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 talks to Joe Cross, producer of the film, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead“. They talk about how Joe came to make the movie, the journey he took in filming and promoting it, and the business he has developed around it.
Pete talks to Joe Cross and the journey of having a healthy business
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Healthy Business with Joe Cross
Dom Goucher: Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s edition of PreneurCast with me, Dom Goucher, and him, Pete Williams.
Pete Williams: Hello, hello sir.
Dom: Hello, welcome, everybody. This week, we got a little chat that Pete had coming up for you, with a guy called Joe Cross, who made the most fascinatingly titled film called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, which is quite intriguing. We’re going to be talking about that in a little bit, but before we do that, let’s do the usual round-up. What’s been going on, Pete?
Pete: It’s been a good week or so since we last caught up, and a lot’s been going on. We’re in the process of, you can almost say, ‘jumping on the sales funnel bandwagon.’ There’s been some courses released with some friends of ours recently around sales funnels and the need to automate your sales. Something that occurred to me is that funnily enough, in the Preneur Group side of the enterprises that I have my sticky fingers in, there isn’t any real automated funnels going on.
What’s quite funny is that we have the community, and we make offers to the community and help them grow their business in a number of ways through that, but there wasn’t really a systemized sales funnel going on. Over the time, I [mulled over it], but at the present, there wasn’t. So I started to reinvestigate then start building some out. We’re building out a sales funnel around the outsourcing program that Davey J and I have, with some really cool entry-level products, which I’m super excited about. Doing one around the publicity programs that I’ve had that some of you may have already invested in and had some huge successes with. And also doing one around the MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground] project because I still have a little bit of carpet and some timber and stuff available. We’re going to do one last push, but make it an evergreen launch as opposed to a traditional time-based launch.
Now, I think most people who are part of the Preneur Community would’ve absolutely received the e-mail about how we resold the MCG about three or four years ago with a product launch, and how we did a good five figures in the first hour of sales. We break down that whole launch sequence, the swipe file, the e-mails we used, as well as why we wrote each e-mail the way we did. So there’s some learning in there as well and not just the swipe file. We understand the psychology behind the swipe file. We’ll link up to that video in the show notes as well. So if you are interested in looking and dissecting a launch for a non-information product, it’s definitely worth watching the video and downloading the PDF for that.
But we’re now turning that into an evergreen launch. The sequence is going to be, you opt in to preregister, to own a piece of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. There’s not going to be an exchange of information. It’s not going to be a report or anything like that. It’s simply preregister to have the ability to own a piece of the MCG. We think that that is a good enough exchange of value for the opt-in. Then on the thank-you page, we’re going to make an instant offer (or ‘tripwire offer’ that it’s often known for), a cheap entry-level offer which will be for some certificates with the history of the MCG and a piece of the timber for about $27. Then there’ll be an instant upsell on the back of that to a handcrafted pen made of authentic MCG timber for about $130. Then whether someone takes those upsells or not, they’ll get sent a series of e-mails in an evergreen launch sequence over a six or seven-day period, which will lead up to the ability of that person to invest in the MCG carpet frame, the real pinnacle piece of memorabilia from the MCG.
That’s the high-level funnel that we’re rolling out. We’ll break it down on the blog and show you exactly how that particular funnel is working, how we built it out as we do. But they’re the three big funnels we’re working on at the moment. It’s exciting to see some of these automated stuff and let the team run with these projects as well.
Dom: Cool. As we always say — the initial funnel, the sequence, there are elements of that that we always talk about as part of the 7 Levers. Knowing what your funnel is, is vital. Having some sequence of events (which is the basic terminology we use for a ‘funnel’), it gives you visibility what’s going on, gives you places you can measure, things you can improve. So there’s a lot more to it than, ‘we’re just going to do this.’ There’s always the optimization that we can come back and look at later on, and that’s probably going to be just as interesting as what you do, right?
Pete: Oh, I think so. We should definitely know and, as we’re going to do, we’ll break it down step-by-step on the blog at PreneurMarketing.com. But also, we should do a podcast episode one day about how sales funnels and the 7 Levers tie in together, so people can see how those two frameworks or tools to have a business can integrate and where they do cross. We’ll do that as an episode in a few weeks’ time. We’ve got the rest of the 7 Levers sequence episodes to roll out. There may be episodes that we can come back and talk about how the whole framework fits with the whole framework of a traditional sales funnel.
Dom: That’s a great idea for a show.
Pete: I will note that down.
Dom: Good one.
Pete: What about you, mate? How’s the UK been treating you, because I know you’ve been back there again recently? You basically almost moved back home to the UK and no longer in Spain.
Dom: No, it’s not really that bad. I got bored of the rain and came back.
Pete: Fair enough.
Dom: It’s going great. It’s going great. Doing good stuff, helping clients out. Again, it’s interesting to be involved in other people’s businesses. I know you said before with the consulting work that you do, when you made time for members of the Preneur Community and you’ve done those calls that you do, it’s very interesting to see other people’s businesses. It’s great for me. It’s great to be able to help people. It’s a great feeling to put all the knowledge I’ve got into good use to help other people move their businesses forward. But all the time, I’m learning as well. I’m learning about how other people are doing things, what problems they’re seeing. I’m adding it all to my knowledge, which again, just helps me help the next person. So, it’s great. I do like being in a practical hands-on environment. I’m really enjoying what we’re doing. It’s going quite well, moving forwards.
Oddly enough, sales funnels for that process is something that we’re now looking at, prospecting and things. Slightly different to what you’re talking about, but it still is a sales funnel and we’re looking at those elements. So I think when we come back to the 7 Levers mapping, maybe we’ll look at that as a contrast to the things that you’re talking about.
Pete: It sounds like a fantastic plan as we get that holistic view of how it all ties in together. It can be very cool.
Dom: The other staple of regular updates is what’s on Pete’s reading list.
Pete: Yes, a couple of things the last week I’ve been devouring. Well, the main thing is I’ve been back on the Dan Kennedy bandwagon a little bit the last week, and been listening to his, I think it’s Mailbox Millions program, which was just a recording of an event he did a couple of years ago about offline marketing and doing direct mail and postcard marketing. We’re about to roll out some of those sort of things inside the telco, some offline marketing, so I want to get an idea what Dan’s been doing and what his clients have been doing. It’s quite an interesting program. At least the first couple of hours of content is him basically just showing a whole bunch of effective direct-mail pieces, whether it’s postcards, or lumpy mail, or long-form sales letters. It’s just been this huge swipe file. There’s not a whole lot of what you’d call traditional teaching where he’s on stage lecturing about theories and concepts and constructs. It’s literally, ‘here’s a good thing,’ ‘this is what worked with this,’ ‘here’s another core thing,’ ‘this is why this worked, ‘here’s another cool thing.’ It’s quite interesting to get bombarded with a whole bunch of just different real-world ideas. That’s been taking up a little bit of my time this week.
Haven’t been reading as much or listening as much. Finished off The Art of Learning the other week, and then listened to a conversation between Tim Ferriss and Josh Waitzkin, the author of The Art of Learning. Josh now consults to high-end hedge fund traders, and athletes, and businesspeople about high-performance. One of the things that they covered in their discussion was around meditation. It has been interesting because a couple of other people have spoken about meditation recently. I stumbled across a few other interviews of people — not searching it out, but just coincidental serendipitous-type thing. Russell Simmons, Jerry Seinfeld, a few other good, creative people mentioned in different circumstances that they found meditation helpful for them. So, I’ve been invested in a program and have been going through the steps of a twice daily meditation practice. It’s only been a few days now but that’s been fun, off the back of The Art of Learning.
In terms of this week’s a book recommendation, I’m going to think a little bit different. It’s not a book I’ve consumed yet. So I’m going to recommend something I haven’t actually read, which is very rare, but it’s from an author that I’ve had on the show before, and I do respect and do converse a little bit via e-mail, Ryan Holiday. His new book, The Obstacle Is the Way, which is a book on using stoic principles or stoicism, and applying it to business and success. It has a tie into the whole meditation thing in a lose kind of way. But his new book’s just come out. It’s available on Audible, which is a great sponsor of the show here. So if you want to get a copy of Ryan’s book and you haven’t tried Audible yet, you can get the book for free if you head over to AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast. So AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast. You can get a sample and a taste of what Audible’s all about by listening and downloading the book by Ryan, The Obstacle Is the Way. I’ve heard some really good recommendations from that. I think my next Audible coupon appears in about three or four days’ time, and I’m definitely using that credit to get Ryan’s book and have a listen to that over the next week or so.
Dom: All right. I’m intrigued to see what you get out of that. We’ll probably have a chat about it when you have finished it. I have to say, you came a little bit out of left field there. On the list of things I never expected you to say, “I’m getting into meditation,” is quite high.
Pete: I don’t think that’s that weird for me, to be honest. Particularly, I’m into the vegan-style lifestyle, or trying to be as plant-based as I can, which ties in with our conversation with Joe today. But I wouldn’t have thought meditation’s that much of a stretch. I did yoga quite a bit during university, and meditation was part of that practice and I did it quite regularly. I started yoga for the stretching elements. It was helping my triathlon racing at the time when I was racing more seriously than I am now, and meditation was part of that. Now I really enjoyed it and lost my way, as they say. Yes, looking at getting back into, which has been enjoyable this week.
Dom: Yes, I know. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I have been a very strong supporter, proponent and practitioner of meditation for a long time. But if you look at the two of us, you I would’ve said people would see as the physical person, always on about triathlons and this, and the other. And me, I’m more the cerebral, mental person. Those two personality types traditionally tend to lean in those two directions. But yeah, I know, it’s a great. I’m hoping you’re going to stick with it and I’m hoping you’re going to get benefits from it that certainty I do.
As you said, all this stuff is connected. So let’s just do that really neat segue that we always like to do, back to this week’s core conversation, which is with Joe Cross. Now, there’s a bit of a link in there that you’ve expressed interest in before. It was a very interesting conversation to me, to listen to Joe and the journey that he took. There are a lot of things I picked up out of this. But can you give a little bit of context where this conversation comes from? Because at the beginning of the show, I mentioned he made this film called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. It’s hard to make a bridge between that and the show.
Pete: Sure. Well, I stumbled across this documentary a few years ago now. Joe, as he touches on in our conversation, was overweight, working really hard. Basically, he was fat, he was sick, and he was almost dead. He went on this journey to change his diet through juicing, juicing vegetables and fruits. He was able to help change his life through that, and then decide to go on this little journey and film a documentary about that side of diet and how it can help people. It’s a really amazing documentary in its own right. I highly recommend everyone at least checking it out, not to go vegan. It doesn’t preach a vegan message at all, it just preaches a ‘get more juice in your diet’ message.
And that’s all well and good, but the thing that I wanted to chat to Joe about was that he was a stockbroker in a past life, head of one of Australia’s largest stock broking firm, sold it, became a consultant, and then fell into this documentary. But also, the documentary has had (I’m going to get the stats wrong, but I know Joe and I do cover it in the conversation) like three million downloads, or viewers, or 30 million viewers. It’s a ridiculous number. It just intrigues about how do you make a documentary and get such huge exposure for it? I think most people would know someone who’s at least heard of the documentary or seen it. It has been that popular. It was just intriguing to see how this Aussie guy has taken America and the world by storm, and has written a number of books now, and travels consistently to promote it. It was just seeing the business side of making, monetizing and promoting a documentary film.
Dom: Yes, and we’ll talk a little bit afterwards, as we usually do. But just heads up, folks. This is not Pete and some other guy on some love-in about health food and juicing. It is a conversation about exactly as Pete says. And I enjoyed this because it was about some big things this guy went through. It’s an interesting story and an interesting journey that he’s taken to do something that he wanted to do, and to come out the far end of it with one, he’s made a film, which is an achievement in itself. Anybody out there thinking that they want to achieve something big, this guy has gone and done it. But the lessons he learned, the perspective, it’s just a very, very interesting conversation about that journey, as you say. So with that said, folks, we’ll go over to Pete and Joe Cross.
[Pete’s conversation with Joe Cross starts]
Pete: Joe, thank you so much for joining us, buddy. I know you’ve got a crazy schedule at the moment.
Joe Cross: No, I know. Pete, it’s great to be on the show, mate.
Pete: So San Francisco, down to California, and then continue the journey. Is that the plan?
Joe: That is. I’m in beautiful San Francisco for three more days, or the Bay Area, I should say, doing some public appearances in bookstores for my new book. I’m on the tail end of my book tour. We started in January, and we’re going to wrap up in San Diego end of next week. That’ll take me through right to the middle of April, and it’ll be a wrap. And then I head back to New York to finish up my new movie. So I’ll be back in the edit for a couple of weeks.
Pete: Mate, a lot going on. I’d love to talk about the book tour, because traditional book tours these days aren’t done as much. I know you’re a big believer in traveling to promote stuff, particularly the original documentary, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, which I absolutely loved. It’s probably worth putting everyone in context here, or everything in context. Do you want to explain a bit about documentary and how this whole phenomenon started?
Joe: Sure. Well, I was not well. I was pretty sick, on medication. I wasn’t on my deathbed, but I had a chronic illness. I was taking pills every day, every morning, every night for around eight long years. I was also 145 kilos, which wasn’t helping, and probably needed to be 100, not 145. So I was fat, sick and nearly dead essentially because high blood pressure, high cholesterol and prediabetic. So, I wasn’t looking good at 40. I’ve been focusing on wealth, not health.
I decided to turn my life around and really get back to mother nature, and see what will happen if I just lived on plants for a while. And of course, when I started telling my mates I was going to do this, a few of them said, “You should film it.” So the filming idea came late in the piece. It was after the idea of ‘I’m going to do this.’ It wasn’t like, ‘I need to do a movie, what should I do?’ It was an afterthought. Then once the film got cracking and I started getting into the world of making movies, I realized just how hard it was, how I didn’t know anything about it, and how expensive it is when you don’t know anything about something.
So I learned the hard way. I started that journey in late ’07, and it wasn’t until 2011. So four full years of being committed and really focused on bringing this film to life right from the production, the making of it, the starring of it, the editing, then the marketing, and the packaging and the distribution of it all. I did the whole thing, and that’s on my own. But when I say on my own, without distributors or any additional–
Pete: Yes. Backers, so to speak.
Pete: I think that’s an important lesson, but I want to get into that. You mentioned, prior to the documentary and going plant-based with the drinking, the juicing, which is the real message of the documentary. You go through this journey that you went through, and you traveled through the States trying to preach the message, not in a religious way, but preach the message.
Joe: I would say I don’t try and preach, which is why the movie has been so good.
Pete: Fair point.
Joe: I would say that what I did was I just did my own thing, and didn’t try and preach. I think if anyone in business goes to America and tries to preach, or goes to any country and tries to preach, I think you’d get thrown out. We’ve seen that. All I did was I decided I was going to just do this personal journey. I thought if I’m going to film it, I should go to America where there’s a lot of people in America who might want to watch it. Because Americans aren’t took keen on watching stuff made elsewhere. Whereas, Australians and the British will watch anything any day. So I did that, and then that movie told the story of drinking juice and eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and what can happen.
Pete: And you stumbled across some people on your journey that became the hero of the movie almost, didn’t they?
Joe: Well, yes. I mean, for those people that haven’t seen Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, I don’t want to ruin it, but we meet a truck driver. I met a lot of people, but he called me up six months afterwards and said, “Can you give me a hand?” And at that stage, it was like, “You know what, I promised all these people who would call, I’d help them.” He was the only one out of like 300 who did, so I thought I’ll get back over there and see what we can do. The movie takes a dramatic turn at that moment. It’s been a big, big success both here and internationally around the world. I think we’re up to about 12 million people now that have watched the movie.
Pete: That’s incredible. Is one of the reasons that took so long to develop because you were going down one path, and then six months later the truck driver called you up, and this is a much better hook for the story, and you pivoted and made that change?
Joe: Well, yes and no. You’re 100% right with the first section as to why it took so long. But you see, because I didn’t know how to make a movie — I had a movie made and that was my journey. That was on time, on budget, and ready to roll. And then when Phil called, you see, you don’t know what he’s going to do. I just thought we’ll go and film him and put him into the credits. The original idea was just for a little bit. But then this is where I got the inexperience of not understanding the whole game, is that once you start, it’s hard to stop.
And so, it then took another year of filming. Then, of course, you’ve got 500 hours of footage. You’ve actually got another movie basically. By then, it took another year in the edit to try and work out what to do. A very expensive and costly process that I wouldn’t change for anything, because it’s created the incredible movement and given me a lot of joy. Obviously, my health’s more important than anything and that’s in great shape. But had I known what I know now, Pete, I could’ve done it a little bit more efficiently, mate.
Pete: Well, you mentioned you’ve got another one in the works, which I’m keen to hear about. But before we go down there, even before we go down the conversation of how you created this movement, because I think that word you used is on point. It is such a huge movement with 12 million viewers and the wider community. What were you doing beforehand? You mentioned you were focusing on wealth, not health. You touched on it a little bit in the documentary, what you were doing prior to this, in the past life, so to speak. What was your background?
Joe: I left school at 17. I didn’t do a uni, I didn’t get the marks. I started working as courier in the city of Sydney, couriering stuff around. I was couriering stuff for a merchant bank called Elders Finance, the old days of John Elliott and ELDERS IXL. I used to take stuff down at this school, and I really liked the fact that there were these guys screaming out there and shouting. I thought, “I can do that.” So I really wanted to get a job down there and I’ve got a job pretty quickly. Then I ended up being a runner on the floor instead of a runner around town. I ended up being a trader and a local trader, and one thing led to another. From 17 to 21, 22, I was actually pretty good at making money on the trading floor. So I decided to go out on my own at 22 and became a local member, which means you trade your own account. Twenty-two to 27, I did that.
Then at 28, I started my first company, my first entrepreneurial effort, and I founded a brokerage firm. That brokerage firm went on to become the number one broker by volume and turn over in Australia. Then I sold that company in ’07, just before the crisis. With the proceeds from that investment is what I actually built the movie on and built this company now that I’m on. I did a bunch of other things in between. I did a lot of startups — some worked, some didn’t, some were successful, some weren’t, et cetera. I did some consulting in media. I was just a business guy looking at deals, opportunities, angel investor, entrepreneurial roles in that circle.
Pete: Very cool. So you had one good focus, one good win, and then scratching that entrepreneurial itch in various ways.
Joe: Yes, exactly.
Pete: Nice. What was the biggest thing you think that you can look back on that you went from the trading days and building that business that helped you with the movie and this new movement? Is there any correlation you can think of?
Joe: Yes. I think that to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to have four things — three of which are in your control, and one which isn’t. And the three things that are in your control is you got to be able to take risk, and I learned how to manage risk by trading. So, risk and understanding risk is important. You’ve got to make a huge sacrifice when you’re building a business. I learned that in the early days of starting a company, and also investing in companies and managing and helping and mentoring CEOs. I understand the whole situation of just how much sacrifice you’ve got to make. Then the third thing you’ve got to have to be successful is passion. You have to be really passionate about what you do, and I was passionate about trading. I was passionate about the business. I loved the thrill of it. What I’m doing now, it’s a similar thing. I’m really passionate about getting this message out and spreading the word.
And the fourth thing, which is really important and not very much in our control, we can certainly make it happen a little bit more often that it does. We can put ourselves out there, but you need luck. That’s the same in trading in some respects, and also in what I’m doing now. I got lucky. There’s no question. Netflix wasn’t around, YouTube was only a year and a half old when I made this movie. If I had made this movie 10 years earlier, it would never have gotten the mileage it has now because the distribution, the ability to have it streaming, to have it seen by so many people wasn’t available. So I’ve got a bit lucky. Social media really helped me because everyone was sharing. At that stage, people we’re really interested in seeing what people were doing in their feeds on Facebook. Nowadays, it’s harder to get some kind of eyeballs on this, so to speak. People have been tired of it, been worn out by it. So, I certainly was lucky in the timing of when I did this.
Pete: You mentioned growing into 12 million views now, the documentary, and the ability of the Web and social helped do that. What was the strategy? What were some of the things you did to reach that tipping point? Because now people are loving the movie and they share it. There is that viral aspect to it now. But with anything, you have to somewhat manufacture that initial tipping point. What was the action points you worked on for that?
Joe: Well, to be honest, if you look at why does something go viral, I think that the hard work and effort that I put in, in the edit room for the four years from ’07 to ’11 is the reason why it was successful when it went online and people reacted. Because if you have something where people react, and they really love it, and they’re inspired, and they want to go and do something, and they want to share it with their friends, and that’s like a 99.9% reaction, you are going to get something very viral, very quick. So, the hard work was done in the edit room of getting the content in the shape that I wanted it to be in. Now most people would have probably left at two years earlier and not gone to four. Then what we would’ve had would’ve been an okay movie, but nothing that would be where it is now.
So, I don’t think it was a case that I made something that wasn’t good go viral. It had to be good in the first place. Therefore, when it comes to this kind of media, it was all in the work that was done over the four years. It was all of the long days, nights, effort, the continually searching to make it better, finding a solution, finding a way to fix that problem and solve this one, et cetera, et cetera. Then once you have something that’s like that and it’s thrown out there into the universe, and in this case, into the world of digital content, it’s very simple for someone to watch it and then share it with a click of a button. If it’s good enough, it will have legs.
Pete: Fair enough. Basically, the documentary is given away for free online. People can go on and just watch it for free?
Joe: In Australia, they can, yes. In Australia, it’s on YouTube for free, yes.
Pete: Okay, but there’s buy the documentary, pay-per-view kind of stuff?
Joe: Well, because Australia doesn’t have a Netflix and doesn’t have streaming by subscription, I just think it was unfair not to give Australians a chance to watch it if they wanted to.
Pete: Very cool.
Joe: Had there been a Netflix service where people are connected to, I would’ve done it. I’m not giving it away for free, but I didn’t want to disadvantage people because Australia hasn’t got a service. In America, you can watch it on Hulu for free, but you’ll have to watch it with ads.
Pete: And then there’s Netflix and lots of various distribution platforms?
Joe: Yes, on Netflix, it’s a subscription, you got to pay maybe $9.50 a month, depending on how much your rate is, but yes, all of those places. Netflix is where people watch it the most.
Pete: Fantastic. One of the things that I find fascinating, encouraging, awesome (I guess, if we want to use three different words there), is it’s a digital distribution fundamentally, the movie. There’s DVDs available and stuff like that, but you are literally hitting the ground. You said, you’re in San Francisco at the moment, heading down to San Diego, back to New York. You are and have been, from what it looks like, traveling consistently for three or four years promoting this movement.
Joe: Yes, because it’s about touching the people. I’m not putting myself in the category of INXS or U2 at all, Pete, but if you talk to these guys that are in that world, touring is what it’s all about to garner a fan base. You’ve got to put yourself out there. You can’t sit back in your ivory tower. You’ve got to go out there among the people, and you’ve got to put the hard yards in. You’ve got to go and listen to them and hear what they have to say. You can’t live in a bubble if you’re doing what I’m doing.
There’s a lot of pain, there’s a lot of hurt, there’s a lot of people out there that are struggling with their weight, with their health, with chronic disease, with being poor and opting out of getting the right nutrients into their bodies. So if they can come along to one of my talks — we usually get 200, 300 people in a store, which is free, and it goes for about two to three hours, including the signings and photographs and all that sort of stuff that they’re lining up, that’s a big night for them because it’s a chance to meet other people, as well as to just hear my story.
It’s not preaching. If you were to come along, you would get the fact that I’m just telling my story and why I did what I did, and what I’ve learned through experts. I don’t claim to be an expert at all. I think if there’s anything I’m trying to be an expert at — trying, is to take complex and difficult things and make them simple for people to understand through my movies and TV and books.
Pete: That’s awesome. With these tours, and going out there doing these tours — I think a lot of people who, as they grow their business, want to do (on probably a smaller scale than what you’re doing to start off with it at least), so with these tours and appearances, are they done through Breville dealers? Somehow, you’ve got a relationship with Breville which I’d be interested to chat about, if you don’t mind, or is it just you going to bookstores? How does that function?
Joe: No, it’s not that. The books has nothing to do with Breville. The books is a situation where, if you have a movie like I’ve had, you have awareness. What I’ve tried to do right from the beginning is to build my social network and to really connect with fans and anyone who’s seen the film, give them a place where there’s lots of information and support and ideas, and others who want to do the same thing.
Because my movie is about your health, it’s about pro-action and it’s a free thing, and its promoting fruits and vegetables, I’ve got a lot of things going for me. I’m not promoting these three pills you need to pay $14.99 for. You can watch my movie and get well, and not pay me a dime. You can watch it for free on YouTube. You can go down your local farmers’ market, you can buy a juicer that’s got nothing to do with Breville, and you can get well. And that base has some of my greatest fans. They’ve never paid me a dime and I’m very, very happy about that. I think that’s awesome because I’ll have new movies, new TV shows, and hopefully they’ll watch those. And that audience will grow, and maybe they’ll talk to 10 friends, and maybe one of them will come online and buy my book.
I think it’s got to start with having respect for the community, which I do. So for me, going into a bookstore like Barnes & Noble, and going to them and saying, “I’m going to draw all these sorts of crowd,” they’re all over me to do it. To be honest, and I love Barnes & Noble, but we may have well have outgrown them on this tour because there’s not a lot of room in their stores for the work we’re doing. I think we could next time around probably fill up 500 to 1,000 seats in major cities. That’s another whole problem I’ve got to work out, is how do I fund an auditorium like that? I don’t want to charge people, so that presents its own problems.
So I think that it’s about, at the moment at least, I still don’t feel like — I mean, I’m in front from where I was. I was probably behind the board for the first two years. From ’11 to ’13, I was definitely behind because this thing got ahead of me. I had no idea what it was going to be like, so the whole thing got ahead of me. I was scrambling, always trying to catch up. Rather than be proactive, I was being reactive to the community. And I reckon about six months ago we got out ahead of it, finally, with a really good solid team in New York. I think now we’ve built the infrastructure, we’ve laid down the foundation, we’ve got an enormous amount of content, rich content.
There’s not really a question now, Pete, that anyone can come to, after watching the movie and want of find out. Whereas, if you watched the movie in 2011, there was nothing on the Web at all to support you. Whereas, if you watch it today, three years later, there’s a plethora of information. There’s 250,000 people in my online community alone that are there to support and help. We’ve got nutritionists, we’ve got video, we’ve got a recipe book, we’ve got apps. We’ve got all these things now to support people.
I look at my company as like, not a channel, but it’s more like an output. We’ve got content, and content is still valuable. Even in today’s world, I believe it is. And we’ve got a rich content that we share and give away. Some of it we charge for, and some of it we give out for free. We are doing that to enable people to lead a happier, healthier, longer life by working out fun and interesting ways to get more fruits and vegetables into their body, whether it be juicing, blending or eating.
Pete: That website you refer to, is that the RebootWithJoe.com site?
Joe: That’s the one, yeah.
Pete: With the whole book tour side of things, as you said, you’re not having to fund auditoriums because you’re going to Barnes & Nobles and nutritional bookstores. For so many people these days, even for book marketers, it’s inconceivable how you can justify that from a cost perspective. Because as big as this community is, and as much as the movement’s important to you, it’s not a charity. It’s not something you’re doing for the sake of doing it. There is a business around it, as you said. How do you monetize, or at least cover the costs in something like a global world tour that you’re doing?
Joe: At the moment, I think I’ve sold 85,000 books in two months here in America.
Pete: That’ll do it.
Joe: I think our books are somewhere around $15. Now, I don’t get the whole $15 because they’re in stores and whatever, but I’m self-published and we’ve got another [unintelligible]. So what I think for me to fund what I’m doing is I have an assistant with me, and she does all the social media and the photos and all the helping and assisting when we’re at groups getting photos. Because people turn up, there’s no one to take a photo, it takes forever. So we have a whole little system now, organizing how to manage this and get it in and out as quickly as possible.
It is expensive. It’s not cheap, I’ll give you that. But I also look at it as not just trying to make money on the book. I look at it as promoting the brand and getting a chance to connect with the retailers. Because today, I was at Williams-Sonoma here in San Francisco. I spoke to their staff, about 300 of their staff. Then two days ago, I spoke to 650 staff at Starbucks in Seattle. So getting out on the road and connecting with these sorts of organizations, if you have the opportunity to go into say, Starbucks, for example, and try to and build a relationship with the team out there (which is a great bunch of people) and they’re only too happy for someone like me to come along and spend two hours at their offices, talking and sharing my thoughts and views about how we’re going to get more fruits and vegetables into their bodies, because everybody’s keen on the idea. Everybody is excited to work out interesting ways that they can make it more of a ritual and more of a habit, rather than a chore.
To me, I’m trying to create the luck here. I’ve got a saying that Lady Luck follows a person of action. So I think of you go out and do the action, then the luck will come. And maybe I’ll get lucky with Starbucks. Maybe I’ll get lucky with Williams-Sonoma. Maybe I’ll get lucky like I did with Woolworths in Australia, and so on.
Pete: Well, that’s why I wanted to talk to you. I really encourage to follow you on Twitter. You’re @JoetheJuicer, so they can follow along with everything you’re doing. Not just attending one of these live events, but also seeing what you’re doing and how you’re growing the brand. Because I think if people look at it with that lens as well, there’s a lot to learn just from viewing your actions of how you are growing this movement. Because it is a huge movement and I’m really excited to see what you’re doing and continually grow it.
One of the things that I just stumbled across, I’m going to guess about 12 months ago and maybe a bit longer, in my local Woolworths which a supermarket chain here in Australia, they now have Reboot Your Life juices in stores. There’s around four or five flavors, and I’m really keen to see about how that all happened because I was excited to see that. I was down at the beach house for a weekend with my mom. I bought some juices, and they had some DVDs there next to the juices at the time. I’m like, “Mom, you should get into these,” and got the DVD at the same time. She was very passionate about this now, and she’s involved in the movement and juicing and smoothie-ing. But how did that relationship with Woolworths come about? Because they can be quite difficult to do, and starting up this other business being a juice company.
Joe: When the movie first broke in America, we knew it was big, so we knew that it would be big in Australia. When you think about who’s going to benefit the most out of the whole nation wanting to juice more, you’ve got to think about the fruit and vegetable people because that’s the input you need every day, and also the people who provide the machines. Now, because I’ve used the Breville juicer in the movie, just by pure luck — I just went into a store in New York and bought it because I needed a brand. I didn’t have a deal with them or anything. They were very happy to support and work out ways if we can work together to promote their brand, and they’ll help you spread the movie. They’ve been very, very gracious and helpful. They’re really a great company, great partners for me to be involved with. I can’t speak highly enough. I’m very proud they’re an Aussie company who’s doing so well around the world.
But with all this, I happen to know a guy who used to work on the trading floor, his wife was a Director of Woolworths. So I went through him to her and said, “Is someone in charge of marketing there? I’d like to at least get in there and have a chance to tell them that there’s an opportunity here, that if people see this movie, they might want to start juicing and get more produce.” After one meeting with this chap, a really nice guy. He’s no longer at the company now, but he’s a terrific guy. He arranged for a screening for a couple of hundred employees at Woolworths. He said, “Let’s put the movie on. Let’s see what happens.” As it turned out, about 87% of the people who watched the movie started juicing. He went, “Wow, that’s a pretty high number.” They got all excited about, which they should’ve and they did and it was great.
And so the Head of Produce called Paul Harker (he’s a terrific guy), he said, “Why don’t you try and do a juice, Joe?” I said, “I don’t think you can do a juice, Paul, because we want the juice to be fresh. We want it to be full of nutrients. We don’t want it to be heated.” He said, “Oh, no. There’s an Australian company down in Melbourne called Preshafruit. They’ve got a plant, this new thing called HPP, which is a juice pressurization plant, where instead of heating the juice, they put 98,000 pounds per square inch of pressure on it. They effectively kill the microbes inside, but keep the vitamins and the nutrients strong and stable.” So I went and had a look at this. Once I realized what was going on there, I thought, “This is fabulous.”
Woolworths were very keen to get a Joe Cross or Reboot juice into the stores, and the company down there was only too happy to go into a license arrangement. So, I just stood in the middle of Woolies and this Australian small business (that’s doing fabulous, by the way). I did a license deal with the Preshafruit guys, and they basically have the relationship with Woolworths and they distribute the product. My name’s on it, and I do what I can to promote and support it.
Pete: Fantastic. Now I’m a big fan, I think it’s The Big Bang.
Joe: Oh, The Big Bang? The want I like is the Red Roar and the Spicy Lemonade.
Pete: Yes, beautiful. But it’s seven or eight different flavors, right?
Joe: We have eight different flavors in the 350 ml, and we have two large 1 liters. We’re trying to expand that now.
Pete: That’s very exciting. And this is trying the potential of things? You referenced Starbucks, trying to get them to start selling this and less coffee. Is that some sort of long-term goal?
Joe: Starbucks have got their own HPP plant. They’ve got a business called Evolution Fresh, which is fabulous. Jimmy Rosenberg is the founder of that. I met Jimmy when I was at Starbucks, Monday. Terrific guy. He started Naked Juice over here in California like 30, 40 years ago. Evolution Fresh is the same technology that the guys in Melbourne do. I’m helping them over here spread the word on HPP, so it’s all good.
Pete: That’s very exciting. One last thing, I know you’ve got plenty going on. Before we leave and wrap up here, I’ve got two more questions for you. One is, what’s next? You have a new documentary, new books. What is coming out for the brand that people — once they have watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and taken action, and bought that Breville juicer and gone over to the website and got part of the community, what’s next they can consume that you guys are producing?
Joe: Well, I’ve got the new movie coming out in September. That will launch globally in September. Then I’ve got a TV show which is about to start production. That’s looking very positive for the next year for the PBS network over here, Public Broadcasting Service. It’s kind of the ABC in Australia. That’ll be a half hour show per week, which is exciting. That’ll go for like, 16 weeks. Then I’ve got movie number three. I’m already planning and started work on preproduction of movie number, which will the come out in September next year, 2015.
I’m a media company. My job is to create content that inspires, educates and entertains. And so I figured, the more content that I can create that ticks those boxes, the more people will follow, the more people will get involved, and then the stronger the brand (which means I’m able to do licensing deals), the bigger the e-commerce platform I’m building where people can transact on an e-commerce basis for health and wellness products. And then in the media revenue, I can be on my third avenue of revenue and [beat] the media sales that I make.
So books, DVDs, you name it, in terms of the way the media can be distributed, packaged and sold, I’ll be doing it. The main game, I think, is to maintain trust, maintain the integrity, and to try and to mainly keep the feet on the ground, and ask the questions and find the answers to that the average [person] out there wants to know, and find it in a smart, informative, interesting, exciting and inspiring way.
Pete: I absolutely love that. I think that’s a great philosophy and a very clear business model, which is really cool. Let me ask you the one final question that we ask everyone who comes on the show as a guest: what’s the question I haven’t asked you that I probably should’ve?
Joe: A question you haven’t asked me that you probably should’ve. Well, probably if you’re talking about business, then I think that when you’re talking to entrepreneurs, the hardest thing for entrepreneurs can be the exit. How do you monetize all this hard work? How do you create it to a position where you can sell it, given that you’re the brain? And that’s a hard thing. I don’t have an answer for you just yet on that. The question is, it’s going to have to be very diverse and I’m going to have to work out ways to bring all that talent in and possibly do that.
But I think what’s an interesting question, you can always paint all the things that you think are going great. Some of the tough questions that I’m still trying to find the answer to, if you get asked those questions, then you know the person’s done their work, or at least on the same wavelength. Not saying you haven’t done your work, Pete, but you know what I mean. It’s like when you talk to entrepreneurs, I think one of the questions that you can always ask is, how do you plan to get out of this trade? If you’re building something to monetize and you’re an entrepreneur, that means you’re excited about other things in the world as well, and how do you do that?
I haven’t worked that out yet, but I’ve got some ideas. We’ll have to wait and see how big I can make it, because it’s got to be big before I can get out. The funny thing about these sorts of businesses, if they’re small, they’re not worth anything. They get to a tipping point where they’re actually massive and they’re worth a lot, but there’s not much in between.
Pete: Absolutely. There may be some cash flow, but not a lot of actual exit opportunity.
Joe: Yes, there’s not a lot of payee.
Pete: Absolutely. People can follow along. If they want to see you, what you’re actually doing and how you get to that massive-size community and business, @JoetheJuicer on Twitter.
Joe: Thank you, Pete. Mate, it’s been great to be here. RebootWithJoe.com, I’m looking forward to showing the new movie with all the Aussies and everyone else around the world late in September.
[Pete’s conversation with Joe ends]
Dom: I enjoyed that conversation. I don’t think it’s quite as in-depth business-oriented as we would normally get for someone that you talk to, but it does give a very interesting perspective. One of the things I really picked out that stood out to me, it’s a topic you know close to my heart, and it’s this idea that he was midway — well, he wasn’t even midway, as far as he was concerned, he was done; and then he went through what you both called a pivot. Something happened, some evidence came to him, some information came to him, and he completely switched directions from where he thought he was going, and he was almost done.
Now that’s something that I talked about before from reading The Lean Startup, and just generally, it’s my experience. In fact, I go through this with clients sometimes. You find yourself in that situation where you’ve gone a long way down a path, and one of the hardest things you can do is stand there one day and go, “We’re not going further down the path. We’re going over there because that is the right thing to do.” All due to the guy, hat off to him, he saw that opportunity to do what he believed to be the right thing and he completely changed direction. It was really great to hear that and the result that he got from it. I found that particularly interesting out of that conversation.
Pete: Yeah, I think so too. I think there’s a lot of things to take away from a very high-level strategy sort of stuff. We didn’t get into how do you promote a documentary and he’s a seven-step guy, or anything like that, but it’s just the high-level strategy thing. Something that was interesting that I heard Josh Waitzkin say actually (and I’m going to get this wrong; I was listening to it while I was driving, so I couldn’t stop and write down the quote), he basically said tactics are irrelevant if you haven’t internalized the strategy. And this is why these conversations are important. Because you could talk about, here are seven steps with doing a documentary, but they are kind of irrelevant. The tactics are irrelevant if you don’t have a high-level strategy and understanding of the fundamentals. That’s applied to what Joe did, and I think it’s applicable to a lot what we talk about here on the show, which are so important.
Dom: That spot on. That’s absolutely spot on. There’s lots of different ways of saying it. We talked about things like Commander’s intent, that kind of stuff, all these concepts that we bring up. But at the end of the day, yes. There are lots of different ways of getting where you’re going, but you’ve got to know where you’re going. And as long as you’ve got a solid understanding of where you’re going, what your goal is, what the overall strategy is, then you can get there. And sometimes you realize that you’re no longer heading towards that goal and you need to pivot. But yes, it’s a great thing that you pointed it out. It really was.
I think some people may need to go back and listen to it again if they didn’t get that strategic approach from it. I think you and I both definitely got the same thing from that conversation, that high-level strategy and the drive as well. That project went on for a long time. He was absolutely committed to that, and that is also a very important thing. I heard somebody else talking about that recently. Some of the important facts of being an entrepreneur, and that came up again, the drive, the perseverance. It was great. Just quite an inspiring story.
Pete: As usual, just wanted to wrap up the show and say thank you to everyone who listens to the show, who downloads the show, who leaves iTunes ratings. We hopefully give you some value in the hour or so we do every week. And if you can return the favor with investing two minutes for us and take time and go to iTunes, just on the phone or Android app, whatever app you’re using to listen to the show, if you can write and review the show, it would be really appreciated as a small return gift of two minutes of your time.
Also, in terms of giving to each other, we have our usual contest, which we run every week over at PreneurMarketing.com. If you’ve got a feedback on this episode, if you’ve got some thoughts, if you’ve read a blog posts recently that you’ve enjoyed and want to contribute to the community — every single week, we give away a personally signed copy of my first book, How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality, the book I did with Wiley, personally signed, sent to your front door in regular mail, for the best blog comment of the week. It could be on an old blog post, a current blog post, a podcast episode, whatever it might be. Leave a comment over at PreneurMarketing.com with a question or a feedback, or suggestion, and every week we pick a winner, and we send you a personally hand-signed copy of my book.
Dom: Cool. Absolutely, I totally agree. I just want it to come from me as well that we really do appreciate you, folks, tuning into us on a regular basis, listening to the show and providing that feedback. We love to know that we’re doing okay. We love to know that we’re giving you great stuff. I personally also appreciate feedback about things like my accent, my interview technique, and all the other things you could talk about as well. It’s great to get feedback, know how we’re doing. So please do leave us a comment and get yourself a copy of Pete’s book at the same time.
Pete: Next show, what’s on the next show, mate?
Dom: On the next show, we are going to be continuing our series about the different elements of the 7 Levers. And next week we’re going to talk about possibly one of the most contentious ones of the seven, which is raising your average sale price.
Pete: Dun dun dun.
Dom: Dun dun dun. But we’re going to, as always, try and make it as easy as we can for you to pick out an idea that you can go away, implement, get that 10% increase, and work towards doubling your profit using the 7 Levers framework.
Dom: So with that, we will be back soon with the next show.
Pete: We’ll see you then.
Joe Cross’s Web Site – http://www.rebootwithjoe.com
Video: How Pete Relaunched his MCG Campaign – http://preneurmarketing.com/mcgswipe
Tim Ferriss Interview with Josh Waitzkin – http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/04/22/tim-ferriss-podcast/
The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday
The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin
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
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