How John Gallagher went from food stamps to building a successful business

This interview is part of my series of interviews with entrepreneurs who have membership sites.

Many people in the audience are either running them or want to run them. And those that aren’t might learn a whole lot from people who do run membership sites.

You’re about to meet John Gallagher. He is the founder of Herb Mentor.

They have a collection of unique learning tools that teach people herbs and home remedies. They have a home remedy kit, online courses, a board game, a blog–They offer so much.

John Gallagher

John Gallagher

Learning Herbs

John Gallagher is the founder of Learning Herbs, which offers a collection of unique learning tools that teach people herbs and home remedies.



Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, there freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of this here website,, home of the ambitious upstart. And in this interview, frankly, actually this interview is part of my series of interviews with entrepreneurs who have membership sites. I run a membership site.

Many people in the audience are either running them or want to run them. And those that aren’t, I think, should learn a whole lot from people who do run membership sites. And so we’re going to learn together, and this is one of the first and most important interviews for me about how to do that.

You’re about to meet John Gallagher. He is the founder and director of Mystery@LearningHerbs. They offer a unique, wait, what am I saying? I’m trying to read my notes here, and I don’t have it right. That’s okay. They have a collection of unique learning tools that teach people herbs and home remedies. What that means is that they have a home remedy kit. They have courses that they do online. They have a board game. They have a blog. They have so much. My focus is going to be about this membership site, but I’m hoping to get to know the whole man. And John, welcome.

John: Hello, thanks for having me.

Andrew: Hey, oh, and I should also say thank you, Scott Edward Walker for sponsoring this whole thing. John, I know I’ve already made a couple of mistakes in my reading of my notes. I hope I don’t get this wrong. You tell me. Were you at one point on food stamps before you launched this whole business?

John: Yes, I was. And I was on food stamps mainly because, let’s see, I was in school at the time and also worked in a non-profit organization. I had kids and working at the non-profit doesn’t pay the bills very much. So then I decided to go to acupuncture school to kind of become an acupuncturist, and I went on that journey. And somewhere along the line there, learning herbs just kind of happened, and they kind of took a life of its own. So, yes, I was.

Andrew: Was it for your own needs at first? Or, was it with the idea that you would eventually create this empire that Andrew Warner’s going to have such a hard time even communicating to the audience what’s included in it?

John: I think it’s important when people are starting out that they just know that there’s no perfect road to anything, and you never know where things are going to go. I had a day off from school a week, and I was just looking for a way to make $200, $300 more a month, because my friend offered me a job in mowing yards. And I’m allergic to grass. [Laughs]

And so when I realized that and I said I could use this few hundred dollars, I almost went to that lawn mowing job. And I said, you know, “I think I can do this online.” And so I had the idea for the herbal medicine making kit, soon to be called the herbal remedy kit on Learning Earth. And I didn’t even know about websites or anything, and I just started making that with the idea that somehow I could sell this thing, and hopefully make a couple hundred bucks a month and that’s how it started really.

Andrew: How did you…

John: Because I still thought I was going to be an acupuncturist. [Laughs]

Andrew: [Laughs] So you were just going to make this kit with things that you bought where?

John: Well, you know, I worked at this Wilderness school. The non-profit I worked for was the Wilderness school.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And I helped make them home study courses and programs. I had some savvy in using things like, in design, maybe at the time it was Quark Express. And putting projects together, kind of rudimentary, very basic. But I had a little of that design experience. So what it entailed with an herbal kit is like, well, I’ve got to make, you know, a document, like a booklet. And I can do that as a PDF, and put it in a CD Rom, so it doesn’t cost me money there.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And I knew how to make labels and things, and I had a home printer, and I think at the time I took my label PDF’s and I went to, like, Kinkos or something. And I ran my labels through, before they stopped letting people do that because it was probably gumming up their…

Andrew: Probably would come off in their system.

John: [Laughs] Yes, yes. So I was doing them like that, like, one at a time and all. And I bought boxes and bought jars from the supplier and herbs from the supplier. We had this tiny one-bedroom apartment with a five-year old and a newborn. And we would store all of the stuff under the kitchen table, and we would pull it all out and maybe once a month or something, put together 20 kits. It would take my wife and I all night to put them together. And then hopefully, then I could sell them, you know? [Laughs] So I didn’t know what I was in for.

Andrew: I see in here on your site from, let’s see, 2005 it’s a box. It’s got all these bottles in it and packages.

John: It’s still like that. [Laughs]

Andrew: It’s still like that.

John: But prettier.

Andrew: And you also were offering a free 7-day E-course. And my guess is that this supermarket herbalism, that 7-day free course, was the top of the funnel way of collecting email addresses of people who would eventually buy. That was your process.

John: And it kind of, nine years later it still is. And I am in the process of changing all that. And as we speak, I’m writing all new content for a new course and everything. But, you know, I’m an incessant content and product creator, and to go back and redo things is always painful for me. So I’m finally getting to [Laughs] revising everything.

Andrew: And so I get the idea that you have something that you’re passionate about that you think you don’t need tons of money overnight, you just want to make a few sales so that you can make more money than you would mowing lawns, but how do you get people in the door with this? How do you get people to come in and try your E-course, or check out your site and then buy?

John: I consider the way that I stumbled into marketing and Internet stuff just almost like dumb luck. It’s interesting because I do have a bit of a background in marketing and stuff, not that I studied it officially, but I had a theater company for a little bit when I was in my early twenties, and I marketed plays and I ran a wilderness school and I marketed more traditionally. You know, brochures, fliers, keep a mailing list. Not internet. Well, one day someone told me about, this is 2004 they’re telling me about this, and this is before YouTube, Facebook and all that, they told me about Site Build It, Ken Evoy’s product.

Andrew: Okay.

John: It’s still around and going strong and what was unique about it was that it taught you how to monetize, and it did that through building content websites. Because I needed guidance, I didn’t know what to do.

Andrew: Oh I see, so you got a course. That’s what that is, a course that taught you how to create all this.

John: It’s a course and a hosting solution.

Andrew: Okay.

John: So, like, all across the board. So, yes, it helped you research keywords, taught you how to use keywords and was doing SEO stuff before a lot of people were even using that term.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And how to build the pages and all. So I figured “Oh, I want to sell an herbal kit.” and then, through all the research, I never would have dreamed that the things people were searching for wasn’t like “herbal education, how to make an herbal tincture”. You know, some people were searching, but when I stumbled across, through their tools that people searched for like “home remedies”, so like “home remedy for cold and flu”, “home remedy for pink eye”. Things like that, that they’re using Google to solve a problem, right? I mean, duh.

And so what I then did is I created these content pages. Lots and lots and lots and lots of them, and I made this site, and I think I got in the game early enough where Google saw me as this authority site, and within six months was ranking me pretty high. And then all I had to do on my site was make the connection between “You came to my website to learn about a cold and flu remedy.” and selling them the kit which taught them how to make their own echinacea tincture.

Andrew: So how do you do- by the way, can you lift the camera up just a little bit, because we’re cutting off the top of your head. I want to get all of you in there. There you go, John.

John: Oh, sorry. [laughs]

Andrew: So how do you then take someone who’s just coming to your site for a quick solution, a quick hit from Google, and likely to disappear, and get them to buy? What’s the process?

John: I’ve kind of identified, I don’t know if these numbers are exactly right, three kinds of buyers. People that will impulse buy and buy right away, like “Hey, that’s what I’ve been looking for. That looks cool, I’m going to buy it.”. There’s lots of those people. And then there’s the people that wait for the sale. Like, you know, there’s people always waiting on the fence for that five or ten dollars off. There’s a lot of those people. And then the third is, and it may be the largest, maybe fifty percent, are the people that I consider need to be wine an-…

Andrew: Oh, I hope we didn’t just lose you.

John: …a little bit. They got to get to know you a little bit and we did that through newsletters. Now, I didn’t do newsletters and I still do newsletters the exact same way nine and-a-half years later, than I did when I started. And simply, just send my list an email, a really friendly email saying “Hey, what’s up? This is what I’m doing, da da da. And this month I’ve got this great remedy for you, or this great recipe. Check it out.” and I mean, the copy’s a little better than that, but they click on that and it brings them to the newsletter and then they’re on my website and they can go check out that kit or that game and then they become buyers eventually. A lot of them do, after time, so it’s just establishing a relationship.

I don’t know if I’ve ever read this somewhere or whatever, but I consider marketing, like in its purest term, like “going to the market”, meaning the farmer’s market, you know like back in the day. Well hey, I do that right now to my farmer’s market down the street over here. Go on down there and I like to support the local people buying the vegetables, buy my coffee from this person, buy my salmon from this person, and I get to know them. And the more that I know them, the more that I want to purchase from them because they’re my friends too.

Andrew: I see.

John: So, becoming friends with people is really [??]. And I would put my kids. I’d have a remedy and have my kids in there, you know. In the photos or in the video or whatever I was doing. So they got to know what the kids were doing and my wife has been part of it, so it was really a family feel to it. And people in my audience really connected to that.

Andrew: I can see that. You got your wife and your kids up on the page and the home site right from the beginning and I think they still are to this day.

John: Yes.

Andrew: So it seems like you had things working out. You were clearly making money with that more than you would with the lawn mower business. Right?

John: It didn’t take that long to do that either. I mean, I’ve gone way beyond that. But it only took me probably a few, three, four, five months of doing it in order to…

Andrew: Before you made more than mowing lawns?

John: Yes, than I would at a side job that extra day a week.

Andrew: So my focus in this interview is the membership site. But now I’m wondering why create a membership site when you had this physical product business that was doing well from the start, that you’re still doing today. Why did you decide at the time to launch a membership site?

John: Well I think it’s good to be diverse in the kind of income you’re having. Like so what’s nice about a membership site, as you know and anyone watching this, is that you can have recurring income that you can more or less count on. But the thing that – and so yes, that’s a main reason, it was just like, well, we can do better here, you know. But the reason why I knew that this could work was because I did some surveys to the folks on my list. See I didn’t even realize I had a list, you know? I just called them my “E news subscribers.”

Andrew: How many people on that E-news subscribers list?

John: People weren’t talking about tribes and lists and how big is your list, and like you know, and all this kind of stuff. It was that day and age. It was more, and at that time when I started the member site it was probably a couple of thousand were on the list.

Andrew: A couple of thousand meaning two, no more than 3,000?

John: Yes, probably 2,000. I think I remember that number because I got the idea for the membership site from, it was like the buzz at a conference I went to. It was Jeff Walker’s first live event in Denver seven years ago or something that I went to. And there was a person presenting a member site, and people were talking about it. And that’s really kind of what kind of put the “Oh, I should look at this,” you know? And rather then somebody told me, they said, “John, you have this idea for E-books, you have this idea for all these things.

Why don’t you make a membership site and people can pay you to develop those, and then you can turn around and package them up and sell them a different way?” And I was just like, “Aah,” you know? “Yes.” So I got to work right away on it when I got back. And I did survey those couple thousand people. I got a lot of replies back.

Andrew: What did you ask them in the survey? This is the first thing that you did. You had this idea, you understood that it worked, you had the “ah- ha” moment, and then instead of trying to sell it, you sent out a survey. What was in the survey?

John: Well, you know, it was a time before people, you know, before comments were on everything, before there was Facebook and this and that. And so I had a sense there was a community out there, but they were never interacting with each other. So I had this sense that they must be there. They must want something more, because I get such great replies. People buying my kit would be like, “John, we’d like to learn more from you.” I’d be like, “Oh, there’s plenty of other herbal courses. Go study with them,” you know? And I still say that. But and so I asked them, you know, I had an idea of what I would want to do, you know.

Maybe the membership site would have a monthly podcast with an expert. Maybe I’d have a how-to video and some lessons that would be your courses that would be unique to the people that bought that content. So I said I have these ideas, what do you think of this? And what other ideas do you have? And how much would you pay for this? And I just asked like those and maybe a couple of other questions, but that was the most that I remember. And I got such great replies, that I was like, “Ah, all right,” you know? “I’m going to go for it.”

Andrew: What did they say about price? What did they say charge us?

John: Well I believe at that time, I had the sense that at the time that even though Netflix wasn’t really showing online movies at the time, they were around during the $7.99 DVD deal as their continuity model, and I had a feeling that something low would be better for my audience because I would go to marketing conferences where people like to seem to say stuff like, “Oh, I can squeeze out $97 a month,” or, “I can squeeze out $2.97 a month,” and etc. “for my membership.” I just thought that was kind of gross, you know? Like, trying to say, like treat your people, your community like you were trying to squeeze money out of them.

I just thought that was disgusting, and I hated that. So I said, you know, I’m honoring my members. I want them to love me, and I love them. And what could I do that would rock? And I said, you know, if I get a bunch of people in this I can afford to do this for cheap, right? I mean, I don’t need to charge $25 a month even, and I don’t even know if they could afford that. So I said, “What would you pay? $25 a month?” I think it was $15, I think I said $14.95, $9.99 or I think those were the levels, I might have gone lower.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And the most people said $14.95. And that was the spike. And so then what I did was come back with, like, “Oh, most of you said $14.95. Tell you what I’m going to do. We’re going to do $9.99.” And they were like, “Whoa!”

Andrew: I see.

John: Great offer. So that’s kind of an offer that’s hard to resist type of thing.

Andrew: So they gave you price, and then you went lower. You asked them, “Are you interested?” And they said, “Yes.” You told them I’m thinking of adding, maybe, interviews and how-to’s and they said okay.

John: Absolutely.

Andrew: What did you learn that you didn’t know then?

John: [Laughs] You know, here’s the funny thing, is that I had designed, developed and run a home study course for 15 years up until that point. So I had a little bit of a background in home study and how adults learn and how people do stuff. I knew the pitfalls and mistakes from talking to thousands of people on the phone.

I started this home study program at the Wilderness school where I worked before there was email, before there was AOL email. So I was photocopying and sending things in the mail and stuff like that, making the database on Filemaker on a little Mac black and white screen kind of a thing. And so I got to know where people get stuck, how much is too much, how much is too little, information wise. And so in a way I didn’t learn a whole lot from the service. I want to say I almost knew what they needed.

Andrew: It was validating then. It wasn’t so much that they guided you.

John: Yes.

Andrew: It’s that they said, “Yes, we’re willing to pay…

John: Yes.

Andrew:…and we’re willing to pay more than you’re probably going to charge us.”

John: Exactly. And I know how to deliver it in a way that’s going to work for you. And I [???].

Andrew: What was the thing that you were going to teach them? There’s so much you could teach them about herbs. How did you know what to teach them?

John: Ah, yes. This is the magic. So I’m sure herbs like most subjects out there are – I mean herbs, of course, are huge in limit. I mean there’s plants all over the world, hundreds of thousands of species. I mean, I could do 50 remedies a day on my site for the rest of my life and still not run out of content, you know? That’s cool, and it’s a good feeling. So a lot of topics and things are limitless in what you could do and what you can offer people.

So I think I learn from my experience in adult long-distance education that there’s mainly, of course, there’s always grey areas, but there’s kind of two kinds of people that there’s one kind of folks that love structure. They want you to – they were the kids in school that got the straight A’s, showed up, had it all organized and, you know, and just thrived in that world.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And then there’s the folks who like to meander and wing it, you know? Like, I just want to do inspired learning. “I like this remedy. I’m going to go make this.” You know? Then there’s the kind of people also who like both. So what I was able to do, kind of for the first time, I couldn’t do this on the paper courses. But I could do this online, is I could tell people right away that, “Hey. How you use this site is up to you.”

And one of the keys, too, is that one, there was on certificate because certificate, degrees, they’re all just milestones. They don’t mean anything. They don’t make you an expert. Like, you can go to marketing college and get a degree in marketing.

Andrew: Excuse me, John, but if I’m understanding you right, what you’re saying is you are going to teach them how to use herbs to be healthier and to cure some of the issues that they and their children might have. Because I think I saw one of the earlier ones which was if your son’s nose is stuffy, what do you do? It’s that kind of thing. You gave them a collection of all this knowledge. Is that right?

John: Yes. That’s right.

Andrew: I see.

John: But really it’s also about learning about plants. See, yes, you can make a home remedy with something. But really in order to empower yourself to do that, you need to know about the plants themselves and what they can do. And then how to make a remedy from that. For example…

Andrew: Oh, okay.

John:…maybe you’ve heard of elderberry syrup? Big thing for flu, right? It’s one thing to learn about elderberry. It’s another to know how to simmer it down and add some honey to make some syrup. It’s that easy.

Andrew: I see.

John: So what we did then was say, you know, “Some of you all can just log on and just, you know, do my videos, or listen to my podcasts. But for those of you who are the studious kind, we have a home study guide. And you can download it and go through it once a month. A three-page thing. Every month (we do it now every two months) we’re going to do a featured herb. And so if you like structure, go every two months, study the featured herb, make a remedy, check the box “I listened to the podcast,” watch the video, etc.” They feel like they’re doing a home study course.

Andrew: I see.

John: If they choose that. And so no certificate because – and the other thing is that I don’t believe in levels. I don’t believe in bronze level, gold level, silver level, because at least in my world, it kind of makes divisions between people. Like, I’m trying to establish a community, and I don’t [???].

Andrew: I see where most people would say when you’re creating a membership site you need three different levels.

John: Yes.

Andrew: Because some people have a lot of money and want the top end. Some people don’t have…

John: Right.

Andrew:…enough and they still want to buy. And there’s some people in between, and that’s the logic that comes out.

John: I’d rather give everybody everything at the lowest price.

Andrew: I see.

John: That’s what has enabled me in seven years online as a membership site to grow my membership every month. Every month its grown.

Andrew: Every month you’ve had it its grown?

John: It’s grown.

Andrew: And it’s because it’s such a low price that people feel it’s easy – what do you say to people, though who say…

John: And it’s really awesome! [Laughs]

Andrew: I bet marketers, John, would say, “Anyone who’s willing to spend is not going to be deterred by an extra $10.” If they’re willing to spend, spending $9.95, $7.95 or $20.95 is the same essential thing to them.

John: I hear that, and I’m in a marketing master mind group. And I get that, it’s just that I always go back to, “What would I want?” And, “What do I feel?” I just want to think about the person and not how much I can make from them.

Andrew: Okay.

John: As long as I’m paying my employees and we’re paying our base lines and what’s going on in our business, I feel like we’re doing all right. And then it gets me to create, if we need more money in the company, it gets me creative to think of other innovative products and things that we can use.

Andrew: When I started looking to charge for some content on my site, Heaton Shaw said, “People will love stories and listen to them, but what they’ll pay for is how to, things that they can actually use.” Is that the distinction that you noticed, too? That if you’re going to offer something in a paid membership site, you need to teach people how to do something?

John: Absolutely, absolutely. Like, my free newsletter, if you just got that, and I’ve been doing that once a month consistently for nine and a half years, and I’ve never missed one, and I do five or six of them around the holidays. And I’ve never not done that. And they’re all great free lessons. In fact, people have told me that they have never bought anything I’ve done at herbal conferences, and they just do my free thing every month.

Andrew: And the free thing is still how to?

John: It’s still how to, and they love it.

Andrew: I see. So what you’re saying is the “free” could even be how to.

John: Absolutely.

Andrew: The paid is even more how to.

John: Yes, well the paid is – well, you know, when you get the paid, and this is interesting what I didn’t really foresee anyway either, if you look on and it said that early on. And it still says it on the public page, community, education, inspiration. So when people are paying they’re part of this amazing community with this amazing forum that we have with great moderators and great professional people in there. They get – it’s not just the how-to’s, but its turned into an immense reference guide. I mean there’s no better herbal one-stop shopping herbal reference place of integrity on the Net other than that.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And then inspiration, that always reminds me to make it exciting and fun for people. Like, always have that spark that makes you go, “Ooh!” You know? Like, “I really want that.” That kind of energy, you know, and not be boring, in other words. People don’t like boring.

Andrew: Okay. And then the education is the part that I focused on, but you’re saying that’s just a third, a one out of three sections. When you say inspiration and make it fun, what do you do to make it fun?

John: Okay, so what’s cool about having a forum is that you kind of get a pulse of what people are interested in at the time. Like, just like in marketing, you know, the marketers listening to this know that, you know, things go in waves. And one day it’s Facebook they’re talking about. The next day it’s Instagram, and the next day it’s whatever. And it’s very similar, like, where people are, “Oh, now everyone’s talking about herbal energetics. And now we’re talking about bitters,” and there’s all these different things.

So I can kind of work with that, and take that information and create little mini courses for people or articles or interviews on my podcasts that have to do with what folks are really interested in. So we did a course, a lot of people were always interested in food as medicine, meaning, like, you know, your food that you eat you can look at as your medicine. [Laughs] You know, like, stay healthy and all. And so I got this great herbalist, it’s Aries Vedic, a practitioner in Vancouver. And I went up and recorded a ten-part audio series, and most people would charge a ton of money just for that amazing…

Andrew: Yes.

John:…ten-part audio. We just put it on our member site as part of the member content. And that’s what we do. We’re just really – it’s really great quality stuff, quality stuff.

Andrew: I’m going to spend just a little more time on the content in this community, and then I want to hear how you got people into it. Community itself. A lot of people, actually me, I hesitate to create a community because I’m not sure what everyone’s going to talk about and here you are, you have. You talk about herbs there are so many different herbs out there, so many different things you can do with them, so many different ways to take it to help yourself, to help your family, to become a practitioner. How did you get this conversation to be so focused enough to be useful to everyone?

John: I just started when I started and opened doors. There was a forum and from day one. Really amazing people. That’s the thing I think when people are paying a little bit of money. It’s great because they’re being really respectful to everyone else and there’s only one person in seven years that I had to actually kick off the site for being disrespectful. That’s amazing with the thousands that have filtered through it.

I mean, that’s to me, that’s incredible people have great questions and really inquisitive and just want to learn and they asked the questions that will come up for them that they don’t want answered anywhere else because they know they’re going to get a quality answer like I have I’ve always had a director now I can pay my friend Rosalie is the director of education where originally she was just a friend that join the site.

And she was just voluntarily on there answering questions so you might have someone on your site out there that’s voluntarily answering questions and are really good, and there might be a time when you go “can I pay you a little money to be a moderator?”

Andrew: Did you pick her? I remember Eric Vaughn said that it beat the g- mat. He didn’t pay the moderators what he would do is he would recruit are encourage people who knew their stuff to come in and answer questions and they understood that if they answered questions, they would end up getting some students for their G-MAT prep sessions. I think that’s what it was.

John: That’s a good model.

Andrew: Is that what happened with you?

John: Well, that is an interesting model. No with me right away. I may be was paying her maybe a couple hundred bucks a month originally to maybe spend a few hours a week on it or something like that.

Andrew: Do you pay people to do that?

John: But eventually this person Rosalie rose to a lot of prominence an respect in this field. She now has gotten a lot independent consulting She’s become a professional member of the American herbal skill. Which is a big deal. She teaches conferences now and we released a product features by her and its killer it did really well. She’s very well respected in the herbal community now and it really rose out of her, I mean she’s extremely huge on initiative.

I mean, talk about dedicated and focused. But it all started that path I think, that thread started with her just getting in there and being real interested and started replying to people. And I was like, thank you because I don’t know how to answer all those questions. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And when she is not able to do it, I have some others that I’ll pay to come in and substitute. But I always have somebody on. Even though they have to understand that this is not a Q&A. This is a community discussion, and we don’t guarantee that we’re going to answer your question. But we do it anyway.

Andrew: Do you make sure that there’s some there who is supposed to get an answer to everyone. Almost like a concierge service.

John: Yeah, even if not answering at least they’re facilitating something of the discussion. You know when it’s dead sometimes, which is rare, but they’ll get the discussion going. Just like to keep…

Andrew: How do you get the discussion going when it’s dead? And I ask because I think at the start of a new community some of us have to deal with that.

John: Hmm-mm. You just take any topic that’s going on the community and just say what are your experiences this, what you think about this, have you read this book. It could be anything. You just have to get curiosity going and get a conversation going like you would any. And you know a forum is a conversation right. So just like real life.

Andrew: One more question about the content then we’ll talk about a little software, we’ll talk about the tools you use, we’ll talk about how you got people in. When you say education when you say that this is become the resource. I see your pride but I also feel the audiences, intimidation at the sense that ‘ooh, unless I create something that’s so expert, that’s so professional, that’s so perfect I shouldn’t even create a membership site’. What do you say to that?

John: Yeah, I think that everyone’s going to have a different thing. I’m the first to admit that I think I go a little overboard. [laughs] . I really think that I do way too much, especially for what I’m charging. I get that. It’s just that it just kind of happened that way. And I think that you can make a great webership site that’s like on the lower price level that just can include two or three great pieces of content you’re doing every month.

That’s of value to keep people on track. And maybe have a community or don’t. But there’s no rules, no set of rules. The one thing I did, which was amazing with the membership site is one, with my podcast, I was interviewing a different expert every month. So here I am, meeting and talking with all these people that have written books on my bookshelf over there. I know them all now because I’ve interviewed them and I go to conferences. And they know me and I talk to them. Some of them I’ve done more work with.

And also, there’s a lot of great herbal content out there, so if I see some great digital herbal content that someone’s selling, like a friend of mine who has a children’s PDF herbal magazine, I say to her, “You know, just give me, like, five pages of that in a condensed version and I’ll post that up there every month on HerbMentor. And it’ll have a link on there, on the cover, as well as in the site going to your”, so I have curated a lot of content from great blogs and great people out there with links.

And people said that it has had positive effects. So I have an herbal columns section. We have stuff going on HerbMentor almost every day. And the reason why I’m re able to do that is because I’m curating content from a lot of . . .

Andrew: I see. So we don’t have to write all this expert stuff ourselves.

John: No.

Andrew: Interviews are a great resource. Taking books that other people have written and asking for condensed sections of it so that we can give people a taste of what’s in the book and teach them something, and there’s a benefit back to the author. What else was there? You create your own content. What else for content creation?

John: Oh, another cool thing you can do for content creation, I did this right from the beginning and I’m surprised I don’t see this much is that I think the site’s called Feed Informer. It’s free. But there’s a site where you can just log on and then put a bunch of RSS feeds in. And then get a piece of code, put it on your site, and it’ll show all of those blogs in succession, the latest articles. So I also curate the best herbal blogs out there.

So people know they can log into HerbMentor, get the best columns, get our information, get great resources out there, and also find out what’s going on in the best of the herbal blogosphere all in one spot. And there’s a person who made a thing called Herbalpedia and it’s PDF. It’s thousands of entries of different herbs, all these different PDFs. Well, I lease them from her, 100, 200 bucks a month. I’ve done it since the beginning. And I list Herbalpedia on there so people feel like they have this great reference center.

Andrew: But they have access to the whole book?

John: Not the whole Herbalpedia. I lease a couple hundred of them.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And that’s cool. You can be really creative of using other people’s content. And then there are also [Inaudible 00:02:43] so might say, “Oh, you can get all this content on other sites.” Yeah, sure. But if you’re curating it, and I love that word because that’s what a curator at a museum does is they take the best art that they can find or whatever and they put it into this museum for you to go and enjoy and you can trust that this is the best in modern art, for example, that’s out there right now. I do that too.

So I think curating is really a big part, or can be, so people feel like they have that easy button, no-brainer. Like, “I don’t want to go all over the Internet. I’m just going to go to HerbMentor, log in, and I can get John’s cool new groovy stuff and courses.”

And then because of all that, they feel like that Learning Herbs, our main company, our main site, is like friends and curating a community of not just our members but of the herbal community, like the authors and the teachers and all. So I go to conferences, and now Learning Herbs is off in a top level sponsor at the big conferences. You might have gone to supermarkets and seen Traditional Medicinals Tea or Yogi Tea, you’ve seen these in the tea aisle.

Well, conferences that I sponsor, my logo’s up there with Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals and Mountain Rose Herbs and other wonderful companies, and they see Learning Herbs up there too. So then they go, “Oh, wow. Learning Herbs is supporting this too.”

So then I get all over the place and then it’s like John’s just not his own little business off in the corner that when I go with Learning Herbs I’m in the middle of a big movement if you will, you know, of herbal education. Which is what I kind of seemed to have accidentally sort of kickstarted, along with a lot of other people.

Andrew: You say “accidentally” a lot. What I feel, there is a lot of intelligent thought here.

John: I get all my good ideas in hindsight. I do something and go, “Oh, that was a good idea.”

Andrew: You also said so meeting that I took a note on before we started officially. You said, “I study the heck out of this.” And so you’re like us. You’re listening to interviews like this or going to conferences and pulling out ideas and using them. And some work, and great, we celebrate them. It sounds like many of them do. But they don’t know. Well actually forget about the failure. I want to keep learning things that I can use. Let me move onto the software. What software did you use to get your stuff up and running at first, to create your membership site at first?

John: You know…

Andrew: There’s been an evolution.

John:…in seven years there probably has been. You know, it’s funny there’s been an evolution, of course. And I can say it now, but what hasn’t been an evolution in, which really interests me and maybe because the market isn’t there. Like, maybe people thought it was and it isn’t or something, but that’s just like the kind of plug-and-play membership site software. Like I started with one called,

Andrew: I read that in the notes here from the pre-interview.

John: Yes.

Andrew: What is Subhub?

John: Some real nice folks from Wales, and they put together a membership site platform years ago. And it was, well I won’t say cutting edge when I got it, but definitely modern. I think they just had, I don’t know where they’re at now, but I think they had some challenges in some of their platform upgrades. And I don’t think they ended up doing what they wanted to do, unfortunately.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And then so from there I moved to hiring, because I had income by then. I hired a consultant friend of mine, who now is on my staff full time, who is an expert CSS ninja and just knows everything about Word Press. And so he kind of got that site going in the Word Press arena. So there’s been a lot of developments, and stuff seems to happen more in that area nowadays then does, like, you know, this great plug-and-play. Like, I used Kajabi, for example, for a lot of my courses – my one-time mini courses that we do.

But I haven’t used it for a membership site just because on my membership site I need some custom, you know? So I’m not aware anyway of any great new awesome…I think Infusionsoft Mac has one they’re connected with or bought that looks pretty cool.

Andrew: Yes.

John: So people starting might look for one of those, if they can find a new modern, like, really good one that’s a plug-and-play, you know? When I say plug-and-play, of course, Word Press in a way is plug-and-play. But I mean plug-and-play, like, all you’ve got to do is log in and start making content. Plug in your [???] information.

Andrew: Kajabi does that.

John: Yes, like Kajabi does, yes.

Andrew: Okay.

John: But Kajabi does. So that’s one great way to start if you don’t have – because Word Press, I don’t know if I could talk about that now, but Word Press is, you know, like you said, I’m using it. Even my new website that I’m redoing is all going to be Word Press. It’s like I think for the beginner out there, unless you want to take on a little bit of tech headache and a little bit of hiring a consultant here and there and a pretty big learning curve, I mean, to make it exactly how you want it is pretty challenging.

Andrew: I found you and I connected because of Stu McLaren from Wish…

John: Right.

Andrew:…List member, I find their software to be very easy to get up and running.

John: Yes.

Andrew: Right? With a lot of flexibility so you can add message boards and…

John: Yes.

Andrew:…blogs, blog posts that are protected, blog posts that are protected for members but individual posts so you could sell one off, sections of posts that you can hide, and so on, with enough room that we hire consultants to grow it. You moved away, though. Why did you move?

John: From Wish List?

Andrew: Yes.

John: Yes, we used Wish List to begin with, and before I say that I will say that, like, you know, someone with a little tech skill that feels a little confident could have no problem with Word Press and Wish List. I’m just saying if you’re just, like, this expert in knitting…

Andrew: I see, someone who’s getting starting just throw it up on any [???] website.

John:…and I don’t even know how to – I could barely do my Facebook page. That kind of person. Like, that may not work for that person. They’re going to need something a little simpler to plug-and-play type of thing. But someone with a little tech savviness can work their way around some stuff. You know, yes, Word Press and using Wish List is fine. Yes, we just moved away from Wish List because we were moving over to Office AutoPilot which is becoming OntraPort, and that’s a CRM, customer relations manager, I think. And it had an elegant way for us to interface with our Word Press site. It had more to do with growing pains.

Andrew: Why did you pick and not Infusionsoft?

John: What’s that?

Andrew: Why not Infusionsoft?

John: That’s a good – you know. I’m in a master mind group, the marketing group and there’s, I would say, it’s half and half in that room who uses Infusionsoft. Nobody at this point can really say, like, “Ours is better than yours.” I just think it’s six of one, half dozen of another. [Laughs] I chose Office AutoPilot because I like the fact that they had that Word Press plug-in, and it just seemed a little easier for me out of the gate. And I’ve had a really good experience so far, but I’ve also had a really good buddy at the same time. Started with Infusion Soft and his is working to. I have nothing bad to say about this software at all, or any criticism, I should say.

Andrew: Okay. I don’t want to get to carried away with software, because I don’t want to make it seem like the software is the answer, because its not. Its whatever you feel comfortable with. What is, I think, the answer is the way you communicate with potential members and bring them in and what you do once they’re there. One of the things that April told me about, your pre-interview with her, is 50% of that list, that we talked about earlier in the interview. The 2000 or so people on the list, 50% of them opted in and bought, is that right?

John: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s what I need to know. Not the difference between Entraport [sp] and Infusion Soft, but how do you get 50% to say yes?

John: How do you get those people to buy? [Chuckles] Well, okay . . .

Andrew: It happens right off the bat, you have 1,000 members, that’s huge.

John: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We did and it didn’t take too long at all to get. It might of been 750 to 800, but within a couple months, once we had 1,000. Yeah, it’s close enough.

Andrew: Okay. We’re not looking for exact numbers, but I do in a sense, that this is high. What did you do?

John: Well, I attribute it personally to, and I’m sorry, I don’t know, I don’t want to sound like a commercial here or anything, because I don’t know the nature of this. But, like I talked about site building before, well right now I am no longer hosting my sites on Site Build It, but I think its an excellent solution for people just looking to start a website to understand content marketing, CSO, and stuff, and to build traffic to a site.

I consider that one of my lucky breaks, the other lucky break was when I had my board game and I Googled how to launch a product and found product launch formula, Jeff Walker’s product. I still study with Jeff, his platinum group and all and I have never not studied with Jeff. Its because when I had such success with that board game launched that first time and it rocked, then I was just like wow, this really works. That’s kind of how I had the confidence in my member site to know that I was going to sell it and it was going to work.

Andrew: What do you mean by [??]. What did all that have to do with you being able to get 50%, is it that you learned from them how to launch a board game and then you used it with what Jeff Walker taught you to launch a membership site?

John: Right.

Andrew: Okay.

John: It’s the same information, the same formula, and really what it comes down to is this relationships. I had this great relationship with this list and I was giving them free stuff, and they liked me and they trusted me. When I put a great offer in front of them and a product that they would really want, that they bought it. What’s between that is a sequence of events, and that’s a launch.

At the time I probably did a series of maybe tele-seminars [sp], or maybe showed people some of the content they were going to get. Now a days we see launches just change the face of the Internet marketing, the [??] that launches just are all over the place. Every time somebody does a product, you see a launch happening, where people are sharing some free information, then they put a great offer in front of them. That’s in its simplicity, but it’s such an art form that you grow with over time and how to use it and to stay current . . .

Andrew: What’s the rough outline of this launch formula?

John: First of all its really important to have a list, I had a list. If you don’t have a list, you can do that by, as you might see, give some free on your blog away.

Andrew: As a way of getting that list. Okay.

John: Okay. You got to have your list. I did that to. It’s a time of [??], or if you buy my product you get on my list. I had a list, and not just that I had a list, I had a warm list, meaning I emailed them, of people who really liked me. Okay. That’s my community. Then, I will invite that list into a sequence and that could be go to a landing page with an opt-in box, that says, put your email address in here and I’m going to show you this great piece of content or, or give you this great recipes, or something that’s on the page. They put that in and they get that free thing.

Then, through that week, you will continue that conversation, like here’s another free thing that’s real cool, and here’s another free thing that’s really cool. You’re showing people what’s in the product, you’re educating them on what this product is, and you’re slowly, in the old school Jeff would call it The Sideways Sales Letter, meaning in those old school sales letters and you still see them around, you know those long, long, long scrolling sales letters with testimonials, and benefits, and da da da, and money back guarantee and all that stuff. While you’re doing that throughout the week sideways, meaning through emails or information in your videos. You’re letting people know what it’s about, what the guarantee is, and all the story behind.

So by the time you actually put it on sale people understand if it’s for them or not. That they know that they want to buy this or not. They’re excited about it and they just want to give you their credit card because they know that this is something that they need.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And then you come out with a great offer or just a killer offer, example was, “Hey, you just thought this was going to be a $14.95 membership site. Well now it’s actually $9.99 and it’s going to be this for the next week while we’re celebrating our grand opening.” Then people know they have that week before the price might go up and I [??] might have done that then. So they quickly buy and go in, and that was key to getting my initial large group of people, and the membership site was key to getting the forum to work. Because a lot of people shy away from forums and membership sites for lack of activity. Because if there is lack of activity in the forum, it looks like you don’t have a good membership site, and why should I still be here, and I’m going to cancel.

So there’s a little bit of fear in that. So with this launch formula, [??]’s formula, I was able to get a critical mass of people in there to get a conversation going. [??] in anything that you sell. I don’t care what it is, membership site, or if you run a gym, or a karate dojo, or you run a course. You have 100 people buy that thing; 50 people are going to open it; 30 people are going to use it; 10 people are actually going to finish it; and 5 of them are going to be raving fans.

One of them might do this professionally someday. I swear, I’ve seen over 20 years in this sort of thing. I’ve seen it over and over. So you need numbers in there to get those 10. If you get 500 people through the door on your launch, you’re guaranteed 50 people on there doing conversations in the forum.

Andrew: I see.

John: The other 450 aren’t [??]

Andrew: So was it wasn’t just about bringing in a lot revenue up front? It was about getting that community kick-started with a lot of people and activity? I see. So if I understand you right, what you’re saying is, and we have to get Jeff Walker on here, he and I have been emailing, and I have to get him on to talk about this.

John: Absolutely. I think product launch for [??] is critical for membership sites. I’m sorry, but I just think it is. I think it’s critical to everything. I run my own business you know.

Andrew: [??] launching board games based on this.

John: Board games, and courses, and book series, children’s book series that we did, and all kinds of stuff. I’m always using it and because it’s not a marketing ploy, it doesn’t feel salesy [SP] or icky. Because what you’re doing out there in the world is creating a community by sharing great [??] information that you love and they love, [??] lots of love, everyone’s cool.

Then I just make really cool stuff and I give it to them at a really good price. What’s better than that? You know, it’s just a great relationship that you have with community and that’s what it’s about I think. You know, that’s what really keeps the businesses sustaining.

Andrew: If I understand the way you’re getting people in now, it’s mostly what we talked about at the beginning. Its people come to the site, they join the mailing list because they want to get the e-course or for other reasons, and then once they are on the mailing list, you help them become members. You introduce them to the membership. That, plus, affiliate sales, which I see on the bottom of your site.

John: Yes I have stopped that for time being, but I will pick that up again.

Andrew: Why did you stop it?

John: Oh just because we’re changing the platforms and [??] [??] Office Autopilot and the new WordPress thing. It’s just techy stuff that I’ll get to.

Andrew: [??] here we’re changing things around. We’re not currently accepting affiliates. How effective was the affiliate program for you?

John: Not so much monetarily because the products that I was selling, that most people were promoting, are inexpensive, hard-good products, which you can’t really do big commissions for. So people who might start an [??] blog and want to become an affiliate, and tell people about it, and put a thing on the sidebar, it’s still that kind of 2005, 2004 mentality in a JV affiliates.

They don’t understand much of the marketing JV relationships yet. Some of them do, and there are more and more, and I’m trying to make things in my new system more attractive to people who actually sell stuff versus all the people who sign up and never sell anything.

Andrew: Part of the reason for that is that the people who actually sell stuff want a big commission and in order to get a big commission, they can’t sell $7.99 products.

John: No. No. You know they might be interested in, like, my $97.00 products, which would give them a 50% commission type of thing.

Andrew: OK.

John: But what I wanted to say too, Andrew, was that you said about the mailing list getting on. Well, another way I build my list is by people just showing up at my site which is always taking in the new technologies is I’ll just run a webinar, do a webinar with an expert, and then I’ll get all over social media. And then it’ll be free and awesome. When I do webinars, I often don’t even sell anything on the webinars.

Andrew: Is a webinar just a way of getting leads?

John: It’s a way of getting leads, and also a way of building goodwill. If you get on a webinar and we teach them great stuff and I’m not even selling you something at the end, people feel good. I like people feeling good at the end. Oh, you listened to this whole thing, but now you really want to have the answers of all the secrets of the universe, you’ve got to buy my product. You know what, it works. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that I just find that people like me more, and I’m going to keep them liking me because when I do a big launch they really pay attention.

Launches themselves are really big list builders. For example, I had a launch for a product last October. It went really well and I had this great lead magnet opt-in and it was this cool chart, this cool circular chart with all kinds of cool herbal information on it. You opt-in to get it. Well, that thing went viral on Facebook. In three days we had 35,000 opt- ins. And that was just for a launch of people just sharing it all over Facebook.

Andrew: They were opting in because of that?

John: Of that free thing and that product was our best thing we’ve ever launched. And so if you get a great lead magnet and you get it out there on social media and it just explodes, that will build you…Those 35,000 people took me like six or seven years to build, and I did it in three days.

Andrew: Can I see that? What do I Google in order to see this?

John: was the product, and you can see the course. You should be able to see…

Andrew: I want to see the lead magnet, that landing page.

John: Let’s see if I run here if you can see that, if you can see, at least, what the lead magnet looks like on my landing page?

Andrew: Oh, I do see it on the landing page. It’s a big chart, circular, but I can’t put my email address on the landing page to get it, right?

John: Right. Right now I’ve got a waiting list on there, but you can’t get that chart right now. No, but that chart right there is a PDF.

Andrew: Okay.

John: And then my opt-in was simply “Here’s this really cool chart. You can have it, but if you want to know how to use it, opt-in and…[laughs]

Andrew: Oh, cool.

John: And they did. Yeah. And so it went really well.

Andrew: Actually before I even get to April’s question, let me say this. I think I didn’t do a proper plug at the top of the interview, so I’m going to do one right now and say thank you, Scott Edward Walker of WalkerCorporateLaw. He is the entrepreneur’s lawyer. You can’t just…

John: I need one. Now I know where to find one. Thank you.

Andrew: Do you have any legal advice? I usually ask my interviewees. You’re writing it down, Do you have any legal advice for entrepreneurs? I usually ask entrepreneurs in the interviews for their advice instead of even doing a full commercial for Scott.

John: I got lucky in this really trusting {??], but I am starting more and more because more of a real business. He handles insurance and employees and things like that. I give him healthcare and retirement plans that my first foray into the lawyer was into trademarks and copyrights. And so now when I do something that’s one of our big products that I think is really important, I run it through somebody who knows what they’re doing, not just filling out the form myself and sending it into the Library of Congress.

But I do that. I trademark my main logos. That’s the first [??] and official-ness that I’ve entered into. Just the things that I feel are my main brand.

Andrew: You’ve really come up in the world. I want to ask you in a moment what kind of revenue you’re doing. I’ll just close out this commercial for Scott by saying, look, you guys know all the different things John said he needed. We’re talking about trademark, copyright. We’re talking about insurance and all that. Some of them are legal. Some of them are completely not legal, but not related. They’re not illegal, but you still want an advisor, someone to talk to.

One of the reasons why I like Scott is because in addition to the legal help that he can give you, yes, he can get you to a lawyer who will help you with your trademark and so on. But he can also be that advisor that as his client you can go to him and say, “What do I do with this issue? What do I do about insurance? What do I do about this employee” and so on.

He’s the guy you want to talk to as you’re growing your business. Go to, and I’ll just give you his email address if you prefer to talk to him directly about your own issue, Many of my interviewees have used him. In fact, if you just go to you’ll see many entrepreneurs that you recognize are his clients and big fans of his work.

John: I’m so excited to have a lawyer now. Thank you.


Andrew: I’m surprised you did . . . So, speaking of . . . Forget the question related to April for a moment. How big is the membership site today? How many paying members do you have?

John: Paying members, we have 3,000.

Andrew: 3,000 people?

John: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: So, we’re talking about what? You charge roughly 10 bucks? So 30,000 a month comes to you?

John: Yeah, you know we have a renewal deal that’s less. Or, people that expired, like an expired five months ago deal. It comes to maybe in the 25 zones or something, but yeah that’s pretty consistent.

Andrew: Consistent and growing and when you say these deals. If someone leaves, you bring them back with a deal that says, ‘Hey, I know you left. I want to give you an opportunity to come back and I’ll give you a lower price for a bit.”?

John: $7.99, something like that.

Andrew: $7.99. Okay, are you going to ask me to edit that out so that your other members won’t know that they have to leave …

John: That’s alright.

Andrew: Okay. I didn’t think so. Sometimes people do.

John: They probably won’t find you. But if they do it’s OK, I don’t care. I’m very transparent, I don’t hide anything from them.

Andrew: Speaking of transparent – this is the wheel. OK . . . Right? Can I show that to my audience? I was Googling.

John: Oh, I see. Let’s see. You are going to open that up in a new . . . ah! How did I…? I just . . . How do I go back to you?

Andrew: Oh, double-click my face.

John: Oh, good thank you. See, I’m a little new to the video Skype world here. Let’s see if that’s . . . I’m not sure if that URL is active or not. I want to let you know I keep getting the wrong . . . There we go.

Andrew: But it’s so interesting, I basically did a search for that image. I basically had taken the . . .

John: Oh yeah, you can download the chart there, sure, that works. If you go to the bottom. That was a different strategy I used in my launch. Like, sometimes I have people opt-in. But, towards the end sometimes if people don’t want to give an e-mail address and opt in and they want to see something and I like to do that too. And so, in this case you can see the chart and you can actually on that link right there actually download it and see it, yeah.

Andrew: Okay. I’m going to put it in the notes. If I for some reason forget to put it . . . I’m speaking to the audience now . . . if I forget to put that in the post, please ask Ari to just go . . . in the comments tell us and Ari will go into my interview notes and pull out the URL so we can see it. Because if it pulled in 35,000 I want the audience to see what you did and this will give them a taste of it. What else do you do? You also ask, when people leave, you ask them why they left so that you can improve your membership? Did I hear that right from April?

John: Yes, we do. You know, it’s funny, I did set that up in the new system but I have looked at any of the information yet. But, when they choose to leave, I do know it goes into mostly 2 categories. One, I don’t have enough time. One, I can’t afford it. And there are a lot of people struggling right now. Even ten bucks a month, even if it’s the same as a Netflix membership or whatever. By the time they get my deal . . .

Andrew: So what do you do with information like that? I keep getting told that I need to go back and talk to my audience and find out why they leave when they leave, and most people give you that answer.

John: Yeah, but I haven’t, because there’s so many things I’m doing and working on, and I can’t keep up with it all. And yes, in an ideal world I’d have follow-ups, and I’d have a bigger team that can investigate that and everything. It’s just, I’m taking small steps, you know, and revising things. So yeah, I agree with you.


Andrew: I was going to ask you about stats. What do you measure? Conversion rates? And you said to April, ‘You know what? I’m just not really big on that’.

John: You know I am of course a believer, and I think stats are great. And I think that I should be looking at them and learning from them and knowing everything. It’s just that, one again, there’s only so much energy I have. And I think we all have gifts and unique abilities. My unique ability is I’m just really good at making new stuff – making new products. And that’s what I get more excited about.

And so, I think that as my business grows I will have a person and position whose job it is in marketing who loves going in there and going into Google Analytics or going through all the stats and everything to do all that work so we can be more powerful. So, I’m not advising against stats. It’s just . . . But you know Andrew that there’s going to be some people that are so into stats that they never move forward.

Andrew: Right.

John: They sit there and obsess about this and that of these stats and stuff and conversion rates. And meanwhile they could take 50 percent of that energy and make a new product and they wouldn’t have to worry about it.

Andrew: I like you admitting that instead of pretending that you’re on top of everything, because inevitably when you launch something as an entrepreneur someone else will tell you all the things you’re not doing and it’s easy to feel like, “Oh of course, I’m not doing anything right. I’m missing this. I’m missing that, but screw that. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to be on top of stats and…

John: No.

Andrew: …product creation and all this other stuff.

John: The only thing you have to be on top of is your customer service in relationship with your community.

Andrew: So what do you do to stay on top of customer service?

John: Well, for seven now… Seven years ago I got a virtual assistant who started part time V.A., and now she’s full time, has been for quite a while. Then, I just, this November, have a person full time on phones who also does customer service tickets as well. This way someone can… Sometimes you just need a voice to talk to, and I know that’s… Not even until my almost ninth year of business, Doug, did I have a full time phone person.

Don’t think you need all this stuff, its just that small steps as in going forward, and I just always think, from reading books from Tony Hsieh with the Zappos stuff, and other really cool books about people who have done incredible stuff, and how they value customer service and everything. I’m really inspired by that. I’ve learned a lot of amazing stuff about customer service from Dean Graziosi, who you might see a lot on a lot of real estate infomercials and all.

Andrew: What is his name, Dean Graziosi?

John: Dean Graziosi, and he runs… He has an incredible marketing mind, and he is in real estate. You see him sometimes in commercials on real estate flipping products that he has. He’ll come through town and do a seminar. Great guy, and he’s come to speak at my mastermind group. Something that really struck me that he said is he actually hires someone on staff to be a customer. They go through everything their customers go through and find all the things that made them feel different ways and do different things. He fixes all of the problems so the customer has this amazing experience, and when you have an amazing experience then you’re going to tell a lot of other people.

Andrew: I see on his website.

John: Killer dude.

Andrew: He’s got a ton of books. If you were to recommend one book, which of his would…

John: Deans?

Andrew: Which is?

John: I don’t know, I haven’t seen…

Andrew: Oh, you don’t read the books…

John: I just know him personally from coming into and speaking at events and things, not reading his books.

Andrew: Got you. Anyone who’s watching this and wants a follow-up, I recommend that you sign up to Mixergypremium. I’m going to say, John, at the end of this, that I should start speaking out for my own premium membership and say that not only did [SP]Stu introduce me to John, Stu also taught a course there at Mixer G where he said, “Look, I create the software for how to launch membership sites. I’m going to show you what I’ve learned from all the different ways that people have used it and teach you, base on that, how to create your own membership site, and how to keep people happy and keep them engaged.”

That’s one of, I think, about four different courses on creating membership sites that’s available on Mixergy Premium. In addition to that, we also have courses on how to create content, how to get traffic, and so on. It’s all available for you at I guarantee it. I don’t want to say that the good stuff is over there and everything you’ve heard here is just a promo for it. This has been one fan-freaking-tastic interview, John.

John: Thank you. I love sharing.

Andrew: I love that you are into this, because, frankly, I looked at your stuff and I said, “How am I going to able to help them out? Most people I know that if they do an interview on Mixer G, they’re part of this tech community, and just being exposed to my audience will be good for their profile, maybe good for helping them find partnerships, maybe investors. All that stuff has happened, but what do I do for John? What, I’m going to move another product for him? How do I help?

John: I just like paying it forward.

Andrew: Well, I appreciate it, and I will then have to find someone to pay it forward with. For now all I’m going to say is thank you, John, and I hope this is just the beginning of a longer relationship because I really like talking to you here.

John: Absolutely. Thanks so much, Andrew. It was an honor. I love your site.

Andrew: Thank you.

John: As soon I got the email that you were interested, it was like, “Reply Yes!”

Andrew: Oh that’s great! Well, thank you so much. The website is… Let me tell them about different pages they can go and take a look at. The top of the interview I said, and you can see the site we spent a little bit of time talking about there, but Herbmentor is the membership site. Go to Look around you’ll get a sense of what we’ve been discussing here and what I’ve been dissecting. John, Thank you and thank you all for being a part of it. [??]

5 thoughts on “How John Gallagher went from food stamps to building a successful business

  1. Cole says:

    John, I thought this was a great interview! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Felix Rabe says:

    I liked the fact that John does not optimize pricing for maximum profit.

  3. Andy Hudson says:

    Love the simplicity of providing a “great” product, at a “great” price. Thanks for sharing, John.

    Andrew – Did you post the URL for the PDF John used to drive the 35,000 opt-ins? Love to see that… Thx

  4. Adam Witmer says:

    This was a fantastic interview. There were tons of great nuggets and I loved how John integrated a physical product with online sales and marketing. By the way, my wife has followed John for a few years, so yes, this Mixergy interview helped to sell another herb product. ;-)

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