even if you don’t have time for anything else
- offer: create a package or solution, not just a “product” (4 modules + 3 bonuses, what else can you throw in to make it complete?)
- hook: what’s the one thing that tells people, I need it now? (that takes 10 seconds to explain)
- basic copywriting: benefits (what you can do with it) instead of “just” features (what it is), Attention-Interest-Desire-Action ordering
- deadline: close the offer (take a risk)
- countdown clock
- explain reasons not to wait
- followup: send multiple emails or make multiple posts explaining why they should buy now
- waiting list: don’t “just” close an offer, add an optin form so they can sign up for updates when you re-open
- multiple levels of urgency: bump the price, remove a bonus, remove the payment plan
- price training: stick to your guns with the deadline. Train your customers to take your deadlines seriously.
- evergreen content: re-market your pitch webinars, podcast episodes, PDF reports and blog posts for re-launching later
096: The Perfect Morning Routine and Morning Habits: Get the Most of Out of Every Day, Reclaim Your Energy, and Multiply Your Creativity
Quote of the Week: “It doesn’t matter if the thing you’re creating is stupid or has been done before. What matters is that people use it.” — Jack Ma
Quote #2: “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” — Karen Lamb
- Wake up early, preferably at least 30 minutes before you normally would (your brain runs out of “good” decision making power as the day goes on)
- Sleep a solid 8 hours: eat a spoonful of raw honey just before bed, don’t use the phone right before bed, breath 4 seconds in and hold for 7 seconds then exhale for 8 seconds, and count from the number 300 backwards from 3 if that doesn’t work, use the Sleep Cycle app to wake you up
- Make your bed first thing in the morning (it gives you one thing you accomplished today)
- Meditate: Take 1-2 hours of “quiet” time in the morning: don’t listen to music, stay off the computer, and walk (or drive or run) to think about making your next move and conquering the day
- Take lots of breaks throughout the day to recharge (AWAY from the computer) and take at least 1-2 days away from the computer per week
- Drink Bulletproof Coffee: Wake up at 5AM and blend together 2 cups of low-acid unsalted coffee + 2 tbsp MCT oil + 2 tbsp ghee butter or unsalted irish Kerrygold butter. Abstain from eating anything else until 2PM in the afternoon.
- Drink tons of water instead of soda
- Read a book instead of watching TV (this is what Bill Gates does) and get a hobby outside of internet marketing or parenting
- Journal: spend 5 minutes getting the clutter, thoughts and problems out of your head (you don’t need to solve them, just get clarity)
- Write down your Four Daily Tasks instead of just winging it (fourdailytasks.com/group)
Today’s Sponsor: Dropship CEO Amazon Selling Course
(Feedback Patrol tool included)
Tim Jensen is one of our favorite Dropship CEO students. He and his wife in Onalaska, Wisconsin sell $1,000 of inventory through Amazon from retail arbitrage (scanning in items at discount stores and mailing them in) with no employees, from their living room and one-stall garage:
Part 1: Big Picture (long term with Amazon)
- invest in inventory
- scale: invest the profits that come back in
- inventory turnover: sell frequently (30-90 days after purchase, or dump what’s not selling)
- outsource some tasks: receipts, taxes, payroll
Part 2: Flexibility
- sell evergreen items
- Use CamelCamelCamel.com to see if Amazon is selling the item you want to sell (so you can avoid it)
Part 3: Pay Attention to Detail
- make sure your UPC code matches the listing
- follow the rules, there is no flying under the radar
- supply and demand: people pay higher prices for convenience
Terms Tim Uses
- inventory: the items you’re selling
- supplies: tape, boxes, etc.
- sourcing: where your items are coming from
- UPC: barcode
- SKU: stock keeping unit
- FBA: Fulfilled By Amazon
- MF: Merchant Fulfilled
- prep: bubble wrap, packing, labeling, etc.
- RA: retail arbitrage
- OA: online arbitrage
- wholesale: purchase items in bulk
- PL: private label (your own brand name)
094: Six and Seven Figure Business Secrets: Website Backups, Morning Routines, and Your Process and Flow State
Today’s Sponsor: Backup Creator (starts at just $7)
Today’s Quote: “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake. You can’t learn anything from being perfect.” — Adam Osborne
- Wake up early, make the bed, break up the day, drink water, exercise
- Four Daily Tasks spaced throughout the day (and don’t “cheat” or be an idiot about your schedule)
- When you’re “blocked” — stop, don’t force it
- WordPress, Backup Creator
- Set automatic offsite backups (set it and forget it)
- Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Google Drive
- Get to ANY money making level as fast as possible (Profit Dashboard for Fiverr, Income Machine for WordPress)
- Figure out your click-by-click process: support desk, installing WordPress, recording podcasts, creating YouTube videos… that way it doesn’t matter how many you have to create
- Get rid of the clutter: more ideas, more possibilities, split focus is NOT good — knock out what needs doing and be done with it.