How safe is your business platform?
Often we hear about a business built on a free platform only to lose it all when the account is closed for unspecified reasons.
So what platforms allow you to “Own The Racecourse”, and run a secure, future-proof business that you control?
James evaluates a list of the most popular website solutions in this solo podcast episode.
00:45 – Own whatever you possibly can
01:41 – Control, effectiveness, ease, risk and expense
02:30 – Free and easy, but fraught with risk
04:14 – A happy medium?
06:06 – When you want to go all in…
06:46 – Lots of control, but pricey and difficult
09:31 – Or there’s THIS solution…
10:59 – Everything except the email
12:51 – The highly important, deep-level CRM integration
13:29 – Combining all that’s good about the competition
14:50 – Where 10XPRO ticks the OTR boxes
17:28 – Get featured on the podcast!
James recommends only the best tools and strategies for your business and 10XPRO.io is at the top of this list for good reason. Take a test drive today
James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 739.
Own whatever you possibly can
In this episode, I’m going to talk about which platforms are OTR-friendly. Now what does OTR stand for? That means Own The Racecourse. It’s a concept that I was taught by a mentor of mine. And it really stands for building assets that you control. So when you think about that to an online context, you have a lot of choices with your online business. And when tough times come and when difficult things happen, the extent that your OTR game is good will dictate how well you go in a crisis.
“The extent that your OTR game is good will dictate how well you go in a crisis.”
So I’ve talked about OTR the whole time I’ve been online, that’s over 10 years. And originally, it shaped a lot of how I was doing things. So I was really in favor of building my own websites instead of relying upon other platforms. So in this episode, I want to break down a couple of subtleties and address a few questions that come up from time to time about which platforms are good or bad, how risky are things, you know, how important is it to have control, and so forth.
Control, effectiveness, ease, risk and expense
So now that we know what the OTR concept is, which is to own whatever you possibly can, when you’re thinking about asset creation, what we really want to look at is the balance between how much control we have, how effective something can be, and how easy it is, how expensive it is, and how risky it is. They’re the filters that I would use to determine what choices you’ll make when it comes to platforms.
So firstly, I’d split it into two main groups, and that would be places that are quite risky that you would not build your entire all-in platform on, and then there are places that you could go all in on that are less risky. And I would treat the more risky places as a place to get leads and to make front-end sales, perhaps, but not as the final destination. Let’s look at a couple of them.
Free and easy, but fraught with risk
So if we’re using that scoring criteria, when we think about places like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, they are very low control. You have virtually no control over what that platform does. You are essentially the product on those platforms, unless you’re buying ads. You are the product, you’re the content creator. So you have really low control and that means they can change whatever they want at any time. You don’t get to customize much other than pictures and some very basic stuff. You don’t get to call the shots in terms of the layout and install your own scripts or get backups, etc.
They have a fairly good effectiveness, I’d say a medium effectiveness, because you don’t have all the control, but they are good for what they do. If you want to be social, Facebook’s good. If you want to have a YouTube channel, and do videos, they’re pretty effective when it comes to getting eyeballs, getting attention. They’re big platforms with a lot of traffic.
They’re very easy, that is in their favor for sure. And that’s really seductive. It’s the trap, the easy trap, where they make it so easy to use that you could be tempted to just stay there. It’d be like getting stuck in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and never leaving because you just want to drink from the chocolate river.
They’re also very low expense, they’re free. So that means, again, it’s a low barrier to entry. You got a lot of competition in there.
And I would say overall, they’re highly risky. At any time, the rules can change, and often they do. And you could expect that at some point, you’re going to have an issue with compliance. There are certain topics they won’t let you post on. They sometimes just shut down entire channels. So that’s why that is not a place to build your permanent website. You are not paying them. And they do change all the time. So that’s why I think they’re super risky.
A happy medium?
Then there’s a sort of middle ground. You’ve got platforms like Udemy, Teachable, and they give you a fairly low control as well. They’ve got their system. You don’t get backups, you don’t get to change much in terms of the layout or the styling, or the funnels. They’re pretty much preset.
I would say they’re mediumly effective in terms of overall running a business. They’re very easy. They have medium level fees, so that they will have a fee you’re paying. And I’d say they’re a medium risk. Again, they do from time to time change policies, they change author’s payouts, they have tight rules and regulations in terms of what you can and can’t do, what they require from you. I’ve had dealings with some of these, and I coach people who deal on these platforms. So they can be effective for income, but I would say they have a medium risk. Not as risky as the free platforms, but they’re definitely more risky than one where you have more control. We’ll get to those in a minute.
Ideally, though, in these cases, so far, you’re dealing on someone else’s domain, you’re loading content up to someone else’s platform. And in these two, they take a cut of the sales. So you really have to check the terms, and especially about who owns that content, and so forth, and what they’re going to do with the data. We’ve seen all sorts of issues with some of the platforms there. So use them as lead gens or front ends for sure.
Another front end, and one that I use, is Amazon for my book and Audible for the audio and the Kindle. So they again, they’re pretty low control. You don’t get to have much of a say as to what happens. I’d say they’re medium effective. You do get a result, but there’s a lot of other people there.
“You wouldn’t want all your income to come from just one platform. Ideally, we balance out several of them.”
They’re very easy. They have medium expenses, and they do take a cut of sales. You can buy ads on their platform as well to boost things. But I’d say they’re a medium risk. There’s a chance that they will change what they allow, what they don’t allow in the future. So again, I wouldn’t want all my income to just come from one of these places. Ideally, we balance out several of these places.
When you want to go all in…
So if you really want to go all in and put your site on a platform, then here are some of the more popular options. I’m just going to cover why I think what I think.
There’s places like Wix for example, they’re pretty good. They’ve got a medium control, they’re quite customizable. I’d say they’re pretty low effectiveness. They’re kind of a generic platform. They don’t allow you to do that much with them, except for basic brochure sort of sites. They have a high level of ease, which is very attractive for them. And they’re very cheap, low expense. And I’d say they’re a medium risk category, where there’s a chance something could happen down the future. A lot of people aren’t even using their own domain names for these sort of sites.
Lots of control, but pricey and difficult
The one we hear a lot about is WordPress. It gives you a high amount of control, like really a lot of control. It also is fairly effective. It can be effective, as long as you’re using the control and you’ve got resource, but it’s not highly effective. And that’s because it doesn’t do a lot of the things, even where, for example, Udemy, Teachable, actually collect money and register a customer. WordPress needs other things, so on its own, it’s not that effective. It’s not that effective as a forum. It’s not that effective as a membership. It needs a lot of other things added on. So I’d say it’s very high difficulty.
It’s also high expense. Even though WordPress is free, you need resources to run WordPress. And I’d say it’s a medium risk. Yes, you can do backups. It’s not that risky, but the other risks that come into it are less obvious ones. So whilst you have control of backups, it’s always under attack. It’s such a popular website platform that there’s security attacks happening all the time. It always needs updates. Things don’t always talk well. You can have plugins that don’t play well. And when an update comes, sometimes things break. You often will need a coder, someone with actual ability to program things, to slice and dice. You’ve got to have themes, you need to add on anything else you want – carts, memberships, affiliate modules, etc. None of that stuff comes standard with it. So you have to basically learn or pay to make that thing work. So it’s a bit complicated.
And most of us have built on WordPress. There are other options out there. We often hear about Kartra, and I’d say you have a high level of control with that. It’s medium in terms of effectiveness. It does some things quite well, but not other things. It’s a medium expense. It’s got a high level of ease, but it’s also a medium risk. Because you tend to, with platforms like that, they want you to upload the content in there. They have email systems, etc.
And I would have concerns, personally – this is just my opinion – about what happens to that data. Where’s that list being used In the background? Is it safe and secure? A lot of that comes down to how you trust a platform. And whilst the platform is quite popular, I don’t think it’s as effective as other platforms. And certainly, it’s a little higher on the ease for some entry-level people, but it definitely notches up more in the risk factor because of that.
We hear lots about ClickFunnels. It has a high degree of control for the things it does. It’s mediumly effective, like it’s good with the funnels part. It’s a medium expense, it’s not that expensive. It’s highly easy to use. But again, I’d said it’s a medium risk. Like, if you’re using their email system, for example, then you get lumped in there with everyone else, and, you know, you’re not sure exactly what’s going on with the data. I’m sure it’s fine, but it is a very powerful presence in the marketing side of things.
Or there’s THIS solution…
So that leads me to the last option that I’ve got listed here, and that’s one that I’ve been working with a lot. I have a business relationship with this program. I have been developing the success of it with the founder, John Lint. It’s called 10XPRO.io. It is modeled very heavily around how I use my online memberships and courses and website. The intent is not to have the biggest, most popular platform, but to have a really good one.
It has a high level of control, it’s more customizable than most. You can change the colors, the layouts, you can drag and drop. It’s highly effective because of all the features that comes with it, which I’ll go through in a minute.
It’s a medium expense, it is not the cheapest tool. However, when you start stacking up all the things you need to make a WordPress site run, it’s actually much cheaper.
It’s highly easy to use. My team member has been helping me build out our two installations. And I even got in there the other day, the first time for a long time that I poked around the inside of a website. And in a few phone calls with John, I was able to set up new membership areas, funnels and things very easily. I was impressed with it. And it’s a low risk platform. I think it’s one of the lowest risk platforms there, and I’ll explain why.
“Because 10XPRO lets you do what you need to do, because you’re a paying member, there’s a lot of respect to you as a creator.”
So because 10XPRO lets you do what you need to do, because you’re a paying member, there’s a lot of respect to you as a creator. And things won’t just change or get blackballed, like they might on a free platform, because it’s there for you, you are the customer.
Everything except the email
And it does everything other than the emails, alright? And this is an important distinction. And I’m more than happy to have my email on a dedicated email platform, because sending emails with a good delivery rate and doing good email automation and so forth, that’s really important that the email companies do that, like ActiveCampaign, Ontraport, MailChimp, Infusionsoft. They’re all the platforms that you can plug into this with deep integration. And I prefer it that way. And I’ve always kept my email separate, even when I was running a WordPress site. And that’s important.
You can use your own domain, which is good. You can build whatever web pages you want – about pages, contact pages, your homepage, etc. It has the cart built in. You can take PayPal, Stripe. You can do subscriptions recurring, which is one of my frustrations, that I couldn’t use the cart with Ontraport for example, it didn’t do recurring PayPal, and I do a lot of recurring PayPal. So that was one limitation. It caused me to have to go and get a separate card for my business. And 10XPRO does all the same things now.
It has an affiliate module, so if you want other people to promote your products and give them a commission, that’s all in-built, it’s all in one. It’s got the membership options, and very, very good ones.
It has the ability to have forums. It’s got social walls like a Facebook wall, but it’s inside your paywall. It’s got forums like the Xenforo that I use, that I have to glue together. For SuperFastBusiness, I had to glue together WordPress, Intercom, Xenforo, Ontraport, ThriveCart. It had all these bits and pieces. I can just smush them up into 10XPRO now, and just use Ontraport for my emails. And I’m now building out SuperFastResults.com with 10XPRO. The whole site is 10XPRO. It is only 10XPRO. So it collects money, it delivers courses, it has a membership. And the whole funnel there is on 10XPRO.
The highly important, deep-level CRM integration
The deep CRM integration for lead capture is very important. Some of the other tools have very surface level, they might add a lead, for example. But what you do with 10XPRO is you can actually have tags. It replaces some of the tools I’ve been using from other businesses, like Intercom. Because I wanted a slipping away sequence. I want to contact people if they’re inactive. And by having deep integration, you can actually apply tags and sequences and use the full power of your Ontraport, ActiveCampaign or Infusionsoft. So it really was actually historically developed as the perfect membership add-on for Infusionsoft. I think that was the original intent for this program.
Combining all that’s good about the competition
But then it incorporated all the best things from WordPress and ClickFunnels and Kartra into this one tool. You can run webinars and do streaming from it. It’s got the built-in webinars, you can do on-demand webinars, you can do evergreen, etc. You can have streaming, live streaming with unlimited guests. You can podcast from it. You can use an app that’s available on the Apple marketplace, where you can just pay an extra fee and your members can log into that app and it will view your membership via the app. That being said, it still works fine in the native version.
You can do all your SEO tags and custom pixels. And you can get a designer to show you a nice layout, and you can replicate it with no coding. You never have to code. And this was my frustration with WordPress. You always have to have someone on hand or a service you’re paying to update, backup, maintain, secure, etc. This is fully hosted. Do you know I pay over $1,000 a month for Amazon S3 hosting just from my normal SuperFastBusiness website/podcast. But 10XPRO includes all the hosting, and it’s secure and updated and supported. They’ve got their own developers. In fact, each installation of 10XPRO is on its own folder and its own database. So it is not blended in with the other customers like other platforms. You always own your own CRM list, your own database. So this is where the OTR comes into it.
Where 10XPRO ticks the OTR boxes
Is 10XPRO OTR-compliant? Let’s review. Okay, you own your own email database, it’s not in 10XPRO, it’s on your own CRM, which you can export as a CSV file. So, tick for me.
You own your own subscriptions in PayPal and Stripe. So it’s just interfacing. It doesn’t own all the credit card details. It’s just talking to them. So that’s a big tick for me.
You own all your media, your MP3s, your videos, your PDFs, wherever they’re stored, whether it’s Amazon S3, or Vimeo or Wistia. You own those, you’ve got your own backups. So it’s a big tick for me.
Any public pages are in the Google cache or on the Wayback Machine. So even if the site disappeared tomorrow, any public pages would be searchable. But there’s nothing stopping you taking screenshots of your funnel, at any time you want, as a backup, which I would recommend you do. Stick them in a Dropbox or somewhere, go through your site, take screenshots, and you could replicate it on another platform if you had to, in an absolute emergency.
Also, if you happen to leave the program, just like Facebook and Instagram, etc, I believe they will let you export all the images you’ve loaded to the site from the images folder. Okay?
Now, if there was any sort of catastrophe and the founder of the business was no longer able to function, there is actually an emergency plan in place that I have access to the developers. And theoretically, we can get the site transferred across. This would be the most unlikely event. It really is unlikely to happen, but that’s the final thing. That’s the one peace of mind I’ve got – if something happened to the business, I’ve got backups of just about everything already, and the only thing missing is the database. But when you think about it, Udemy, Teachable, Facebook, Kartra, etc., none of those companies are giving you an export of the backup. The only one you can really do that with is WordPress, but it’s also a real pain in the ass because that means you’ve got so much more responsibility and more difficulty.
So is it really that much different to your regular hosting company? Not really, except it just does everything you need to do. So you can do all your webinars, you can capture your leads, you can collect money with the cart, you can handle affiliates. You just get a domain, point it to 10XPRO’s server, they’ll put a unique installation on it, and you’re ready to go. And if you’ve been using WordPress, you’ve eliminated hosting the WordPress installation themes, bug fixing, gluing tech plugins together, coding, backups, updates, security patching, a cart, affiliate software, membership add-ons and plugins. You just got to choose an autoresponder like Active Campaign or Ontraport, which is deeply integrated. It’s why I love it so much, and why I’m choosing to use it for my new business ventures.
Get featured on the podcast!
And as a partner in this project, I’m more than excited about the future of it. Plus, you will have heard many, many SuperFastBusiness case study podcasts with 10XPRO users. And this is what I want to offer to you. If you are using 10XPRO, and you have success with it and you want to share that with me, and you think it would be interesting to SuperFastBusiness audience, get in touch with me. I would love to feature you on the SuperFastBusiness podcast. I’m no longer doing soapboxing book author type episodes in the future. You’ll hear more solo episodes like this where I address specific challenges and concerns that people have with up-to-date factual information. And I also want to feature case studies, because there’s no better proof that SuperFastBusiness and 10XPRO together are a great combo for our audience.
I hope this has been useful. So the bottom line summary is, I think when it comes to OTR, use those free platforms and the slightly paid but more risky platforms to generate your lead and to build your funnel. Make sure you capture all your database in a solid CRM system, because that is the number one asset to have. And if you’re going to put up your own website, I really, really like the look of 10XPRO these days and how it’s functioning. And 10XPRO.io, head over there. Check it out.
Also, when you order 10XPRO.io, it has a very comprehensive Academy, which has trainings on how to do just about everything. So It’s really easy to use and very well supported.
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