Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And this interview was kind of this random set of events that led to it. I saw that someone joined up with me, joined our community and I saw his name and I was so excited because I thought it was a friend of mine from elementary school so I quickly hit Reply, and I said, “Hey, it’s Shuki,” which was my birth name. I changed it to Andrew Warner because nobody knows how to say, Shuki.
I said, “Hey, it’s Shuki.” And I said, “It’s so exciting to see that you’re here. Are you in the Bay Area? It looks like it. Do you want to meet up? We should catch up and all that,” because I wanted to catch up with a friend from elementary school. And he hit reply. And I don’t know why he didn’t think this was like the most madman response, but he did. He told me a little bit about his story, heard a little bit more. I realized this is not my friend, Gabe, from elementary school, but what an interesting story.
I said, “Would you let me do an interview with you?” And he said, “Sure.” And so that’s how this came to be an interview with a guy who could . . . I was going to say could barely afford fast food but actually couldn’t. That’s an exaggeration. Barely afford fast food making you out to be richer than you were back then who was into music, who had this understanding that music could be one of two things—you either end up dirt poor or you become this champagne swilling, partying, awesome producer. And if you weren’t one, you are the other and there was nothing else.
And he didn’t even know anything about entrepreneurship. And then he started to learn about entrepreneurship fairly recently. He said, “You know, let me try this thing.” He took a shot, it worked. Frankly, I would have thought, “This didn’t work at all. It was a failure. What’s wrong with me?” but for him, because he wasn’t doing that great, he said, “This is great. The first shot did well. I’m going to keep going,” and he kept on growing. And Gabe Schillinger is here to talk about how he created Legion Beats. They specialize in selling hip hop instrumentals, beats and hooks. Am I right about the way I described it, Gabe?
Gabe: Yeah, that’s right. So we sell beats and hooks, instrumentals, mixing and mastering, basically, music and music-related services to an audience of rappers and singers.
Andrew: Your site looks awesome. It’s at legionbeats.com for anyone who wants to check it out. We’re going to find out how he did this. If you’re somebody who’s just thinking, “I’m not really an entrepreneur,” you’re ahead of where Gabe was. He didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was. And I think this interview will be for you. And if you are someone who is an entrepreneur, let’s get in touch with our entrepreneurial roots here by getting fired up about how the early days where you just like coming up with an idea and selling it and you’re starting to get sales, how that is the root of entrepreneurship and that’s the core of what’s so exciting.
We can do this thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first, if you need your accounting done right . . . I want to find out who does Gabe’s finances. Pilot does mine, pilot.com. I’ll tell you about why I highly recommend them and why I use them. And the second sponsor is the company that will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. I’ll talk about both of those later. Gabe, good to see you.
Gabe: Thanks so much for having me on.
Andrew: What’s your revenue? What was it 2018?
Gabe: So 2018 we did just over half a million dollars. And 2019 in four months we’re about 250K which will put us on track for about 750 for the year.
Andrew: Wow-wee, man.
Gabe: We’ve managed to . . . Basically, I just started doing this really in about 2015. We’ve pretty much been able to double our revenue every year, so I’m hoping that maybe we can hit that million dollar mark for the year in 2019.
Andrew: It seems like it especially considering how big Black Friday is for you guys, right?
Andrew: We’ll talk about that in a little bit. Give me a sense of what exactly . . . Who’s buying this? Why would somebody want to buy beats?
Gabe: Yeah. So our audience is rappers and singers, and so for me, the way that I kind of started out was in music the same way that most people assume that you have to which is basically that you’re a technician, you’re an artist and you’re selling your art to the record labels and they’re going to handle everything else. And that’s really what I did for the first 10 plus years that I was sort of in this game.
And it’s a tough game to play, that sort of chasing after record labels and trying to get, they call it a placement like getting your music on a big album or on a TV show or in a movie. And I actually didn’t do bad at that game. I worked with some famous artists. I don’t know how many of these people your audience will know, but some rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Snoop is a household name, French Montana, G-Eazy, Tech N9ne and a bunch of pretty popular artists. I had songs on the radio, on TV, went to Oracle Arena to see the Warriors play, I heard my music played there. Like, lots of stuff that would seem like somebody who’s successful and was barely making any money at all, and sort of did that for, gosh, over 10 years and was pretty much ready to give up.
Andrew: What were you doing? You were making music that they would include in the songs that they recorded and then it’d be . . . I was going to say on the radio, but who listened . . . I guess on the radio, but more importantly, you’re at a stadium and you’re hearing it.
Gabe: Yeah, that’s right.
Andrew: That’s it.
Gabe: I had songs were either produced or engineered which is like sort of making levels right. But yeah, songs that I worked on that were popular at least, worked with popular artists and still was barely making any money doing that.
Andrew: I like to like, look at the people who we’re talking about, so I typed in just out of habit, Kendrick Lamar, as you were talking about him. I didn’t know this. His last name is Duckworth. Kendrick Lamar Duckworth. I can see why he go with his middle name. How did you end up working with him and having your music get combined?
Gabe: Yeah. So that was through an artist named Mistah F.A.B, somebody who I’ve worked with a lot who’s from Oakland, very well-known artists in the Bay Area, Mistah F.A.B, and he’s honestly my connection to a lot of these big artists. So basically, we were working on an album . . . Actually, this kind of relates to sort of our overall story of going from the label side to sort of the independent side, which was Mistah F.A.B was signed to Atlantic Records. He had been back in like 2006, 2007 there was sort of this Bay Area hip hop movement called the hyphy movement that was starting to get really big. And so they were looking to sign sort of the leaders of that movement and Mistah F.A.B was one of them.
And so he got signed to Atlantic Records, and so you’d think now, “Okay, cool. He’s done so well independently. He signed to this record label now. Things are going to really take off.” Turns out the label didn’t do anything for him. They shelved his project, meaning, they didn’t even really put it out. And so for a lot of artists, that’s sort of where their story ends, but luckily Mistah F.A.B is super-smart guy, very resourceful. And so what he did is he said, “You know what? I’m going to just go independent.” And so that’s when he started working with me. We worked on an album, the name of that album, “The Son of a Pimp 2”. And that was the album that has Kendrick Lamar on it, that has a bunch of . . . G-Eazy and a bunch of these big names. And so that was kind of my connection to Kendrick Lamar.
Andrew: Did you do any hustling to get to work with Mistah F.A.B?
Gabe: Mistah F.A.B really, I connected with . . . Gosh if I remember where I first met him back in 2006 or 2007, I think it was just being in the sort of Bay Area hip hop scene and working with another artist that he was working with.
Andrew: And meanwhile, tell me what happened when . . . Tell me about the fast food story.
Gabe: Yeah. So this was back before I was doing anything online. And I was actually when I was first starting to hang out with who’s now been my girlfriend for about 10 years and we have a mortgage together and this is when we were first hanging out and . . . I didn’t . . . I wasn’t making almost any money. I was living at my dad’s house. And we went out with a group of friends and we went to Jack in the Box and it was sort of like a joke. I tried to pass it off as a joke like, “Hey, I can’t even really pay for this. Could you buy it?” And I think maybe to her she didn’t really think anything about it, but to me, I felt horrible. I felt like a bum, like, “Man, I can’t even pay for Jack in the Box.”
Andrew: And you were living with your dad into your 20s.
Gabe: This is embarrassing. I lived on and off at my dad’s house till I was 27 years old.
Andrew: Did you feel like a loser?
Andrew: You did?
Gabe: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: So why did you continue doing it? If you’re open with yourself, why do you think you continued doing it?
Gabe: I think I kept that dream alive, like, “Okay. I’m going to . . . Something is going to hit big.” But if I’m being perfectly honest, there was many times when I was ready to give up. And most . . . I’m sure if I didn’t make the switch that I think we’ll talk about in a minute of kind of doing the online thing and building my own brand, I would have given up by now. So I pursued . . . I pushed through it probably a lot longer than maybe I honestly should have, maybe than all logic dictated, but I knew that I loved doing music and also just something I’ve been doing for so long that in some ways is almost scarier to think of what else am I going to do?
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, I get it, I get it. And I also get the idea that it’s, you’re going to hit it or you’re not and it’s not like this slow evolution where your current business is, right? Every year you double, which is dramatic growth, but it’s still an evolutionary growth. It seems like in the music industry and many other industries, you’re either going to make it or you’re not and it’s just wait and suffer till the pop comes. Am I understanding it right?
Gabe: That’s definitely the perception and that’s definitely the old model, let’s say, 20 plus years ago . . .
Andrew: But it’s not today. What’s the new model?
Gabe: The new model . . .
Andrew: Is it your business model? No.
Andrew: It is?
Gabe: It is. It’s the new model is that there is actually a middle class. It’s still not very well-known as far as artists and musicians, which didn’t used to be this. It used to be your dirt broke, or you got signed to the label and you’re doing well. That’s kind of what it used to be and now there’s this new . . . because of the internet because of technology, now there is actually a growing middle class of musicians and artists.
Andrew: And people who are selling online. You tried selling online because of what? What inspired you to start selling online?
Gabe: I was desperate.
Andrew: By the way, is that beer?
Gabe: No, no. This is an energy drink.
Andrew: Which one?
Gabe: It’s called Hiball.
Andrew: I’ve seen it. Yeah.
Gabe: I like this one. It doesn’t have . . . It’s like no added sugar . . . Now it sounds like an ad but . . .
Andrew: It doesn’t have . . .
Gabe: No sugar or anything and it basically it tastes like . . . What is it? LaCroix? How do you pronounce that?
Andrew: LaCroix. Yeah.
Gabe: Like LaCroix but with caffeine in it.
Andrew: Okay. You don’t sound like somebody who’s on like super-high caffeine. When I drink that, as it is, I’m usually out of my mind energized, little less today, but I don’t handle that drink that well. I end up getting way too fiery.
Gabe: Yeah, I’m from super mellow so I need something to get my energy.
Andrew: To get you going. When you went out, are you the person who would drink energy drinks and vodka?
Gabe: Yeah. Oh, yeah, sure. Redbull and vodka. Absolutely.
Andrew: I do that. I don’t need it anymore, but if I need to stay out late, I’ll take a little bit of energy drink and vodka and then boom, I’m right back there. Let’s get going. I don’t like to cut the night short if I can help it, which is tough now that I’m married. My wife wants to get home by 11:00, by midnight. I want to see can we go to 2:00?
And then I want to wake up at 6:00 and see if I could take care of the kids. Anyway, we were talking about what got you selling online. What did get you selling online?
Gabe: Yeah, it was honestly just that sort of desperation of, “Well, what I’m doing is not working.” And especially at that time, and this is changing. There was sort of this perception that there was people selling beats online. I was certainly not the first. People have been doing it for years. But there’s a little bit of a perception of you’re either like a “industry producer” meaning somebody who’s trying to work with famous artists, or you’re like an internet producer which is like this less than thing, and like, if you’re an internet producer, then the labels, artists aren’t going to want to work with you. That’s now shifted quite a bit. So I had a little bit of that in my head which is probably why I waited so long to even try it.
Gabe: But then I was basically ready to give up, so I thought, “Okay. Let me give it a try.” And there was sort of . . . I kind of looked at how everybody else was doing that because I don’t know, that’s what I figured that was the way to do that. And basically, the sort of business model for that is that they have these different marketplaces, different sort of beat stores almost like you think of like a Shopify store or something like that. And so basically, the game is like to build your brand. It’s all about branding, like, get a bunch of Instagram followers, get on YouTube, rank high for keywords on YouTube. That’s how a lot of rappers find their beats. They’ll search for like, “Drake type beat. A Migos beat.”
Gabe: Right? And then so . . . And then the first link in the description in that video will go straight to their beats or like a Shopify-type store. And so that was kind of the model I tried because that’s what everybody was doing. And I got a couple of sales and to me, that was like, “Oh, this is pretty cool. This is a lot better than trying to chase down the A&R, the guys who work the record labels and hoping that maybe they’ll hit me back, maybe not.” And this is like, “Oh, cool. Actually, I made like $30 or whatever but . . .
Andrew: You put it on YouTube, people found you?
Gabe: So YouTube would be how they would find it. And then there’ll be a link to the store which would be kind of like a Shopify-type store.
Andrew: Did you use Shopify or what did you use for selling?
Gabe: No. So there’s software specifically made for producers. So there’s one called Beatstars which is one that I use now.
Gabe: There’s one called Airbit. There’s one called Soundgine. So there’s a couple specifically built for that. They kind of look like almost like iTunes type of player, I guess is how you could . . .
Andrew: And that’s what’s on your site right now.
Gabe: If you go to my homepage, but all the traffic that I’m sending is more to funnels. So though, I’ll send them through legionbeats.com/free which sends them through this whole sequence that I’d be happy to talk about. So really . . .
Andrew: Actually, don’t shy away from like using URLs that are useful or even talking about the drink that you drink. I don’t care. I want to get to know the real story with the details even if they’re not a sponsor.
Gabe: Got it.
Andrew: That’s fascinating that there’s this whole world of tools that I had no idea about. Meanwhile, there’s a world of tools that I know about that you didn’t know about. One of them had to do with Russell Brunson’s company. How did you discover Russell?
Gabe: Yeah. So for me, I was looking at what other producers were doing and most of them were doing basically this exact same thing that I’d mentioned. There’s one guy I found who was doing things differently that I could tell was really smart was onto something and it’s a guy named Adrian who had a company called Anno Domini, Anno Domini Beats who now we’re actually close friends and we work together in a lot of stuff.
But I remember I was kind of looking at what he was doing and kind of trying to figure it out and I just happened to click on a link and I saw that the URL was annodomini.clickfunnels.com. And so I was like, “What’s this?” And it’s crazy thing now like that one little thing like literally changed my life because I checked out what is ClickFunnels, from there I learned about Russell Brunson who’s the guy who created that software. I read at the time that he only had his first book out which was “DotCom Secrets” that completely opened my mind where I was like, “Oh my God, this is crazy.” I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, as a marketer, even really as a business owner even though I worked for myself this whole time.
And when I read that book and I started consuming that content from Russell I was like, “Wow, this is like . . . ” One thing, this is super exciting. I’m like as excited about marketing now as I am about music which sounds crazy. And I’m like, “I think I can really do this and I think I’ve somehow stumbled across something that’s really the cutting edge of how business is going to be done.” And that definitely has played out for me.
Andrew: Russell is good that way where I think a lot of software makers are embarrassed of their info-marketing customers. He not only is not embarrassed, he creates products that are info-marketing products, but they’re so freaking good and they explain what his process is and they encourage people to use it and I see people use it for all types of products. You’re the first person, I think the first person I’ve seen use it for beats. And so you signed up for ClickFunnels and you said, “I’m going to create the landing page.” But to create a landing page, you need to have a reason for people to sign up, the freebie. What was the freebie that you decided to use in the beginning?
Gabe: Yeah. So for me, the main thing I’m selling is beats. So basically . . . And just to clarify if people don’t know, it’s sort of like hip hop slang for the instrumental, so all the music that you hear except for the vocal. Sometimes people hear beats and they think I’m selling drums or something.
Gabe: If you’re a rapper or you’re a singer, it’s everything that you need except for your vocals. So you just add your vocals to it. And so that’s sort of the main thing we’re selling. And what we’re selling is usually a non-exclusive license to use that beat, meaning, you’re going to get this music, you’re going to record your vocals to it. We’ve got the Andrew Warner mixtape coming out soon. I’m going to send you some beats, you’re going to record to it, and you have a contract that gives you permission to distribute it on iTunes, Spotify, all that kind of stuff. And there might be certain limitations to how many streams you can get or views or plays or how much you can make. But you have the permission to put that out with the understanding that I’m also going to license that out to other people. So it’s a great business model because it means I get to sell that same product to as many people as I want. And it’s also the perfect lead magnet because it qualifies somebody as my customer if they’re interested in that. That’s literally the thing I’m going to be selling them later . . .
Andrew: Because you give it to them for free, you give them a collection of beats for free.
Gabe: That was the lead magnet. Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: That was a lead magnet. And then you gave that to them for free, they would sign up, and then you would create a drip campaign of emails to explain to them why they should sign . . . No. Actually, did you try to sell them right away?
Gabe: Yeah. So originally, at first, at first when I first kind of learned about this, I was like, “Okay. Well, I need to build a list.” So then it was really just kind of lead generation, just kind of getting on my list, and then still just pushing them to my beat store. So that was like the early, early stages which was still like, “Okay, I’m starting to get it. I get the importance of the list.” But it wasn’t really until I think that it was Black Friday when I sort of was like, “Okay. Let me put together a real offer. A real campaign.” And that was the first time that I really applied a lot of the stuff that I learned from Russell as far as creating a campaign, creating a true offer, using this concept of funnels and upsells and stuff like that. And that’s when I was like, “Okay. Now I see how to make this work.”
Andrew: What was your offer on the upsells?
Gabe: So for that . . . And I definitely have to give credit again to my buddy Adrian from Anno Domini Beats because he was doing something like this already. But basically, what he did and then I did was model after first of all the “DotCom Secrets” book, that funnel, the way that it looks and the way that it’s structured is the exact same look and structure.
Andrew: You copied his landing page.
Gabe: Yeah, exactly.
Andrew: Yeah. Okay.
Gabe: Yeah, exactly. The way that it looks, the way that it had . . . If you’ve seen it before, it’s sort of like in the top left, there’s a video, there’s a little arrow pointing over, there’s the order form, two-step order form on the right. There’s something called an order form bump, meaning like, here’s the initial price but here’s an upsell that’s right on the order form page.
Andrew: Wait. You know what? We use that. It’s amazing that they put this freaking tool in there. We did that for when somebody buys . . . I forget how . . . Remind me what the bump was because somebody on our team said, “We need something for the bump. It’s already built into software. Let’s try it.” And it actually got us sales. What’s the bump? How does it work?
Gabe: Yes. It was incredible. So it’s basically like, there’s the concept of an upsell, and usually, the way at least that I would think about that is they buy the thing on page one, now on page two, it says, “Hey, here’s this other thing you might want.” But what this does is it allows you to add one more product in, but on that first page, so on the page on the order form itself, they’ll enter in their name, their credit card info, and then there’ll be a little box that says, “Hey, do you want this one extra little thing? All you need to do is check this box and for $27 more you’re going to get this thing.” It relates to the thing that you want already. It’s going to get you those results faster, better, whatever. “Just check this box with another whatever $27.” Then right under that, it says, “Submit” submit their credit card info. So now you’ve been able to actually sort of slide in another upsell without having two, three, four pages of one-time offers or upsells.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. What I wasn’t remembering was, does that come up after people type in their credit card or before? I guess that’s a minor detail, but it’s amazing that their software even does that. So you did all that. And your revenue was how much?
Gabe: So on that first try for that first Black Friday launch we did $10,000 in a week.
Andrew: Ten thousand dollars in a week?
Andrew: And this was . . . How did it compare to the money you made before?
Gabe: I mean, that was . . . I mean, I think the first year we did like $30,000 the whole year. So then, this was, I think, in 2016 . . .
Andrew: No. I mean, compared to like, the money you made before you were online. How did that compare? Was that like a month worth or was that . . .
Gabe: I mean, I was making . . . I don’t even know. It was so inconsistent. I was making next to nothing before that. So it was much, much more, let’s say.
Andrew: All right. Let me take a moment . . . Actually, you know what? Let me ask you about this. I’m going to talk about my first sponsor which is a company called pilot.com . . . Actually, they’re called Pilot, their domain is pilot.com. Who does your books? Who does your finances? Do you do it in QuickBooks? What do you do it in?
Gabe: So I do it myself with a bunch of Google Sheets.
Andrew: Really? And that doesn’t drive you crazy?
Gabe: It does drive me crazy. There’s things I like about it because I can get really granular and see a bunch of stuff and also drives me crazy because it takes too much of my time and it’s probably not the best use of my time.
Andrew: Have you thought about using QuickBooks or bring in an accountant?
Gabe: Yeah, I have. So far, it hasn’t worked out for me maybe it’s because I’m too much of a control freak or maybe I haven’t come across the right situation.
Andrew: All right. I’m about to tell you about something that could be the right situation for you. I’m a control freak when it comes to my books too. I want to go line by line and see every income item, every expense item, every single thing. I swear I will not end my month without going through every single item line by line. And I want somebody else to be there with me. So if I have a question, I have somebody there to explain things to me.
Anyway, here’s what I discovered. If I do it myself, there’s a blindness where I don’t pay attention to certain things because I’m not aware of them because I’m kind of scared to delve into them. Like, I’ll give me an example. Going into how much I pay people. I might see overall what I pay them, I might see what my last payment was, but I need somebody to say, “Notice this person is getting paid this much. Notice that. Be aware of every detail.” I need somebody to do that. In addition to me going over, I want them to point it out to me.
I want someone to do all the stuff that’s a pain in the neck, that takes up a lot of time, that what I found was I was great at doing it, I love doing it, but then when I didn’t have much time I would fall behind and the more you fall behind a month, two, three months and then you don’t do anything until it’s tax time.
So I signed up for bookkeeper. I actually am now using a company called Pilot. The nice thing about them is they automatically suck in your data from whatever tools, whatever software, whatever finance companies you use, and then what pilot does is it puts it all into QuickBooks automagically using their software and then real human beings, real bookkeepers go over everything in the same maniacal way that I do. And because of that process, I then have my books automatically organized and I don’t have to worry about it.
They are used by so many companies that are . . . I have this whole list . . . Where did I put it? I put this like all these lists of Y Combinator companies that are signing up for them. But you know what? I think it’s enough for me to say this to you. Don’t sign up for them. In fact, I’ve got to tell you that they gave me a URL where you will get a discount if you eventually sign up, but they know that people like you and me aren’t ready to hear an ad and then say, “I’m ready. I’m signing up for QuickBooks.”
So here’s what they’re going to do instead. When you go to pilot.com/mixergy, what you will get, Gabe, what everyone listening to me is going to get is a conversation with one of their bookkeepers is going to go over your process and just give you feedback on it and say, “Here’s how you could be doing it differently. Here’s how we would think about this.” They’re not going to try to sell you at that point as far as I know. There’s not like a hard sell because there’s an understanding, people don’t hear about this and say, “I’m going to go dabble in a new bookkeeping company.” But if they teach you a little bit, if they show you how they work, when you’re ready you’ll sign up.
So all you have to do is go . . . Wow, I just poke my mic. All you have to do just go to pilot.com/mixergy. Yes, if you decide to sign up, they’ll give you a nice discount, but they don’t even have a way for you to sign up. They do have a way for you to make a call and talk to someone who will give you feedback on how you’re going to do your books if you’re starting out your company, give you some guidance for starting out, or if you have a bookkeeping system or bookkeeper, they’ll give you feedback on how you can improve it.
Oh, here’s a list of customers. Airtable is a customer of theirs. Justin Kan who has started so many great companies. He’s now on his latest company Atrium. Atrium uses Pilot. OpenAI. This is the Sam Altman Company. He ran Y Combinator for a long time among other things. His company is using them. Lattice, Sam’s brother, Sam Altman, he’s using them. They are fun freakingtastic this company and so many other businesses are using them. Go to pilot.com/mixergy, Gabe.
Gabe: I’m going to check it out. I actually got the URL pulled up right now.
Andrew: Cool. And you know? If you ever . . . Like, if you’re not doing it now and you ever get behind and you say, “You know what? I need somebody to just catch up,” they’ll catch you up very quickly. But I do think if you talk to somebody and you get some feedback, you’ll get some interesting ideas. I thought I was against QuickBooks. I hated QuickBooks. I remember them as being the old clunky system. Once I got into it, I said, “You know what? I like that it’s on my phone. I like that it’s on my desktop. I like that I can give Marisela access to it so that when we sign somebody new as a new consultant, she could just trigger the email to that person that sends them our 1099 paperwork.”
All they have to do is sign it within QuickBooks, and then put in within QuickBooks how they want to get paid, and then I just have to hit a button. I love that stuff. I don’t want to do it. I want someone else to do it. Anyway, Pilot sets it up that way.
I’m in admiration that you do it in QuickBooks. How did you even learn to do your books? How did you . . . As a person who’s a musician, as a person who’s more of an artist, how did you learn how to organize it all in spreadsheets?
Gabe: Google Sheets? I don’t know. I figured it out. I don’t know. I guess I have a . . . I like math, I like spreadsheets and stuff like that, and so I guess I’m somebody who, for better or for worse, can spend a bunch of time and figure it out. Maybe it would have been better if I didn’t have that inclination and I just hired somebody from the start. I don’t know.
Andrew: But you just export all of your stuff out of . . . What was the service that you use?
Gabe: So I’ve got a few things. So I’ve got, basically . . . So I’m using ClickFunnels as my main place that I’m getting sales, and so I’m using Zapier, it’s integrated with Zapier, that gets pushed over to Google Sheets, and then everything is on a line in Google Sheets. I’ve got a different sheet, basically, for each funnel, and then there’s some manual work where I’m copying that over to another sort of sheet to kind of see how much each one of those things are bringing in, what percentage of people are taking the OTO, all that kind of stuff. And then I have another sort of like master one where I have all the different offers in one place. It’s craziness. It’s not . . . It’s certainly not the most efficient way to do things.
Andrew: It does help you to see what’s working and what’s not. What’s OTO?
Gabe: Oh, sorry. So that is a one-time offer. So like, what we were talking about before with the way to kind of structure this funnel and structure an offer is like, so on the first page, we’re talking about that order form bump, right, which is like here’s one extra little thing you can buy before you even click Checkout. Then as soon as they get to that next page, the upsell, and this is maybe Russell Brunson terminology, at least that’s where I learned it, we’ll call it an upseller, he calls it a one-time offer where they’ll say like, “Wait, your order is not complete yet. Here’s this one-time offer, you’re only going to see it here. You won’t see it anywhere else. How would you like to get this thing that’s the next thing that relates to the thing that you just bought, but it’s going to make it even better or faster?” So that’s what . . . When I say OTO that’s what I’m talking about.
Andrew: He did tell me that, that people assume once they buy your thing that their problem is solved, and then they’re ready for the next problem or the next need that will come after that first one is solved. So for you, it’s a set of beats, and then what’s the order bump?
Gabe: Yeah. So on . . . So I’m trying to think back to like that first launch that we were talking about.
Andrew: Yeah. And then I want to know what it’s like now since you’ve got your funnel so well organized.
Gabe: Yeah, for sure. So . . .
Andrew: What was it before and what is it now?
Gabe: Yeah. So I’m just going to . . . I might even have the link, but basically, the idea was . . . And actually, if I can back up for a second of sort of how I did that launch because I think it’s kind of cool. It might be something that’s helpful is that, to lead up to that launch, I did a contest and basically the contest was win every beat we made this year.
Gabe: And then, so it was kind of like, oh, that’s like a . . . It’s a great . . . It’s an irresistible offer to my audience because like, oh my God, it’s 100 beats whatever and normally that would cost whatever it is, a few thousand bucks. And they got some free beats, the lead magnet was they still got some freebies just for entering. And then I was using software called UpViral which incentivizes them to share that link, almost like an affiliate link, but they get points for everybody else who enters the contest.
So the contest was whoever gets the most people to enter this contest is going to win this prize, is going to win every beat we made that year. And so what ends up happening is now you’re incentivizing your leads to get you more leads. So that worked really well. And then now kind of builds up all this pressure and excitement and we say, “Hey, we’re going to announce the winner of this contest on whatever, the day before Black Friday or whenever we did it.” And so we do a Facebook Live. We do all the stuff. And everybody wants to show up live and see what happens. Everybody wants to open up the email to see who won.
And so basically what we say is, “Hey, guess what? We’re about to announce the winners, but you’re actually all winners because this prize of every beat we made this year, everybody can get right now for $17,” this incredible deal. So now it’s like this thing they wanted to win it seemed like something so exciting and now it’s like, “Oh my God, I can actually buy this right now. The card is open for the next week. Let me go buy this right now.” And that was part of what . . .
Andrew: Seventeen bucks is not that much.
Gabe: Super, super cheap.
Andrew: Super cheap. Okay. All right. I get that. I’ve been wanting to use UpViral for something. I see it on Product Hunt a lot. I can see that it’s incredibly effective. I just haven’t figured out what the thing is that we give people as an incentive to get their friends to register. Okay. So then, you do the announcement, somebody wins, other people sign up, and now they get every beat you made for $17. What’s the order bump? But what’s the upsell after that? I feel like you sold so much already. What else do you have left to sell?
Gabe: Yes. So what . . . And I’d have to look at it again, that original one, but I think it was something . . . Oh, you know what I bet it was? So we have different licenses like I mentioned before. So basically, they’ll get that nonexclusive licensing, they can use that beat, they can take that music and release it, but there’s some limitations of how many streams they can get, how much money they can make with it, stuff like that. So the order form bump was probably, “Hey, all those beats that you just got that you’re about to get, how would you like to get the unlimited license to where now you’re going to get for one thing a higher quality of the actual music file, and not only that, but you’re actually going to be able to have no limits on how much you can sell and stuff like that?” So I think that was probably what that first order form bump was.
Andrew: Okay. And then did you have an upsell after that?
Gabe: Yeah. And then the next thing and using that sort of Russell Brunson outline was first of all, what you say on that first page, you don’t want to say, “Hey, you just got this thing, but to really make this thing work, you need this.” So the first is that, “Hey, congratulations, you made a great choice by buying that. This is awesome. We got all those beats. That’s so cool. You’re going to have all the beats you’re going to need for the next year, blah, blah, blah. And here’s the next thing you’re going to need, which is you’re going to create some songs with those. Once you record those songs, you’re going to want to get them mixed and mastered because that’s such an important part of the process.”
People record their songs, they record it at home. It sounds like crap. That’s a lot of times the biggest difference between the song that’s top of the charts and an amateur song is the mixing and mastering so . . . And I forget exactly what it was on the first one, but, “We’ll mix three songs for you for $100 or whatever kind of deal. This is a one-time offer. You’ll only see it here now. If you want it, click this button.” And the cool thing with ClickFunnels, it’s a one-click upsell. So it saves that credit card information, so all they have to do is click that button and now their credit card is charged that $100.
Andrew: And are you manually doing that for them, mixing it for each customer?
Gabe: Yeah. And so this . . . Yes. So there ends up being a big service component to it and that’s also a big part of our membership and stuff that we’ll talk about assume in a minute, but . . . And so partly because of that and partly because of the growth, I’ve really had to learn to grow and rely on a team, and now I have this incredible team. And that’s the reason why we’ve been able to grow so much is that I have people now that they’re helping with the mixing and mastering, they’re helping with customer service, helping to do a bunch of this kind of stuff.
Andrew: And I know that was a challenge for you freeing yourself up so that you could work on other things. Let’s talk a little bit about advertising before we get to that. The first thing that you did was you bought an ad on . . . What was that site ahead of your . . . soundclick.com?
Andrew: You just bought what? What type of ad did you buy and how did it do for you?
Gabe: So SoundClick was one of the first sites that was really sort of actually originally wasn’t even set up for this reason, but it became used for this reason for producers to sell beats online. And it’s basically originally a site just for people to kind of promote their music, and then it kind of getting overrun by hip hop producers selling beats. And so what they would do is they would sell advertising space. It would be like a little banner ad on the front page or on charts, like they’d have the most popular songs in each genre. And so if you wanted to buy a banner on . . . Certain genres were more expensive. And so by doing that, now you could say, “Hey, get this beat or whatever,” that would send them to your beat store. And that was sort of my first attempt at advertising.
Andrew: And it worked.
Gabe: It worked. It worked more than zero. I got a couple of sales.
Andrew: But you didn’t lose money, did you?
Gabe: Initially, I probably lost a little bit and then I think I kind of figured it out to where maybe I was making a little bit of money. That was really in the early earlier days where I was like, “Okay. I’m kind of getting some sales, maybe breaking even making a little money.”
Andrew: What was next then? What’s the next thing that worked?
Gabe: The next thing that worked actually was figuring out some ways to actually get some lead generation. So I talked about kind of growing that list. And so the first thing I would do was following and unfollowing people on Twitter and Instagram. So originally just doing it manually. Just being like, “Okay. If people are following other producers who are selling beats online and there’s a decent chance that they’re a rapper, singer in that market, so I’m just going to follow a bunch of people that are following let’s say, Anno Domini,” the guy I mentioned before.
“And then all those guys that follow me back, I’m going to send them a direct message that says, ‘Hey, do you want some free beats? Here’s the link. Go to legionbeats.com/free.'” I’d get them on my list. And that was really my whole lead-generation strategy for probably almost a year doing that on . . .
Andrew: Did that work?
Gabe: . . . Twitter, on Instagram. It actually worked really well.
Andrew: I bet. What did you use? I know SocialBee is a good tool for that. What did you use?
Gabe: Yes. So at first, I was literally doing it manually. And then I started looking at software, there was one, I think, at this time called Crowdfire, which I don’t even know if they’re still around, but it worked okay. It was somewhat manual and sort of made it a little bit easier. Eventually, I started using FollowLiker which actually I still use today.
Gabe: And so FollowLiker . . . And I’ve used one called . . . It just escaping me. There’s a few that do things pretty similar where basically it’ll automate following, unfollow, direct messaging, liking, you know, everything that you kind of think of. All these stuff I’m almost positive violates the terms of service of both Twitter and Instagram, so you got to be kind of careful and maybe you shouldn’t do it.
Andrew: I think it doesn’t . . . It follows the terms of service to the letter if not the spirit because they do it manually. They have people sit there and actually like and follow and do stuff like that as far as I understand.
Gabe: I think maybe SocialBee does.
Andrew: Oh, but some of these other services don’t. Okay.
Gabe: FollowLiker for sure does not.
Andrew: Okay. All right. I thought these people were just getting away with it because they were, I don’t know, sticking to the letter of the law. All right.
Gabe: I think maybe . . . I don’t know all the ins, but I believe SocialBee might be one of the ones that actually does it legitimately. I don’t know, but I can tell you . . .
Andrew: I guess have a bunch of people just sit there and do that.
Gabe: FollowLiker not so much. We’re running the software.
Gabe: It’s not. But it works great.
Andrew: But it still works.
Gabe: It works really, really well. And so that was a way that I was able to basically generate leads for free. It’s not completely scalable, right, because for one thing within the . . . They’re going to flag you if you DM too many people in a day. And so, anyways, that was my first sort of lead generation thing.
Andrew: What was the next thing that worked?
Gabe: I’m trying to figure out when I should just get to this stuff, the white hat like stuff, which is Facebook and Instagram ads is where I ended up.
Gabe: I dabbled in a few different things that were like, maybe slightly questionable, but, anyways . . .
Andrew: What’s one more that you dabbled in that was slightly questionable?
Gabe: So one more that worked really well as you had the founder of GMass on recently.
Gabe: And that’s an incredible tool and it’s also something that can be abused very, very easily, which is basically what it does is allows you to send mass campaigns directly from your Gmail account.
Andrew: Yep. You customize them all.
Gabe: Yes. I customize so you can use merge tags, you can do follow-ups, you can do all this incredible stuff. And the open rates are insane because it’s from Gmail. And so one thing that I did was I found somebody in Upwork to go into SoundCloud and scrape emails from people who had their email address in their SoundCloud bio, so now he gave me, I don’t know, 50,000 emails. I went through, I cleaned those. I went through like bulkemailvalidator.com, made sure they were like somewhat clean. Then using GMass, attached that to a spreadsheet, and I would send out an email that said something like, “Hey, I came across your music on SoundCloud. I hope it’s cool if I hit you up. I saw that you put your email in your bio. If you’re interested, here’s a link to five free beats. Then that would click . . . Then there’d be a link that would take them to legitimately opt-in. And I ended up getting tens of thousands of free leads that way.
Andrew: I know idea bulk email . . . I guess, is it bulkemailchecker.com maybe?
Gabe: Oh, it might be, it might be.
Andrew: Okay. I had no idea this service existed. You just put in a bunch of email addresses. They’ll tell you what works and what doesn’t so that you don’t use your Gmail account to hit people whose emails don’t work.
Gabe: Yes. Yes, exactly. So if you from your Gmail send out a bunch of emails and 2%, 5%, 10% of them bounce, then they’re saying, “Okay. This guy is doing exactly what I’m doing, which is scraping a bunch of emails. But if you do that it somehow figures out which ones are going to bounce. It keeps that bounce rate really low and it allows you to keep sending emails without getting flagged.
Andrew: And their prices are super low. For 50,000 email validations, it costs $50, $45. Not even. Fantastic. How did you find a guy who scraped SoundCloud to get you all the email addresses?
Gabe: Upwork. I just went on Upwork and . . .
Andrew: Oh, that’s fantastic, man.
Gabe: I feel like I’m sharing like the illegal stuff. I don’t know. I guess that’s . . .
Andrew: No. I think this is the stuff that people do and they talk about. We’re not talking about anything dangerous, it’s just clever. And the question that I keep coming back to my head is, how did you know all this stuff? How did you get so good at it? Where did you even pick this up? I thought you were obsessed with music, not with these types of marketing hacks.
Gabe: I was and honestly it was like I mentioned when I sort of read “DotCom Secrets” and got into Russell Brunson, I was like, “Oh my God, this game is so fun. I’m super excited about marketing. And what’s all the stuff that I can do to figure it out?” And then just kind of dove into it and talked to people, figured out what other people were doing and started playing with software, and yeah, I think that’s . . .
Andrew: Where were you talking to these people? Where were you finding them?
Gabe: That’s a good question. I guess . . .
Andrew: The Funnel Hackers Facebook group?
Gabe: Yeah. A little bit of time in there. I wish I had a good answer. I think just googling around and seeing what happens. I honestly don’t have a great answer for that other than . . .
Gabe: Yeah, just kind of looking around and being like, “Oh, this is a cool thing. Let me try it and see what works and then if it does work, then double down, triple down on that.”
Andrew: And so now it’s Facebook ads that are working for you.
Gabe: Yes, that’s what I’m mostly doing now.
Andrew: And a little bit of Instagram. And the idea is it’s mostly Facebook or mostly Instagram?
Gabe: So I’ll use a Facebook Ads Manager and I’ll do automatic placement. So it’s Facebook and Instagram. I think it’s probably about 50-50 where we’re getting our [inaudible 00:40:20] people from.
Andrew: And you’re offering beats, people come to your site, they get beats at an unbelievably low price, you got the order bump, you got the one-time offer, and then you get a sequence of emails. And then do the emails also sell?
Gabe: Yeah. So I’ve got a few things. So my sort of evergreen funnel, the front of my funnel is, yeah, first thing is the lead magnet, get in for free. First thing is basically telling them, “Hey, you just got these five free beats with the basic licenses. How would you like to upgrade those to unlimited licenses? Normally they’re $200 each. You’re getting five of them, that would be $1,000. You can get all five of them for $19 right now.” So that’s the first thing.
Then there’s an order from bump, double those beats. “Hey, for another $25 you get twice as many beats.” Then there’s a one-time offer, the next page that they see, “Hey get another beat pack from a friend of mine, a dude named Cozmo, who’s sort of really like an industry producer type dude. He signed to Wiz Khalifa’s his label who’s like a very popular rapper. Get some beats from him,” and then we kind of put offer around that. We’re like, “Hey, this is access to the industry, so you’re also going to get like our music industry contacts, black book, and you’re also going to get a shout out on our Instagram and Cozmo’s Instagram.” So that’s like the first OTO there, the first upsell. And then they can say yes or no.
Then there’s another OTO which is from my buddy Anno Domini, “Hey, here’s a beat pack from Anno Domini. They’re multi-Grammy selling producers. You can get 100 beats from him for whatever $74. You want to get that as well.” So again, ultimately they could spend a few hundred bucks just on that initial thing. And that’s so . . . When they first sign up and I get them to opt in through both Facebook Messenger. I know that you are a ManyChat guy and even an investor, right?
Gabe: I love ManyChat. It’s been huge for me.
Andrew: I see that they’re sending you traffic I was looking using SimilarWeb to see where your traffic was coming from. You’re doing a lot through that legions.clickfunnels.com set of pages. Then smarttrapper.com which is an online community of musicians. I just saw you do something with your face. Why?
Gabe: Yeah, no. So Smart Rapper, so that is . . .
Andrew: Smart Rapper, there it is, not Trapper.
Gabe: Yeah, Smart Rapper. And that’s getting into affiliates, which is another thing that’s been great for me.
Andrew: Yeah. I’m looking at BuiltWith and you’re using affiliate software and I was going to ask you about that. Why don’t we go into affiliates? What are you doing with affiliates? It’s LeadDyno, that’s what you use for affiliates, right?
Gabe: Yes. I’ve been using LeadDyno which has been working great for me. ClickFunnels has their own built-in one too which I haven’t played too much with, but yeah, LeadDyno has been great for me. And so Smart Rapper is one example of . . . As I’ve now done three years of sort of that Black Friday offer and it’s kind of grown each year. I mentioned that first year was like the big prize was get every beat we made this year and that was kind of whatever. And now it’s kind of grown into like, “Hey, do a song with Snoop Dogg,” and that’s like the big prize, this really irresistible offer, “Plus get 10 free beats just for entering, plus you’ll get free beats for life, plus you’ll get promo for . . . ” This crazy deal and that’s like what we’ve been doing now for like last year just on the sort of that side of it, the promo side of the leading up to it, we got like 44,000 leads and people entering and we got them for dirt cheap because it’s mainly other people bringing us those leads.
And so also I’m bringing in affiliate, so people who . . . mainly anybody else who has my audience, so that would be anybody who’s got rappers and singers in our audience, that would be other producers, other guys who are selling beats, but also like that guy Smart Rapper. His whole thing is teaching rappers how to rap sort of on the educational side. I’ve been working out with another guy How to Rap Drew who does similar to another guy named [Coal Mine 00:43:53].
So, like, different people who have that audience and saying, “Hey, if you refer people over to either this contest or to the offer that’s going to end up coming from it, you get 50% of all the revenue.” So it’s a great deal for them, great for me because I’m getting free leads. And so some of these guys with our launch that we did in 2018, we ended up doing, I think was about 200 . . . It was over $200,000 in sales, and it was over $50,000 that I sent out to affiliates.
So there was some guys who . . . I PayPal a buddy of mine $17,000. It was like surreal. Like, “I’m just going to send you 17 . . . ” To me, this stuff is crazy. I’m like, new to this kind of stuff, I was like, “Yeah, I’m just going to PayPal you $17,000 because you referred over $34,000 in sales. And that was using that concept of affiliates of just him telling his audience, “Hey, there’s this great deal. Go check it out. This is a friend of mine.” And just off of that we were able to do really well.
Andrew: I love going through BuiltWith to see what tools people use to get a sense of how they build their businesses. The little things I just pick up on from there. Let me talk about my second sponsor, and then I want to come back and ask you about, like this hiring scaling issue. I know that was a challenge for you.
Let me ask you, as you were talking about all this stuff, it sounds really exciting, but then I wonder, “Does Gabe feel like he’s a hack instead of an artist? Now he’s just like up-selling and down-selling and you’re basically merchandising. You’re like a [schmatta 00:45:16] salesman instead of an artist.” I want to ask about that. And then I’m curious about what you’re doing with Facebook Messenger because, as you said, I’ve been seeing a lot of great things going on with that. I’m glad that you smiled as I said all those things because I know some of those are really challenging questions. But we’ve gotten to know each other so I’m coming from a good place on it. I’ve been looking at your site. You’re hosting your site on GoDaddy. Am I right?
Gabe: My homepage 99% of what I’m doing is on ClickFunnels, so that . . .
Andrew: You still have that. Yeah, I see that too.
Gabe: Yes. But that’s right. That is on GoDaddy. Is my hosting on GoDaddy? I’m actually not sure. The domain is bought . . . Actually, I don’t even know. The domain is bought on GoDaddy. I don’t know if the hosting is there.
Andrew: And you use WordPress even though you’re not doing much with WordPress. And that’s the thing. The truth is hosting company is not that dramatically impactful, even though what I’m about to talk about is my second sponsor, which is a hosting company. And I’m going to tell you, it’s not that impactful. And GoDaddy is the number one hosting company out there, to be honest with you.
The reason that I like my sponsor, HostGator is because, first of all, they’re good people. A lot of the times that I get emails from people saying, “Did you know that this guy just killed this one?” And I go, “That’s not the founder of . . . You’re conflating the two. It’s two different companies, or three different companies.” Sometimes we will both come up with another one. They’re just good people. They have this hosting package that just works, you can install WordPress on and then forget about it, then go use the other tools that will frankly have more impact on your business, but know that your website will be hosted right and that you could move on.
If there’s somebody who’s listening to me who says, “You know what? I got an idea. I want to put something up.” Just go put it up. Don’t overthink it. Go to hostgator.com/mixergy, get a super low price. Put it up and get going. If you want to add ClickFunnels, absolutely, I do on mine. A lot of my pages are hosted on ClickFunnels. But my main page, the foundation of my site is using WordPress. Frankly, HostGator is the best place to host WordPress.
By the way, there are these bigger companies that do managed WordPress hosting, and HostGator will do too. They’re getting well known. The reason I don’t like them is, Gabe, they will force you to like use their whitelisted plugins. I don’t want that. I see. You’re smart. Use plugins like . . . What is it? What’s . . . Gravity Forms. I love Gravity Forms. Gravity Forms is freaking brilliant. I have a form that I need to set up, I put in Gravity Forms, with one checkbox I could attach Stripe so that I could collect payment for if I want, with another checkbox, I could connect it to Zapier so that I can send a text message to myself and/or add it to a spreadsheet.
Anyway, these freaking plugins when I installed them sometimes they’re brand new, they feel a little bit weird. A hosting company is going to say, “I don’t know that I want to let those on until I vet them.” I’m fine with it. What’s it going to do? Destroy my whole site? I’m okay with that. So I love WordPress. I love installing my own plugins. I love being able to manage it myself and that’s why I love HostGator.
And if you go to hostgator.com/mixergy, you will get a super low price. From what I understand it’s the lowest price out there and you’ll get a 45-day money back guarantee and so many other benefits that I’m not going to go through a laundry list of it. You will really like it. And if you’re ever looking to expand beyond, they have WordPress managed hosting which means that they’ll manage your WordPress for you and they have all these other hosting packages, but you can start out cheap, start out simple and then grow with them. Hostgator.com/mixergy.
The site that you saw me on. That’s all HostGator-hosted WordPress site. I want to run a marathon on every continent. I’m actually going to go to Sydney, Australia in a couple of weeks which is why we moved up our interview. And I wanted the world to know what I was doing. And so I put it up on HostGator. And now there’s this woman who can get me on a jet to land on Antarctica and keep the jet on the ground for about five hours while I run 26.2-mile marathon and then get back on the jet. But it helps for me to show her a website. Here, this is the thing I’m doing. I’m not just some guy who’s dabbling, who is just asking you random questions. Help me out. She’s going to see if she can keep the jet on the ground for longer than five hours because I think with the crampons and the weather and the elevation, I’m probably going to need more than six hours to finish it.
Anyway, that was on HostGator. Let’s go into this. Why don’t we start with the question that made you smile which is one that I would only ask if I feel like I’m comfortable with the person? Do you feel like a hack? Do you feel like, “Well, now I’m just selling schmatta”?
Gabe: For me, like I mentioned before when I started getting into the entrepreneur world, into marketing, into all this kind of stuff, to me not only is it super fun, but to me, it’s an art, it’s a game just like music is itself. Just like when any producer will tell you when they start getting into music, they start learning about all the different plugins, the software that goes with it, the theory behind how to make the music work, all that kind of stuff. To me, figuring out how to create a campaign and the choreography of those launches and how to use all that different software, to me, it’s kind of the same idea and it’s a similar type of creativity. I’m not going to say it’s exactly the same, but it’s a similar type of creativity. So I love that and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. To me, I’m proud to be a marketer. And I truly believe that marketers are the people who change people’s lives.
Andrew: But, Gabe, what about this? That we’re spending a lot of time thinking, “How can I upsell someone one more thing?” That’s not really connected to their needs. It’s connected to our need to increase our revenue so we could justify the payments that we’re making to Facebook so that we can feel good about doubling our revenue.
Gabe: Yeah, I disagree. I mean, I certainly these tools can be used in that way, right? How can I make the most money? That’s certainly one way that you can use that concept of an upsell about order from bump, of an OTO and of all this incredible stuff. The other way you could look at it is I can be another guy just like these other tens of thousands of producers who just sell beats. And now you’re Andrew Warner, you’re working on your mixtape, now all you’ve got is a beat, you’re going to record it at your house, it’s going to sound like shit.
Gabe: And then that’s going to be the end of it, right? Or I can provide you with all these other tools and resources, I can provide you with mixing and mastering. I can provide you with the community where I’m going to hook you . . .
Andrew: You don’t know if I really need it right now. You just put some pressure on me to buy right now and that’s why I bought it and maybe it just sits in my folder and I never use it off my computer.
Gabe: I mean, I don’t know. I guess now we’re getting like, philosophical. I don’t know. Should anybody sell anything? I don’t know. I mean, to me, like, Russell Brunson he’s like the master of selling, of marketing. And to me, I’m so grateful that he persuaded me to jump into his products because my life has literally changed and for me and my team, I know we’ll talk about that in a second. Like now I went from the guy who couldn’t afford Jack in the Box to now I’ve got a mortgage, I live with my girlfriend, I’ve got this new studio, we’re building like . . . I have this incredible life and I credit a lot of that to Russell Brunson for selling me this crap or whatever. So I definitely see how it can be used negatively but it can also for sure be used positively.
Andrew: I should say for anyone who’s just listening to the audio, he was doing air quotes as he said, “crap”. And the message is, look, you can call it crap, but here’s the thing that I got out of it and changed my life. Was it your girlfriend who said, “Hey, you got to get better at delegating”? Is that where that came from?
Gabe: Yeah. Actually, that’s exactly right. And I think to some extent, it’s just because she’s much smarter in business than I am and has more experience and it was like this is an obvious thing. And also that she was getting no time with me because in the beginning, I was answering every email. I was doing so much of that. I’d always had help creatively. I’d always had partner, my buddy Phil and Nate and Seth and people that I’d worked with on the creative side, but when I started getting into the business, I was a solopreneur, I mean, I was doing everything.
And so Louisa, my girlfriend was like, “Hey, you know what you need to do is take some of those things and write out a process, write out a standard operating procedure,” which I never knew what that . . . I never had a real job. I didn’t even know what that was. But I was like, “Okay. All right. Let me try this. Let me write out a couple of processes for some of the things that I was doing.” And at the time it felt like, and it sounds silly to say now like, I’m the only person who can answer emails because there’s so . . .
Andrew: That’s what you said back then.
Gabe: Yeah, because people are going to ask these technical questions about music, they’re going to have . . . There’s all these different pieces about the business or nobody else is going to understand it the same way that I do. So like there’s no way I can just get somebody to do that for me. But then . . .
Andrew: Okay. Go ahead. Sorry. I was going to interrupt but you’re going to where I was going to go.
Gabe: Yeah, but then of course when I took the advice of my girlfriend, Louisa, and actually wrote out the standard operating procedure and then also trained somebody and the first guy I trained was my buddy Yani who’s still with me who’s incredible, it was like, “Oh my God. Not only is he doing it, but like he’s actually doing a better job than I am because he’s focusing on this and I get to focus on the next thing.” And that’s kind of been the story over and over of like, “Okay, I guess I can outsource email. Or not outsource, but I can hire somebody for email.”
And then it’s, “What’s the next thing? Okay. I can hire somebody, I can get help with mixing and mastering which, again, was something like, “Well, I’m the guy . . . I’m the engineer. I’m the guy who’s good at this,” but like, “No, again, I can bring people onto the team who are great and I can train them and sort of show them my thing, but they are also really smart and have talent and they can figure it out and now that’s what allows me again to focus on the next thing.”
Andrew: And so standard operating procedures, hiring people. Are you like a Google Docs person? Are you an Asana person for managing all that?
Gabe: Yeah. I’m still working on the perfect system and maybe nobody ever finds it. So I’ve kind of got a combination of Trello for project management and Google Docs where some of the stuff lives. So I don’t have a perfect system, but at least there’s somewhere that everybody can go to kind of find stuff. So yeah, combination of Google Docs and Trello is what I’m doing right now.
Andrew: Our company culture has is down to a list of six things that we stand for and one of them is we improve through systems and every month we take a different one of those six items and we obsess on it this month, we are improving our systems. So yesterday, I spent some time going over every one of my checklist to see what could be improved, and more importantly, what do I just need to scrap because having that checklist in our big repository of checklists is a distraction and it makes the whole thing feel less useful.
So I started removing it, other people on the team started removing other stuff. We’re now using QuickBooks, for example, to get people’s tax information into our system, but we still had an item where when somebody was signing up to be a contractor with us, we were asking them to fill out a form and send it to us privately, in addition to using QuickBooks. We never changed that, so we’re going in and changing it. Super important.
I learned that idea of like, take your culture, reduce it to a set of bullet points that everyone understands, and then once a month obsess on it. I learned it from a guy named Scott Bintz. I talked about him endlessly. For culture, he is my guru. And he did a course with us if anyone wants to go check it out, it’s at mixergy.com/scott. I gave him his own URL. I don’t even have mixerg.com/andrew. I believe so much in what he’s doing. I gave him his own URL for that.
Gabe: Do you have those checklists in Google Docs or where do you keep it?
Andrew: So I used to do it in Google Docs and the problem with Docs is people don’t go back into them until something breaks and then they go back. And then we put them in Asana, and the problem with Asana was we need another product to chat with each other because you can’t privately message people. And my people and I too we’re using two different apps just to stay in touch with each other. We’re focused on our work. Like I’m doing on this interview. I could barely like manage one extra thing, let alone two.
So after going through a bunch of craziness with Slack and Asana, I said, “I’m going to go to Basecamp. Let’s just try it out.” And Basecamp has been the quiet savior for us. It’s all about quiet. So you can private message people, you can have tasks, you can do all that stuff. It’s a little bit older technology, like Asana was wicked fast. This is a little bit slower, but I’m okay with it because it’s way quiet, way organized.
And so we have this one project that’s full of task lists like, “How do I record an interview like this?” There’s a set of checklist for that. “How does somebody do scotch night for me if I’m in a different city?” There’s a whole checklist including don’t give me the tiny bottles of whiskey because they made that mistake twice. Now it’s in the checklist item, it’s never going to happen again. And so all we do is we copy that checklist and then we go through it line by line when we’re doing something new. And that’s what helps me. And then you could also see are people going through it item by item or not.
All right, let’s talk about this Messenger. What are you doing with Facebook Messenger?
Gabe: Yeah. So it’s become a huge part of lead generation where now everybody I get onto my list, I’m getting them on Messenger and email at the same time. So I’ve got ManyChat integrated through . . . I’m still using MailChimp. I’m trying to switch, but . . .
Andrew: I get it.
Gabe: It’s something, MailChimp, I’ve just been using for years and I figured out all these workarounds to make it work the way I want it, but I’m ready for something new. But anyways, that’s what I’m on right now, and so I have them opt-in. Through ManyChat, it’s integrated through Zapier to MailChimp so that they enter their email in ManyChat, now they’re on my email list, they’re on Messenger at the same time. And what’s pretty cool too is I have that integrated with Deadline Funnel. Are you familiar with their software?
Gabe: Deadline Funnel is awesome. So basically, what it is, is like, you know you go to a page and they’ll say, “Hey, this offer expires in 30 minutes and then you refresh the page and like the timer starts over”? And maybe they have one that’s one step smarter and it does it based off cookies, but then you do it in an incognito window or whatever and it starts over. So a Deadline Funnel it creates a realistic deadlines based off of IP address, cookies, and email.
Gabe: So now what I do is if somebody opts in, they go through sort of the first part of my funnel where I think I mentioned that before, I’m upsell . . . they’re getting the free beats, I’m upselling them on some more beats and stuff like that. That’s sort of the first few days of the sequence that they’re getting both on Messenger and email saying, “Hey, here’s who I am,” I’m building rapport. “You should upgrade.” Then for days like, I think it’s like 6 through 10 I’m starting to tell them about our membership which is really our core offer. That’s where other . . .
Andrew: And you’re doing this via email.
Gabe: So both email and Messenger.
Andrew: Got it. Okay.
Gabe: And they’re timed out together . . . They’re timed together because they opted into both at the same time. So at the same day, they’re sort of getting . . . The story makes sense.
Gabe: And so I’m starting to tell them about the membership that we have which is what I really want them to join, and because of Deadline Funnel, I create this realistic looking deadline saying, “Hey, for the next five days, you can join for half off your first month.” Then the next four days, three days, two days. They’re getting those messages both through email and Facebook Messenger and it looks really realistic. It looks like a real-time launch of like, “Oh, wow, I just happened to sign up and for the next few days I can get half offer.”
Andrew: This is . . . My mouth is literally open. It’s agape as I’m listening to this. I had no idea. How do you even know about these tools? How are you putting this together? This is amazing.
Gabe: You know what? I think you kind of asked me that before. Now I think I have an answer. I listen to . . .
Andrew: What is it?
Gabe: I listen podcasts. I listen to you. I listened to Russell Brunson. And I hear about this stuff. I’m sure I learned about Deadline Funnel from some podcast. So I think that’s mainly why . . .
Andrew: And you’re just constantly paying attention, seeing what works and you’re willing to experiment and not just say, “Hey, Deadline Funnel makes sense,” but say, “I got to go check this out and see how I could put it together.”
Gabe: Yeah. And I geek out on that. And it turns out I like it, so I want to figure out how do I . . . I’ll even . . . I’m the guy who hits up tech support bunch of times and they’re like, “What does this guy even trying to do?” And even tech support might tell me, “Hey, this isn’t possible,” and I’d be like, “No, I’m going to figure it out and I’ll figure out something through Zapier to make it work.” And to me, that’s just a fun game to do, anyway.
Andrew: And the funnel that you got, if I understand it right, somebody comes to your site. I see the widget come up for Facebook Messenger. You’re offering an incentive in the little widget that comes up for Facebook Messenger or is it on the site?
Gabe: Yeah. So they go to legionbeats.com/free which is where most traffic is going to. That’s going to take them directly into Facebook Messenger.
Andrew: Let me just go and do that right now. I’m going to go to legionbeats.com/free. Oh, come on. It’s hard to copy on this thing. Legionbeats.com/free and let’s see where that messenger shows up. I could have sworn . . . Oh, I see. Yeah, the button is now . . . It’s not even a button for funnel, it’s get “This in Messenger.” You know what I should have done, actually? Oh, and I can actually see that you’ve done this so much. I opened it in incognito so that I wouldn’t trip up something. I could see this is F18 number 2 opt-in. I can see the different offers. All right. Now I’m back in my main thing. “Want to be connected to Facebook?” Yes. I’m having this issue with Facebook. Okay. And then it goes . . . What’s the next page? I’m a little stuck right now. It’s not you. I’m having some issue with Facebook and I think it’s because of my ad blocker. Let me undo my ad blocker.
Gabe: Yeah. But essentially what’s going to happen is you’ll click that, it’s going to eventually . . . Hope it should be smooth, but it should pop up in Facebook Messenger that says, “Hey, I’d love to send you those five free beats. Click your email address below and I’ll send it straight to you.”
Andrew: And that’s because in Facebook Messenger if you say, “What’s your email address?” Facebook Messenger will automatically create a button with the person’s real email address as they gave it to Facebook. All you have to do is press that button and then it comes into your chatbot which ManyChat will store it forever along with their account, which is useful. And with this app, you fired off into your email provider which for now is MailChimp, and now they’re in your sequence. And at what point do you start to use that Deadline?
Gabe: Yeah. So then I have it. So it’s all integrated, so that then at the same time triggers something in Deadline Funnel saying basically, they have 10 days until that thing is up, until that half offer is up.
Gabe: We will tell them about it until day five or six or whatever. So we just tell them they have like four days if that makes sense.
Gabe: And so they’re getting . . . Now you’re getting a sequence of both email and Messenger that’s telling you, introducing myself, telling them to upgrade, telling them to get that first offer. And then for those last few days, it’s, “Hey, you should join our membership. You can get half off your first month for the next three days, two days, and one day.” And actually, one thing I should mention too is if you noticed now, I don’t know if you’ve gotten through to it yet, is that I actually turned off text input on ManyChat.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. You know what? That makes sense. I’ve thought about that. Why?
Gabe: It got crazy. It was literally especially when we’re in the middle of one of our sort of contests and stuff where it was literally about, I’d say, eight hours a day that I needed somebody to be answering messages on there because we were getting so many. We were up to close to 50,000 people on that list now, and so we get so many people talking. And the thing about chat is, it’s not just like, I’m going to send you a message and maybe send me one tomorrow or whatever. It’s like these conversations, and so it took so much of my team’s time to answer that, and not to mention, like, probably in some industries, that would be amazing. But in my industry, it’s a tough one because really, our audience is not one that has a lot of money, and so what ends up happening is like, it’s not necessarily worth it to us to spend 10, 20 minutes on a conversation with all 50,000 people on our list because most of them are not actually going to be buyers.
Andrew: And not for a $17 sale. So what you could do, and you probably know this is, you could if somebody starts to type in have the chatbot say, “I’m just a bot. I don’t know the answer to that. Press the buttons instead.” And then only at certain times allow people to chat with you and then have that go into your live chat, so your live chat people don’t see anything, don’t chat back to people in Facebook Messenger until and unless it’s something that you guys initiate. And it could be something like, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this premium monthly membership. Is this something you’d be interested in?” And they press a button that says Yes, and then say, “Well, we’re thinking about charging either $5 for it or $50. Which do you think would be the right price point for this?”
And only people who hit $50, you would come back and say, “What would you want to make it be worth $50 a month?” And then they chat that in and then that triggers an alert to your team and your team could sit there and respond just to those people and pry for more information. And the people who say $5 you say, “Thanks for giving us that feedback. We’re still in the process of thinking about it. We’ll let you know.” And so there are ways to not have messages come to you unless you’re encouraging it and want to participate.
Gabe: I might have to look into it. It sounds like that might be a good middle ground that I’ve looking for.
Andrew: I’m looking at it. You did replace your whole funnel. You replaced your whole funnel with Facebook Messenger. I did. So my problem is I use Safari and I noticed that a lot of things lately been breaking with Safari. Facebook breaks with Safari and Internet Archive has been breaking with Safari. And I like to look at people’s old pages.
Gabe: Why don’t you use Chrome?
Andrew: I want to . . . I’m mostly on my iPad. I love the simplicity of just having an iPad, not having to charge it up as I walk around. The simplicity is just key. And if I’m on my desktop using Safari and on my phone using Safari and on my iPad using Safari, that continuity is good for me even though I clearly prefer Chrome. Oh, then the other thing is Chrome plugins is why I prefer Chrome. I’ve had entrepreneurs here who do create Chrome plugins, tell me about the freaking privacy things that they do. I go, “I can’t deal with the shenanigans.” I will not, especially if a friend of mine says, “I created this great plugin,” I go, “I’m sorry. I can’t use it. I’m on Safari. Screw that.” As I know what you guys are doing with it.
Gabe: That does make me a little nervous. I have so many Chrome extensions and I’m sure there’s so many people who know everything that I’m doing.
Andrew: And Chrome makes it easy for people to give you . . . It makes it easy for plugin makers to get access to everything that you’re doing on the browser. And what I would like for them to do is have an on-off button right next to the plugin. You don’t have every one of your apps watching your computer all the time. You turn it on when you need and you turn it off when you don’t. I’d love to be able to say, “Right now what I want to use is Loom for screen recording and just turn it on when I need it, turn it off when I don’t need it and give it zero access when I don’t.” Chrome is not very privacy-focused. I wouldn’t care about it. My freaking friends they’re driving me nuts with what they do.
Okay. Open in Messenger. So yeah, the landing page is just getting people . . . Here let me read it. It’s get five free beats, then there’s a button that says get it in Messenger. I press the button and immediately says, “Okay. Now open a Messenger.” I opened it up and Messenger and Messenger I say, “Hey, what’s up?” You say, “Hey, what’s up? Please click on your email address below so I can send you your free beats. Scroll if you don’t see it.”
I’m going to press. I’m going to give you my email address. And that’s not the email address I would want to give you, by the way. That’s like my work email address, but that’s what’s in Facebook. It’s too fast. I already did it. And you say . . . You give me the okay sign to say, “Just sent those beats to andrew@ . . . ” my email address, “If you don’t see the email address in the next 15 minutes, check your spam folder. By the way, we occasionally send messages here on Facebook Messenger. Also, if you need to reach me at any time, here’s my email address.”
This is this great. And now I’m in both of your worlds and you could start doing your sequence of messages to me. This is fan freakingtastic. And this funnel is worth how much to you right now? And I know it’s a fairly new funnel.
Gabe: Yeah. So I’ve had . . . Really, I’ve had some iteration of this funnel for the last few years. This exact version of it, I guess I really launched in the last probably few weeks that I updated at least the page that you go to when you kind of download the beats and get that upgraded offer. I have to look at it.
I think right now just in that front end part of it, I don’t know, maybe we’re doing like $1,000 a week or something, but that’s what’s pushing them to the membership which is really where most of our revenue comes from, so then that’s sort of the more important part. Like, if we can break even on the ad spend or even be a little profitable, which we are right now, I’m happy because now we’re making money from the membership and when we do these launches go on our list and that’s kind of where the money really comes in.
Andrew: Look at this. I happened to be like looking at your girlfriend’s company website on another tab . . . Oh sorry, her Facebook’s . . . her company’s Facebook page on another tab. And because Facebook Messenger isn’t just its own standalone app and its own standalone website at messenger.com, it’s also on Facebook itself. Your popup is now on Facebook from Legion Beats. This works beautifully. This works beautifully. I can understand how you got this far. Congratulations.
So what have you done now to celebrate? Did you go back to that same Jack in the Box and actually pay for your girlfriend’s meal, take her someplace nice? You’re in the Bay Area like me. There are nice restaurants.
Gabe: That’s hilarious. I should go back. We’ve done some cool stuff. I signed up for . . . Russell Brunson has a coaching program. And one of the things that they do as part of that is you go on a cruise with them, and so we did that last . . . When was it? Last January, and so I took my girlfriend there and we went on a cruise and we went down to the Caribbean and stuff. We were able to do vacation in Thailand and all this stuff. We were able to . . .
Andrew: Vacation in Thailand is without Russell, right?
Gabe: Yeah. Sorry. That’s without Russell.
Andrew: I want to know that you’ve done something that it’s like . . . What did you do? Well, I went on a cruise with Russell and my girlfriend. No. So it was going to Thailand. Did it feel good to actually do it or were you at a place where you had to keep finding Wi-Fi and bring your laptop along?
Gabe: No, it was amazing. And actually, that’s . . . When I went to Thailand it was an incredible feeling because I have now been able to build this amazing team that does so much that, yes, of course, to some extent, I’m always worried about like, “Oh, what’s going on? Do I need to check in?” And I did a little bit of that, but I’ve got this incredible team now to where I was gone for two weeks and it happened to be at the time one of our most profitable periods was me literally not being there, so that was a great feeling.
Andrew: All right. You know what? I’m going to give the website again, but I don’t know the people that my audience is going to buy beats or connect with you on beats. Is there a way for them to connect with you? Is there a way for anyone to find out more about these tools that you’re using?
Gabe: Yeah, sure.
Andrew: I want us to stay in touch.
Gabe: Yeah, for sure. I mean, if they want to at least look at what that funnel is and maybe get ideas from the salesman if you don’t want beats, you can go to legionbeats.com/free and feel free to model after it. By going through that you’ll be able to get ahold of me so if you do want to ask me some questions or something like that.
The new thing that I am working on now that I’ve partnered up with I’d mentioned him earlier, Anno Domini is kind of the other guy who’s in the space that’s doing really well. We’re now working together to create a course and a whole suite of products around teaching other producers how to use funnels, how to market themselves, and kind of this new way. And that’s kind of the new thing that I’m working on. So that’ll be . . .
Andrew: And there’s no website. You didn’t even create like a quick landing page.
Gabe: What I have . . . There is something right now. If you go to . . .
Andrew: Yeah, good.
Gabe: So right now and I’m probably going to even change the name of it. It’s MIDI Money. If you go to . . .
Gabe: Yeah, and MIDI is a term that . . .
Andrew: I know.
Gabe: I t’s just something you’d know. It has to do with music, but . . . So that is kind of like . . . That’s sort of like my consulting funnel right there which is just working with people one on one, got one that’s traffic, that midimoney.com, which is just a lead generation. So, so far I just have that little lead generation thing. I’ve been doing some one on one. But pretty soon that’s going to turn into, actually, creating a full-on course and then creating a whole business around that.
Andrew: Yeah. I feel like you’ve geeked out on all these tools so much. You should do something with it and teaching other people is a good way for you to keep learning more and geeking out and then having them come back to you and say, “Gabe, here’s this thing that you missed.” All right. I love this stuff. I love all these tools about . . . that I never would have known even existed. I never heard of Deadline Funnel. I just love to know what’s out there.
And look at this. Other people who I know and like use it. Like The Rise of the Top. That guy doesn’t use just anything. They’re apparently using it. Oh, no, no. It’s featured on their site. Never mind. The Copy Chief. Got it. I’m looking at like a boob. I’m looking at their list of logos and just assuming all those people are using the tool.
Andrew: I don’t care. I’d rather use it before all those people do. All right. Gabe, thanks so much for being on here. I want to thank my two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first will do your books right. Gabe at some point, I think he’s going to sign up for them. If not them, Gabe, sign up for a service like them. You really need someone like Pilot to just do your books, let you forget about it. I use Pilot, a bunch of other Y Combinator companies are using Pilot. And if you’re out there and you want to talk to them about your books, about your finances, it’s not your book like authored books, go to pilot.com/mixergy. And if you need a website hosted, go to hostgator.com/mixergy you’ll get a good low price. Look at this. Even Gabe. Gabe should probably have like his own gabelegion.com, right? That’s your middle name, Legion?
Gabe: I just put that there as like let people know that that’s my company.
Andrew: All right. Then like even gabelegion.com. You need that. Like, look at me. I got so excited about what you’re doing. There’s no way for me to go find out about you. Well, actually, thankful you did have this MIDI Money which is up. If you need people to connect with you, you need a website. That’s what gives you a lot of credibility in the world, go check out hostgator.com/mixergy to get that site.
And finally, if you’re into this whole chatbot stuff, I’m fascinated by it after I invested in ManyChat, I invested in Assist which just got acquired recently. I said I got to teach this stuff. If anyone wants to know how to do it, you can see the chatbots that I’ve created by going to botacademy.com and we’ll teach you how to create your own chatbot. Gabe, it’s been freaking great and I hope the two of us can get together for a drink when I get back.
Gabe: I would love that. I would love that. By the way, this just for me, I’ve been listening to your podcast for years. I honestly would not have thought that I would be on your podcast. I know the level of people that you have on your podcast are like people at the top of their game and it’s just an honor to be here and I’m super excited. So thank you for having me on.
Andrew: Thanks for being on here. I think this is one of the most exciting interviews on the site. I’m glad that people got to listen to it. Thank you, everyone. Bye.