In the podcast:
01:00 – Stuff in common
07:00 – The podcasting game
13:07 – What you don’t need
17:13 – Another authority builder
20:31 – A big traffic tip
22:32 – An accidental discovery
25:23 – A major lesson learned
27:30 – Doing less and making more
31:17- Instances of getting screwed
32:49 – When you know what works
37:06 – How to get attention
40:45 – James’s email list hygiene
42:38 – Some Instagram tips
45:17 – Different approaches to podcasting
48:41 – Followers don’t equal cash
50:23 – Which segment has the money?
52:39 – James’s typical day-to-day
54:17 – Life before surfing, and now
59:34 – A powerful leverage point
1:01:27 – Effective hourly rate and delegation
1:05:35 – Where the ideas come
1:08:52 – “Hey, that’s a lot of stuff.”
1:10:45 – Random things
1:13:00 – Who project manages you?
1:15:24 – SOPs and checking work
1:20:28 – Rounding things out
1:24:07- Affiliate best practices
1:26:54 – A constraints exercise
Joe: Alright, I think we’re live, guys. How’s everyone doing? How you doing? James?
James: Good, thanks. So we’re doing this simulcast episode, it’s going to be on your podcast and my podcast this time.
Joe: It was kind of like a last minute decision. We’re like, to do a separate podcast, or should we just mash them up and see what happens?
Matt: Yeah. No, I think it’ll be fun. I think we can cover a lot of ground and just, less interview, more just a really cool discussion, I think.
Stuff in common
James: Yeah, we’ve been popping up lately in each other’s feeds. And I’ve seen you inside my own community, and I like what you’re doing with your marketing. I was just about to buy one of your courses, actually, because you reminded me of something I used to do a lot of, which was driving traffic to my site and then using emails and reviews, etc. to drive affiliate sales. It seems like you’ve been doing quite a lot of that lately.
Joe: Yeah. And that was actually, it’s cool you mentioned that. That’s where the traffic strategy came from, was purely promoting affiliate marketing. And obviously you can use it for any kind of branding or marketing, we do it for the podcast now too, which is really cool. It’s kind of different angles, different ways.
Matt: Yeah, yeah, our latest traffic course, I mean, it kind of stemmed from the fact that, you know, for a long time, our model was essentially do this podcast, put content out there, and then based on whatever content they listen to, whatever podcast episodes they listen to, we’re then going to retarget them and promote offers to them on our list. But the podcast almost acts, A, it’s a traffic tool, but B, it’s also a segmenting tool. So anybody who listens to our stuff, we’re going to put different affiliate offers in front of them based on what they listen to.
And then what ended up happening is we did that, and I guess we were doing pretty well with it, because we started to get people emailing us saying they’re seeing us everywhere. And they asked us to teach it, and that led us to making a course on how we were actually doing that thing.
James: Right. Yeah, of course, it’s how I started out. I was selling one product as an affiliate and from that one product, it kind of forced me to learn absolutely everything else, from how to build the website to writing the sales copy. Incredibly and embarrassingly, I used to do my own design and everything. I am absolutely not a designer.
I had to figure out how to embed an opt in form and make a WordPress blog and make videos. So this this whole thing, I think it was about the only thing I was selling for the first couple of years, just one product. So it kind of went, what do you call it? One inch wide and a mile deep.
James: And then of course it’s so useful for everything else. I’d by accident discovered SEO and got quite good at that. And then you can apply that to just about everything else. That’s why if you go down the track 12 and a half years later, almost 13 years later now, I have still got a strong interest and benefit from SEO traffic and email systems and short video and long audio media platforms. They’re all driving that.
But with my site, the way it works is most of the traffic’s coming to some kind of a podcast. And most podcasts have, at the minimum, they have a PDF transcription, but the enhanced ones have some kind of a checklist or additional rich sort of content that’s really useful for that person.
And that will trigger a sequence for people who are not already a member of SuperFastBusiness membership, which is really again, I’m back to kind of one product to sell, more or less, depending on what level someone is at. If they’re at a higher level, they’ve got one solution for that. If they’re at a lower level I’ve got one solution for that. If they’re not at either of those levels, I generally prefer they’d buy my book or something.
James: Work Less Make More. And then that sequence offers people to go into the waiting list for the membership, which then opens and then a percentage join. So I know the numbers of each part of that process, but the game is simply to keep creating really useful content that’s good for my audience and then to have people coming at that content from different places.
I know you’ve seen a little training that I did, how I’ve been doing the little videos each day. And I’ve seen you’ve been doing them really well, and you’ve interviewed other people who have been doing them well to sell things. They’re very powerful.
And I really like the idea that you’ve gone into micro conversions, little traffic plays to bring just the right customer. It means you’re not spending a huge budget, and it’s always relevant for them. They’ve got context.
And you’ve also tapped into one of the fantastic gold mines, which is the tools. It doesn’t matter how long you’re in the business, it seems to be the perennial question, is what tool do I use for this?
Joe: It’s true.
James: And tools sell well, they pay well for affiliate commissions, and we all need them. And gosh, I look at our tools costs on a monthly basis and they do all add up, once you have all the tools you need to run an online business. But compared to a shop or a store or a physical product business, you know, like manufacturing cars or having a furniture shop, we get off pretty light, I think, in the expense category.
Joe: Oh, yeah, we’re lean and mean, man. But you’re right. They do add up, the more you accumulate or the deeper you go into business, the more team you grow around you. It all requires these extra little tools and automations and even Zapier, you know. Like, you start paying for that you, you’re going to start off using the free plan, you’re like, crap, got to pay for that now.
Matt: It’s interesting because as you’re talking about this, I’m actually, I don’t know why it hasn’t totally clicked with me until just now, but I’m realizing how similar the business models are. We’re both very focused on podcasting and creating a lot of content through podcasting. We’re both focused on making these little tip videos to sort of raise awareness and help grow our brand. We both have kind of a singular main flagship product that we’re promoting. I mean, there’s just so much similarity there.
Joe: That whole way you’re segmenting your audience as well. You have your own ways of directing them to a product that best suits them. And that’s how we’re doing kind of behind the scenes as you are with, you know, the transcription opt-ins and the chooser you have on the front of your website. All these mini segmentations that are happening really create a big change, makes it a lot easier to sell product, too.
The podcasting game
Matt: Yeah. I’m actually curious about the podcast stuff, because I know we’re both in that world. How long have you been doing your podcast? I know you mentioned you’re on 600 and something, so quite a while.
James: This will be Episode 602. It’s not all the podcasts I’ve done, because I’ve had four other ones. There was Think Act Get, Freedom Ocean, Sales Marketing Profit and Kicking Back. So if you were to add all of those up, I think you’d be getting closer to probably – and let’s not even talk about guest appearances – definitely in the thousand.
To answer your question, the big initiative for me started when Tim Reid approached me to do Freedom Ocean. It came about because he has a fantastic podcast in Australia for small businesses. It’s called Small Business Big Marketing, and it’s often been at the top of the charts. And he had a co-host back then called Luke Moulton, and Tim and Luke invited me to be on a podcast. I didn’t really know what that meant. I didn’t know if it was live because I wasn’t sort of podcast geeky, and I think we’re talking about 2010 or 11.
Matt: Yeah, it’s pretty fresh.
James: And so I went on the show, and I talked about my thing at the time, which was called FastWebFormula. And FastWebFormula was this amazing mind map, and also had become a workshop. It was one of my earlier events. I’ve been running events for 10 years now, almost 10 years. And it was actually invented because I’d been speaking on a platform for a promotions company here, and one of the speakers, a mega-famous sort of NLP guy, was enamored with the way that I was running my business, and he asked me to get on a coaching call with his team who are all around the world. And I got on a call with the team and I took them through this mind map, and they loved how simple I made it. And so I turned that whole thing into a course.
Anyway, I got the recordings from the course, I mentioned that on this podcast, and I gave these guys an affiliate link. And the next thing you know, they were making a fortune. They had meltdown. People were buying this product at, it was about $399. And it also included 60 days free for my membership at the time, was called SuperFastResults, and which is today called SuperFastBusiness.
And Tim said, “Look, this has been amazing. How do I do something with you?” So we created this incredible podcast together which had 84 episodes and it went all the way through to last year. I think episode one, gosh, that was 2011. But then what I did, and this is really important and it’s a huge opportunity – because I had already been recording audios with people, because I knew from the beginning when I came online, I knew I had to be brave and put myself on audio. Because the people I was listening to, like Jay Abraham and I think back then it was Yanik Silver, and so forth, and people who I was reading books about, Aussie business coaches like Brad Sugars, they’d all had this story of sitting in a room, a bedroom, you know, with nothing but a tape recorder. Even Anthony Robbins.
Matt and Joe: Yeah.
James: And just recording their information as an information product and getting leverage. So I knew that I had to do this. I’d already tracked down some expert on Pay Per Click marketing that I met at a conference – so that’s where you meet people – and I went and purchased for a few hundred dollars a recorder that I sat on a desk and I interviewed this guy and made a product from it.
And then I started, when I was speaking, of course you’re on platform with other experts, like John Carlton for example. So I said, “John, could I come up to your hotel room later and we have a little chat?” and he looked at me a bit funny. I said, “About business, and if I could record it, that would be great.” And he said, “Yeah, sure.”
So I’d already been doing this for my blog and I was putting the recordings on my blog, but I wasn’t in iTunes and it wasn’t called a podcast. They were just audio interviews. So when I went to iTunes and submitted my blog, it retrospectively posted all the previous episodes where it was pulling the media from. So this is the big takeaway, guys. If you’ve already got a blog and if you happen to have audio, you can submit it and then it will just backdate all your posts. You could literally have five years or 10 years’ worth of content overnight, as if it was always there. So technically my first podcast episode dates back to 2009.
Joe: I love that.
Matt: Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting. It’s interesting because we have similar stories. With our podcast, we started in 2010 with the Online Income Podcast. That was our first show, and it made a grand total of three episodes of it. And then we kind of abandoned it for a while. Then I think in 2011, we circled back around and created a podcast called the Evergreen Wisdom Podcast, because by that time we’d branded ourselves as Evergreen Profits. So we had the Evergreen Wisdom Podcast. That one, I think we lasted, what, 15 episodes?
Joe: Roughly. Yeah, somewhere in there.
Matt: And then it wasn’t until about, I don’t know, 2014, 2015 that we decided, let’s get serious about this podcasting stuff. And now we’re really kicking ourselves because back in 2010 when we did our first podcast, we could go to the top of the charts by having like, 70 downloads a day. We’d be ranked in the top, like, 10 in the business category with that kind of download numbers. Now it’s like we can be getting 1000 downloads a day, and we won’t even pop into the top 200.
James: Well, you know, that’s very interesting, because I’ve noticed that sort of shift too. We dominated the charts. Freedom Ocean was always at the top, in Australia especially, and it still drives good traffic. In fact, when I look at my podcast history, Freedom Ocean and Think Act Get dominate the first 20 or 30 listings for total downloads. And usually Episode Number One of Think Act Get has had the most downloads of any show I’ve ever done. I’m on with Ezra Firestone, which was a good talent pick on my behalf. I think in hindsight how far he’s gone.
And yeah, the charts thing, you know, I was always in the charts. In fact, when Sales Marketing Profit came out, it went to number one everywhere, even the United States initially, when it launched off one episode, which broke all the myths and lies about how many episodes you have to launch with. We had one episode and it hit the top of the charts.
What you don’t need
And then now, my show doesn’t really appear in the top charts. I noticed that too. It might hover around up close to the 200 mark. But at the same time, here’s the really interesting thing. I’m not looking for it. I think I haven’t looked where it is in the charts for about two years, because it doesn’t matter.
“What really matters is to get those core subscribers.”
What really matters is to get those core subscribers. It’s the thousand or two people who sit on that feed waiting for the next episode, the ones who email you if you haven’t published for a little while, to just check if everything’s OK. You know, your hyper fan.
I’ve got one amazing superfan, Greg Merrilees, and he’ll nudge me on our coaching call. He’ll say, “You haven’t published anything lately.” You know, he’s craving the next delivery of content. So it’s great, when you’ve got the core, you don’t need it.
And I think in one of the trainings that I released recently in the membership, that you’ve probably seen the email one, I was showing my members just how small my email database is and how it doesn’t matter. When you see all these people talking about list size of 800,000 emails, or if they’re such and such ranking on the charts, or they have X number of fans or followers, it’s mostly just vanity metrics. You really just need a core following.
And I think if you have your business model right, you can still have a very decent seven-figure income from tiny, tiny numbers. Probably the poster child for that is Andre Chaperon. He has a very small database, but it’s hyper, super segmented. So there you go.
Matt: I felt the wrath of Andre’s email list once. We were both promoting a product a couple of years ago, and I was number two and he was number one on the leaderboard. And in his emails, he was talking about how he’s only sending this email to like 300 people and yet he’s just destroying me, and I’m emailing a list of 70,000.
James: He’s got it all figured out with the emails there. You might like, when he came over to my event and spoke there, he went through how those emails cascade, and I am willing to bet that it’s very similar to what you’ve got going on with your behind-the-scenes tool series and the videos in the membership there. You might probably enjoy watching it.
Joe: Yeah, yeah. I mean, that goes with podcasting, too. And this is why a lot of people, they might hear how it’s hard to put a podcast out there and get visibility. But in the grand scheme of things, there’s so many little niches and micro niches and you can go down the wormhole and really, you know, pick a group of people to speak to and then direct your marketing at them, and maybe some other ways outside of iTunes.
James: The important point with a podcast, OK, is that it doesn’t have to be ranked at the top of the charts for it to be useful for you. You don’t have to have more than 70 listeners, in reality. The podcast is what’s going to help you get a reply to an email when you’re speaking to someone useful who you’d like to chat with or learn from. Especially, I think you guys do that really well, you target people you want to learn from and you chat to them.
And I learned this lesson the most when I was chatting to this young Australian guy called Nathan, and he had a MagCast, which is a fairly difficult platform to make good money from, unless you’ve got a rabid market of low level customers, you know, like cooking products, that sort of stuff.
He managed to snag an interview with Richard Branson, which was just a text interview, mind you. But that cover of Richard Branson, it has been on my feed for years now. When I was speaking to Nathan on his podcast, after we hung up, I said, “Nathan, I don’t know if you’re going to make all your money from this magazine. I think, use that authority you’ve built from that one interview and make your own membership. Monetize it some other way.” And he did that. And he came back onto my show years later and gave me credit for that advice.
“A book has to be the biggest bang for your buck in terms of authority building.”
Another authority builder
And that’s really the same deal with the podcast. And to a large extent, I think a book. Probably even a larger extent. A book has to be the biggest bang for your buck in terms of authority building. You wouldn’t have to sell. Even if you sold one copy in seven different countries, you know, now your book’s sold in seven different countries, right? So like, it’s pretty easy to claim wins from a book, but even if you don’t, the implied authority’s there.
And I just spent near on a week with Dean Jackson, who visits Australia each year, and one of his business models is a 90-minute book, and he gets people to go from zero to published very quickly.
It’s about speed and it’s about getting that document out that can credentialize you in your market, so your perfect answer to the prospect’s problem, and you can get started.
So that’s the short way to get into the market, and for a small fee. When he told me the price, I was shocked, because it’s very low. It’s actually listed on Amazon and you get your own ISBN number or whatever, and it’s all, like, it’s published.
And then usually, like, he doesn’t even use the physical book in his business model. He’s driving ads on Facebook lead ads that can get put into his email system, and then Dean is a lethal weapon with email. From the email, he can turn that into all sorts of things with his super signature.
So it’s a very interesting conversation we had there sitting at the Sydney Opera House where we just, we go and watch movies just next to that. Each year, it’s like a tradition. And we’re talking about that versus the ego book thing, which is more like the way I’ve done it, which is slower, a little more expensive. And he said, really, if you’re going down that path, it’s just ego. If you want to have, you know, the book (air quotes), the proper book, it’s going to take an extra year to publish, and that’s lost money in the meantime.
And then we came to this fantastic conclusion that it’s good to do both, that his type of book is a fantastic minimum viable product, it’s a great way to test where you’re at, and by all means, do the bigger or more authoritative, bestseller, airport, whatever book.
And while we’re on that subject of books, which we didn’t even have on our shortlist here, my big tip here is make sure, if you have a book, do the Audible. Because since my Audible went out, it’s smashing it, and I suspect it’s because I have a podcast audience. And it’s racking up sales like nobody’s business. And I wish I’d done it a little bit earlier.
Joe: How are people finding out? Like, are you actively pushing people that way? Or do you think it’s just a natural thing?
James: “Push” is such a vulgar word, my friend. I’d say occasionally I’ll share a screenshot of the cover or something, just letting people know that it exists. So for me, I do a lot of that sort of stuff from the signature link in my emails, which if you have, say, a weekly podcast on average, at least your audience are getting to know that there is this option. Because one of the big questions we got in our support desk over and over and over and over again is, “Is it on Audible?” They were begging me for Audible, and when it went on Audible, we make sure we tell them it’s on Audible. And then once I went out to social media, it made sales. When I put a new cover and put a picture of the cover, it made a big wave of sales. I go on Pat Flynn‘s podcast, I get a big wave of sales.
A big traffic tip
That’s a big traffic tip right there. If you can be lucky enough to find a good traffic source where all of your potential customers are already subscribed, that’s the jumpstart to a wave of traffic. And I’ve done that a few times. I found out whose audiences are good for me, and I know for a fact this podcast is very good for anyone who appears on it. There’s always an after effect for whoever comes on this show. Because I’m not ranked in the top of the charts, I suppose the people who are listening are dedicated listeners who are enjoying the content and trust me.
Joe: And same goes for our podcast, is exactly what you just said, is it’s, you know, they’re like the most loyal listeners. And every single time it’s cool. When I talk to someone for consulting or just somehow I’m communicating with a potential client or one that’s been around forever, they always say the podcast is the number one thing they love the most from us.
Matt: Yeah, I mean, I can’t even count how many times we’ve had guests who a year after their episode was released, still come up to us and say, “Man, I’m still getting people that come to me saying, I discovered you because of that podcast.” I mean, the thing about podcast too, is this content lives forever. I mean, this episode two years from the time we’re recording it, somebody’s going to be listening to it, discovering it and finding out about James or finding out about us. I mean, it’s just this ever-evolving, compounding effect that happens.
An accidental discovery
James: Yeah, and I don’t listen to podcasts much. I listen to one surfing podcast, and I listen to your podcast. That’s it. You have a fantastic podcast.
Joe: Do a high five really quick.
James: You know, I actually discovered your podcast by accident.
Joe: How? Do you remember how?
James: I do, I remember how because as part of my onboarding process for Silver Circle, one of the things I ask for is if people own their trademarks. And I go and search for them, and I had a client with a very similar name to your name.
Joe: That’s right. I’ve seen that guy in your forum, actually.
Matt: Yeah, his business is Evergreen Profit without the “S”, right?
Matt: We’ve actually been thinking about reaching out because it’s a different business model. So we were thinking, hey, maybe we could reach out and just collaborate so there’s less confusion, but we haven’t yet, so…
James: Oh, you should. He’s one of the nicest people you could ever possibly meet. Big shoutout to Justin. He’s remarkable for a few reasons, but one is, aside from being a customer of mine for near on a decade, he never wears shoes. He lives in a rural part of Southern Australia in Victoria there, and that’s tough. And when we went to the Maldives a few years back, we were at the airport in the Maldives collecting our things from the conveyor belt and like, we just walked through customs, he’s still bare feet.
Joe: So he’s legitimately always barefoot, then. Wow.
James: He somehow went from his rural Victorian house to the airport in Melbourne, flew to Singapore, and then went from Singapore to Male with no shoes.
Joe: How many times does he wash his feet – that’s the question.
James: The next time I saw him internationally, I did spot a pair of flip flops. And I said, “What’s going on?” Because came back to the Maldives again, as they often do, and he said they forced him to wear them at the airport because of safety.
Joe: Ahh, bummer.
James: You should definitely reach out, because he’s got great service. He’s been on this show as well, on my show. And yeah, so I was looking for his name to check, you know, what’s his footprint? How much of his branding and marketing does he own? And you guys popped up. And then I, rather than look at you guys like an evil enemy encroaching on my fantastic customer’s IP, I thought, ‘These guys have got a pretty similar thing going on to the sort of stuff that I like.’ And yeah, as you mentioned earlier, we have so much in common. The other thing you didn’t mention that’s kind of the iceberg part for both of us probably is our interest in mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures and revenue deals and buying and selling, you know, trading of businesses, that sort of stuff.
Joe: Yeah. And that’s definitely something that you’ve helped us a lot with. A lot of your members, I mean, your community alone, I don’t even know how many deals have been done just within there. But also just the advice, that definitely helped us figure out, OK, how do we approach deals? Because you could really screw yourself if you just kind of go in with the idea that, ‘I’m going to take 30 percent of this business and make a bunch of money.’
A major lesson learned
Matt: I also say this, one thing that we’ve learned from you, and that we’ve definitely taken away from being a part of your community and watching how you do things is also an element of simplification. We did have a point there where we’re like, ‘Oh, we’ve got this course and this course and these 10 affiliate products, and we’re also working on this acquisition deal, and we just recently acquired this business.’ And I remember Joe posted something in the community in it. And your first sentence was, “Wow, sounds like you guys are doing a lot.” And, you know, just looking at the simplicity of what you’re doing with your business, we actually decided to kind of, you know…
Joe: We trimmed a lot.
Matt: Yeah, trim a lot of that stuff back and just kind of go more simple.
Joe: We legitimately trimmed every single product except for the traffic course.
James: But the traffic course is amazing. Like I said earlier, I’ve got two courses here on my list to buy. I’ll tell you why I’m not buying it today, because I’m heading off on an airplane tomorrow for a week. So I have this little rule that if I buy a course, I have to consume it immediately. If I can’t consume it immediately, I don’t buy it. So I’m not, like, stockpiling courses because that could be a bad habit right?
James: But your course is so good, I want to buy it. So that means it’s a great course. The other thing is, you know, my most successful course ever was called Traffic Grab. You really can’t lose with a traffic course in our market.
Joe: It’s true.
It’s a fantastic topic. I went on a domain buying spree, and I bought hundreds of domains that revolve around the name or the idea of traffic. I’ve since sold quite a few of them, because I’ve simplified.
Doing less and making more
When I look at whatever everyone else is doing, I’ve already been there. I’ve had 2000 websites, I’ve tried most business models, and I’m looking for what can be removed. And the beautiful thing is, we can pretty safely do it, knowing what we know about that 64/4 idea, and that is that three quarters of the results you’re getting are going to come from 4 percent of the stuff you’re doing. So it means there’s a lot of stuff we’re doing that really isn’t adding up to much. So I’m interested to know, since you started pruning back and simplifying, have you made more or less money, and has your life become easier or more difficult?
“There’s a lot of stuff we’re doing that really isn’t adding up to much.”
Matt: Oh, you know the answer to that one.
Joe: Yeah, now, we definitely have made more money and have a lot more, I wouldn’t say time off, but it’s more focused time. So rather than a lot of the doing tasks all over the place, million, you know, to-do lists, we typically stick to three core items that we want to complete that day, large or small. It doesn’t mean that these are massive things. But we’re focused on the core driver of our business, which is usually, it’s content production is the core of everything we do. It’s podcasting, email, blog posts, even the ads – Matt’s totally dialed in on ads now. So we’ve kind of segmented our roles really well in the business. And our team’s roles, too.
Matt: Yeah, and so we’re recording this kind of at the beginning of September. Well, August was the best month we’ve ever had in our business. And prior to that, July was the best month we’ve ever had in our business. So you know, the sales are growing in the business by actually focusing on less things. And for us, it’s been the traffic course and just a handful of affiliate products. Instead of, you know, spreading wide with affiliate products and promoting 50 different tools, we have like, three tools that we went really, really deep on, and are just promoting those really heavily but also creating a ton of content around it.
We actually recently had Mike Michalowicz on the show, he did Profit First and his new book called Clockwork. And one of the comments that he made about it was, “I bought a product through your affiliate link. And I was just blown away by the fact that it’s not even your product, but you guys provided additional support and additional help.”
Joe: He said we provide a better support than a typical product owner would do for their own product.
Matt: And that’s just us going more simple but deeper on a small amount of projects, instead of adding projects. We do have two acquisitions that we’ve done recently that we’re focused on, but we’ve sort of committed to, let’s not get any involved in any more acquisitions, unless we’re purely an advisory role, because the couple of acquisitions that we did do in the last few months have kind of become more stuff stacked on our plate and almost more of a nuisance than a blessing.
James: That’s such good news. And I remember one year, I was asked to present at the Ontrapalooza conference and share with them how I was promoting Ontraport so effectively, and it was using an email signature line and a dedicated sequence. If you can provide better support than the original company, then that’s going to be really helpful for affiliate sales. That’s what I used to do with the software that I sold for the first few years. I became like, the biggest fish in the pond for that software. And constantly, the manufacturer company would lean into me and ask me for ideas, and they would start putting the things that I was offering as a bonus into their products. So it was kind of this arms war.
Instances of getting screwed
But it definitely wasn’t the first time that that happened. I remember it was about 1995, and I got a call from this guy called Martin, who was the marketing manager for BMW Australia. And this was my first sales job at BMW. 1995, I had just become a salesperson. I was about to be a parent. Can you believe it? My kid just turned 23.
Joe: I just did the math on that, and I was like, dude, you look like you’re in your 30s somewhere.
James: But so, my kid just turned 23. But that he wasn’t born, right, when I got this call from Martin and he said “James, do you mind if I just have a chat to you for a minute?” And I was like, almost a bit scared. Like, why is this guy calling? He goes, “I just wanted to find out from you regarding 316i’s,” (that was that little compact BMW, I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen one). Anyway, he said, “You sold more 316i’s than anybody in Australia. And not just by a little margin, but like, by a huge margin.”
And I said, “Really?” He goes, “Yes. So what are you doing?” And I went and I came back the next day and I wrote out a marketing plan for the 316i, with all these recommendations of what I was doing and how I’d sell more. And then he took the prescription and rolled it out exactly, and didn’t credit me at all, of course, and this happened many, many times in careers. This is one of my absolute pet hates. And in fact, here’s an interesting bit of trivia. The reason I left BMW to go to Mercedes-Benz is I got manipulated on a sales contest. This team in the city, they got all the people in the office to put together to pool their orders and give it to the guy who was coming second in the nationwide contest.
Joe: Oh, so they were screwing you.
James: Yeah, I was coming first in Australia. And I saw an ad for a Mercedes-Benz job. And I initially sort of did the T-balance account and decided, you know what? I’m coming first in the country, I think I’ll just stick where I am, even if I’m not getting paid as much. And then the report came out for the sales contest. And this guy beat me by like, it was like 12 points per car. And he beat me by two points, like by a bumper bar, in this report. And I was so enraged, I found the paper again, looked up the ad, called them, and I went and I got the job. This is 1997 by now. And that’s why I switched across, because of corporate hijinks. So I was just so annoyed. But really the thing there is, once you dial in what’s working better than anyone else, the gains are not just slight, they are disproportionate.
When you know what works
And going back to what you said before, I had a call with one of my clients this week and they were just trembling with excitement. Like, they were literally jumping out their skin, because in January of this year, they made $50,000. And that was their biggest month ever. But it was off the back of a huge launch campaign, and this big challenge and they were working like crazy.
And then the next month, it was like, nothing, and they were delivering on all the stuff. Anyway, last month, they had their biggest month ever, they exceeded their $50,000. The only difference was, there was no launch, no challenge, they’re now on autopilot renewing subscriptions, they’ve got webinars working properly, they are not working anywhere near as hard. And the three months prior, we’re building up, to say in the 40s and then they got to the 50s.
So the flick of a switch of a business model to something that works really, really well, is so profound. And the great and exciting thing about it is it doesn’t mean you have to do more, it just means to bother to find out where the little leverage points are, zoom in on those, and then you can discard the rest quite comfortably.
Joe: Yeah. And you’re right, because it doesn’t take a massive offer or a thing to show you like, ‘Hey, we can create a system around this, or a process that we could just slowly optimize every day to continue to grow those sales. And, you know, if your offer is a continuity or recurring type product, then all the better. You can compound your efforts, then. I mean, you wrote a lot about that in your book. But yeah, if you could dial in these mini optimizations, you know, these small hinges swinging big doors for our business, like I said, content is a massive part, so being consistent with our podcast episodes…
And then Matt does a lot of the traffic and constant optimizations, little tweaks here and there on Google, on Facebook, on Taboola, all these different ad platforms we’re on each day. And these conversion tweaks, just test a new headline; test this variation of a sales video. And then there’s the sales with me and kind of more the front-facing communication with the customers, always kind of improving, optimizing that process. That’s how we’ve been seeing these percentage gross of just consistent, ranging from on average about like 20 percent every single month or more, but it’s consistently growing. It’s not this massive spike and then a plummet. And that’s a sustainable business, especially with the continuity.
James: Yeah, I think one of the delicate tricks is when you do dial in an offer that converts, when you are finding this stuff. And as you’re talking about, sitting down running through the different ad platforms, you know, when I quit my job, and I was doing CPA marketing, every day at two o’clock, I’d pull out this huge A3 spreadsheet, like poster-size pad. And I had all my traffic sources, and I’d log into each one, check the campaigns. Like 7search, AdBrite, Google, I think maybe even Facebook by this stage. I was one of the very early Facebook ad guys. Every day, and I was spending thousands of dollars a day on traffic, and I had to see if I was ahead or behind. Sometimes I’d find someone’s replicated my entire ad set, that sort of stuff.
And it’s a lot of work, so often when I’m talking to my clients, I’m finding that they found their offer that converts and they’re now in that phase where, do they go further into it because it’s such a big opportunity? Or would that be a trap, and they’d start to lose themselves again? So you’ve got this precipice. Quite often I’d like to go broad, and then pair off the ones that are not quite as optimal and just stick to the top few traffic sources or the top two conversion devices. So that’s how I’ve kind of ended up with podcasts supported by video, and mostly emails, and mostly not involving my personal time, and then the backend affiliate stuff. Because they’re the leverage points, and I haven’t really pursued the traffic anywhere near the extent that I used to. Almost not at all. I might occasionally boost a Facebook post, because they’re so seductive the way they suggest it would be.
Joe: I would hope that, you know, and with this, the traffic course, our course, I mean a big thing you would do immediately is shore up all those people that are just listening to the podcast.
James: That’s so obvious. That’s the 80/20. Let guys like you do all that stuff.
How to get attention
Matt: What are you doing right now to get more attention on the podcast? I know the podcast is a big driver of people discovering you and your courses and what you do. What sort of efforts are you putting in to get people paying attention to the podcast in the first place?
Joe: Like new folks? Yeah.
James: I’m probably very conservative with that. I’m not prepared to do some of the things that I could do to get greater awareness around that. But for me, I know where the 80/20 is. Being on other people’s podcasts is very good for me. Just looking after the customers I’ve got is my number one strategy. Right now, I’ve got this SilverCircle member who is so excited about the results he’s gotten. He’s just throwing people at me. Like, every week, someone’s trying to join. He’s lined up four people. And if I did no other marketing than just look after my customers, that’s enough for me to do just fine.
So I’m conscious that if I were to put too much petrol in the fire. I’m just going to burn the logs too fast and might even get burnt. I’ve got this good organic flow. So if we’re talking about a metaphor, my business now is like a diesel locomotive that can cross from one side of the country to the other back and forth for the next 20 years without any challenge, whereas some people are running these, like, supercharged nitrous rotary engines that are just going to blow up on the starting line. You know, they might win a couple of races, but they’ll be mostly in the garage in pieces.
Matt: Oh yeah, that’s kind of how I feel about my Porsche.
James: You see this all the time. And people approach their whole business like that. It’s like high pressure, high stakes.
And I love just shattering the conventions. I like showing people they don’t have to be in the top of the charts, they don’t have to have a massive list, they don’t have to have affiliates, they don’t have to do launches, they don’t have to run paid traffic, they don’t have to have super tricky amazing incredible complex funnels, they don’t have to have 1000 different email segments. They don’t even have to have a dozen products. You can do a lot with a very good core product for just the right person, getting them a good result and then just slowly building on top of that over and over and just adding pieces.
So when I do add a book or an Audible, that just feeds the machine. If I appear somewhere else on a podcast, then it just grows organically. But the numbers in the business are still constantly improving as I refine and refine and tune the machine.
Matt: Yeah. I mean, I was going to say that the whole burn out really fast thing, that’s kind of how I see that whole launch model where you see the people that put together the big contests and they get 100 affiliates on board and then they launch their product. And then they say it’s going to close in five days, and then they turn it off. And to me, that’s just the most bizarre concept, to spend all this time on a launch and then turn it off. And then all of your affiliates, not only are you paying them, whatever, 50 percent commission, but then you’re going and spending another, you know, 25 percent of your entire sales revenue on paying them in bonuses. And next thing you know, the product creator doesn’t make very much money, but they just destroyed themselves to do that launch.
Joe: Oh, yeah, that’s stressful.
James: And they have a service debt. Now they have to provide whatever they sold and hyped up.
There’s a place for launches, and you know, if you’re putting out a movie or a PlayStation game, or you’ve got a brand new product, by all means. The closest I’ve come to that is when my live event goes on sale. You know, let people know about it. But I tend to be more of an announcer, you know? I release products or courses. I don’t push or promote. I’ve never done the big launch.
James’s email list hygiene
That’s why I don’t have a massive list. But I haven’t had the big bills to hold on to 500,000 email subscribers with, you know, single-digit percentage open rates. I’m so ruthless with my list that we delete records who don’t open after three months.
Matt: How often do you do that on your list?
Joe: Every three months, or…?
James: Yeah, constantly. Like, if there’s a hard bounce or they unsubscribe or they don’t open for three months, they’re out. So we have like, a 30-something percent open rate on our email newsletter.
Matt: You’re not doing that double-check every three months, right? You’re just kind of looking like, what, maybe once a month, to see who hasn’t subscribed in three months?
James: Yeah, we’ve created this segment that captures them, and then we send them an email letting them know that if they don’t want to be on the list, that’s fine. If they don’t open the email, click on the link, that we’re going to remove them from the database. And then if they click on it, then they get out of that segment. If they don’t, then they’re gone. And my webmaster will do this on a continual basis.
Matt: Yeah, no, that’s so smart. I mean, it’s interesting because our list is, you know, from the ego standpoint, our list is well over probably 100,000 subscribers. But when we actually mail our list, we’re actually only mailing about 3000 people at a time. That’s it. For the same reasons you talk about. We don’t actually delete them from our list. I just tag them with as like, an unresponsive tag. And then, you know, maybe once every six months or something, I’ll mail our unresponsive people and see if I could re-engage them. But I’m not saving my money on the autoresponder like you are.
Matt: You have the app, too, right?
Some Instagram tips
James: I’m really into Instagram. That’s my favorite platform at the moment. I’m not worried about the others. While we’re on that, I think I mentioned something just before that was quite handy. If you do have recurring tasks in the business, what we do is just set up a Slack reminder. So the bot will remind us to do something. That way, we don’t have to write a detailed or lengthy SOP, we don’t have to have project management software, the tool just reminds us to do certain things at certain times of the day, month or year.
Joe: I like that. The Slack reminder. How about Instagram? I’m kind of actually curious about that, because we’re still a little newer. We’re on there, but what are some strategies there you found really effective for you?
James: Firstly, I’m no Instagram expert, but one of my clients put me on to this a couple of years ago, Betty Rocker and she’s very good at it. And she gave us a few tips at a Silver Circle event that we had. The the main ones were like, don’t post too often. Some people, I saw some lady the other day, she put, like, 17 posts in the space of two hours. So I immediately just unfollowed her. You can’t be spamming people’s feeds with too much. So like, one post a day is probably fine.
And I guess for me, Instagram is for, my personal account, it’s the place where I can be reasonably vulnerable. So my call to action for people in my membership is if they want to go behind the scenes, that’s where they’re going to, they’re going to see stuff that’s not purely business. I share stuff about my surfing there and me as a person.
My business channel, it’s got the daily videos and a quote. So they mix a quote and a video and a quote and a video. At the moment, I’ve kind of got similar numbers, and not many, by the way, for both channels. So people want strictly business content, they’ve got it. If they want to know more about me as a person with a little bit of business (but that’s me as a person anyway), then my personal channel. So I really don’t know the answers yet. But I do know that I don’t want to be on Facebook. I could care less about the dribble that’s running on the feed. And I don’t know if it’s just my friends, but I suspect it’s just Facebook.
Joe: I think it’s Facebook.
James: I don’t know want to know what my porn name would be by mixing my pet and my first, whatever, which is by the way, it’s usually a password phishing scam anyway.
Joe: I didn’t know that, but make sense.
James: Yeah, that’s that’s why they put these sort of posts, because people who are trying to hack you are going to probably get questions like, what was your pet’s first name and what was the address you grew up on? And that’s why it’s there.
Joe: Yeah, that makes sense.
Matt: It just gave me a new perspective on those things that I hadn’t really thought about.
Joe: All those quizzes out there, right?
James: But aside from that, I mean, to me that just seems like, it’s just really dumb.
Matt: Yeah, no, it is. And we’ve had, like, the same realization. We have a business Instagram account, and Joe and I both individually have personal Instagram accounts. And we’ve kind of taken the same approach. The personal accounts, we post personal stuff…
James: You have two podcasts?
Matt: No, we’ve only got the one.
Joe: You might be thinking about Multiply Authority, potentially?
James: Yeah, I think when I was searching for you, it came up with a couple of options.
Matt: Yeah, so the Multiply Authority, that podcast was my old podcast before Joe essentially was co-hosting. So this one was just like a continuation of that show. We just rebranded it and Joe joined me.
James: Well, it’s the one I liked the most, that’s why I send you guest recommendations.
James: Like, you do a better job of having guests on there than I do. You have fantastic promotion of it. I think it’s best in class. So it’s no wonder that it’s going well.
Different approaches to podcasting
Matt: Yeah, I think with our podcast, we kind of do things a lot differently than most podcasters. We have almost a completely different take. It’s very similar to your take. I think it’s different than most podcasters. In fact, we were talking about this with somebody yesterday.
Joe: Steve Olsher?
Matt: No, I was talking with the guys from the Optimal Living Daily podcast yesterday, and most podcasters take podcasting as like, the artist approach. This is my art, I don’t really care if I have listeners, I’m doing this for myself. They’re not focused on growth. They’re doing it for the art form of podcasting. And we, obviously, I’ll take it as a piece in our marketing, a piece in our bigger business system. But as far as what we do with the podcast, again, the podcast acts for us as a segmentation tool, and also a tool to connect with as many people as possible.
And then the the things that’s happening behind the scenes that most people aren’t seeing is, if they listen to an episode, they’re being added to retargeting campaigns. If you’ve listened to one of our episodes, and then go on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ve seen one of our little tip videos, or one of our silly videos where we’re like, running for the train, or some fun behind-the-scenes video that we made. And you may not know why. Well, it’s because you listened to our podcast. And then anybody who watches any of those videos, they get retargeted with our offer.
So it’s like this indoctrination sequence that doesn’t require email. So you listen to our podcast, you get into our ecosystem, you start seeing branding videos from us. If you watch those branding videos, then you start seeing links to podcast episodes, and you start seeing links to offers. And so we created this whole indoctrination sequence where we don’t email and people sort of self-select what they’re going to get by what actions they take on our website.
James: Yeah, it’s very smart. And I think there’s another category of people. Definitely, like, I wouldn’t classify myself as a podcaster, by the way. They are other people in my mind.
Joe: Oh, yeah, they are.
James: I’m just a business person who uses the audio medium. There’s the other kind, which is like the entertainer who’s not doing it because they creatively want to do their thing, they’re not doing it because they’re commercially savvy, they’re doing it to do a some kind of a dog and pony show of whatever they think their audience wants them to do. They’re always asking, you know, “Which cover do you prefer?” Or, “What would you like to see me do the next episode on?” It’s like, they think they’re giving their audience what the audience wants.
To me, it seems almost inauthentic. It’s like, I’m an actor. What play would you like me to perform? And like, I don’t really get that model at all. They have a lot of followers and a lot of subscribers. But then I wonder, when do they actually have their personal life, or when do they, when can they be themselves and not some internet presence that they’ve, that the role that they’re playing? And it’s fascinating.
Joe: It is, and I wonder if that’s just the way that they think they should be. And it’s, I feel like you know, it’s a newbie-er way.
Followers don’t equal cash
James: It’s like girls doing Instagram selfies down at the beach.
Joe: Or a makeup tutorial.
James: When I go down to surf, sometimes on the rocks to the side, there’s, you know, all these teens holding out the camera doing, you know, tossing their hair and doing like, I’m not kidding. They do like, 50 shots in a row.
Matt: I believe it.
James: I’m like, What are these people doing? It’s kind of sad.
Joe: It is. Yeah.
Matt: And they’re not doing anything with it, either. In fact, we had a guest on our show, a guy named Mike Matuz, and we were talking about this Instagram topic. And he was telling us that most of the people on Instagram who have, you know, 100,000 plus followers have never made a dollar off of their Instagram account.
Joe: But they’re getting free yoga pants.
Matt: But they’re, yeah, they might get free yoga pants from lululemon or something, because they have 100,000 followers on Instagram. And it’s just, it’s an ego thing. They’re building it because they just want the likes.
James: My favorite clothing brand, lululemon.
Joe: I mean, there’s nothing wrong with lulu. It’s a fine pair of clothing.
So Mike Matuz, this guy that was on our podcast, he’s really in the health and fitness space, and I mean that’s probably the biggest you could see, you know, that and Yoga People, all these lifestyle. And a lot of them are just doing it for the merch, you know? Free protein powder. Or maybe if it’s surfers, maybe a free surfboard, get sponsored.
James: I can imagine you go down to the supermarket, at the checkout, and they say, “That will be $370,” or whatever. You say, “Great, I’ve got 100,000 Instagram followers.” And they’re, “Yeah, so what? We’re still going to need some cash.”
I think that could fall under the category of of you know, wrong goal or fluke.
Matt: Yeah, well I was blown away by how many people, based on the stats that Mike was telling us, how many people have, you know, 100,000, 200,000, all the way up to like, past a million Instagram followers, and they’re getting free protein powder.
Joe: Or they have a day job, still.
Matt: And they’re working in a day job, sleeping on their parents’ couch, still. And they’ve got, you know, a half a million Instagram followers.
Joe: But therein lies that opportunity there, if you can maybe…
James: I think it reinforces the point that we’re making that you don’t have to be big to do well. You just have to be relevant and and find the parts that are working. So of the hundred thousand, which segment has the money?
That’s a discussion I had during the week with another client, is the big reason that their business is going so much better now is they’ve had to let go of their original core audience, because their original core audience is time-poor and they’re money-poor. And ultimately, whilst it’s lovely serving them from a charity benefit, they’re not going to be the right audience to take these people to the next stage. So we created a product for the next audience along, that has more time and more money. And lo and behold, it’s significantly more lucrative with less effort, less work.
And I found the same to be true in my own business. In fact, next week in the Maldives, my audience there, they’re paying significantly more than the lower-tier members. And it’s a joyful week that I look forward to immensely, because it combines a lot of the elements that for me make it a great combo.
James: And they’ll enjoy it too. And partly, because it’s such a significant experience for them. It’s kind of weird, but some of your customers will expect something to be expensive. I know it’s covered in Cialdini.
I was having this great pricing debate with a friend of mine. His friend was convincing him that he’s selling so much more at $4,995 than $4,997. And I said that sounds ridiculous, because unless he’s selling 10s of thousands of it, probably it’s not statistically valid data anyway.
James: And you started getting to the point where a customer would probably rather spend $5,000 than $4,995, because they’d like to think that it’s something worthwhile. That’s why my price on the higher-level items start, it’s $10,000 even. It’s not $9,999. I’m not going to insult a $10,000 customer with the dollar off thing.
You know, you get to the point – and I think this comes from Mercedes-Benz background – is at some point, it’s OK to have a premium positioning, and that’s what the customer wants. In fact, they won’t be interested in it if it’s not expensive. And that being said, I’m not talking about just having a big, high price. You have to deliver.
Joe: Oh, yeah.
James: And you got to deliver substantially more than whatever you charge is probably a really good sustainability practice.
James’s typical day-to-day
Joe: Yeah, I’m actually curious really quick about how you deliver, because I know in your forum – and we’re only in just one of them, probably your lower level there – you’re in there every day. You respond to everyone. You have these daily videos. What does your typical day-to-day look like in your business?
James: Well, I stack my week to Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is where I’m doing my peak load. And the four other days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday (for those who aren’t familiar with the calendar), they’re my light sort of days where I’m not doing any, there’s no scheduled calls, and that means the only job I have is to log in to my forum and answer questions, which I do about 1,000 posts a month.
James: Nine-hundred posts a month. That separates me from just about any other community person, because most people don’t show up for their own business, which I think is extraordinary. And that was the problem I solved when I created my forum nearly 10 years ago, is I wanted to show up. So I do show up every day. I’ve been doing it for a long time, and I have built it into my routine so that it’s almost non-existent.
I can also multitask. I can answer posts while I’m watching Netflix these days, or I can be having a chat to someone on the phone and answer posts. So I don’t mind doing that, if it’s low level stuff. The typical day for me is glass of water, coffee, check my phone, usually to scan for my team. I go to Slack and I check the Help channel. Is there anyone that requires me, only me? And then I’ll just see if there’s any emails for me. And usually that’s because if I have a scheduled call, if it’s a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursdays when the scheduled calls are. I want to see if someone’s changed the appointment, you know, cancelled or can’t make it or whatever.
And I’ll usually check the surfing conditions. That’s like priority one, which part of the day am I surfing? Am I going now, or later? But every single day I surf, that’s really the non-negotiable.
Joe: And that’s been, what? Two or three years for you?
James: I’ve been surfing for five years now.
James: Coming up to five years at the end of this year.
Joe: That’s amazing.
James: That’s really the core driver of my entire life, is the surfing aspect. Everything around that is like, the nutrition and the fitness, the sleep, the work has to fit around that. That’s why, you know, I’m planning to look younger each year, because my body’s getting fitter and and more flexible and more aware.
Life before surfing, and now
Joe: I’m curious like, what did you do five years ago then, like prior to five years? Did you just hustle, hustle and grind? Did you have another activity that you were looking forward to?
James: Five years ago, I worked at least double what I do now. And five years before that, probably quadruple. So, you know, I quit my job 10 years ago. Before quitting my job, I was doing the general manager by day, probably 8:00 till 6:00 five or six days a week. And then I was doing my home business from 9:30 at night till about 3:00 in the morning. So I did that for two and a half years.
So, you know, I’ve seen the Vaynerchuk and all those guys celebrate workaholism and work ethic and, you know, 19-hour days. You can do it, but not for long. And I feel sorry for people who keep doing it after they’re multimillionaires, because probably they’re going to die younger, or something. They don’t look too good. Like, I saw Arianna Huffington slam Elon Musk recently about this. It’s not cool to overwork if you don’t have to. Just saying.
So the first five years out of quitting my job, I did hustle and worked really hard to make sure that I had a sustainable business, that I would never have to go back to working. And then the last five years, that’s when I moved to Manly. I reset my whole life around the beach, I started to pull back a bit on the work.
And then, the hardest thing I’ve done in the last few years was really just putting together the last bits of that book. And once that was done, from December on, I’ve literally had a couple of years off, guys, where I’m more or less semi-retired and I no longer feel, I don’t feel like I need to say I make $10 million a year to feel significant. I don’t need to have the most impressive business. I’m happy with a humble seven-figure income that I can do at my own pace. You know, I put a cap on my working hours per week. I’m not not going to do more than 25 hours, and it’s typically 20.
James: And to answer your routine question, mostly there’s a little bit of work in Tuesday morning and a little bit on Tuesday night for Silver Circle. And then Wednesday and Thursday, I’ve got a block in the morning and a block in the afternoon those two days where I do a couple of calls. And then I have most of the day off, and then a couple of calls.
And the secret there is, if you block your day with a batch in the morning and then a batch in the evening and you take the middle of the day off, you’ll find by the afternoon not only will you barely remember whatever you did that morning, it feels like you’ve had the whole day off, anyway. Because let’s say I do a call at 8am and then 9am, so I’m basically working from eight till 10. After that, I can have my avocado on toast or coffee. I do a lot of cooking, by the way – I’m cooking like two or three meals a day.
James: Yeah. And then I will go and surf, and then I’m cooking lunch, and then I’m doing Netflix while I eat lunch, and then later in the day, maybe I’ll have a call at five till six and then six till seven, and then I’m into dinner preparation. And then I’m going to watch Netflix, answer a couple of forum posts, and go to bed.
Matt: I love it.
James: That’s my work day. And then the days off like Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, that’s going to be, surf is the number one focus, could be first thing or could be during the day.
And then it’s, you know, time with my wife. We spend so much time together, it’s amazing. Like, pretty much 99.9 percent of the time. And she schedules her calls when I schedule my calls, because I share my calendar. So if I’m doing an interview or a podcast or call, that’s when she does her calls for her little business, so it works out great.
And then the rest of time we’re just doing stuff together. And when I surf, she does things like plays piano and whatever.
Matt: That’s cool.
James: It will kill me if she discovers that I’ve mentioned this, but anyway, nice knowing you guys.
Joe: Well, she’ll kill you when you realize that this is Saturday for you that you’re recording this podcast. You’re breaking the rules.
James: Yeah, well, we made a special exception. First Saturday I’ve done for years, probably, because I know you’ve had stuff going on as well, and I’m not so inflexible. The truth is when she goes away, I can easily slip back into just catching up on stuff. I’ll absolutely purge my inbox back to zero. I do answer every forum post every day, except for the occasional time if I’m traveling or whatever. And
there’s definitely some efficiencies you can use to do that. I wouldn’t recommend it for someone without good support, you need to be the right kind of person and you need to be able to really build up a body of work that you can refer people to.
A powerful leverage point
So, you know, if someone says, What’s the best way to to drive traffic to my business using short videos? I’ll go, “OK. Well, I’ve got this great training we did just last month that shows you how to, just in eight minutes a week, have a daily video going out across your five favorite platforms. Go and watch this or read it or listen to it and come back here and let me know what you’ve discovered.” So that doesn’t take long to answer that, because I’ve already done the work.
So you know how we’re talking about leverage points? Building that body of training libraries is the leverage point for me. I’ve got almost a decade’s worth of training that I can now point people to. It’s like a supermarket. They come into the supermarket and let’s say, “What do you want to cook?” And they say, “We want to make a nice pasta.” I’ll say, “Great. Here’s what you need: some garlic, some tomato sauce, some pasta, some olive oil, a fry pan and a spoon. And OK, you’ll need a plate and a fork and spoon and maybe some cheese on top when you’re finished. OK, let’s check you out. Boom, we’re done.” We don’t need to go down the pet food section. We don’t need the ice cream freezer. Just get in and get out.
So consistent with this theme of helping people do less, I find out what they’re trying to achieve, and I only show them what they need, and we can ignore the rest. Because there’s I don’t know how many gigabytes, but I think there’s probably more than a terabyte worth of recordings in there.
Matt: Oh man, I love it. Because he basically built just a library. You have a reference library where if somebody asks a question, nine out of 10 times you’ve already answered that question. You just go to your library.
James: Exactly. So my main job is to help people move around the library. And some people, like in society, are really good at finding their own stuff, and they just help themselves. Like, some people aren’t in my face every day. Because there’s 500-odd members (I wouldn’t say they’re odd – certainly extraordinary).
Matt: Some of them.
James: It’s about 500 people. There seem to be the core people who I’m talking to regularly. Some people come back every few days, some people come back every day, some people come back every week, some people every month, some people leave at six months. Some people I’ll never hear from, ever, and I do everything in my power to engage them and bring them in.
Effective hourly rate and delegation
But it works out, and this is the thing – the people who are asking for my help every single day are pretty much being subsidized by the ones who never show up at all. So it sort of balances out in the end, anyway. But what it all comes down to is that effective hourly rate. At the end of the month, how much revenue did that membership bring in, divided by the number of hours I spent answering posts, which usually is 30 minutes a day, sometimes an hour? So even if I spent, and it’s, you know, 30 hours in a month on that membership, and if I made $30,000 for the month, that’s still $1,000 an hour.
Joe: Wow. So you just doing that EHR. In your book, you line it out perfectly, but just that formula right there, I mean, that is a sustainable business that you won’t get tired of. It’s something that can always be fresh, so you’re not overworked. You’re not stressed out doing a million things. And I love that you’re focused on the one-to-one. You know, I’m sure your team supports you and all the other stuff, and they kick out emails all the time about the podcast…
James: I never log into Ontraport. That’s the other key. You have to have someone else got to be doing all the other stuff. So I’m not fiddling around with WordPress. I’m not playing with traffic campaigns. I’m not doing any social media other than my Instagram. I’m not doing the the forum backend. I’m not doing the weekly newsletters, I’m not transcribing, I’m not editing my podcast. I’m not updating, hosting and all that. So if I’m not doing any of that stuff, then all I have to do is answer some posts and turn up for podcasts.
Matt: Yeah, no, I love that. I mean, that’s definitely a nut we’re still trying to crack in our own business. We’re still pretty in deep with a lot of this stuff in our business. We did recently hire an operations manager, and this podcast that we do is completely hands-off. I mean, we do our recordings, throw them in Dropbox, and then as far as we know other people are taking care of the rest.
But you know, from our actual business standpoint, I’m still the one who runs the ads. Joe’s still our main sales rep in the business as far as closing sales over chat and through email, and occasionally over the phone and things like that. So we’re still, I would say we’re still about eight-hour-a-day, Monday-through-Friday kind of work. But that’s kind of the next phase of our life is, OK, we’ve got this thing pretty well systematized. How do we start backing ourselves out?
James: You’ve got an amazing claw to work with there, and you’ll find the leverage points. It’s like, for each thing you do, what’s the big leverage point? And if you zoom in on that and cut some of the other, or just have an amazing team. For context, I’ve got five people in the background, and they’ve been with me for a long time, between five and nine years. They’re so amazing and talented and autonomous. And we’ve gotten to such a great relationship now.
Like, again, I’m not doing a lot of the stuff that most business leaders or managers would do. We don’t track days off, sick leave hours. I’m not paying by the hour. I don’t tell them what tasks they have to do by when or any of that stuff. They just run it. They know what to do. They’re like a thinking brain.
Joe: That’s, that’s perfect. I mean, that’s the ideal scenario. And like you said, it’s leverage points. And it goes back to us, personally, it’s content. So it’s like, hey, if we could be really freaking good at content, and then everything else on the fringe that supports that content goes with any other business owner listening to this, figure out…
James: So if you go and buy a big stack of Post-it notes, and every time you do a new task, write that task on the Post-it note and just collect them until you’re not adding any more Post-it notes. It might take you a week or a month, and then you can just put Joe and Matt up on the whiteboard, and put the Post-it notes under you that only you can or should do – might be doing this podcast, for example.
Then the rest of the Post-it notes, try and stick them somewhere else, put them under someone else’s name. If you don’t have this someone else, then get the someone else, whether it’s a service or you hire internally or have a part-time contractor or whatever. Or if you can, put the Post-it note in the bin. That’s an easy win. It’s like, you know what? We don’t need to do this at all.
And then that’s the easiest possible system to do a task transfer, is become aware of the tasks and then transfer them. Either delete, or someone else, and then just keep the ones that you want. So really, the glue that helps my business stay together is knowing who does what, and trying to keep my list quite small.
Joe: Well, it allows for you to think and design the business. You know, you are the visionary, so without you, I mean it sounds like your team’s got it pretty systemized, but, you know, customers will notice and probably start to drop away.
Where the ideas come
James: Well, almost always, my innovations and ideas come to me while I’m surfing.
James: Because that’s when there’s no phone in my hand, there’s no computer in front of my eyes. There’s nothing in my ears, other than earplugs. It’s just me and the ocean and, you know, that’s when I thought, you know what? I’ve just looked at the pricing matrix on memberships and I’ve noticed a trend here. So let’s scrap the six months option. And I’ll decide it while I’m out there, and then I come back, the first thing, I write it down – I’m still dripping wet – I write it down my pad, and then I go and have a shower and whatever, come back, hop into Slack and say, let’s do this. And then I’m on to the next thing.
So it’s it’s really important, and I can’t emphasize this enough, to have time outside of your business. And I think most top CEOs spend at least half their time thinking. Just closing the doors, turning off the interruptions, and just thinking.
Matt: Yeah, like Perry Marshall. He talks about what he calls “Renaissance time”…
Matt: …which, you know, I think, doesn’t he talk about that in the context of 80/20, where it’s like 80 percent of his time, he calls his Renaissance time, which is…
Joe: A lot of it.
Matt: …not actual work, it’s, you know, out thinking, riding a bike, doing something active away from the business. He actually, I think, says he spends 80 percent of his time focused on that kind of stuff, and 20 percent of his time actually in the doing.
Joe: Sounds a lot like you, James, and yeah, I mean, it just allows you to think clearer and deeper. I’m just imagining the Post-it note exercise – for one, we will do that, we’ll report back to you, but I almost want to stick those all over the wall so they’re just like, glaringly obvious. You’re like, holy crap, I do all of that in a week, or in a day, maybe? And we’ll be like, OK, that’s got to change. That’s why I’m overwhelmed.
James: That’s the thing. You know, I often talk about, if you could just use a mirror, that’s a good tool. Like, look yourself in the face. That person is the person responsible. Like, you’re the vehicle and operating system for all the results you’re getting. You can change that more easily than any external factor.
“You can change the operating system.”
I think that we grow up with this operating system, it was installed by our parents and our society and school and everything else. You can change the operating system. Just before this call, I changed the software on the recording tool that I’m using, you can upgrade it. So it’s constant upgrade. Maybe listening to this podcast, you have a software upgrade on the task management activity.
“Hey, that’s a lot of stuff.”
And the more willing you are to look under the hood and confront yourself about what you’re actually doing, the more progress you’ll be able to make, because you’ve got the truth. It’s like when you cast the reporting tool over all your traffic campaigns and you realize where the sales are coming from. You could safely let go of the other ones that aren’t performing. Turning off a bad ad will tip more profit back into your profit pool, and then you can put that money back to the good ad and you get compound, you know, expanded results.
Matt: Yeah. I mean that’s pretty much the gist of what I’m doing in ad platforms almost every day, is turning off losers and putting more money towards winners.
James: That’s why when I start talking to somebody about their business, it’s pretty easy for me to say, “Oh hey, that’s a lot of stuff.”
I had this lady recently, she posted in my private forum section. She posted like, 17 business models that she’s trying to run at the same time right now. And I said, “Hang on a minute. This is way too much stuff. You got almost no chance of having success in any one of these because you’re split across so many different things.” So I went through the list of 17 things. And I said, No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Yes. No, no, no, no, no. Yes. And then a week later, she’s written her new sales page on her new site with her new offer and stopped all the other stuff. And she’s already pre sold it. She’s flying, because we just finally…. It’s like carrying around a backpack full of lead. It’s pointless.
It’s like when you go to the airport and you see people wheeling a suitcase the size of a mini bar fridge.
Joe: Yeah, oh yeah.
James: Do you say “fridge”? Like a refrigerator on wheels. And you think, what are these people taking on their holiday? Like, why even travel if you need to take all this stuff? There’s really no difference than living at home. Let some stuff out of the backpack. Travel light. You know, buy stuff when you need it, and free yourself up of the burden.
And we do that in business too much. Remember, I talked about my rule of buying a course? I’m not buying a course unless I can sit down and go through it on the spot, because I know it won’t get done otherwise. So I travel light, and then once I’m done, I can release it.
Joe: Yeah. You’ve expended the energy, whatever, that’s needed at the time and let it sail away. You don’t need it anymore. I love it.
James: Here, I could just get you guys come on a podcast and tell me all your secrets. Now I probably don’t even need the course.
Matt: Probably true.
Joe: Well, you’ll be getting that course shortly. We can give you the Cliffs Notes later on.
Matt: Well, for everybody who’s listening, we actually do have like, sort of a Cliffs Notes version of our traffic strategy. We actually made a special link, EvergreenProfits.com/SuperFast.
Joe: That’s right.
Matt: So we actually did put together a little cheat sheet that, like, explains our traffic strategy even without having to get the full course.
Joe: Yeah, so we’ll be giving that away for you guys there.
James, I don’t want to take your Saturday too much, man, you’ve been super generous already to us.
Matt: It’s probably still pretty early. You still probably need to hit the waves.
James: Oh, yeah. You don’t get bonus points for that guess, though.
Matt: Bad guess, Matt.
Joe: Well, this is fun man. Anything else you got top of mind right there before we wrap it up here?
James: How about some random things that have been floating around my high level group?
Joe: Yeah, that’d be great. The trends?
James: Well, we’ve already covered a lot, but just a couple of things. Some people are having tremendous success with on-demand webinars. So if you’re doing those webinars, where they’re like three times a week and a few days from now, all live ones, try ones that start in the next 15 minutes. Those ones work well, apparently.
James: Other things is, how can you shorten the path? I’m seeing people go from paid ads to a webinar registration to a webinar to an application to make the sale. How can you drive someone from an ad to an application? Like, chop out the whole webinar, for example? I’ve seen people remove some links from the chain and get to the same results or better result faster.
Matt: Hmm. I like that.
Joe: Yeah, because I mean, just that alone, it’s a lot of work to build that whole chain there, because people think they have to.
James: Well, most people never get to it.
James: Like one of my students, also, we’ve skipped a whole business model for him. He started training with me about three months ago, and the goal then was to build a membership. But he had this opportunity to come along for a deal, and he asked me how he might go about it, and I suggested a revenue share deal. And we went through the pros and cons of that, and landed that.
And then he added another two more within a week or so, because he now knew the model and had the benefit of the experience. And we’d decided that he doesn’t really need the membership, which he thought he did. He thought that was going to be the prime business model and income and way of getting deal flow. But we were able to remove that piece of the puzzle. So we’ve now figured out how he can get deal flow and then move straight to the end game, which is the revenue share deal. And that’s probably going to save him three or four years and get him to a much higher profit level faster for the business that really suits his skill set.
Joe: Yeah, I love it. Alright, so what else you got there? I know we have some, we could probably throw some stuff into the mix too.
Who project manages you?
James: Well, you’ve talked about getting a project manager, and I certainly have the team pushing projects around my business. I think that’s a hat that too many business owners wear. If you can get someone really high on follow through… Even my team, they will chase me for content. If I’m not giving them a podcast to publish or enough videos, they’ll demand it from me. So get someone, empower someone in your team to project manage you. The entrepreneur who tends to break all the rules, because we’re the boss. You get someone to project manage you and the rest of the team, that’s a good win.
Joe: It’s huge. And that’s our hire, Shannon, she probably is listening to this right now. She gets some shoutouts recently. And she definitely does exactly what you just said. Like this morning, she was like, “Alright, guys, going to need some more social media videos from you, you know, starting Monday.” And yeah, it’s things like that.
But to take it even a step further, what we’ve been doing the last month, month and a half is pretty much capturing all of the repetitive tasks that both Matt and I are doing, or Patty, who writes all of our show notes, kind of manages our content. And Shannon and some other outsourcers. So capture that, and then Shannon, our ops manager, will kind of throw it into a doc as an SOP in written form and videos attached still in there, if you need to see some visuals. But that way, you know, we’re organizing based off of different kind of areas of our business, not, you know, there’s like a sales bucket, a deliverable bucket, admin, you know, kind of like the the final just wrap up stuff, tax and stuff like that.
But the cool trick, and this is something we just learned from Mike Michalowicz with Clockwork and his book, was to, you know, once you capture that video, throw it in an SOP and maybe you assign that to someone else on your team. Have them try to almost break that process. At least follow along, and they’re going to find these little gaps in your process, because you might be a little too close to it, especially if you’re delegating something.
And then have them re-record, recapture that process with those added in steps. And not only is your SOP and all that stuff going to improve but that person you’re delegating to, will take more ownership of the task.
Matt: Well, and you also learn the things much better by teaching them than you do by either just like reading about it or even just doing it. When you go to teach it, that’s when you probably learn about it the best. So what Mike was suggesting, we were talking to him, is keep making your videos that show the various processes in your business. But once you’ve made that video, pass it over to the team member that’s going to do it, have them do it and then have them remake the video in their own words, because now they’re becoming the teacher of that process. And they’re also probably improving that video by talking about steps that you may have missed in the first video.
SOPs and checking work
James: Yeah, I’ve got a few thoughts on that. One is, with SOPs, most of the time I’m not creating them in the first place, which is good. I’ll just ask the team. All they do is make sure they put a Google document with the words “SOP” and whatever the SOP is about, and then they share it with whoever’s going to be using the SOP. That way I can search in my G drive for SOP and it pulls up all our SOPs, and if they build the SOP then it’s definitely ownership that’s happening. And the keys to bringing together all the stakeholders who are going to be involved in the process, have everyone put down, like guess what all the steps might be and then put them in order. That’s another Post-it note exercise if you’re doing it face to face, by the way.
I used to bring together my SEO team and we say, right what what happens from start to finish, what happens to this there, who’s involved with what? And we put a Post-it note and then line them up in order and then someone documents it and shares it with everyone involved and it worked really well.
Joe: That’s good.
James: The same happened in the car dealership actually years before. I’d pull everyone to the boardroom and say, from when we sell a car to it drives out the door paid for, what has to happen? So I had the financial controller, the pre-delivery people, the parts department, salesperson, sales manager, the reception, so everyone was there. And we created a deal pack, which was this one page that had a checklist from the time it was sold to, you know, registration papers filled out, stamp duty paid, checked encumbrance on trading vehicle, number plate issued, floor mats, polish detail, fuel, paid for, blah, blah, blah. All the way from start to finish, signed off by the various managers in their segment. And for a car to be delivered, it was really simple: every box had to be ticked and it was signed off. That way, we would always make sure we got paid for the car, and quality control.
“You can’t check your own work.”
A little rule in our business is, you can’t check your own work. So they have to cross-check, like in the airplane when they say, “Cabin crew, cross-check doors,” where they go and check each other. So if you can’t check your own work, someone else has to do it. So it’s usually going to get picked up before it gets to me. And I don’t want to be the checker. That’s my mandate. Don’t make me the checker. Check it before it comes to me.
And then we use a “for approval” thread in Slack. Anything they want to publish or do like the video descriptions or the blog posts, they put the title, description, bullets, calls to action, blurb, whatever, they just paste it into that and if I don’t touch it, they publish it anyway. If I want to change something, I’ll just change it. And that way I’m not the log jam. I’m not stopping the machine from working, which is very common in a business where the owner is holding everything up because they want the final say or the approval. The more of a perfectionist you are, the more likely this is going to happen. So creating this conveyor belt was kind of like a conveyor belt with a glass window. It’s rolling out through the front of my office. I can look up and see what’s going through, but I don’t have to go out there and pick it off the line and check it myself. I can see it. And over time, you build up a fantastic machine that way.
Joe: I like that visual, actually. You just got a glass wall, you can’t do anything, but you can kind of observe. And, I mean, I know we’ve been too close to our business. We still hold on to a handful of roles that we’re really close to. But yeah, it’s a process. I mean, that’s probably one of the hardest things as business owners, is letting go, and knowing when to let go as well. You can’t just let everything go all at once and and be like, “Oh, crap! Sales just stopped!” Like if I walked away tomorrow, like yeah, sales aren’t going to stop at all, but we’re going to see something change there.
James: It also helps to classify which things are irreversible and which things are easily changed. You can easily change a blog post, some words on a blog post. It’s harder to change a physical book once it’s printed, so it probably requires a higher level of focus before you sign off on that one. Blog post is pretty easy to change.
Audio, most definitely. We’ve occasionally logged in and changed an audio snippet if, you know, we tried some sound effects on one episode. People didn’t like it so we just re-edited it and upload it and just overwrite the old copy and away you go. You know, very few people will ever have heard the original one.
Joe: It’s funny, the sound effects. I like that idea. I haven’t thought about that for for podcast.
Matt: Yeah, we just beatbox in ours, right?
James: You know, you’ve got a catchy thing. We put a bit of bass guitar in the episode with Scott Devine, and that was really appropriate and excellent. I actually was sharing with my team one of the other podcasts (that’s the only other podcast I listen to) and it’s got a lot of sound effects and stuff, but it just didn’t work for my audience. They were confused by it. They didn’t understand it, and that’s OK. But you can try this stuff. I said, just just play with it, check it out, and they did. And I said, the market will tell us. I got three or four emails, “Hey, what’s going on with this? What’s this all about?” Let’s just do what we normally do.
Rounding things out
Joe: Stick to basics. Yeah, that’s cool. Do you have anything else on the list from your membership there?
James: I think we’ve talked about most of the others. There’s, there’s been an awful lot of insights here. I think that that should get a starting list for for potential change in the business. So I think I’m happy with where we went today. We’ve covered a broad range of topics, and it’s always a pleasure speaking to you guys because you have a real affinity for the same sort of stuff that I’m interested in.
And I think what you’re doing is so well-executed that it’s a great example for people. It’s where I’d send someone to say, “Look, this is how you do it right. And so thanks for sharing your valuable insights with me today. I really appreciate that.
Joe: Thank you, James. And I know you mean that. I mean, to be very, extremely honest, the same thing goes right back to you. Because exactly how James, I mean, the members that are listening to you on your podcast, they already know this, but you are the real deal when it is that one-to-one connection, and I pull a lot of that in terms of how I help serve our community. And, you know, in my role specifically, which I take like, I remember joining your membership and the very first thing, I think it was a Sunday or Saturday night, you shot me a personal video. And you probably said “Joe and Matt” because, you know, we’re kind of a duo here, but the same thing is I was like, “Holy crap! He just fired over that video to me.” I think it was definitely the weekend.
And it was just a really cool personalization. And that’s one of the things that I’m now taking, you know, in sales. I actually create little Loom videos sometimes for folks and people are constantly blown away. And that’s something I learned from you.
Matt: And your forum, too. The way we use your forum is, you know, we’re not in there very vocal all the time, but pretty much anytime we’ve had a question we’re like, “Hey, let’s go check James’s forum” and we do a quick search and we’ve never had to ask a question because it’s always in there somewhere already.
So we’ve been basically using it more as like a personal library than we have “Let’s go ask our questions,” because the questions are already pretty much answered for anything we’ve come up with.
James: I learned most of stuff I learned about where things are up to, what tools are great and stuff from my members. They’re incredibly resourceful and well-connected. I think the the other thing that you might be using in there is my monthly training, because when I’m putting those together, I’m using you as my avatar.
Joe: Really? Is that true?
Joe: That’s so cool, man!
James: If this training is going to be interesting for you, I think it will be interesting for every other member. It forces me to make sure that I’m on point. And I think the monthly trainings have been getting better and better.
Joe: Yeah, they’re amazing.
James: Each one will will end up being a chapter in a book or an entire course of some kind, eventually. They’re all like the first version, and I think that’s a great way that people use the membership, is just to get that, you know, one or two-hour digest of what’s really working well, from something that’s already proven and tested. It’s not theoretical at all.
Joe: No, and it’s not and yeah, you can size it in a way where, like you said, sometimes like 45 minutes, but it’s great because you’ll dive deep on that one strategy or topic. And you have marching orders after watching those videos. There’s never any big questions and if you do…
James: I’m also trying to create episodes that will be good to point members to, of all the typical challenges they have, whether it’s the emails or their video marketing. The last one was running in-person events. Everyone in my high-level group is or should be running high-level events. And I get asked all the time and I’ve created this master checklist over a decade, and I finally just put it together into a short presentation. And that one’s been really well received. But I’ve been asked like three times this week in my high-level group about a mastermind or an event. I say, “Great. Watch this.”It saves a lot of time.
Affiliate best practices
Joe: And that was actually one of my points I wrote down for just the things that we’re doing, just the affiliate products are selling. I mean, there’s a lot of time involved in there, because it’s very personalized selling, if they’re chatting with us. But you know, definitely we can create FAQs or a repository of videos, kind of like how you’ve done it with your forum. You can apply that in different variations. Even if you’re in a sales role, you want to maybe give us a case study.
James: The sequence that worked really well for me with the affiliate one was a PS that was very specific to the target person who’s having the challenge that my product recommendations solved. And they would click on it and they would get taken to a post that outlined all the reasons why I chose this tool, what I was using before, what was on my mind, what I compared it with, and then how I ultimately made the decision. And then the follow-up sequences in that email sequence which is now tagged with interested in such and such a tool, offered them training with that tool. If they got the tool through my link, I would happily send them all the lessons that I’d discovered after I used the tool, give them a quick start. Like you said, complementing what the manufacturer sells, but doing it even better than they do. And that was a very successful campaign.
Joe: Awesome. I love it. And that’s what I love about affiliate marketing too, is if you find some great products to get behind, and you use them, you have your stories, content just flows. And you have no shame to just like, go out there and help and give all of your, you know, successes or failures and things for people to avoid. It makes selling those products honestly kind of a no-brainer. Obviously there’s still work involved, but you’ve kind of mastered a lot of it just by using the things.
James: Yeah, I know. I would still have tremendous shame around any of my failures that I really try hard to avoid, but it’s also partly in the framing. We don’t mind it. Was the sound effects on the podcast a failure? Not really, it was just an experiment. It was just, try something else. I’m happy to innovate and be open-minded to try something new. I really embrace change. Change is my friend. I celebrate it, I seek it out, because that’s my weapon that I can compete with anyone on the on a changed landscape. The people who are going to fall down are the ones who get stuck and can’t change.
Joe: You’re speaking our language when it comes to something like traffic, that was actually one of the biggest things, is you see these folks dealing with just Facebook traffic, for instance. Spread the deck. That’s why you hear us, like we’re constantly talking about all these different platforms and how to connect them all properly or how to segment in each one of them. And they all have their own rules, but if you are kind of, you spread the deck, obviously focus on the ones that are working now. But you know, Facebook changes their terms overnight. Our business will not die, but a lot of others will.
James: And they will. It’d be foolish to think that’s going to ride forever.
A constraints exercise
James: I think in five years from now, it’s definitely not going to be what it is right now. What it will be? Not so sure, but I don’t think it’s going to be at the peak that it was before. And a constraints exercise, which I learned from Eli Goldratt, is put Facebook up there on your traffic streams on a whiteboard and then put a fat line through it and pretend that it’s now illegal to use Facebook – what would you do?
And do that constraints exercise. So remove that as a possibility. You can’t use Facebook at all, not allowed, what would you do? Chances are… I’ll be generous and say you can still use Instagram, but you know, would you do a podcast? Would you have some kind of show on YouTube? Would you speak on other people’s podcasts? Whatever those answers are, write those down. And then the question is, why don’t you start doing that anyway, as if Facebook isn’t an option? And then just add them into the mix and find out if you can discover a new fantastic traffic source.
And then after you’ve tried a few, then thin the herd again. But now you might have two fantastic platforms. So that’s like, I’m using the combo of podcasts and short videos. That combination works really well for me, and my short video combo is most definitely not single platform specific. I’m killing it on LinkedIn, strangely enough, which I had ignored from my last round of tests five years ago, but it’s back in the mix. It’s somehow gotten stronger and cleaner and leaner and meaner than it used to be.
Joe: That’s one we’re not on.
Matt: Our podcast episodes are shared to it but just, you know, we never really got traction off of it.
Joe: Not videos, I guess. Yeah, that’s pretty cool because I’ve heard some people recently talked about LinkedIn as well.
“Go wide and then go deep.”
James: I’m shocked. I mean, I get if I get 80 views on a video on Facebook, I’ll get 2000 views on LinkedIn. It’s like, what? And you see the people that are clicking on it, and it’s my kind of people, which is really interesting. And it was a member of SuperFastBusiness who opened my eyes to that, who said, you know, don’t write off LinkedIn. Try it again. I’ll even hop on a phone and talk you through how it works. She did and we tried it again and away it went. So big lesson there is: go wide and then go deep. And then go wide and then go deep and then go wide and then go deep. Put it on cycle, put it on repeat, because that’s how you’re going to deal with change.
Matt: Yeah, I love it. And you’re setting yourself up with safety nets when you go wide so that’s where it’s at. Expand and contract. We trimmed off our products except for I think, we had our affiliate products. We had no products for a while, but we knew what was working and where we wanted to head. And it was scary, but at the same time we knew we had our plan, we had our little backup foundation there, so yeah, it gives you more confidence, that’s for sure, moving ahead.
James: Alright guys, well it’s good stuff. We should do these little chats. I mean you’ve been on my show before. It’s great to have a series like this. And I’m glad that we decided to share this episode because I would have hate to have this conversation twice, right?
Joe: See, that’s what I was thinking, I’m like, I think we should just match these, and it’s more free flow and you never know what’s going to pop up, so we love that.
Alright man, James, have a great trip.
Matt: Let’s give call to actions.
Joe: Oh yeah, probably a good idea.
Matt: So yeah, you know, if you’re listening to our podcast, definitely check out SuperFastbusiness.com. And then again, we did put together a little cheat sheet for what we actually have a team member who creates cheat sheets for every episode we do, like little Cliffs Notes versions of what we talked about. So anybody who listens to the episode and wants to kind of go back and get like a quick refresher, we put together those cheat sheets. So we’ll have you know that and a little traffic cheat sheet available at EvergreenProfits.com/SuperFast.
Joe: That’s it.
Joe: Awesome, James.
James: I can’t really add anything to that. It’s EvergreenProfits.com and SuperFastBusiness.com mash-up. This will be Episode 602 on my site. I’m sure my team will put together something as well. And by the way, it’s been a wonderful collaboration and I hope we can do more of these if our listeners enjoy it, then that would be great.
Matt: We’ll give it a shout and we’ll figure out the feedback there. Thank you, James. We’ll make it happen again.
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