PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
This week, Pete and Dom discuss some of the lessons learned from Pete’s recent consulting sessions, and Pete highlights some interesting common issues that he identified after talking to many members of the Preneur Community one-to-one.
Pete has a couple of consulting/strategy session spots available – email support [at] preneurgroup [dot] com for more details.
Pete and Dom discuss about lessons that you can get from consulting sessions
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Clarity and Distraction
Dom Goucher: Welcome, everybody, and welcome to this week’s PreneurCast with him, Pete Williams, and me, Dom Goucher.
Pete Williams: Hello, everyone. Hope you’re having a fantastic day, an awesome week, and a good start to 2014.
Dom: Indeed, welcome, everyone. Welcome to this very interesting episode. We’re going to talk this week about some of the lessons that Pete learned from his recent batch of consulting calls that he’s been doing with members of the Preneur Community, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But before we do that, Pete, what’s been going on this week?
Pete: Another crazy week. Had a couple of Half Ironman races in the last two weeks, which is a bit challenging. I’m kind of putting my SEO hat back on a little bit, to be honest, in the telco business. In Infiniti [Telecommunications]and Simply [Headsets], we took our eye off the ball a little bit when it comes to SEO, and just needed to get back on to it, working through the 7 Levers regularly. We’re now back at traffic as a focus, focusing on the SEO world, looking at backlinking and on-page optimization, and all that fun stuff that comes with the world of SEO, the ever-changing world of SEO.
Dom: Yeah, it’s a very small group of people that actually call that fun, Pete. But you’re absolutely right. We’ve gone around the 7 Levers back to looking at traffic, and search engine traffic is definitely a source for you. I’m sure there are other sources that your traffic comes from.
Pete: Oh, absolutely.
Dom: Yeah, so it’s just one of the traffic sources. Coincidentally, that’s also what I’ve been doing this week — consulting with a client on their website. In my case, you say you’ve got the on-page stuff settled down. I don’t know, you went through a big series of split tests and all that technical stuff to get that sorted out. But it was the basic structure, architecture of the site and the on-page, as you call it, that I was consulting about this week as well. So that’s a bit of a coincidence.
Pete: There you go, mate.
Dom: We’ve done similar stuff.
Pete: We’ll pick your brain and see what other stuff you have. The challenge for us, which is exciting. is that we sell phone systems. It’s not the most exciting or sexiest thing in the world. It’s not an amazing topic for content marketing or for social sharing, or the buzz words that are SEO these days. It’s a bit more of a challenge for us to generate those quality backlinks with substance and quality (I guess, is another word I used a few times there), but that’s what it comes down. It’s been cool. It’s been interesting. Maybe we can come up with some really cool ideas, and we’ll share them on the blog or in the podcast.
Dom: Yeah, that would be cool. I think we might have to explain some of those acronyms that we’ve been throwing about.
If you’ve been out training, I’m sure you’ve been out listening to another book.
Pete: As always, absolutely.
Dom: What’s this week’s choice, then?
Pete: I’ve quite gone a bit old-school. It’ not a new book by any stretch of the imagination. It’s quite a few years old. It’s Fooled by Randomness, which is written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and I hope I pronounced his name correctly. He’s written a number of books in this vein. The topic is all about randomness. Is stuff really predictable, or is the world more random that we expect? And can you predict randomness? It’s very, I want to say ‘esoteric,’ but I’m not quite sure if that’s the correct word to use.
But it’s really been interesting. He’s got a financial background and used this philosophy to trade the markets. His basic philosophy is that things are less predictable than we really believe. We always try to use hindsight to justify that it was or could have been predicted, but in fact it was just a random occurrence that happens very often in the world.
A lot of the very smart people that I respect quote him quite a bit and refer to his work, so I thought it’s about time I delve in and get a better understanding of that. That’s Fooled by Randomness. His book after that was The Black Swan, and then there was another book a couple of years ago which I can’t remember the title, but which I’ll get to eventually.
Dom: The Black Swan, I think is the more famous or more widely read among his books.
Pete: Yeah. I decided on this stuff at this time. Fooled by Randomness, I believe, was the first book in this trilogy, for want of a better term. So I thought I’ll start with that and try and grow the understanding and the thought process in line with having developed it from a publishing perspective.
Dom: Cool. So there you go, exercising your brain as well as your body.
Pete: That’s it.
Dom: Folks, as always, we mention audiobooks because we find a great way to consume this kind of stuff, especially if you’re out and about like Pete and I are. Audible is the place we get our audiobooks from. They’ll be a link, in the show notes, to the book that we just mentioned.
But also, if you’re a PreneurCast listener, you can get a free trial with Audible. That means you can download any book for free if you haven’t already got an account. You can sign up for that at AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast. Again, link in the show notes, folks. Don’t sweat about it if you are currently out jogging, you’re listening to us, or walking the dog, or whatever you do. But do check that out, AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast. Check it out and get your free, well, whatever you want to listen to, really.
Pete: Absolutely. Any of the books we recommend are available on there. They have a huge selection. It’s great.
Dom: Oh, by the way, folks, we have to start to put the direct links to the audiobook in show notes, as well as the physical book, just to help you find that and get on with it if it’s available. There you go.
There we are, Pete. Back to this week’s topic, which is a little bit of a review, but more of a focus, I think, on some of the things that you picked up, some of the commonalities that you picked up on when you did your recent series of consulting calls.
Pete: Yeah. It’s been interesting. January was a lot of fun. We did these for a couple of reasons. To provide a little bit of context and to not spend too much time on it — inside the [Preneur] Platinum Group for Advisory Board members in late November, early December, this topic came up. We spent a bit of time chatting about one of the sessions, and a lot of people got a lot of value and aha moments from the clarity and the direction that took place.
So what I decided to do was to open up my calendar in January and offer 15 one-hour consulting sessions to people in the Preneur Community, outside the Advisory Board or Platinum Group. It ended up being about 18 or 19 because I kept saying yes to people who begged me to do a session, which was all fine.
There’s probably three or four clear commonalities between a lot of these people as I was trying to get direction for 2014. The whole premise of the sessions was to come on and spend an hour with me, really dissecting their business, their business model, working out what those 7 Levers were in their business, and most importantly, what the low-hanging fruit was for each one of those levers so they can have a clear action plan at least for the next 14 weeks. So they can spend two weeks on each lever. At the end of those 14 weeks, once they put in the work, they have effectively doubled the profit of their business.
It’s all about what is the low-hanging fruit in their business that they can increase each lever by the 10% goal and double the business. For so many people, getting that clarity and that clear direction path of action was a huge win for them so much, going through that process, repeating it throughout the year, and continuing to double the profit of the business. It was really cool. That was the purpose of the sessions, to give that clarity and direction and that focus for a lot of people.
Dom: I think the important point, before you go any further, is you said that this idea about the 7 Levers, and about going, stepping through, picking a lever — traffic, opt-in, conversion, etcetera, and spending a period of time focusing on it. As you said, where all this came from was from the Platinum Group, where we were talking to people.
If you are focusing a period of time on something, if you don’t have clarity on what it is you’re focusing on, then you struggle to achieve your goal. It’s absolutely vital to have that clarity of what each of those 7 Levers is going to be about, before you start. Just to add that in, just to remind people, we say go through the 7 Levers, focus once a week or focus two weeks, but it’s even more important to have a higher-level focus, right?
Pete: Absolutely, you need that framework and that filter we talk about so often. It is the foundation of everything we do in our businesses and projects, and everything we really help the consulting and advisory clients focus on when they want to grow their business and do so very successfully.
The one thing, before we get into all of that, I want to talk about something that really stood out for a lot of these calls. Not every single one, but for quite a few, particularly for the people in the internet marketing community and in the very small, early-stage start-up type scenario. They’re wanting to do something along those lines or even becoming a consultant. I found that for a lot of these people, the motivation was very similar, which I found interesting.
A lot of people were going into this ‘entrepreneurial venture’ as a means to supplement their existing income and fundamentally (for want of a better term) pay off their credit card in that they wanted some extra income. They had some debts they need to pay off. They just needed the income. So they’re delving into this world of entrepreneurialism to do that.
We touched on it a little bit in the conversations. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time doing it. But it really tied back into a series of essays that I wrote recently, and there’s some more to come and possibly a book, about these Foundations of Wealth. Because I found, a lot of people, they didn’t have the really good wealth foundations or building blocks, or personal-finance habits.
For a lot of people, it really was saying, let’s put this business stuff aside for a moment and work out what are you trying to do? What’s the real immediate goal you’ve got? For a lot of them, it was, “I need $5,000 in the next couple of months.” And the quickest way to get $5,000, or $2,000, or $1,500 is not writing an eBook, setting up an account with Amazon and CreateSpace, publishing the Kindle version, trying to get traffic, starting a blog, building a community, guest posting, driving traffic to that eBook, making sales, paying Amazon 30%, and then taking the commission at the end of the day. That’s a lot of work to make a couple of grand. You’ve got to learn a lot along the way.
Some of the advice I gave some people, which really resonated and which I’m excited about, was how about we do an apprenticeship? Let’s learn some marketing skills. Let’s learn some business skills in a much more sensible way to get you to that goal quicker. For example (and there’s a big essay on the blog about this), one of the best things you can be doing right now is learning how to copywrite while selling all the crap that’s in your garage that you’ve wasted money on and built that credit card debt up spending, and sell those old skis, that jet ski, those old books, bits and pieces, on Gumtree or eBay or Craigslist?
You get to learn to hone your copywriting skills, which you’ll use in your entrepreneurial venture as you grow that side of your life. But it’s going to get you an immediate cash return in a much quicker, much more sensible way than trying to start a business to make that money.
For a lot of people, that gave them a lot of clarity and a lot of freedom to go, you know what, there’s too much overwhelm with this business stuff, I’m just going to do that, and I’ll achieve my immediate goal of paying off that credit card or helping with the school fees, or whatever they need that income immediately for. That was really cool to see. That’s what I’m working towards a little bit, maybe this year, which you’ll hear more about. It was really cool to feel that pain point in the community and help address that.
Dom: I just want to say that you did call me to look around when you went on your little diatribe about the eBook thing. I expected a lightning bolt to come from the lords of internet marketing and strike us both down. But you’re absolutely right. I think that one of those things about taking the responsibility, these people came to you, they put their business models in front of you, and your experience, your knowledge, your perspective really helped them.
I’ve seen some of the feedback from some of these people. And sometimes, you need somebody to come in and say something like, okay, maybe eventually you might make some money or even possibly a business out of that. But that’s not what’s going to solve your problem in the short term. Selling stuff you don’t need probably will. As you said, it’s a good little side thing. I do recommend people have a look at that article, I’ll link to it in the show notes. But just before we do get struck by lightning, I’m going to move you along.
Pete: Cool. There was fundamentally three business commonalities that I also saw from these sessions, which I got a lot of value out of it and I know the community did too.
First thing was that a lot of people didn’t have clarity on their offer. The very first question I want to ask people is, what is your core offer? What is it you do? What is the core thing that you are trying to do a business upon? Some of the waffle and the confusion, and the answers people gave was very enlightening for everyone.
That if someone can’t give an elevator pitch (and it’s a term that I hate, this ‘elevator pitch’), but if you can’t really clearly articulate what is it that you do, you’re going to have problems sitting down at your desk and actually doing something. Because a lot of people either A) couldn’t really get clear on what it is that they want to do, B) couldn’t really articulate what the core part of all their offerings was, or C) had too many contradicting offerings.
For example, one person, I want to teach X, Y, Z. Let’s use the example of I want to be a meditation consultant. I want to teach meditation. I really believe I can help people learn to meditate, but I want to build a business around this. So they had a local practice where they were doing meditation classes. They had an online eBook about meditation. They had started a membership site about meditation. They also had a MagCast just started, a digital magazine about meditation, and they’re trying all these different things.
I’m like, “Okay, what’s the core thing you want to do?” And they’re like, “Well, I want to do it all.” Hang on, you’ve got so many balls in the air here. You are like that person on the carnival, or on the variety TV show back in the day where they’re spinning all these plates, and they’re running from plate to plate to plate, to plate, to make sure nothing falls down and smashes, and not really doing anything well. People had a lot of time getting clarity, really articulating, what is the main thing you sell? What are the subsidiary things? I’ll get to that a bit more in a moment.
And the last thing was, people just had this ‘shiny object’ syndrome. Any sales letter that hit their desk, they had purchased. They’re going to be doing a webinar series with guests to basically build these lists because they thought the thing that they needed was a list. They had this webinar software, and were going to be driving all these JVs to come on and do these group webinars. Basically scrape those people’s community’s lists so they build their own list.
I’m like, “Okay, that’s great. What are you going to do with this list?” They said, “Well, I’m going to sell my stuff.” I said, “That’s great. But are the people you’re getting on going to have the right audience that you want, and is that audience going to want to buy your stuff? Because the guests you’re talking about are completely different to the community you’re trying to build. So, are you just building a list for the sake of building a list, or are you building a list to progress your business?” For so many people, what’s interesting is that they had this goal to build a list, not build a business. There’s a lot of breakdown between those two things.
Dom: Can I just interject there?
Pete: Yeah, please.
Dom: You’ve absolutely hit the nail so square on the head from my own personal experience and people I talked to. If I talk to people about actual business — I come at it from the other side, which is a lot of work I do is for promoting things. A lot of the digital media stuff that I do, the digital marketing, consulting, it’s like, so what are we promoting?
One of the best things I ever saw, and I’ve said this a hundred times I’m sure, but it’s one of my all-time recommended books, which is Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid. In there, he has a little paragraph, and it’s worth the book just for this, these little fill-in-the-blanks, which is: ‘I do this for these people in this way.’ It forces you to be clear on your offer and who you’re offering it to. And the number of people who can’t answer that question but carry on forwards, and the example that you gave, is spot on. So they don’t know what they’re selling or whom they’re selling it to. But the next thing on their list is, I need a list?
So they go and find a list. And as you say, if you ask them, “Why are you going to that joint venture partner? Why are you asking that person to join you on a webinar,” or, “Why you are trying to buy that e-mail list?” They’ll say, “Because I need the list.” The clarity is just already gone at that point. They’re working towards something that they don’t know why they’re working towards it.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely.
Dom: It’s really resonating with me so far.
Pete: Awesome, cool. So that’s one of the big things that stood out during these conversations. And then, moving on from that, the next road block that I saw, some of the people went through — we jumped that hurdle, and then hit another road block. Some people had the first hurdle completely removed and out of their way, and the friction point they hit was this next road block, which was too many business units. They had too many plates in the air.
The way I describe this to a lot of people is that fundamentally, every business, from a very high-level perspective, has three elements. It has a conversion engine, which is the thing you sell and the way you sell it. It might be an eBook. It might be consulting services. It might be an app. It might be software as a service, SaaS-type delivery platform online.
And each one of those conversion engines, each one of the things that you sell that generates revenue for a business, needs to have a few elements to it. It needs to have a marketing campaign. So you have the conversion engine, which is powered by the marketing that needs to be done — blogging, guest posting, podcasting. You have the marketing campaign driving the conversion engine.
And then you have the delivery platform. How do you deliver on that promise once the person has paid you? Do you do time for money consulting? Do you have a membership site? Do you have an application you need to code to make sure it doesn’t break? Do you have staff? So, you have the delivery platform.
Fundamentally, you have marketing, conversion engine, delivery platform. And what I found, talking to all of these people — so they had an eBook. They have to have a marketing campaign for that eBook. So they were blogging, they were guest posting. They were trying to get guest slots on podcasts to talk about their eBook. Then they had to work out and have their account at Amazon CreateSpace, be able to deliver that eBook. That’s great.
But then at the same time, they tried to start a membership site. That membership site needed all the delivery platform technology. They had to work and how to use Kajabi or Market ProMax or OptimizePress, and do a membership site on that and have a payment gateway plugged in. That’s all fine. But they also had to then figure out how they were going to market that membership site.
And on the side, they also want to do some consulting, some local business consulting, maybe. They needed to have time-for-money in the calendar-type appointments. They needed to work out and write a sales letter to sell that consulting thing, and they needed to do some marketing to drive that consulting. Then they also had an iPhone app for a really cool idea they had, which is an awesome idea.
So they need to have the conversion engine, which is most likely the apps sitting in the iTunes Store. You need an Apple account and understand how that platform works. Then the delivery platform was deal with outsourcers and coders to make sure the app works. Any time there’s a bug fix, maybe they can manage the outsourcer and get it done efficiently and effectively. Then they need a budget and time to market the app. They need to go out and get reviews of the app, and drive traffic to the iTunes Store.
When you look at this, they consider it all, prior to our conversation, was considering that running a business. But when you break it down and look at all these different things from the perspective — from marketing, conversion engine, delivery platform, each one of those is a separate business unit. You end up having 20 balls in the air. No wonder you can’t achieve anything. When Monday morning, you’re trying to write a blog post for your eBook; Tuesday afternoon, you’re trying to get guest posting opportunities from other blogs to promote your magazine; Friday afternoon, you’re doing interviews for people’s podcasts to talk about your consulting gig; and then Wednesdays and Saturdays, you’re trying to deal with outsourcers to code your application.
When you really break it down and take a moment to write out each of these things, it’s really enlightening. I really encourage everyone to stop, grab a pen and paper, and do a whole bunch of circles down the middle of your page horizontally. Write in each one of those circles, what is it that generates revenue for your business? What are the different things you have half-done, trying to have done, are out there in a half-assed way, out there working really well, absolutely killing it.
Each one of those circles needs to be a different conversion engine that you have in your business: eBooks, consulting, sales letters, apps, magazines, membership sites, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And that’s fine. If you write each one of those out in a horizontal fashion, down in the middle of your page, and then you go up a level and draw as many circles as you need, or as you have to, to facilitate what you’re trying to do to market each one of those conversion engines.
For your app, you might have four little marketing circles: you’re trying to do guest posts, get reviews. And also, underneath it, write what are the delivery platforms that each one of those conversion engines requires you to maintain, manage, and deliver on. You’ll be surprised of how messy your piece of paper gets, how overwhelming it gets, and the clarity you get when you look at the piece of paper with 37 circles on there, and you can only see two circles you’ve done well.
No wonder 2013 was a headache, and had overwhelmed, and was full of distractions, and unfortunately not progressing your business in the speed that you want. That was a big eye-opener and friction-remover (for want of a bad analogy or a bad term) that a lot of people got from these calls. They couldn’t get to themselves by trying to do these themselves. They kept hitting that brick wall themselves.
Having that clarity of me working through this with them was really cool because we were able to get my iPad on, sharing it through Skype so people can see my iPad screen. I had my [Adonit] jot pen, which we spoke about in the awards show the other week because it’s a great stylus. I was drawing these things, as I was quizzing them, and questioning them, and delving, and supporting them on these calls. You can hear their voice change, the tonality change throughout the conversations. They started to realize what the hell they built themselves, and how many spinning plates they had tried to maintain.
Dom: The one thing that sprung into my mind right then was you said that they thought they were running a business when, really, as far as I am concerned, they were just running.
Dom: There’s no other way to describe it if you think about the example you gave was the guy, the showman spinning the plates. I imagined it was quite difficult for him to make a living being the guy being paid to run around and spin plates. But unless these people are in the same business, they may need to stand back and realize that’s all that they’re doing.
They try to make money being impressive at spinning plates. Looking at these things from the outside, I’m sure — I meet people like this. You go up to them and you say, “How are you doing?” “I’m really busy.” We all know people like that, don’t we?
Pete: The answer is always, “Well, it’s a good problem to have.”
Dom: But yeah, the thing you’re describing, the thing you’re trying to visualize is a visual thing, but is an excellent exercise. As we always say with the 7 Levers, every part of your business has its own funnel. Every part of your business has its own funnel. And each one of these things, whether it’s an eBook, a magazine, a membership site, the consulting calls — each one of them has their own funnel. If you were to draw them out as vertical columns on a piece of paper, even if you only did one traffic activity, one opt-in activity or one opt-in action, one conversion, etcetera, that’s still multiple times seven things that you’ve got to keep an eye on, right?
Pete: Yup, exactly.
Dom: I’ll put a link in the show notes, but this really speaks back, another angle of this is looking at it from something we talked about a long time ago which is serial versus parallel. If you’re trying to do each one of these things — heaven forfend, you’ve got five things on the go, and you spend one day on traffic, that’s either one-fifth of the day looking for traffic for five things, or five days in a row looking for five different kinds of traffic. It’s still a massive dilution of your time.
Pete: This is something that we spoke about on a couple of the calls, and I’ve emphasized this really bad plate-spinning analogy. If you think about, back to your childhood where you might have seen some of these videos, or go to YouTube and try and find some plate-spinning. What they do, these guys have a system that they follow to make 13 plates spin. They get the first plate spinning beautifully, then they get the second plate spinning. Then, they go back to that first plate and make sure it’s still spinning beautifully. They do that over and over again.
They don’t go, “I’ve got two plates here. I’m going to try to get both plates spinning at the same time. And I don’t do the next plate until every previous plate is humming along beautifully in a system.” Then they go, “Now I know these are working, and I’ll start spinning a new plate.”
But so many people in business, they’re like, all right, I’m going to try and half-ass a plate-spin and move to the next one. I wonder why it fell off the stick and broke? It isn’t common sense. Most people when they look at it, they can see that it doesn’t make sense and it’s not intelligent, but you still get caught up in that. You need someone to help you see the forest for the trees sometimes, I guess,
Dom: I would say so. It reminds me, there was a TV show a while ago that used to be on. It was all of an age, these kinds of things. You would get that thing on the show called The Generation Game, where the contestants on the game show will try and copy somebody who was a professional. The favorite one was always a plate-spinning because there is a system to everything.
In that case, the example you gave, it was a guy working through it systematically in a serial manner. What an amateur would do, would look at it, think it looks easy, and go and try and spin all six plates. If they just go straight to spinning one, and then moving on to the next one, they could probably pull off maybe two or three at one go. But it takes years and years of practice to spin like three, four, five, and six.
Bringing this back full circle to the reality of it, which is that you still need to be running a business. Then if all you’re doing is literally running around trying to keep traffic coming in, you’re not concentrating on the other six levers on each of those funnels.
Pete: That’s where we got to in most of these calls, which is giving people that clarity and that direction of moving forward. The next step was about looking at this from the 7 Levers perspective and going, let’s mold everything you’ve got into one, or if at a stretch, two models, two different business units. If all your eBook, MagCast, and others in the air that you’ve got up there in the same space, in the same niche, each trying to complement each other, why don’t you put them in an order that makes sense?
Right now, you might have an eBook on Kindle that’s selling $7 a month. Really? Is that adding any value to the bottom line of your business? No. Pull it off Amazon and put it as your opt-in drive, your opt-in gift in your 7 Levers funnel. Turn it away from being a revenue generator. Take it out of being that conversion engine tool that generates revenue for your business, and move it into a place that can add value to the bottom line of your business by significantly increasing the opt-ins of your business’s 7 Levers.
Say this book used to sell on Amazon for $15, I’m now giving it away for free if you opt-in with your e-mail address here. That is going to provide your business a lot more revenue, a lot more impact for your bottom-line profit than selling it for $7 in total profit a month on Amazon.
We really got clarity on all of these. We’ll move this here, we’ll move that there. It gave people that direction, that clarity they needed to go, this is my business. These are the 7 Levers. Let’s work these two things in together. Out of all of things I’m doing that’s driving traffic right now, how do I continue to improve that and drive it to an opt-in of value, which might be this eBook that we’ve moved from a revenue platform to an opt-in platform.
Then, what is the conversion we’re doing here? Maybe for some people, they really like doing these consulting calls. Well, do a lot more consulting calls, and do them free or cheap or cost-effectively. That can be your thing that drives conversions because your sales letter copywriting sucks. Just do five, six, 10 consulting sessions a week for half an hour, and use those sessions to sell people into your higher programs.
Those things gave people lot of clarity. Here is your business. Here is everything in the air. Let’s mold it. Let’s shape it into a very clear, definable structure that is the 7 Levers framework. That becomes the framework for you to do your actions every week. “Next week, I’m going to be working on conversions. I clearly know that my business is based on converting this thing this way. I’m going to work on improving that.”
It also then gave people a lot of clarity as a filter. We spoke about this before on the show. I don’t want to harp on this, but moving forward in your business, next time a cool tool or product or thing comes across your desk, you can look at it not in the context of the sales letter that is accompanying the product, but in the context of your 7 Levers.
One of the examples we spoke about in a couple of these calls was MagCast. Some people last year loved the idea of MagCasting, publishing magazines digitally on Apple’s Newsstand and on Android and places like that. They jumped on the opportunity, which we supported. They were doing it as a revenue source. That’s what the sales letter was all about. It’s a great way to generate and make money, which is fine. But, to do that, you have to market the magazine, drive traffic to the iTunes Store, convert those people, blah, blah, blah.
But based on your business, there’s a number of different ways you could use a MagCast with a very clear 7 Levers filter. It could be a traffic source. You usually get other people to contribute to a magazine and publish a magazine very cost-effectively, very quickly in the iTunes Store, and use the iTunes Store as a traffic generator. That’s all. You give away magazines for free. It’s not designed to make money. It’s not meant to be a conversion engine for your business. It’s just a traffic generator.
You can have, inside the magazine, opt-in forms. The beautiful thing with digital magazines is they’re interactive. So you can have an opt-in form inside your magazine. Therefore, there’s now a conversion engine for you. Maybe, for other people, they’ll say, “Hang on, why do you sell a magazine at $50 a month?” Make it a really high-price magazine. For you and your business, that is your delivery platform. You use that to deliver the content.
So, it’s not a marketing tool. It’s not even a conversion tool. It’s something you give people after the fact as a delivery tool. You may give them free coupons as a stick product. You’re not really aiming to sell any magazines at $50 a month, it’s just a perception that you can create very cost-effectively that you can give coupons to your high-end clients as a stick strategy to keep them around because they feel like they’re getting this $50 magazine for free every single month.
Or could it be your core business. It could be the core revenue source for your business. That doesn’t matter. But you can hopefully quickly see there, Dom, that there’s a number of different ways you could use a magazine and a MagCast if you understand it in the context of the 7 Levers filter. eBooks are the same, consulting is the same. Depending on your business and your model and your 7 Levers structure, there’s a bunch of different places and ways you can fit in that tool.
It’s important moving forward in 2014, 2015, and whenever you’re listening to this, to sit down and go, this is my business. These are the 7 Levers of my business. These are the core things for each one of these levers, and I’m going to use these as my structure, as my to-do list, as my filter for everything that comes across my desk in the next 10, 11, 12, three, six, whatever period of time, months.
That was one of the biggest takeaways for, I think, everyone on these consulting calls. They got a lot of confidence and clarity that they know, over the next eleven months of this year, this is what they’re working on. This is it. There are no distractions. Something comes across their desk, they don’t have to be overwhelmed and distracted by it. They can just use this framework as a filter and say, “If I was going to implement this in my business, where would it fit, and how would I use it without getting distracted by the sales letter?” And the results are in. The four or five weeks, people having this clarity has been phenomenal, which has been so cool.
Dom: I have to say, you mentioned stuff we say a lot. You talked about filters. There was something that you missed off of your list of things, and it’s one of my favorite phrases, which is, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’ In the case of filtering and clarity, some of these people will have things that they’ve been focusing on and putting energy into, that just don’t fit. They’re not supporting the business. They might have seen it as a business opportunity, but every business opportunity that you see that isn’t part of the core business, that primary offer that you have, your conversion engine or whatever, if it isn’t part of that or supporting of it, then it’s diluting your primary effort.
You need to filter that, be careful with that. I think your examples of how to bring those parallel things into a coherent stream, a single funnel or maybe two, is a great thing for people to think about and focus on. If they find themselves in this fragmented way, and they have already invested in the platforms or this publication, I think it’s a great way to bring it all back and have a positive, focused direction for this year. These people, as I said, rather than running their business, they’ve just been running in 2013, 2014 is the year for them to focus definitely. But you never underestimate the value of not doing something.
Pete: Absolutely. There you go. That’s the big three or four takeaways from these 15, which turned into 18 or 19, clarity consulting strategy sessions (for want of a better term) that we did the start of the year.
Dom: Cool. I’m now going to officially put you on the spot, sir. Because I absolutely know the question on everybody’s lips, even though we’re recording this. It’s not live, and I can’t hear anyone. But as they’re doing what they’re doing, I can hear them. Are you going to do this again, Pete? Are you going to offer these slots to the community?
Pete: We did speak about this earlier. Yes, in a slightly different way, though. Fundamentally, the offer was made to the community through the e-mail list, and only a small segment of the e-mail list — people who are on the Noise Reduction Newsletter, touched on those people first. That got a lot of response. People who are listening to the podcast probably weren’t aware of the opportunity. So you convinced me to do five more of these sessions.
I run real-world businesses, I’ve got my telco, I’ve got the e-commerce sites, lots of other stuff. So, I don’t have a lot of time on my calendar for these things, but I do really enjoy them. I’m going to have five more of these. They are ridiculously cost-effective. I’ll do the same price point that we did them for earlier this year. I won’t reveal that on the show here. But the price point is literally half of what my normal contracting consulting rates are, so it’s crazy cheap.
If you’re interested, I’m going to do five of them, I can fit five hours in my diary over the next couple of weeks. E-mail support [at] preneurgroup [dot] com if you’re interested in one of these strategy sessions. Then Flo and the team can shoot you through all the details of how they work. They’re all on Skype. The investment, as I said, is pretty cheap. I think it’s going to give a lot of clarity.
We also gave away, which I’ll extend to the podcast community, as well, the 7 Levers Home-Study Course. We sold that for $300, $400 bucks, I think, at one point. That pretty much covers the same cost of the consulting calls. I basically give a consulting call for free, almost, so people can do the maths there really quick.
That would be $400 or $300 for the course. You’ll get a copy of that too, that way, you get clarity and direction from speaking with me. Then you have that support of the program to go through after the fact if you want to delve in a bit deeper at different levers and work out other ways to increase the lever by 10%. That’s there too.
But we’re going to limit it to five because I’ve overstretched last time, and it affected some other stuff I was doing. My own business is much more important to me, unfortunately, so we’ll do five of these calls. Support [at] preneurgroup [dot]com, if you are interested in getting this done on a very personal and intimate level.
Dom: Excellent. Folks, do take Pete up on that. As he said, there are only so many hours in a day. And even though he manages to cram in more than most human beings, there’s a limit. I can vouch, and so can all the people vouch for the value that you can get from spending that time with Pete and getting him to look personally at your business.
Pete: The timing’s worked out well. I’ve got a couple of weeks off training with the two Half Ironmans out of the way. That means less training, which means a little bit more free time. I’m just moving where it goes.
Dom: I’m going to give you a yellow card because that’s twice you’ve mentioned the Ironman in one podcast.
Pete: I’m done.
Dom: Quickly moving on before he talks about more inhuman feats.
Folks, what we like to do is run competitions on the show. Usually, if an author’s been on and they give us some copies of their books, we like to run a competition and let you get hold of a copy of that. At the moment, what we’re doing is just focusing on our award show that we had a couple of weeks ago, 2013 Awards.
My Book of the Year was a rather old book, which was SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham, which I recommend anybody involved in any kind of sales read. It’s not what you think. Listen to the awards show to get a clear idea about the Book of the Year. You can win a copy of that book, a slightly different way of doing that because it’s specific to that show.
If you go back to PreneurMarketing.com and find the post for that show, and I’ll have a link in the show notes if you want to click on the link, leave us a comment about that show. Leave us a comment about your awards, the things that you found most useful in 2013. Or give us some feedback on what you think about the things that we chose. We will pick someone listening now. We’ve got three copies of the book, Pete?
Pete: We do, absolutely. There copies of that book to give away.
Dom: Three people. And we’ll send a copy, wherever you are in the world, of SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. Now, that said, when you’re over at PreneurMarketing.com, do have a look around and leave us a comment on any episode — this, that, or any other episode. You can leave it below the post for the episodes, below the show notes. And every show has its show notes on the blog. It’s also up to you to download the show, if you want to download it to your computer, or listen to it live on there. Links for you to subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloud, and lots of other places.
If you want to leave an audio feedback, there’s a little audio feedback button on the side of the site. We love those. And, if you don’t mind, we will happily feature you on the show. So, do leave us some audio feedback as well. You can always leave us feedback on all different platforms that we’re on: iTunes, SoundCloud, wherever you’re listening to this show. With that said, Pete, let’s wrap it up. What have we got up for next week?
Pete: Awesome conversation with Jon Acuff, author of Start, which was mentioned in our awards show. It’s a fantastic book and really entertaining. It was, to me, Audiobook of the Year. He is a professional speaker, very engaging. And the way he read and articulated and voiced the audiobook was really cool, and such a great, engaging way to do it. We’ve got him on the show to talk a whole bunch of crazy stuff when it comes to publishing books, and starting up businesses, and overcoming friction, and a whole array of just awesomeness as you call it. So stick around for that with Jon next week.
Dom: Excellent. Well, folks, thanks for listening. And we’ll see you all next week.
In honour of the 2013 Awards, we are giving away 3 copies of SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham (one of Dom’s Awards Choices).
To enter this competition, just visit: http://preneurmarketing.com/preneurcast/preneurcast124-2013-awards/ and leave a comment on the post for the awards show. Tell us your vote for any of the categories we listed this year, and feel free to tell us about a something we missed!
Pete’s eBay Copywriting Article – http://preneurmarketing.com/essays/cluttered-chaos-smooth-cash-flow-just-7-days/
Fooled by Randomness – Nassim Taleb
Audible – http://preneurmarketing.com/randomnessaudio
Amazon – http://preneurmarketing.com/randomnessbook
Book Yourself Solid – Michael Port
Audible – http://preneurmarketing.com/booksolidaudio
Amazon – http://preneurmarketing.com/booksolidbook
You can try out a lot of the books we recommend in audio format with Audible:
http://audibletrial.com/preneurcast – Free trial with a free audiobook download for PreneurCast listeners
Previous PreneurCast Episodes:
Episode 124 – 2013 Awards – http://preneurmarketing.com/preneurcast/preneurcast124-2013-awards/
Episode 058 – Serial vs Prallel – http://preneurmarketing.com/preneurcast/preneurcast058-serial-vs-parallel/
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