While other businesses are wishing they could have more funding or bigger staffs so they could grow, Juan Martitegui knows what it really takes: smarter marketing. In this interview you’ll learn the big strategies and simple tactics he used to grow Mindvalley Hispano.
How good is Juan at teaching his system? So good that, in the comments, Laura Roeder, an admired online marketer herself, urged us to have him back to teach again and go into more depth. (Thanks Laura. We’re working on it.)
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Juan Martitegui, Mindvalley
Juan Matitegui was the COO of Mindvalley, a publisher of personal growth products. When he saw how well the business was doing he approached the co-founders of that company with a proposal that enabled him to spin off a business of his own, Mindvalley Hispano.
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Here’s your program.
Andrew: Hi everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. Today’s guest went to work for a personal growth company and ended up spinning out a company of his own. Joining me is Juan Martitegui. He was the COO of MindValley, a publisher of personal growth products, including the Silva Method and Chakra Healing.
When he saw how well the business was doing, he approached the co-founders of that company with the proposal that enabled him to co-found a business of his own, MindValley Hispano which sells personal growth products to Latin American customers.
Juan, welcome to Mixergy, man.
Juan: Oh, welcome. Thanks for having me here.
Andrew: Let me tell the audience how this happened. You’re a Premium member. You e-mailed me, and you said, “Andrew, here’s how you can do it better” and I jumped on that opportunity. We started making some of the changes you suggested which were terrific, and I said, “Can I get on a phone call with you and get even more feedback on what else we can improve?” And you freaking blew my mind. I said I cannot believe this guy’s in my audience with all that he knows. I’ve got to find a way to get him on Mixergy and maybe get him to teach me more. I want to learn from you, and I want my audience to learn from you.
But, first, let’s introduce you and let everyone understand your background and why I wanted to have you on here, and then we’ll tell your story throughout this interview. How about this? What can you tell me about the sales of the company that you now own, MindValley Hispano?
Juan: Well, basically we did half a million dollars the first year on eBook sales. Basically, teaching product sense, teaching people meditation is not in every market., yoga and those sort of products, so that’s what we do.
Andrew: First year, half a million in sales selling yoga products to basically people in Latin America which when you had this idea you weren’t even sure if they were going to buy. Why? What was your understanding of the market that you grew up in?
Juan: What I thought is that it was impossible to sell to Latin American people. I wouldn’t think that we don’t have that many credit cards. We are not that comfortable using the Internet as a general approach. So, when I came here to Malaysia, right now, I’m here in Malaysia to work for this amazing company, MindValley, and I said, “Hey, wait a minute. What if I try this thing in Latin America?” And they said, “Ah, it won’t work.”
And then, they said, “I’m still not sold on the idea.” And I said, “Let’s try it out. Let’s build a minimum viable product on a little website and try to sell it. Let’s see if people come and buy.” The market proved me wrong. They were willing to buy. They were willing to put their credit cards online, and if not some of them, they are willing to go to Western Union or Moneygram and do a money transfer. So, I was amazed by that, and then I said, OK. I need you to grow this thing. It’s working.
Andrew: Let’s pause it right there. First of all, I’ll say that you’re saying they were willing to. We’re going to find out through this interview how you got them to be willing to. It’s an understanding of a customer. It’s an understanding of a way to sell. That’s what I think in our conversation before where you do especially well and what I want to learn from you. Again, setting this up a little bit further before we get into the marketing of it. MindValley, what can you tell me about the sales of the company that you used to work for that you spun your business out of? What about the sales there? Sorry. What size revenues does the company do?
Juan: Ok. Basically, when I came to MindValley like three years and a half ago, we were in the low 70s, and now three years after we are like doing low eight figures. It’s a whole other ball game, but it’s awesome to see our company grow that much. We were 13 employees back then, and now we are 45 from like 20 something different countries. So, it was an amazing experience.
Andrew: All right. I’m going to put you on the spot with something I probably should have prepared you for in the pre-interview, but let’s see how it goes. You joined Mixergy Premium because you wanted to understand what was going on with Silicon Valley. You wanted to learn from the Silicon Valley companies.
Let me turn it around on you and say, as a direct response marketer online, what do you know? Do you have one tip that Silicon Valley companies, that the funded companies that often do interviews here should learn from you?
Juan: For me, the concept of until you cannot buy customers, you don’t have a business.
Andrew: Until you cannot buy customers, not get customers? Tell me the distinction before you explain that.
Juan: OK. So, basically when we do our direct response marketing bills or direct response marketing business, we know exactly how much each transaction is worth. We track it. So, basically this allows us to say, OK, we create a conversion final, a conversion process where everyone that comes, goes through the exact same process. After we have that, we run some numbers and we say, OK, we spend a hundred dollars running people to these pages. Of those hundred dollars we spent, we sold 200. So, how many times are you willing to do that deal? And we say, as many as we can. If we are buying 100 bills but for only 50 bucks, I would take that deal all night long.
Basically, the way we do things is we buy customers. I go to Google AdWords, to Facebook, to MSN, and I say, hey, I want
Andrew: Sorry, our connection is breaking up there for a second. Can you repeat from when you were saying you went to… You go to Facebook. You go to Google. You go to other places. You buy ads, and what’s the approach you have? You say what?
Juan: So, basically we go in and we say, we want traffic. And we know that we can pay X amount for that traffic because we know how we convert that traffic. Once we get that, that number, we can say, OK, we will buy as many traffic as you can send us for this much money. As long as we are getting a positive return on investments, we’re happy to do that and invest as much money as we can.
Andrew: OK. But unless you’re able to buy customers for less money than you’re going to make on those customers, you don’t believe that you even have a business.
Andrew: OK. When you buy a customer… Take me in the most basic way through the process that a stranger gets introduced to a MindValley Hispano product and becomes a customer. I don’t want to go into all the details of the full cycle, but I want to understand big picture, what happens.
Juan: OK. So, basically in these 2011 times, basically if you have a problem, you want to learn, say, meditation or you have a problem that you’re not good at picking up girls. Whatever the thing is, you go on Google for an answer, or you go and search for an answer in the search engines, in the social networks. What we try to do is show you an ad there that says, “Want to learn meditation? Get our seven free lessons. Click here.”
So, people say, oh, that’s awesome. I want to learn meditation. I have seven free lessons here. They click there, and they come to something we call a landing page. People come there to the landing page, and we say, “Seven free lessons, where do we send them?” Or it’s a little bit more elaborate, but basically I sell you on the fact that you need to give me your email address so I can send you the lessons to [??].
You give me your email address, and after you give me the email address, what I say is, “Hey. Thanks for signing up. You will be receiving the lessons soon. But in case you want to move faster, in a more comfortable way, we have a whole course. Do you want to buy it now?”
Sometimes they say yes and they buy something. And, if not, we will send them the lessons. After the first lesson, we send them something that teaches them how to meditate, the most basic things. And then we say, “You know, if you loved this lesson, we have a course.”
We start building a relationship over the emails, over the follow-ups. Our follow-up would for 120 days, 180 days. The second email would go, “Did you get my lesson? What do you think about it? Go here and share it in our blog. People are commenting about it.” And then, after two days, we would say, “Hey. Here’s the second lesson. If you have any questions, just let me know.”
On the fourth day they say, “Hey, I’ve got questions.” You say, “Here are some answers”. “What are the differences between the free lessons and the course? Why is the guarantee there? What are you guaranteeing will work?” Things like that. We start building a campaign, a follow-up campaign.
Something I think Web 2.0 apps can learn from us, direct-response marketers, it’s that, basically, their follow-up is, almost always, completely broken. Most of these guys, they’re trying to close a sale the first day. And, if not, they forget about it. They never send you an email again. They never try to build a relationship.
The problem with that is, if you want to marry someone, you need to date them first. They don’t spend any time building relationships before selling your product. It seems that this thing, the freemium model, it’s like you go and approach and girl and you say, “Hello, would you marry me? You don’t need to meet my parents, you don’t need to invite me to the cinema, you don’t need to cook me dinner. I’m free!” But no one’s willing to marry you, even if you’re free.
They load the thing up to a freemium model, which is cool, but the problem is, they don’t spend enough time building their relationship, and they don’t spend enough time following up with people who said that they were interested in that.
Andrew: Before I ask you follow-up questions, can you put your Skype on Do Not Disturb mode? I see that you’re very popular on Skype, and every time people chat with you we hear the alert that you’re getting.
Juan: Just a second. I’m sorry. I’m will.
Andrew: When you and I talked privately, you said, “Andrew, you even need to do more personality stuff. You need to let people know who you are.” You’re suggesting that even the Silicon Valley funded companies, that are doing everything right technologically, need to introduce themselves, the creators of the company, to their customers, and build a relationship with them. Not just say, “This is free, and when you’re ready to buy, I’ll be here.”
Juan: I’m 100% sure that it’s way better. If it’s not the creator or the marketing person, it’s a matter of people liking to do business with people, not with a cold company that doesn’t listen to them. I have a case to prove this.
What is one of the more valuable companies? It’s Apple. And if you think about it, it’s personality-driven marketing. Steve Jobs goes, “Hey. Look at what I’ve got for you.” Everyone is looking forward to that pitch, and looking forward to what he’ll come up with. It’s about a person. You’re buying from Steve Jobs, not only from Apple.
Andrew: I’m going to propose something to you and to the audience, and I want the audience to let me know what they think of this. I want to have you back here to do, not just an interview with two talking heads, but do a course where it’s you and me talking, but you showing me your computer screen. And I’d like, on your computer screen, to see your flow from what a landing page looks like–you said you oversimplified it here as you explained it, and of course you had to, because all we’re using is words to explain your work. I want to see the page. Then I want
to see how after someone enters their email address, how you try to sell them. Then I’d like to see, too, the process that you take them through to buy. But not just see it the way that I could see it from a distance, if I were to Google meditation and come across one of your products. I’d
like to hear your thought process of how you do it. And then also, have you show me. Maybe we take one great Framian[SP] product, or one product that looks good and functions well, but isn’t marketed well. I’d like you to break down, what could they do better? Teach us the whole process. Are you willing to do that?
Juan: Yeah, of course. It’s awesome.
Andrew: All right. I’d love to do that, and I’d love to hear the audience’s feedback on how they want that done well. So we’re only talking here. It’s hard to show products. It’s hard to get into that level of detail about sales flow. But we can get into the details of how you got here and
How you figured this out yourself. I want to learn about how you built up your business. So, take me back to when you discovered MindValley. How did you even come to work for a company that happens to be in Malaysia?
Juan :I was a member of IASAC[SP]. It’s like [??] machine EO or [??] International, but for younger people. The purpose of IASAC is to help people go abroad and have a leadership experience abroad. I was trying to go to China, because at that time, I was selling tennis rackets that I was importing from China in Argentina. So, the idea was that I was looking for
China, but the system didn’t have filter for country. It was for region. I would keep seeing MindValley, MindValley, MindValley. I’m an Argentina dude from quite a small town in Buenos Aires. I said, there’s no possible way these guys are making money selling e-books [sounds like] and digital courses. Who would pay for that? But it was so interesting. The founders are quite characters, both of them. So, I said, I need to go. I sent an email saying, I want to learn internet marketing, and you guys seem to know what you are doing. So, what I’m going to do is, I’m going to fly there. And I will spend 90 days there. And if I don’t make you money,
because I have also been doing internet marketing and I have my own ideas, I will come back. You don’t need to hire me. That was my guarantee and irresistible offer.
Andrew: Whoa, hang on a second. Even the way that you pitch yourself on a job, is using the irresistible offer that you make to customer online. That was intentional.
Juan: Yup. Of course. I built a relationship. Three months before applying to the job, I started adding them as a friend. I started getting recommendation letters from their friends. I can even show you the email I sent. It’s super funny. It was the seven biggest mistakes internet marketing companies can make, and the seventh one was not to hire me.
Andrew: I’ve got to see this email. Send it to me afterwards. I’m curious.
Andrew: Send it to me afterwards. I’m curious about the email.
Juan: OK. I will send it to you. It’s funny. So, basically, I did a lot of work to apply for the job. I got accepted even though my English level is not the best. I started working for this company, and I was blown away.
Andrew: Hold on before you get to the blown away. I want to hold that for a second and understand a little more background. You said that you did some marketing yourself. What kind of marketing did you do?
Juan: Well, basically, it’s building a relationship. I started commenting in their blog. I started sending them articles.
Andrew: Oh, to get the job. No, I mean, you were doing marketing beforehand. You knew about marketing, right?
Juan: Yeah, of course.
Andrew: How? What kind of marketing? What were you selling online?
Juan: I was selling [??] charcoal to cook beef from Argentina to the world.
Andrew: For asados?
Juan: Yeah. For asado. I was selling that through the Internet. Imagine trucks of 20 tons was the minimum order. I was also selling vacation travel packages through the internet. Then the last one that I was doing, before applying to MindValley was importing tennis rackets from China and selling them on the Internet in Argentina. All of those businesses have their particular stories, but I was very good at crashing them very fast.
Andrew: Crashing them very fast – give me one of the stories, like, you said wood for asado. Argentines love barbeque – they love asados, as they call them. So I understand why they would want it, but how do you get into a business of selling it to them online and then shipping all this stuff? Tell me that story.
Juan: Well basically what I did is, I been always working for big corporations, IBM and all those things, as a sales guy. And I always wanted to become an entrepreneur, so what I did is I went to a seminar for foreign trade. And they how to see what the, kind of the, the country was exporting.
So I’m always a big fan to go into markets that there is competition. And the reason is very easy – they prove the most difficult point that a business owner or a start-up needs to prove, which is there are customers and people paying for that.
So what I saw is, OK – here are these guys, selling, exporting hardwood charcoal (I can see it because that’s an official document, an official database) at this price. Then I looked to the supermarket in my town and it was more or less the same. And I know that supermarkets cost at least a 40% markup on those type of items. So I said, ‘There’s a business here.’
So then I started with a webpage. The only thing I knew about hardwood charcoal was that it was black. Not recommended that you stat a business that way, but it didn’t matter. I set up a website in Flash; this was probably 2001; yeah, 2001, 2002. Back then I did a website in Flash with keyword spam all over the place. So I was very fast in the first page of Google! And I was getting a lot of requests for quotations, and I couldn’t match the price.
I couldn’t match the price so after one year of trying I finally got two people to say yes, send me the order! And I said, ‘Oh, holy shit! Now I need to figure out how to ship the order!’
And I figured it out and I started selling that. The problem with that is that my partner, the guy that will get the charcoal for me, he wasn’t very good at that so we were delayed and whatever. And then I quit the whole project. But I sold, like, $50,000 of hardwood charcoal which is quite an amount. You know, several trucks.
Juan: So it was an interesting experience. After that I learned two lessons. First is: You better control the product and know about the product. It’s very hard to sell something you don’t know about. The second thing is people matter a lot. Like, the confidence and the trust you build with your team, like, it’s very important. With that guy I didn’t have trust, very good communication or whatever, and the business failed.
Andrew: OK. All right. So you end up at MindValley with this clever way that you got the job there, and you said you were blown away. What blew you away so soon?
Juan: Well, the fact that selling information products was possible. From someone from Argentina, that was a big deal. I mean, people paying from information! We sometimes go to, you know, to universities in Latin America and we don’t, like – in American it sometimes is, you have a good grade or you go to a good university; you pay for information. You will get a better job.
Sometimes in Latin America that’s not the reality always. You get engineers driving a cab sometimes. So for me the fact that people will pay for information; and not only information but meditation type of information, was, like, wow! Then, the second thing was the culture. Like, the whole thing of open office and being in a start-up, or things that I will do will move the needle. If I did well the revenue numbers move. Which in IBM or in Telefonica or in any of those companies, like, ah, you didn’t move the needle that much. So that was another thing that blew me away.
And then the trust of the founders, that I would be able to implement ideas. And the good thing about being in direct-response marketing business is that we don’t need to fight that muck. Like, we test it – if it worked, then it worked. There are no opinions, it’s not like, I’m the founder, we should do this. Let’s test it and the market will tell us what’s best.
Andrew: Do you remember one of the earlier things you were responsible for that made you feel like, wow, I’m actually here just a few days, or a few weeks, but I moved the needle a little bit?
Juan: You can have the exact same page, the exact same offer, the exact same prize, and if you change the words in the order button. Let’s say you put, add to cart, or you put try it now risk free. You can sell twice as much just by those words. So the possibility of thinking that we were 13, 15 dudes working our asses off, and because we change four letters we could be making $5 million or $10 million just by changing what it says in the button, I was like wow, we need to do more split tests. I’ve seen a lot of guys trying to popularize these split tests concepts, and it’s fun, but the problem is they don’t tell you the impact it can have on your business, the impact can be huge. You can be the same team, with the same marketing, with the same pricing, to the same customers. You change the headline you can be selling twice as much. And after you change the headline and you’re selling twice as much, you change the buy button, the letters there, and you can selling twice as much again. So now you’re selling four times as much with no effort. So a lot of guys there talking about split testing but no one tells you. Like I can show you case studies where I changed the headlines I had a 50% bump in sales, and you just changed a sentence, it’s crazy. That blew me away, and I said, this thing of measuring stuff, it’s serious.
Andrew: You know, that is a mindset shift, because we’re so used to thinking that if you want to grow a business, you have to throw more engineers at the problems, or bring more people on board because that’s the solution. And you’re right, sometimes you just change the copy and the whole thing turns around. And you offered to share a case study. You know much better than I do, I’d love to hear a case study if you can remember one.
Andrew: Let me explain to the audience there’s a little bit of a delay here because he’s so far away and I guess that’s the reason. The question I was asking is about a case study. You offered to share a case study where one change had dramatic impact on sales.
Juan: Well, for example, changing the order button, we tested buy it now, we tested add to cart, we tested try it now risk free. Try it now risk free sold twice as much in some websites, in others it was like 70% more, in others 50%, but I believe it was 70% more than the least performing version, which was I think, buy it now.
Andrew: I see.
Juan: I mean, for a company that is in the seven figures in sales that’s huge.
Andrew: All right, I want to know where to take this story next, because I care about your story and how you built it up. But now I want more tips of what you just shared with us right here, and I want to understand more tactics like that. So why don’t we continue with the story and let them unravel as they come out. So you’re working there, tell me about a bigger initiative that you took, because it’s not all about changing headlines and changing buttons, what else did you do next once you started to get in there.
Juan: I never asked for a raise in any of the companies that I worked for. And my philosophy was add as much value as you can. And because I loved that stuff, I love psychology. I’m an accountant, but I studied psychoanalysis for like five years. So basically I have kind of the perfect mixture between a mathematician and someone who cares about sales and psychology. So I started to learn a lot about that, and I started implementing, and you know, in our business, and in many business if you say, I’m going to do this and you can measure it this way, and it’s very clear for your boss, then it’s very easy for you to get a raise and to move forward. If you set very clear expectations and you tell people, ‘Hey, how do I make you more money?’ And you really make people more money, then there’s no way you cannot grow in a company. No one will want you to go to any other place because you are making them money.
Andrew: So you offered . . .
Juan: So for me it’s all about figuring out in your business what’s the leverage point that you can work on, being very clear with your boss and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to take this project on,’ it doesn’t matter if it’s outside my working hours, but I am passionate about it, and I will figure it out – and then we will measure the results. And when you measure the results and you get results, it’s the easiest way tog et raises or get opportunity as I have. To partner with someone who already has a company and say, OK, let’s take these to other markets.
Andrew: By the time you were ready to start your own business and spin off your own version of their company, you were the COO. What did that mean in a company like MindValley?
Juan: A mixture between firemen and visionary, or something like that.
Andrew: Uh-huh. Tell me, describe some of the things that you did.
Juan: So basically, like, structuring a lot of processes. Like, we were using G-mail for answering to customers. And, you know, we didn’t know if an agent would go and archive every e-mail. We didn’t know how many e-mails came, or how many e-mails we replied and what time we replied them, what was the open rate?
So we said, why don’t we go and basically have a professional customer support software? So then, like, setting up our project management software. Everything was done in meetings and, you know, there was not very clear accountability in setting up all the processes of a company, like, how we roll a new website; what do we need to take into account; how it’s the launch process of another product.
So, kind of doing all that frameworks to operate, and doing the [??] action. Like, when I got to MindValley it was an amazing experience but for the first seven days I had nothing to do. So what I decided to do is an induction process; so no one goes again without that period of doing kind of nothing, because people were busy doing other things. So it was doing a lot of processes and a lot of kind of preparing the ground so we could grow. And in, let’s say in three years we grew to 45 people, so it’s quite an accomplishment.
Andrew: All right. Let’s break down what you just talked about. You said you created a framework for launching. How did they launch products before this framework, and what was the framework that you created?
Juan: Well, everything that you do in a start-up, first of all, is a team effort. So it’s not that I created, or whatever. We can, we could call a meeting and say, ‘Oh, I created,’ but everything’s . . .
Andrew: OK. Fair enough. I don’t want to, I want you to speak freely and not worry about what you say is talking on more credit than you deserve. I want to understand how the company evolved while you were there. So the framework for launching, what was it like before you guys decided to focus on it, and how did it change afterwards?
Juan: So basically, now it was a lot more metric-driven, where we would say, OK, we got these many leads to a sub-list. We will have the list of a business and we would say, ‘Hey, you’re interested in meditation, do you want to try (let’s say) chakra healing?’ Or [??] or whatever; we are in that niche. So if someone has narrow-minded . . .
Andrew: Don’t apologize for it. I’ve been meditating; do you meditate by the way?
Juan: Yeah, yeah, I meditate.
Andrew: You do?
Andrew: How often?
Juan: Every day, 15 minutes.
Andrew: Wow. How many?
Juan: 15 minutes.
Andrew: Impressive. It works. I wouldn’t put meditation down at all; I love it. So before, you had a list of people who were interested in meditation and you said, ‘We have a new product on chakra healing. We’ll just e-mail the meditation list.’ And what?
Juan: Well basically, before it was more, like, we would just send the offer. These are things that I learned from other people. It’s not that I invented it. I just put together what I was learning and implemented it in a way that gets proven results. We will send this offer and say, “Hey, do you know there are some things that are the chakras? And do you know that that this impact your mood?” So we will build up instead of doing an offer. It’s a full product launch where you create curiosity, and people are interested in that. Then people ask, “Teach me more”. OK, I have a product. Then you reveal the product. So, it’s a little bit more of a build-up. When Apple launches an iPhone, you can time it. They leak something. They leak something for the
second time. The third thing that happens is that we get an official press release of the features that it could have. Now everyone is speculating. Then we have the date that we have been speculating, and we don’t know the price. It’s a build up so that people are talking about it.
It becomes an issue in peoples’ minds. So that when you present the offer, they are more ready to take it.
Andrew: I see. So instead of saying that we’ve got this new product about chakra healing, go buy it here, and coming up with a great sales letter, you’re coming up with a great sales process. You say, ‘Have you heard of this?” Then you’re explaining it to them. Then you’re telling them more and peaking their curiosity. Then you make the sale.
Juan: Yes. The other things that changed is this approach, how can we make our photo op sequences longer? If we were getting a lead, and they weren’t buying for 15 to 30 days, we would just say, ‘OK. They didn’t buy.’ We will send these offers or newsletters. We will keep adding value. But then what happens is, we lose a little bit of predictability, because the
value of that lead depended on the offers of that month. Now, when we have a photo op sequence of half a year, then we know exactly how much we can pay per lead. So, we are way more comfortable to pay $4 per email address, because we know the math. That’s the other thing that happened in my period. We increased the length of the photo op sequences.
Andrew: OK. What’s the typical amount of time that it takes for a person to go from stranger to customer?
Juan: It depends a lot on the website and the product. If you get a 1,000 visitors, 200-300 will give you their email address depending on how targeted the campaign is. Then 3 or 4 will buy it right on the spot. Then in 60 days, you will convert 5% of those 300. So you will get 15 customers out of those 300 in 60 days, more or less. And they buy in different
points of time.
Andrew: OK. If you have a series, and someone signs up, you know what you’re going to send them day in and day out. Or maybe it’s not daily, but you know what you’re going to send them throughout the first six months, as you said. If you have a new product, will you interrupt that series and send out an email about the new product, saying, ‘Hey, by the way, we also
have this other thing?’
Andrew: No. You wait for them to go through their on-board process. Then you put them in the general population where they hear about the latest stuff.
Juan: Correct. That way, we are very predictable on everyone who goes through the exact same sequence. Because of the law of big numbers, you know that when you get 1,000 customers from this website, you’re going to convert this many. Now you know how much you can pay for advertising. And that’s the trick. Now I can buy a customer. Now I can go ahead and buy a
customer. You can say, ‘I’m willing to pay this much for traffic.’
Andrew: OK. There is one other thing you said earlier, that I wanted to fill out my understanding on. You came up with a system for integrating new employees. What is that?
Juan: So, basically it’s an induction system where they go through some videos that they view the company’s history, some interaction to the tools. So, I needed to do it every time someone came to the company. That automation thing of making yourself obsolete in a little bit of low level type of repeating information doesn’t make sense. So then, we had a one-on-one, so a person welcomes them and checks expectations and things like that.
The thing that used to be repetitive, they go through some leaders to try and understand how things work, how the office hours work [inaudible] Those types of policies are there in the material.
Andrew: What other process did you come up with as a company?
Juan: Let me see. Well, customer support processes on how a refund should be handled and how a first inquiry should be handled. It processes the bonus plan. We keep evolving the bonus plan.
MindValley got selected as one of the most democratic companies in the world like three times in a row. Everything is an interesting process where people contribute ideas so it’s been fun. So, basically, everything where there was a bottleneck, we try to solve it with a process with something that may never come up again or if it comes up…
Andrew: How do you record all of these processes?
Juan: In a Wiki.
Andrew: You just have a Wiki where anyone that has a question about how to handle refunds would go in and take a look at the answers.
Andrew: Gotcha. OK. Let’s see. What about… Sorry?
Juan: It’s a Google site.
Andrew: You’re the second person this week who told me that you use Google sites to keep track of processes. I’m actually going to have somebody come in and just walk us through how to create processes for your business. What I’m finding is that the more processes I put into my work here at Mixergy, the easier it is for us to run the company and to solve problems and to let other people just deal with them without coming to me.
I thought it was quicker. I don’t know how I got to this place where if there was an issue, I would either handle it myself, or I would teach someone else how to do it. If the issue came back up, I would handle it myself, or I would teach someone else again how to do it. I should just say, I should have done this before. Just put together a simple page with a solution and then send them a link. Now, I’m also learning this week, I should put up a Wiki where we can have all these learning solutions all in one place so that I’m not the bottleneck for sending out the instructions.
Juan: Correct. The reason why it’s a Wiki is that if they find that there is something that could be improved, they can add there as a note and then send it to you and say, hey, do you accept this improvement? And then, you say yeah, sure, and now you have a process that’s been improved by your employees.
Andrew: And it’s just Google sites, and they have to get your permission before they make a change so that you, at least, look it over.
Juan: Correct. If you want to, it depends on the employee and the process that you are talking about. The problem with processes and a lot of people get hung up on these things. The first time or the second time if you compare the process to whatever it takes for you to do it and whatever it takes you to teach someone to do it, that equation will always be negative for a month. But when you’re setting up the process, you need to think about the lifetime value of that process.
So, you need to compare it with the hundreds of hours that you will spend
in the three to four hours that you do creating the process for [??]. A lot of people, they do this equation and instead of comparing the lifetime value of the system or a process, they compare it with… Oh, I just do it. It’s quickly. It’s very quickly.
Andrew: That’s what I do sometimes, and I’m learning to stop doing that.
Andrew: What about a process for coming out with new products? Do you have one of those?
Juan: Yeah, well, basically we will test it on an audience. And then we will see how our audience, our list, responds to that product and if it sold we will say, OK, here’s an opportunity. We will move on and create a website and a funnel and all the other stuff. So that’s how we will test products.
Andrew: How often do you come out with a product?
Juan: Normally we were coming up with one or two websites a month.
Andrew: One or two websites a month.
Andrew: Can you tell me about the last product that you came up with? What’s the first thing that you did?
Juan: The last product? You mean in my period as COO or right now?
Andrew: Either one.
Juan: OK. So right now I think we launched something on abundance and it did very well – like, an abundance mindset.
Juan: It did very well.
Andrew: And so what’s the first thing that you did when you had this idea that, hey, we should focus on abundance, on profit, on a mindset around this stuff? What’s the first thing you did?
Juan: Well, sometimes – we knew from our past that abundance products sold very well to our lists. And there was an author that said, ‘Hey, I have this idea. I could create a product around that.’ And one of the girls on our team said, ‘Oh, but I saw this killer model implement somewhere else. Why don’t we combine these?’ And we created a product.
So it’s basically, the process is more, like, get together and brainstorm how to best launch this. It’s not that you can include creativity with a process; it’s, like, just get together, talk about it.
And that meeting needs to happen, so, between a lot of people, not only one guy that will do, like, the hero thing and launch his own thing. So that’s kind of part of the process, where you have people that are kind of [??] things; people more experienced; and that was a very good team effort, as is anything that happens here, I would say.
Andrew: Do you ever test a product that you have in mind and realize, no, this is not worth launching at all; it’s just a bad product?
Andrew: So tell me about that.
Juan: And we took it to market.
Andrew: So first you create the product. You try to sell it and if it doesn’t work then you take it off market? Or do you do any testing before that would help you cancel the product before you launch it?
Juan: Well, sometimes we do an interview with the author and we try to sell the author’s product as an affiliate. And that will give us a very good sense of how to gauge the response for that product and that offer.
Andrew: For the transcribers, he said ‘gauge’ not ‘gouge.’ It sounded like you’re saying ‘gouge the audience.
Andrew: So I see. You find a product that’s already out there that you can sell on an affiliate program. You do an interview so that you introduce the product to your audience. At the end of it you offer the product for sale; you see how it sells. If it sells well you realize hey, this is something we should create our own product from, and if it doesn’t you move on and you still have that one revenue source.
Juan: Correct. And sometimes it comes that, A: there’s a famous author, or we know that it’s already selling and we skip that part. You know? It’s like, it all comes down to thinking through the deal and saying, ‘Do we have enough clues that people are buying this?’ And we say yes or no – if not we try to generate the clues; if yes we can go and launch the product.
Andrew: I see. What’s a clue that tells you that people will buy it? Can you give me an example of a clue that lets you know that people will buy it?
Juan: Well, for example, I go to websites like ClickBank and see if there are products being sold, and basically, what’s the gravity of the product. I also see who’s paying for advertising. So if you get a lot of people that are paying for advertising for a product, unless they are them and they want to make Google rich or whatever the publisher is that they are paying ads, they are making money.
Andrew: I see.
Juan: Because no one keeps paying for ads, you know, if they don’t work. So if they are working, then it means someone is selling on that market.
Andrew: All right. I could do a whole interview just on that, on how to figure out if a product is selling well and how to understand why it’s selling well, and how to get all that understanding before you launch the product.
Juan: But it’s quite easy. You know, like, for example, you need to find people that have irrational fear or passion. For example, there is a lot of golf products. So, people are very passionate about that. They want to improve their game, and that’s something that is interesting. Irrational fear or passion, they need to have a market that is good enough, big enough and that you can figure out. You go to keyword tool, and you see how many of these searches you are getting. And then, you need to have people that are willing to pay.
So, for example, are there magazines for those products? Are there trade unions for that type of market? Are there online live events for that type of product that people are paying? So, when you go to meditation, yeah, there are products that join clubs on meditation. There are magazines on meditation. There are a lot of books being sold on meditation. People, they want to really learn how to do that. They are passionate about it, and they can tell your friends at [??] you’ve got a market. It’s very easy.
Andrew: You make it sound easy, and it’s easy for you because you’ve thought this through, and you’ve come up with different gauges that will help you measure the size of the market and will help you figure it out. As you introduce them to us, we recognize, yeah, these are easy tools to use if you know to use them.
All right. What’s next? I want to understand, too, how you go from being an employee of a company, a guy who didn’t even get a job really, who came in and said, I will work for you for free and got the job that way. They didn’t come courting you. They didn’t offer you a great salary. You made that job happen. You grew that position, and then you made a company of your own happen.
How do you go from being a COO, an employee to launching your own business and having a substantial, I know how big it is, a big chunk of the ownership.
Juan: So, basically for me it comes down to adding value to whatever it is your employer… If you really add value and you gain their trust, and I’m friends with these guys and I love them. It’s very interesting to have these types of relationships with your boss. Then, it comes down to prove the business model and say, hey, I’m trying this out. I did it on my own time.
I think it’s worth pursuing. You can look at the conversion numbers. What about if we talk about the deal and how we would go about it.
Andrew: Wait, so in your own time, you tried creating and selling products in the Hispanic market. What kind of products did you try creating and selling in your own time?
Juan: Meditation, love, attraction, those several products.
Andrew: Did you create the products yourself, or you sold affiliate products.
Juan: No, some of them I created.
Andrew: So, you created a meditation product and you started. So, again, why do you need them, and why did you if you’re showing them? Let’s take it one step at a time. You’re showing them that there’s a market here, that there are customers. Why can’t they just hire someone to translate their site to Spanish or ask you to do it for them as an employee?
Juan: Well, the thing is I didn’t want to be an employee any more, and I knew enough to do it by myself. To go into another market, another language market it’s not just translating the thing. The way of selling is different. The way of approaching the [??]
Andrew: Couldn’t they just bring someone else from Argentina? Argentines are ambitious. Argentines want to be in business. So, couldn’t they just say, hey, we’ll put an ad in Argentina. Maybe, we’ll put one in a different South American country, maybe, Brazil so we get Portuguese in here, too, and we launch our Hispanic or Latin America site.
Juan: Yeah, but would you go through all that hassle to try to do it yourself?
already trust that guy that is your friend and he proved that he can get…
Andrew: Then, they’d have to give you a piece of the business. That’s pretty big to give up. Google, when they went into South America didn’t say, hey, we’ll find someone and give them a piece of Google. They said no, we’ll learn the market. We’ll bring someone in here, and that’s how we expand. We want to own it.
Juan: Correct. I would say for me these were not Google in terms of their focus wasn’t there. It’s a little bit of a different business where the products need to be different. The market needs to be different while the search engine is kind of the same. So, I would say it’s a little bit of a different type of deal than say…
Andrew: Let me take it from the other side. From your point of view, as someone working for a company who just, on his own, realized that he can make money, why not just go back to Argentina? Back home with the great asado, with the yerba mate, with everything that’s wonderful about it, and launch your own business from there?
Maybe ask them for referrals to some gurus that you can have on your website to teach meditation, to teach healing, and other stuff. Or, if they don’t give it to you, you go find it on your own, because you’ve learned so much from them. Why do you need them?
Juan: For me, it was a thing of having the brands aboard; also, being part of something bigger. The other thing for me was, “OK. How can I do this faster? Can I move faster to the opportunity?” And I said, “OK. Let’s build a partnership.” It was a natural thing for me to build a partnership.
It’s a good partnership because it’s not being built on need. I don’t need them; they don’t need me. It’s built on, “Let’s do something together that we believe can improve the world”.
For me, I was [??] with that. I learned a ton of things about that. I’m starting some other businesses, where they are not partners, and they’re starting in other businesses, where I’m not a partner. That’s cool.
But this whole opportunity, it was fair to move forward and do it as partners. What I learn in Spanish, it helps them; what they learn in English, it helps me. It’s a win-win situation. Now MindValley is a company that has people all over world starting MindValley India, and starting MindValley Poland.
Andrew: With the same model that you introduced them to?
Juan: Correct. With the same type of partnership. Now everyone is part of something bigger; and they’re also independent, to be their own boss, and their own founder, and have their own company. It’s a good thing. That’s the main reason on both sides.
Andrew: I think we did a great interview. I’ll let the audience decide because, ultimately, they’re the arbiters here. But I think we did a great interview here, with a lot of useful business understanding, business mindsets and tactics that you shared with us.
I still feel the need to make sure that the audience understands the quality of the products that you’re selling, so that they don’t feel like you’re just trying to slam a product into someone’s hands, and take cash out of their hands.
I would never, at the end of an interview with someone who creates software, want them to share how well the software works, or justify the quality of the software. There’s something about direct-response marketing–I guess it’s the people who do it poorly, and the people that do it with crappy products–that makes me now want to now ask you, “Tell me about the value of the product. How has meditation, how have the products helped you? What is it about this product that is so special?”
Juan: For me, personal development changed my life. You can only go as high as your mindset allows you to. If you’re not growing yourself as a leader, as a businessperson, as an interviewer, as an interviewee; if you’re not investing in yourself and learning more things; then, basically, you will hit a roof.
It’s an invisible ceiling they you don’t know, but other people broke through. You say: “Why are they there, and I’m here? It doesn’t make any sense.” The only gap there is information.
For example, meditation. You will relax. Ideas come easier to you. You’ll be more focused. You will get more done. It has health benefits. Larry Ellison, for Oracle, he makes his executive team meditate.
I’m not selling, “This is meditation. It’s been proven.” But you also have Law of Attraction products, and chakra healing. Our thing is, I will put the best author, the best guy, in your hands, and you will decide if you want that or not. Because people are searching for Chakra healing, people are searching for meditation, for wealth mindset. They are searching on Google, so that means there is a need for information, and we provide that. I believe you are only one piece of information away from reaching your next level.
Andrew: I’m sorry to interrupt, but you said you were from a small town in Argentina. Tell me about the quality of life in this town, and what people do. I want to understand how learning and adding all kinds of business knowledge and personal growth has helped you. Where would you have been without it?
Juan: OK. For me, I come from Argentina, you know, a country that’s been. . . We have an economic mindset that’s a little more protective, because the banks took our money away a couple of times. It’s a very nice country, but you develop beliefs — like, a company should only do this much, or that you should earn that amount of money.
You see other companies doing the same thing in United States, or in China, and they are 20 times bigger, and you wonder why. It’s because of what the owner can imagine. Coming here made in a change in my beliefs about how far I can reach, how valuable I am, and my knowledge is, to other people.
Going through all these personal growth exercises has helped me earn more money, has helped me lose weight, has helped me be happier. I used to have problems with relating to others, you know, I was too forward, too direct. But you learn, acquire new skills, and learn to do better. And now I have an awesome relationship with my wife.
It comes down to very little skills that you need to learn, but if no one teaches you those skills . . . you cannot go to college and ask ‘How can I become a better husband?’ No one tells you that. But there are relationship experts who tell you, ‘Successful couples do these things; try some of them and see what works.’ For me, personal growth has helped in every area of my life.
Andrew: I’m glad that you shared that. I read about it a little bit on the company website, but I wanted to hear directly from you about the influence that personal growth had on you, long before you even worked for MindValley. Well, I feel like I got so much out of this interview. This is what you feel like you got out of the products that you sell, and the books that you read, and I’m really grateful to you for doing it.
Juan: Thanks so much for having me. I have bad English, so it’s not so easy to be an interviewee. It’s not something that I do every day.
Andrew: You know, you were a little bit nervous about your language. But it was freaking fantastic!
Andrew: I got to tell you, every time I meet people who sign up for the Premium program, it’s like a qualifier. You guys have more interesting things going on than the typical person who listens to Mixergy. You’ve got backgrounds that are much more diverse than I would have imagined. But also, you’re making stuff happen, you know? I don’t know how else I would have met you. You wouldn’t think to send me an email and say, ‘Andrew, you should interview me.’ You know, we wouldn’t go to a conference where you and I would meet each other.
But you signed up, we got to know each other, and I’m so glad that we did. Beyond that, the Argentina connection . . . anyone in the audience, if you’re in Argentina, or from Argentina, reach out to me. I miss that country. And in honor of you from Argentina, look — I didn’t even shave! I kept the Argentine five-o’clock shadow.
Juan: Nice. Let me tell you something about the skill you have. It’s a perfect example of information changing your life. You know, I’ve seen a couple of interviews, a couple of things that are in the Premium program, and they will make me more money. You know, it’s nothing complicated, it’s just an Idea that I didn’t have, and I needed roots in it.
Now I know why Combinator exists, I didn’t even know that. Now I can say I’m really good at selling stuff, this idea could work. For example, I learned that there’s a guy that gives money in a dividend. For me, that’s crazy. You know, why someone would bid, or how companies scale, now I’m learning about those things. Each of these little ideas, not having it could be the thing that is stopping you from growth. So, I invest as much as I can in business coaches, information, and things that make me do better. The Premium membership here is something that makes me do better.
Andrew: Thanks. People often tell me that I don’t talk about it enough. I get nervous, I don’t want people to feel like I’m pushing it on them, but I’m glad that you said it. I’m going to get you to come in there, and I made notes of what I want to learn from you. I want to see the pages that you build to convert. I want to understand the mindset behind how you convert them. I just want to learn as much from you as possible, and I appreciate you doing the interview to start us off.
And, thank you all for watching. Bye.
Juan: Thank you. Bye.
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