In the interview:
03:25 – Four years before CopyChief
07:13 – When the student is ready…
09:19 – “You’ve got to go get that domain name.”
12:53 – What the copywriting industry really needed
22:53 – Some necessary changes in thinking
23:56 – James and a bucketful of keys
25:18 – Like having a child
28:23 – Launches versus memberships
32:47 – Kevin’s first event
34:46 – Will you draw your own crowd?
36:09 – The before and after
38:23 – How long can you sit on that couch?
44:02 – A little more comfort
46:37 – From self-interest to a higher purpose
Build a business that funds your lifestyle with direct help from James inside SuperFastBusiness membership
James: James Schramko here, and welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today, I have a really close friend of mine and a special man indeed, mainly because of his multiple talents and he has been on the show so many times before. Welcome back, Kevin Rogers.
Kevin: James, it’s always a pleasure.
James: Kevin Rogers, you are known as the Copy Chief and for good reason, because you have crafted your own space in the busy, hectic, manic world of copywriting. You have got this castle sitting there gleaming in the sunlight that draws people from all around. You’ve created your own village, if you like.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s pretty exciting. Started as a humble little village and it just keeps growing incrementally. That’s one thing I love about it is this was not something we built behind the scenes and had to come out with a big splash, right? We built it. I built it under your guidance. It’s very much modeled on what you’ve been able to achieve with SuperFastBusiness, your forum, and it’s just really cool.
It’s hard to believe it’s only been four years almost to the day, four years since I opened and how it’s just grown. It seems like wicked fast but really at a very manageable pace.
James: Yeah. And having worked with you for four years certainly feels like eight or 10 maybe.
Kevin: Yeah. I’m good like that. I take twice the coaching as the average student.
James: I’ve really enjoyed our catch ups, which have been pretty much every week and I’ve watched this grow from the beginning. I remember the first time we met on the virtual world was on the Warrior Forum and then in the face-to-face world was at John Carlton‘s Action Seminar in San Diego and you’ve basically taken a trajectory from artist as a comedian to being a writer and very good at it, mind you.
This is an interesting story because it actually parallels mine to some extent, where you weren’t doing too bad before you built the thing you’ve got now. In my case, I was on a pretty high salary of a mid six-figure salary running Mercedes dealerships and at a young age as well, and for most people that was considered successful. And you had already created great success as a freelance copywriter and you’d even started assembling a little team and you were doing contracts. Maybe you can just tell us where were you at at this four years ago mark before CopyChief.
Kevin: Yeah sure. Yeah you know, it was. It was an interesting thing and I’d seen other people go through this now. It’s like you come up humble especially in freelancing. In the beginning, you just want to prove the model that somebody will pay you to do this stuff, right? And then next thing you know, you’re booked all the time and you’re getting great referrals.
And so over 10 years, every year I got better, right? The money got better. Took on a full-time writing partner, so that freed up a lot of my brain pan to actually relax and scale a little bit. So I almost felt guilty going, do you need to want more? Like you know, this is pretty great. A lot of freelancers would love to be in this position.
But I had this ongoing conversation with myself for about four years prior to building CopyChief where I would sit there in December and I’d look back at my year and I’d appreciate how well it had gone. But I always say, “But man, if I’m ever going to be really fulfilled, I’ve got to get my own thing going.”
I was constantly helping other people launch businesses or launch products or increase their revenue and all these things and it was great to celebrate these wins with them but at the end of the day, you end up feeling like, alright man, you’ve seen all the moving parts, you know you’ve got some abilities and some cool things to share. When are you ever going to put yourself out there and try to make it your own? And so that’s kind of where it was before I came to you.
James: Well, I can really relate to that because as I was growing someone else’s dealership and observing these wealthy customers buying prestige cars, I had the exact same thought. You know, I’m doing OK. But I sensed there was something more and you sensed there was something more. And I guess you were in a sort of semi-employee style role, which suits some people. But there are some sort of aspects to that. I imagine at times you had some stress or fatigue. Probably some peaky, trough-y income compared to what you’ve been able to experience since right?
Kevin: That’s true. But definitely, the stress was super high. The thing that I really wanted to get away from was if you have clients and you really care about serving them and delivering value, they always have the ability to ruin your day with an email. And you know, something wouldn’t go right or something you were testing just bombed and you know, certain client personalities are great at putting all their stress onto you. And so I hated that fact. That was super stressful. There’s always hard deadlines.
And you’re right, you know, even though I’d been in the business 10 years in my calendar stayed full and all that stuff, things can change. And if two of your clients have some major life interruption or some reason their projects are not going forward, even though you want to protect yourself from those things, all of a sudden you could see yourself staring at a lot less income than you expected. And then you have to scramble. And those were the kind of moments where I think, man there’s got to be some way to have a business where I can have a more predictable revenue and don’t have to be at the mercy of other people’s bullsh*t essentially.
James: What could you do? What are your options? And we had a conversation…
Kevin: Yeah. I remember that call pretty clearly. You’d put out a lot of great content. I used to watch your videos and I had met you and I just, it’s funny how so many times, what that thing, you know, when the student’s ready the teacher appears, right? I just thought to myself, who could help me, who really understands business structure and where they would take someone like me? Because I had a good reputation and I was starting to get a little known in the industry. And you just popped into my head as that’s a guy who knows what I should do. And so I just reached out to you.
And one of the first things you had me do, and I don’t think we did it on that call but it was a task you gave me, was go identify your actual hourly income. And boy, it took a week because you had me install like a time tracker. And that was only the time on my computer. And then obviously do the math, the hours compared to your income and it was disgusting what my actual hourly was. It was really embarrassing for somebody who had fought hard to become a top expert in their field over 10 years. It was an embarrassingly low figure. And that’s when I knew, I was like alright, I’ve got to make a change here.
James: Right. So one of the real foundations of any business is we start with you and then we move on to fixing the business model and then leveraging it with things like team – these three big steps that we do. Now at the time, we talked about the fact that there used to be a place where you could go and talk about stuff away from Facebook and that was something that I’ve been fairly passionate about for people who can carry this off. This is a big one. And it no longer existed and we thought it’s probably the ability for you to create something to craft your space. And at that time, I don’t think you even owned copychief.com, the domain name.
Get that domain name
Kevin: No. I didn’t, that’s right. I just thought that would be a cool name for a community because to me it was sort of metaphorical, like I was a copy chief in my business with my writers. You know that’s the role I’d grown into. It’s a known term in the business. And you know, you’re kind of it’s a little inside baseball. And so yeah, you said, “You got to go get that domain name.” It was taken but it was available for like $600 and I was like, “Man, I don’t know.” That’s a pretty big number there. Because again, I was not a business owner. Right?
James: Well, for a freelance copywriter, I imagine $600 is a chunk of change.
Kevin: Yeah well, you know I’d bought a lot of URLs but I always just had some harebrained idea you know and grabbed the domain if it was available and it would cost $12.99. So this was like, OK, this is a real investment. I think you know part of it too, thinking back to it James, it was like that sort of made it real. It’s like the internal dialogue was like, ‘Oh, you’re really going to invest $600 and then you’re pretty obligated to actually build something on that domain. You’re going to feel like a real idiot if that comes up for renewal a year from now and you haven’t done anything with it.’ So I was sort of calling myself out on the mat.
James: It’s definitely not a 3 a.m. domain, is it?
Kevin: No, no, no. That’ll stop you in your tracks. Like the time I thought it would be cool to teach persuasion through the movies of Patrick Swayze and I bought the URL Perswayze.
James: I’m not even going to tell you some of my worst domains, but they’re shocking. The one thing that was always in common, they were definitely bought after midnight. That’s when you have the least amount of willpower left and you’re the most optimistic about a crazy business idea.
Kevin: Yeah, everything’s genius at 3 a.m.
James: I think I remember seeing Ed Dale at an event and he was joking back then about people kind of go into crazy niches like underwater karate and I bought that underwaterkarate.com. Now of course he says you can actually make something in any niche. So the world has changed a little bit. But I think it’s actually a thing. There’s a picture of it online anyway.
Kevin: Is that right? That’s hilarious.
James: So, I guess what we’re talking about here is that I had a pretty big vision for you that in my mind was logical and doable but it was still a little bit, it was kind of a little bit scary for you because you weren’t seeing around that corner just yet.
Kevin: Right. That’s the thing. I get as a coach now that sometimes I have to say to people, “Just trust me. I know you can’t see this far down the road but I can because I’m standing a little further down it and I know you have the goods and you can do this but you’re going to have to trust me and you’re going to have to be persistent.” And yeah. What we decided to create did two things. One was it took some of the coaching I was doing from a one-to-one, which is infinitely unscalable, to one-to-many, which is unlimited.
What the copywriting industry needed
And the other thing it did was you and I as you mentioned met on a forum that was never the greatest. But then there was another forum when I started that was really great for a time, that was called the Copywriters Board. Michel Fortin ran it and he’s a great copywriter, a man of integrity. But as always happens with free resources, the trolls moved in and took over the place and it just, it was like watching crack infest the neighborhood, a good neighborhood or something. It was bizarre. And he woke up one day and said, “Enough of that. I don’t need to deal with this. Shut it down.” And years of really great content and relationship building and priceless shared information was just gone. And I always missed it. I always thought, ‘Man, if I could create an environment that feels like that did back then, that’s just something we really need in this industry.’
So you know, we were solving my problem and we were solving a problem that we assumed that the market had even though most people that were on the Copywriters Board had been so long didn’t know about it, you know the newer copywriters, but they responded just as well to CopyChief when it opened as other people did to the forum back then.
Changes in running a subscription model
James: Now, when you’re starting a recurring business model, it’s not always like building your confidence straight out of the gate. I mean generally, there’s an initial sale period and I like to use certain metrics. For example, a sub $100 per month type membership, I like to have 65 members as a foundation, because that’s getting you roughly six and a half thousand dollars in recurring income to at least fund the thing and to make it worth the hassle. But you have to keep growing it and reduce churn. And if it’s a thousand-dollar-a-month product then you need probably at least six people to make it worthwhile.
But there are times, and certainly, in the first year or two, where you might question, is this the right idea? Because you’re seeing other people sell $2,000 products on a product launch. They might have a two or three million dollar payday and you’re thinking, ‘Hey, I’m just making hundreds of thousands from this in a year or two from now if I keep working hard.’ But there’s a huge difference in things such as the amount of energy burn that you need to put in it once you get it leveraged and once you build your routine. Have you noticed over time that you’ve changed your confidence level in having your recurring subscription model?
Kevin: Oh yeah, yeah huge. You know, you’re right. It is funny because as a copywriter that was my specialty, was writing launch copy. And so I knew the stress associated with it. But you’re right. That payday is appealing. I’ve seen it change a lot of lives when it goes well. And the thing is like, six grand a month is not nothing but when I started CopyChief, for the first year, it was a nice side income but it certainly wasn’t like, ‘Oh great. I get to stop having clients now.’ To be able to incrementally need clients less because I had that recurring revenue was huge.
“To be less reliant on clients is freedom.”
So just watching it grow every month and just learning so much about how to open cart, how to bring people on, it was a really fun experience because like I said it grew incrementally. So it was never like a major stress. It was sort of like this side project that I quickly enjoyed a lot more than my day job and longed to make it my full-time focus.
James: So in the metaphoric sense, you went from being a racehorse on someone else’s race track, writing the copy and taking contracts to building, you basically got a plot of land and started building your own racecourse that you’re going to host other races with. You had to take that transition from being a racehorse mentality, like having to win the race, win the race and enter another race and you know, level up to being an owner like, ‘OK, move the diggers over there and that’s where the start gate will be and here’s where the bookies will stand and that’s where the cafe will be and here’s the grant.’ It’s a bigger project and it can take a while, but once it’s up and running it’s no longer as appealing, is it, to go off to other people’s tracks and do contract work here and there?
Kevin: No. Totally yeah. Maybe it’s like planning a garden or something where you’re like, you know, first it’s just this, it’s nothing much to speak of and then it continues to grow and it’s more like a farm, you know, and you start to realize, wow this is my my plot of land and the soil is very fertile and I can do whatever I want here. And that’s a really good thing you mentioned about hosting other races. That’s a really great metaphor for what I see as the future of CopyChief, because we’re at the point now where it makes a lot of sense for people I’ve coached who are becoming leaders in the industry now and other folks to just partner with me because I’ve built the racecourse. And why would they want to go through all the trouble of trying to build their own when they could just partner with me if they have something great, right?
And people are starting to get more and more aware of the problem with Facebook groups. My favourite thing about CopyChief is it’s not a Facebook group. I almost laugh at people when they’re like, ‘I started a Facebook group,’ and I’m like, ‘Go ahead. Enjoy.’ It’s not even the number one, if nothing else, the fact that you’re on somebody else’s land and they could wake up and decide to change the terms. I mean it’s a Google slap waiting to happen, right? But even beyond that, Facebook is not built for that. And you have very little control of the flow of information. And yes, you can close it off and only have certain people in there. But it is such a distractive environment.
It’s just so beautiful and I love that, your castle analogy, because I think that’s how our members feel when they come here, it’s like they’re arriving at a place where they do a certain thing and they behave a very certain way when they’re in CopyChief. We have a lot of fun and there’s some sort of chatter. But for the most part, every thread has a lot of value because we start with ideas and we see those ideas to fruition. And so, it’s much more like a marketing copywriting laboratory than it is a coffee klatch.
James: Exactly. And it has to be stated, it’s no easy thing to just go and whip up a private community. It’s quite a lot of bits and pieces involved, from the platform and the mechanics. One of the beautiful things in my own platform inside SilverCircle for example is we’ve been able to share between other community owners in different markets. You know, we’ve got guys like Clint Paddison with the Paddison program who is essentially running the same sort of platforms and technology. He was using something during the week, which I’ve just integrated into my community and you’ll get into yours as well, right? And I remember you were using some technology that I started using and then Jarrod started using technology that I’ve started using. So by having this small group of sharing, we’re able to have our own innovation hub, if you like.
So I guess the point of this episode is not to say, “Hey, you should go and do the copywriting market and make a platform.” That would probably be a mistake because Kevin owns that space. CopyChief is the big castle. But if you happen to be in another market, I’ve got clients like Brenton Ford in the swimming market and Jarrod in the PE teacher market. I mean there’s a funny market, PE teacher, like he owns that with PEGeek. If you are in a market where you feel there’s a gap and you don’t feel compelled to be on Facebook, then this is a possibility.
But really, this story is about stepping away from being a freelance contractor or employee-style role and becoming a business owner and using OwnTheRacecourse as the idea to say, “You know what, I’m going to create my own asset.” It does not have to be a membership, by the way. My most successful case study probably would be Ezra Firestone, and he’s gone from less than a million dollars to 26 million dollars a year. And he’s predominantly done that in the e-commerce space. He’s still applied the same concept. He owns his store. He’s not doing it on Amazon. He’s basically built his own e-commerce machine that is big and serving a lot of people at his little sub e-commerce stores in different markets. So the concept is what I want to get across here.
And in keeping with that, what are some of the things that you’ve had to change your way of thinking about as you went away from small thinking to being the custodian of a community, as being a business owner with scale?
Changing your way of thinking
Kevin: Right. That’s a good question. So many things and you forget a lot of them because they happen over time, but I’d say the biggest one is team. Building team, letting go, delegating – huge; that was a real struggle for me. I’m starting to feel more comfortable in ways that I can expand the brand without losing control of it and making sure that it always keeps its integrity. But right now, there’s a big focus on team and trying to protect my time. I was so in the trenches of CopyChief because it was literally only me. I was the only guy with the keys to the place when it opened, right?
James: Oh god, you’re giving me flashbacks. I’ve got to jump in with this because once, my last job, we actually got a brand new building built. We started in this crappy rundown place we were renting and they were building a brand new dealership. And just before the dealership was finished, the owner hopped on a plane and went overseas. And I had to move three branches back into two. So we had to basically take a sales department and a service department and go and move them into this new building. And at the very first night, I was standing there with a bucket, a huge bucket full of keys. It was just me and like one or two others and we had to go and figure out what key fit every single door in this enormous place. I mean we’re talking thousands of square feet. Huge. I can’t remember the number, it was probably a 10 or a 12-million-dollar building. It was the most difficult move I’ve ever done in my life. And I just want to thank you for reminding me of that experience. It’s not even a metaphor. Oh my god, that was a long night. Let’s say that.
The community as a child
Kevin: Oh, that’s brutal.
I love that idea of, it really is like even though it’s a digital world, I picture like the first dollar bill behind the cash register that you see in these little mom and pop shops and you say, “Wow, this is a business where the owners care,” because that first dollar bill that somebody handed them signifies a new start, a new life, a new adventure for them. And I love that it was just me when CopyChief opened.
“Birthing an online community is like having a child.”
You and I talked about, James, there was no other way to describe it, but when you open a community, it is the most like having a child. And I remember that first weekend when I opened it and a hundred people came rushing through the door and I didn’t know most of these people. And instantly, this thing that I had nurtured and thought about and talked to in the belly was now a thing of the world and it wasn’t just mine anymore. And you said it’s just like having a child with your partner and it’s exactly like that. You have to be there for it and nurture it and protect it but it’s not just yours anymore. It’s got a whole world to experience and it’s going to have its own likes and dislikes and personality.
But I love that about it because it’s just like opening a brick and mortar business in that regard and that maybe someday turns into a chain or giant location and nobody can imagine that it just started as some humble little thing. So it’s all the same business principles that have ever worked or been effective in growing a business. But you can absolutely do it digitally. And that’s just another reason to build your own castle, to put it on your own land, because it just can exist where there’s thousands of others just like it a click away.
James: Yeah, and like a child, it changes over the years. Reflecting back, the first time my forum open was beginning of 2009. So it’s getting quite mature but over that time, it has actually morphed many many different variations. Apart from having three separate names, it was SuperFastResults then FastWebFormula then SuperFastBusiness. It started out as an affiliate marketing community. Then it went into agency/local business type marketing to now, we have a mix of e-commerce and people who create memberships. Because I actually never even taught this. The stuff I’ve been teaching you, I didn’t teach that in the mainstream because it really was the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail of online business is an offer that converts and the extension of that is one that lasts forever and it’s just an amazing business.
Launches vs. memberships
So now four years down the track with CopyChief, when you look at people doing these product launches, making their big payday, selling two-thousand-dollar one timesy products that have a huge resource load on their support, do you look at that and think, ‘Yeah, I don’t really miss that.’?
Kevin: Yeah, I totally do. And I could tell you that it’s interesting. I’ve been very close to a couple of these launches recently, and I was talking to a friend who just completed his and he told me flat out, he’s like, “I can’t see myself ever doing that again.” And then before long he started to ask me about a community. And you know, it’s the kind of thing, James, when you have a thriving community and it has a very special feel to it, people are just amazed by it and they want to know how’d you do it and what does it take. And it can be done, absolutely.
But what’s amazing about it is no two of them could ever feel just alike. You know, like I have absolutely modeled my business on you. There couldn’t be a better coaching relationship in the world. It’s a dream come true. We get on a phone once a week. You tell me what’s working, and I go do it. That’s the greatest deal ever. It’s amazing.
James: It’s like just, “Hang onto the coat tails. Hang on tight.”
Kevin: I’ve been drafting you for four years. But my community feels very different from yours, right?
James: Very different. And we even have some members of both, because tell me any online marketer who’s a member of only one thing, or only buys one product. I mean we know that the reverse is true, that anyone who is worth their salt or even remotely professional is going to be subscribed to multiple memberships. They’re going to be accessing information and resources from different places. So it doesn’t have to be a one or the other situation, and that’s why they can cooperate.
Kevin: Totally. Like for instance, if I knew somebody who had the SuperFastBusiness of graphic designers, that would be a great asset. We have some graphic designers.
James: You do. You know Greg Merrilees. He doesn’t have the do-it-yourself side of it though. He has a recurring subscription for design where people just pay a monthly fee and they can get as much design as they want. So these things do exist and I do coach these people. This is a great example actually, how it works in different markets. And I’ve watched him go from a very humble six-figure income to breaking through the magic million dollar mark, which is very exciting.
Kevin: It is. And he just couldn’t be better at what he does. He’s the number one guy I recommend. He’s done all our stuff. But you know, it just seems like there’s so many designers out there who could really use a community like that. And you know, it doesn’t sound like Greg maybe needs to do that but I think it would succeed.
James: No, I think you’re talking about the do-it-yourself crowd. There’s definitely space for that.
Kevin: Yeah. But that’s the thing, is like you know, you mentioned it earlier. Yours is a little more just about business building. I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, would this make sense for me, the answer is, if you are comfortable teaching what you know and allowing it to be filtered through your unique DNA, then I think that is the key. You really have to own that part of it. And don’t worry about the fact that it’s been taught before by different people. Own it and do it. And if people are responding to that, then this is a great model for you to grow that in.
And you know James, just some exciting news, now we have our first live event. And we were able to sell it out, 100 seats, our first event sold out in less than 60 days from when the tickets went on sale. And not only is the event going to be amazing, but what having an event has done for our awareness in the market and the fact that now all these big publishers and all these influencers and people who need copywriters are suddenly going, ‘What’s this CopyChief thing?’ And it just makes it that much more exciting.
And like you said, there’s only opportunities to partner. I’ve had people you would think were my hardest competitors reach out to me and say, “Hey, I’d love to hear more about what you guys are doing because I see ways we could partner.” They’re not going, ‘How do we shut it down? We must crush this thing.’ So if you pour yourself into it and you let your members have some ownership of it and you put out a lot of great content, there’s really no way you can lose.
James: Yeah. If your castle gets big enough and strong enough, people are going to want to be part of that community and it really can be life changing and I can see it’s had a big personal impact on you, Kevin. You are like a proud parent and you’ve put in the work to raise this child in a way. And it hasn’t been easy, just like parenting. Over the last few years, we’ve often had discussions where there’s been challenges. There was that time where you were torn between how do you be a comedian but also be a copywriter, and I said, “Just be Kevin.” Remember that one? That was an easy one.
Kevin: Yeah. That was huge. That was a big one.
“You bring your own DNA to the table.”
You will draw your own crowd
James: But it was a big one for you. And it just proves your point, that you bring your own DNA to the table. Whatever you are. I know there’s other people with communities and whether they’re fun and active and they smile a lot, and people love that stuff, or whether they’re super serious and nerdy and geeky and they trip out on formulas and mind maps and people love that, you will draw your own crowd. In my case, I’m fairly direct and I’m probably a generalist. I have a good knowledge, a working knowledge of all the different components, which allows me to snaplock things together that other people may not see.
And I’ve got this deep database of high-level entrepreneurs, especially who have gone from six figures to seven figures. That’s absolutely my sweet spot and I believe like you do that there is enough space in the market for very different takes on similar or cross-related things. But all the key pillars of online business are ripe for building your own asset and certainly outside our world, like marketing is probably ranked 20th on the list of most popular Facebook content. There’s way bigger stuff, especially food and health and arts and crafts and all these things. There’s so much that could be done in those spaces.
Before and after
So let’s just wrap it up. What are some of the life changing transitions if you were to do like the before and after? Keeping in mind that you weren’t doing too bad to start with, but you were more or less an unscalable commodity in the beginning. What would you describe yourself as now?
Kevin: Just someone with nothing but opportunity. You know, my biggest challenge in any given day now is figuring out what to say yes to. And so my criteria for what to say yes to has gotten so high. And the other thing is that just this clarity, this simplification. I got to credit this to you James as well.
I’ve also modeled your lifestyle as closely as possible. I still can’t get my head around how you spend that much time surfing every day. Because to me like even if I could sneak off and see a movie, like that’s a luxury, you know. But I realize at the same time it’s because of me, it’s my personality.
James: Yeah. That’s part of being a neurotic copywriter. You have to be a little bit manic and addictive and crazy with your work. They’re all tortured artists. The ones I know.
Kevin: Yeah. I’m a comic and a copywriter. I got it bad.
James: Yeah. Like you’ve got a double dose.
Kevin: But you know what, man? I’ll tell you, just to put it in granular context, I now have on my team a COO, a project manager, a marketing manager and I just hired an executive assistant. And I look at my calendar next week and I actually have a day with nothing on it and I’m like, ‘Ah!’ So it’s like full circle. It’s like in a lot of ways, it’s what I’ve been able to undo over time through your guidance. It’s an amazing thing just to be able to say, “It’s OK. This thing’s actually going to run and keep going.” I mean that’s the transition is that I’ve built something that will not break if I walk away from it. I could take a week off. I could take a month off.
How long could you sit on that couch?
I got to tell you, our buddy Dean Jackson said something to me. It just changed my thinking. And this is one of the reasons why my emphasis on starting a business and getting out of freelancing really took root. Dean said to me, we were talking about our businesses and he said, “How long could you sit on that couch right there before your business fell apart, or before it affected your business?” This is when I was freelancing, and without thinking I said, “24 hours.” If I was unavailable tomorrow, all hell would break loose. And he said, “Well see, that’s the thing. I could sit on this couch for six weeks and it wouldn’t affect anything.”
James: It’ll affect the couch. It’s probably going to have his shoes up there on a side of it somewhere. That was a great Dean accent. I loved that. He’s got such a unique, deliberate pronunciation.
Kevin: Yeah. And he’s so patient all the time.
James: And he is actually the most polite person I know. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him swear. Once.
Kevin: I think you’re right. I’ve never heard him swear. I don’t know if I’d want Dean calling 911 if I was like, say, being attacked by an alligator. You know, “911, what’s your emergency?” But you know he said, he’s like, “I would miss maybe a few opportunities and meeting up some people.” But his business was that much of it. You have the same thing.
James: Yeah. That was episode 542 – The Travel Test – How To Know If You Have A Solid Business Or Really Just A Job. I’ve been using travel as my test lab to see how I can find leverage points in my business and in my life. That would be a good listen on this particular topic. That is one of the things. I would call a membership like you and I have an Iron Man model, where we might still be Tony Stark, still that personality driving the business at this point, but when we get that suit, we have a lot more leverage. We can do things we can’t do by ourselves and we have that community and the team. Because we have some peer-to-peer interaction, we have the team doing things behind the scenes that we used to do but don’t have to do anymore. We have some tools and automation doing some things that we used to do but don’t have to do anymore. And it can just create this recurring wall of income each month that is not dependent on you what I would call taxi driving, which is like you only get paid if you do it type stuff. It’s going to come regardless. If you want to back off the tools a bit for a month, you can coast with a community if you’ve put in the work to build the momentum.
Kevin: Yeah. And the beauty of it is that’s part of the proof of what marketing should be and what you’re coaching people on. It’s like you know, the fear in the beginning was like, ‘Oh, I have to be in every thread.’ People, they know you’re busy. You don’t need to be there all the time. They like to have their own conversation, thank you very much, once in awhile.
James: I offer private personal coaching in mine. And then when I go to the local meet up, I’ll be there across the table from someone. I say, “Why didn’t you ask me these questions in the community?” They go, “Oh, I feel guilty. I really don’t feel like the membership is enough for me to be asking all these questions there. I know you’re a busy guy.” I’m like, “Not really.” They’re like, “If everyone was asking me those questions, I don’t think I’d be able to answer them,” and I’m like, “Yes, but you’re you and I’m me.” I’ve chosen to do this. I want to do this. And I’m actually getting quite good at it now after nearly a decade of answering forum posts, or actually more than if you count the time I spent on other people’s communities, which is the transition from being a racehorse to being the owner of the racecourse.
I put, as you did, Kevin, tens of thousands of posts on other people’s communities, from the XsitePro community to the Warrior Forum, affiliate portals that were up and running back then. This is all pre-Facebook. We have survived the Facebook tornado but gosh, how many people are closing down free Facebook groups because they’ve just realized they’re going to be on there for the rest of their lives for stuff all benefit. Everyone’s dipping their little ads into groups. Facebook’s going to take advantage of that, thank you very much.
So, you’ve basically gone from relative obscurity to being quite the celebrity in your market, which is a nice thing and these events, this is just the start of something magic and since I’ve been running community events each year, I know the power of it. You spoke at mine and were very well received with your card system and sharing your daughter’s supreme intelligence and capabilities. It was a fantastic moment. Would you say you’ve got a little bit more comfort in your life, not in a lazy way but in a less stressful sort of adrenal fatigue way, that you’ve got predictable income and you know you can cover your bills and that you look forward to the next month rather than dread the end-of-the-month bills, etc?
A little comfort
Kevin: Yeah. I literally went to having a six-figure-a-year income and you know, working I think when we first did that test, I was close to 60 hours a week. And now, I’ve experienced six-figure months and probably not working half those amount of hours. My days don’t start till noon. I’m seeing my trainer. My stress level is unbelievably low. I have time for my kids and my family and I can take my wife where I want to take her.
James: Is it true you were so bored that you decided to go to the car wash every day, just because you didn’t have anything else to do?
Kevin: That’s right.
James: You’re doing a lot of car wash videos.
Kevin: That’s where I can think best. It’s something about that hum.
James: So you’ve taken the shower thing to the next level. You get your best idea is in the shower for my car.
Kevin: And I make my best videos in the car wash. No, it’s just fun. You know, if you went to my timeline and watched videos I’ve made and stuff, you could just see me relaxing and having fun over. It’s like a great sort of public diary in that way. It wasn’t on purpose. But I say if anything, that’s the greatest gift, is that I can be more present with the people in my life and I get to have a lot, I laugh a lot more than I was for 10 years. And so I thank you, my friend.
“A launch is not a business.”
And you know, I hope this episode inspires some people who are thinking small about thinking a little bigger about investing in something that they can actually grow because this is, you hear all the time, a launch is not a business and one simple offer is not a business, but a community and a foundation and a presence in the market is absolutely a business that you can grow. So I really, really do have to thank you and credit you with all this, James.
From self-interest to serving a higher purpose
James: Well, you had to do some of it, Kevin. But the thing is, the real difference is when you can transition from saying, “Is this serving me?” to “Is this serving my community?” That’s really the filter that can guide most of the decisions in your business, when you can switch from that self-interest to serving a higher purpose, which is your members and your community. That’s when you’re going to create something special, something amazing.
And I love our calls each week, Kevin, because you’ve gone through that very difficult phase of start up. You’ve crawled over the broken glass. You’ve had the phase where you’re eating beans out of a tin to survive and you’re now past that ditch that a lot of people will not get through. And that’s sometimes by choice and sometimes because they don’t have the right guidance or the ideas. So really this episode was to just really lock in the idea of OwnTheRacecourse that there is a way that you can create an asset for yourself that you really don’t have to be using a lot of the tactics and ideas that are commonplace in our space.
You don’t necessarily have to do a big product launch. You don’t really need to hustle and grind forever. Certainly in the beginning there’ll be work and effort. You don’t have to be everywhere all the time, and you don’t have to do anything super tricky. You just have to care about a group of people enough to build something beyond yourself that could be a little bit of a village that turns into a castle that is, you know, basically you can appoint yourself as a monarchy and take the throne. If you want, you can do it. If you want help doing that then come and join Kevin and I inside SilverCircle if you’re already doing a couple of hundred grand a year with whatever else you’re doing and if you’re not a copywriter then we’d love to help.
And if you just need some general help or to get up and running to that point, then of course I run SuperFastBusiness. That’s my own little racecourse there where I’m helping people on a daily basis. If you want to learn about copy, which I think is probably the most essential skill that you could possibly have, and I tell people this, go and join CopyChief.com. You will get expert guidance. You’ll get access to other copywriters. And if you’re actually looking for paid work to get you up and running, then you can probably find business customers in there who would give you contracts and start you on your path.
So basically there’s something for everyone in this episode. And I thank you for coming along and sharing. You didn’t have to do that but I really appreciate it, Kevin. It’s, my weekly laugh with Kevin is something I very much look forward to.
Kevin: Likewise, brother. I appreciate everything, man. I’ve said it, screamed it from the rooftops. You’re just the best coach and a true friend and couldn’t be more thankful. So happy to share the tale.
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