PeakMarketers, this is Bill Guthrie and I’m excited to welcome you to our very first episode of PeakMarketer, a place where I will be interviewing today’s biggest and brightest marketers and entrepreneurs.
Today’s episode will be a bit different though, as it’ll just be me talking. I figured that as we embark on this journey of discovery and innovation, you’d want to know just who the heck I am and what this is all about.
So in lieu of an interview, today I will share my story with you.
From the time I was 16 and getting my first job, I was drawn to the world of sales. I’m a “people person,” love talking to strangers, asking questions, figuring things out…and sales was a natural way to achieve all those things. I also have a passion for writing, and my professional life was an interesting mixture of sales and publishing.
Over the last 25 years I’ve sold over $30 million in intangible goods — I was a financial advisor, a mortgage consultant, and my last job was at a digital agency servicing some of the best-known brands in America. In that role I was crafting direct response solutions for the client’s digital needs — massive email campaigns, calls to action, video marketing, websites…if it could happen online, I was helping to dream it up and sell it.
As a salesman, I always considered myself a sort of entrepreneur. All I asked from my boss was to give me the tools and support I needed, and to stay out of my way. Needless to say, that wasn’t always an ideal situation for my boss.
By the end, I was just fed up with someone else controlling how much money I was making. Commission structures would be changed without notice and sales cycles as they were, I found myself scrambling to make ends meet.
And each year, especially in the first quarter of each year when business is slow, I toyed with the idea of creating an online business. I’d buy some reports, maybe try a tactic or two, but then my real job would get busy and I’d abandon whatever project I was working on.
That changed in 2011.
This time, instead of trying to build a website, I decided to create a product. I wasn’t sure, at the beginning, what the product would even be. I just started putting stuff together. I worked for weeks — in airports, hotel rooms when I was traveling for business, late nights, weekends — gathering information.
And finally, at the end, I had a spreadsheet. That’s right — an Excel spreadsheet was my first product!
I called it Massive Niche List, because that’s what it was — a massive list of every niche I could think of (and find).
I wrote my very first sales letter, and added it to the Special Offer section of the Warrior Forum, which is an active online community of marketers and home-based business people.
I hit the “on” switch on a Sunday night. I’ll never forget it. I just paid the money and the thread was live and there I was with my first product. And I went to bed.
I woke up the next morning and ran to my laptop to check the sales. I had maybe 10 or 20 sales, which was so exciting! Forget all the hours I’d spent…I was making money…from the internet…with a product I’d created!
The next day — I’ll never forget this as long as I live — I was leaving for the airport for a trip to Indianapolis. I got up, opened up my Paypal account and there was like $8000 sitting in there!
Now…my first reaction was FEAR. I didn’t know what was going on, and I thought I’d done something wrong, that I’d have to call Paypal and explain that I hadn’t siphoned the money into my account illegally. I mean it — I was genuinely afraid that I’d screwed up somehow and that that money was not mine.
I checked my Warrior Plus account, which was my payment platform for the sale, and I was blown away. There were HUNDREDS of sales of my little spreadsheet! Hundreds, overnight.
I screamed for my wife to come check this out, and she freaked out too! I couldn’t believe it! Literally, OVERNIGHT, I had made thousands of dollars and hundreds of sales!
I had the Paypal app on my phone, and it just kept buzzing with each transaction!
Fast forward to today — I’ve sold over $1 million in products online. Information, training, software…and with each I’ve tried to bring my sales and marketing background to the entrepreneurial landscape.
In my discussions and customer surveys, I’ve found that many people get the entrepreneurial bug, but they don’t have the proper background or experience. They know they need to sell something to make money, but they don’t have experience in sales. They know they need to present an idea for that sale to occur, but they don’t have that foundation for marketing and connecting an idea at an emotional level for a prospect to buy.
This podcast and my blog, Peakmarketer.com, is my way of bringing great strategies and inspirational stories of other entrepreneurs and marketers to the table.
I don’t have all the best ideas…no one does. But together, over time, great ideas, tactics, and innovations can be revealed.
It’s now been over 4 years since I launched Massive Niche List. When I launched it, I didn’t know anyone. Now I know hundreds of successful entrepreneurs…and my hope for PeakMarketer is to bring them to you. I hope that momentum will build so that I can bring household name marketers and entrepreneurs to you as well.
So thank you for listening! Thank you for checking us out. Please subscribe to the podcast, download the shows, and leave a review so others can know what you think! You can also check out Peakmarketer.com for additional videos and training.
What did I learn from my first launch that will be helpful for you to use in your own business?
Number One: you must create something. It doesn’t have to be a product, although I encourage it above all else. But you must create something of value for the right audience.
Number Two: to get started, you have to get on the radar of someone bigger than you. How did all those sales happen overnight? What I didn’t know at the time was that my product had been chosen as WSO of the Day. That meant that the Warrior Plus creator, Mike Lantz, had emailed his entire list, telling them about my offer. Having someone else, someone more influential, vouch for you is a sure way to speed up success. You’ll hear our guests talk about mentors. A mentor can be someone who teaches you something…but they can also be the person who sponsors your ideas…they can spread the word about you and your offers.
Number Three: email is the quickest way to make a sale. Every one starts without a subscriber list. Everyone. The guys with hundreds of thousands of subscribers, there was a day when they had no subscribers. Spend part of every day focusing on how to increase your subscriber base. This can be from product sales — which are the best types of people to have on your list, customers — or they can join from lead generation tactics.
Number Four: Stay Focused. I had started and stopped for years! I’d have an idea, do some work, let it wither. Start something new, do some work, let it die. Be clear in the type of business you want to build, then with all your might, stay focused on it. Even as you listen to these podcast episodes, you’ll be tempted to stay every new tactic you learn about. Don’t! Instead, figure out how a particular tactic or tool can compliment what you’re already doing. It’s the whole “shiny object syndrome,” and it’s common and pervasive. You must understand your business, what it needs to grow, and then you must judiciously add elements that will help it.
Each episode of PeakMarketer wraps up with what I call the Hot Five. It’s 5 questions meant to pull helpful information from our guests. So in that spirit, I will answer the Hot Five to wrap up this inaugural episode:
What is the one thing you do every day that makes you money?
The one thing I do every day that makes you money is send email. This could be a recommendation I’m making, a part of a larger campaign to build excitement about something, a content-email that strengthens my relationship with my subscribers, or an internal “customer only” offer.
Where is the biggest potential for growth?
Video has the biggest growth potential. They don’t have to be Hollywood-quality. But using video for education and sales will make the largest impact going forward.
What is a software or app you recommend?
Zapier. It’s an API aggregator that allows you to connect applications together to speed up a lot of processes. Highly recommend checking it out!
What is your favorite song lyric?
It’s from Bob Dylan and it goes like this, “Me, I’m still on the road, headed for another joint. We always did see the same, we just saw it from a different point of view, Tangled Up in Blue.”
What book do you recommend to our listeners?
Influence by Robert Cialdini. It explains persuasion and why people say YES.
And here’s our bonus question:
If you had to start all over, and all you had was a laptop, $1,000 and you knew everything you know now, how would you make money in 30 days?
I would create a product that helps save my target audience time. This could be software, but with only 30 days, I would focus on creating an information-based resource. Massive Niche List was just a resource that reduced the time spent thinking about all the niches a marketer could go into. I’ve done this several times, helping to distill a complex idea into something simpler to understand.
So with 30 days, you have the product to create, and the sales collateral. Creating this could cost you nothing, but with $1000, I’d look to outsource as much as possible. Remember, you have to know exactly what you want and exactly how it should be done for effective outsourcing. Figure out the process, create screen capture videos using Jing. Then hire someone from Odesk to complete the product for you. In the meantime, you must identify the most logical people in the marketplace who would promote your product. Make a list of them…you’re going to make them a mafia offer — one they can’t refuse — which is that they get 100% of the revenue.
Next you have to shop the idea to those big hitters you identified — connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, their blog, Twitter… and tell them the truth: that you’re new, you have a great product that will do X,Y and Z — and that you want to break into the marketplace. You’ll give them 100% of the product…all you ask for is some guidance and their willingness to help you launch the product. In exchange, you get the buyers.
If you ask enough of the right people, you’ll get someone with interest and a free calendar who would be more than happy to work as a publisher for your product. Even if you don’t make a penny from the launch, you’ll have a list of buyers. Be ready to enhance their lives with more valuable content, and this time, you can keep every penny!
Finally, my parting thoughts — it’s the same advice I give my two little girls: Be kind, cool and courageous. Be kind: focus on the needs of others first; Be cool: don’t freak out. Stay focused and don’t let the world spin you out of control; Be courageous: try new things, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just don’t make the same mistakes again and again.
You can connect with me at the blog — Peakmarketer.com — or on Facebook or Twitter. If you liked this first episode, let us know by writing a quick review. And make sure to subscribe to the podcast. It’s going to be EPIC!
Thank you for spending a little time with me!
This is Bill Guthrie for PeakMarketer.
Create more, sell more, Be More!