How does a former Mormon bishop build a multi-million dollar business teaching people how to trade currencies and futures?
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Alright, let’s get started. Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. How does a former Mormon bishop build a multi-million dollar business teaching people how to trade currencies and futures? And why is he smiling right now? You’ll see in a moment.
Rob Booker is a trader and author who founded TFL 365 which stands for Trading For a Living 365 and gives you daily trade ideas, trading lessons, strategies, and interviews with traders. He also hosts the very popular Traders Podcast. Welcome, Rob.
Rob: Hi, Andrew.
Andrew: So before we started I told you that I looked you up on message boards and one person who apparently is very angry said, “Ask him where the best trader he ever met is. Where is Dave Murphy? If you press him on this it will piss him off.” I’m ready to start off by pissing you off. What happened to Dave Murphy? Is he, in fact, in the trunk of your car?
Rob: No, not anymore. He’s out of the trunk of the car. What an interesting way to start things off. Dave Murphy was my high school best friend, actually went down the road here to high school together. Was my best friend for 20 years and when I went into the business of educating traders he came to work for me and I taught him to trade. He was excellent. I don’t think he’s the best trader I ever met. If I ever said that, I take it back. And in 2009 I fired him. I fired my best friend.
Rob: Well, you know, Andrew, I don’t know how much experience you’ve ever had with working with people who are friends of yours. Business with friends – I keep getting caught in this personally. And during the time in 2009 when I went through my divorce, I got a call at work one day, and I worked in this 3,000 square foot office space that had been built out on the Ohio River. And we’re looking out over the river and there’s tons of space. And it was a really nice, comfortable – it was a good job. I’ll tell you that much.
And so I get this phone call and it’s from my wife and we were going through a divorce and she said, “You know, Dave’s been talking to me about our divorce.” And she said, “I’m kind of uncomfortable with it.” So we talked for a few minutes and we talked about some things that will remain private, and I got off the phone with her and I fired him. I never talked to him again.
Rob: So that was it. And I just. . .
Andrew: And he was an instructor with you.
Andrew: I did a Google search, couldn’t come up with much. But if I looked at the old stuff I think using archive.org. I could see you guys created CDs together, and you used to teach together.
Rob: Yeah, yeah. He did. He actually did a great job on it, too. But personal loyalty is far more important to me. I struggled as a business when I let him go. He was integral to the business, but it was too much for me. I couldn’t do it so he had to go.
Andrew: Alright. I want to find out how you built up this business and I’m going to ask you about that but since I’m asking the tough questions let me get into another tough question.
Andrew: What size revenue are you doing teaching people how to trade?
Rob: Since 2004 between $400 and $750, sometimes closer to $1,000,000 per year annually in the education business.
Andrew: And before we started I said, “I don’t know you well. We don’t have any friends in common. You don’t have any investors I can check in on and see if everything’s right.” And you said something shocking. Well, it didn’t shock me because I’ve seen other people do it but (?) here is working out of the office. He’s working at Mixergy and he’s sitting there for the first time listening to the stuff before the interview and he couldn’t believe what you did, which was…?
Rob: Well, I just pulled up my tax returns or my PayPal statements or pretty much whatever you want to see, yeah.
Andrew: You did a screen sharing and you showed it to me.
Rob: Yes. Absolutely, happy to share it. I’d share it with anybody really.
Andrew: Really? No hesitation, no sense of, “What if Andrew sees these numbers or comes across some straight piece of data in PayPal?”
Rob: It pains me to see people who are really private about it and they’re interviewing with you. Like they’re not going to know that that is one of the questions you’re going to ask. I think maybe the currency that we exchange here is honesty about business. And I don’t know what this interview would be worth if I wasn’t willing to tell you exactly what was going on.
Andrew: It bothers me a lot when I see other interviewers do nothing but essentially promote sham artists online.
Andrew: And I understand if you get scammed, everyone including the New York Times gets tricked, but if you don’t put any effort into it, if you don’t want to make sure that the information that you’re putting out there is accurate, then you’re going to mislead people. And you’re going to be misled yourself, and I’m not looking to do any of that.
Rob: It’s interesting to me too to talk to you about how I arrived at revenue numbers over the years because it’s the way that I remember and learn about the way that I do business. I used to make money in $900-$1000 increments. I make money now in $37 increments or $47 increments. The growth of my business has come from understanding changes in the market place. Unless I’m willing to talk to somebody openly about that, I don’t know how the heck I’m going to live in a cave and do any better at what I’m doing.
Andrew: You charge $37 a month for your membership?
Rob: Yes, it’s pretty low for the trading world. That’s essentially the flagship product in my business from which a significant amount of the money that I make is derived.
Andrew: Okay, so we have a sense of where you are right now. My audience comes here because they want to see how you got here and hopefully come up with a couple of ideas that they can take back to their businesses. So why don’t we go before you even got into this just to establish where you came from. You’re a guy who went to Law School, but you didn’t become a lawyer. Why not?
Rob: I finished Law School. I just realized that there wasn’t any part of practicing law that could ever hold my attention for more than one half of ten minutes. I found myself working in law firms over the summers making good money and wanting to jump out of the window. I just could not imagine that this was the type of business that I was going to do.
Sitting in San Francisco, I worked in downtown San Francisco for a law firm, was the first time that the thought occurred to me that that wasn’t scalable unless I started my own firm and had other people doing the work. That’s not even scalable because you can’t scale that. Scalability or the ability to create one thing digitally or physically and then resell that many times over doesn’t exist in the world of law. At least, not at that time.
And it really drove home the point that I was never going to be able to systematize that business. I was never going to be able to create wealth. I was going to be working hard for the rest of my life and that’s totally not what I wanted to do.
Andrew: Not the life you want. And I’m going to talk to you a little bit later about how you systematize your current business because I’m always interested to see how sole proprietors do that. So then you decided that you were going to start a business. What happened to that company?
Rob: The first company that I created was with another friend of mine who I am friends with today. A friend of mine lived in Columbus, Ohio. I lived in Washington D.C. at the time after Law School. We decided to create a business. We met in the middle in the panhandle of West Virginia to have some business meetings.
We started a company that aggregated data online in the late 1990′s and then resold it to people who would want the data. To a commercial real estate investor we sold data that had been scrubbed, just showing him exactly what he wanted to see. We had a bank of 20 old ratty computers with the sides torn off running 24 hours a day scrubbing the data, sending out the messages, updating the reports, sending the reports to people and charging people for the reports without us doing anything. We ended up bankrupting that business, although it was perfectly systematized.
Andrew: Why? Where does the money go in a system like that?
Rob: People. Hiring people. We hired a person to answer the phones. We hired sells people to sell the data. Instead of keeping it as a lifestyle business, which has become a huge point for me, we had to grow. We had to become something significant. We easily made 1.1 million dollars in the span of probably 24 months together, but we spent 1.4 or 1.5. We just spent it on people. If you want to break it down to where the bulk of that money went, we at one point had 11 people working for us and I paid them well.
I had health insurance benefits, and I have nothing against people. I love people. Too many people at the wrong time in a business just absolutely crushed me, and I had no previous business experience. I knew how to systematize something, and I knew how to come up with an idea that was going to be attractive to someone who wanted to pay for it. I had no idea how to run a business, zero.
Andrew: You told Jeremy Weiss in your pre-interview with him that you were making $70,000 a month and spending $100,000 a month. Why at that point couldn’t you have just laid off some of the people and kept a nice profitable business going?
Rob: There are two primary reasons that I can think of right now. Number one is that I was running a business at that time by committee, so there were many of us who were responsible for making decisions. It’s a terrible way to run a life and a business. We couldn’t come to terms on who would go and who would stay and how much people would make, and so we put off making the decisions.
The second thing was that we thought that profitability was just one month around the corner. We had an endless ability to be optimistic about the things that were going wrong, instead of realistically optimistic, say, “We’ll let you go now, but we’ll bring you back in two months.” We just said, “Everybody work harder. We want to keep so and so.” And the fact of the matter is that that was the turning point in my life where I thought that people are never expendable, that people deserve the truth.
If you don’t want to work with them anymore because they’ve been disloyal, you let them go. If you can’t afford to keep them, you let them go, but you don’t beat around the bush, because they know it’s coming. I just think that that was a real turning point for me in running a business, that you’ve got to run it face first. You’ve got to head on face it, though.
Andrew: I think it’s a much harder thing to do than most of my interviewees let on. When I ask them, “How did you let go of people in such a tough moment?” They say, “Well, it’s the right thing to do. You have to make the decision, and you go for it.” And they don’t act like it’s tough. They don’t act like it was agony, that they waited longer than they should have, and I don’t buy that, because I’ve had to do that, and it’s really difficult.
Rob: The last person I let go–I’m going to get emotional about this–but I let go Joe Baldauf [SP], and he was a designer. He had four kids and a pretty angry wife. I loved that guy, and he designed our pages. I just loved him, and he was the last person I let go, and I let everybody go. Nobody else would do it, and I let him go, and he has worked for me on the side. If you go to Baldauf.com, you will see tons of designs.
I’ve never stopped employing him, not just out of guilt for having had to let him go, but because he’s great. It was crushing. It was so crushing. It ruined every day that I ever had to do it. It ruined the week for me. Facing that was really difficult, and maybe that’s my weakness, and maybe I should’ve hired someone else to do it, but there was no one else there that would do it. Everybody would come in late the day we were going to meet with the employee. I mean, I think people who listen to this interview that have had a business know what that’s like.
Rob: When the tough time comes, you either stand up and do it or you don’t, and I will never remember that fondly.
Andrew: And as a result, what happened to your partner first of all, and then what happened to the business?
Rob: So my friend moved to South America and started editing rated R movies so that Mormon families would buy them.
Rob: o he would go edit the movies and cut out the sex and the bad language, and then he would sell those at high school football games in Salt Lake City, Utah and made just garbage loads of money on that. He moved to South America to sort of reduce his expenses and sort of get away from the problems of the business that we created together. What was your next question?
Andrew: I should never ask two questions at once. Who can keep track of the second one? The second one is what happened to the business? You guys were spending more money than you were making. Does that mean one of you or both of you ended up with a lot of personal debt that you were on the hook for?
Rob: Yeah, technically we both ended up with the personal debt, and over the course of the next few years, I paid most of that off. In particular, when we got into the mid-2000s, I paid that off late with money from the education business. Yeah, we were left with a significant . . . We did sort of the Abraham and Lot thing from the bible, where you go, “All right, who gets what?” And Abraham goes to Lot, “Well, you can have all the good stuff,” and Lot’s all like, “That’s totally awesome.” And then Abraham walks away and makes good on the stuff that he kept.
I kept the ability to build my own websites and build my own course material and build a blog sort of from scratch on an HTML website, and my friend took all the databases and anything else that he wanted. I didn’t want it anymore. It wasn’t just me being really generous and awesome. It was that I wanted to walk away from it. I wanted to pay it off and never be with it again. So, I took the knowledge of how to do that stuff and I said, I’m going to start from scratch.
Andrew: What happened to your personal credit as a result?
Rob: Somebody asked me the other day. They said, well if I really try to trade for a living, how did you deal with the huge, huge problems associated with defaulting on your student loans. I thought, well if you’re not willing to default on your student loans then don’t even start. And it was enormously damaging. It ruined my credit.
Now, I still was able to buy a house seven years later, as a matter of fact. I still bought a house seven years later. I got out of that problem. I paid my rent late. I defaulted on my student loans. Yeah, it damaged me incredibly. Financially, it was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Andrew: That’s a risk that many entrepreneurs have weighing on them.
Andrew: Before it even happens we worry, oh my God, what happens if I go bankrupt? What happens if I can’t pay the bills and my credit is shot?
Andrew: How did you take it? Was it terrible? Was it OK?
Rob: Yeah, I took it hard. Yeah. I mean…
Andrew: …So what does that mean that you took it hard?
Rob: You want me to tell you I cried? I mean, I did. I mean…
Andrew: …You did…
Rob: …I wanted to take care of my family. Yeah. It was the worst part of my life. I mean, I’ve gone through some difficult things, but when you’re talking about a business depression, or whatever you want to call it, that was the worst period of my life. I owed money to people that I couldn’t pay off. I lived in the city where I owed it. My business partner was gone. I was 250,000 dollars in the hole to people for a business that I didn’t even run any more trying to start a new one that didn’t have anything to do with it.
So, I had guilt for not paying off those people. I had the anger that I had to use money from a new successful business if it ever started. And I had, you know, American Express calling me every ten minutes to tell me that they were going to take me back outside and shoot me in the head. And I thought, God damn it, I was set to be a lawyer. I had a job offer from a law firm. What the hell am I doing here? So, yeah, that’s how I felt if you want to know.
Andrew: But I don’t get when entrepreneurs are unfazed by that. That’s got to be a tough situation because you’re in the hole before you start your next business because the whole financial system doesn’t trust you anymore.
Andrew: And you have to take care of a family. Since you’re OK with me asking you all kinds of personal questions I’ll ask a couple of others. Then we’ll go into what happened…
Rob: …sure, yeah…
Andrew: …this current business. First is, how did that impact your marriage, since you mentioned the divorce.
Rob: Yeah, it’s funny you bring that up. Money was never the problem. I had a completely supportive spouse at the time. That never even entered into the conversation. It never became an issue. You know, I have only good things to say about my 14 year marriage in that regard. In particular that I never felt like I had to go home and show her the money. I think when entrepreneurs say they’re unfazed I think they’re secretly telling me that somebody in their life backed them up. I can say that was not an element that led to any of, you know.
Andrew: That was huge for me. I’ve dated women who clearly needed to be taken well care of, you know. And I can see how some guys would be inspired by that, because it would force them. They would always be held accountable to make money.
Andrew: I couldn’t deal with that. I wanted to marry someone and even to date Olivia before we got married who was OK with us living in a box somewhere. In a box in Montevideo…
Andrew: …which is not as beautiful as the name would sound, would be…
Rob: …Yeah. I have always taken good care of the people who are close to me, to a fault. In that instance that’s why I think it was so difficult for me. That’s why it was so difficult.
Andrew: What about, then, Mormonism? You were…
Rob: …Oh yeah…
Andrew: …You’re not a Mormon any more. Not only are you not a bishop you’re not a Mormon any more. Is that what made you turn against God and say, how dare you?
Rob: Well, yeah. It’s a good point. You know, I wouldn’t say I turned against God, but that’s a funny way to put it. I’m no longer a member of the church, but I served a mission. I was a bishop in the Mormon Church for six years. I spent my life serving. I have no regrets about any of it. I have only wonderful things to say about it and fond memories of the whole experience. I loved taking care of people. I loved the people that I served and took care of. But I just didn’t believe it. I enjoyed taking care of people very much, but…
Andrew: …But you never believed it?
Rob: There came a point in my life where I was like, what. What are we talking about? I don’t mind taking care of people. But what did you want me to tell people? And then when it got to the late 2008, 2009 and the whole gay marriage thing started, we’re off topic now, but I’ll tell you in 30 seconds. You know, they wanted you to raise money to fight gay marriage. And I thought, well this is nuts. This is insane.
And I just thought, “Man.” I think I’m going to refrain from disparaging any parts of the religion. I’m not going to preach to anybody about morality coming from the basis of polygamy. I just thought that I am now not representing this doctrine well. I’ve got to get out of this. And I was a bishop so that was not an easy thing to do. I had to fire myself.
Andrew: Wow. For a much more substantive reasons than I would have. I would have said, “Hey, wait. My credit’s damaged? God, where were you?” And I’d turn my back.
Rob: You know I’ve always felt that whatever is out there, I feel pretty much watched over constantly. I feel like whatever is out there watching over me, probably God, but I feel like we’re good friends. I feel like it was never a problem. And when I wasn’t making money, I always thought, “Man, I’m going to fix this.” I never felt like any kind of punishment was coming down upon me or anybody had abandoned me. I never felt like that.
Andrew: That’s a good place to be. So then you got into trading, I guess, to try and undo all this.
Rob: Yes. I called a friend at Bear Stearns in San Francisco, California. Called them on the phone. Jim, I can’t remember his last name. And then I talked to Ron Suber, who was the head of Correspondent Clearing at Bear Stearns at the time when it still existed. I said, “Listen, I’m thinking about getting into trading. I used to brown bag lunch with some stock brokers and people at Hambrecht and Quist in San Francisco when I lived there. What do you think?”
And they said, “Well, don’t do currency trading because that’s like a major scam right now. And you’ll totally lose everything that you have.” And I didn’t have anything to lose so I thought, “Well, if it’s filled with scam artists, this is an opportunity for me to fill the space with somebody who’s willing to tell the truth.” So I was immediately drawn to what had been told to me was the most dangerous thing that I could possibly do.
Andrew: You immediately were going to go teach it and not do it?
Rob: No, but I knew that I had these skills sets that could aggregate information and distribute it online efficiently. So I knew that if I figured something out, I was going to teach it. Listen, if I could figure this out, you better believe I’m going to write about it. I’ve been writing my whole life and I knew that I would end up writing about my experience. Whether I had done poorly or not was irrelevant. But I knew that I wanted to be in an industry that was ripe for change or wasn’t being done very well at the present moment.
Andrew: So what did you do first? Aggregate and publish information, teach, trade?
Rob: The first thing I did was I bought a book called “Trading for a Living” by Alexander Elder which is the genesis of the name of the website that we talked about earlier. It was the major influence at the beginning of my trading career. I read the book and I looked at the screens and I said, “Well, here’s it in the book and here it is one the screen. Is that the same thing?” I went through about 12 months of my life where I was like, “This is not the same.” Either I’m not understanding or it doesn’t work in a repeatable fashion.
I realized that I have to build up myself. Like a lot of us who start a business, you realize you can take some things off the shelf that show you information or aggregate information or take track of customers. But that heart and soul of the business, that core, you’ve got to come with it all yourself. You can’t copy someone else’s business and you can’t copy someone else’s trading strategies. So I had to build my own. I built my own first and not until late 2003 did I sell anything or even blog about it or write about it.
Andrew: Okay, and in 2003 what’s the first thing that you do?
Rob: Well, the first thing that I did was I reached out to a website that was running at the time. It was the major portal for currency at the time called FXstreet, still a major portal. I said, “I’m happy to contribute content.” I don’t know how I said it, but it just seems natural to me that I said, “I have some things to say, does anybody want to hear them?” So I started writing about it with no charging. Just blogging. Just writing about it. Just writing about my experience. The ups and downs. And in particular the downs and the struggles that I’d had. And I gave away everything for free.
I read Seth Goden’s “Unleashing The Idea Virus and Permission Marketing ” and I said, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to give away an Adobe PDF of this little eBook that I wrote for free. And I don’t care what happens.” I didn’t even keep the email addresses. I was an idiot. I was like, “Oh Permission Marketing needs an email.” So it was only later that I started collecting the emails. That just blew up.
That eBook was downloaded 500,000 times within 12 months. It was downloaded just a ton of times. So many times, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe the statistics. I still can’t believe it. That launched the whole career. That’s when people started asking me if I could tell them more.
Andrew: You don’t have the most experience in this base. You’re not the biggest name. You’re fairly new at it, and you’re already teaching people. You’re already putting together an eBook.
Rob: Yes, the eBook was, and it’s funny, no, the only thing that you got wrong there, and you got most of it right, is that I never really thought I was teaching people as much as I was willing to freely share my terrible experiences, that in this business nobody tells you what they lost. They always want to tell you what they won. They always want to talk to you about how awesome, because it’s like we have a natural inclination to spread our DNA, right?
So if I can attract females, I will spread my DNA, and I need to look all these ways. And I just thought, well, I don’t give a crap about that. I just want to break open this. I want to break this open and say, “Look at what an idiot I am. I found out what an idiot I was.” And that was immediately popular. It was odd for me that someone would come to be afterwards and say, “I read about all this money that you lost, or all these problems that you had. Could you teach me?”
And I realized that if I was eventually going to teach something, that I was going have to be able to put something together that would be worthwhile. Like, I recognized the deficiency, is what I’m saying, that, no, I mean, by that time I’d started making money, and I’d started doing well, but I realized that just because somebody wrote me and said they were willing to pay me money didn’t justify me taking it.
Andrew: Alright. So then how do you know what to teach? I don’t want to brush over that either, because I see a lot of people who know their stuff and are teaching it and still feel like frauds, still feel like someone is going to come out of the bushes and say, “Aha, you don’t know everything, and what are you doing teaching anything?” And here you are, getting started, talking about your failures, and still you feel comfortable charging. How did you get past that?
Rob: Yeah, that’s a good question. I have always felt that I learned the most from people who were willing to communicate pretty much the whole experience. I love that question of how do you deal with feeling like a fraud? I love that question. And my answer to the question is that one day you wake up, and you say, “Why don’t I just tell them that I’m a fraud? Why don’t I just tell them? Why don’t I just get it out of the way at the beginning so that you it away from people?”
And I thought I’m going to take it away immediately, that before we even go down this road, “What you need to know about me is that I’m an idiot. I’m an idiot because I lost money irresponsibly. I lost the first account I ever traded. It took me 12 months to figure out what I was doing. It took me another 12 months to get back the money that I’d lost, and then it took me another 12 months after that to start making significant gains.
And before we get to the gains, let me really drive home that I took too many trades. I leveraged too much money. I wanted to make it all much too quickly.” I didn’t just say that. I said, “Let me tell you a story about it, and so lest you think that what I’m telling you is that I’m better than you, I’m just better than you at describing the problems that we face, because I’m not afraid to tell you what I feel about myself.” So I’m pretty vocal quite often when I make a mistake, and I think a lot of people like to see that. They like to learn from that mistake. I made a lot of money in the mid-2000s, the middle part of that decade I made a lot of money on interest rates, and when I had something to share that made a lot of money.
It made it easier to come out with it and say, “You know, I haven’t been telling you what a great guy I am. I’ve been sharing with you a lot of other things.” When I was really ready to start teaching something that worked and made a lot of money, and I charged $1,000 or $1,500 for it, I had communicated first. My qualifications were that I’d made every mistake, and that you could see this progress from really destitute individual who showed you how . . . I’ll show you the bad times, too. I think that’s what it was, Andrew. How did I learn how to teach?
When I came across something that finally worked, that was repeatable, and I had exhausted my communication of my qualities as a loser, I could go to people and say, “I figured something out. You’ve tracked this progress. I figured something out. I want to charge you for it, because I’m not going to give this away for free. I’m not going to give you this information for free, because it’s taken me the blood, sweat, and tears over these years, and you’ve watched it.” So how do I know what to teach? I knew what to charge for when I learned what worked for me that could be repeated.
Andrew: You had breakfast with a guy named Tim, who said, “Someone in this space needs to show traders how to make $50 a day.”
Rob: Yeah, Tim Bourquin is awesome.
Andrew: Oh, I know Tim Bourquin, yeah.
Rob: Yeah, and we have breakfast once a month. So Tim Bourquin and I were having breakfast, and we were sitting across from each other, and we have breakfast to just talk about our crazy ideas. He said, “You know, Booker, somebody ought to teach people how to make $50 a day.” And I thought I went through a terrible financial crisis. You know my interest rate system essentially got turned off because the economy blew up and this is true. People do need to start from scratch. And I need to charge less for what I do. I need to reflect the realities of the economy right now and so that was the genesis of a membership website that didn’t charge very much and that offered people a way to make a little bit of money every day and compound it.
Andrew: So what was the process that you were going to use to teach people how to make $50 a day?
Rob: Well, Tim said, “You know, I would even settle for someone who just sent me an email with an idea that worked.” And I thought, “Man, now if I could go back, Andrew, that’s what I would do,” because that’s easy. You know, you just put the email in the system and you send it out. Somebody ought to do that. Now I’m going to say it to someone else – that is the greatest idea in the world.
But the answer is I plan these trades every day. I’ve planned five to ten trades a day in the currencies in the future’s market and even some in the stock market occasionally. So it’s no big deal for me to take one of those out of my own personal and say, “I’m not going to pick the best one.” I don’t think the best one ever exists. You just pick one of those out and you send it out to people and it’s either going to build up over time, it’s either going to work over time or it’s not. And, you know, I’ve been doing it at that point for twelve years so I wasn’t afraid that it wasn’t going to work.
Andrew: Tim’s the guy who told me – what’s going on with the video here? There we go. Tim’s the guy who told me, “Andrew you’ve got to charge for all these interviews and I said, “Do you want me to even charge for yours?” He goes, “Yes.” I said, “That means no one would see it for free. They would have to pay to-” He goes, “Good. I don’t want any of these free loaders to watch my interview.” He was on fire that time.
Rob: You know he- yeah, right. And I think we oftentimes, this goes to that question of being a fraud and having guilt. This goes to the question. And the answer is you’re a fraud to the extent that don’t you feel that your information is valuable enough to charge for it. And, listen, every human on the planet Earth knows that the movie trailer is free. You get to watch the movie trailer for free. You don’t get to go watch the movie for free. And no one would ask to watch the movie for free.
And I think that’s the model. It doesn’t make Hollywood a fraud. Listen, it’s so true that you offer something of value for a price that is ridiculously low, Andrew. And you’ve done a great job of it. And no one would begrudge you that.
Andrew: Oh, people begrudge us, I have to say. Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do.
Andrew: One of the things that you decided to do was sit next to your customers.
Andrew: Why does that excite you so much? What’s the process?
Rob: Well I hate to mix religion and business but I guess that’s what-
Andrew: Yeah, well, I already did.
Rob: That’s what most churches do. But when I was a bishop and before that in the Mormon Church I was an elders quorum president for longer than I can remember. And what you do in that situation is you delegate a lot of tasks but what you have to do in order to really understand what the needs of the congregation are is you’re encouraged to go out and visit these people, encouraged to-
And I spent a lot of time visiting with people. And you learn where people are struggling with the doctrine. You go into someone’s home and they’re like, “Okay, I read this.” Remember I said reading the trading book. “Well I read this part of the Bible or the Book of Mormon, and I’m like, ‘I don’t understand how to apply this. I go to church. I sit here and listen to it.’” And I was like, “Wow, this is like a business problem.”
How do you apply this information? Education isn’t enough. Training is essential to this. So you sit in someone’s home and you work through the practical aspects of treating each other kindly.
Andrew: What do you mean? What is it that they would have trouble with that you could only see if you were watching them at home?
Rob: So if someone comes to church dressed nicely and is doing pretty well and then you go over to their house and you sit with them as a family and they drop a bomb on you, because you’re the bishop. The guys says – his wife walks out for a minute – and the guy turns to you and he says, “I’ve been sleeping with a hooker for like the last six years.”
Andrew: I see.
Rob: And he’s like, “I don’t want to do it anymore and I love my wife.” And you’re like, okay. So he’s like, “I know what I feel is right and then practically speaking I can’t get it done.” You’re never going to know that from looking at someone in church and I thought, “Man, I love these people. I love this family. I’m going to sit here with him, and then separately we’re going to spend some time together. He needs to be trained on how to get rid of those problems or whatever.”
And it’s the same thing in business. When I travel and I sleep over at traders’ houses – I don’t go sleep over at someone’s house that made $1,000,000. I go sleep over at the house of my customers who aren’t doing well. And I say, “Why are we struggling here?” And that helps me make a better product that sells better. Why sell a product to the person who doesn’t need it anymore? I could sell interviews with the million dollar traders and that’s fine. Whatever. But I’m really interested in the training material that helps the person who’s struggling with this business in which 95% of people fail and being honest about it.
“Okay, Rob, I read your stupid book and then I looked at the screen, and it didn’t work. I love that conversation, because it teaches me, where I fell short and I’m never going to know that in a webinar, and I’m never going to know that from AB testing on what they purchased. I can AB test what they purchase all day long, but what I do is like AB testing.
What’s the…Here’s the premise, and then Z is the failure of that premise, to deliver, and if I can do a better job at Z of turning that in to the delivery of the promise in the first place. Well, I could sell a lot more of those the next time and…I feel better about myself as an educator and as business owner
And, I actually secretly love these people, like it’s terrible. Don’t love your customers, you’ll never want to charge them for anything, but I love them. I love these people.
Andrew: Talk to me about the practicality of this. I’ve talked to entrepreneurs. This sounds great…We can give them this great advice…but when I talk to entrepreneurs, who have to just make phone calls to customers and do customer development work to understand their problems over the phone…that alone is awkward. You are going into someone’s house.
Rob: I immediately…as soon as…I have to call myself out at night… guess is Ok to say. I immediately thought, I should try this, and then I thought. I better take my own towel, because I don’t want to leave my body hair on their towels, and embarrass myself. And this is like one little aspect of a much bigger day that I have to incorporate.
Andrew: You know, I have to get comfortable with. How do you get over all of that?
Rob: It’s…It’s…Okay, it’s that, plus it’s the fact that once they turn on their computer and show you how they’re doing something, and they associate you with their successes or their failures. There’s a whole amount of pressure that comes in to it and then they might serve you food, that you’re not comfortable eating.
Rob: Yes…Then you might find that they’ve moved their children to the basement. While you slept in their children’s bedroom. I mean it’s…
Andrew: Good. So, how do you deal with that?
Rob: Man I just…Here’s my strategy for success, is that I spend a few moments…wholly and completely acknowledging that this is the craziest thing that I ever thought about and then I tell it to them. I tell them straight up. I say, I’m really uncomfortable at other people’s houses. I don’t like eating other…I’m going to tell you all of these problems, but I feel compelled to get to know you because I don’t do everything right, and I’m falling short with you, and I want to see you. I want to see you in your environment.
When I drove across the country in April for one of these trips, I stayed in 10 cities with 20 families, or whatever it was…Knocking on the door, and with me was my business partner who runs the Japanese version of this whole education business. So, he’s touring in America and doing the whole thing in Japanese, and I’m knocking on this door and I’m thinking…Not only am I setting myself up for discomfort.
I’m putting Brad in the position of…[laughs] I’m like screwing at…I…and I felt uncomfortable, the whole time. The entire time, I felt uncomfortable…and nobody wants to talk to their…nobody wants to talk on the phone to a customer that has a complaint. Do you want to…Do you want to stay overnight at his house?
Do you want to eat his food? Man, it changed…it changes so much, so quickly, because you walk in to their house and you see what they buy. How much of it they bought. How much they depend on you. How much they hold you in high regard or whatever, and I turn around thinking the same things about them. It’s a…it’s a…It changes my business life every time I do it.
Andrew: So, do you have an example of one thing you learned by living with one of your customers that you wouldn’t have known, if you were just doing webinars, and phone calls and website stuff?
Rob: Absolutely. I have actually several, but I’ll just bring up one in particular that struck me. I often assume that if I can AB test a product, that’s a digital product, that I will find out what the best testing came up with, and then we’ll just send a lot of traffic to that page and then magically a bunch of money will just show up in my account. Like we make money come out of the internet…Well, what if what they’re buying is totally different from what I was selling.
I walked in to their homes and I saw these rows on their shelves of DVD’s… [??], and workbooks, physical products and I thought…Oh, I’ve got this wrong. Like, I’ve been selling them digital products for download and I’m missing the point that what…they’re still buying DVD’s and I’m not even offering it…And I realized that, until I go in to their house, how am I going to know that?[laughs]
Rob: How am I even going to know that? And then…then the other thing I realized was…People said they wanted trading systems, by entries and exits and blue line crosses green line…Tell me how to make a bunch of money, but what they bought and what I saw on their shelves, were volumes of products about the psychology of trading or the mental aspects of trading and when I asked them about it, they would say things like I keep making the same mistakes, and blah, blah, blah, and I realized, those products that on their shelves cost a lot of money and haven’t solved their problems, yet.
There’s an opening in the market here for something that all of my competitors keep saying nobody pays for. That’s why they tell me that. It’s because they pay a lot for it. I can charge less for something that’s of a high quality, and I can truly give something to people that they’re looking for. I realized what I think they’re looking for. And I can discover on a test page, fine, I can actually see how to convert traffic into money most efficiently. But I may actually be testing a suite of products that are totally off base. I could make 32,000 dollars on Monday when all the charges go through on the new course, or I could make 55,000 dollars on Monday if I had sold a course about what they really wanted. And they’ll tell you…
Rob: …what they really want online, and it’s not what you see that they really want when you go into their house.
Andrew: Alright. To get started, the first product was the set of tips, right?
Andrew: That you were going to sell at, was it at 37 a month right away?
Rob: So the very first thing I ever launched was a core set of lessons that you could pay for monthly or all in one chunk. The numbers are so disparate. They changed so much over time as I learned how to be a business person that it’s not even useful to talk. It ranged from 50 dollars a month to 199 dollars a month.
Rob: And it was all over the place. I did a lot of testing on what prices got the most number of people. As it turned out people were willing at that time to pay, you know, upwards of 199 dollars a month for these types of lessons. So…
Rob: …it started off in those days as quite an expensive product. Right.
Andrew: You told Jeremy that at the launch you had a list of 25,000 e- mails. How did you get so many people before you launched your product?
Rob: Well, I wrote this e-book called Strategy Ten which is a philosophical e-book. It’s not a book about where you get in and where you get out of the market. It’s a book about the fact that trading becomes effortless or far easier than we ever really make it when we do more of what we’re able to do well, and then we scale it as opposed to trying to do something over and over that we don’t seem to be doing very well.
Trading becomes a lot easier when you focus on what you can do and then you scale that even if it only turns into a lifestyle business. Instead of constantly trying to mimic somebody else or whatever. That e-book, I didn’t get an e-mail address in exchange for that which was stupid. Like I said, I’ve never been the best business person in the world. So I probably had 100,000 people download that e-book without giving me any information. I just gave it to them. Then I started collecting e-mail addresses, and I quickly got a substantial list of e-mail addresses when I started asking for an e-mail address before I gave them the book.
Andrew: And this is the one that’s now available as a PDF online, or on Amazon for 99 cents?
Rob: Yeah. You can buy a Kindle version of it for 99 cents. You’re essentially paying for a version of it that you can put on your Kindle for 99 cents. Or, you can download it for free in exchange for an e-mail address on one of the websites that are all over the place.
Andrew: I tell you, you’ve got to have whoever’s doing the membership stuff hide it, because it comes up pretty readily on Google.
Rob: Yeah, see…
Rob: …that’s a good point…
Andrew: …giving you an e-mail address…
Rob: …and this is a good point, Andrew. This does go to the core of it. I realize that what I do well is communicate ideas in an enthusiastic and persuasive manner. I never realize that what I did well was gate keep it. I’ve just decided that I’ve lost who knows how many millions of dollars by not being a good gatekeeper, by not charging enough for the product, and I don’t care. So, yes, you can find it online. I would encourage people to download as much of what they can find from me for free. I don’t even care. It doesn’t even matter. And it only helps my business later on.
I’m running a lifestyle business. I’m trying to make between a half a million and a million dollars a year by not trying. I want to make that amount of money, and I’ve got that system down. What people get from me for free is totally cool. That’s fine. But it is true, yeah, there’s a lot of what I’ve done that’s just freely available. And that’s cool.
Andrew: You also had friends who e-mailed your product to, I guess, 40,000 more people.
Andrew: Maybe even more than that. Who are these people, affiliates?
Rob: Well, back in the day, and still to a certain degree although it’s a less friendly society of educators, back in the day there were co- educators. There were other people in this business with me that were just starting out, having traded somewhat successfully, and we’re just starting out sort of testing the waters on selling information products. I don’t know anything about joint venture marketing at that stage. I don’t understand those concepts.
But, I did understand the concept of you’ve got people, I’ve got people, let’s get our people together. So that’s what we did. You know, you just reach out to people by email. It’s the old, whatever you want to call it, what can I do for you first.
Rob: I’ve got this list. What can I do for you? Andrew, to be honest, there’s still people in the business who I talk to like that and they’re like, what is his hidden agenda? What is he trying to get at? One guy wrote me and says, well, I know that you’re just trying to milk my database. I’m like, your database doesn’t have udders. I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
It’s just funny. There’s such a wall up in this business now whereas years ago, there wasn’t such a wall. We were all just figuring it out as we went along and it was much easier to team up with somebody to send out emails. You weren’t worried about, oh, well, I’m launching this product in May, so I can’t send out emails for you.
Nowadays, the whole business is run by these middlemen that promise that they can hook you up with the biggest names in the business. These middlemen take a cut of all the money in exchange for setting you up and scheduling you out and they’re the gatekeeper of who gets what. I’m just like, whatever. I like to run my business by myself now.
Andrew: Do affiliates send you traffic?
Rob: Yeah, they do.
Andrew: They do. That’s where you get a lot of your orders.
Rob: I get probably 30 percent of my orders from affiliates now, yeah. And I get them from the same affiliates. There are people who have good lists and bad lists and you quickly learn who those people are.
Andrew: What’s your deal with affiliates?
Rob: What’s that?
Andrew: What kind of cut do you give the affiliates?
Rob: It’s a pretty standard kind of 30 percent of whatever they sell. Then I actually, secretly, without telling them, if one of those people signs up to be an affiliate, I give them a cut of the underneath level as well, but they don’t find that out until I send them their first money.
Andrew: I see.
Rob: It’s kind of like a surprise that comes to them (?). I had one guy, one of his referrers signed up to be an affiliate that made a lot of money and I sent him a check that was bigger than he expected. I also pay for traffic without telling the affiliates. I’ll send them, sometimes it’s a quarter, sometimes it’s ten cents, if they send a person over that puts their email address in. I won’t tell them that that’s the deal. I’ll just bonus that. If somebody ends putting their email address in, I’ll send them more money.
Andrew: Keep them happy.
Rob: Yeah. I like happy people. Listen, if they came over and stayed with me and we had a real heart to heart conversation about business, what do we all like? We all like it when someone surprises us with something that we didn’t expect. We all like being treated better than what we expected. In this business, affiliates don’t treat each other very well. They delete cookies off of people’s machines and there’s all kinds of shenanigans that go on. Frankly, I just don’t have the time or inclination to learn how to do that. I would rather learn how to do things that send them more money. I would like to do that.
Andrew: How do you find your affiliates?
Rob: I used to go speak at expos. I used to go speak at conferences and then I would go and sit in the back of the room and listen to everybody.
Andrew: I see.
Rob: I would go up to them at the end of it and I would say, I have a bunch of traffic, I have a podcast or I would try to clue into what was important to them. I’d say, you know, we should work together sometime. It used to be really easy and now it’s a little bit harder. Like I said, the industry kind of closes up a bit and you just work with the people you’ve always known. But if I were starting out today, I would go to those conferences and I would shake people’s hands and I would not differentiate between the people who have 1000 people on their email list and people who have 20,000 or 30,000 or 100,000.
I wouldn’t make a distinction because the people with 200,000 have emailed those people four million times and the people with 1000 are clearly just getting into the business and need a leg up and they’ll be loyal for a long time to come.
Andrew: What software do you use to manage your membership?
Rob: I used to use WishList Member. It was the wrong tool for the job of managing affiliates. So I switched to DigitalAxisPass, which tracks affiliates quite well, actually. It’s the membership software, it’s the gatekeeping for the payment gateway and also the affiliate module all built into one system. It’s off the shelf, it’s not terribly expensive.
Andrew: (?) works with WordPress?
Rob: Yeah, and it works with WordPress. Exactly.
Andrew: What about sales pages? There was a time when you were looking at people who had really well-polished, well-designed sales pages and you didn’t have that.
Rob: Yeah. One of my fascinations has been with the creation of landing pages to build traffic, so landing pages to build a list versus landing pages to make money. I found that in my business in particular, a landing page that generates list subscribers is better when it looks good. Unbounce has a great product that builds really slick looking. I always call them the glossy landing page for building traffic. That works really well. But then I used Premise by Copyblogger for my landing pages for sales which looks like my nephew built it in my grandmother’s basement. You know, it’s like…
Andrew: …It looks like everyone else’s sales page it feels like these days.
Rob: Yeah, right. And so it looks more authentic when it doesn’t appear that I have paid someone thousands of dollars to pick money out of your pocket. And it’s true that you can’t make it look great under some tools. It forces me to say, well I’m not going to put that up there because it’s going to look stupid. The big glossy button’s going to look dumb on this page. And it forces me to get back down to authenticity. I found that people just want to know why I’m enthusiastic about it first, and then they want to just make a decision for themselves. You can still do that on a traditional long sales letter landing page.
Andrew: How did you learn how to write that, how to write those long sales letters?
Rob: I read every single landing page that I could get my paws on. I read landing pages from digital products for training your dog to landing pages for selling. I even dug up out of my old drawer when I was a kid, this. Some guy in my neighborhood paid me a hundred dollars to deliver these Ponzi scheme letters door-to-door. They were on this blue paper written in Courier font that he’d typed out and then mimeographed. I went back and I read that. It’s got a p.s. at the bottom and the whole deal. I was like whoa. So, that’s influenced me greatly. It’s really one of those ideas where you mimic what seems to have worked well for you. I said that, I like that, I like that, I like the way that went. I’m going to read that.
Then I read everything I could ever read that Frank Kearn, the famous e- mail marketer, ever wrote. As soon as I found out who he was I dug into the internet and tried to hack into back things and see what he wrote, and see landing pages that are old and expired. I have somewhat of a secret obsession with landing pages. I guess some people like, you know, certain kinds of pornography or whatever. I’m like, you know, I love looking at landing pages. I love to see what works, and I like to try different things out.
Andrew: You just sit and read them?
Rob: Yeah, yeah, and…
Andrew: …What are you looking for when you read them?
Rob: I say, within the first few sentences, do I know what this is, do I know how to get it, and do I want to read more. Do I know what this is? What the hell is this? Do I know how to get it? Is there something very clear from the beginning? Alright I’m ready. I’m ready. I want to see how much it costs. Boom. I’m ready. And, do I want to read more? You know, the ones that I really like are the landing pages where I bought the product and I’m proud that I bought it because I like the landing page.
Andrew: I’ve heard that, that sometimes when people buy the product it’s like applause. It’s not so much that they need the product. They just need to show you that they appreciate how well you did…
Andrew: …with the sales copy.
Andrew: Let’s see what else there is that I want to understand here. Oh, there it is. You said you’re doing this for the lifestyle.
Andrew: But you gave away all the cool parts of a lifestyle, right? Didn’t you give away your stuff?
Rob: Yeah, in April of this year. Here’s the short, 30 second version of the story. I realized that professionally I’ve accomplished some things. I’m happy with the books I wrote. I’m happy with the business I have. I’m not an unhappy person. But I realized that I’m 41 years old, and I was wondering what if I wanted to write 9 more books in the next 10 years. What if I wanted to grow it to be a 1.2 million dollar business? Then, on a personal level, what if I wanted to settle down again. Can somebody at 41 change their life again?
So I had all this furniture built up from, you know, the time that I was married and the stuff that I got. I had all these trappings and all this lifestyle that was created from the business that I got, all the monitors, you know the traders with all the multi screens and all that crap. And I just said, you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to go balls to the walls. I didn’t give away the money. I put it away, though. I put it where I can’t access most of it.
And I gave away all of my physical possessions. I gave away the couches. I gave away the monitors. I gave away the computers. I gave away the extra electronics. I gave away the old iPads. I gave it away. Like, I didn’t keep it. I gave away the clothing. I kept enough clothing to fit in one bag. I kept these electronics in this plastic bag that’s GoPro cameras, a Lavalier microphone, and a mini tripod. And then…
Rob: …my mobile battery charger and my notebook. Like, this is what I own now. And I went on the road again, but this time when I went on the road I went on the road and said, I’m going to reinvent things from scratch. I’m going to try this. What if I could start over. We’ve all done this, Andrew, where you look at your website and you’re like, if I could just go back over this again I would never have done this complex, stupid thing. And I said that’s what I’m going to do.
And I’m going to write a book about it, about trading and meeting these people on the road. So I wrote a book. Traveled on the road. Just finished the book. I’m actually going to give the whole book away for free as a PDF. I just had a wonderful experience. I said, I’m going to start from scratch. I’m going to try to redo this the right way again. I’m going to back it up. And most of us have employees and all kinds of crap, and we think we can’t do that.
Andrew: And so you’ve given away everything, and you don’t even have anyone helping you in the business anymore?
Rob: I have one, Wes, who has worked for me for 12 or 13 years now. He lived with my wife and I when he was a teenager actually, and then started working for me when he was a teenager. It’s been about ten years now that he’s worked for me, and I will never let, this is one of my things, I’ll never let him go. He is the only person who ever worked with me or for me that was intensely loyal and who is completely trained in everything that I do. I have mimicked myself in Wes. I can hand over the day to day running of the business with no questions asked to Wes, and he is the sole employee of the business. Yeah.
Andrew: Alright let’s talk about how you did that. Automation, that’s something that I’ve said entrepreneurs struggle with. We start off doing something really well. We then get into trouble where we fall behind, right? And so we hand that something over to someone else and we say, good now you’re the expert you do this really well. The person lets us down because they don’t do it our way or they don’t understand how the rest of the operation works. We take it back onto ourselves and we say, no one knows this business but me. I’m the expert. I’m going to have to suffer for the rest of my life working 19, 20 hour days.
Then we feel brave because we’re working 19, 20 hour days when everyone else is only in the office 8 to 9 hours. We don’t realize we’re making a mistake by not systemizing. I think I’ve pretty much summed up Michael Gerber’s book.
Rob: That’s right.
Andrew: The e-myth.
Rob: Yeah. I call it the e-myth. I call it the Michael Dell syndrome. You know, he wants to take back control of his company, the whole business. That’s like on a grand scale, isn’t it? You think that that’s only the e- myth revisited. This happens to multi-billion dollar companies. And it’s very true. When I was a bishop, and I do hate to mix the religion and the business but it’s the truth so why not, you cannot minister to, in a religious sense, every single individual individually. You can’t do it. There’s the kids’ organization and the women’s organization. You have to hand it over.
And this is the key, Andrew. Before you know how to run that organization, before you’ve learned that you’re the expert, and I think handing something over to someone else, or handing it over to an automated process, is very difficult to do when you think you’re boss. When you think you’re the boss of that process. That you do it better than anyone else. I think that it requires this humility that you don’t actually know how to do it better. Here’s what it came down to for me. Delegation and automation without Tony Soprano style accountability is worthless.
To personalize this, I have to be the type of person who spends ten minutes making people brutally accountable for what I have given them. I still work with contractors and people who do piecemeal work for me. I have to be brutally honest with them about the terms of the deal up front because I’m handing something over, like accounting, or I’m handing over something like that. And I have to hand it over completely and say that I’m never going to take it back again. I’m never going to do this stuff myself. I think that’s the key. I have to go back and teach them and train them. I have to be willing to go back with them and sit across from them and say, this is wrong; this is the way we’ve got to do it.
And this is the part, I think, where people say, I’m done with it, I’m going to vomit if I ever have to see this aspect of my business again. I think that’s where we get into trouble. And that’s where I got into trouble saying I want to hand it off and never look at it again. Or, I did this once where I said, the system will take in the money, register them for the class, send them an e-mail, you can see this coming, and I went to frigging Hawaii. I’m on a plane, and it’s not taking the money, and it’s not sending out the e-mails. Even though it tested well, I realized you’ve got to still be there to follow up on the system. You can’t walk away from your own business.
Andrew: You have to watch it and make sure it’s still working. But, how did you set it up in a way that it would work in the first place?
Rob: How did I find processes that worked is the question.
Andrew: Or create the processes that work?
Rob: This is the work. Let’s take, let’s take the idea of, charging a set amount of money, monthly, for a membership website, that puts people into a member ship module. For me, it is that I, spent 1000′s of dollars and 100′s of hours of my time, testing two or three different solutions, to the system and then, running people through, each of those systems and then, making a final determination, before I knew for sure, if it was really the right one and taking the leap of faith and then, handing it over to it and then, I had to follow up on the system and then, I had to let it go.
There’s always going to be a better way to get it done, right? And I had to let it go, I had to , I had to hand it over and there’s so many, off the shelf programs now, to automate the billing and the Word press is the greatest tool, ever built for a membership website or a content management system. But, when you get down to accounting for example, you first have to know, for me anyway. Andrew, like you have to know first, what it is, we want.
Like so, a lot of people I’ve watched in businesses, hand over stuff and they expect the person, to be the subject matter expert and assume that they read your mind and know what you want. So, when I handed over accounting for example, I got to say, every single day, I want to see these numbers on my dashboard, displayed in this way and I got the numbers, but then I realized that, that doesn’t mean they calculated them correctly.
I got the numbers but then, you got to go back for a few weeks and make sure that, “Show me how you did the math? Show me your work.” This is where I think, everything gets screwed up, that off the shelf, you can hire someone or you know, buy a system that tracks it but, you’ve got to go in and make sure, it’s doing the math correctly. And this is where I think, we don’t want to do it anymore.
By the time we hand it over, we don’t want to do it anymore. It’s just you know, like.
Andrew: Done that.
Rob: Yeah. I talked to a guy the other day that makes a million dollars, every launch cycle, in products related to training. Makes $1,000,000 every time he launches a product and he has, 11 people working with him. He’s like, “I just want to fire everybody.” Because nobody, it’s like inside this, it’s like a sausage factory and I can’t stand to look at it anymore. And I thought, [laughs], what are you going to say?
You know like, you realize, you have 11 people doing the job of three and how do ever begin the process of, letting those go and consolidating it and closing it off? I mean, how do you do it? How do you do it? What you do is, you sit down one day, I think you go away, you go away from your business for a while and say, “If I could start this tomorrow again, what would I do differently, to make my life easier?” And you do have to come up with the boldness, the ability to come back and say, “I did it wrong the first time. I never said, I was perfect at this, I did it wrong.”
Andrew: Yeah. Let me give people who are part of Mixergy premium, a few suggestions for how to follow up and then, I’m going to come back and ask you a personal question, that I hope you will answer, with something that is not, well, I’ll push when it comes. Here it is, if you guys are part of Mixergy premium, here are three courses follow up and if you’re not, go to Mixergy premium and sign up already. First one, since we talked about copywriting, check out Dane Maxwell’s copywriting checklist.
It’s one of the first courses, which means, the audio is not as good as it should be. But, the content’s great and he also included examples of copywriting over time, that he especially liked and you might remember from Dane Maxwell’s very first Mixergy interview, what he did in the beginning was, when he wanted to learn copy, he write by hand, he copied by hand, the best copywriting that he could find, so he could really internalize it. And so, he gives a few great samples, if you want to try that process.
We talked about Tim Bourquin, who kept pushing me, to create a membership site. If you’re interested in this and you’re on the fence, check out Tim Bourquin’s interview, not the course but, the interview, that he told me, “Do not make it available to anyone, unless they’re a premium member.” And that should get you over the hump, to start creating your membership site and when you are over the hump, we have a couple of courses, that will help you build it up, including the one by Stu Mclaren, the guy who created the software, that we at Mixergy use, to run our membership site. Rob, we use Wishlist member because we don’t have affiliates. I think it works with affiliates but I understand, your need to get something different.
Andrew: I use Stu’s program, Stu taught here and you’ll see when you watch the course, we don’t do every single thing that he taught, but we do a few and that alone, gives us a lot of, allows us to grow our membership site. I’m not looking for perfection, I’m not looking to copy everything in the courses, but I am looking for one or two ideas, that we can implement, that will make my life easier or increase our sales or more than that, I’d rather even keep our customer’s happy. Alright, here’s the final one, we talked about automation. For me, one of the best programs on automation is an interview, with Sam Carpenter. Sam wrote the book on automation. Why can’t I think…do you remember the name of his book?
Rob: No, I don’t. I was going to look it up right now.
Andrew: Let me find it right now. Sam, do you know it?
Sam: “Work the System”.
Andrew: “Work the System,” of course! I knew it was something that should have been obvious. “Work the System”. Good book; I think I did a great interview with him where we broke down his process and showed examples for how do each part of his process. So if you’re having trouble keeping up with what you’re doing and need to systemize, check out that interview. Of course, these are just a few samples. We have many other courses on systems, on membership sites and on copyrighting. If you’re not a Mixergy premium member, go to mixergypremium.com and sign up. I guarantee you’ll love it. I should look at the camera and say that. “I guarantee you’ll love it!” I’m looking you in the audience eyes.
Rob: Order now!
Andrew: It is different because I get your video as close to the camera as possible so when I’m looking at you, it’ll seem like I’m looking the audience in the eye but there’s nothing like looking directly at the camera.
Rob: There’s something I never knew about Skype. I can put that right there.
Andrew: I even got teleprompter hardware that you can put on top of your camera. It didn’t fit on my IMAX and then I hired someone from Taskrabbit to cut it. He brought a drill. The office was all noisy; I’m so glad these people are nice and they were okay with it. He drilled it; it still didn’t work. As close as I can get it is putting the window right underneath the camera.
Rob: Yeah, right. That’s cool.
Andrew: Here’s the last part. I’m going to ask you what is the best part of having made it. You’re going to be tempted to say something like “you know, being able to read a good book, having customers that I care about.” Give me the fun part of having made it.
Rob: When I was in 5th grade, Mrs. Holmes was my 5th grade teacher. She’s still alive today and I wrote short stories every week that she would read to the class. I had nothing more important to me, from that moment on in my life, than to be a writer. The greatest thing about my life right now is I no longer care if what I write is good; I get to just write. I get to write. I get to write and I don’t get to worry about the reception that it gets.
I have learned that you write for the joy of writing and I write about the financial markets for a living and I speak about them also. But I write about the financial markets for a living, which doesn’t sound exciting but I made it exciting. I made it exciting and I get to do it whenever I want, all the time, even though my parents told me when I was in 5th grade “there’s no money in that.” I get to do that thing and if I never got paid a dime for it, I’d still be doing it. So, yeah, you’re right. I don’t care about the lifestyle. I don’t actually care. I care about the writing. I don’t care about the physical stuff. That’s it, Andrew. I get to do what I want. I get to write and I love to do that.
Andrew: I was hoping you were going to say you get to go into bars and buy out the whole place or go to the best clubs and buy them out and have all your friends over every night and then leave and go on a boat somewhere. But I think this is much more meaningful. Thank you for doing that. Thank you, also, for showing me all your financials and, number two, for answering the Dave question at the top of the interview.
Rob: You’re welcome.
Andrew: Thank you all for being a part of this interview. The website, of course, is tfl365.com or I even like, Rob, your personal site. It’s very simple. It gives me everything that I need about you, RobBooker.com. Is that right?
Andrew: RobBooker.com. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye, guys.
Rob: Bye, everyone.