How does a guy who hates his job at the phone company build an automated online sales machine?
I read about him in Jermain Grigg’s book about online marketers who automate their sales. And I just wanted to find out more and more about him, and the more I found out, the more I was determined to have him on to do this interview.
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Hey there, freedom fighters! My name is Andrew Warner, and I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. And in this interview, we’re going to find out, how does a guy who hates his job at the phone company build an automated, online sales machine. Alex Sampson is the founder of bassguitartips.com, a website that teaches people how to play the bass. I read about him in Jermaine Griggs’ book about online marketers who automate their sales. And I just wanted to find out more and more about him, and the more I found out, the more I was determined to have him on to do this interview.
Alex, welcome, and thanks for doing this.
Alex: Thank you, sir. Thanks for having me. It’s actually a huge pleasure to be here. Actually, to be honest, a bit freaked out about it, because you have some players on this site, and it’s definitely, I’ve looked at some of the interviews and stuff that you’ve done, and a lot of people that I personally look up to, business-wise. So, it’s just a pleasure to be here.
Andrew: Well, thanks. People I look up to, also.
Andrew: So, I know this because, as you and I were chatting a few weeks ago, I took notes. I’m an obsessive note taker.
Andrew: And so I know what you revenue is. Do you feel comfortable sharing that? What’s your revenue right now?
Alex: I can give you, like, a range. That’s cool with me. I can tell you that we’re doing not quite seven figures yet, but we’re doing very healthy six figures, more than half a million dollars a year. But it is a small operation, and I do think that I could be doing a heck of a lot more money. But I’m a pretty lax person. [laughs] And I really just . . .
Andrew: How lax are you?
Alex: Pretty lax, man. I’m just like, I work, and then sometimes I just disappear. [laughs]
Andrew: And what do you do when you disappear?
Alex: Fun things? Like, what do I like to do? I love to travel, so I might just head off to, like, a Caribbean island or something for two weeks. I like to drive fast cars, so there’s a spot that’s not far away from where I live where you can actually pay to drive, like, cars that I wouldn’t buy. Murcielagos and Aston Martins, and that kind of stuff. So I just head out there and race them for two or three hours.
Andrew: And you just, at one point, took off to Canada on a whim? Why would you go to Canada on a whim? I’m going to get to the business in a moment, but . . .
Alex: Oh, absolutely.
Andrew: . . . as long as we’re talking about this.
Alex: Absolutely. It’s a funny story, actually. I had read — I’m sure a lot of the people looking at this call would know Tim Ferris, right? So, I read this book he had, obviously, “The Four Hour Work Week.” And there was something that he said in there that really, really resonated with me. And it was the fact that so many people live their entire lives waiting for the opportunity to do something when they retire. Right? And Tim’s entire philosophy, if I can kind of paraphrase it, is that if life is all about experiences, why are we saving the best things that we can do, the funnest things that we can do, for when we have the least amount of life, right? [laughs] So, you save your entire life to be able to go on a cruise when you’re 75, and you sit on the deck all day and you never do anything. So, he kind of talks about taking mini-retirements. He’s like, throughout his entire life, he’s been just getting away, and, like, “I’m going to retire for three months, right now. I’m going to retire for six months, right now, because I have a business structure that allows me to do that.”
So I kind of, I’m reading the book, I’m like, “Man, this is awesome! I want to do this, but I’m scared!” [laughs] “I’m not going to, like, Argentina. I’m not going to Thailand. I have — ” At that point in time, my wife was pregnant. We were just about to have a kid. So I’m like, “What can I do that gives me the opportunity to try this mini-retirement, but still kind of be safe-ish?” [laughs]
So, I’m like, “Let’s go to Canada!” It literally was a two-hour decision. I spoke to my wife. I’m like, “This book is really, like, hyping me up. I love the idea. It’s something I want to do. Why don’t we go to Canada?” We talked about it for two hours. She’s like, “Well, that’s cool.” [laughs]
At first, we were thinking, “Let’s do a month. Let’s just go find a spot.” Because we had been to Montreal before, and I absolutely love Old Montreal. It’s like, when I go there, I just freak out, and, like, fall in love with the place. So I’m like, “Let’s do that.” And we, in the space of about, I’d say, two or three weeks after having that initial conversation, we were in Canada. Like, “We’re just going to go.”
We didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a plan. Like, we didn’t find a house, or nothing like that. [laughs] We just hopped on a plane, and, [whooshing noise].
Andrew: All right. And part of the reason why you could do it is because your business is automated. And I’m going to get to the story of how you built up this business, but can you give me just a sense of what’s automated in your business that most entrepreneurs wouldn’t think of? Specifically, the sales process. I know Jermaine automates everything, and you guys are friends.
Andrew: What have you automated?
Alex: Oh, we automate — I mean, the more things that I can find to automate, the more of it that I would do, because I think that if we — entrepreneurs, sometimes — if we tinker with a system too much, sometimes, we can start seeing variances in sales and actual returns when, if we had something that was stable — I mean, OK, if I was to give an example, what I’m kind of trying to say.
McDonald’s has a system for producing burgers. And you can go to China and have McDonald’s, and the burger’s going to taste the same. It’s because they are so systematic about what they do. They know exactly when the lunch menu starts. They know exactly how long the fries are supposed to sit in the fryer. They know exactly how much salt they use with the fries. So it’s really systematic. And because of that, they have consistency.
As entrepreneurs, sometimes, if we don’t automate, I think we run the risk of seeing great sales today, terrible sales tomorrow. We have splurges when we’re actually working. So we did four webinars this week, and we see money, and for the next six weeks we have nothing going on, so there’s the slump.
So to me, I try to automate as much of the sales process as possible to try to find some consistency. We automate the finding of leads. When a person comes into our funnel, we use behavioral methods to segment them. And that’s one of the things that we’ve, I’ve kind of done really well. As a little bit of a side note, I actually . . .
Andrew: I come to your site, I say, “I’m interested in learning to play.”
Andrew: I give you my email address. Most people, including my site right now, you just send the same email to everyone who gave an email address. You, then, instead, say, “What kind of playing . . . ” Or, what do you ask?
Alex: In fact, no, that’s what I was actually about to say. I’ve found that instead of asking a person to segment them, I try to see what they would do to segment them. So I’ll give you an example. If you come to one of your websites, and you signed up, I could ask you, “Hey, Andrew, what style of music do you like playing?” Right? And depending on the style of music that you say to me, I could send you different emails, follow up with you differently.
But you know what? That’s one thing. People will answer what they probably think you want to hear.
Alex: People might say something. But to me, if you look at behavior. My mom always says, like, “Actions speak louder than words.” So I’m like, “How can I take a look at what a person does?” So if you come to our site, and you sign up, you’re going to get, instead of a survey of, “Hey, what style of music do you like, how long have you been playing, are you intermediate, are you advanced?” I’m going to do something like this:
“Hey, Andrew, I want to give you a free gift, all right? I have ten different free gifts here, I want you to choose one. Guess what, by your choosing one of these gifts, the gifts are so designed to segment my market. So a simple example might be by style, I might have ten different gifts where one of them is what a jazz person would want, another one is what a guy who’s into rock might want. So instead of Andrew, asking you what style of music you like, I’m telling you, “Dude, I have ten gifts for you, choose the one that you really, really want.” And it was an idea that I kind of copped off of way back in the day when they would have those, you send in one penny and you choose ten different CDs, Columbia Records, remember those? So I was always this huge nerd.
Andrew: I never thought of that.
Andrew: That maybe, is what they were trying to do is figure out …
Andrew: … are you into hip-hop, heavy metal …
Andrew: … pop, I see.
Alex: Exactly, because the follow up that you’re going to get …
Andrew: Right, so that’s the first thing.
Andrew: What happens next in this automated process?
Alex: What happens next is that, so you get sent into a different stream from a person who’s into rock or whatever else, right? The follow up that you get is different, the offers that you’re going to see are different. We have gotten to the point right now where the software that we use, which you probably know is FusionSoft, allows us to do really cool coding that uses the AVI. And because of this I have, like, a PHP programmer who I’m always, like, I’m like the man scientist dude, I’m always thinking of stuff and I’m like, “Hey, do this.” He’s like, [makes sound] but he gets it done. One of the things that happens in the process is that we have pages that we can send the person to, and everyone can look at the very same page but they can all see different content. So let’s say for example, you chose the rock gift and person B chose the Jazz gift. We can then send you an email that says,hey, guy, we realize that you want to learn to play jazz. We have a course that is for people who want to learn to play bass, they want to build up on their skill knowledge or whatever. And I want you to go over to site.com/page.html. Everyone can go to that site.com/page.html, but little do they know you’re seeing something different than the other person is.
Andrew: I see. So if I say, I’m into jazz, I see a jazz video. All right.
Andrew: So you’re speaking directly to me based on who I am and what my interests are. How do you take me from a stranger to a customer, at what point do you make the sale?
Alex: I try to think of everything over a 30 day span, and it’s just, I can’t even remember where I saw that but it must have been something I was reading. And it’s kind of, like, I think it goes back to direct marketing where direct marketers consider people who’ve responded to something between that time and the first 30 days as their hot list, that’s when the person’s the most excited about it. So I build out a system over a 30 day span of you giving me your email address, your contact information, and me starting to segment you. And I look at sales between then and the first 30 days as that hot list period. So I don’t actually start asking for money until, like, maybe four, maybe seven days into our conversation. Now we do it in clever ways because I’m also not stupid, I’m also not the person who’s going to say, there are people on here who want to spend money on day one, if I can get that money then we’re going to take it. [laughs] Right?
Andrew: How do you ask for it on day one without pushing it on day one, without pushing it until day seven?
Alex: So again, like one of the things that we would come back to, and this is something that Jermaine talks about a lot, we look at the hotness of a lead. If a person, for example, signs into our funnel on day one, and on day one we segment them into seven different streams, but there’s some things about the streams that are all common, right? We do know that we’re going to try and get everyone to look at one particular video first, right? We do know that we’re going to try to get everybody to double-opt in. So we have a set of actions that we want to everyone to go through, we want everyone to double-opt in, we want everyone to look at one introductory video, we want everyone to download their gift that they selected. So we start scoring, if a person does all of this stuff in one hour I know that this is a guy who’s ready to go. Whereas I have a person who might have single-opted in today and he still hasn’t even collected his free gift yet, I’m not going to sell that guy, right? So when you download your free gift, we tag you to a different stream. So now we have a person who is into jazz, but he also signed up for the jazz gift and he also downloaded it.
He also went back to the site and he watched the first free video that very same day. So when I see a person has 4 or 5 different tags in a one day period, the video page that I send them to, and again this comes back to the fact that we can show different content to different people based on their segmentation even though they’re looking at the same page. So you, as a hot prospect, you’re going to see something like, maybe, a pop up at the bottom of the screen, you’re going to see an offer in the side bar that the other guy who’s not the hot prospect, is not going to see. So the guy that needs time to get there, we’re not going to sell him yet. He’s going to see the content video, he’s not going to see that pop up. He’s not going to see the offer to get simple bass playing system, or one of our courses in the side bar. Whereas the guy who comes back on day 2 and he has 6 tags, we’re ready to go.
Andrew: I see. And I could see myself as you were talking and I said no one wants to go through all that on day one, but you know what? Oh wait, I wanted to look for software to tell people about that does this, I went to office autopilot.com which is one company that does it and they started playing a video and that’s what people heard in the background there. The company that you use in Germaine, our friend uses, is called Infusion Soft. I see. Going back to what I was saying before, as you said, well maybe there’s someone who does all this on day one. I thought no one’s going to do all that on day one. Then I realized, you got a bass guitar, you’re getting really into it, this is your time, maybe your family’s away, you got the weekend to really enjoy this new thing, this new gift that you got for yourself. Yeah, you just want to rock out. You don’t want to wait for the next week to get the next lesson and the week after that to get the next step. Alright, so now I’ve bought. Tell me the craziest, not the craziest, but the part that we wouldn’t believe. Like I’ll give you an example. Jermaine, he did a course with me on automation at Mixergy about how to automate. He said Andrew I will automate a birthday card on their birthday, I will, when they buy from me automate a phone call that I made to them, and if they pick up the phone it’ll sound automate. I’ll say hey I just recorded this thing for you and so on. If their voicemail picks up which is more likely he says, I’ll have maybe my daughter on my lap and me wrestling with the paper and it’ll sound like I just called them and happened to get their voicemail message and so I’ll leave them one. He says all that is just building that relationship on autopilot instead of having to make a phone call to every customer. Instead of having to sit and write a card to everyone. He used to do all that and now he’s automated. Give me something like that that we wouldn’t believe that you automate.
Alex: I’m going to straight out tell you that Jermaine is a straight out nutcase.
Andrew: He’s a nutcase, how do you mean? You know him personally.
Alex: I mean, that guy is like, I mean he’s the person where if he thinks of something, he gets it done right away. So he’s the mad scientist when it comes to Infusion Soft. I don’t think I’m as nuts as he is, but we do some cool things. The thing with the page, like everybody seeing different content on a page, usually freaks people out. It’s one thing to send people to a different page, if we have page 1, page 2, page 3. I felt like people usually can try to figure that stuff out and they’re like wait a minute, why am I seeing page 3. They’re going to go hopping through like what’s index A, why is index A not index B. We show one site and people see different content and it’s not just a single headline. Anything on the page that’s different, that freaks people out. The way we automate webinars is pretty different. A lot of people do webinars that they record. You can tell a recorded webinar, right? You can tell when the person’s not live and stuff. I did a webinar some time back and it’s kind of like something that I didn’t want to say, but I’m going to say, but it’s cool because I think people will appreciate it. We automated a webinar where part of it was live, part was recorded, and part was live again. By surrounding the recorded content with the live content, nobody had any idea that it wasn’t totally live.
Andrew: How would they know in the beginning that you were live. How did you indicate in the beginning and the end that it was really real?
Alex: Oh, we took questions, I did silly things like had a person, I remember one person specifically asking, hey is this a recorded webinar? I was like, “Nope! Hey, why would you think it’s recorded? Why would I do that to you?” [laughs] So we had things like that done. We had — I actually played live. So I got the bass out, and I’m like, “Hey, is there anything that anybody kind of wanted to figure out before we started with the content?” And a guy would be like, “Hey, play a Jocko song!” and I would be like, “OK, cool, what kind of song did you want to hear?” And we did that stuff.
The biggest part of it, I think, that was beneficial for actually having the live part was the Q&A, because after all of the content in the recording, people have questions. And that’s one of the things that, to me, always stands out with the recorded webinar, it’s like, a person asks a question, but they don’t get a response, because it’s pre-recorded.
So I would set up systems where the body of the webinar is pretty much the same, because I’m giving the content. It’s almost like a TV show, right? This is good content. This is, you’re here with me for an hour, but at the end of that, everybody’s going to have unique questions, so I will pop on for the last 15 minutes, the last 20 minutes.
And it’s just the cool ways that we actually found to move from recorded to live, where there isn’t even a glitch. I mean, people don’t see a black screen, they don’t — you literally have to experience it to see how smooth it is. Because the first time I told Jermaine [SP] about it, he was like, “Yeah, but how do you get out of live into recorded and back into live without people seeing?” I was like, “There’s ways to do it, man.” And it was completely smooth.
And we got on the end, and people were like, “Is this discount really just for tonight?” I’m like, “Yes, it is!” [laughs] So. Like, the live Q&A part at the end was just awesome.
Andrew: I remember, actually, before I knew that this stuff could be recorded, I heard, I guess it was Jack Canfield.
Andrew: He had a webinar, and I thought, “Great, I’m going to go and watch Jack Canfield.”
Andrew: And it was so canned.
Alex: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew: He must have just phoned it in for some partner site. And I just felt insulted by the whole process.
Andrew: So I see what you’re trying to go for.
Andrew: You can’t be present all the time, but you still want to give people a personal touch.
Alex: And the thing about it is — and why I think I even thought of sharing it — was because I don’t think people mind your delivery of content if that’s recorded. What people don’t want to feel is that, for example, you tell me that you need me to act now, because this is going to go away tonight, but that’s not really the truth, because it was a recorded thing that you’re going to do.
That’s not the way we use webinars at all. Everything that we use, it’s a hybrid between live and recorded, and the recorded part of it, one, is for my benefit, obviously, to not have to do the same content over and over for different people. I mean, that’s just bananas. But also, there’s benefit for the person who’s looking at it, too, because you don’t want to show up to a webinar with me fumbling my way through it. You don’t want to show up to a webinar where I’m out of sorts. I might be having a bad day. I might be at the point where my voice is about to go, and you can’t hear what I’m doing. I might have just had a really long day, and I didn’t deliver good content.
So the content part of it, we fine-tuned it to be as good as it can be, right? That is what people want. You’re looking at a TV show. You don’t want that you’re trying to look at “30 Rock” and they’re writing it as they’re going along. You want to get there and see something good, right? So that’s what that is.
Andrew: Why do webinars at all, though? Why not just record your tutorials, teach people how to play the bass, and just be done with it? Why do you need a webinar?
Alex: Well, the webinar isn’t so much about the content. The content is there so that people show up and get value. But the webinar really is about selling stuff. I mean, to be honest, the webinar kind of goes back to that entire seminar model, where direct marketers want to get people into a room and tell them about, you know, “I got this widget for you.”
We don’t want to make it a pitch fest, though. Because I really don’t want people to think that, OK, I got you here for two hours, and all I did was tell you about my products. So we sell for maybe the last 15 minutes, but one hour of solid content. But it really is a fantastic . . .
Andrew: You want them to all show up at a certain time, and if it’s not a webinar, then maybe the postpone it till whenever they have a chance, and then they never get to watch it, and then you want to sell them and create a sense of urgency about when they have to buy.
Alex: It’s urgency, and it’s also control of the environment. One of the things that I picked up from a mentor of mine, Dan Kennedy, is, he says there’s a reason why there’s some things you can sell in a seminar room, but you cannot sell by sending a person a letter, right? And that’s kind of a paraphrase, but, I mean, the idea is that, and also, the flip side is true. There are some things that you can’t sell in a room, you have to sell in privacy, but the idea is that if you get a person to dedicate, let’s say two days to do a seminar, they come there with a mindset, OK, this is what I am doing, this is what I am about right now. As opposed to the person who has not blocked that time, having something come across their desk. It’s a whole different frame of mind. So when we do webinars, it is about urgency, putting forward a deal that the person is not going to get on another day. Because again, that is real. That’s not canned at all. That part of it is real because we come back on live and we do present a deal that is not going to be there. However, it is about controlling the mindset. It is about having a person say to their spouse, honey, right now, these two hours I am going to be spending with Alex. I am doing a private lesson. So the person is in a base frame of mind.
Andrew: So people actually do that? They block out that time. They are not doing other things and getting distracted. They stick with it to the end.
Alex: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Andrew: What part of your seminar, webinar I should say, viewer stick with it to the end?
Alex: Oh, it’s, I mean from the tracking we’ve done so far. We’ve seen like, let’s say, 20% fall out right around the 50 or 30 minute mark. I’ll say like another hour and a half, you would still have at least 50% going. By the time you get to where you are actually selling some stuff, you can probably expect to have right around 35% to 40% still on if your content is good. I’ve heard of guys do webinars where at the end of it, they had like one person. They started with like two hundred so that’s kind of insulting, but if you give them the good content, they stick around.
Andrew: Early on, you got a sense of this space and the possibilities by going to one of the Ionix Silver’s [SP] conferences, right? And you met-
Alex: I think it was, it might have been an Armen [SP] conference and I met Ionix [SP], something like that, yeah.
Andrew: Ah, OK, and then you met someone and you said, I’m going do some copy writing for you. And that’s where you got your start?
Alex: I had started dabbling with this stuff before and that’s how I actually got decent at copy writing. I was always a huge nerd in terms of reading ferociously, like always reading, always writing, always doing that kind of stuff, and I met this one guy. Can’t really say his name because after we parted, there was some MBA and stuff for the work that I did for him. I had started dabbling but I was still kind of scared about leaving my job because, hey man, it’s consistent income, right? So the one guy saw some work that I did for myself. I am doing this on the part time. I am writing web copy for myself, and he’s like, dude, your stuff is good. How would you like to do some stuff for us. And I was like, sure. We formed a friendship, and he eventually, maybe about a month after we had met and started talking and stuff, I wrote an email for him that sold a service that he had. I think it was like, at the time he was selling it, for $147 or $197, I can’t quite remember, but it sold $20,000 worth of stuff. He sent the email out and he had $20,000 worth of sales for that product before the night was done and he was freaking out. He called me up and he was like, dude, that email worked. [Laughter] And I am like-
Andrew: Why did it work?
Alex: I think it was because at the time, I was so tuned in to the psychology of the buyer, and I could just keep going after reference after reference because I am a huge direct marking fan, and one of the things I had picked up at the time was off of Gary Halberd. And he gave this example that was just phenomenal, blew my mind and I will never forget it. He says, who do you think is going to get the girl. If two guys walk into this bar, and one guy walks up to her, and he goes with all of his sweetest lines, and he knows how to pace himself. He knows what to say first, second, and third and all that kind of stuff, and he still has a 90% chance of getting shot down even if he is using cool lines and stuff, because yeah, OK, I’ve heard that before. And he is like, now I want to imagine another guy who is unkempt, scruffy. He’s got bad teeth, hair’s growing out and stuff, but he happens to know that this beautiful perfect ten girl sitting at the bar. He happens to know that she is a heroin junkie, right? He can right up to her in one line. he can go, I’ve got some heroin right now. Do you want to go outside and get a score? And he can have a better percentage of getting with the perfect ten than the perfect guy with the perfect lines, and Gary’s analogy about that was if you know your customer, if you know what they want, if you know their weaknesses, if you know their frustrations, if you know their desires, if you know that customer better than the other guy, you don’t even have to be great at words. You don’t have to be crafty. You don’t have to be clever. You don’t have to know big words. You just have to say what they need to hear at that point in time.
And that particular point in time, I was so tuned into the people that he was selling to. I just knew what to say to them.
Andrew: What’s heroin to your current customers?
Alex: Oh. I can tell you, because I’m a bass player as well. People want to belong. People want to feel like they’re creative. One of the things that bass players kind of have going against them is that people typically see the instrument as a simpler instrument. Right? It’s like, “Oh, anybody can play the bass. You just play one note, and you just, you chug along on the C, and shut up, sit in the back of the band.” Right? [laughs]
So, bass players have a desire to get out of being the back-up guy. Now, we all understand that the bass is a supportive role, and all that kind of stuff, but you have the stigma about the guitarist being the hotshot. He’s Tom Cruise and we’re his sidekick. So, that’s heroin to bassists. Like, getting to a point where you’re a respected member of the band, where people think that you’re creative. When you play shows, and people come up to you, like, “Dude, that was working!” So, understanding my market is a big part of what I do.
Andrew: How can you get to that? How can I, and the person who’s listening to us, say, “I want to find my customer’s heroin”?
Alex: I personally think, like, there’s two sides to that coin. One of them is being part of the market. And you hear people talk about it all the time. “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” I don’t really believe that, I think. [laughs] Because I could like doing something that nobody else wants to pay for. But I do think there is some truth to the fact that if you do what you like, you’re going to have an energy about it. You’re going to have knowledge about it that is uncommon, right?
It’s very, very difficult for somebody who is not a bass player — because I’ve been playing my entire life — who is not a bass player, as good as they are at marketing, to compete with me if I can market and I know the market. So if you can find that happy medium of stuff that you love doing — because I would sit and rehearse and practice for six hours, and it won’t even bother me. It’s going to be difficult for somebody who is not doing what they love to do that kind of rehearsing, that kind of chatting on forums and stuff.
But at the same time, there’s no magic in just saying, “OK, I like racing snails, so I’m going to sell an e-Book on racing snails.” Yeah, nobody wants to pay for that kind of stuff. You still have to be able to market it, right?
I would start with, “What am I good at?” If I can’t find a way to make money with that, if it’s too niched, if it’s too small, it really is just about work. It is about — I mean, one of the things that we did, back in the day, was a lot of surveys. A lot of surveys. A lot of reading of the forums. A lot of asking questions and talking to people. A lot of hanging out where your market is.
I personally believe a person can become very affluent in a market if they just dive headfirst. If I wanted to learn to, I don’t know, ski, I’m the type of person who would, like, go where people ski. [laughs] I’m just going to dive in, find the crowd, make friends. I’m going to talk, I’m going to hang out with people. That’s what I did when I wanted to get started into Internet marketing. I attended every seminar there was. And that’s how I got tuned in to what the people wanted. I made myself an expert at finding their heroin by just going where they are. And some people don’t want to do that. It is work.
Andrew: You know, I’ve heard this, about going in and finding those online message boards, and finding those in-person communities, and I didn’t realize how many communities there were, and how specialized they were . . .
Andrew: . . . until I said, “I think I want to get a fold-up bike here in San Francisco” . . .
Andrew: . . . because you can take that on the bark, I guess.
Andrew: And if I ever need to take a taxi to meet someone, or take, then I can put the bike in the trunk of the cab. I said, “How do I even get one for San Francisco?” I did a search, I found a message board where, not only were there people talking about fold-up bikes, but there was some woman who videotaped herself as she took her fold-up bike up the fricking, the hills of San Francisco.
Andrew: Man, they’re out there!
Alex: Yup. Yeah. Yeah.
Andrew: When you started out, you had this goal of getting to 10,000 people. I want to go back to the beginning. You got to 1500 early on and then you started selling to them. With 1500 people what kind of sales can you generate?
Alex: If it’s 1500 people that you’re connected with and you have some marketing skills and you can find product to put in front of them they want, you can make a lot of money. You mentioned 10,000 and the reason that number came up to me was simply because I was reading a book at the one time where a marketer had talked about getting to 10,000 and never having to work again. And to me that was like equating 10,000 people to freedom. I’m like, you mean if I can find 10,000 people, now that number’s going to vary depending on the market. I’ve seen people make …
Andrew: What’s the idea? If you have 10,000 people you could just keep talking to them and selling to the same group and for the rest of your life, if you keep that relationship going, then you’ll have revenue.
Alex: I heard, like, out of the same book that we were talking about, I think the person also gave a number of saying that there’s a small percentage of that market, maybe five percent, of any group of people that have demand more than you can supply. And that’s just the numbers. It’s like, I am really into bass playing. I have bass guitars that cost more than some people’s cars. So, I have every single DVD, every book, every training thing. I’m signed up to, like, 10 different memberships sites. I am there. I am one of those five percenters. So what the guy was saying is that, if you can build a herd of 10,000 people, that group that are never going to run out of desire, is going to be big enough to keep you going for a very long time. So that’s basically the idea behind it.
Andrew : And then you got to 1500 and you wrote your email to them and do you remember what you did? What kind of sales you got back then?
Alex: Well, there was actually a couple different stories that I had and (________) enough the number is close to 1500 on both cases. One of them was when I was just starting out and that was like, way back in the day. I was still selling, I can’t even remember what it was, but I had sold a lot of different things online back then, and I was probably doing 2,000′ish and stuff a month at one point in time off of that 1500 people. But to underscore the point that we just raised about your marketing skills, putting the right things in front of the right people and having the right group of people, because that’s why I’m so big into segmentation today. I have seen what can happen if you put the right message in front of the right people and you give (________) of those person, because I have now a different account where, it would have been in like 2008, at the end of 2008 or maybe 2009, early 2009. I can’t quite remember. We did a product launch where the interest group was again 1500 people, and did six figures in two weeks off of the group of 1500 people. That was not my entire list. My entire list was multiple times larger that that, but because I’m such a huge fan of segmentation, I had felt who are the people that are really going to want this thing and I had got them on a separate list. And if we were to compare it, the numbers are the same. Back in 2000, or ’99, when I was just starting off and I had my little 1500 people of casual browsers, the five percenters of that 1500 is a very tiny group. I was doing then, like I said, a couple thousand dollars. Fast forward that to like, 2008, bigger list, but now the 1500 are the five percenters. And two weeks, six figures.
Andrew: I see. So what are some of the products that you sold early on? I’ve got here in my notes from your conversation with Jeremy you sold one of (________) products. You sold a Magna product. You sold a Ragomi[??]. You want to just break down those? Why don’t we start with those three. What did you sell for (________)?
Alex: Oh, man. Now this was even before I even started selling to my base market, which is my home. I mean, I have found my home online right now and this is what I’ve been doing since 2005. But when I was just cutting my teeth online, I just needed something to sell and back then the net was so young, internet marketers were doing, whatever and just making cash with it. [??] had put out a book that he had resale rights to, I think it was called, “Instant Internet Empires” -No, that was Frank Kern, he must have done…
Andrew: He had, from what I remember, I don’t know if this is the product, but he had “Magical Sales Letters” or something, he wrote a bunch of sales…
Alex: Right, So, there was “Instant Sales Letters” that’s the one.
Andrew: That’s it.
Alex: And “Autoresponder Magic” was what he gave away, like if you purchased the product for Nineteen bucks, you could res=sell it as well, which is brilliant, right? Because like he’s gonna get his…
Andrew: So, you buy it and then you get to resell it?
Alex: Yes. And I remember buying it and at the time I had, like maybe that was the initial twelve hundred person list. I sent out an email for it and I was selling it, everybody else was doing nineteen dollars because that was what they bought it for. I’m like, I’m going to do ten bucks. And the first day I sent out an email I made six or seven sales and I was dancing on the roof, man. It was like the sixty sweetest dollars I had ever seen in my entire life, I was running around, running the calculations. I got the calculator out, man I am going to be rich! So, I started working the figures, if I could do this ten times a day, and obviously it doesn’t quite work like that but that was the first thing. Then I started realizing that, OK, if I can sell to a group of people who are interested in selling stuff online, and I sold Yonic’s thing. What about people who are into other things? And again, this goes back to me being like this huge nerd, I would spend time at Borders for fun. If I’m not, if I’m not doing something else, I would just go to Borders, get as many coffees as I can in me, and just sit and read.
I was there one day at the Borders on Market Street in Philly, and looked up from the book I was reading and this entire wall was all Monga books, and I was clueless. I didn’t even know what that was, but I bought like three of them. I’m like why is it that the best seller shelf has like twenty of these books? Why is it there? I bought a few of them, came back to the house, started doing some research online and noticed that Monga is the Japanese version of comic books. So, a lot of people are familiar with Anime, with is the motion, so like, cartoons, but the stills are what they would call Monga. To me it was a curse word, I didn’t even know what it was and I picked up a few of them, and, I’m like this is, this, people are buying it. People are buying it in bookstores. Now I got a book created, now obviously I don’t know anything about it, but this kind of like goes now, to fast forward today, where kind of another thing that I’m baking it onto is outsourcing. And it was because it started way back then, and my first outsource wasn’t because I was a genius, and I understood how to manage people in a project. It wasn’t anything like that, it was that I had absolutely no idea how to do a Monga book. So, the only option I had was to find somebody else, who can do it, it was out of necessity. So, I did a post, and the thing about it is, just as a side note, sometimes we say these things to people and they think we’re holding back the goods. They think that we’re not telling the entire story. That you, you went to Elance and you posted a project and you found somebody, yeah there has to be more than that. No, if you do, if you do it, you’re going to find that there’s going to be that person, you are going to find somebody to do what you are looking for, if you look right.
Andrew: It is simpler than we imagine.
Alex: It is. And I did get a book created by a dude who actually is an illustrator, a full time illustrator for Madd and Cracked comics. So to me that was like the mother lode. This dude is a professional and if I tell people what it cost, it did not even cost me four figures, right? That book went on to do me and it created a nice little income for me at the time. That’s when I was able to cut my ties with my job, and to cut my ties with the, the other guy that I was writing copy for. I just started writing for myself, and that started generating fifteen hundred, two thousand, twenty five hundred dollars a month. I’m like dude, I did it once, I’m going to do it again, again I was at the bookstore and saw an entire section all about Origami and again, I don’t know anything about Origami, followed the same system. I went back to, I think this was Elance again at the time and I found me a person who can create me a product. So, and that was the third thing. I even did something on speed reading, and that was something that came out of my own desire, because I had so many books that I was always reading, I’m like, “I could save so much time if I knew how to read twice as fast.” [laughs]
Andrew: And so you thought, “I’ll create a book, for me and for other people.”
Andrew: “And there must be other people who are like me, who want to speed read.” How did that do?
Alex: That didn’t do as great as, because I really didn’t push that one. But it did, it was making some cash that was enough to pay, like, a car note, easy. So. [laughs]
Andrew: And so, how did you end up finding the bass guitar? Of all these different things. I’m thinking of the bookstore, there aren’t a lot of books on it, there isn’t a lot of talk on it. Most people see a bassist and they think, “Ah, a guitarist.”
Alex: [laughs] Exactly!
Andrew: If they know any difference, they might think . . .
Alex: That’s the heroin right there, man!
Alex: “Oh, you mean you’re a guitarist!” “No, I’m a bass player.” “Oh, you’re a guitarist who also plays bass?” “No!” [laughs]
Andrew: I remember, actually, one time, I had a friend who played the bass . . .
Andrew: . . . in a band in high school, and some girl said, “What’s the point?”
Alex: Yeah. [laughs]
Andrew: And it wasn’t until he — because if you play it, it doesn’t have as much impact as if you don’t play it. So when the band was playing, he said, “I’m going to stop.”
Alex: He stopped.
Andrew: And then you felt the difference.
Alex: And everything died. [laughs]
Andrew: So all that’s to say, most people don’t recognize the power of it. There aren’t a lot of people who are interested. How did you come up on this topic?
Alex: The funny thing — I mean, it’s so weird, like, the question that you asked about it, and if I think about it now, a lot of times we overlook the obvious. Because here I am, a bass player all my life, and I’m sitting at Borders, but I’m seeing everything else. I’m seeing the manga book, I’m seeing the origami things, I’m seeing the speed reading, and I never think, it never crosses my mind to follow my passion.
And I stumbled into this market because of other incidents in my life, one of them that almost, I mean, brought me back to the point of having left my job. And that’s when I was like, “If this is what this is going to be, I don’t want any part of it.” And I kind of stumbled into — I’m not sure if you want to talk about that — but I kind of stumbled into . . .
Andrew: What do you mean, you were — I want to get into how you came up with this idea, but let’s take a quick detour and say, you wanted to go back to your job, the job that you hated, answering phones?
Alex: Oh, well, I mean, I was, like, “I’ve got to do something else.” So, it kind of probably helps the story if I kind of tell why I left the job, and then people are going to realize why the thing that happened to me in my business almost made me think, “This is just as bad.”
Andrew: Oh, what happened?
Alex: Yeah. It was, I worked with customer service at the phone company, and I would help out with the cashier position every once in a while. Like, if they were short, if somebody’s going off to lunch, and that kind of stuff. And this one person came up — this was several years ago, long before people were doing stuff online and paying with their credit card and stuff. This one elderly woman, I would guess she was maybe — I’m saying “elderly,” maybe the woman was, like, 55, 60, whatever. So she comes in, and she’s like, “Hey, I want to pay my phone bill.”
So she gets, like, I can’t remember the amount. But her bill ended with, like, $.87. So it was, like, maybe $46.87, or whatever it was. So she gets in there, and she has $48, carefully counted out, you know, it’s that green grimy money. [laughs]
So, I bring it up, and I’m like, “OK, ma’am, is it OK if I put the $48 . . . ” I could have sworn that she said, “Yes, go ahead,” right? So I enter the entire amount. It turns out this woman wants her $.13 back. [laughs]
So, now, the way it obviously works at the phone company is if you overpay, it’s simply a credit on your next bill. So she’s like, “Where’s my change at?” I’m like, “Uh, didn’t you say it’s fine that I do the entire $48?” She’s like, “That’s not what I said!”
Now, for me to cancel that transaction so I can put in the correct amount, and give her $.13 back, means me getting a supervisor. So, being a smartass, I take a quarter out of my pocket. I’m like, “You know what, it’s $.25. Here you go.” Oh, man, that made her angry. That made her really — because, to her, it was like I was patronizing her. I was being a smartass.
Alex: Which I probably was. Young and stupid. But she went off, man. She cussed me out. [laughs] She cussed me out in the store. Everybody’s, like, turning around. I’m just standing there, like, all wide-eyed, like, whoa. So eventually a supervisor had to come over anyway, cancel the transaction, do it all over. And she had some parting words for me, too, when she was leaving.
So that was the day, actually, when — again, I’m a huge reader. I was reading, I think, “Think and Grow Rich” at the time. And one of the things that I was doing was writing down my goals. And that very day, I kid you not, I took a piece of paper out of the drawer that I was at and I wrote that in six months time, I was going to — because I was doing my Internet thing on the side — in six months time, I’m going to have a list of 10,000 people. Because that was my freedom goal. I wrote, “10,000 people, never work again.” I’m going to have a list of 10,000 people, and I’m not going to be working here.
And, I kid you not, within — it happened, it wasn’t quite six months, but I think it was maybe seven and a half or eight months after, I had got to that goal. And fast forward, now, back to where we got to after that long detour. One day, I am now back into my Internet business, and I created a software product that was very cool, back at the time, it was, like, one of the coolest viral things that you could find. Like, to help a person get viral traffic. I created this software. And I was actually giving it away for free with a product that I had. It did require a bit of an installation on a server, so it was a wee bit technical, but I did some videos explaining how to do it.
This one day, I wake up to an email from a guy, absolutely going bananas on me, saying that I’m the biggest scam artist in the world, I’m selling people stuff that doesn’t work. And he went off. I think he started posting at a forum. “Don’t buy this guy’s stuff. He says, and it doesn’t work,” and so on.
First off, it turns out the guy did not follow the instructions on the video. [laughs] So he was trying to install it, you had to do some stuff on CPanel, he was using a different server, and he did some stuff wrong. Secondly, he never even wrote in and asked, “Hey, is there something wrong? Can I get some help? And at that moment, when I read that email, it was almost like, I just flashed back into getting cussed out. [laughs] The woman standing in front of me, and she’s going bananas.
Alex: And I’m like, “There’s no way I am giving you something that is easily” — where, at the time, I could have sold that for $97, easy. And I was giving it away to help me build my list. And I was like, “There’s no way.” And at that time, I hadn’t gotten the thick skin and stuff yet, because I was ready to hop through that computer and, like, bust a move on that guy, man. [laughs] So, I was, like, “This is not going to work.”
Coupled with the fact that I had really started getting tired of it. Like, I would wake up every day to 200 or 300 emails of people, “Hey, Alex, I’m trying to draw the manga thing, and it’s not kinda working out,” and I couldn’t give them advice. And people, like, my other business, origami questions that I didn’t understand. And my Internet business, my Internet marketing business, because on of the things that I did well was writing copy. People complaining about not having made their $10,000 yet, and, “Are you holding out?”
And, like, this is a process. We’re all going through a learning curve. And I just got tired of people complaining, and complaining, and complaining, and complaining, when to me, everybody should understand that we have to pay our dues, right? You don’t get a business idea — very few people get a business idea and become a success in two months. And I just . . .
Andrew: So you’re saying they bought one of your Internet marketing products, and they said, “I didn’t get rich overnight. What’s wrong with you?”
Alex: Dude! Exactly.
Andrew: So all of this stuff. Software doesn’t work. It brings up back to your old world.
Alex: [laughs] Yup.
Andrew: Internet marketing, people are expecting crazy stuff from you. You can’t answer the manga questions. All that, you say, “I can’t do any of this.”
Alex: It’s like . . .
Andrew: And so that leads you to say, “What am I passionate about?”
Alex: Exactly. I took a vacation. I literally walked away from all of those businesses. It’s like, at the time, I had lists built up in the tens of thousands, in different markets. So the manga thing was doing OK, the Internet business, I probably had got to, like, maybe 30,000, 40,000 people on a list, and stuff. So, I was living good, and I could’ve been happy. I could’ve simply, I guess, hired a person to answer my manga questions, and stuff.
But I started, honestly, hating the market. I hated — I didn’t hate the people. It was almost like I hated coming to work every day. Right? If I can draw that analogy. I hated waking up and having to do stuff that people are going to have unreal expectations about. Internet marketers. I hated not being able to answer a question and have fun doing it. And I went to, maybe, I think we flew out to Barbados or something. [laughs]
Andrew: That’s fun.
Alex: And I was like, “I just need some sun. I just need to get away.” And when I came back, I just didn’t do anything with those businesses. I never sent another email. I never sold another product. I just canceled all of the order links. I just killed them.
And people called me crazy, because I could have sold the assets that I had. I could have sold the lists. I could have sold the rights to the product for a lot of money. I just had such disdain for everything that I was doing at the time that I didn’t even want to touch it. I didn’t want to log into my AWebber account.
Alex: I didn’t want to see emails. Nothing like that. And I asked myself the question: “What can I possibly do where I am not going to hate coming to work every day?” And the only answer I had at the time was bass. It was the only thing that I was doing where if I had to talk to a person about playing base for 23 hours in a day, I would love it. And I’m like, “I’m going to have to find a way to make this work, because nothing else is getting me happy.” [laughs]
Andrew: So, what’s the product that you built around bass? I’m so glad, by the way, that we took that detour, to fully understand the mindset.
Andrew: I get it.
Alex: It was . . .
Andrew: So now you still have to come at this as a real entrepreneur.
Andrew: As a real business owner. Take everything that you’ve learned about marketing, about writing apps. What’s the first thing that you launch?
Alex: The first thing that I did was a product called “Bass Guitar Secrets,” way back in the day. I learned some very interesting lessons about working with people on that one, because the first attempt at it was kind of a co-op. Which didn’t quite fly the way I wanted it to. [laughs] But I learned some interesting lessons, and I moved on. But . . .
Andrew: It was a co-op?
Alex: I mean, it was going to be a product that I was working with someone else with.
Andrew: Got you.
Alex: Yeah. It ended up not totally fleshing all the way out, and I just started over.
Alex: So it’s like, we had gotten together, we had gotten into the process of coming up with this product. I would say we were maybe 30 percent done. And little things started kind of getting in the way, where it just didn’t happen. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. It just didn’t happen on the time frame that I needed.
And I started over. I was like, “You know what? Hit the reset button, and let’s do this again.” And I ended up putting together the first product myself. That was the “Bass Guitar Secrets.”
And from there, we just, I started doing more stuff myself, and then quickly started realizing, again, that I’m going to need help from different people, and started working with different bass players, to the point where, now, I have, like, three instructors that do videos for us. Like, yeah, so I’m trying to get . . .
Andrew: Was the first product a book or a video?
Alex: The first product was a book. I was deathly afraid of cameras, then. I wasn’t getting in front of a camera. [laughs]
Andrew: But that one, you wrote yourself, because you knew the topic.
Alex: I knew the topic. Yes.
Andrew: And then you, how’d you get your list for this business?
Alex: Oh, man. That was the golden days, man. Google Ad Words was $.04 a click. [laughs]
Alex: They didn’t have all these rules. You could literally build a website and have a survey on it, and send people from Google. And that’s what we did. I started off, again, I was, like, if I can provide value to people, they’re going to give me — and, I mean, that’s what business all is. If I can give you something that’s worth more to you than the $2 that I’m going to ask,” hey, then we’re both happy.
So I created a free product that we gave away through Google Ad Words. I started spending some cash. It fortunately wasn’t a whole lot. It was $.04 a click. And people would come to a page, and I’d just give them a free — it was the first run of Bass Guitar Secrets. What I had done was, it was supposed to be a five-part course, like, on five different aspects of bass playing. And I had gotten the first two of them done. And perfectionism started stepping in, and I wasn’t getting them.
And I’m like, “You know what? I’m just going to give away the first two pieces of it.” And people loved it. So that built up the initial list.
Andrew: But you know what? You’re saying that you’re too afraid to go on camera. The video that the guy who — you told us the story earlier, of how you hired someone on Scriptlance to write some code for you, you sold it.
Andrew: And then some guy yelled at you, even though you gave him videos of yourself explaining how to use it. And he didn’t follow those videos right, and it was his fault . . .
Andrew: And he shouldn’t — you created Camtasia, right, videos for that?
Alex: Yeah, but . . .
Andrew: But for something, I guess it was going on camera, not just with the audio product? It was . . .
Alex: Yeah, man.
Andrew: It was your voice. Now you don’t want to stand up?
Alex: Yeah, man.
Andrew: And be on camera?
Alex: That’s it. It was, like, it’s a whole different thing, doing a Camtasia. Well, at least, for me, it was. Mentally, it was a whole different thing from doing a Camtasia video, as opposed to getting in front of the camera and doing a live video. Also back then, to be honest, one of the things that was kind of a hurdle was the fact that doing video back then was so much more involved. I mean, the equipment alone, to have 3 cameras, to do 3 different angles in, forget 2000, let’s talk about a year ago. The price of stuff is different than it is today. And back then having to put on a video meant a lot more. It meant recording the sound at a studio. Today you can go to a music store and for, like, 300 bucks you can get a multitrack recording studio that you can do studio quality recordings on. So at the time it was more prohibited. I was also more scared.
Andrew: Your studio now looks beautiful, what kind of environment are you in?
Alex: Thank you. What type of what?
Andrew: Where are you? Are you in a home? Are you in a professional type of studio? I can’t tell, but it looks like a professional studio to me.
Alex: Yeah, it’s not quite a warehouse but it’s almost warehousish [SP] that we rented and partitioned off and did all of our own set stuff.
Andrew: So now it’s a real pro operation.
Alex: Well, yeah. It’s to the point where I have, we have places where we can go to record. It’s not a rented spot where, let’s go back 40 years ago some of the work we would have to do would be to rent a studio for 3 days to go shoot some stuff. But that took so much coordination, it took getting stuff right because you only had 3 days. It took, if something went wrong and you had to go back in and correct it, it meant 2 more days of studio time and stuff. We’ve got to the point now where the business has grown to the point where I know that we are recording video all the time. So we have this nice little space that we can use.
Andrew: How did this business go compared to your other businesses? The past ones were opportunistic saying I see that there’s a big market for it. I see that there isn’t enough supply for it. I’m going to build a business around origami. When you got into bass, how did it go? Was it slower to build? Was it faster because you were interested and you understood the mindset of your customer more?
Alex: Good question. Honestly, it wasn’t something that I thought about simply because I was having so much fun doing it.
Alex: So if I was to think of the time period, I think I did have an advantage getting in there simply because the methods and the marketing stuff we were going to use I was already fairly good at it at that point in time. So I understood writing headlines. I understood creating good copy. I understood how to outsource certain things. I understood how to buy traffic. I understood how to use the technologies of the time to do stuff follow up wise that people didn’t know. So I did have a leg up in starting this business which did bring it to profitability right away.
Andrew: I’m sorry, I was going to ask then if you were to do it today, where would you get that audience that would make up the top of the funnel and then help you build your business because there isn’t this course and Google Ad Words opportunity out there. And they do have rules, even if you pay more, you can’t do many of the things you used to do.
Alex: Yes sir.
Andrew: So where would you get customers today? Or where would the person who’s listening to us get customers today?
Alex: In every market I think right now that a person’s trying to get into, and people better not try and get into the bass market because it is over. Nobody buys anything. It’s completely saturated. Bass guitar tips has got it locked, okay? So, if you want to get into some other stuff, I’m just messing. The nice thing about it is places like Facebook, places like YouTube have, what they really are and what people don’t think about them as is the watering hole. If we use that analogy, the watering hole is where people come to. So instead of, if I wanted to catch, I don’t know, antelope in Africa, instead of chasing after the antelope I could go sit at the watering hole and wait for them to come there. And YouTube and Facebook, and Twitter and all of these social media things right now are watering holes. People are coming there for videos. Almost anything that you want to do, you can go to YouTube and find a video for it. I’m a huge fan of cooking and it doesn’t matter what the meal is, it doesn’t matter how fantastic the presentation is and all that kind of stuff. You can find how to do stuff on You Tube and you can advertise there. You can put up videos there of yourself.
Andrew: Do you get customers from You Tube videos . . .
Andrew: . . . where you put up a tip and get people to come to your site?
Alex: Absolutely. Now I’m going to be honest, I haven’t done nearly as much You Tube as I should. That’s changing and it simply wasn’t because I didn’t want to do You Tube. It was because I had gotten into this business and started building systems around different things around an affiliate program around Google Ad Words, around SEO listings. I already had my head in so many different things what dedicating time to doing free videos, it’s not that I didn’t want to do it, it’s just that I was managing a PPC campaign which takes more time than people realize.
I was dealing with affiliates on a weekly basis and keeping people happy, and arranging promotions with them and getting them to schedule mailings. So if I had more time or the resources to have somebody just to do You Tube. But that’s now changed to the point where I know that we can put out a slew of videos and stuff and really take advantage of the You Tube.
But one thing that I kind of do want to say about that all is the flip side of it is also true because You Tube is a watering hole, it’s also highly contaminated. What happens when there’s too many different gazelles drinking at the water hole is that it very quickly becomes contaminated and I tell people all the time that information is no longer premium.
People don’t need information or want information. People need researched advice, people need, I’ll give you an example if you wanted to buy a new flat screen TV today and you went to Google and you typed in best flat screen TV, you’re going to get more information than you could possibly do anything with. In fact it’s going to be so much, there’s so many results, so many reviews, so many different terms that it’s not even valuable to you anymore because it’s not help. Now at this point it’s overloaded. It’s data which is no good.
So me to the thing that we have as the real advantage and where entrepreneurs looking at this, these videos is stuff you should be looking at is getting a herd of people that they communicate to that relate to them. That’s one of the reasons why we do so well because our five percenters love me. They love bass guitar tips.
So it’s not so much about me running around and doing videos on YouTube to please everyone because there are people out there who think oh I’m not paying for bass instruction. I’ll go to YouTube and I’ll find it and then you go type and learn to play bass and you find 60 million videos and you don’t know where to start, you don’t know what’s incorrect, you don’t know who’s any good until you form a relationship with someone. So really that’s what it is.
The magic is not so much in the list anymore, the magic is not in the information that you’re presenting. The magic is in you finding a kindred spirit online, you finding a kindred spirit anywhere where when you talk to them they get you. There’s going to be people that I talk to and the way that we teach that it doesn’t matter who else tries to teach them. We have customers that say dude I’ve taken lessons for $120.00 a pop and I just don’t gel with that guy. It’s like what he was saying to me just doesn’t make any sense and we would do lessons with them and they would be like this is phenomenal because they’re on our wave length and that’s what the Internet is really doing. Giving people the opportunity to find more and more people that are on their wave length and that’s where the magic is. Finding your wave length, dialing into it, and supplying those customers.
Andrew: All right. I want to do a quick plug and then ask you about someone who you learned from who Jermaine learned from. A guy who so many other people learned from and got there, you know who I’m talking about.
But first let me say this, guys. You’ve heard me talk about Jermaine Griggs, the guy who introduced me to Alex and introduced me to all these ideas of automation. If you like the style that I have here and approach that we have to understanding businesses here, you’re going to frigging love the course that I recorded with Jermaine where he walks us through how he systemizes a business. All these things that I talk to you about, how a phone call happens, how a card happens, how his business is systemized. I’ve just covered the most unimportant, top surfacey ideas that you’re going to get in this course. If you think that was important, and you think that was impressive, wait till you hear how he really does it. How he walks you through his process.
Then he shows you his full funnel, on the course. He shows you what happens when a person comes in, what happens if they don’t take an action, how he put this whole thing together. And more importantly, if you’re watching us and saying, “Boy, what Alex is talking about is blowing my mind, what Jermaine is offering is interesting,” take that course, and you’ll see how you can do it, too. It’s all there at mixergypremium.com. If you’re a premium member, you’ve got access to it. If you’re not a premium member, come on, sign up already, and you’ll get access to that and so many other courses at mixergypremium.com. I guarantee it.
All right. So, here’s what I want to ask about. Corey Rudel [SP].
Andrew: Came up in your notes. Came up in Jermaine’s conversation with me. Years ago, I remember some guy introduced me to his stuff, and I said, “How are you going to pay?” It was, like, $197 for his stuff.
Andrew: “You’re paying $197 for a guy online? What do you get?” And then he showed me this, like, basically a collection of a printed out off of an office copier looking thing.
Andrew: It was magic.
Andrew: What was it about it, that opened your eyes to marketing? What did you learn from it that was so revolutionary?
Alex: Well, the first thing that was most revolutionary to me, about Corey, was giving me an example to see that this is possible. Because it’s like, the greatest example I can think of is Roger Bannister and the four-minute mile. Before him, it was impossible to run a mile in four minutes. It was like, “Nobody can do that!” And then he does it, and a month later, like, 20 different people do it.
So, as soon as people realize that it’s possible, everything else becomes possible to them. And when I had gotten around Corey, the first switch that flipped in my head was, he was selling a book online. I think it was called “Car Secrets.” So, this was before I had even seen his manuals, his big, thick, ugly manuals, and bought them for $197. This guy got on the Maury Povich show And I just, it was, like, “This is real!”
He’s selling a book for $27 on, I think he used to be a car dealer or something like that, or he was always into cars. And he was selling people a book on how to get the best price when you go to a dealership. Like, how to negotiate, what to tell the dealer. All of the little inside secrets and stuff people don’t know, he was divulging in the book. And I think it was $27. And this guy was doing some serious cash.
And that was the first big thing, to me. I’m like, “Wait a minute. Slow down. This is possible.” [laughs] And that’s what, it encouraged me to really look for that thing that I can do.
And then, at $197, when I got the book, to be honest, Corey was the first person that got me thinking direct marketing. Before, our thoughts of a business not having come from a business background, not having gone to business school, not having — the thought of business, to me, was Madison Avenue advertising. Coca Cola. Pretty women, fast cars, lots of money.
So, it was like, I was here, and all of that stuff was there. To me, the only way people could have made money was if they had a whole bunch of cash, if they got VC cash, if they had the money to go to Madison-type advertising. And Corey showed me that doing, like, what some people would consider to be ghetto stuff. Like, you talked about what his manual looked like. It wasn’t pretty. You talked about — well, he talked about the fact that he was sending out emails, that he was marketing on BBS boards, doing what would be the equivalent to classified ads.
And that’s when I discovered that, other than the VC guys — which, I have love for them. I don’t disrespect them at all. I mean, more power to you. I wish someone would give me $20 million to do what I do.
Alex: So, other than those guys, other than the Madison Avenue-type advertising, the fancy suits and the coats and everything, there were people right under my nose that were making money in the newspapers with classified ads. There were people that were making money sending pieces of paper in the mail. [laughs] And that’s when I started realizing that there are more models to business than what I think of business.
And that was a switch for me, man. When I saw that OK,, so I don’t have a $1,000,000 dollars to invest, but there’s other people making cash with classifieds ads that cost them $100. Psssh, man, I was buying classifieds the very next week.
Andrew: You were?
Alex: Oh, absolutely.
Andrew: You did it?
Andrew: And that’s the thing. A lot of his ideas are a little out of date. I mean, a lot of his tactics are out of date. But his ideas, I believe, not only have been used by you and others, but I think, even now, the funded companies have understood that they’re indirect response business [??]. And they’ve used those lessons. Someone out there has a copy of his manual. I would love to see it. I’ve got to just go and just reconnect with what this was. I . . . What were you going to say?
Alex: Oh, I was just about to say that I can probably . . . At the house, I’ve got so many books. But I have one of the original printed ones, where the cover’s torn off. But I still have it, all my hand scribbled notes and stuff are sitting there.
Andrew: Ah. You’re in Philadelphia?
Alex: Yeah. Well, right now I’m in Toronto, but . . .
Andrew: Oh, you are? And is there a place in Philadelphia?
Alex: We have a house there.
Andrew: See, here’s what I’m thinking. My wife is from Philadelphia.
Andrew: And when we’re there for Christmas or something, I’ve got to hit you up and see if I could come and meet you in person, and take a look at that book. I wouldn’t even ask you to ship it over to me because it’s got to be . . .
Alex: Oh, man. Absolutely.
Andrew: I say this to you, too, Alex. What you did here today, I believe, is the equivalent of what Cory did all those years ago. You opened people’s eyes to a new way of doing business. You’ve opened their eyes to the excitement of it. You’ve opened their eyes to the process here. And I know that it’s going to have that kind of impact. Someone out there is going to think, hey, you know what. Here’s an idea. Here’s a new way of looking at business. Here’s a new way of looking at other people’s stories. And, when they do, I hope, when they have their eyes opened, that they find a way to thank you for it. How do they connect with you and say, Alex . . . You know what? You’re blowing this off. As I say, you’re going to . . . Come one, man. I’m telling you I promise you.
Alex: That’s very flattering, man, but . . .
Andrew: Is there a way for them to contact you? Or would you rather they contacted me and we forward it over to you?
Alex: I don’t have anything to really connect with your market. But if people wanted to get in touch with me, they could definitely go to bassguitartips.com. Now, I’m going to be honest. The site that they’re probably going to see if they go today is dated. Because we’ve just been busy with so many other different websites that I’ve never updated my main site. But you can go to bassguitartips.com. You can also head over to simplebassplayingsystem.com. Feel free to contact me there. Even if you’re not a bass player, and you’re like, dude, I saw you on Mixergy and I just wanted to say, hey, what’s up. Do it.
Andrew: All right. [??] radio, there’s a contact page right there. Thank you so much, Alex, for doing this interview. I love your storytelling style. And thank you all for being a part of it. Bye, guys.