WordPress expert Robert Plank plays "myth buster" about WordPress security and management. If you run or manage a WordPress site, this is must have information.
Today is about recurring income. Today is about money. Today is about getting your website, and, more importantly, your membership site set up. We have a very special guest, Mr. Robert Plank. Robert, welcome to the show.
Glad to be back. I'm a recurring guest, now, just like Mr. Fred.
You are a recurring guest ... just like a membership site, as well.
Yeah, even though ... I'm glad that you brought that up. I'm glad that we kind of started off with that, because ... right off the bat, whenever people talk about membership sites, or I talk about membership sites to anyone, the usual excuse ... or the usual kind of ... like, dejected ... kind of beaten down, tired response is, "All right, well, I hear about this thing called a membership site. I want to make one, but I just don't know what I could ... I don't know what kind of site I could make," or, "I charge somebody 20 bucks a month, again and again."
... and, when I say ... well, you're thinking about membership sites all wrong. Membership sites ... usually, people think about recurring income ... charging people a monthly fee, but a membership site is just a site where someone can be a member.
Yeah, and I think that ... you know, for me, personally, this was a huge hold-up, because when I started online, I knew that I needed to make a product. I got confused, because ... I thought, well, I'm going to make a report, or I'm going to make a video, or I'm going to record a webinar, and sell that. My confusion was, "How do I deliver a product, versus how do I have a membership site?"
... and the big light bulb for me is exactly what you're talking about, just a moment ago ... is that a membership site doesn't have to be ... although it can be recurring ... but a membership site can be free. It can be single payment. It can be multi-payment. It can be recurring, like we've talked about, but the most important thing is that it takes payments from somebody, and then, it allows them access, once they are a member. For me, it was this big mindset shift. When it was ... oh, I can deliver my free gift, my lead generator, my ... what do they call it now ... my trip wire, through a membership site ... which gives me an easy place to up-sell people, or I can sell my one-time, seven dollar product ... or I can sell my multiple payment site, or my recurring site, all through the same thing. Once I figured out ... it was payment, securing my download, whatever that meant ... and then, having a place where people can log in ... that really changed the game for me, personally.
For me, too, and even ... kind of going along in that stream of thought, that you're thinking there ... is that what also helped me get over the hurdle of ... like, the confidence part, and the technology part, was that membership sites are just on or off, right? Someone either ...
... has access, or they don't. At first, it sounds like ... well, duh, of course ... but, I mean, from like ... a computer programming point of view, I was driving myself crazy, thinking ... like, okay ... so if someone's in my site, it's like ... should I be checking on my members, and see if someone hasn't paid me in 32 days, or in 35 days ... should I cut off my access ...
... and the good news is, the way all these payment systems work ... and by the way, what we highly recommend everyone listening does is, you get a business account with a site called PayPal, to take payments, and then you use a plug-in called Member Genius, which you can grab at MemberGenius.com.
Basically, the good thing about all these systems, including PayPal, is if somebody refunds, or if somebody is paying you monthly, and stops, PayPal will go ahead and talk to your site, so there's none of this ... having to, you know, check anything every 30 days. If someone pays you $10.00 one time, and it goes through, they have access to your membership site. If they then refund, they take the money back to themselves, then PayPal will go ahead and tell your membership site that. Then, likewise, if you have a $30.00 per month, kind of ... recurring forever membership site ... somebody joins ... something similar happens. They join. They get access. They can keep logging back in, but as soon as they stop paying monthly ... not even necessarily taking the money back, but just cancelling, stopping their monthly recurring billing ... same exact thing. PayPal will go ahead and tell your membership site to cut off their access.
... so, like ... that, in addition, to what you talked about a couple minutes ago, helped me wrap my head around it so much, because ... we don't have ... I mean ... there's very little difference between ... at least, as far as setting things up ... very little difference between a one-time payment site, and a recurring site ... because if somebody refunds, or cancels, PayPal ... just go ahead ... and sends the signal to shut them off.
I think that what's important, is that ... the way that we approach membership sites has really blurred the line. You don't need all of these different plug-ins. You don't need one for your lead capture system, to hook it up to your auto-responder ... a different one to collect your payments. If you get the right membership plug-in for WordPress, it handles everything. I mean ... Robert, we really think of them as our virtual assistants. We set it up. We hook it up with PayPal, or whatever affiliate system that we're using, to collect payments, and after that, I mean ... there's very little touch, or management, that we have to do on it.
If somebody pays, or signs up ... if it's a free site, they get access. If they want to access what they bought over and over again, they log in with their username, password ... or even, now, social media, Facebook connection ... and if they lose their password, or forget how to get in, the system sends them that as well. If they stop making payments, it locks them out, or if they refund it, locks them out. From a management point of view, it really frees up our time, because there's nothing that we have to do, and there's not a bunch of moving parts. It's one plug-in that handles everything. If they're in, they're in. If they stop paying ... cancel ... refund ... whatever it is, then they're out, and the system handles all that access for us.
Oh yeah, and, I mean ... the way that we both used to sell products, and training, and things online, is ... we would take money, and send somebody over to just a regular web page ... regular HTML page, if anyone knows what that is. That was fine for, you know, back in the Stone Age of internet marketing ... but nowadays, my thinking is, well, if I'm going to sell something ...
Let's say I'm even going to sell something like, high ticket ... like, something for a thousand bucks. Let's say that I ... even if you're only planning on making, or you're only going to make 10-20 sales of that this month, wouldn't it make sense to give someone access to a site where you can build it up over time? You could add some links, add some bonuses, and then, likewise, we have some sites ... like, we have a site called Income Machine, and I think we have, like ... 12,000 registered members in there. We have a site called Backup Creator, and we're just under 9,000 registered members, in there.
Even if you go the other direction ... if you have thousands and thousands of people who are all paying you $10.00 ... even if they're paying you $10.00 for one little thing, I mean ... it's ridiculous to think that you're going to be able to manage all that by just having a regular web page, because if you figure even ... you know, 10%, or 20% of those people come back, and need to go back and log in ... if even 1% of those thousands of people refund, or want to cancel, whatever ... it's just ... you'd spend literally all day re-handing out download links. I mean ... it's so awesome, especially that lost password recovery ... if they bought from you, say, years ago, and they want to get back in today.
There's one more thing that I want to talk about, really quickly, because we've kind of mentioned all of these different things, as we talk ... and really, we look at this as ... membership sites, first of all, cover every type of your digital product delivery online ... take your payments ... protect all of your content ... but there's really four models, I think, Robert, that we use. One is the free model, which basically is what we use to build a list. You might have heard of "lead capture" page, or "give a free gift away," ethical bribe ... any of these things. We use a membership site for ... and all we do is, we have what's called a free level, right? A level where anybody can get access, as long as they register for the site. Think about Facebook, Gmail ... Amazon, even ... all of these places ... those are all basically free membership sites, that you can buy something once you get inside ... so we have our free model.
Then, we have the single pay model, and this is ... this was the one that really took me a long time to wrap my head around, but it was ... I'm using it as a product delivery. Whether somebody pays me $47.00 once, $7.00 once, a thousand dollars once ... they pay. They get access to the site.
The third one ... and I think, really, Robert, we invented this. I mean ... this is something that we did digitally, that nobody else was doing ... and what we did was, we took our single pay sites, where everything, basically, used to cost $1,000.00 or $2,000.00 online, and what we said is ... why not give them all of ... I mean ... basically, did the same thing that you do when you buy a car, or a house, where they say it costs $60,000.00, but you get to pay it off over time. We came up with fixed-term, or multi-pay sites ... and so now what we do, is ... because we use a membership site, we're able to say, it's $47.00, every two weeks ... it's $50.00 a month, until you pay it off. While they're paying, they have access, and once they stop paying, they lose access ... but if they make all of their payments, they get access forever, completely ... so that's the third model.
And then, the fourth is ... which you mentioned, too, when we started this off ... the recurring, or getting paid every single month. What we really try to focus on for everybody, is ... if you're just getting started, have the free site, that's the list-building site. Use that same site to up-sell them into a single pay site, and then, have your high ticket, or multi-payment site, and then, once you start to build that following, then that's when you build the recurring site ...
... because, the truth is, the recurring site is the hardest to sell. It's the hardest to build, and it's the hardest to manage from a content point of view ... because you need to be putting in new content all of the time, in order to keep the site going, and to keep people paying.
Yeah, and I think that a lot of people ... they create way too much work for themselves, thinking that. They fall in love with the math, and they think that what they have to do first is to make that ... that recurring, forever ...
... monthly kind of site. What I would say ... like, for your listeners, and all ... that if someone doesn't have a membership site, and you just need someone to say, "Do exactly this," you need an exact plan ... what I would say is, the best place to start ... to sell something for exactly $97.00, and figure out something that you do really well, that other people want to know how to do. You explain this process as if you were starting over, and as if you were starting over with all the knowledge you have now, but none of the equipment, or tools, or money, and basically ... just having a do-over, and doing it a lot better.
For example ... recently, we put out a course about Fiverr with four modules called, Profit Dashboard. We put out a course on podcasting, called Podcast Crusher. The reason why I say, "Make this exactly $97.00," is just to eliminate all of the "paradox of choice" kind of stuff, where everyone just goes crazy about all the possibilities, right? If you figure out what people want, and you can show them how to do it, and you can build towards an end-goal ...
... so, we had our podcasting course, and the end goal there was to not only record a podcast, but to have it online, to get it ranking, to have some content going in there automatically ... and that's the end goal. We call each of those steps in there modules. You end up with a whole course, where you have four different sessions ... you could call them lessons, or whatever ... every session's about an hour or so, maybe a little more than that. There's a little bit of a quick assignment at the end ... but the point is, that for a hundred bucks, you get someone to get to whatever kind of goal. The reason why I kind of chose an option in the middle there, and said that ... you know, if you're completely stuck, completely confused, overwhelmed ... start off with a $97.00 four-module course ... is ... because then, just by making that one kind of site, the other sites almost kind of make themselves ... because ...
For example, you make that podcasting course for $97.00, and then you could find a little piece there ... like, maybe we could potentially pull out a piece on ... maybe, like, a podcasting checklist, or pull out a little piece ... maybe we should throw in some stock music for podcasts. We could pull out that little piece, and that could either be a little $7.00 level, or a little free level ... so at any whatever niche anyone's doing this in ... if you put out a little $100.00 course, and then, maybe it doesn't sell as much as you want, or maybe you want to try something lower-priced, don't just delete the whole site. Pull out a little piece, and then you can sell just that piece on its own.
The other model we talked about was a fixed-term site, where it's monthly ... recurring for a little while, but then, there is an end-goal. If you charge a hundred bucks for something, you could ... on what we call the sales letter, the page where someone clicks to buy, and join your site ... and say, you could buy this course all up front, right now, for $97.00 ... but then, over to the side, we say ... you can still get the exact same thing, exact same everything, you get the whole course instantly, all this podcasting training, for example, but it's 5 payments of 19.95, spaced 30 days apart. They can pay all the hundred bucks up front, right now, or they can space it out, and then, if you even want to get ... if that becomes a hot seller, then you could go ahead and make some kind of monthly site, where you meet with someone, one-on-one, every week, or if you meet as a group, once a month.
... but I think that ... that start, we listed ... like, those four models ... I think that starting off with just a one-time single payment model is ... the ... gets you to the low-hanging fruit faster, because you can try out these different things, and try out what your whatever ... your list ... whatever your audience is buying. Then, you get all these other kind of models unlocked, for free, and then, you try out these little projects. If something is a real huge hot seller, then you can go ahead and make that crazy recurring monthly forever site, that you always wanted to make in the first place ... but at least you've proved that it's a hot seller, before you put a bunch of time into it.
See, I love this, because the one thing that you kind of glossed over ... and I completely agree that this is where people need to start, is ... okay, how many times have you been on Facebook ... and I know, Robert, you'll send me these screenshots, all of the time, off of Facebook, where somebody goes to Facebook and they say ... "Um, I'm creating a product slash membership site funnel, and what I'm going to do is, I'm going to have a free ... a free option, and then I'm going to have a $17.00 trip wire, and then I'm going to have a $97.00 a month, a $97.00 product, and then I'm going to up-sell into a $47.00 a month recurring thing, what do you think about that?"
... and the answer is ... I have no clue what you're selling, like ...
... and what's also frustrating about that kind of thing, is ... then all the comments will say ... what would be better is, if you did a 14, or a 24, and it's like ... but you have an opinion. I don't even know what you're selling, other than you gave me a number. You gave me a price.
... and so, what I love about where you started that whole thing with, was on the content creation piece ... and I hope everybody picked up on this, because what Robert said is, we start with ... in one place ... and we get you a result. Now, how many products have you bought where they promised you a result, and you didn't learn what you were told you were going to learn ... or they said, "Well, here's how you test-set all of this up," but what he said was follow it through?
... so, in our podcasting course, we set up a real podcast, start to finish. I think that, if you know how to do something, and then you take ... the point of the course ... that you're going to teach the product, that you're going to make .... as ... I'm going to do this with you, or get a guinea pig, and walk them through that particular process, so that they're doing it as well. Then, you guarantee that there's a result that people buying from you get, and if you start at that middle point, now you've got your product, the thing that you're going to sell, and you start that as a single pay.
Now, the beauty of starting it there is ... now you have a piece, like Robert said, that you can pull out for your free gift. Now, you have a piece that you can pull out for your single payment, and if it sells well, now you can turn that into a recurring option, with the people that have already bought into that. I think that starting it in the middle, with the product, and the single pay, is a huge, huge tip. It saves you time. It saves you frustration. It keeps you moving ahead. I think ... I hope everybody really latched on to that key point, that ... yes, there's four models. you want to start with the single payment, and the product that you can sell, and then build out around there.
Here's the cool thing ... you do it the right way, the way that we're talking about ... it's all the exact same site. You sell your single payment, and you want to make your free level for it ... well, you make a new level, put up a new page It all funnels into the same site. You want to have people have your recurring site ... you put up a new button. Now, they have access to new stuff ... makes it easier to manage ... keeps all of your stuff in one place ... and it's a better experience for you, as a seller, and business owner, and it's a better experience for your customers.
Yeah, and I think that the mindset that we both kind of have, when we're creating this content ... and we're trying to, like, solve people's problems ... get them to a goal, and all this stuff, is ... we want to get them around all the usual roadblocks, right?
... because, I mean ... the first time you saw WordPress, the first time you saw iTunes, the first time you saw Camtasia Recorder ... all these things ... the very first time, you thought ... there's all kinds of tab, and buttons, and things ... so, a frustrating thing that we kind of see is, either they'll kind of treat it like the VCR instruction manual, or the owner's manual with your car ... is ... they'll go tab by tab by tab, and I'm like ... it's not helping me, when you show me every little nook and cranny of WordPress. Just show me how to change the look of it. Show me how to post some stuff.
Then, on the other extreme, is that they'll say ... okay, here's WordPress, go ahead and check it out. Here it is. I mean ... I bought a course one time, that ... it was advertised as how to make $250,000.00 in seven days. I thought ... man, even if only 1% of this worked, I'm in ... so, bought the course ... and it's a video where he literally opens up a web ... and it's like, 10 minutes ... opens up a web browser. He says, "Yeah, there's a site here, called Kickstarter.com. Go and sign up, and post a Kickstarter, and here you go, have fun." I mean ... that doesn't help anybody, right?
We've seen things where someone says ... well, here's how to make a Facebook ad. They'll say, "I'm going to go click, make an ad." I'm like ... okay. I'm watching real closely, and they go, "We'll call this 'test ad.'" I'm like "Ah." I'm like ... it didn't help me at all, when I see you say "test ad."
Okay. Great. Now, I'm going to see them make an actual ad. I'm going to see them tweak the wording. I'm going to see them split test. I'm going to see all these ... see it get filled up, and it goes ... "Okay, now, for the ad, we're just going to say 'test description.'" I mean ... he is like ... it brought me almost all the way, but not quite.
... and even ... so the thing, is whatever niche, whatever subject that you're teaching to someone in whatever kind of membership course ... you need to dumb it down, to the point where ... even though it's easy for you, most people are just completely lost. Even though it seems like you're really making it, like ... really, really, stupid, and saying, "Okay I'm going to make a Facebook ad. Here's an actual title I'm going to type ... "
Even though you think that's a waste of time ... for me, if I have never seen a Facebook ad before ...
... yes ...
That is exactly what I need. I need to know, like ... what you're about to do, and what your thought process is. I want to see you do it. Then, I want you to explain to me again, and, if possible, kind of repeat yourself a lot ... have some kind of a step-by-step checklist, so that I can ... when there is ... those moments when I need to just follow the clicks exactly, I can do that ... but then, if I need to think a little bit ... and I need it to be, "Okay, you're making a Facebook ad ... "
I need to apply that for my website, and my niche. I kind of know, like ... when to just follow you exactly, and then, when to make those little decisions.
... but I think that ... I think the big trap that a lot of membership site creators, and teachers, fall into, is that they think they're being helpful by overloading you with decisions, right? You want to have a voiceover course. They say, "Well, here's 10 different kinds of microphones you could buy." Here's 10 different mixing boards." It's like ... can't I just have the one ...
... so, that way ... I mean ... I've been stuck for 6 months about which microphone to get. Tell me which one. I'll get it. Now, we can move on.
Yeah, and I just ... wow. I mean ... you just, kind of ... in the last 10 minutes, have turned this into not only membership sites, and product delivery, but the content creation formula. I think that it's so important ... I think that there's a weird thing happening, where if everybody was creating courses that got people results, everybody would be making more money, and everybody would be getting more results.
I love how you talk about dumbing it down ... and, you know, one of the things that we do with our courses is, if we're going to do any kind of training at all, one of us ... it's usually because one of us wants to teach the other one something, right?
The original "Podcast Crusher" was you teaching me to set up a podcast. The new "Podcast Crusher" was, I wanted to show you some of the things that I was doing, in order to get ranked really high in podcast. What we do is, we have one of us walk the other one through setting up not a test thing ... not something that's fake, but something that's absolutely going to be used. The "Podcast Crusher" course ... you set up a new podcast that is maintained, is set up.
In our "Income Machine" course, we set up a product that we sell. I think that, if you set something up from scratch, the beauty of it is, you don't miss any steps. There's so many times ... where same thing as you ... I'll buy a course, and they'll say, "It's Facebook advertising. Here. All you do is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Then, I can tell that they've cut it, and then, all of a sudden, it's like ... 2 days later, and I'm like ... but something happened in between here, that I missed, because I can't follow along anymore. I think that's really important. I hope everybody listens to that whole idea of setting something up ... not test stuff, but being helpful, and taking away choices from people.
... so on ...
... and have ... real case study ...
Real case study ...
... training ...
... so like, when we teach membership sites, we set up one up. Podcasts ... we set one up. Fiverr ... we set up Fiverr gigs and make money from scratch ... but, and I mean ... there's that ... and there's also, like, explaining what you're about to do. You do it.
... recap what you did. Even though ... it almost kind of drives me crazy, because I have to force myself to think in that way, and I keep thinking, "Well, of course. Everyone knows WordPress, right? Everyone knows membership sites, right?"
... but then, I really try to think back 10 years ago, when I didn't know anything ... and even though it seems like you're really repeating ... you're being really slow-paced ... you're probably right there, on track, with ... giving them the theory ... giving them the case study. Then, go back over those steps, that you just did ...
... and if it feels overly slow, you're probably doing it right, for your audience.
I want to switch gears here, really quick. We actually had a question come in, so I'll ... kind of going to throw this out at you. I know we've talked about some of this, but I got a question ... actually, a couple of people sent in something similar.
It was this. Basically, it was, "I've bought all of these different plug-ins. I've got all of these different things. How do I go about choosing the right plug-in for me, for my site?"
I know what this person ... or what these people have, is ... they've bought everything that's come into their email box, because they're afraid that, you know, they were going to miss the sale. They've got a folder, or a website with all of these plug-ins on it, that don't work together. How do people go about choosing what they should use to manage their membership site ... their online business?
Well, I mean ... the answer I want to say, is, just by Member Genius ... but, I guess the real answer is ... whatever gets it up and running the fastest. I think that a lot of people ... they get hung up, and it's probably just because they don't know what is more important than anything else ... and a lot of marketers are really loud about things, like, "You need to have a merchant account. You need to have a one click upsell. You need to have all these different things."
... and my attitude is, whatever gets you selling today ...
... whatever gets you to the point of ... where there's a website. There's a button someone can click on. They can go. They can buy. They can get the thing they bought. That means money for you. The real big reasons why that's always what's on my mind is, because I know that if I spend a couple of weeks trying to decide ... or, so-called "working on a site ... "
If I spend a couple weeks on something, and there's just no result out of it ... there's no money coming in, because I never finished it ... I'm going to get bored, and I'm going to move on, on something else. I know a lot of people that we come across ... they think that they have it all figured out ... they think, like. "Oh, well, that's just you. I'm going to make this right. I'm going to make a huge site, just you wait. In three weeks, you'll be so amazed."
... come back in three weeks ... they didn't get anything done, because the pattern that they've been in, is just that they've been a collector. They've been starting these projects ... get about 10% in ... it gets a little hard. They hit a little stumbling block along the road. Then, they go and drop that project, and start something new ... and that's fine, at first, if you're just screwing around ... but the real danger is, if you get passed the point of no return, there is ... that your whole life just becomes all these little 10% projects, and just keeps growing and growing, and then, you're just ... literally spending years of your life not making any money.
... so ... like, as depressing and bleak as that sounds ... whatever gets it done today, or this week, at the latest. Whatever gets you up and running today, even if it's an ugly site. Even if you can only take single payment sites right now. Even if it your ... whatever you're selling ... doesn't have all the best bells and whistles, that you want. You want to be focusing on the "must haves" for now, and not the "nice to haves."
I mean ... we have different plug-ins that people try to piece together. Where ... we have a plug-in called WP Notepad, where you can add a checklist to your membership site. We have a plug-in called WP Import, where you can import content. We have a plug-in called WP Kunaki, where you can create a directory in your site ... but what's more important than all of those little goodies is to actually, like ... sell a training course.
It's like ... if you and I were about to put out "Podcast Crusher 2," and we were trying to show people how to create a Podcast, start to finish ... well, if having a little checklist in there ... is that a "must have" or is that a nice to have?" Well, that's a "nice to have." What's the core ... what to focus on is, that we promise a result. They buy it, and then, we deliver that result. This is also why ... you know, having a single payment site, or having your first ... or your first few memberships sites ... be courses where you teach things, is ... because, this way, you can kind of hedge your bets, and have more confidence that what you're selling is something that people will buy.
It's one thing to say, "Well, I'm going to make a monthly site, and I'm just going answer to everyone's questions about podcasts, every single month." It's like ... well, are people really asking for that? I don't know ... but are people saying, "I don't have a podcast. I want one. I'm going to buy your course to get this result ... "
... so that's a really easy way for you to stand out ... by saying, "I'm going to give you this," right? Then, that makes it super fast to explain ... super clear about what it is they'll get, right? What's implied is ... they pay you money. What they get back is a functioning podcast, if they follow the directions.
... but I think that, a lot of marketers ... the way that they sell sucks. They just say, "Well, here's some stuff. I'm going to give you some podcasting tips." I think that ... you know, that's fine for a little while, and that's fine if people are selling little $7.00 plug-ins, and things ... but if you want to go high ticket, and if you want to make these ... a lot better sales, you ...
Well, first of all, the course that you're selling ... you tell them, "I want you to get to this point. I want you to build up this kind of podcast thing." Then, to go back and answer your question ... well, if that's your goal ... if your goal is to teach someone podcasting, WordPress, golfing, whatever ... then, letting ... I mean ... letting the paralysis of trying to choose the perfect membership site plug-in is silly. Whatever gets it done ...
... whatever is right in front of you. You could probably even just choose ... if you have 5 membership plug-ins, choose one of the 5 at random, and that'll get you there.
... and I think that that's really important, because ... I know that ... you know I do this, with like, technology, right ...
I'm not going to buy the newest iPhone until the spring, because then, I have the one with all the bells and whistles ... and then, "Dangit." Six months later, I'm out of date again. You know what I mean?
It's like ... what's different about the 6S, versus the 6? Well, I don't know. Does it even make a difference?
I think that we watch so many people, like you said, get stuck in paralysis by trying to choose the perfect thing. Here's a little secret about marketing, about software in general: there will always be the core functionality that all membership plug-ins do ... hopefully, all ... ones ... you should be looking at ... and that is, take payments, protect your data, take in users. Every membership plug-in that you look at, or have, should do that. After that core, the way that these plug-ins are going to compete with each other ... just like everything else ... is on different feature sets.
... so if one plug-in does drip content really well, the other one may not do that, but it may do recurring payments better. Another one may do member management better ... and so, you're never going to have one that encompasses the whole universe of everything the best, because as soon as somebody does something, then the competitor is going to do something different. That's the way that they differentiate themselves in the marketplace ... and so, what you're looking for is something that does the minimum of what you need it to do. If you're looking between two, and can't make a decision, pick the one that does the feature you like the best.
I personally agree with Robert. I mean ... Member Genius is what we use, because it has all of the things that we do, and that we need to use, and that's what we use on our stuff.
... so get out of that paralysis. I think the best advice you gave there, Robert, is, "Just pick something." If you've got 5, pick one and go with it. I mean ... you're not married to it forever. If something absolutely changes, you can change that out ... but pick something that you feel comfortable with ... that you can use, and that's supported, and make a decision. It's never going to be the perfect, or right decision, but it's going to be at least a decision ... which gets you making money ... which is the most important part.
Oh yeah. The last time you had me on, as we were kind of winding down, the phrase we've landed on was "minimum viable product." That's kind of where we're landing here, is ... it's the same point. What I've been thinking about along those lines is that ... well ... you can either have big, huge, problems to knock out today, or this week, in your business ... or little problems. The problem with big problems is that they won't budge, right?
... and so, like... a big problem is ... I don't have a membership site. I need one. Well, you can't just knock that out. Like ... how do I go from zero to nothing? There's not really a way ... so the key is to break down whatever big problem you have down into little problems.
... so, I don't have a membership site. I want one. Okay. Well, instead of trying to tackle that huge thing, you say, "Well, the little problems that I could break down ... is that ... well ... I need to first decide on which plug-in to use for my membership site." Okay. Member Genius. There you go.
I need to decide on what processor I'll use to take payments. Well, if you're stuck on that, the answer's PayPal, just because you get up and running immediately. Then, there's maybe a couple other things, like ... need to decide on what price will you charge ... what will the name of your site ... what will that end-goal kind of build to ... but now, we're just kind of breezing through all these little problems.
If you keep in mind "minimum viable product," and just install today, or this week, whatever gets you taking payments online today ... then, maybe next week, if you feel like it ... then ... the small problem could then be to figure out one-click up-sell. The small problem could be to figure out ... what free level could I add in there? Maybe a small problem could be ... what, then ... what recurring monthly up-sell could I add to it?
... but my thinking is, big problems, little problems. Big problems won't budge; break it down into smaller little questions that can be answered. Then, I think that you'll get some momentum that way, by answering a series of small problems.
I love it! Keep your problems small. Life's a heck of a lot easier that way, and your business is more successful that way, too. You know, Robert, I super appreciate you taking the time to be here today. Everybody right now should go head over to MemberGenius.com. It's the most fully-featured, affordable, best-maintained plug-in on the market to handle all of your needs. It's what I use. It's what Robert uses. It's what thousands of other sites use as well.
... so, head on over to MemberGenius.com. We look forward to ... seeing there ... and thanks a lot for listening to every episode of the Lance Tamashiro Show. We will talk to you again very soon. Have a great day, and bye now.
Thinking Like An Entrepreneur, Increasing Productivity & Building a Successful Online Business – Robert Plankadmin
Welcome back to The Lance Tamashiro Show. Here’s something really weird. This is now somewhere episode in the mid 70s we’ll say and the one person that I’ve never had on the show yet is my business partner, Robert Plank. Today we have something really special for you. We’ve got Robert Plank here who … We’re going to start off talking about this thing called an Income Machine, so that you guys can start making money, making sure you’ve got everything set up online that you need. I’m sure we’re going to get into all kinds of other stuff. Robert, I’m super excited to have you on the show. I can’t believe you’ve never been on before.
Yeah, first time for everything.
First time for everything. All right, so here’s the thing. We got a lot of entrepreneurs that listen to this show. We got a lot of people that are struggling to make their business work online. We’ve got a lot of people that sadly enough have been around business online for a number of years and aren’t getting any results. One of the things that I know you’re an expert in is basically what do people need online and where do you see people that aren’t making it where they want to be, where do you see them struggling?
I think I see people struggling where they’re not actually going all in in their business. They set up half a site. If they have a blog either it was up or they took it down or maybe the last posts on the blog is years ago. I hate to say it, but the biggest accomplishment of a lot of these people that are struggling is that they’ve printed business cards. Even if you look at their business card either there is no website or I say great, business card, what’s your website and they say oh, don’t go to that, don’t look at that. I think people aren’t going all in and they maybe set up a site one time and took it down or they set it up and it’s so old that they just cringe thinking about it. They actually need to treat their business that they’re building like a real business, set up some websites, set up a real web presence, have their system, their machine going, so that they actually can make money from it.
It’s funny that you say treat your business like a business and we see people all of the time that we meet at events or we talk to or that come to us for coaching. What they think a business is is like what we’ve seen our corporate America bosses do. Like you mentioned have a business card, they’re worried about what their phone number’s going to be, if their voicemail’s set up. They do all of these, I guess, administrative tasks and then when you what do you have set up online, where can I get on your list, where can I buy your product, they have nothing.
Yeah, exactly, but not only do they have nothing, but they’re afraid to even answer your question or think about it. It’s like they have a bad feeling when they think about going back and trying to mess around with whatever unfamiliar interface. The first time that you ever set up a blog or make a blog post or set up a squeeze page or mess around with your autoresponder sequence, the first time you look at it it’s awkward. The first time that you used Microsoft Word, used the computer, used the Internet, the first time it was awkward and I think that a lot of people they just think that there’s a magic button. They think they can push a button and money can come in. Tons of people around the world, they’ve set up real businesses and they’ve gone through a lot of trial and error, so this Internet marketing thing it does work, but people need to have a few things set up and they need to … I don’t know how else to say it, but they need to get over that initial awkwardness and get to the making money phase.
Let’s talk about this because you mentioned there’s a few things that they need to have set up, but before we do that you mentioned a couple times that it’s hard the first time. You got to look at it differently. I think one of the things that people struggle with when they decide they’re going to start a business is losing that employee to boss mindset or that day job to entrepreneur mindset. Can you talk to people a little bit about what you see with that, maybe something they can do to overcome that to reframe how they’re looking at things. Then let’s talk about what people need to have set up online in order to make the real transition.
I think that they need to have the push and the pull. They need to have something that you’re moving away from and something that you’re moving towards. You and me both, we both had corporate America jobs. It started off okay, but the longer we were in that situation the more we hated it. The more that we were forced day in and day out to hang around some of these people who just had the terrible employee mindset, the mindset of I’ve been at this job for a couple of years and I’m just getting settled in and I’m comfortable. I’m doing just enough not to get fired and I’m doing everything in my power to fill the eight hours a day and most of the time look busy.
If you’re an employee that’s great because a lot of people have six-figure jobs where they barely do anything or they’re middle management. In a lot of ways other than not having eight hours a day to themselves they have a pretty good life. When you’re transitioning and you’re … First of all, there’s the transition phase where maybe you go to a day job and then you have maybe a couple of hours every day to yourself. Maybe that’s a couple of hours in the morning, you wake up a little earlier or a couple of hours at night. Maybe you lose a little bit of time with your family there, but there’s that transition phase where you have to do both because it would be really scary to quit your day job or even worse get fired and have zero dollars and just be scrambling to even make up that 8 grand a month or 10 or 20 grand a month right off the bat. Almost nobody makes 10 grand a month their very first month except for maybe Lee McIntyre or someone like that.
It takes a couple of months to get this thing rolling, so it makes more sense to be transitioning. Maybe you go to your day job and do the best you can there, but then when you’re a self-employed entrepreneur you don’t have a boss to watch over you. Even if you did you can’t be doing just enough to not get fired because you actually have to deliver stuff. What you and I do as business partners is we sell solutions, we sell information products, we sell courses where someone comes to you, what’s called a sales letter. They click a button, they buy, they get some videos, they get a solution. Most of our energy and our effort is put into getting more eyeballs, getting more people to see those sales letters and things like that.
It comes down to the difference between … To answer your question, being an employee and an entrepreneur is an employee … As long as you don’t do something really terrible you’re not going to get fired. For the most part being an employee means filling the time and looking busy and doing just enough to not get fired. When you’re an entrepreneur, if you don’t deliver, if you don’t have X number of dollars coming in which means X number of sales of some product which means X number of clicks or email subscribers then you’re just not going to make money. The difference is instead of getting paid for the time you get paid for the solutions you provide.
As you’re talking about this what really struck me was as an employee and I did the same thing that you described is I spent the majority of my time looking busy. If I really am honest about it I maybe worked 30 minutes to an hour a day and then the rest of the time it was taking a coffee break, going to lunch, coming in late, talking to whoever, looking busy, sitting at the computer pretending to type, all of these things that we do. Then when I started working for myself those habits are what kills so many entrepreneurs before they even get started.
If you really think about it it’s like if you only worked an hour, maybe you were a really good employee and you worked 3 to 4 hours. I don’t know many of those. If you did that same thing as an entrepreneur you would get just as much done and then instead of having to waste time you could use that time to do whatever it is. That’s the lifestyle, that’s what people are looking for. I think what they do is they come to work for themselves and they do those same things like I’m going to check email which is what, looking busy. I’m going to look at Facebook, looking busy. I’m going to research, looking busy. The truth is there’s some very specific things that need to be up in place in that same amount of time you can have them done.
Yeah, at a job you’re looking busy for your boss, but if you’re working for yourself who the heck are you looking busy for? You’re the one losing out and so what you were saying there is there are a few things that need to be in place in any business. Even if you think that you’re super special and you’re in some new fangled niche you still need these things in place and what you and I call this is an Income Machine. There’s 8 components to it and I’ll just blow through them real quick. One is a niche which means you find a marketplace name and a domain name which means that you grab a .com address on the Internet. For example, LanceTamashiro.com, IncomeMachine.com. Then you need to have a web post which is a place where that website lives and a webpage. Then a lead capture page where someone can enter their name and email address usually in exchange for a free gift and then they became one of your email subscribers.
All the Internet marketers that make the most money have some of the biggest lists of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of subscribers. If they want to talk to those people, if they want to send traffic to a webpage they send a message to all those subscribers. Then the next step to the Income Machine is then that you have what’s called an autoresponder sequence. What we’re building here is that someone comes to your webpage, they come to your .com webpage and it might be, I don’t know, SuperStockTradingCrusher.com. They say I want to get into this stock trading stuff or maybe I tried stock trading, it didn’t quite work.
Now there’s this webpage where there’s a free report saying here’s my 7-step stock trading system. Great, I want it. I enter my name and email address, I get that free gift and then over time maybe once a day for 7 days the system follows up and says how’d you like that free report? Did you check out this and that? Here’s this other link I have to buy. Then we have what’s called a sales letter which is what you see most webpages that make money do where it says here’s this thing I have for sale, here’s a button to get it.
With Income Machine we also have you create a blog, so that if someone says all right, this guy, Lance Tamashiro, he’s selling a stock trading course. I’m going to look him up and I’m going to see does he have a Facebook, does he have a LinkedIn, does he have a YouTube channel? Great, he has a blog and there’s all these posts on there and he updates it every few days or every few weeks. Now he looks like a legitimate person and then when someone buys from you then they get to a download page or a membership site where you then deliver the thing they bought.
Finally, pretty much everything else in a place that you want to get to is now that the webpage is in place then now you look into traffic. You get traffic from guest blog posts, from Facebook, from Google, from Bing. We’ve been dancing around this subject here of how people have the day job mindset, they need to be an entrepreneur. Most of them are missing just even the most basic of pieces and those basic pieces are a niche and domain name, webhost and webpage, email opt in page, autoresponder sequence, sales letter and payment button, a blog, a membership site and traffic. I know that might seem like a lot of pieces, but if
you don’t have any of those pieces then I think you’re in trouble.
All right, so I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a minute because the thing that comes to my head if I’m new and you’re saying these things to me is that every step of the way I think I don’t need that yet because I don’t have the other. For example, I think I don’t need an autoresponder sequence because I’ve got no opt in page or a lead capture page. Even if I did have one I don’t have anything to sell. Even if I did have something to sell I don’t have a sales page and even if I did I don’t have traffic.
I find that as you describe this on one hand I completely agree with you, on the other I think that I personally, and I know I went through this, get stuck because I feel I’m not going to do this because I don’t have that. I’m not going to do this because I don’t have that and then I go right back into employee mindset. Fine, I’ll do nothing. I’ll just look busy, research things about conversion rate because now I’m off thinking about bright shiny objects and topics that don’t really matter to me. Once I figure that out then I’ll go back, but I’m never going to get to that point. I’m always caught in this cycle of chicken and the egg.
Yeah, chicken and the egg, exactly. This happens all the time when I’m going to clean my house. I think oh, there’s a bunch of clutter around, I need to vacuum also and so do I just clean the clutter and then vacuum or do I vacuum and then clutter. I get so overloaded and overwhelmed that I don’t wind up doing anything. I think that the natural employee mindset is to … Going back to looking busy, so I say I’ve got to get my opt in page right the first time. I’ve got to research or I’ve got to wait for some other of my fellow employees to do something else or I’ve got to ask someone else this question. I’ll wait a couple of days until I get an answer.
The short answer to your question is Resale Rights, so even if … To use that stock trading example, even if you know stock trading or you have some things to say about it you’re going to come up into some roadblock whether it’s what to name your stock trading course or what font to make the sales letter. There’s going to be some roadblock and that’ll just completely kill any momentum that you have. The short answer is to grab this thing called Resale Rights. As part of the Income Machine what we have you do is go to a Resale Rights site which I’ll just give it away. It’s Master-Resale-Rights.com. It’s not even our site, I don’t know why we give that guy so much traffic.
But we have you go out and buy a business in a box basically, a readymade report or video where someone else has already gone through who knows how many hours of researching some stuff, making some videos, making a whole package, usually making a whole sales letter. This way you have a starting point. It’s easier to edit crap than air, so you can literally go out to some of these Resale Right sites. If you want to teach knitting or you want to teach fly fishing, you want to teach stock trading, whatever subject, you go and buy this collection of videos usually for 10 or $20. Then you usually by doing this you have a good chunk of your Income Machine already made for you, you just have to set it up.
Usually if you went and bought a stock trading Retail Rights course you’d have videos or you’d have some product to sell. You’d usually have some sales letter, so all you would have to do is grab a domain name, set up a website, set up the sales letter, set up the button for someone to pay you and then to fill in the stuff like the opt in page and the autoresponder sequence. You could go out on YouTube and search YouTube for stock trading beginner, stock trading basics, how to trade your first stock. You could grab even 1 or 2 of those YouTube videos and then that is the free thing that you’re giving away. You can say I want to give you a video on how to trade some stocks. No one has to know that it’s not your video because you grabbed it off YouTube and YouTube allows people to share videos, so right there that takes care of your free gifts.
Then you could [inaudible 00:16:38] what we call a lead capture page where we just make a simple webpage with a headlines saying hey, struggling with trading stocks, want to know how to trade stocks? Enter your name and email address to claim your free video. At Income Machine we show you how to set up this form where then someone comes and finds you. They sign up and then they get their video and then when your system follows up with them throughout the next few days you can have an email saying hey, did you check out that video? Hey, what did you get from that video? Then you can go onto sites like ClickBank or you can just do a Google search for a stock trading affiliate program and register yourself as an affiliate for some other product.
Then when you register as an affiliate most of the time these programs will give you copy and paste emails where you can just dump them or copy and paste them into your autoresponder, so now most of that system is already set up. If you say I believe in putting out good stuff or I could do a better job that’s great and I’m sure that you can, but you have to start somewhere and you have to get the system in place. Like you said you have to avoid that chicken and egg problem of I can’t do A because of B, but I also can’t do B because of A.
At least if you get something set up in place then first of all that’ll be more than the average Internet marketer has ever gotten set up. Then you can look at the system you have and once it’s completely there then you can decide what you want to improve. If you want to create your own free video on stock trading to replace the YouTube one you got for free, if you want to write some better emails in your sequence, if you want to record a new product you can just replace one of the pieces in that Income Machine.
I like that whole strategy of get it all up there, it’s easier to edit crap than air, so get everything in place and then decide what to improve. I think that the trap that so many people fall into besides the chicken and the egg is it has to be perfect. The truth is is that things are constantly changing. You’re always going to be making it better and finding things that work better or don’t work as well and changing things out. As you’re talking about this on one hand I’m going all right, let’s get this all out there. There’s the 8 pieces, the niche, the hosting, the lead capture page, the autoresponder sequence, sales page, blog, membership site and traffic. I like how you put it get that up there, but then on the other hand I feel overwhelmed. I feel it’s so much to do, where do I start, how do I get it done and I know you’ve got a system for doing that.
The gear I want to shift to really quick is one of the things when I first started taking classes from you and that I started learning from you was this whole idea of chunking things down into a bite-sized piece and your whole productivity method. What I like about the way that you talk about productivity is first of all, everything’s measurable and second of all, you know if it’s helping out your business, so can you talk … If somebody’s listening out there and they’re like I want to do what Robert’s saying. I’m going to get these 8 pieces up, oh, my gosh, I’m so overwhelmed, I’m right back to where I started. How does your productivity system and even managing your day-to-day activities help solve this problem?
My productivity system, I guess our productivity system keeps it simple and it’s called 4 Daily Tasks. That system basically means that every day you need to complete and not just work on, chip away, do some of, complete 4 tasks, so 4 milestones that are directly related to your business and related to you on your phone, on your tablet, or on your computer. We’re not saying that you say task number 1, go get coffee. Task number 2, use the bathroom. Task number 3, take a shower. Task number 4, make a webpage. We say that … There are all these steps in the Income Machine and people might be overwhelmed and you might be used to doing things in parallel and not in series.
In parallel, that means if you have these eight things to do the employee mindset tells you I’m going to shave off 5% off the niche. I’ll figure out 5% of the web post. I’ll figure out 5% of the webpage and if you do it that way you’ll never finish. If you put all of your focus into what is my niche and domain name going to be and you don’t even think just yet about what your blog will look like, what your membership site will look like, what autoresponder message is, right now the only thing to figure out is what am I going to decide on for this thing called my niche.
We go and look at and we decide what skills and activities am I good at? What are people looking around for on the Internet or on forums? What competitors are out there? All I’m concerned about is just what that niche will be and just that domain name. I’m not thinking about getting business cards printed. I’m not thinking about getting graphics made. I’m not thinking about renting office space. The only focus is on just that niche and domain name. The natural tendency is to either think like an employee or to think like an artist because that’s another trap when it comes to working for yourself and being an entrepreneur is people think that they don’t have a process. Yes, you do. There’s definitely some checklist that people go through when they decide on what their niche is, what their domain name is. When they make a sales letter there’s for sure a set of steps that you take from having nothing to having something.
By realizing that in any given day we probably only do 4 things then every day we just complete 4 tasks and one is a simple 15-minute task and then the remaining 3 are 45-minute tasks. They’re spaced throughout the day and we take breaks and things like that. If someone is overwhelmed by all these 8 things then the first thing, the only thing to focus on right now is just what is your niche and what is your .com address going to be. Depending on how skilled or advanced you are with Internet marketing or computer stuff you might have a lot of really crazy tasks. Maybe if you’re new or if you found that your business just isn’t what you thought it was going to be a year ago and if it just hasn’t been growing at the speed you want it to or maybe you’ve been burned out then you need to separate out or chunk down your tasks better.
Even if today, if all you figured out was I need to find a niche, so maybe if one of your tasks today was to maybe list out 10 things that you’re good at and then your next task would be to go and find 10 competitors in your niche. Then the third task would be to list out 10 hooks or angles that your future product could use to solve a problem. Not even thinking about too many details, but just what’s the [inaudible 00:24:10] people need to know how to trade some simple stocks, how am I going to solve that problem. Then number 4 could be let me list out 10 possible .com domain names, so I can figure out what my website’s going to be.
If you did just those 4 things today or tomorrow and nothing else then you would make a heck of a lot more progress than the average entrepreneur. That means that if you just went through that really slow pace, even at that slow pace you’d be done in about a week. Even if it came time to something scary later on like a sales letter, [inaudible 00:24:46] say I go to some big long webpage and by the way a good example of that is at IncomeMachine.com. There’s all these real crazy webpages and people fall into the same trap. I got to write all this stuff, I got to figure out all this formatting, I got to figure out fonts and colors, got to go get a merchant account.
Instead if we said what if for your 4 tasks 1 task was just to get a blank webpage on there. Even just that alone is some progress. Task number 2 could be to put a headline on there. You might think that’s silly and simplistic, but at least if you did that you would have something that’s then complete. If step number 3 was to put up a payment button where someone could pay you and even if you don’t know yet how to make a membership site and things like that what if you just had a button where someone paid you $10. If you saw an email come in for $10 you clicked on reply and shot him off the PDF report or shot him off a link to the video.
At least that would be progress and then for your fourth and final task I guess you could say let me list out maybe even just 3 or 4 reasons why someone would want to buy this product from me, 3 or 4 bullet points. I think once again to answer your question I think that people fall into all kinds of traps that they think too far ahead, they get too crazy, and they try to do everything in parallel because it’s fun. Like ooh, I’m going to figure out my domain, I’m going to figure out my blog, I’m going to figure out autoresponder sequence and it’s just a better way of thinking is to assume that your toilet’s going to backup right now and that you’ll be busy the rest of the day.
Get the most important stuff knocked out first, get the most important stuff knocked out early especially because to go off on a little tangent there’s a chemical in your brain that wears off during the day. It’s responsible for your decision-making process which is why a lot of crimes are committed at night because you start the day with the best of intentions and you could make a lot of quick decisions, but as time goes on, the longer you’re awake it wears off. What if you woke up, you knocked out some 4 tasks, you’d have the rest of the day to do whatever the heck you wanted.
Yeah, and what I love about the way that you put that is a couple of things. First of all, it’s a thing that we used to call in IT and corporate America degrees of doneness. When your boss says to you is that done? The answer’s always yes to the boss, but the real answer’s always no. You’re always working on something and what I love about the 4 Daily Task System is everything is 100% done when you complete the tasks. Like you said get a webpage up. It’s done, now there’s a blank page up. Put a headline on there. Now it’s done and you end up without all of this clutter in your head and you’re constantly moving forward to your goal.
The second thing that comes to mind as you’re talking about this is it gets rid of overwhelm and what people … We always hear online I got bright shiny object syndrome. It’s like but if you just focused on the task at hand that wouldn’t come up. If you know you’ve got these 8 things that you got to get done in order to get your online business online and you’re picking the niche, don’t worry about your membership site because you’re just picking your niche. It keeps you focused, it keeps you moving forward and I absolutely love this.
Robert, you’ve talked about all kinds of things from the difference between being an employee, working for somebody else and the things that are important and moving you forward which I think that everybody should take to heart exactly what you need in order to have an online business. More importantly how to get through those steps and how to manage your day, so that you don’t get overwhelmed, you do get things going. If somebody wants to find out more about your systems, more about how to get this thing online where can people find out more about you?
They can find my blog at RobertPlank.com and if you want to set up your own Income Machine, if you want to buy something from us, from you and me, then they can go to IncomeMachine.com as well. You know what, too, one real quick thing here, Lance. You mentioned corporate America terminology and degrees of doneness. The other thing that comes to mind is feature creep where people say I got to make a webpage, I got to get a shopping cart, I got to add a countdown timer. We want to avoid feature creep and IncomeMachine.com avoids feature creep and gets us to the minimum viable product. You can have a webpage that’s ugly, not perfect, could be better, but as long as it’s beginning to make money then that’s somewhere we can go from there, so RobertPlank.com and IncomeMachine.com.
Awesome. I love it, thanks for being here today. Everybody right now go check out RobertPlank.com, one of the best marketing and business blogs on the Internet. Also, check out IncomeMachine.com. You get all of the templates, you get all of the stuff, you get everything that you need plus handholding in order to get your online business set up. As always we always appreciate you listening to each and every episode of The Lance Tamashiro Show. Make sure you subscribe, make sure you leave a review, make sure you tell your friends about it and we’ll talk to you on the next episode of The Lance Tamashiro Show. Bye now.