KATG: How Does A Podcast Charge For Content That Used To Be Free? – with Chemda

Posted on Mar 5, 2012 - 8:30 AM PST

In a world that believes that information wants to be free, how does a comedy duo have the nerve to charge?!

Chemda is the co-host of Keith and the Girl, a comedy podcast. Five months ago, the show added a paid membership component, which FORCES its fans to pay for back episodes of Keith and the Girl and comes with a bonus talk show called What’s My Name.

The early financials are looking good. I invited her to tell her story and to help you charge for your content.

Watch the FULL program



I use my sponsor Wistia‘s video hosting because of Wistia’s stats.

 

About Chemda


Chemda is the host of What’s My Name, a weekly, themed talk show. She also cohosts as ‘The Girl’ of Keith and The Girl (KATG), a daily comedy talk show with comedian Keith Malley.

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

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Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of www.Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart where almost-almost-very soon, 700 entrepreneurs have come here to tell their stories. I think we’re in the high 600s. What is it, 675 or so today? Climbing faster than I can keep track of it. And they all come here to tell you how they did it so that you can get their best ideas, go out there and use them, build up your success story and hopefully come back here and do an interview and teach other people too.

The question for this interview is this. In a world that believes that information wants to be free, how does a comedy duo have the nerve to charge?

Chemda is the co-host of the Keith and The Girl Show, a comedy podcast. Five months ago the show added a paid premium membership component, which forces it’s fans to pay for back episodes of Keith and The Girl and it comes with a bonus talk show called What’s My Name? Early financials are looking good. I thought I’d invite her on here to talk about how she did it, some of the issues that she had along the way, some of the resentment maybe from some of her fans and more importantly, if you buy into this idea that businesses need to charge, I want to know what you can learn from her about how you can charge for your content.

So Chemda, first of all, welcome.

Chemda: Thank you. It’s such an honor to be here. It makes me feel like I’ve made it in the business world.

Andrew: Well, this is your second time back. The first time that you were on here, you talked about how to build a rabid community of fans. These are people who in many cases, were . . . well, how many tattoos of your logo do your fans have on their bodies?

Chemda: Actually, we just got one over the weekend so it now makes for 103 tattoos and two brandings.

Andrew: 103 tattoos and people are branding themselves. That means that they take hot metal, stick the metal in the fire, really get it hot and then burn it onto their flesh. Keith, your co-host, said that he smells the flesh burning. He can’t even stand the smell of it. I don’t know how these guys are dealing with the branding of your brand in their body. So that’s what you did first? And then what you did was you capitalized on it. Like a capitalist, you went and you milked them for as much revenue as you could get.

Chemda: Like a capitalist. Never thought to describe me that way as an artist.

Andrew: You are an artist. Well, let me go back actually, to your artistic past. Before Keith and The Girl started, how did you and Keith make your money? What lovely life did you guys have producing revenue?

Chemda: Well, we were essentially, clowns. We were children party entertainers. That means that sometimes we were clowns. Sometimes I was Pocahontas for a kid’s party. I was a Power Ranger. Whatever they needed me to do. And I really loved that job because it had flexibility. I was pursuing a singing career. Keith was pursuing something in comedy, whether it be writing or stand-up. He wasn’t even sure what avenue he was going to take. Because he had all this talent, he wasn’t sure where to funnel it in. So we were, with the flexible schedule and enough money from that, we were just kind of finding our way in our artistic world. And it was you, actually, who were one of the two people who told us about podcasting. And that’s the reason we started.

Andrew: Now, I hear a lot on the Keith and the Girl show, Keith complaining about life before the podcast. That he was a waiter and people just mistreated him, they would treat him like he was a servant. You did not want to continue being a clown, it was fun at first, but wasn’t it challenging, I mean, really be open about the frustrations you had. It’s great to be an artist, but there are also a lot of challenges that go along with it, specifically financially. So, before we get into all the good life that you’re building now, you still haven’t fully made it, to be honest. But, before we get to it, let’s talk about the crap you had to eat on the way over.

Chemda: Yeah, the idea of being an artist means that you will have to have that side-job where whenever you say you want to be this or you’re pursuing that. Something like a musical career or a comedy career, anything like that, somebody will always ask you what your day-job is, what your side-job is. And that comes with the frustration because you will eventually want to say, I don’t have one. And that is a big, you know, ego-boost and it’s exciting, but it’s also nerve-racking. When we wanted to quit the clown job, it was such a good side-job, it was so fantastic that you could make that amount of concentrated money in a short span of time and still pursue your goal. But, it became, there was a point where, if we don’t quit it and pursue podcasting 100% they’re both going to get destroyed. You know, we’re not going to be able to make enough money, we don’t have enough time in the day, so we had to jump into, we are committed to being this and if we fail then that’s it. But, we never thought, we’re going to fail. We never thought, well, when we quit our day-job, it’s just nerve-racking. We thought, maybe we won’t have enough money, maybe rent will be delayed or whatever. But, we never thought, ah, we’ll just dump it if it doesn’t work. We just thought, this has to work and now it super-duper has to work, if that makes sense.

Andrew: Wait, super-duper has to work because you gave up all of the jobs, you put everything into this show. And, first, we’re not knocking down advertising as a way of monetizing free content. And, first, you went towards advertising. But, tell me some of the highs of getting advertising, how effective was it?

Chemda: Well, we weren’t good at getting advertising, to be honest. We’re not sales people, which you kind of have to be, we’re not people who know how to write out a business plan or write out why you should advertise with Keith and the Girl. We just know, hey, look at this everyone’s looking at us, why don’t you look at us for getting people to your site. Hey, people, when we mention a site, and that’s what was happening anyway. When we mention a site that we happened to like or a store that we happened to enjoy, people would go there. So, we thought, shouldn’t that be equivalent to getting advertising pretty easily? But, we found that cold calls to advertising, you know people don’t really pay attention to that. One of our fans helped us with a media kit, which is really great. So, we actually had numbers and graphs and things like that, that you really need. And that helped me, I was doing most of the searching for advertising. That helped me at least have a backbone, like look we’re legitimate, we have this legitimate stuff that you guys are looking for. But, still you know, beer companies, they need months in advance, they need meetings and things like that. So, essentially, we were really running advertisers for our listeners because our listeners knew. Our listeners knew that when we said something they went to go get it. Our listeners knew what kind of response they were having to our own stories and our own whatever it is that we were trying to say. They new if they were responding, other people were responding. So, they started buying ads with us.

Andrew: I see. And you know what though? Even that, people have the sense that, well you’re creating content, you should just be running ads. And, they don’t have any understanding, I don’t think most people do, any understanding of what goes into doing ads. They feel like just putting up a sign saying, I’ve got ads to sell is immediately going to sell them. Frankly…

Chemda: Put me on that list. I thought, hey if we said on our show, we’re going to ad advertising to our show, we’d get swamped with emails. We got a few emails and then, you know, you follow-up with some people and some people think it might be too much for their little blog that they wanted to, you know, get here mentioned on the podcast that they listen to so often. And I didn’t want to convince anyone to put an ad in our show who didn’t truly want to. That’s not a salesperson. That was not working out very well.

Andrew: And, the people who do think you can just go out there and bring in advertising like that because that’s the way things work on the internet, they hear about how advertising isn’t working we for the beer companies on television because people have Tivo. And people say to you, well go to the beer companies. And, frankly, I get that point of view, but you can’t just go knock on the beer, on Anheuser-Busch’s door and say, “I’m now selling ads. I’m a podcaster.”

First of all, there’s nobody at the other end of the door who’s going to listen to you, and second, if you got to the right person, I don’t know that they would know what a podcast is, and I don’t know that they would jump at this opportunity to reach what, to them, is a small number of people.

Chemda: Right.

Andrew: What worked for me is the same thing that actually, frankly, worked for you. I love selling ads, but what I found works the best for me is just putting a link up on my site saying, “If you want to sponsor, here’s the way to do it.” That seems to work really, really well, better even than me getting on the phone and persuading people to buy ads.

Chemda: I feel like the people who are buying advertising already have their couple of places that they know work, and I don’t understand how the whole Budweiser still needs to be in the Super Bowl, and things like that. We know what Budweiser is. How are they going to know that my podcast is going to spread the word more about Budweiser, you know?

It’s more like those big companies are more buying advertising for a network of podcasters, which we’re also signed up to, as well. Our company that we post our shows with, Libsyn.com. They get few advertising, and they get it because they have a network. So, they have not just our million downloads, they have a few other podcasts, adding up to a few . . .

Andrew: How is that?

Chemda: How is that? Not nearly enough to really make a dent, but enough to say, “Hey, let’s go out and buy dinner.” You know what I mean?

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Chemda: It’s not really anything that we can rely on, but it’s fun to have.

Andrew: OK. So Libsyn is enough to buy you dinner, but it’s not enough to run your life on. Really, if you want to put on a good show you need. . .

I’m looking at your mic set up, it’s a professional mic set up, unlike mine, which is just a road podcaster mic. You’ve got the noise canceling foam behind you. I know that there’s a lot of work that goes into your show beyond the equipment. There’s a lot of time that needs to go into putting it together and getting it out there, the quality that you want. You guys do way better editing than I do, for example.

So, you put everything in to bring in advertising, and still, you and Keith, your co-host, had this conversation a while back that eventually led to this direction. Can you tell people about that conversation where you talked to Keith that was a low point for you?

Chemda: The low point, actually, was way before that conversation. It was us still searching for, “How do we do this?” I remember in 2009 that was a really rough year for us, as it was for probably a lot of people listening to your show, and a lot of people just out there in the world.

Andrew: Frankly, is a hard year for a lot people listening to my show, too. It’s really, really tough. I mean, we’re not in an environment like we were at the late 1990′s, where you just pop up and you’re either going to get venture funding or, in my case back then venture-funded companies are going to buy ads from you, almost, I was going to say blindly, but it’s not blindly, with enthusiasm.

So, yes. So then it was tough. Tell me about one of the conversations you guys had. Put me in the frame of mind that you were in.

Chemda: Well, the frame of mind was unbelievable. First of all, I think from the last interview, last time I interviewed with you, Keith and I were a couple. In 2009, or it could have been late 2008, we broke up. At the time, we had the podcast in our home, and after we broke up we still had the podcast in our home and we were still struggling because in order to take the podcast out of our home we needed to rent a second and third apartment, one for him and one for the studio, things like that.

So, we were already in this emotional personal life. We were already trying to work through that, living with your ex and working with your ex, and that kind of thing, but the economy dropped and our ideas were sort of running out of its own funding. The merchandise sold to the people it needed to be sold to. The ads, like I told you, weren’t really happening.

We didn’t understand our next move. We did live shows and that sold a little bit, but the little bits were not giving us something to stand on. I looked at him one day and I just said, “What if this doesn’t work?” That I never wanted to say, ever, because we never even thought, really, “What if this doesn’t work?” We just thought we would always find a different clever way of making money, a different clever way to make it work, a different avenue to turn and to try out.

But at this point we were so tired of a lot of things, and working about 12 hour days, and sometimes working for absolutely nothing for weeks at a time. That becomes very discouraging. Here I am not with the partner that I thought I had, and pursuing, trying to live a normal life.

For me to turn and say that to him, he just said to me, “It will work,” which was really frustrating on my end because you can’t just say it will work. This isn’t some Disney movie where at the end this will work. It was the first time that I was scared that it wasn’t going to work, but I realized that turning to your partner and saying what if this doesn’t work is also counterproductive. What does that help? What if he turns to me and goes what if it doesn’t? We’re still sitting there. We don’t want to stop. This has to work and that’s I how I felt. Even at that point, even as I was saying it to him I guess I was just looking for him to say, don’t worry about it, it’ll work because of this, and why was I looking for him to give me an answer because of this.

From then on I think maybe it scared us enough to go to more business meetings between the two of us, earlier days and later days to finish with more and more ideas. It took us two years from then to come up with this VIP program. I don’t know why it took us that long.

Andrew: Hesitation to charging.

Chemda: Yes.

Andrew: Before we get into how to charge we have to deal with this mindset that everything online needs to be free. You’re a criminal capitalist pig if you ever want to live and meanwhile the people who are trying to charge or people who are trying to bring in revenue in some cases, like in your case, they’re just trying to frickin pay the rent. Literally pay the rent.

They’re just trying to continue doing what they’re doing. They’re not looking to buy a yacht with your money. They’re not looking to go off and count it every day and talk about the suckers who gave it to them, they’re trying to produce good work.

Chemda: We’re not diving into our money pit and swimming in it.

Andrew: Right. You’re not Scrooge McDuck, but I want to spend some time on this. This is the counterbalance of what I’m doing here on Mixergy and specifically what I’m doing here with here with your interview and if I could get other people who charge for content online successfully to come here and do interviews with me I’d love to have that and I will do the same thing with them.

What I’m trying to do is be a counterbalance to this notion on the Internet that information wants to be, has to be free. Put what I just said aside for the moment and get back into the mindset you were in when you were like some people in my audience who are thinking, I should charge, but I can’t do it. Why can’t you do it?

Chemda: Well here’s the thing. Probably back in 2009 we had that idea of let’s just charge for shows and we had about 1000 shows banked at that time. A thousand shows you would think so what if we charged, but we thought how is that going to get us new listeners?

We’re pretty much going to close off the world because it is true that when somebody recommends something to you and you go to that site and right away there’s a charge it’s a huge turnoff. So that turned us off to this kind of program and we had to set it aside.

Andrew: But the initial thought was we’re going to charge for everything. Is that what you’re saying?

Chemda: Yeah, we just didn’t think charge for this, charge for that, we just thought we have all this, the only way to do it is to charge for everything and that cuts everybody off and we’re only going to be working with people that we already have. We didn’t want that because we want the new excitement, we want the new listeners. We want people to want us.

Andrew: You’re right. And what you’re talking about I’ve seen on the Howard Stern show recently. The guy has been on satellite for six years. Everyone who calls in seems to be a listener who heard from back in 8th grade and there’s no fresh callers, fresh meat in the audience. I know what you’re saying, for him it makes sense because he’s built up his audience over the years and he can sustain it and still produce revenue enough obviously to more than live.

Chemda: And don’t forget he’s already getting a salary. If maybe we were getting a salary we’d let the producers worry about it or let whoever it is that’s supposed to be worried about it. We have to worry start to finish about our company. We have to worry about the content that goes on our show and how interesting and funny that is and then we also have to worry about the back end that we’re not really pros at.

Neither one of us has a business degree, neither one of us has a college degree for that matter. We didn’t think that we would find ourselves in this position, so we just kind of got surprised by it and just went, OK I guess this is what business people do.

Andrew: All right. So the original thought of charging for everything didn’t make sense to you. You didn’t realize that there were nuances that you could explore and so you put it aside and you said we’re not going to do this because we need new people and we’re not going to get new people if we’re going to charge from day one to listen to our stuff. Continue. What other issues did you have that maybe the rest of us could identify with?

Chemda: The places where we were making money would have peaks and lows and you can’t survive off of that because then you have peaks and lows of your heart attack, you know what I mean? Some months are great.

Andrew: What do you mean?

Chemda: Well for example, we get new merchandise in. We get a new download in because we do live shows.

Andrew: And you were selling the live show recording and suddenly you’d get a big bump in revenue?

Chemda: Yeah, so those big bumps in revenue, we would pat ourselves on the back and sort of relax for a second, but then we learned we can’t relax, we constantly have to look for the next thing not only to keep things fresh for our audience, but also to continue this revenue and continue us going. If there’s no revenue, we can’t do this, we just can’t. We won’t have a place to do it. We won’t have rent.

So, that wasn’t good enough, and we understood that enough. But we kept searching for that. We kept searching for what will sustain something, maybe better merchandise, which was not the case. It’s never better merchandise, never.

Andrew: But why are you . . . why do you continue to explore better T-shirts as a revenue source, more live shows as a revenue source? Why don’t you say to yourself, and maybe better advertising. . . What is it about charging the audience for your content that you just couldn’t bring yourself to accept? You do sell T-shirts, you do sell tickets to your live shows. Why?

Chemda: That seems like more of a voluntary thing. It seems more like, if you want a T-shirt, it’s your T-shirt, and it will help me out. You know, if you want to come to the live show, why wouldn’t you want to come to the live show? These are more things that, to me, had to do with you listening to the show.

Again, I think it has to do with, I don’t really know, we’re just kind of guessing as we go along. So, it just kind of click where no one could angry with us for charging for a T-shirt because we’re not saying that in order to listen to us, you have to buy a T-shirt. So, in order to listen to us, you have to come and shake our hands in a live audience show.

It seems a little safe, whereas, “Give us money and you get to listen to the main thing that we do,” you know?

Andrew: I see. OK. All right. So, it is because it’s the main thing. You’ve got this thing that’s working for you, that’s getting fans to brand themselves, literally, that’s getting fans to tattoo themselves. It’s getting fans to come to live shows. As a stand-up comic, it’s great for Keith to know that if he does a show once a year on April 15th that he’s going to fill up the place. Why? Because he has this big audience of people who he’s been giving free stuff to.

All right. So, I understand that hesitation. Then something said to you, “No, we must.”

Chemda: Yeah.

Andrew: What?

Chemda: Something was our bank account, to be honest. It just kept. . . I’m going to be completely frank, we constantly had to do that math, and people who have done this math completely understand, the math of, “How many checks did we just send out? And how real is the number in our bank account right now?” So, when you send out the check, you have to, when you’re looking at the number on your bank account, take that off and understand not to touch the bank account for anything.

It was just getting to difficult. It was getting to the point where if we didn’t do this, we just couldn’t do the show. It almost gave us an ultimatum for ourselves and our own company, either do this or you can’t do the show. If our program, we called it the VIP Program, if that didn’t work, then we understand, then people don’t want it enough. And if people don’t want our show enough, free or not free, it’s not going to work.

Andrew: I see. All right. I hope that more people actually see this and don’t wait for that moment where it’s do or die to start charging.

Chemda: Yeah.

Andrew: It’s not necessarily the best time to start charging when you’re coming from a point of desperation.

Chemda: Yeah, because you start thinking, “How long ago should I have started this?”

Andrew: Right.

Chemda: But, let me not get this wrong. Our audience has been fantastic, and when we did ask for donations, and recurring donations, they did come through. It just needed a little bit more than that at that point.

Andrew: OK. We have agreed, as I do with some guests, that we’re not going to specifically share the numbers, even though I know them, I’ve seen them.

A lot of guests, by the way, who say I can’t show you the numbers will walk me through they’re. . . I had this one guy, he eventually came on and he did an interview, but he walked me through every register of every affiliate account that he was a part of. I’ve had others who walk me through, they do a screen cast, and then they walk me through their bank accounts.

I had this other guy who didn’t want to do a screen cast, but he said, “I want to do an interview at some point, I want you to know that I’m legitimate for when I do come to you because these numbers are going to blow your mind, who recorded himself going through his Paypal register to show me what his numbers were.

This guy actually did it when I started charging for some content on Mixergy. He said, “Andrew, don’t give up. I want to eventually come on, and I’m going to show you my numbers.”

At the time, it seemed outrageously big. I forget what his revenues were. But then, when he showed me his PayPal register and I could see, he got it $50 at a time. It wasn’t thousands of dollars all at once, it was $50 at a time. That’s what I’m finding now, too, with Mixergy Premium, that a little at a time, you just grow and grow and grow.

Chemda: Yep.

Andrew: What I’m asking you is this: You won’t share your full financials, but overall, are you making more money every month with this program than you were the month before?

Chemda: The graph is going up. The company that we work with to collect the recurring revenue does give me all the graphs I want, and I check it every day, because it’s exciting, and nerve-wracking, and fantastic. There’s something to check now, you know? The graph is in a good position. It’s in a position where even if it has little dips for the day, it generally looks like it’s good news. I’ll tell you this about the revenue. We’re not making millions. We’re paying ourselves out enough to live, so that we can put even more money into our company because right now, we’d rather live very meagerly, so that we can move the company up to a place where we are so secure that we can give back to ourselves.

Right now, the revenue is giving us a floor. It’s giving us a ground, and we feel comfortable walking now. We feel like it’s not a matter of, ‘Are we making any money today?’. It’s a matter of, ‘Let’s push forward a little harder, let’s use this money for stronger things’. We finally have something that we can say, ‘We’re going to be around for a really long time,’, and that’s a fact. It’s not based on pulling from wherever you want to look for. That’s a big deal. It’s a really, really big deal.

About getting things for free on the internet. I get it. I want things for free on the internet also. But I understand that Netflix, for example, charges a little bit, and it’s worth it for me. The idea that you just get everything for free…I’m getting a little bit revved up because of this because I wonder how people would react if I came into their job, and said, ‘I see you on Facebook all day long. Why don’t I just take one day of your salary, and see how you live.’.

You know, it’s because we’re entertainment. So entertainment should just be around, you know? ‘You’re funny. What’s the big deal about being funny? I can be funny. I know around the cooler I’m hilarious, you know? Nobody pays me for that.’ Well, if you don’t pay me, I don’t exist. So, it’s up to you, you know? If you want something to exist, it needs to happen.

Andrew: The quotes that I wrote down in our pre-interview. One was, ‘We’re going to be okay.’, and as you said that, I could see the relief in your voice. You also said, ‘We’ll be in business,’, and it’s strange. As an entrepreneur, and you guys consider entertainers, but you’re also entrepreneurs. As entrepreneurs, we do have this constant worry that we’re not going to be in business. It’s a founded worry, because frankly, how many entrepreneurs do you see go out of business both at the early stage, and you see them even later on. They run their companies, they’re kings of the hill, and then boom. Where did they go?

Chemda: If I knew the numbers ahead of time, I would have had more doubt. That’s part of why not being a business person was good in the beginning. We were floating on something that entertainers need, and that’s faith. Every entertainer goes in there going, ‘I don’t know. I could be poor until I’m 50.’, and suddenly, things will happen.

So, we were more on that. I was doing shows for free every single time I signed up to do something. Keith was getting up on stage for free. There is no money for entertainers. So, in that sense, it helped us. We didn’t expect to just be a business, and grow like that. We expected to have some hardships, and for people to want things for free.

Andrew: All right. One more thing before we get into the tactics that you use, and the experience that you had as you were charging. The first thing is, what are you charging for, and what are you charging? I explained that it’s back episodes. It’s something called ‘What’s My Name’, which is a show that you do. How are you charging for it? Monthly, right?

Chemda: We charge monthly, but you can also sign up six months in advance, or one year, and obviously there’s a price break if you pay all of that up front. We charge $14.99 if you go monthly. If it’s six months, it’s $77 and something cents, which breaks down to $12.99 a month. For the yearly, it’s $10.99 a month, but you pay that all up front.

Andrew: Okay. I’m going to say to the audience, if you want to check it out, you can go to keithandthegirl.com/vip to see what they’re selling. Lest anyone think that what I’m doing here is trying to sell you on this and get upset, first of all, if you’re upset thatI’m trying to sell to you in the middle of an interview, shame on you. I’m not selling anything for myself. I don’t get [??] commissions. You should not have any problem with anyone selling. It shouldn’t be a dirty word to sell.

More importantly, I don’t really believe that anyone is just going to go and buy off of me saying go to keithandthegirl.com/vip. It’s not the kind of thing that you buy on day one. It’s the kind of thing where maybe you download one of the programs, and you hear Keith and Hemda [SP] talk about their lives, and suddenly you say, ‘You know what? Next time I’m on a long road trip, I should listen to this.’. Then maybe the next day you’re on a commute and you say, ‘I’m going to listen to it on Stitcher, because Stitcher on my iPhone lets me listen to keithandthegirl.’ And then you listen and before long it becomes a habit and then soon after that you say, “Well, these guys used to date? Wait. What was that reference to when they broke up? How do I go listen to that?” And then you go back in time and download the old stuff and really just get carried away with it the way that maybe if you were a fan of the TV show 24 or for me it was the TV show Lost, unfortunately, where you just go and download all the back episodes and you just listen to them all. For me, I did that with Lost, which was an awful, awful experience. But for others, maybe on a long road trip, they listen to Keith and The Girl back episodes.

I know that there’s no instant sale here but I do want the audience to familiarize themselves with what we’re talking about because if they’re going to do this themselves and charge for something online and really, one of the things I hope everyone listening to me, takes away from this and all my work on Mixergy, is don’t be afraid. Don’t be ashamed to charge. It’s okay. I see that you do it and frankly, I do it to in these interviews. We kind of justify charging. But you know, the guy who is selling you a vacuum cleaner, the Apple genius who sold me this iMac, they don’t apologize. They don’t say, “Well you know, we have to charge you a little bit because Steve Jobs needs a new turtleneck.” No, they just go, “Dude, of course I’m going to charge you for it. It’s not even an issue. I’m not apologizing. Now let me talk to you about what it has and if it works for you, terrific. If it doesn’t work for you, then we’ve got all these other computers and frankly, if you want to move on to the PC store, there are tons of places where you can go and get those.” Sorry. I go on these long rants.

There is a specific reason why I wanted to do this interview. I want to just keep bringing voices up of people who are willing to charge, people who are going against the grain of the internet, which says everything needs to be free. No one can make money. A few minutes from now, I’m going to be talking to Alicia Navarro. I’ll record this as a separate interview. She’s the woman who runs Skimlinks. When it got out that Pinterest converted links to products on its website to affiliate links-so the user still clicks on cute shoes, goes over to see the cute shoes store and can buy or reject the cute shoes. Nothing changes for them but Pinterest, if you click on those shoes and you buy, gets a commission. People went nuts. How dare Pinterest make money? This is free and they should never make any money. People would go equally nuts, by the way, if Pinterest ran ads. But I want to go against the grain. I’m having her on here to celebrate her success and to learn how she built up that company. That’s why I’m having you on.

Chemda: Sorry to cut you off but we made this comparison. For example, and you talked about the show Lost, we talked about the show Family Guy. And that was on TV for free for a very long time. On regular television and then you can get it probably on cable channels but I’m not sure of their whole history. But then they have the nerve to sell it, like for Christmas, a box set. But you’ve already seen it. The nerve of Family Guy to sell that. It’s their shows. But you don’t have to buy it.

Andrew: I don’t see . . . Rupert Murdoch is on Twitter right now. I see him saying all kinds of outrageous statements that are just on his mind and sometimes shock people and get them infuriated but I haven’t seen yet-maybe he sent this out-but what I haven’t seen yet is Rupert Murdoch going, “I feel so bad that we’re about to sell a box set of these DVDs of the same show we showed you. All right. I’ve got to get off of my soapbox. These interviews need to be about you and learning your story instead of me making a statement. Even when I do make a statement by having a guest on, it should be a much more subtle statement than the one that I’m making here.

Chemda: I like your statement.

Andrew: All right. Good, I’m glad. I think it needs to be heard. That’s why I’m doing it. Let’s talk about pricing. You’re selling your old stuff, things that used to be for free, that some people already have on their hard drives. You can’t really compare yourself to other podcasters because there aren’t podcasters like you out there. How do you figure out what prices to charge?

Chemda: That was really actually difficult for us. We wanted it to be a reasonable price where people don’t have to think so much about signing on. So it’s not taking form their grocery money or anything like that. Because a lot of people are on fixed incomes. This is not a necessity and we understand that. You don’t need to listen to us. You don’t need to be entertained. But we do think that it does make your life a little bit better. But we also wanted it to be significant enough so that it again, gives us a floor, gives us a ground to step on. So we think that $15.00 a month, when you break it down . . .

Andrew: Yeah, tell me about the math that you did. You actually sat down and you ran numbers on this. Can you walk me through how you did it?

Chemda: It’s not even that complicated. It’s $20.00 seems like you would have to think about it more. $10.00 would seem like it’s not going to give us enough and we don’t want to up the price later on. We want it to be a reasonable amount that at least for a good long time, we don’t have to think about raising it. So $15.00 seemed like-and this is the math. This is the simplest math. It’s $0.50 a day.

Andrew: You just said it’s going to be $0.50 a day. Didn’t you do some kind of math where you said we need to have this much money in order to live. We’re going to divide that by the number of people who we have, the number of people who we think we could get to buy anything that we sell and that’s what we’re going to charge you. Did you do anything like that? No.

Chemda: Not at all, because as much as we do know how many downloads we get a month and as much as we do know how many tattoos we have, we figure hey, if you have a tattoo of ours you’re buying it right? Hey, if you have a t-shirt that means you’ve spend $20, $24 on our t-shirt, why wouldn’t you spend $15 a month?

I don’t think that math works at all. I don’t think you can decide what someone is going to decide to spend their money on. Not like that. That’s what I think. So it was more like what would I think would be reasonable for something that entertains me on this level and then we have to let the audience make that decision. We do have ten shows for free.

Andrew: Always the latest ten shows.

Chemda: Yes. Ten shows and that we consider not only entertainment for the people listening, but that’s out commercial. That’s the way that we get people to want to get all these backups, so you not only have the backup films, which is now over 1500 shows, you have my new What’s My Name Show, which is slightly different because it’s not a comedy show, it’s more interview based, and you also have our TV episodes.

We’ve done some videos. You have what we call Beginnings, which is some edited stuff, it’s almost like best of, and we also give free content here and again. Like we did a D.C. Live show, the only way you can get the video is through VIP, instead of the people who are not VIP they have to buy the audio for that show, we gave it to the VIPs for free. We just want to keep giving incentive. Just hold onto us, you know what I mean? We’ll give you the stuff and you hold onto our company.

Andrew: OK. You know what, I’ve got to tell you and people say this to me too all the time, so don’t take this as an insult or don’t take it like I know everything, but I’ve got to say that I think you’re under-charging and I also think that the way you’re selling is not the best way to do it.

You’re under-charging because if someone is going to take out a credit card whether it’s $12 or $20 it’s not that huge of a difference. When I take out my credit card, I’m taking it out. Maybe there’s a limit to where I stop, but it’s not anywhere between $12 and $20 so I think you could go higher.

The other thing is, I keep hearing these entrepreneurs who say it’s only $0.50 a day. $0.50 a day is partially an apology. It’s like, don’t worry it’s not too much, so we’re still continuing this apology. The second thing is, I remember reading Irrational Exuberance and he talks about how if you set a number in people’s minds and then you charge a higher number than that they’re going to feel like it’s too high and they’re going to walk away.

If you set a number in their minds then you charge less they’re going to feel like this is a bargain. I don’t remember the exact experiment that they ran, but it had something to do with saying put the last two digits of your Social Security number on the top of the page. Now we’re going to show you why and we’re going to tell you that it’s worth this much. You tell us now whether it is or it isn’t.

Based on how that number, if it was lower than the Social Security number then they thought this was a bargain. If it was higher then they thought, boy this is too expensive. It’s because they were anchored to a price and we online say it’s only the price of a cup of coffee or it’s only $0.50 what we’re doing in our audiences mind is anchoring them to a lower price and then we hit them with a higher price.

I think it’s better to say something like, look, you can go and watch one of our live events and pay $100 to watch these and frankly people have wanted to pay $200 for it, but if you choose not to do that and you want to do it from your own home it’s only $12 a month. Now you’ve anchored them to the higher price and you’re offering them a lower price.

Chemda: I understand that and I understand that there’s a lot of things that we don’t know, like anchoring prices and things like that and I’ve watched your shows and I say, wow some of that stuff I’m naturally doing, which makes me really proud and some of the stuff I’m like, wow this is way over my head and I just have to admit it.

I have to admit that certain things are over my head because A, I only have a certain amount of time in the day and B, I still no matter what it’s almost always that I’ll consider myself an amateur because I’m an entertainer first. So here’s what happens with the $15 a month that you’re saying is too low. Good. I’m glad you think it’s too low. Maybe that’s a little bit easier to sell two people on it instead of one and that’s two more people that are fans of our show, which is really important to us.

The money is important, but we really want people to want our show very badly. The other thing is, is $15 is what we’re comfortable selling and that is a huge deal, because especially in the beginning when we were mostly donation-based we used to say, and donate to our show, and we were very hesitant about it, so $15 for us we’re not hesitating. We know that we’re worth more than that. So, we know we’re selling you at a bargain, so that’s why I have a lot of confidence. And to me that means a lot. And fifty cents a day, I understand what you’re saying right now and that makes sense to me, but for me it’s perspective for my audience. Do you buy coffee every day? You know, do you buy coffee and you spend five dollars on a latte and you then you put the change in the change jar, for the barista, or whatever? Am I worth that to you when you listen to me every day? When you say, oh I want to but I can’t afford it. That’s who we’re going for when we say fifty cents a day. I want to, but I can’t afford it. We’re giving them perspective to say, you kind of can. You kind of can, because we do. We all spend frivolously hear and again. So, if you want to call this frivolous spending, or if you want to find a way to fit it into your budget, I’ll find you a way to fit it into your budget, in a confident way, because I know I’m not over charging.

Andrew: All right. I want to hear the readers or the listeners perspective. I know people read the transcripts and many people choose to read these interviews. But if you read it, listen to it, and you have a different opinion, I want to hear what your feedback is on this. My big take-away from this that, just get it out there. Just get it out there, feel comfortable with what you’re doing, and start charging, and you’ll get better at charging more. You’ll get better at figuring out how to sell it. But, do go out there and sell. You’re nodding, do you agree with me on that?

Chemda: Yes.

Andrew: Okay.

Chemda: Yes, you have to feel comfortable that. You know, when I was younger, I said money is nothing. You know, it was a little bit of a hippie-ish thing. And, don’t worry about how much your partner makes, and don’t worry about how much you make. But eventually, if you’re dating someone, and they don’t have money, you’ll resent them. Because, there is a time in the month, and throughout the month where somebody else says, I need your money. So, it’s not between just you and yourself and your entertainment, and your freedom and whatever. We all have to get a paycheck at the end of the week. And no, you shouldn’t apologize for it. But there are some perspectives that you can find that make everybody feel more comfortable with it. Because like you started this interview, this is a world where we feel entitled to a lot of free content. And I do think that it’s very important to give some free content. To give an idea, you can’t just go, hey I’m great. You have to give the people who you want money from, and idea of why you’re great.

Andrew: Okay. What’s that?

Chemda: That’s my soapbox.

Andrew: No, no but.

Chemda: No, that was my soapbox.

Andrew: Oh, soapbox. Okay. Next I want to hear about the initial reaction to charging. You went for years, and over a thousand episodes of free, and then you started charging. What was the initial reaction, and how did you respond to it?

Chemda: It took us a long time, to launch that. We had to do a lot of behind the scenes things, like get the website ready and things like that. So, in the anticipation, we were already getting ready for who’s going to say some nasty, nasty things about you know, I should have this for free. And, to be honest, and if Keith was here, he was really excited about it actually. He was waiting for the negative feedback, because we were so confident about this, that we’re not suddenly locking everything up, or even if we were, we were so confident of what we were doing, that we said bring it on, bring on any negativity, we know that we’re doing the right thing here, and in fact, if you are so adamant about not paying for this, maybe we will make you understand, or you have to on some level understand. We’re just not going to be here. And that’s fine if you don’t want us to be here, but it sounds like you do, since you’re having such as big response. So, we were ready for it. But I’ve got tosay, maybe too negative a response.

Andrew: Really?

Chemda: Maybe, maybe I shouldn’t be so, confident about that. Ten at most, but I can’t even remember it. There were some people right before we launched, on our forums that were saying, why aren’t Keith and Chemda charging for this? There is so much content here, it’s amazing that they haven’t locked up their backup episodes and we saw that about a week before we launched. And we were just so excited about that. There wasn’t a lot of backlash. People understand and are becoming more understanding of the fact that they are getting a product and they have the option of another product, and it’s their right or their whatever it is, they have the option.

Andrew: Poor Keith, didn’t get to spar with the audience. And too bad for the audience, because I know as a listener, watching and listening to Keith spar with the audience is one of the most fun parts of the show. And you guys have trained your audience, essentially. I believe we train people to know how to respond to us, how to deal with us. I remember I asked Neil Patel why did you do this free, what was it? Free, teleconference for some blogger. And he said, because that blogger trains his audience to respect good content, and to pay for it. And even though Neil said Neil wasn’t getting paid for speaking at this event, he knew that the guy who was putting it on was getting paid and that the people who were listening were trained to pay. And so when Neil eventually did charge for something, the audience he was reaching out to would be trained to accept payment, would be trained to understand that Neil had value and that they should be paying him. You guys trained your audience to battle you and they still didn’t battle you.

Chemda: I can’t believe we trained our audience to battle us. Just for the record, the handful of people that did have negative responses, Keith was absolutely fine ripping into those and allowed himself to have that wonderful moment in his life.

Andrew: Congratulations.

Chemda: I think more than training them to battle with us, we share so much of our personal lives that I think that that’s the reason why they didn’t combat us. They understood that just like anybody else-like waiters need your tips-we need this. And they understood that it was a voluntary system. That we’re not charging you for things that you need. We’re not suddenly charging $100.00 for diapers and you can’t afford it.

Andrew: Right. All right. So we talked about pricing. We talked about dealing with the haters. Talk to me a little bit about how you get customers. Now you’re selling something that admittedly was free for a long time, admittedly is competing against your free ten episodes. Every weekday, just about, there’s going to be a new free product and you’re still selling. What are some of the sales tactics that work for you and that could work for the person who is paying attention and learning from you?

Chemda: Well, we knew that a lot of our audience had already listened to all the back episodes. A lot of people that start listening to our show really do take the time and just download all our shows and need to be caught up. So we understood that that wouldn’t be the biggest selling technique and we thought maybe for the new people, like you said, who get caught up in our new episodes will think, “Oh my God. I think I’m missing out on a lot of things” and will buy the back episodes. But I also committed myself to do a second show and it’s called the What’s My Name? Show. We wanted to give content to people who have been listening to us from the start, who have caught up on all the shows, who do need new content. And so I do a new show once a week that is slightly different from Keith and The Girl but is still has me in it. So if you like . . .

Andrew: Well, we just lost your connection. We’ll take a moment here. Hopefully . . .

Chemda: . . . how I run things on that show. So that’s one tactic. Another one is that . . .

Andrew: Actually, before you go on to the next tactic, I’m sorry, I see that your video just froze. There it is. Okay, it’s back. So first tactic was you are giving people unique content that they couldn’t get anywhere else and that’s the What’s My Name? Show, hosted just by you, no Keith and you do it on a less frequent basis than you do the Keith and The Girl Show. What else do you do to sell? You sell within your show itself? What’s worked for you about selling within the show? Let’s talk about the early sales. What did you do to get the first ten? The first 100 people to subscribe?

Chemda: I hate to say it but I thought that was pretty easy. I think the first few were based on loyalty and were based on, “I just want everything Keith and The Girl.” And also a big selling point is that second show because it is new content.

Andrew: But where do you sell it and how do you get people to understand the value of it to buy?

Chemda: Mostly on the show, yeah. Mostly on our show. We do have a mailing list. We do have Facebook and Twitter and things like that but mostly it’s on our show. And we understand, even with the What’s My Name? Show, that the people that I interview won’t necessarily be selling our show. I think the biggest selling point is we do a good show every day. Do you want more? Recently, I used something that I learned from your show, from you. Our seven-year anniversary for the show is coming up on March 7th so on February 7th, we launched this campaign that says, “Can we get 100 new people to sign up by our anniversary date? We’ll post the results on our forums. We’ll let you know how many people we sell to every day so that if we fail, you know it. If we succeed, you can celebrate with us.” That’s been working out really well.

Andrew: Ah, I see. You know what? Before I launched Mixergy and after I sold Bradford & Reed, I went out and I just explored how other people sell. I went to see how the Kirby vacuum people sold. I went to see how religious cults sold themselves to new people. And this one group, Mary Kay-I walk in there to watch her sales techniques and they are some of the best that I’ve ever seen. And one of the things that they told their sales people to do is to have this mission, this number that they’re aiming for, and to share it with their friends, saying something like, “I am this week trying to sign up seven new people to come to one of our Mary Kay meetings” or whatever it was. I don’t remember the specifics of that. But it was, “I am on this mission to get this number of people. Will you help me?” And people buy into it. People really want to support and get to that number. So you said you’re aiming for 100. How many so far?

Chemda: So far, we have about 65, maybe a couple more because I didn’t update today’s numbers. And we have until the 7th to make 100. So we need like two or three every day, from now until then.

Andrew: You’re giving people a number. You’re showing the number publicly. You’re sharing it and you’re letting people all get excited about doing it. By the way, why monthly? I asked the same thing of David Heinemeier Hansson of 37Signals, why did they charge for software monthly when the standards at the time were to do what Microsoft was doing, which was to charge one time until the next version. Why did you go monthly?

Chemda: I don’t know that we’re going to have another version. We’re going to have more content. We give out discounts to our VIPs as well. We will have additional bonuses for you but . . .

Andrew: But you could have said, “Our bolt of stuff, you’re going to get access to it. It might grow but it’s going to be essentially 1,000, whatever number of episodes. We’re going to charge you $50.00 for it.” One of the reasons he said it was . . . he said, “We’re going to keep updating it so of course, we need to keep charging.” I think there was also . . . I forget the exact reason but there was also a revenue benefit in it. What about for you? Was there a revenue benefit for you? Were you thinking and I was thinking this, “It would be nice to run Mixergy as an entrepreneurship venture with all the risks that go along with it but at the same time with the safety net that comes from knowing month to month, I can count on having this revenue come in and I don’t have to sweat that.” That’s where that came in as opposed to saying, “Hey, you know what? This month I’m going to sell all of last year’s interviews and next month I’m going to sell all of last month’s interviews and I’ll keep coming up with these new products to sell people. I wanted that consistency. Did any of that factor into your decision? What went into it?

Chemda: Well, to be honest, we didn’t even think about that that much. We just thought when you charge someone for a bulk sort of thing where they get to pick and choose what they want . . . when you do a membership, which is what we’re doing, sounds like memberships go for monthly. But yeah, it is nice to have the cushion. Like I said, now we’re making a certain amount of money every month. And as much as it’s reliable, we understand that people can drop off and cancel their next membership. They can do that at any time. We understand it. But we now have enough money to focus on more fun things. We have live shows that are coming up in April that are really, really exciting. We get to meet our fans. We get to not worry about how many shirts we buy so now it’s a little bit more exciting to pick and choose what we have for people to download. We want to be more on the creative side than the business side. We want to go back and just be doing our show and getting excited about what’s funny and what’s not and making fun of things. And this allows us to do it. It allows us to keep our creativity. It allows us to go, “We can pay everything with this. We’re not rich at all but we can pay everything now so let’s have some fun. A little more than before.”

Andrew: I see.

Chemda: Yeah, “and let’s have some fun with business.” I’m smiling, talking about business right now. That’s not normal. For a while it was really stressful. I don’t know what business is. I don’t know what to do, you know? This gives us enough money to make us feel like we know what business is and to make us go back to the creative side a little bit more.

Andrew: It does suck when brain cycles have to go toward worry instead of toward creativity and production. All right. You mentioned email. I’ve noticed in a lot of my interviews that email is-and also in my experience on Mixergy-that email is a great way, maybe even the most effective way, to get new customers. How has it performed for you?

Chemda: I don’t know. Like I said, I think we have to go back to our show. We never doubted that our show was good. We weren’t sure how much money we would make on it. Our show is the biggest selling point. We know that if you give us two or three episodes-because I think sometimes if you just listen to one episode, you’re just kind of whirlwind and “What is going on?” and there’s a lot of our personality that you disagree with, which hopefully just lights a fire in your belly and you’ll want to listen to us more-but we know that we’re doing that aspect right and that’s the biggest selling point is you laughed at your desk. You cried at something that happened, even though we’re a comedy show. You cared about the comedians coming through. You cared about the musicians that we cared about. We’re building this community and you want in on that. That’s the selling point. Emails are more like reminders, easy links to get to it where you don’t have to go ” www.keithandthegirl.com/vip.” It’s right there, it’s clickable. You’re at your computer anyway, that kind of stuff. We really think the show is what sells us the most.

Andrew: I see. I’m finding that, too, actually, with Mixergy. When I say go sign up for premium, I think I get the best results from e-mail, and number two comes from actually within the interviews. Better even, I think, than when I do full blog posts on a program.

What else do I need to know about how you’re getting customers? What about this…when you have comics and other artists come on your show, they’ll mumble their URL for what to buy, or they’ll have this weird URL, you’ll say, ‘Own it. Be clear about where you want people to go and buy.’, because if you’re a comedian, and people listen to you on Keith and the Girl for an hour, and you’re telling them to go buy your CD, they’re primed to buy. Don’t make it complicated by saying go to eBay.com or whatever. Tell me about the URL and the simplicity.

Chemda: This is another thing that people do where they’re just apologizing for things. You have to think like a listener. If I like you, just tell me where to find you, you know? If I like you, don’t mumble it. You’re not telling me that I have to go visit your site. You’re saying if you like me, visit the site. Now, if you only have a Facebook, make sure that you have facebook.com/something simple, and not faceebook.com/02154…you know? It’s just ridiculous. Nobody has anything memorized, and if your name is complicated . . .

My name is Chemda. I don’t call the show Chemda. Not even the show that I host myself. Do you know how to spell Chemda? You do, but if I just talk it into a mike. Chemda. Now you’re asking people to guess everything. So, What’s My Name is better. People know how to spell evey single letter in there. Just make it easy for people because they want to, and if they want to, now it’s easy.

Andrew: It’s whatsmynameshow.com. You couldn’t get whatsmyname.com.

Chemda: Right.

Andrew: For Keith and the Girl, when you’re on the program, it’s keithandthegirl.com/store to buy, and keithandthegirl.com/vip to sign up for this VIP membership. I did the same thing for Mixergy. I said mixergy.com/premium, and it felt really long and too much for me. Then Jeremy, our producer here at Mixergy, said, ‘Andrew, buy the domain mixergypremium.com, and let the people go there.’, and I thought what a simple basic idea. I bought mixergypremium.com. Now I can say to the audience, ‘Go to mixergypremium.com if you want to buy,” instead of giving you a slash and hoping you’ll remember it all.

Chemda: What’s funny about the slash is a lot of comedians are still fighting with the internet, and fighting with technology, because they just want to write out their stuff and get out on stage. A lot of times they’ll say, ‘facebook.com’, so Keith will make fun of them and say, ‘So not front slash?’

Andrew: Yeah right.

Chemda: They just don’t know. Keep it simple.

Andrew: Wait, isn’t backslash for file structure, and front slash for web structure? You’re right. Does it even matter?

Chemda: Are we writing a program right now?

Andrew: Right. All modern browsers, I think, will take both slashes, front and back. What is a front slash, and what is a backslash actually?

Chemda: I don’t even know.

Andrew: Is there a way that a slash is supposed to go? What else do we need to know about this software? We should talk about software. You had custom software made by your brother, he’s also my brother. You and I are brother and sister. First of all, Michael didn’t charge you anything, which is one reason why you did it, but why didn’t you just go off the shelf with it? Why didn’t you do what I did, which is go and get Wishlist member, install that, and have it manage everything?

Chemda: We were going to. There was something that we couldn’t have really easily signed up for. It would have taken so much of our revenue, that we would have to fight and work so much harder. To be honest, we were just going to do that way, but Michael said, ‘Hold on. Let me see if I can do this. If it’s not a big deal for me, and it doesn’t take up time that I need to use for my business, then hey, this will work out a lot better for you.’.

My brothers are my best friends, so it’s nice to work like that. Because he volunteered, and he was adamant about doing it, we took him up on it, it worked, and that’s fine. You could use something, like you said, that is off the shelf. That’s fine. I know that we are doing much better because he created the program for us, so we don’t have to pay out as much. We did do it for an exchange of talking about his site which is skimthat.com, and so now when we don’t have ads, we put in his ad, and

Andrew: I see, so he does get a benefit back.

Chemda: Yeah, and of course, we, he and I, Michael and us, we constantly have this exchange of what can we do for each other because we want to succeed, we want the other to succeed, and if we can help easily, you know, even if he didn’t write this program, of course, easily I would be happy to say both my brother’s websites any time. We’ve mentioned yours before.

Andrew: Good. I do like what he did for you where, what I like about it, what’s better than mine and off the shelf, is that you guys can say if you have a basic package, you get this number of downloads of our old stuff, if you have the next level up, you get more downloads, and so on. With mine, it’s just, if you’re a member, you get access to all of them, and there’s no way for me to cap the number of downloads that you get.

Chemda: Yeah, that was another way to ensure, because we have 1500 shows, there’s a value there, and there’s value that we want people to stay with, and we want to count and rely on this VIP program, and we called it VIP. It sounds like such a tactic, you know? But, to be honest, these are very important people to us. They are keeping us afloat. That is very, very important.

Andrew: All right. So, for people who can’t get Michael to code this stuff up for them, they can use Kajabe, they can use Wishlist Member, which I use. I think some people use, what’s another one?

Chemda: I’ll tell you this, we’re with libsyn.com, we always recommend libsyn.com. That’s a complicated one, but they have that program as well. We were going to work with them. They’re a great company.

Andrew: Where you can sell your old programs through them.

Chemda: But we had this, so.

Andrew: OK. What else do we know about, if we’re going to do this, what do you wish you knew two years ago, beyond the mindset. What do you wish back in October about selling?

Chemda: Wow, it really is that the biggest, it’s so corny, that you are own worst enemy, you’re the person standing in your way, don’t wait, just do it, it absolutely is the mindset. Don’t be afraid to tell people that, you know, you locked up a certain amount and I really believe, still give people free content. There is, you are your selling point, you know?

If someone’s interested in you, that’s the interest right there. You can’t get them interested in 15 dollars a month, no matter how high or how low, you know? I understand that selling at a higher point just makes you look like, you know, more important and, you know, people need you more, but you’re, if they like you, and they want you, that’s the selling point.

Andrew: All right. All right, let me read a quick email here from people, and then I’m going to ask you one more question, and then we’ll let you go. Alright, and by the way, thanks for coming through for me. We had a scheduling issue and I didn’t want to go without doing an interview this morning, and I thought, hey, I was going to be on What’s My Name?, whatsmynameshow.com. Let’s see if Linda will let me interview her about how she did this and thanks for coming through for me.

Chemda: It’s amazing to be on here. I feel really good about it.

Andrew: Thank you. So I got an email from someone. Here, let me read it. It goes, Andrew, I was just thinking about how you can, how I converted to a premium member, he told me, and I thought I would pass this on. He said, one of your plugs in an interview, not sure which interview, referred to Cindy Alvarez’s course on customer targeting. You mentioned something like, “Cindy will teach you what to say when you call these prospects and what questions to ask them.”

At the time, I was doing cold calls for customer development and wanted to get some help, so I could do it better. I bought the premium membership, and I’ve been a premium membership since, so here’s my tip for you. Plugs for specific courses that are related to the current interview and the benefit that the course will provide, that’s what you should do. He goes, “I love what you’re doing, I’m benefiting tremendously from being a Mixergy premium member, so I wanted to help out.” His name is Amir Charania.

I want to give every person’s, everyone who gives a testimonial who’s benefited from Mixergy, I want to give their full name so the audience can, you know, we’re all in the same circles here. You can reach out to them, you’re probably following Amir, he’s following you, and I want to say thank you to him, but also let you know that he’s a real person who you can connect with and ask about his experiences being a premium member, which you can sign up for at mixergypremium.com.

So, to use Amir’s suggestion, here’s what I’m going to suggest to you in the audience. If you got excited about doing this and said, Andrew, you fired me up but you didn’t give me enough tools. It’s great that you told me about Wishlist Member but I want more and more and more and more and more. Let me suggest two, not one, Amir, tell me if this is too much, but, two inner, two programs, two courses that you should take as a Mixergy premium member. First one is Stu, the founder of Wishlist talked about how to build your membership site. It’s not all a plug for membership sites but here’s a guy, for his specific membership site, but it’s a guy who’s created software that’s arguably the number one software for WordPress membership sites. He is telling you, of all the people who used it, what are the best practices. What’s worked for them. How are people who’ve never sold anything online before used his membership system or his competitors and started generating revenue, like (?) did. The specific tactics he goes into. No chatting, to talking about brothers and sisters, just specific tactics.

And the second one is Noah Fleming. Noah Fleming is a guy whose whole vision, his whole mission is to not just get you members but help you retain members. He doesn’t talk about software but he says here is the way you tell your story that will get people excited about being a member of your program. Here’s the way you keep them subscribed to your membership, once you’ve started up. It’s his whole session. Noah Fleming, you can look him up and see that the guy is obsessed with membership retention and he’s one of the course leaders at Mixergy.

If you’re a premium member and want more, go to MxyergyPremium.com and take up those courses. If you’re not, sign up and join us. You’ve got those courses and many others that are all available to you because Michael didn’t create my software. You have access to all of it right away. Mixergy Premium. That’s where you get those and all those other courses.

How did I do with that? Oh, and let me say this, too. One hour or one consultation with Noah, I don’t know how many hundreds of dollars it is, but Mixergy Premium is still well under $100 and if you sign up right now, even though I’m going to raise prices in the future, you keep your low prices forever. You can brag to all the people who in the future will be paying more than you that you got in early. They’ll be paying I don’t know what, hundreds of bucks a month and you’ll say I was there from the beginning. I helped Mixergy grow and that’s why I got this super low rate. And if you go to MxyergyPremium.com, you’ll see what that rate is. I refuse to say it because hopefully by the time this is up, the rate will be a little bit higher already.

How did I do with that sale? Now I ripped into you. I want you to now rip into me. I didn’t rip into you. I gave you constructive criticism. Seriously, when you’re selling, you want some feedback. When you’re telling a joke, you don’t necessarily want feedback at the end of it but, Bianca, give me some feedback as someone who’s now sold her own premium program. How did I do with that?

Chemda: I thought you did really well. I always think, I like your Twitters very much and they definitely make me click on it because it lets me know why I’m interested in it. It gives me a reason because you give me the topic and I’ve clicked on them and I listen to a lot of your shows and you offer them for free at first, which makes a lot of sense. So, again, to me, yes you’re selling it very well but you know what sells me is you. I know that you are a successful business person and I will be interviewing your for What’s My Name about something similar to you always being a business person. We grew up together. You were a business person from, oh my goodness. I remember before you were a teenager, your room looked like an office more than it looked like some kid’s room and you were very serious about it.

So, in my interview, I want to talk to you about how you got out of just being a business head and more into a well-rounded human being. But the reason why I would follow your advice is because you’re honest. Your guests are honest. They’re really talking about personal relationships with their business and their personal struggles with business and it makes me feel like oh, this is normal. That’s the biggest thing that I take away from your show, is I’ve had that thought and I just thought I was a loser or I didn’t know what I was talking about or what am I even doing here? How did I even get here? And it just makes me feel like oh, that’s a normal struggle. This is where I can go from there. So, yeah, sell your shows. They’re worth it.

Andrew: I was going to say now, thank you. Instead, I’m going to tell the story about your loser and I’ve got to save it for your program because we went over and I’ve got Alicia from Skims Links coming on soon to do an interview here but I’ve got to talk to you about that. The way that hearing other people’s story influences you and how I recently went through this you’re a loser thing. Not relationship to business and what got me out of it.

I’ll save it for your program. I’m going to say, (?), thank you for doing this interview here and two things guys take away from this. It’s not go to MxyergyPremium.com. I care more than that about this thing. If you say that Andrew is a weird looking son of a bitch who should never be on camera. He stutters over his words. He’s clearly not a showman and even from the day he was a kid, he had an office set up in his room because he was one day going to rip me off by selling me something. Even if you think all the nasty stuff you want about me, but take this one thing away. Charge.

Own your goodness. What you create out there deserves to get paid. Whether you’re comfortable with it or not now, I think you need to find a way to get comfortable with it. Charge for it. Whether it’s comedy, charge for it. Or something else that someone is making available online in a different way, if it’s yours, charge for it. Get comfortable charging for it. Own it. Look at the excitement in (?)’s voice. She can’t fake that. Look at the excitement in, I’m thinking 37 signal guys, who come on here and talk about how proud they are of their business. There’s a certain pride that comes from knowing that what you’ve created is so good that people are willing to take money out of their pockets and buy it and there’s a certain confidence you get in your life out of knowing that revenue is coming in because of something that you’ve created. So that’s the one thing, whether you ever come back to Mixergy again.

I hope you take that with you for the rest of your life and I hope I made that statement clear in this interview. And the second is, go check out, not at work, go check out KeithAndTheGirl.com. Not at work. Don’t listen to it with the speakers on. These guys get very open.

Chemda: We’re adults.

Andrew: They’re adult. Yeah, right. It’s an adult comedy show. I think Howard Stern heard it one time and he goes these guys are just a little too much. They say a little too, they go over the line. He called the FTC or the FCC on you both actually.

Chemda: Yeah, yeah. We’re pretty open but we are available on iTunes and it will say explicit right there.

Andrew: It is on iTunes. It does say explicit. Thank you all for watching. Go out there, build your businesses. Come back and tell me about them. Bye.

Sponsors I mentioned

Revolution Productions – Do you have a great product, but people aren’t trying it? You might have too much text on your site. Video, more than text, helps people understand what you’ve created and convinces them to buy it. I recommend you go to Revolution-Productions.com. When you do, talk directly to the founder, Anish Patel, and tell him I sent you. He’ll make sure you have a great video that convinces people to buy your product.

Grasshopper – Don’t make the mistake of comparing Grasshopper with other phone services. Check out their features and you’ll see why Grasshopper isn’t just a phone number, it’s the virtual phone system that entrepreneurs (like me) love.

Walker Corporate Law – Scott Edward Walker is the lawyer entrepreneurs turn to when they want to raise money or sell their companies, but if you’re just getting started, his firm will help you launch properly. Watch this video to learn about him.

  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2

    Man, I admire this duo!

    I can’t imagine how many comedians think the only way to earn a living is by getting paid stage gigs or writing books and these two are showing people what’s possible if you’ll do your job of showing up and being cool and funny and then, most importantly, having the balls to value what you’re doing enough to demand payment for access to the awesomeness you share.

    I love how these two are contributing to smashing the norms of how business is done in this industry because it serves as an example that you don’t have have to play by the rules. You can defy the “dogma” and leap frog over everyone else who’s bitching and moaning about how you can’t make money in this business unless you’re one of the top guns.

    Thank you Andrew for shedding light on this inspirational story!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    They really are impressive.

  • http://www.highballblog.com/ Constantin Gabor

    Wow, your sister? That’s so…unexpected. :-)

  • http://booruguru.myopenid.com/ Richard

    Great interview, as usual.

    However…

    Not everyone has a disposable income that can allow for buying a latte everyday… let alone  a premium subscription to Mixergy or Keith and The Girl. All of these requests for “a few pennies a day” add up and it seems kinda out-of-touch for a well-to-do entrepreneur to be talking about how the little guy should be paying even more money for premium content.

    Chemda was very charming and likable so I’ll check out her podcast and if like it (and can afford it) I will subscribe to her premium membership because I want to support indie artists whenever I can. But this would not a trivial expense for me and I imagine the same is true for a lot of people.

    P.S. (To Chemda, if you are reading this) perhaps you should investigate video recording your podcasts and putting them up on blip.tv and/or Youtube…they have ad sharing programs that are generating six-figure incomes for online personalities. And there are lots of radio shows that video record select episodes, CBC’s Q, Howard Stern, etc. Also, it would be a great way to reach audiences that haven’t even heard of podcasting.

  • Hardik Khanna

    My perspective on charging is to keep price high initially and keep lowering till you get a critical mass you believe is good enough to grow your traffic at a comfortable rate. 

    Starting at a lower price leaves you with less scope to play around or experiment with pricing.

    Should start with back of envelope calculation on the cost and estimated users who are going to pay for the service. Buffer in the time you can sustain without breakeven and then estimate the minimum price you should offer. 

    Now multiply it (by 2 or 3 ) and offer it to the customers. Experiment with keeping price high and offering”free trial” or “1 on 1 free” or “pay in one go and get a discount”.

    This will help you to see how customers respond , without lowering your per unit price. 

    Once the offer is done, see if your paid users fall . If yes, then its the time to lower your price.  However set for yourself a lower benchmark price for you to grow ( and just not sustain your business).  

    If you still don’t get enough paid users , you might need to look at business plan again!

    In short – my stand is not to ever start charging lower.

  • Nethy

    I enjoyed that one Andrew. I didn’t know you were from a podcasting dynasty. :)

    She never called what she was doing “freemium.” She never talked about optimizing her conversion page or testing the pricing structure, MVPs. To an extent those things are the scrappy startup’s equivalent of expensive consultants. 

    Instead, she arrived at what I expect is a pretty optimal setup based on feel. That works because she’s in tune with the craft and the audience which acts as a pretty good proxy for being tuned into the business. 

    “Restaurants with great food seem to prosper no matter what. A restaurant with great food can be expensive, crowded, noisy, dingy, out of the way, and even have bad service, and people will keep coming. It’s true that a restaurant with mediocre food can sometimes attract customers through gimmicks. But that approach is very risky. It’s more straightforward just to make the food good.”  - paul graham

    I think there is even more to it than that though. With these crowded dingy awesome restaurants I think we tend to assume they suck at everything but cooking. I think the reality is that they might be intuitively good at the things that matter. What Chemda is doing (including the pricing Andrew ;)) is pretty much straight out of Chris Anderson’s ‘Free’ or ’1000 True Fans.’ 

  • http://www.workyourart.com/ Debbie @ Work Your Art

    That’s interesting, my approach is the exact opposite. I launch with a lower rate and then, as my product grows and I keep adding value (because after all, your product is never finished) I increase my rates. I have multiple reasons for this.

    1. It gives you the ability to launch with a larger audience from the start. When your goal is starting a vibrant community, in example, getting more people in at the starting point is very important. It increases the value for future customers and will stimulate their interaction with the members who are already there (and will grow your retention rate, which will grow your revenue in the long term).

    2. It allows you to ask these first customers for their honest feedback on a regular basis in return. Most people are more than willing to give you detailed feedback in exchange for a lower rate. I do this by sending special earlybird newsletters with updates on the product and asking them for their honest opinion on it. As they keep giving you feedback, they are also more likely to stick around, since they feel they’re building and growing the product with you.

    3. The people who sign up at the very beginning keep the low rate no matter how much the price increases. This also increases retention – they don’t want to lose their special earlybird price.

    4. Launching with a lower rate will get more people in who then can become your first affiliates – getting more people in on the standard (higher) rate.

    5. As your product expands over time, your rates should too – you have good reasons to increase your price when you’ve put more time, energy, experience and value into it. Lowering your rate will also just make your audience believe that it’s value decreased over time or that you’re having a hard time selling it.

    6. You will just piss your best customers off if they see that they’ve been paying more than new customers are currently paying. Canceling and coming back at a later point feels like a no brainer to them – and you surely don’t want that to happen.

    Artists in particular usually have a hard time charging for their work. I run a business course for visual artists and I always tell students to calculate their experience, time and material costs and then double or triple it until they feel it does justice to the energy they put in it. I also agree with Andrew – when someone decides to buy from you, it doesn’t matter if they’re spending 15, 20 or 25 dollars on your product. They feel what you have to offer is something they want or need and that they want to pay for it anyway.

    Just my two (or five, or ten) cents.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Then I’ve been doing it backwards.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Very helpful.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Good point about the lingo.

    I need to keep going outside our bubble and interview founders who think differently.

  • Hardiboy1981

    Hi Andrew

    Is there an interviewee who can throw some light on this . Somehow I feel both the viewpoints holding ground.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Maybe there isn’t 1 way that works for everyone.

  • sylvain

    Andrew, I love the plugs at the end of the interview. They do help me in choosing which classes I’m going to watch next. You do have a lot of content and it takes time to sort through it. For that matter it’d be useful to list suggested tracks for each core topic, by levels?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I’ll do more of them. Thanks! I can see how being specific would help.

  • http://twitter.com/RandyCantrell Randy Cantrell

    I’m with Constantin…was at the gym on the treadmill and suddenly learn she’s your sister. Nearly tripped, likely killing myself right there inside 24HourFitness. What a spectacle that would’ve been! Blog headline, “Mixergy Listener Dies In Treadmill Accident From A Buried Lead In Podcast Episode.” Death was averted though and I enjoyed the interview (as I almost always do). 

  • Steph Ellis

    Very informative interview. I am going to share with friends who are starting a podcast. What Chemda and Keith do is great and I am happy to pay for quality content. I love how she pushed herself into a place that was initially uncomfortable because she had the confidence that their product is worth it. It is sure to inspire many people.

  • http://phillipmalone.com/ Phillip “Molly” Malone

    You know one of the greatest points Chemda made was make it easy! i get so pissed off when listening to Radio, TV, Podcasts, etc and someone says a URL and its a name I can’t spell! Its so silly! If you can’t make it simple in the first place, SPELL IT OUT!!!!!!!!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I have that problem with the name “Mixergy.” I need to keep remembering to say it slowly.

    ————————-
    Andrew Warner < http://AndrewWarner.com>
    Founder,
    http://Mixergy.com

    nyc2003

  • Anonymous

    This interview is my favorite (so far!) on a (relatively high) number of levels. I’ll expound on that premise if requested, but I doubt it’s much in dispute among the (disappointingly to me) low # of people who specifically “watched or listened to” the entire interview. 

    Ironically, but not contradictory to what I’ve said above, I wouldn’t recommend this as the starting point for someone new to Mixergy. Specifically, I think an uninitiated Mixergist (someone who hasn’t already been “Mixergeed”) might fatally (in as much as it could “kill” their desire to continue with Mixergy) underestimate the span of the universe from which Andrew draws his interviewees. (“So he just interviews family and friends?” Ummm….no.)But if someone asks me where to find FANTASTIC interview styled audio / video content…not necessarily constrained by “where should I start at Mixergy?”….then the “play count” on this interview is gonna’ be going up.  :-)Oh….and the already “outed” (by other commenters) brother/sister reveal was even better done than the one in the movie “Sixth Sense”.  ;-)Final thought…please don’t allow what at times is my confusing writing style to leave you with anything other than the knowledge that I LOVED THIS INTERVIEW!CHEERS!David 

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Good point.

  • Gary Sahi

    All I wonder is what do you have against the spiders in mind that you are destroying the cobwebs that they so diligently create. 

    Well that was on a lighter note but the truth of the matter is that this interview has been brilliantly put together and leaves me infinitely richer than I was precisely 71 minutes and 40 seconds before. I can’t conclude my appreciation for you before saying ‘May the breeds of your likes increase’.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks.

  • http://www.headsupproductions.net/ Benjamin Rexroad

    “You’re not Scrooge McDuck.” Andrew is hi-larious! 

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