How did a struggling online marketer create a profitable software company? – with Kyle Graham

How did a struggling online marketer create a profitable software company?

Kyle Graham is the founder of 10 Minute Pages, software that allows you to create a website in under 10 minutes. His software is used to create landing pages that help you get email addresses and sales.

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About Kyle Graham

Kyle Graham is the founder of 10 Minute Pages, software that allow you to create a website in under 10 minutes.

Raw transcript


Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. Today we’re going to find out how a struggling online marketer, who is a coder, created a profitable software company. Kyle Graham is the founder of 10MinutePages, software that allows you to create a website in under ten minutes. His software is used to create landing pages and help you get email addresses and sales. I invited him here to talk about how he bootstrapped his company.

This interview is sponsored by Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. Later on I will tell you why if you’re an entrepreneur especially in the tech space, but if you’re an entrepreneur and you need a lawyer, he is the guy to go to and I’ll try to get you to go check out WalkerCorporateLaw.com. But first I got to meet Kyle. Kyle, welcome.

Kyle: Good to be here.

Andrew: Hey, there was a period in your life where you were really struggling and your wife had tears in her eyes. Why?

Kyle: Well, I couldn’t say which period of my life when I was struggling because it’s been a struggle for a while. But no, that was probably one of the saddest moments in being an entrepreneur. Trying to create this dream or pursue this dream, but also trying to maintain the needs of a budding family. And so what happened during that time and it was here I am struggling. I’ve got the vision. I’ve got the passion, but it’s just not working.

And one day, we were probably married for a year, one day the electric company called and said, “Hey, we’re done. We’re turning you off.” And she took the call. And it really hit home that moment when she took that call, found out that news, and to see that I was the cause by my decision, me pursuing this dream. That was happening. Heartbreaking and motivating.

Andrew: Why? What happened in your business that allowed you guys to get that far behind?

Kyle: Just things weren’t turning like I felt it should. So I graduated college ambitious. Started this company. Doing okay, not good enough. Then decided to get married. More responsibilities while still trying to pursue a vision that just wasn’t kicking over as fast as I’d like. So it was just difficult to make ends meet. You know, getting married and now you’re supposed to get the house and you’re supposed to get this. And so yeah, we got in over our heads.

Andrew: What were you doing at the time? Is this when you were doing online marketing?

Kyle: Yeah. Well, online marketing. I would say I was always doing software in some capacity in the online marketing world. So, yeah, things just weren’t really…

Andrew: What do you mean? Take me back to, you know what? Why don’t we go all the way back? You’re a guy who even as a kid was kind of entrepreneurial and kind of techy. Right?

Kyle: Sure.

Andrew: And how did that combination manifest itself?

Kyle: Okay. Well, let’s see how far back. When I was like eight years old my dad who’s an engineer, a professor, he showed me computers and show me computers. And I was basically hooked. Maybe it was because of him, I have an analytical mind and stuff. So I just gravitated to that kind of thing, science background. And so yeah, I would code little things as a kid and my dad would encourage me and say, “Man, you could make money doing this.”

Andrew: The professor encouraged you to make money from your . . . okay.

Kyle: The professor, absolutely.

Andrew: So what are some of the things that you created and sold?

Kyle: Well, one day I went to my principal, I was like in seventh grade or something. I was like, “Hey, I can do this thing.” And so he made me create a GPS calculator. Now this is back in the day back before there was a Windows, DOS computers. And so they used the program to calculate the students’ grades. I think I got like 30 bucks for that and I was over the moon. I created this lunch program that would take the students lunch menus. I think I got like 60 bucks for that. And that was, I was rich.

Andrew: Yeah.

Kyle: So yeah, little things like that I’d dabble in as a kid. And it just progressively more and more I got into web design and stuff and it just started getting bigger and bigger.

Andrew: Web design meaning you would design web pages for other people?

Kyle: Right. So right around ’94, ’95, my dad, professor, so he was access to the internet. And he said, “Man, you could do this. You could build these websites.” And I did. Then shortly after that he started his own company, left academia. And then he funneled web design clients my way while I was in high school. So that’s when I really started getting the taste. My friends would be making nine dollars and hour and I’d be making two thousand dollars for a website. That’s when I think it started.

Andrew: So look at all this promise and when your wife was your girlfriend, she saw this promise in you. Right? She said, “This is a smart guy. He’s a developer. Comes from a good family.” The whole thing. Right?

Kyle: I hope so. Yeah. Sounds about right.

Andrew: Did she come from a good family? Did she come from a family that was struggling financially or not? Because I think that would show how, that would impact how she’d feel about the electric bill.

Kyle: Yeah. Well, we both kind of came from, I wouldn’t say poor upbringings but you know, middle, lower middle class. So money is always top of mind in that culture.

Andrew: Yep.

Kyle: So you know, you get married and you’re expecting to be providing. We both have college degrees. There’s no reason why things shouldn’t work. But of course, foolish entrepreneur says no, we’re going to do it another way.

Andrew: What did you do that did not work?

Kyle: What’s that?

Andrew: What was the big idea that did not work?

Kyle: Well, here’s the funny thing. The project that actually ended up working, what wasn’t working back then was almost the same thing, which was a big takeaway. It was a website. So, the story goes I would build people’s websites and they would need help updating them. So I created a software, like a CMS, like a WordPress, before there was a WordPress.

Andrew: Okay.

Kyle: That would help them update their websites. So I thought I could market it. And you know, we made a little bit of money, but just not enough. Just not enough to really do it.

So it wasn’t working. I couldn’t connect the dots of creating a product that people really were craving. I was good at the coding but I wasn’t good at getting people to like want the code.

Andrew: Okay. I see. All right. So, things weren’t going well. Were you doing any other online marketing? Were you selling info products or other software at the time? No?

Andrew: I never really sold info products. I’d dabble just to make ends meet. The way I would make money is freelance, like freelance web design programming and stuff. [??]

Andrew: I introduced you as an online marketer, a struggling online marketer, because that’s the way you described yourself to our pre- interviewer.

Kyle: Yeah.

Andrew: You told April, I’m an online marketer. You aren’t an online marketer. You’re a developer who struggled with online marketing and finally figured it out. Isn’t that more accurate?

Kyle: Perhaps. Perhaps more accurate.

Andrew: So why do you feel you’re an online marketer?

Kyle: Because I think that’s the thing that makes the money, that makes the rubber meet the road.

You know, I’m very proud of my development skills but I don’t develop anymore, because I’m the guy who makes the money. I’m the guy who pushes the marketing.

Andrew: I see. But if you define yourself as developer, you could delude yourself into thinking, I’m a great developer, everything’s good, but if you define yourself as an online marketer.

Kyle: Exactly. [??]

Andrew: Then you have a yardstick that more accurately represents how well you’re doing in business. And it forces you to look back and say, I might have created a good code, but the marketing part of that was pretty bad.

Kyle: Exactly.

Andrew: Today I have it together. And that’s why the marketing supports the development. Got you.

Kyle: And so I can tell you actually exactly what happened. I was pursuing this software, which was good. I looked back and it was good, but I couldn’t make it work. So, I basically decided, you know what? The only way for me to make this work is to become a master at marketing. And so I shut off development at the time and I basically. You know, I’d just come off of college. So I was, like, I’m going to study this like college. And I did. I got pretty good at it.

Andrew: Where did you learn online marketing?

Kyle: Everywhere. So, that was like back in, I don’t know, 2007. YouTube, Google, buying courses. Finally, I don’t know if you know Perry Marshall.

Andrew: Yes.

Kyle: Perry Marshall’s the AdWords guy, back when AdWords was really, really popular, or just starting.

I was trying to make my software work on AdWords didn’t know what I was doing. And so I found him, and then he kind of grandfathered me into the industry. I got to see it.

Andrew: I see.

Kyle: It helped.

Andrew: And he taught you AdWords? Using AdWords and marketing with that is what turned things around for you.

Kyle: Well.

Andrew: One of the things.

Kyle: One of the things. It didn’t turn things around but it introduced me to marketing as a whole, and so I learned a bunch of stuff. What really turned it around is really this product, where we did a product launch and all kinds of stuff like that.

Andrew: Okay. I’ve got to thank Perry Marshall, too. He came in and taught Mixergy Premium members. Anyone who’s on Mixergy Premium can see it. He’s been talking to us about coming back. He’s been a really great guy.

Kyle: Oh yeah, he’s really good.

Andrew: I thought he was so unapproachable. And frankly maybe he is, but when I started I didn’t know how to reach out to him and get him on Mixergy. But he and his people have been incredibly supportive.

All right. Going back. You then started. You saw this problem. The first version didn’t work. What did you call that first version before 10MinutePages?

Kyle: It was called Ambit Update.

Andrew: Ambit Update. So already we see a different way of thinking.

Kyle: Absolutely.

Andrew: Did you scrap all of Ambit Update and recreate it as 10MinutePages?

Kyle: More or less. It was the same code base, without getting too technical. But we pivoted, is what we did. Ambit Update was there. It was somewhat working. But what happened is I was in a meeting with a group of friends. We were brainstorming and I was telling them I was having these challenges making Ambit Update work. And they were like, “Why? What’s going on?”

And I started to go through what Ambit Update was, which would help people edit their websites in this great drag and drop way. And them as online marketers said, “Wait a minute! We don’t want to update our websites. We want to create these pages faster.” And so it was really just a difference of thinking and that’s what goes back to the marketing.

The actual code didn’t change a whole lot. It was a repositioning of what our offer was. So we put some templates in there, we’ve beefed up our technology, and that’s what started to turn the engine exponentially faster.

Andrew: I think I see on an old YouTube video what Ambit Update used to look like. Was it on modifywebsite.com by any chance?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: All right, it was. So, the theme that I see here is bookstore theme. It looks like a book with many different pages that if you want to get to the contact section, you click the contact tab which kind of looks like the pages opening up. It’s a whole other way of thinking versus today, where if I look at the templates on your home page on tenminutepages.com, I see the Buy Now button being featured.

Kyle: Right, right.

Andrew: I see the whole thing is geared towards people wanting to create a single page with a single function that ensure that their audience focuses on giving an email or buying.

Kyle: Right.

Andrew: That’s the difference. So same basic code base, different templates that come from a different way of thinking about business.

Kyle: Exactly and so what was really interesting, I think this is the real take away here, is that knowing your audience because we can take the same amount of man hours creating the same product effectively and one absolutely failing and the other absolutely crushing it. So, we basically went through a process before launching Ten Minute Pages and really getting to know the customer who in fact we wanted to serve.

Andrew: How?

Kyle: Well, okay, so the blueprint is the Lean Canvas and the process is Running Lean the book. I forget the author.

Andrew: Ash Maurya. The Lean Canvas is his idea. He’s another guy who taught on Mixergy Premium. That whole process, guys, if you’re a Mixergy Premium member, just do a search for Ash. If you hate Mixergy and hate me, go onto Amazon bookstore and go look for Ash Maurya’s book, “Running Lean.” It’s not about me. It’s not about you being a member or not. It’s about you just learning from him. I think he’s one of the best teachers of the Lean Methodology that [??] created . . .

Kyle: Absolutely.

Andrew: . . . because he gives you this step by step framework that really resonates with entrepreneurs. Okay, so you read his book. Is that how you found out how to use it?

Kyle: Yeah, now I had a slightly modified version before I saw him, but he crystalized it, gave the blueprints of what do you say to customers when you’re interviewing them, when you show them like the whole process, and it really helped to crystalize the message.

Andrew: Give an example of how you used it. How did you even find your customer?

Kyle: Okay, so the nutshell of it is there are three interview series. You have a problem interview, the solution, and then the MVP.

Andrew: Okay.

Kyle: Or something like that.

Andrew: Okay.

Kyle: So the problem interview was discovering the problem and so what we did, as I started with my pairs who fit in the target audience, so these were other marketers who were the same guys who were like, “Kyle, we need this for our business and we will pay you right now.”

Andrew: Okay.

Kyle: And so I did a series of structured interviews, 30 minutes each through a site and I would just ask questions about the problems and why they’re having the problems. And then I would look through a series with ten or so interviews, I could see the overlaps of what the problems and the pain points are, which is similar to what maybe in your head, but by doing this you get to see it, you get to see the emotions, you get to hear the words they use, and all we did to market it was to take those same words and put that in our marketing.

Andrew: Do you have an example of one of the phrases that you heard from them that you didn’t know before?

Kyle: Absolutely. So we always knew we wanted to create a software that was easy to use, but what we didn’t realize is the level at which people were frustrated with their common solution. They would have to either pay a web designer who wasn’t reliable or they’d have to try to struggle learning HTML and so getting to hear that, like this is really frustrating. Hint, hearing those buzz words, you know, one of our ways we grew is through webinars, so absolutely. When we did the webinars we would say, “You know, and it’s frustrating, and it’s difficult.” And [??], we would just take the same language so that it connected with people and I think it paid off.

Andrew: I get that. I want to get into how you did the webinars.

Kyle: Sure.

Andrew: But let me ask you about this. One of the things that stands out when I look at the site today and when I look at this old video that I found on YouTube is the top ribbon looks like the Microsoft word ribbon. In fact, a lot of it just looks like it’s copied right out of Microsoft’s playbook. Is that intentional? Why?

It is. We’ve recently pivoted away from that, but the idea was we knew that we were offering a solution to non-technical people. And so, the premise was that when you join this product you are going to feel right at home. There’s really was no learning curve. And by all means, there really wasn’t any learning curve because if felt a lot like the tools that they would use. So that was the motivation behind it. We’ve since done our own usability studies and come up with what I feel is better, but that was why we did that.

Andrew: I see, and so the page I am looking at today is different and the product today is different from what my audience is going to see when we publish this interview in a few days?

Kyle: Right, So.

Andrew: That’s how close we are to the next version?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah. Close as in weeks from this interview.

Andrew: Okay, so maybe when we publish they still won’t see the latest, but soon afterwards?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very, very soon after.

Andrew: You were going to show me some kind of preview. Is there a preview you can show my audience?

Kyle: I think by the time this goes live, yeah.

Andrew: Hit it in the comments if you’re onboard so they can see it.

Kyle: Okay.

Andrew: By the way, this is a big opportunity for me that I intentionally give up on Mixergy. I know that if I decided to partner up with you on an affiliate program, I could still tell your story and make some commission by promoting 10MinutePages and get an affiliate commission. I know it because I talk to other interviewers. I know it because I see their numbers, and I still refuse to do it because, you know why? I want the opportunity, Kyle, to dislike you and to disagree with you and to call you out and not have you say I’m withdrawing my cash from you, what’s the deal? Screw it, I want the opportunity to be as open as possible.

Kyle: That’s good. Yeah.

Andrew: It is good, but sometimes frankly it’s a little sore right now. A friend told me about the revenue that he was making from one interview and I thought for the love of God, what am I doing? Maybe this is a mistake. I’m still going to be a good person. I’m not going to cheat. I’m not going to pretend I like someone who I don’t. I can’t bring myself to do it. Alright, I need the quality to be up. All right. So, you re-create your product?

Kyle: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: You understand your customers now. You understand the language they use. What’s the first step you took to market to them now that you have this new name for the product and this new understanding of your audience?

Kyle: Right, so we did that problem interview. Then we did the solution interview, which is basically measuring that what we think is the solution is truly solving their problem. Once we get to that, then we build a very small version, the lean start, they call it the MVP which we did. But what we did instead is I had a little bit of a customer base from prior products.

So we did a very mini private beta launch where we wanted to see would people actually spend money on this early version. And so, we did like a little, just an email campaign. We offered it at a discount, said it’s in beta but you get a chance to do it and instantly it sold out. So that was like, whoa maybe we are on to something.

Andrew: What do you mean it sold out? You put a cap on the number of people you were going to give this to?

Kyle: Yeah, because it was a beta and we weren’t sure how ready we were, so we said, hey let’s just take on a few people and we’ll let them know that that’s what we were doing. And if they’re willing to take this ride with us, great.

Andrew: And you had no software built? No, you did have software built.

Kyle: We did. We did. By that time, we had the minimum product. So it was like the minimum that we could call arrival product.

Andrew: So what was the minimum product? it sounds like it was a fully working version of, what was it called? Ambit Update?

Kyle: Ambit Update. So it did take some development time. The teaching is that you don’t necessarily have to build, but because we already had the Ambit Update we were able to turn it into the other product.

Andrew: That’s what I mean. So, one of the things I learned from Eric Ries, the creator of the lean start up methodology is first start with your marketing. Before you go back and retool the software and rethink your whole business, just change the marketing of it. Give your product a different name. Give the sales page a different set of features and then if people like it and they buy based on that, then you go and change the product.

So did you at that point change the name of the product? Did you at that point change any of the buttons of the product? Or just the sales page? Or what did you change?

Kyle: Yeah, Okay, so we changed the name. Well, we had two email lists. So we had the Ambid Update list which we didn’t even market to. They were different people, but we had an online marketing list from just other ventures I had been involved with. So the target market was there. We changed the name. We added new templates, and we created a single page for it. And then we did, like I forget what the launch was, but it was a few days and we sold out.

Andrew: I see.

Kyle: So very small, very minimal. But it was still pretty full. If I had to go back and do it again, I would actually do a little bit less than we actually put out.

Andrew: If you could do it again, what’s the leanest you would launch with?

Kyle: I would have taken the same amid update, called it something else, and just put templates. What we ended up doing is adding a whole drag and drop engine in there that may not have been fully necessary but it definitely was, we realized that it was necessary but we could have launched earlier without it.

Andrew: I see. It would have been amid update, different name, different themes, but that’s it.

Kyle: Yeah.

Andrew: That makes since.

Kyle: It would have fully fulfilled the marketing promise that we were giving to them.

Andrew: And you were working with Ash directly?

Kyle: No, no.

Andrew: You just happen to read his book or something.

Kyle: Read his book. It really resonated with me. And we just followed the process.

Andrew: That’s one of Ash’s problems that his book gives you the whole process. What he’s supposed to do is give you the philosophy. Then if you hire him, then you get the process. But you get the whole process in the book. Which is great for us who actually use it, but for other people I feel like they go, “Ah, this is too much work.” And they leave it and forget the ideas. And it stinks for Ash because why would anyone need his consulting services? I have talked to some interviewees who used it.

All right, here’s a third problem if I can diagnose Ash’s problem. Ash should have done what I did. He should have changed his name to something Americanized. Who wrote Ash Maurya? People don’t remember it. By the end of this interview when you walk away, not you Kyle but the audience, like later in the day think of the guy who created the lean canvas. Think of the guy who Andrew mentioned. See if you can remember the name. I’ll say it right now. Ash Maurya. We’ll find out. All right. So now you got something. Now it’s time to take it somewhere. What do you do next? Is this where you start to set your goal?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: What’s the goal?

Kyle: I saw the excitement. Well, I’ve always had this as an overachiever. I’ve always had this goal. We’re going to make a million dollars. So that was always like we wanted to do it every year and it would just bomb and not happen.

Andrew: So you’re saying every year you had a goal of doing a million dollars. Okay.

Kyle: Yeah. And then we’d fall dramatically short. This is why I love the Lean Canvas process so much is because you get to look in your customer’s eyes. And what I saw then was much different than what I would see before. I didn’t just see excitement. I saw passion. In fact, the story goes, you know Chris Forsythe, our mutual friend. I went to a conference and I just showed him a sneak preview. I wasn’t anywhere near ready.

And he called a random guy over and said, “Look at this.” And guy paid me money on the spot. And I told him, “We’re not ready. This is not going to be ready for months.” He said, “I don’t care. I’m buying this and as soon as you can give it to me…” And so he paid me money on the spot. So seeing that level of enthusiasm told me that maybe we really had something and maybe this million dollar goal isn’t so farfetched as it used to be.

Andrew: I know what you mean about that. About hitting that thing where everyone is so excited about it that they want to push you for early access. Because they know it’s going to increase their business. Because they know they’re going to love it. I just don’t understand how you got to that. Was it just as simple as we’re talking about? Talking to potential customers, getting their . . . actually let me stop there. It’s not as simple as talking to potential customers. How do you even figure out potential customers? Did you just luck into this group of people who say, “I don’t care about updating, but what I really need is…”?

Kyle: Well, I happen to be very involved in the online marketing world and in terms of a fan as a consumer of information. And I also in terms of my pursuit of knowledge in marketing I formed groups, like mastermind partners and every couple weeks we’re talking about marketing. So fortunately I had a base understanding of the market already. Which I think is beneficial to most people is to go where you’re comfortable. And that’s where I was comfortable. And so what I realized in that moment is that I had a mismatch. I had a product that I should have been selling to the people around me verses trying to go to a different market.

Andrew: I see. Anything else that I missed in this whole process? If someone’s listening to us and says, “You know what? I like this lean methodology. I want to talk to potential customers. See what they want. Reskin my product.” Where are they going to trip up?

Kyle: I mean, sure maybe there’s some other things, but I think that’s it. I mean it’s really, like I truly believe success comes from focus. And in terms of if we dive into the personal component of that, the mental shift that I had…

Andrew: Yes, because here’s another problem. Talking to people who you respect, like going to Chris Forsythe and you say, “Chris, here’s what I’m building.” That takes some guts because Chris could say, “This is junk.” Chris could be thinking you’re doing so well. Then if you’re shifting directions he could be judging you and say, “Maybe the guys isn’t so smart.”

Kyle: Absolutely. I think again, it comes down to knowing, I think you know, I hate to say this, but knowing when you know. In terms of like, they call it product market fit. Like when you have an idea of the market that you want to serve, you really understand the pain points. And you understand that the product you’re creating fully solves that pain point in a dramatic way.

That click happened with me. So I think that helped. But honestly if I was giving someone advice, I would just say follow the process and stick to it no matter what because the data, the information that you’re able to gain throughout…

Andrew: How do you find potential customers? You happen to be around these guys who are online marketers. How do you find someone if you don’t happen to be around them?

Kyle: It depends. Do you have a product first? Or are you just starting out and trying to find a market?

Andrew: Ah, I see. Let’s suppose you have a product since that’s where you are. What would you say?

Kyle: Okay. So what I would say is if you have a product, then you can do the Google market research or whatever to see where the overlaps are. And you may find, you know you can start with your gut and then use the data to determine which one most aligns with what you offer. And again, with the whole lean canvas is that everything is hypothesis based. So you might say, “Okay, I believe that it could solve problems for these three markets.” So you do your research and you say, “Okay. Here’s two that I think…” You might say, “I really think it’s market B.” And those are who you might talk to.

Well, you might find out in your first interview that no, their problem doesn’t resonate with your product. So that immediately tells you you’re on the wrong track. So that’s why I love the process so much is because you get to know before a lot of time investment if you’re on the right track or not. And so you keep navigating that track and getting validation each step of the way. And if you keep getting positive validation then you’re really on to something.

Andrew: You set up a goal of hitting a million bucks.

Kyle: Right.

Andrew: You said earlier that those emails weren’t the way to get to it. What was the way to get to it was webinars.

Kyle: Yeah. Even before webinars there were a few things I thought we could do. The traditional pay-per-click SEO and stuff like that. But I just couldn’t see the math working out of doing a million dollars in a compressed period of time because that was the thing. I wanted to do it in 12 months. So what I wanted to do is find a short cut. And so the shortcut, I have a very advanced, well not advanced, but in depth planning process. So I came up with this crazy plan. And then I wanted to figure out what’s the short cut here? How can we get there quicker? So what I came up with was instead of trying to be an unknown in the marketplace, instead of trying to come swinging, me doing it, coding, support, marketing. I say what if I found a key player? Someone who could introduce me to key players in the market to promote the product?

Andrew: Okay.

Kyle: And so fortunately, I had just one. I really only had one contact in the marketplace. And so I contacted him and I was like, “Hey.” Made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and I said, “If you could just introduce me to some people, because I think I have something here. And here’s the data to back it up.”

Andrew: Who’s the guy?

Kyle: His name is Andy. Andy Hussong. He’s a friend of mine. And he’s what we would call like a JB director. Let’s go back to like The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell, I believe. How you have connectors. I’m not a connector. I’m not the guy who knows people. So I wanted to find the connector. Someone who could introduce me to the people who could spread my message. And so he was the guy that I knew who could be most influential. And so I went after him.

Andrew: His name is Andy Hussong?

Kyle: Hussong. H-U-S-S-O-N-G.

Andrew: H-U-S-S-O-N-G. Got it.

Kyle: Yeah. Brilliant guy. He was very instrumental in getting the connections that ultimately lead to all of the webinars and stuff like that.

Andrew: So you go to him. He has those connections. I guess you ran a site called Affiliate Management Insider at the time. Right?

Kyle: He did.

Andrew: He did.

Kyle: Yeah, that’s his site.

Andrew: So you go to him and what’s the deal you make for him?

Kyle: So I come up to him and I say, “Hey, Andy.” We had done some deals in the past so we were on good speaking terms. I say, “Hey, Andy. I think I have something that’s great. We just did a test. It sold out. What can we do? Can you introduce me to some people?” So we came up with a brokering deal where he just got a percentage of the affiliates that he referred. Now one thing I learned about affiliates and brokers is that they’re very protective of what they promote. I mean, you have your pimps out there that’ll do everything. But the people who really make it work have high integrity. So he trusted me. He saw the product and he saw everything. And so he was able to broker that deal because he had people who trusted him.

Andrew: I see. All right. So now he goes back to them. Someone needs to create a landing page on your site and a sales process on your site. Is that you personally doing it?

Kyle: What’s that now?

Andrew: The affiliates come to your site. They need to see a page that persuades them to buy. Who creates that page? Who creates the sales funnel for you? Is that something you did?

Kyle: Yeah. We built…

Andrew: We meaning you or you and your brother?

Kyle: At the time it was still only me.

Andrew: Okay.

Kyle: At the time it was still only me. So yeah, I had built the webpage. And that’s just the webpage that explains what the product was about. What was the real magic per se is him going to people and saying, “Hey. Go look at this website and then let’s schedule a webinar with Kyle.” By scheduling the webinars, they have the influence of the audience. They’ll host the webinars with me as their guest and we will jointly promote my product to their audience.

Andrew: Got it. Got it. And when someone comes to watch the webinar in the format that you used, they have to register. Who gets the email address? Does it go to you? Or just to the other person?

Kyle: In this particular case, I didn’t keep it.

Andrew: Just went to them.

Kyle: Yeah. I could have, but I didn’t, they didn’t know me. So I didn’t want a list of people I didn’t know, or they didn’t know. So they just built the list, I’m sorry. They invited people by emailing their list. The people interested in the webinar would sign up to the webinar. And then we would do the webinar and I would just demonstrate the product and give an offer to buy during that time.

Andrew: I see. How did you know what to say in the webinar to sell?

Kyle: Good question. I think, well two things. At first I didn’t really know what to say per se, but one thing I knew from just listening to the courses of how to sell is that one of the most powerful forms of selling is proof. And what better proof than to build a business live on the webinar. So I felt like I didn’t really have to do a lot of selling myself. I let the webinar host do the selling. And all I really did is I just showed them, ‘Hey, we’re going to build these businesses. I’m going to build a live business on this call.” And I just showed my screen. Clicked around. And then made an offer and said, “You can have this too.”

Andrew: How do you also make sure that the conversation, that the webinar is valuable to people beyond a demonstration of your product?

Kyle: Well, okay. That’s a really good question. We planned out the webinar. So there was a structure that we put together. And so we do want to teach. And this is one thing I love about software is because you don’t have to hold back information. So you can teach anything because at the end of the day what they’re buying is the software. So what I showed, because even though we had struggled in the past, we did have a few successes. So we had built a few nice income, six figure businesses, that I was able to show how to replicate that success. So what we did is we took a business that was successful and then we taught why it was successful as I was building it live.

Andrew: So they could see why the sales page worked.

Kyle: Right, right.

Andrew: Kyle. What is the most successful of these sites? We’re not mentioning them. The commenters are going to mention them. I’d much rather say it here in the interview than leave it to them.

Kyle: Sure. Well, the main one that was worth even talking about was another software that helped people get traffic to their website. Well, the name of it was Wildfire which happens to be the same name as the Wildfire that Google bought. So there was like a little name conflict there which we never changed yet. We don’t really sell it as much anymore. So we had launched that a year prior. And it actually did do well. It did six figures. So we were able to say why it worked. What we did. The page structure. And then we were able to rebuild it live.

So we were able to compare and say, “Back when we didn’t have this amazing technology, it took us this amount of time. But look we’re building it on the call. Here’s why it works.” So people were able to leave the webinar. If they didn’t buy, they still had the knowledge of how to do it. But the hidden agenda was you just buy our product and do it that much faster.

Andrew: I see. Wildfire right now. It’s WildfireSite.com. And now it’s listed as sold out. I was doing a hunting right now to see if there are any other websites. No. There’s KyleGraham.tv. There’s AmbitTechnologies. There is ModifyWebsites.com. all the sites that we talked about.

Kyle: Yeah, we pretty much, once the Ten Minute Pages took off this much, this is where we get into the part of the story where things just got crazy. So really we just had to suspend a lot of the other things that we were dabbling in with not a whole lot of success and just focus in on what was.

Andrew: Because this one product just took off.

Kyle: It just took off. It just took off.

Andrew: All right. We’ll find out whether you hit your goal in a moment and what you did to try to get it. First I have to say that if you are an entrepreneur and need a lawyer, you should go check out Walker Corporate Law. Now am I getting paid to say it? Kyle, what do you think?

Kyle: I hope so.

Andrew: I hope so. Good answer. Yes, I am. But if you take a look at the website at WalkerCorporateLaw.com, you’ll see Mark Suster. Mark Suster, the famous investor from Upfront Ventures who says, “What I like about Scott is that he is very transparent about the legal industry.” Jason Calacanis, “Scott’s a great lawyer.” Neil Patel, “Scott is a great lawyer. He’s affordable, responds fast, and doesn’t charge you for a five minute phone calls and always gives great advice.”

Steve Blank, the creator of the customer development process, he says, “Smart guy. I like Scott.” Nick Oneal, a past interviewee, why am I talking about all these people? You don’t care about them. If you’re in the audience what you care about is you’re starting a company and you say, “What if this guy who is my cofounder ends up disappearing next week and then he owns half my business?” Well, that’s a problem. It happens all the time. You need protection. Or you’re saying, “What if I create this business and someone says, “I got to sue you because your name is Wildfire and my company happens to be called Wildfire.”

And if you don’t own the company, they’re going to sue you personally and then you’re in trouble. Or you’re saying, “I got to raise money and I want my first round to not cause trouble for the next time I raise money.” Or you’re saying, “I want to set myself up for a time when I want to buy a company.” Or, “I’m ready to buy a company.” All those issues need a man and a law firm with experience. That is why I recommend Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. He has done these deals so many times.

So he’s the guy to work with because he has the experience. And unlike some of the other law firms around here, and you guys know who I’m talking about, he will not charge you an arm and a leg. He does not have someone in the company whose job it is to figure out how to get 50 percent of your business and call it an investment through legal work. What he wants to do is give you a fair deal so he can set you up properly as you build your business and build your relationship with him as you build your business.

That’s why I recommend Scott Edward Walker. But don’t take my word for it. Just scroll at WalkerCorporateLaw.com and take a look at some of these other people who you’ll recognize. WalkerCorporateLaw.com. Let me say it clearly. All right. Your goal was a million dollars in 12 months. Did you break it down into monthly chunks, too?

Kyle: Yeah, sort of. So there is one thing about setting goals which I didn’t appreciate at the time is there is setting goals that are just like hopes and wishes and then there’s setting real goals that where you’re actively going after. So I got the idea that maybe we could hit it, but let’s focus on getting to our first month of 83 thousand dollars, 333 dollars, which is if you’re doing it monthly, that would be a million dollars.

So when we did our first webinar, that’s really when things started to be real. Because the first webinar I didn’t, you see, we just came from just doing a beta launch with our customers. I think we may have sold 50 copies. So it wasn’t a big deal, per say. But then we did a webinar with one guy and I think that night we made like 20 thousand dollars. In a night. And so that was when I was like, “Hmm, all we need now is three or four of these.”

Andrew: More guys like him every month.

Kyle: Exactly. And so I was like, “Man, I’ve got Andy in my corner. He knows all these guys.” So I went back to Andy and I was like, “Andy, why don’t we just focus on getting three or four of these guys a month?” And that was his job. All I had to do was just make sure that we could handle all of the business that came. So it was at that time I was like, “Man, we might be able to pull this off.” And that’s what got us started along that path.

Andrew: When your wife heard about the first big webinar, what did she say?

Kyle: Well, this is what’s interesting about the whole spousal thing. And I don’t know if it’s the same with a lot of people, but I went up very excited. But we were probably I think on year four of our marriage and so there was many times of these many big promises I would make that just would fall flat.

Andrew: Yes.

Kyle: So when there was a… And sometimes I would build her up and she would be excited and then I would disappoint, which, again, why the electricity story is so revealing. So when I came with this result she just looked up and said, “That’s pretty good.” It was very reserved. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but that’s nice. So it was interesting. It wasn’t the same feeling I had. Let’s put it that way.

Andrew: Why didn’t you think before that moment, I’m a fool. I’m buying into some kind of hype about start-ups, about software, about online marketing. I’m buying all these courses. It just doesn’t work. I’m giving up and getting a job.

Kyle: It came close. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe. I think I just have an inflated sense of I’m going to make this work, which can be good and can be bad, and so things had to get pretty hard. And what finally really turned things around, which was before this big launch, was I had to come to grips and say if I don’t make something work… Because we had a son, we were married, we were making progress and things weren’t working. So I finally had to set a deadline.

As much as I want to pursue this and I could continue to pursue this into the ground, if we don’t make this by this date then I have no choice. And that turned things around because your back is against the wall, it’s do or die, and somehow you have to do it.

Andrew: Are you still married to the same woman now?

Kyle: Absolutely.

Andrew: Oh. Cool. So now I’ve got a… About seven weeks ago I had my first child.

Kyle: Oh yes. Congrats.

Andrew: Thanks. Now when people say I had a kid at the time, I have all these extra questions that didn’t occur to me before. For example, yesterday morning because Olivia, my wife, was up all night changing him, feeding him, in the morning she wanted an hour of sleep so I put him in the baby stroller, and I took him out for an hour to give her some space. I had to.

At the end of the day I couldn’t stay here until 7:00 even though I needed to get an email out. I had to leave at about 5:00 maybe 5:30 at the most, so that I could be home so that I could at least help out partially. With that kind of time clock, all the time start late because of an issue, head home early because you have to be there, do you ever feel like, did you at the time feel like I have no time, I can’t get this done? What do you do with that?

Kyle: Oh, it was hard. I mean, especially coming into fatherhood, being young and trying to, you know… Oh yes, it’s absolutely hard. But you know, everything is a blessing. Like constraints… Sometimes obstacles can weigh you down or they can push you forward, and so I think in this case, you know, I got pretty low but came on the other side learning how to focus, how to prioritize, which I think are probably the number one and two skills that entrepreneurs need to have.

So yes, being able to equally be able to say no to things as much as you can say yes to things, being really able to do the 80/20 rule and choose what the critical things are because, yes, you aren’t living for yourself. You don’t have as much time in the day as you used to so you’re forced to do the right thing and only that thing.

Andrew: I know what you mean. There are times I’d want to go and check out some… I’m not a huge Facebook person, but if I want to check out Facebook I know I’m going to regret it because I did last night. Or here’s something else: There are times when I just want to read a book on my iPad until 1:00 in the morning and I’m on a roll at about 11:00 and I go, just keep going, it’s such a good book. I go, no. You know in the morning you’re going to regret it if you have to be up at night. 1:00 is not going to work. Just put it away before you’re ready.

Kyle: Yes. Absolutely.

Andrew: Alright. I get that. So I get your goal. Did you hit your goal?

Kyle: We did. It was absolutely crazy. Once we… So the first month, the first webinar – I think it was October 26, 2012 – and so I said by October 26, 2013 we’re going to do a million dollars. And so the first month, the first month of November it was like can we do $83,000? And we did. December was like can we do it? And then we did $90,000. So I was like, man, we might be able to do this. So every month was that stretch.

And the months that we didn’t hit it, the next month we worked even harder. So just having that to push us and push us. Then April and May things didn’t look so good but we were gearing up for the big product launch and the product launch made it. So it was like touch and go.

Andrew: What’s a big product launch when you already have software built?

Kyle: Well, okay. So here’s the thing. Being a solo entrepreneur at the time, trying to manage a software – support, coding and everything – it’s impossible. So I realized that the only way to even make it work is that we… And the flip side, which is a good thing, is that we would sell out. We would get more business than we could handle. And everyone would say, man, that’s a great problem to have, but it didn’t feel so at the time. But taking that… So anyway, we were forced to do webinars where we would cap the amount of people who could join because we simply couldn’t handle it. And then we had to also hire as well. So what was your question?

Andrew: That why is there a product launch if it’s software. Software just works.

Kyle: Got you. So it’s because of that. We needed the time to establish a company before we could really make it open for everybody. So we had to manage our (?). And the only way we could do that was by taking a few at a time, hire some people, a few at a time, hire some people.

Andrew: Oh. I see. A few new members.

Kyle: Exactly.

Andrew: The benefit of that, too, from a marketing point of view is you can always say we’re accepting only a certain number and then we’re going to close it out.

Kyle: Yes. It worked both ways. So, like, I would have loved to have taken the customers that wanted to come, but the flip side was that we couldn’t. So the lemon-out-of-lemonade , err, lemonade-out-of-lemons was, well, now we can use it to our advantage and say, no, we really can only take 60 new customers because that’s just, we cannot do more. So it helped. But anyway, to do the product launch was we were going to do a product launch when we were established and ready. And so when we were established and ready, we had a staff, we had 17 people working at the time, we were ready, and then we did the product launch.

Andrew: I see. You know, part of me, when I saw the research on you from the team here and what I found online, I got a little skeptical.

Kyle: Yes?

Andrew: Yes, because it just seems too good to be true. You seem like a decent person. Where’s the rat in the closet?

Kyle: Sure.

Andrew: So I checked in with my friend Travis Ketchum, the guy from Contest Domination. I said, “Is this for real?” He goes, “Yes. The guy comes from a good… I was introduced to him from good people. I’ve met him in person. He’s a good person.” And I’m so proud to see how far you’ve come. So then, I look at my notes and I say, “Alright. He talked to April. April must have been as excited as I am.” And we checked back in with you. She said, “Alright. You hit your million. It must have been exciting.” And here’s what you said to her – where is that? – “No. It was okay.” Here’s the line: “It’s a vanity metrics because it’s just gross sales.”

Kyle: Yes. Yes.

Andrew: So when we say, yes, he hit a million dollars, you don’t become a millionaire. You have to pay your affiliate manager. What’s his name? John?

Kyle: Andy.

Andrew: You have to pay Andy a cut. Andy, and you have to pay the guy who creates the webinars a cut, right?

Kyle: Yes.

Andrew: So at the end of that, how much money do… What’s the, what do you net after all of these affiliate payments?

Kyle: Well, okay. So at the time… Everything has changed, but at the time I think we were either 40 or 50, I think it was 50 percent. It fluctuated depending on how strong the affiliate was. Fifty percent of the profits went to them. Ten percent went to our broker. And then there’s the cost of running the business.

Andrew: Yes.

Kyle: So that’s why I say “vanity metrics.” I mean, don’t get me wrong. To have that milestone and to accomplish the goal is great and it sets a level of confidence for the next go around, but at the end of the day if I’m running a business you’ve got to be realistic. And yes, it’s vanity because that’s not what determines success and growth. It’s what you take home, which wasn’t a million.

Andrew: I’m looking at your pricing, and you charge a one-time fee. I think what Travis does is… Yes. I see it right here. Travis charges an on-going fee.

Kyle: Yes.

Andrew: Why are you charging one time instead of building recurring revenue for yourself?

Kyle: That was a really tough decision. That was really tough because obviously we would like recurring revenue. Now the next version is going to be recurring revenue because we think we’ve figured it out. The reason why we did it was number one, I was scared because I couldn’t make Ambit Update work and we couldn’t get the recurring model. So I didn’t know if I could do that. I did know the marketplace and I know that the market place prefers the one-time, the market that we were serving. And I also knew that they, it’s a market place where they’re willing to spend four and five hundred dollars for the tool. So just…

The motivation for the decision was if I charge monthly and I got it to work, how long would they stay, pragmatically speaking. And I think the average in SaaS is like three or four months. And so I basically made the decision that it would be better to get the full amount and just give it to them for the rest of their life than to do monthly and end up making less lifetime. And retrospectively I do think it was the right decision. But now that we’re a more established company and we can handle a lot more, now is the time maybe to pivot. Which goes back to what we were talking about.

Andrew: I see. That makes sense. The other thing you had to learn is to delegate.

Kyle: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: Because you were marketing yourself, because you can develop yourself. It’s so easy to jump in. What did you do to make sure that you delegated?

Kyle: That was a hard one and I thought going in that oh of course you’ve got to delegate. I can delegate. But releasing that control is still something I struggle with. But what really made it connect with me was during the middle of this crazy product launch we had 17 people, full-time people working on that product launch. And I found myself, I think, it was four or five in the morning editing a video. And it dawned on me during that time, there are 16 other people who can do this or who can help out or who are available to do this. And they’re all sleeping and I’m not. So I realized just how much I was hurting myself by trying to do it. So I had to commit to myself that I refuse to do certain things anymore. And I quit my team. I kind of felt I had to because a lot of the team was new. But just letting go and trusting people, that’s everything.

Andrew: Where was the team? Is this the Philippine team? The team in the Philippines?

Kyle: Right now all of our team is in the Philippines. At the time it was about half and half. So we were hiring quickly to get it all done. And yeah, they were there. They were available. Very capable because we made sure we hired solid people, but I guess I wasn’t ready. So that was something I had to overcome.

Andrew: Was it the founder of Staff.com did a course on Mixergy about how to hire a team in the Philippines? I really urge anyone who’s looking to hire there to check out that session. Just do a search for Staff.com. And I think Staff.com is one of the best sites for finding a team. Is that who you used?

Kyle: Oh, we’re all over the place. We have a pretty well-oiled hiring system.

Andrew: But where do you find your people? I think Staff.com finds an outsource team for you or even an individual. Sean Melody [sp], I think, told me that he found a virtual assistant from them. How did you find your people?

Kyle: Yeah, so we started with a staffing agency that didn’t really work out. And I realized at the pace at which we were going we really needed to be hands on. So we went out manually finding people. Craigslist was a big one for us. What else? Onlinejobs.pa if you’re going for the Philippines.

Andrew: So you’re just really going out there and one at a time looking for people. How many people do you need? I mean, why do you need so many people?

Kyle: Well, number one was customer support. We really wanted to be a company who provided great customer support. And because the economics in the Philippines lets you do a little bit more, we wanted to make sure that people got their questions answered within 15 minutes. So that was the big bulk of our customer support of our staffing needs. Then we needed programmers because I couldn’t do it anymore. So yeah, that’s where that came from.

Andrew: You mentioned Craigslist. I’m looking at where you’re getting your traffic. Craigslist is one of the sources of traffic. So is Blog Marketing Academy. ModifyWebsite.com, that’s you. Six figure funnel formula. And something called, there’s a top traffic source for you, CPVRDR.com. They do like pop ups I think.

Kyle: I honestly don’t know who that is.

Andrew: You don’t know who that is? Did you know that they were your top source of traffic?

Kyle: No, I didn’t. But I do know from just how we’re making money, some of it’s coming from affiliates.

Andrew: And so this is maybe an affiliate that pops up your tool when someone’s checking out another site?

Kyle: It could be. I mean we do have some processes now where we’re going to start by checking out where everything’s coming from. But what it could also be is it could be a redirect URL that this person happens to be using.

Andrew: Yeah. That maybe someone is using them for an ad when you’re installing something or other on your system. People can host their landing pages on your site too right?

Kyle: Technically you can, but most people host in on their own site.

Andrew: With their own domain.

Kyle: With their own domain. So when you publish your pages using our product, it sends it over to their site, where they are hosted.

Andrew: I see. Did I just blow your mind with where the traffic is coming from?

Kyle: Yeah [??]

Andrew: You must be looking carefully at where your traffic is coming from. That can’t be a surprise.

Kyle: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Usually we have a lot more control when we are doing and stuff but right now most of our traffic is coming from affiliates because we’ve kind of slowed down a little bit to ramp up the marketing for the next product.

Andrew: Where do you get your affiliates now?

Kyle: Now they find us. So fortunately during this product launch, we generated a lot of buzz. And by doing that the affiliates came out of the woodwork and signed up. So we got a lot of affiliates during that process, during that time.

Andrew: Alright, let’s see. Here’s what else I need to ask you about.

Kyle: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: By the way, I love the research on guests. Sometimes I could spend … And I have to really focus myself so that I don’t waste too much time. But because get so many inbound requests for interviews, I spend so much time searching through to see where is someone getting their traffic. What did Google say about them 12 years ago. What did the New York Times say about them 12 years ago. If they say they are the founder, can I go back and look at angel lists from when the company launched and see where they listed as a founder back then, or did they get added five years later and they’re not really a founder, but they got a title of the founder at some point. All of that stuff takes me so much time because I get obsessed with it. But it’s interesting. It’s interesting to see what is going on.

What do I want to say next? Alright, here is what I need to ask you about next. April, again, we have a good team here of people. April does the pre- interviews. She said, “Ask him about the focus map. I can even do a screen share with you and show you the focus map and the video.” So I think screen share is always dangerous with Skype. Can you describe what is this focus map that April wants me to make sure to ask you about.

Kyle: Okay, so the focus map is a tool that I feel was really instrumental in me having the shifts we were talking about. Because I think it’s a dual game we’re playing. There is the business strategy that we spend a lot of time on, but we didn’t talk about the mental changes. Back when I was struggling, it was because of what was going on in my head. There was a disconnect with what was going on, so what really turned the switch wasn’t so much a realization that we need to go in this direction. That came because of the switch. The switch was that I could remember a moment where I was at one of my lowest points, financially and mentally.

And I looked at my wall, which I have these massive white boards on my wall. And I had this list, a list of all the products I wanted to create. And it was just this massive list of stuff that I wanted to do, and realizing that there is absolutely no way I can do it. So in the heat of depression, frustration, blah blah blah, I basically just went crazy on my whiteboard, cleaned everything off, all my ideas and brainstorms, and I circled one thing. And I was going to focus on that one thing. And that moment started to turn things around. I think I lost you.

Andrew: No, no. And how did that focus then become a map?

Kyle: Okay, so focus is everything … The way it becomes a map … This is the focus mapping tool, which is basically a five-minute exercise that to instantly get you focused, which I think is #1 in any pursuit. So the map starts with your goal, which has to be a smart goal if you can look it up, but a smart goal that is very measurable and achievable. And then underneath that goal is all of the components that make up that goal, so they’re like sub-goals. And underneath those are the components that make that up. And what it does is it creates a boundary around your focus. And I do this exercise every day to keep me on track.

Andrew: Every day?

Kyle: Every day.

Andrew: Do you have a screenshot that you can share with me now via Skype chat?

Kyle: No, I’ll put it in the comments …

Andrew: Okay

Kyle: … because I didn’t know it was coming. But what it does is it forces you to focus. So that moment you go onto Facebook or that moment you get distracted in any way, especially in the day of the internet where it’s so easy, you instantly know you’re not within the boundary of that focus map. You’re not doing something specific according to a very clear cut, defined goal. So it’s a way to keep you in check. And by doing it first thing in the morning, it sets the tone for the day.

Andrew: Would you be up for coming back and teaching this focus map that you use?

Kyle: Absolutely because I’m more excited about this than the million dollars that we made because it’s so powerful for instantly clearing the clutter. It’s like a two minute, three minute tool for instantly clearing the clutter and giving focus around what you want to do and I really believe Focus will make you rich.

Andrew: Ah! I got to see what you’re doing.

Kyle: [laughs]

Andrew: You’re committing? You’re going to come back?

Kyle: Yeah, I’ll come back because…

Andrew: You understand I’m very anal about my organization. I want research ahead of time. Would you talk to April or Jeremy beforehand so we could have all the visuals all lined up that work with you? I want to teach it step by step with you.

Kyle: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrew: All right. I want to make sure this is done, especially this is done right because first of all I’ve seen the power of Focus for myself and second everyone says focus but there’s no structure around the Focus. If you can do that I think you can have a powerful impact on my audience and that would make my work here so much more meaningful and helpful.

Kyle: Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew: All right. So now I have two things to look forward to. First, you’re going to come back here and teach the Focus map process and second you wouldn’t even give me an advance look at what ten minute pages looks like. You said I’ll have to wait and I’m OK with that so I’m going to keep checking tenminutepages.com where I can check on that.

Kyle: Really, really, really exciting.

Andrew: I’m so curious about what you have built up because frankly the thing looks okay now. It looks good. It doesn’t look like there’s anything missing from it.

Kyle: I promise I don’t want to hype myself because I’m excited but it takes it to a brand new level that I don’t think anyone else is doing.

Andrew: I’m curious about what it is. I even see the current tool work. I don’t want to oversell the current tool because apparently it’s going to get changed but the current tool works on mobile, right?

Kyle: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Andrew: The current tool is liked on Facebook. Does it work with Facebook already? Yeah, I can create a…

Kyle: Yeah.

Andrew: …landing page within Facebook.

Kyle: Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew: Wow.

Kyle: Yeah the current tool was pretty powerful and…

Andrew: Yeah.

Kyle: …you can imagine it takes it to another level. It’s ten times easier and it’s more comprehensive. So, without giving too much away, but basically if you can build a page in ten minutes imagine building the whole thing in ten minutes.

Andrew: You mean because it’s more than, even today it’s more than a page. Where did I see that?

Kyle: Exactly. It’s more than a page.

Andrew: One of the features is it even does membership, right? Recurring revenue or something?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah.

Kyle: Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew: All right. Guys, I get no commission unfortunately.

Kyle: [laughs]

Andrew: I could have made a killing on this conversation but instead all I’m going to do is help you guys do well by asking you to check out tenminutepages.com. I think that’s everything. Thanks so much for doing this. This was one of…

Kyle: Absolutely.

Andrew: …the most inspiring interviews.

Kyle: Nice. Nice.

Andrew: I especially like that you were willing to start off by talking about the electric issue.

Kyle: Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew: The electric bill. I think that gave this interview heart and then you walked us through the process that you used to figure out where your customers were and what they wanted. How to recreate the process that you did so that gave it substance. We have heart, we have substance, we have a future. Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you all for being a part of it.

If you happen to see Kyle at an event do what my buddy, Travis Ketchum, did. Just go out to lunch with him. Take him out to lunch. Say hello. Meet him in person. And say, more than anything else frankly, I mean in all seriousness, one of the best ways to connect with my guests and everyone else that you see online is to just start by saying thank you. It’s so powerful. So if you see him in person do what I’m about to do now which is say Kyle, thank you so much for doing this.

Kyle: Appreciate it. Great to be here.

Andrew: You bet. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye, guys.

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  • http://mattreport.com Matt Medeiros

    I think it’s a good story, but I have doubts, especially when his own homepage and YouTube channel are very outdated.

    I also question this market and product.

    What marketers aren’t realizing about these flavor of products, especially those that integrate into WordPress, is the overhead they come with.

    Bloated plugins, conflicting theme code and lackluster support. It really eats the bottom end out from solid and premium based products in the market — and we haven’t even got to the support side of things.

    Sure, I may be bias because of my background, but I’ve seen these products a million times.

    Again, great story — I too, would love to hear about the focus exercise — but I’m not seeing the social proof here.

  • Rick Dass

    Really wish some more diligence was done before interviewing people like this. A cursory search online reveals the true nature of the product, the marketing behind it, etc. If you get a feeling, that it just isn’t right, its not.

    Love the show Mr. Warner.

  • http://unethicalhacks.com/ Unethical Hacks

    majority of the traffic comes from PPV which is not surprising given the landing page quality (that pop-up wouldn’t get approved on top tier). I’m not doubting the revenue numbers though.

  • R.A

    Andrew, that’s for keeping your integrity and staying true to real ethics. I know of the other sites you speak of who post their monthly earnings. I know it’s all from affiliate commissions from their guests. I also am weary of these shows because they will interview anyone without even checking out the guests product. There was a guest on one show who was selling a $60 info product on selling items on amazon. I know the host made a ton of commissions but when I looked at the site, I really wondered if the product was out dated. Which made me question the integrity of the host. My one suggestion is to not let your guests serve up a landing page to us. I think they should link to their business home page or a social media page. Another suggestion is since your guests do make sales from the mixergy audience, that they give out a few free products to the audience, I know you would ask for this in the past o ask for a discount for your audience.

  • Clif Maloney

    Great interview Mr.Warner …Kyle’s authentic and many of us can relate. His story is inspiring. It’s the story of the entrepreneur that’s closer to reality as you can get. The guy that nobody sees or hears about, it us, going the extra distance, learning and working on his craft. Don’t dis-credit people like Kyle! Uplift & Inspire! I’m not sure I like the responses some people gave. Entrepreneurs uplift! The unpolished stone is worked on until it’s shines.

  • jaimeporras

    I’ll sum up my experience with this “inspiration” (Kyle Graham) and his “product” (Ten Minute Pages).

    Registered for the product, received an email with a username and a blank password, could not login. Attempted to reset my password, received a one letter password, attempted to login, received PHP errors.

    I’m currently waiting for “Fanatical Support” to kick in.

    What gives Andrew, why aren’t you vetting these people?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Matt, I want to improve future interviews, but I need something more substantive to go by.

    If I understand you right, what you’re saying is

    1) you have a hunch something is up because the site looks outdated
    I understand that. I checked with Travis of Contest Domination because I didn’t know if I could trust his site. He has a good BS detector because he knows the IM business, and he didn’t see anything wrong here.

    2) plugins are bloated
    Again, as a guy who uses WP to run my site, I agree with you and I hate adding plugins. But that’s not enough to indict him on. We all use plugins despite the fact that they can add issues.

    Thanks for being open with me about your doubts. I’m glad you trust me enough to give me negative feedback. I’m commenting here to invite anyone else who has more detains to chime in — if it exists. That way, I could learn how to do better research in the future.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks. I’ve found that many marketers don’t send traffic to their homepages. They use landing pages. So the quality of the homepage is irrelevant to their sales flow.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Rick, what did you find? Can you be more specific?

    I did more than a cursory search and so did my team. If we missed something, tell us.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks.

    When online marketers post their income statements, what they’re really posting is revenues. They don’t know the difference between the word “income” and the word “revenue.” This one time that the expression “he doesn’t know his head from his ass” fits perfectly.

    As for your second note, about giving free samples to the audience, I’m worried about doing it. I know it’s hard to believe because I come off quite friendly, but I’m not here to be my interviewees’ best friend. I don’t want to be their promotion vehicle. I’m here to dig deeper then they’re usually willing to go so my audience can learn what they really did.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Now this is the best comment on this post. Real feedback. Thanks.

    Has anyone else had this experience? Or is it just Jaime?

  • jaimeporras

    Quick update on this Andrew. A day after I posted I received a password from 10mP.

    I was then able to login and start using the product. So far so good.

    Thanks for the followup.

    Jaime

  • http://mattreport.com Matt Medeiros

    Hey Andrew, thanks for getting back to me.

    When guests approach me to be on my show, I’ll look at all of their properties. Being outdated is one thing, something like, they haven’t made a blog post in a few months — but if I see *years* of outdated information, that raises a flag.

    I might be a stickler, but I care about the product I put out, so I expect others to do the same. In this case, I see his site (http://kylegraham.tv/) and I see no image on his 1st homepage slider. Then I see the buttons hovering over the paragraphs of text.

    More flags and if he’s selling software to create websites, what kind of message is that sending?

    Deeper into a post, I see shortcodes embedded in the text summary and broken images. More flags.

    There’s a link called “test” in his primary navigation — leads to a page he was obviously testing. Another flag, and I’ll stop there.

    Again, I might be a different breed, but if you’re selling in the IM space please have some attention to quality control.

    Imagine picking up an iPhone 6 and the battery case falling off, screen is only bright in the center, and the speaker doesn’t work. Do we say, that’s ok here’s my 500 bucks? Nope.

    “Plugins are bloated”

    refine that. Not ALL plugins are bloated. But when I take into account what I see in his product and from what I gather from his personal site — I can only imagine what the product is going to be like.

    Again, I’ve interviewed over 100+ WordPress entrepreneurs. I see them at WordCamps, follow them online and we have discussions. How do we build great software, that works WITH WordPress and doesn’t cause security breaches or software bloat.

    Build a sustainable software company.

    When a flash in the pan IM comes along and whips something together that he/she outsourced to eLance or Fiverr for pennies on the dollar they are doing a major disservice to their customer if and when the plugin causes headaches.

    You know what that does for the rest of the WordPress economy? Drives the value down. Makes it harder for us to sell high quality products at a premium. Causes more support overhead for our complementing products because now we’re stuck supporting or fixing something from a IM that didn’t care about any of this.

    When your vetting WordPress entrepreneurs, look beyond the surface of their marketing site:

    1. Do they have a WordPress.org account? This will show what activity they have on WordPress.org. Do they help others, are they updating their code there? If they have a free product what’s their download count, rating, and support thread like?

    2. Test their support. Ask a pre-sales question, how was the response? Do they have a forum or knowledge base of support? When was it updated? Live chat?

    3. Have they spoken at a WordCamp? Check on WordPress.tv to see if they have a recorded session.

    4. Does their product have a roadmap or changelog to see when it was recently updated? Plans for the future?

    Again, I’m bias, I run a WordPress podcast and sell WordPress product, but these are all of the elements of how my customers judge our products.

    Happy to help anyway I can :)

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    That’s good to hear.

    I always want to know if an interviewee isn’t being forthright. I have no judgement. I know entrepreneurs screw up from time to time. I’ve done it a lot. But it helps us learn more about their story, so I encourage feedback like this in the comments.

    I’m glad things worked out with Kyle. Like I said to the others who commented here, from everything I saw, he’s a good guy.