James Schramko has come some way since he hosted with Tim Reid in Freedom Ocean. Four million podcast downloads is a good milestone from which to look back and reflect, which he does in this solo episode.
Take a trip down memory lane following James's online business career, where he's been on the journey, and what he plans for the future.
Some occasion to reflect
It’s good to have time for thought. And if you haven’t yet, James recommends you try and put aside some space just for thinking.
A couple of things have gotten him reflecting – a birthday, a year into the pandemic, actively watching his customers navigate their world, and hitting four million downloads of SuperFastBusiness.
“Try and put some space just for thinking.”
He’s grateful, first of all, that the financial year has been a good one. He has loads of appreciation for the clients who trust him, and who he’s helped.
The four millionth download of this podcast, however, sparked a rather counterintuitive reflection – he feels like he’s now served his apprenticeship with the show.
An apprenticeship served
James cut his podcasting teeth guesting on Tim Reid’s show. When they created and co-hosted Freedom Ocean, it was all still new to him. But he went on to create not just SuperFastBusiness (formerly Internet Marketing Speed) but ThinkActGet with Ezra Firestone, SalesMarketingProfit with Taki Moore, and KickingBack with Joel Ozborn.
SuperFastBusiness has outlasted James’s other podcasts, and he’s found his perfect cadence: two episodes a week – enough to provide a good amount of info without overloading people. He’s also leveled up since the early days of the show, working on variety and upping technical quality.
Where to from this point on?
So now that he’s past the apprentice stage, where to go?
Charley Valher of Valher Media has played a major role in refining the quality and process of SFB. At his suggestion James has gotten a better camera and has taken to recording video as well as audio, uploading it natively to YouTube and Facebook.
Charley also guided James through a new sound setup, which now consists of a RODE Procaster with an XLR cable connecting to a RODE podcast mixing desk.
James admits he had gotten to where it was about his comfort, refusing to wear headphones or have a microphone up to his face. The resulting audio quality made things hard for his editor. He’s ready to improve. Better podcast equipment, better recording, better sound environment, better lighting. His team have leveled up as well with new training and tools.
As if starting from scratch
It’s 12 years since our first episode, and James is preparing to start as if from nothing. He plans to work harder on the narratives he brings. He’s already very picky about guest selection. He wants to extract the stories that no one else will get, ask the questions that are not obvious even when you’ve read a guest’s book.
He could be intimidated by the amazing work others are doing. When he posted his four-million download milestone on Facebook, some people were amazed. He’s well aware, however, that some other people get similar results with one TikTok video.
James is unfazed. He readily admits he hasn’t the ad campaigns, or maybe even the talent, to build up that kind of following. But they do them, and he does him. He does want to put his voice out there. He’s ready to step out a bit, share more and do better work. So that’s the future he sees.
Back in time via email
To top things off, James recently received an email that took him down memory lane.
It was from a client who’d bought James’s revenue share course for $9 on SuperFastResults.com. He considers revenue shares, by the way, the greatest business model he’s ever done, and he’ll be doing a specific episode on it soon.
James sent the lady a follow-up email, asking how she liked the product. And just to be clear, he asked for, and got, her permission to talk about her response on the show.
The response was, “James, you are amazing. Yes, I enjoyed it and everything else you create. This is going to be a long email, but it’s one of praise, and I have to let you know how much what you do or have done over all these years means to me.”
By the way, says James, when he posted in Facebook about the four million downloads, he was blown away and touched by the comments of well-known people, people more successful than he, guys like Andrew Warner, and Perry Belcher and Rob Moore. It could be they were being polite, he says, but it was nice.
In life, there’s always someone bigger and more scary and more successful than us. And we also sometimes get complacent about just how well we’ve gone and realize, you know, we forget that there’s people who are still struggling or on the way up.
This lady went on to say, “I just spent the last 24 hours or so binge watching your training in the SuperFastBusiness membership, as I have a very strong interest right now around optimizing email campaigns (big tick), mastering the membership business model (another big tick), and letting go of doing so many things myself (huge tick), and giving it to a team to do.”
This was one aware customer. “Basically using strategies that allow me to work less and make more, wonderful book by the way.” You can buy that book from Amazon or Audible, or get it for free at superfastresults.com/book.
After watching James’s membership course in 10XPRO and watching his revenue share course, and observing how easy going his life appeared compared to many, she had to join James’s membership again.
James does see a lot of people rejoin, and it’s important for membership business owners to make it easy for them. “And of course, that special offer for the first month was a no brainer.” Now this is an email sequence James sends to buyers of his $9 course. They get a special offer to join SuperFastBusiness membership for $29 for the first month.
Copywriter John Carlton says, Make the customer feel like they’re ripping you off. And James does just that, giving away everything in his membership, a lifetime of work, for $29 for the first month. That offer, says James’s customer, made her join faster.
And yes, “again”. She’d been in every iteration of SuperFastBusiness since 2009 when it was called SuperFastResults and James had a business partner named Andy.
She’d seen the price changes, name changes, offer changes, like when James added in the personal coaching feature. Now for 12 years, James has had his podcast and membership – that’s consistent. He has also had to innovate, however.
“We have to evolve and adapt.”
We have to evolve and adapt. When James came online, he made a promise to himself that he would continue to innovate and adapt, or else he could be back to having a job, and that’s just definitely not an option.
The growing need to leverage time and energy
The email goes on: “I know what I’m doing online. But I need more time and energy leverage.” Those are the right words, says James, time and energy. He’s noticed himself as he’s matured, energy management is a big deal.
“You’re the only one that I’ve seen who’s mastered that, and more importantly, you’ve been consistent with it.” She has seen so many others change business models, rearranging things so drastically it’s obvious they’re trying to figure it out. And these are the ones actually making money. Making money, she observes, isn’t hard. It’s doing it without the burnout that’s tough.
She mentions someone who she thought would make a perfect coach, but whose only follow-ups were to promote his programs. He was always selling to new people, but made no effort to nurture his list. And he seemed to always be working harder than he needed to, because of his focus on cold leads.
This is what a membership solves, says James. He would rather serve the same people over and over again through his memberships, and speaking with them on his podcast, than to go hunting for new people.
From affiliate to business ownership and leverage
“Anyway, I always come back to you. Whenever I go astray, I find my way back.” James is deeply thankful for that.
“I remember when you were known as a super affiliate, quietly making the leaderboards on programs back in the mid 2000s. I always saw your name, and Ewen Chia on the lists. And people always mentioned you in the Warrior Forum. And I used to see you answering questions in there, all the time.”
James did use to answer questions on someone else’s platform, and he earned trust and made a lot of sales that way. Then from 2006 to 2009, he started his own forum. And though it was a hard thing to do, he stopped logging in to other people’s forums. He answered questions only in his own community.
When this lady bought the software James promoted as an affiliate, and needed help, it was the beginning, she says, of James helping her out in so many ways. “From the XSitePro cheat sheet, to Local Business Cash, to Traffic Grab, and so much more, you’ve always impressed me.”
Traffic Grab was one of James’s big products. And at a time when everyone was selling $1,000 and $2,000 products, he sold it for $79. It disrupted the market in a way. One other marketer was pissed that it ruined his hopes of selling his higher-priced traffic product, and gave James a talking to over Skype. They ended up best friends. Question for you, says James, what can you do to disrupt the paradigm in your market?
The lady goes on to say, “Spaghetti bowl, chocolate wheel, and so much of your other strategies have allowed me to increase my income significantly over the years and build businesses.”
Spaghetti bowl was the process map of James’s SEO and traffic strategies. The chocolate wheel is his anti-ascension model, which he still speaks of today. He says there’s no point starting people with starter products if they want the end product. Let them buy the end product.
James’s customer recalls James doing everything himself, till he built a great team. Now, says James, he puts in 15 hours a week average, and it’s because of his team. He makes sure they have a great life too – no clocking in, no counting days off; unlimited annual leave; they can work whatever hours they want on whatever projects they want within the business.
“I’m not anti-grind and hustle per se, but don’t do it forever.”
James had to go through the initial hustle and grind, in the beginning. And, he says, he’s not anti-grind and hustle per se, but don’t do it forever.
Even the rev share partners benefit
“And now you have revenue shares to promote products of other amazing people that I and my business partner have purchased from.” That is one of James’s roles now, using his platform to promote other people’s businesses.
His customer currently uses Matt and Liz Raad‘s digital investor program. She sends clients to Greg Merrilees at Studio1 Design. She uses 10XPRO, James’s favorite membership site platform, and Carl Taylor’s time-saving Automation Agency. The product page on this site is her go-to resource.
She’s always paid attention, she says, to what James promotes that can make things easier for her. And James himself, if he does promote something, is either using it, or has worked with a person long enough to know that they’re good.
The gap between learning and applying
“I should be a multimillionaire by now, as long as I have been following you and purchasing from you and your clients, but as you know, learning and applying are two different things.” Indeed, says James, which is why a quarter of what he addresses is mindset.
“Learning and applying are two different things.”
While she implemented many things, says the customer, there was so much she didn’t implement because she thought it wouldn’t work. She ended up in a trial and error process that never seemed to end. That’s where James can help, he says. He will coach this person to remove that trial and error.
The email ends: “I’m proud of you and what you’ve accomplished over the 13 years that I’ve been watching you. You are such an inspiration. I’m now ready to focus on your teaching in a way that I never have before and reaching my financial time and energy leverage goals. Back in the 2000s, I was in my 20s. But now I’m in my 40s, and I’m done with the grinding and burning out. So I plan on staying the membership this time for years to come and to continue learning from you and applying what you teach without doubting. Many blessings to you and your family.”
Wrapping up after an inspiring message
James hopes in the future to bring his anonymous email writer on the show to share a success story. Her letter, he says, is like the ultimate thank you. People don’t remember him when he was absolutely unknown, and posting those little forum posts, and starting with his first information product. And he had all the same doubts and fears and concerns and challenges of other people, and no advantage.
He figured it out, however, and is here to help you figure it out.
Now with four million podcast downloads, he says, he’s just getting started. And he would love it if you could send him an email at [email protected], and let him know what you’d like to hear him talk about on this podcast, a solo episode like this. That’s his challenge, to create compelling content that hits a note for you.
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