Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. Joining me is an entrepreneur that I interviewed back in 2014, when he was running a pair of companies. And at the time, I’ll be honest with you, I was a little suspicious. I thought, “This guy sounds really good. He’s got that British accent. A lot of people like him. But is it just online posturing?” This was back in what, 2014, 2013?
I’ve known him now for five, six years. I’ve known a lot of friends that we have in common, and boy, have I seen that yeah, it’s a real business. The two companies that I interviewed him about last time were Live2sell. It’s a group of . . . Live2Sell Group HQ, is that the full name, Chris?
Chris: Just Live2Sell Group is okay.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s like a really formal name. It’s a call center company. And he also has Virtual Staff Finder, a virtual assistant matchmaking service. And then since the last interview, he created this thing called Youpreneur. It started out as a book, which he called “The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business” but it just expanded beyond that, way beyond that. And I want to find out about all three businesses, both the call center and virtual assistant business, and also the educational business with Youpreneur.
And the reason that this interview came about Chris, by the way, I’m introducing Chris Ducker, the founder of those two companies, is I had this idea. Chris, when I go to conferences, I don’t like to watch a lot of presentations. I’ll watch some, but for the most part I’m there to get to know people and I keep wanting to level up. So I started out with just, you know, going out to events and meeting people. Then I said, “No, I’m going to host a dinner.” So I started inviting people to dinner.
And then I said, “You know what, a lot of events don’t do speaker dinners. If I call it The Speaker Dinner, then I’m really going to get a high quality people,” so I called it The Speaker Dinner. Then I found I wasn’t getting to know people well enough because we’d be like 5, eventually became 12 people around a dinner table. I couldn’t get to know them. I said, “You know what the next step is, I’m getting a suite anyway, let’s just have people come into my suite one on one.”
And so for three days, in San Diego, at Social Media Marketing World, I sat in my suite, which started out looking beautiful and then eventually felt a lot like a jail cell, pretty jail cell, beautiful spacious jail cell, with a good view but a jail cell, where one person at a time would come in and we had these awkward conversations. Now in between, I’d do other stuff like I had Scotch Night, and Chris Ducker and Pat Flynn came out. And on the way out of Scotch Night Chris goes, “I’m going to see you tomorrow.” And I go, “Yeah, I’m going to see you tomorrow at 11:00.” He goes, “Oh, funny. I had it in my book at 10:00.” I said, “Okay, let’s fix that.” So we fixed it in his calendar for 11:00, he goes. The guy shows up at 10:30 anyway. I had another meeting in the room.
Chris: I’m British, we like to be . . . we like to, you know, we like to be punctual. That’s what it is.
Andrew: Well, I had another meeting. You were more than punctual and I thought, “Okay, I’m confident enough that this will work out.” It became the best freaking session of the whole three-day period. What I discovered is, one on one is a little bit awkward. But if you have three people in the room, and we actually had more because Ray, the guy who was there before you, he brought his entourage, he had two others with him. But the fact that the three of us were there just kind of riffing, it made it into the best, the best event of the whole conference for me. And from now on, when I do something in my room, I’m going to invite multiple guests to come in and just hang out there. We’ll have some drinks. It will be water, you know, with flavors, but it’ll be that. Because of Chris, I’m going to call it maybe the Chris Ducker Experience.
Chris: I think that’s exactly what you should call it, The Chris Ducker Experience. And I’ll just turn up and hang out the entire time. That’s what’s going to happen.
Andrew: Oh, I would love it. I’m going to give you the . . . at the room, just don’t show up after 10:00, it will be great . . . 10 p.m., I mean, 10 p.m.
Chris: I will say though, I think on a very serious note, I think one of the reasons why, and this is maybe a good idea for you in the future. If you intend to bring multiple people at the same time in that meeting environment, Ray and myself have known each other for several years as well. And the funny thing is actually, we were due to actually meet [just 00:04:09] us later on that morning straight after I was going to be done with you. So it was quite serendipitous that he was there before I was going to be there. And we ended up just going for like two hours and taking care of a few birds with one stone.
But I think that when you have that kind of environment, and people know each other a little already at least, that fuels conversations and ideas and plans and clarity. Good stuff. Whereas, if people were complete strangers, it would probably be good because you’re a pretty good master of ceremonies, but I don’t think you would have had slightly the same frankness flavor. And I think that has got something to do with the fact that we all knew each other quite well already, you know.
Andrew: You’re right. It might need to be like two people who know each other and a third person who’s new. Kind of what happened with Amanda Bond. You guys didn’t know her, but boy, she was just blowing everyone away when she joined later for the thing.
Chris: Well, Amanda and I walked back to the conference center with each other. And within what, an hour in your suite, not even that probably actually when she turned up a little late . . .
Andrew: It was like 20 minutes, she was a little late.
Chris: Yeah. On our way back to the center, she’s already said yes to coming on my podcast, yes to coming to London to speak at my event in the future, and yes to writing in-depth guest content for youpreneur.com. So I mean, it just goes to show it really honestly truly is who you surround yourself with. You want to do well in business, you’ve got to surround yourself with smart people. Nobody has a monopoly on ideas.
Andrew: And I would say that’s why I do that when I go to conferences. I don’t get that much out of watching a session, I could always get the recording of it. It’s getting to know people. And one of the first things that I asked you was, “Hey, tell me how your business is doing?” And we’re going to start with that, and then we’re going to start . . . and then we’re going to go into how you built these businesses up. Because you have businesses with real people, a lot of them, which is frankly, really hard to manage. And then you also have this educational part of your business that I’m curious about.
This whole thing is sponsored by two phenomenal companies. The first will host anyone’s website right, it’s called HostGator. And the second will help you do email marketing and other marketing automation really well. It’s called ActiveCampaign. I’ll talk about those later, Chris. First, Chris, I know that in private, you told me a lot more about how Virtual Staff Finder and Live2Sell are doing. What can you give me as far as revenue now that we’re talking publicly? Just give me a sense of it.
Chris: Yeah. I mean, revenue, I think, is something that a lot of people are very freely, happily to discuss in quite great detail, you know, across the board, right. A lot of obviously public companies, all the rest of it, we all know kind of where they’re at. But I think particularly in the online business world, I’ve seen . . . I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen a little bit of a wave where, you know, five, six years ago, kind of everyone was sharing their income reports or they were quite freely discussing, you know, their income, their revenue, their margins, that sort of type of thing. I have always personally played my finances quite close to my chest. For no other reason, if I’m to be very frank, that it is absolutely nobody’s business, other than mine, how much money I bloody make. It really does come down to that.
Andrew: What about this though, Chris? You’re teaching people how to become better entrepreneurs. Don’t they want to know that you’ve actually built a real company with big profits and the more profits, the more revenue, the more credibility you have?
Chris: Yeah, totally. Look, I am happy and quite outwardly, regularly saying that I run, own, and operate a multi-seven-figure annual revenue group of companies.
Andrew: So that means anywhere between $1 million and $9, almost $10 million for Virtual Staff Finder in revenue and also separately for Live2Sell?
Chris: The group of companies.
Andrew: Each company has its own million plus revenue.
Chris: Yes, correct.
Andrew: And what about profits? Are you pulling in profits from these businesses?
Chris: Of course. Absolutely.
Andrew: You are. More than $250,000 from each business?
Chris: Oh, yeah, without a doubt.
Andrew: Okay, great. And, you know, by the way, one of the reasons why people are not talking about it lately is . . . well, they’re talking in private. Some people have had some threats, some real like life issues. I was about to talk about specifically one person who had to do something. There are a couple of people who we know who had to do stuff to protect themselves.
Chris: Oh, no, I mean, I’ve heard some bloody horror stories, to be honest with you. And I mean, I’m a father of four. I, you know, obviously, I’m a very protective father. And I like to think, again, that, you know, if people are coming to me to learn how to build their businesses, right, particularly based around their personal brand, which is what Youpreneur focuses on from an educational company perspective. They only need to look at my personal profile, the fact that I keynote multiple events every year, the fact that I’ve got two best-selling books with, you know, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, you know, well over 1,000 . . .
Andrew: I don’t know about that. There are a lot of people who have that kind of experience to have those bona fides, I guess, who nevertheless really are doing nothing but showing off, right? You can get a best-selling book without having done anything real in business. All right. But I’ve got this. We’ve talked, like I said, with a lot of experience about you. It’s kind of interesting that you’re a guy whose dad, I think at one point if I remember right, said you weren’t going to amount to anything or he said that you were going to be nothing. Am I right about that?
Chris: Yeah. Well, yeah, totally.
Andrew: And because what?
Chris: I was bumming off my, you know, my exams and he left a business card, one of his business cards Scotch taped to my bedroom door. I was about 15, 16 I think. And he said on it . . . he just wrote on the back of the business card, “The way to be nothing is to do nothing.” Now my dad was not that profound. That is not a Ducker original, I can assure you of that. He got it from somewhere, right? But it was the kick in the pants, quite frankly, that I needed.
And I did turn around almost all of those entry level, you know, university A-level type entry level exams. We call them the GCSE in the UK. It’s what you do when you’re 16 years old, basically. Maybe your version is the SAT over in the U.S. or something. I didn’t pass them all, but I passed a good majority of them. The important ones I passed, which enabled me to obviously be able to take my education little bit further. But with that being said, three months into university, I decided to quit and he wasn’t very happy with me then either. So, you know, things were sad . . .
Andrew: Did he ever get a chance to feel proud?
Chris: Well, here’s the thing. Unfortunately, we lost my dad when I was 29 years old, about a year before I started my first company. So he hasn’t seen the business success or the author success or the speeches and the events and . . . He never got to see any of that. But I will say . . .
Andrew: Do you and your kids sometimes think, “Wow, I would love for him to see this moment right now”?
Chris: Oh, yeah. Totally. Yeah. I mean, it happens all the time, all the time. Even more so actually, fun fact, I’m not sure whether you’re aware of this or not. But when we did the inaugural Youpreneur Summit conference, which was in November 2017 in London, we opened it with an intro video of me fundamentally lost in my own city, my hometown of London. And it was me running around all over the streets of London past every major milestone and, you know, tourist spot that you can imagine, dressed in a Union Jack waistcoat and bow tie. I mean, it was a lot of fun and all the rest of it, but my father was actually a very, very well accomplished architect in the city of London.
And when you see the Bond movies and, you know, the skyscrapers and the landscapes of London and things like that, I would say my old man probably had his hand in at least 30% to 35% of those buildings that you see. So when I’m running past, you know, Buckingham Palace and, you know, The Shard and all these other, you know, great landmarks in London . . . It was actually quite cool to sort of shoot that footage and then present it as part of the intro at the first event. It was kind of cool. But yeah, I mean, he saw me develop a good career for myself. He didn’t see me develop . . .
Andrew: But not become this great entrepreneur. The way that you got into entrepreneurship was one day you said . . . And, by the way, we covered a lot of this in a previous interview so people can go find it, but I need a little bit of background before we get into how you built these businesses and then why Youpreneur needed to be a thing and how you’re making it into this successful business. But you got into this because you went to the Philippines . . . you quit your job, went to the Philippines, you helped this bank handle their telemarketing. You looked around the Philippines and you noticed, “Hey, you know what? There’s this big call center business going on here.”
Now, I’ve noticed that a lot of companies here in San Francisco have these offices in the Philippines. Talk to me about why the Philippines and then we’ll get into like what you did in the Philippines. But why is the Philippines the place where people go for people?
Chris: Amazon has their kind of off hours managed by a company in Philippines. So yeah, a lot of companies do it. The reason why the Philippines has kind of just boomed over the last 20 years in this BPO or business process outsourcing industry is because, quite frankly, the command of the English language that the Filipino has is the best that you will come across in a developing country, you know, that you can hire talented, you know, well-educated people in to represent your company.
I think it’s the third or maybe the fourth largest English-speaking country, you know, non-English country outside of like the U.S., the UK and whatnot. And the reason why is because they are educated in English from a very, very young age. They have a big love of everything and anything American pop culture. You could go to a 20-screen multiplex cinema and, you know, 18 of them would be American movies, Hollywood movies. And that is why . . .
Andrew: English is one of the two official languages of the Philippines.
Andrew: And then the other thing is that they also have a good work ethic, very similar to the U.S. What about the time zone difference? Are they willing to work at night? Is that a thing?
Chris: That’s it. I mean, that’s the entire business. That’s the entire business.
Andrew: They will work overnight. And then what’s the lifestyle like when somebody works overnight?
Chris: Well, you’re like a vampire, quite frankly. I mean, you’re up all night working, and then you go home and you rest. And, you know, you have your breakfast while everybody else is having their dinner. And then you got to work. And that’s fundamentally the way it is. And quite frankly, that was the way myself and my wife, who you met when we were on the cruise few years ago. That was the way that [inaudible 00:15:12] set up the business. You know, when we opened the doors to the company, we were working the night shift, the graveyard shift, as well because we needed to because we were the principals of the company and we were . . .
Andrew: What does it mean for your kids when you’re doing that?
Chris: I’m sorry?
Andrew: What does it mean for your kids when you’re doing that?
Chris: Well, we didn’t have kids at that point. You know, I have two kids from my first marriage who are now grown up. And then, you know, myself and Ercille have two younger children now. But yeah, I mean, she got pregnant pretty quickly after we opened the doors actually. Maybe that was a celebratory pregnancy. I don’t remember now. But yeah, she got pregnant pretty quickly. And we had Charlie in our first year of business as well, which, you know, put some . . . there were some challenges there. But we’ve done well and Cassandra . . .
Andrew: Were you able to continue to work overnight? Are people who work in the Philippines able to do it overnight?
Chris: In terms of what, sorry? [inaudible 00:16:06].
Andrew: I feel like once you have kids, how do you stay in the kids’ lives when you’re working overnight? And I don’t just mean you two, I mean, also the people who work for you.
Chris: No, it’s tough. I mean, you know, you’ll find because the Philippines is a pretty close-knit family, you know, country of very, very big, very close families. You know, the chances are that when you’re at work, you know, either one or the other of the parent will look after the kid, or, you know, maybe grandparents get involved quite a bit as well. It’s not un-normal for grandparents to live with their kids and their grandchildren as well. So it’s a challenge but it’s a challenge that . . . Because of the close-knit family, you know, the real family values that the Filipinos have, which is one of the things I love the most about the Filipino people.
Because of that it’s a challenge but it’s a challenge that’s easily managed, I think a lot of the time, way more easier than, say, in the West. Because we tend to kind of, you know, fly the nest, don’t we? You know what I mean and [put distance 00:17:14] . . .
Andrew: Yeah, I know I did.
Chris: . . . our parents quite a bit.
Andrew: The first business was Live2Sell. I’m guessing, based on the name, that the goal was not just to do a call center, but to do one that helped close sales, right?
Chris: Well, actually, it started like that, but it became pretty apparent, pretty quickly, that we weren’t going to find an army of closers. Unfortunately, as great as Filipino telemarketers are, it’s tough to get them to close actual sales. And so we were trying to do a few bits and pieces with, you know, credit card companies and personal loan companies and things like that. But it just became very apparent very, very quickly that they were great at, you know, creating leads, generating leads, setting up appointments, that sort of type of thing. But we were struggling immensely on the closing side of the sales.
And so I called it, literally, after a couple of months, I said, “You know what, we’ll just go head over heels with lead gen and appointment setting.” And that’s what we did. And we became actually . . . very quickly we became one of the leaders in the country for outbound telemarketing services such as . . .
Andrew: What does that mean? How did that work? How did that work? When you say outbound lead generation, who are they calling and what were they doing?
Chris: Prospects. You know, let’s say you’re a web design or SEO company, for example, I’m thinking of a couple of, you know, clients that we’ve had in the past. SEO company, web design company you’ve got a, you know, team of people they’re in the United States. You’ve got, you know, three or four sales people who are real closers, who can close sales. Well, I’ve never met a salesperson that truly loved the prospecting and the qualification part of that sales process. I would much rather get, you know, a set of warm leads to call every day rather than having to go through, you know, a directory or whatever the case may be, right.
So we would get the directories, we would get the data from the clients, we would then go ahead, load them into our dialers. Our dialers would dial the numbers out. Our agents would pick up those phone calls and ultimately pitch the idea, you know, “How long have you been in business?” “Two or three years.” “Have you got a website?” “Yes, I do.” “When was the last time you updated it?” “It was about a year ago.” “Did you know that you’re more likely to be ranked on Google if you consistently update your website on a regular basis? If you want I can put you in touch with one of our associates and they can give you a call and see what might come out of it.”
Andrew: And this would be out of the blue. So I can . . .
Chris: Oh, yeah, it’s very much cold calling in terms of the lead gen side of things, very much cold calling. Appointment setting, a little bit different. People have already filled out an info pack. They’ve clicked on something on the internet or whatever and they want more information. You give them a call, you give them a link, you send them, you know, the second pack or whatever. And then you set up appointments for salespeople . . .
Andrew: Let me take that first part. So you know I’m fascinated by chatbots. One way that I might find good prospects for chatbots is to say, “Hey, you know what, anyone who uses high-end email marketing software, understands how this email thing works and might be ready to change to chat.” What I might do is go to BuiltWith and do a search on BuiltWith for anyone who’s using, say, ActiveCampaign or Infusionsoft or something like that. I get a list of all of them because I pay for it with BuiltWith. I then get the email addresses of the people who work there. I don’t know what service I would use, but I imagine there’s a service that does that, right?
And then I give it to your team and say, “Can you check in with them and say, how’s email working for you?” And if it’s working great, then you might say, “Do you know that there’s something like email that happens via chat and we can set you up?” If they say it’s not working? “Well, did you know it’s because email’s not doing so well these days and chat . . . ”
Chris: Totally. It’s a script, everything is scripted. When they say yes to this, it goes off in that direction. When they say no to this, it goes in another direction. And the script ultimately comes to a conclusion with something happening in some way, shape or form.
Andrew: That sets up a demo call.
Chris: Yeah. Maybe the call is put on a Do Not Call list, they don’t want to hear from you again. Maybe they request the information pack, maybe they want an email, whatever the case may be. And that is ultimately what Live2Sell was all the way back then and is still now, quite frankly. We haven’t changed the business model at all.
Andrew: Chris, does that work? Like can you actually call strangers and say, “I wonder if you have a website or if you have like email marketing” and set them up?
Chris: When you’re calling B2B, yes, it works, because business owners pick up the telephone. If you’re calling B2C, business to consumer, different ballgame. Almost everybody in the consumer market is now on a Do Not Call list in some way, shape or form. They don’t want to get those type of calls. So we ultimately don’t do any B2C campaigns, we focus on connecting one business with another business.
Andrew: What type of lifetime value does somebody need to have to have it payoff?
Andrew: What type of lifetime value does someone need to have to have it pay off?
Chris: I mean, it totally depends on what you’re selling, obviously. I mean, if you’re selling a product that’s worth, you know, two grand and your margin’s 50% you’re making a grand on the sale. And that person, you know, that one lead being generated is going to be the equivalent of, you know, $100 or whatever. I mean, it’s a no-brainer, you know, it’s a real no-brainer. It’s like Facebook ads, as you well know. I mean, if you pump, you know . . . If I was to give you 20 grand tomorrow, and say, “Run your best Facebook ads, get me some traffic and some opt-ins,” and that 20 grand in 60 days turned into 35 grand in sales for me. I made 15,000 in margin, hell, I’ll come back with 100 grand, I’ll come back with a million . . .
Andrew: Yeah, no, the reason that I’m asking that way is because I’ve seen a lot of Facebook ads, but I’ve never had somebody call me up this way. And I remember even when Drip was doing . . .
Chris: Well, that’s because maybe you’re seen more as a B2C target rather than a B2B target because of the fact that you do business primarily, at least online. We’re talking about old school businesses here, right? We’re talking about everything from, you know, dry cleaners to, you know, restaurants, right. [inaudible 00:23:35].
Andrew: What would someone sell a dry cleaner or a restaurant?
Chris: I don’t know. I mean, chemicals, take-out boxes, you know.
Andrew: Oh, really? It’s that type of thing.
Chris: Yeah. Janitorial services, website services, you know. It’s a whole bunch of stuff. Everybody needs to clean their restaurant.
Andrew: All right. Sorry, I’m talking over you sometimes because I’m a little excited and also because I’m a rude asshole.
Chris: It’s okay. I love it when you get excited. It’s great. And, you noticed why I always say you’re such . . .
Andrew: [crosstalk 00:24:04] your business.
Chris: You’re such a good interviewer because your fascination is very, very real and it’s authentic. And I love that about you.
Andrew: Like even when we were in person, I was watching you to just like to get a sense of how Chris worked. I got a sense that your wife was more of the, like the organized, responsible person and you’re the person who could do what she organized you to do. Like if she told you, “You need to spend half an hour today going on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram,” you would do it where most people would go, “I don’t want to. Why did somebody tell me what to do?” You could get it done.
Chris: Totally. You know, one of the things that we talk about on the Youpreneur side of things is P2P or people to people and how business . . . you know, people ultimately want to do business with other people. And so I remember when we first launched the Youpreneur Summit, again, our live event, one of the things that she came up with the idea, it wasn’t me. I’m the one that coined the bloody phrase and I didn’t even come up with this idea. She said, “You know what you should do, you should just reach out to like, you know, the 30, the 40, the 50 most active people that you engage with, in some way, shape or form, that you’ve helped. You’ve answered a question, you’ve given them a bit of advice or whatever, on Facebook in the last year. Reach out to them and just say, ‘Hey, just in case you didn’t know, the price to the tickets to the Youpreneur Summit are going up at the weekend. I want to let you know in case you were planning on coming. You know, I didn’t want you to miss out on saving a bit of money. Here’s the URL.” I did that and we sold a lot of tickets. And if she hadn’t told me to do it, I wouldn’t have done it. So there you go.
Andrew: I would feel so hesitant to do that, to reach out to friends and say, “Did you know that you can buy this thing for me?” You don’t feel that?
Chris: No. Bear in mind, not many of them I would class as friends. These are people . . .
Andrew: Even like work relationships, I’d have a hard time with that.
Chris: Oh, I mean, like . . . you know, look, if you have purchased one of my courses or, you know, something . . . I’ve approved you as a friend on Facebook or if I’ve met you in mastermind sessions at certain events, or maybe it was a Scotch Night in San Diego. If I think that my event is going to bring you some sort of value when it comes to building and growing your business, I’m going to stand behind that. I’m going to let you know about it, absolutely.
Andrew: I get it. I think, I’ve got someone on my team who does that. I could use more people who say, “Andrew, you need to go do that.” And then Andrew has to go and do that.
Chris: My wife is very, very good at bossing me around.
Andrew: And it feels like you guys are good that way. That you really are really good at being social. You would just end up in any environment, some random group of people, you’ll be social with them. If one person rolls their eyes at something you said, you don’t give a . . . You’re not getting lost in their drama. No. Were you always like that?
Chris: Pretty much. Yeah, pretty much. Some people might call it being cocky. I just call it being very self-aware, to be honest with you. I know, at the very core of who I am, that I’m a good person, and I do the things I do for the right reasons, for the right people. And so, I’m also aware of the fact that I am not going to be happy, or rather I’m not going to be able to make everybody that I meet happy. You know, you can’t please all the people all the time. And so, I’m just very aware of the fact that I will attract the right type of people into my world, and I will help them in some manner, in some way, shape or form.
And here’s the thing, at the exact same time, just like a magnet, the analogy I use is a magnet. As I’m attracting the right people, at the exact same time because of my vibe and what I’m all about, I’m repelling the other people away. And I’m fine doing that because these are the people that really shouldn’t be in my ecosystem.
Andrew: Yeah, I saw that. That’s what I meant, that you were like the life of the party, center of attention, but not everyone were to say . . . If we were on this cruise and we went to do an excursion together not everyone was looking for a party guy to take their attention away. You weren’t getting lost in that. You weren’t letting your head get turned towards them and go, “Why am I doing this? I should shut up here. People want to have . . . ” No. You recognize that there are a bunch of people who want to know like the Cockney slang and you just kept going off with them. And you were having . . . that was interesting about you. All right. Let me talk about first sponsor and then we’re going to get right into it. I’m actually looking at BuiltWith right now to see who you use for email marketing. What do you use, Mandrill?
Chris: Me, personally?
Andrew: Do you even know what email marketing you use?
Andrew: Oh, you use ConvertKit?
Andrew: ConvertKit is fantastic.
Chris: Love it.
Andrew: Here’s the thing that I like about it. Oh yeah, there it is, right at the top of BuiltWith. I don’t know how I just scrolled right past it. What do you like about ConvertKit? I’m going to talk about my sponsor in a moment. What do you like about them?
Chris: What I like about ConvertKit is that it’s very simple for me to use. I’m not the most tech savvy. I’m aware that that’s a weakness of mine so I don’t try to get any better at it, quite frankly. I hire people to do that stuff for me. However, as and when I might need to go in and fire off a quick broadcast and include some tags, exclude some people that are tagged in other ways. I know I can go in, I’m not going to break anything. I’m not going to delete half my list. It’s just a very, very simple, intuitive user experience. I can get my eyes and my mouse clicking around without any major catastrophes happening.
Andrew: I made a mistake and I went with . . . I usually don’t say within the ad for ActiveCampaign, but I’ll say it. I went with Infusionsoft. It was so tough to deal with.
Chris: I couldn’t deal with Infusionsoft.
Andrew: It’s one of those situations where yes, you get to tag, you get to do a million different things. But you know what? It becomes so complicated that you can’t just go in and send a quick email. You can’t do a quick A/B test. You can’t do any of it. Unless you hire one of their certified professionals, which I ended up hiring. And then you end up hiring another person and another. It becomes really tough. And in the past, what it was was two different approaches to email marketing. Either you do the dumb simple thing, which is everyone goes on your one big list, everyone gets an email at the same time. That’s it. If they unsubscribe, they unsubscribe. That’s one way.
Or you get to go to this expert level stuff where when somebody buys, you tag them separately, so you don’t send an email offering a discount if somebody already bought. Or if they’re doing something like let’s say, clicking on certain links on your site, or clicking on certain links in your email, you could start targeting them based on what they’re interested in, because they showed you that they were interested with clicks. And in the past, that was way too complicated.
What ActiveCampaign has said is, hey, you know what, we’ve been here forever. We keep updating forever. We keep modernizing and one of the things that we’re going to do is add all these marketing automation tools that people love, but make it super simple, that anybody should be able to do things like, and here’s what’s unique about them, not just do . . . What are you spraying in your mouth? I’m fascinated by that.
Chris: So this is a secret. Are you ready for this? This is a real secret. It’s actually called Entertainer’s Secret. And you can get it on Amazon.
Andrew: It’s literally called Entertainer’s Secret? Yeah, there it is. Entertainer’s Secret, it’s throat relief.
Chris: I’m holding the bottle up, although obviously I know some people probably won’t see this video.
Andrew: Yeah, they got to listen. But yeah.
Chris: It’s for dry throat and hoarse voice. If you are a podcaster, a YouTuber, if you stream, if you speak at all, few puffs of this before you get up on stage, it’s complete gold. It’s 100% natural. And for some reason, it worked brilliantly. This got me through the audio recording of “Rise of the Youpreneur.” I did 10 hours, 2 days recording that book at a studio in San Diego. And this was it, baby. And that was after three days at a conference and two days at a mastermind before the conference. So I’ve been talking ultimately non-stop for a week before even recording the book.
Andrew: What is that called again?
Chris: Entertainer’s Secret.
Andrew: Entertainer’s Secret. All right.
Chris: Check it out on Amazon. It’s like 10 bucks a bottle.
Andrew: All right. So I’ll close out the ad for ActiveCampaign. The cool thing that they do is, they say, you know what, we don’t just have to wait till people click on links and email to know what they’re doing. If they watch a whole video on a site, they’ve clearly expressed an interest in the topic of the video, let’s tag them that way. If they’re clicking to a certain part of the site over and over . . . Like, you’ve run three different businesses, if someone goes to chrisducker.com, but they keep going over to Live2Sell over and over, you might realize, “Hey, you know what they might need somebody to contact them and see if they’re interested in telemarketing services.”
And so you just start sending them emails based on what they’ve done, not on a form that they filled out, but action that they’ve taken on your site. And ActiveCampaign makes it super simple to use it. If anyone’s interested and they go to the special URL I’m about to give them, they’re going to get to try this for free. So really just sit down with a drink one night, watch something on Netflix and play around with it and you’ll see how easy it is and how effective it is. So you get to try for free with this URL. If you decide to sign up, your second month will also be for free.
The next benefit is, they will give you two free consultations with experts who’ll walk you through using this and getting the most value out of their software. And finally, if you’re with a different email provider and you want to migrate, they will migrate you for free. I have brought this up so many times in my interviews and allowed any one of my guests to take a dump on the sponsors. Every single one of them who knows about ActiveCampaign has talked them up because they’ve done so well over the last few years especially. If you’re interested, go to activecampaign.com/mixergy to get all that good stuff. Activecampaign.com/mixergy.
All right. I love ActiveCampaign. Oh wait, what’s going on? Activecampaign.com/mixergy, did they think that their ad is done and they took down the page? I’m going to tell Sachit. They are not done. I still have more ads for them. Good. Do you do that in your podcast too, like if . . . I try to be so honest and so like real because it creates awkwardness if you don’t, that if the sponsor site is down or if I don’t like the sponsor, I’ll bring it up. But it’s not great . . .
Chris: Well, here’s the thing. I stopped taking sponsors on my show probably about two years ago now, because I figured out that I could end up honestly making more money selling more of my own stuff, if I’m to be very frank with you.
Andrew: What’s the hot seller on your podcast?
Chris: Definitely, I mean, without a shadow of a doubt, the one . . . you know, the one thing that we get, without a doubt, the most traffic to is the Youpreneur Academy. It’s our membership community.
Andrew: I remember when you launched it, when you were trying to figure out the software for it. I have to be honest, I said, “Why does this guy need to do that? Does he have to just like get more attention?” You had a good couple of businesses. Why do you want to be the face of the business and teach entrepreneurship?
Chris: Well, because I had been building my own personal brand for, you know, years without even really realizing it. I was blogging, I was podcasting, I was starting to speak. I got the first, you know, book deal for Virtual Freedom and the personal brand was there, plain and simple.
Andrew: I know that the first set of customers that you got was going on for Live2Sell and then eventually Virtual Staff Finder. It was because you would go into forums and look for people to help and to promote your services to and you’d get people. Then you personally made a ton of phone calls. I think it was like a couple of hundred a day, at one point, trying to get people to hire your service, to get Live2Sell to work for them. Did you eventually find out that your personal brand was leading businesses to sign up for Live2Sell or to hire staff from Virtual Staff Finder?
Chris: It depends on how you look at it. I mean, you know, a lot of the deals that we closed for Live2Sell particularly the B2B, you know, they don’t know Chris Ducker per se, okay? They know that I’ve got the company and they know that, you know, we’re talking and they’re interested in our services. And I’m answering questions and giving them ideas on how they can utilize us as a service provider to build their business. But ultimately, did they sign up because of me? Hell, yes, absolutely.
Andrew: So raising your personal profile actually got customers to sign up.
Andrew: Give me an example of somebody who we might know of who signed up for something from you because they know of your name.
Chris: Oh, I mean, everybody from Pat Flynn to Gideon Shalwick, Michael Hyatt. I mean, there’s . . .
Andrew: What would they have hired you guys for? What would Michael Hyatt or Pat Flynn hire you for?
Chris: Virtual assistants. Virtual Staff Finder.
Andrew: They need virtual assistants and they say, “I know this guy, Chris. I trust him. Chris, hook me up.”
Chris: Chalene Johnson, when Virtual Freedom came out, Chalene . . . I mean, I owe her so many different types of dinners. I truly do. I mean, she sold thousands of copies of that book for me through her Periscope broadcasts, through, you know, her . . .
Andrew: Why? Was there an affiliate deal?
Chris: No, no, no, no, no. It was just . . . Dude, honestly Virtual Freedom has done incredibly well. I mean, we’re a hop, a skip and a stone throw away from 100,000 copies of that book being sold. And, you know, it’s helped tens of thousands of people. I met a guy who just [inaudible 00:37:22].
Andrew: I should re-read that freaking book.
Chris: . . . said to me . . . He was kind of milling around. I was at the Starbucks at the convention center, and I saw him out of the corner of my eye. And at first I thought maybe he was a Youpreneur member and we’d never met each other in person, he wanted to come and say hi. He comes up to me and he said to me, I kid you not, word for word, “You have made me millions of dollars because of that book. I picked up that book, it changed my business and my life. I have 80 virtual assistants working for me, and you’ve made me millions and millions of dollars.” To which I then replied, “And you let me buy my own coffee. Why didn’t you . . . ”
Andrew: See, that’s the stuff that I’m talking about. That’s what makes you an interesting person in person because you’re not being the nicey nice, everything has to be exactly like formal and touchy. Like, you’re not worried about the touchy people. But if someone were to roll their eyes at that, you would just keep moving. “Let them have their thing, I’m not going to correct them.”
So “Virtual Freedom” is that book that I think you were about to publish last time I had you on. The subtitle of the book is, “How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business.” I do feel like now that I actually have a good team of people, I should re-read that book or maybe even get it on Audible.
Chris: You can.
Andrew: Yeah, I’ve got that book somewhere. I actually had the paper version . . .
Chris: I will say, though, I didn’t do the read for that book. And it was the one thing that I regret more than anything else when it comes to that title. What happened was, I was traveling, I was doing the speaking tour to promote the book. And my publisher called me and said, “We’re getting a ton of people ask for the audiobook version. I know you said you were going to do it later in the year, but we need to get you into a studio now. No matter where you are we will book a couple days, blah blah blah.” I said, “I can’t do it.” I was literally . . . Andrew, I swear, I was like London, Sydney, New Orleans, New York. It was crazy, I was going all over the place for this thing. And, “I can’t do it. I physically don’t have the time. I can’t cut it into the schedule.”
So they got some voice actor to do it, who used to be a TV actor like in the ’80s or something. And the guy was like, “Virtual Freedom: How to . . . ” And he did this whole book talking like he had just been, you know, traditionally, you know, trained at the Shakespeare theater company and all this kind of stuff. And I was just like, “Oh, this guy has just ruined my book on Audible.” So if you really need to listen to it on Audible, go ahead. You know, hit that kind of two times speed, the button, and just get through it real quick. Or pick up the paperback or the Kindle and it’ll be a better experience, I think.
Andrew: This guy, he has done so many books. His name is Gildart Jackson.
Chris: Gildart or something? Yeah.
Andrew: Two hundred and twelve results on Audible alone of books that he has read. But you’re in good company because he also read Richard Branson’s book, “The Virgin Way.”
Chris: Oh, wow. Okay.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. He’s done a bunch. He’s done a bunch.
Chris: Now, I don’t feel too bad. I still think he did a terrible job, but I don’t feel too bad.
Andrew: It might just not be . . . I think you’re right, it’s not in line with your voice, I could totally see. And so what you’re saying is, writing that book helped get you more business and so you said, “Look, I’m raising my own personal profile.” At what point did you say, “Then you know what, instead of just talking about virtual assistants and virtual freedom, I’m going to talk about entrepreneurship”?
Chris: So here’s the thing. I, very transparently became incredibly bored. After talking about VAs and virtual team building for about six years, I became bored to the back teeth of it. And I kid you not, it’s like every podcast request that came through started to get denied, because I just didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I became quite, I’m not going to use the word depressed about it, because I had very successful businesses, a very successful book, very . . . you know, I was doing well based on my expertise in that field. But at the same time, I’d already been an entrepreneur for a long time. And I felt like because of the onus that I put on my personal brand and my reputation and my personality, particularly, as a way to be able to bring in business and help people, I wanted to do more of that. So, you know, we kind of tested it out actually.
Even before “Virtual Freedom” came out in 2014, I did a keynote in 2012 in Vegas. And I started ad-libbing certain one-liners on stage. You know when you’re going a little faster than you should go and you have to . . . “Oh Christ, I’m going to have to throw a story in here or a joke or,” you know, something. And so I start ad-libbing and I’m using terms like “entrepreneurial loneliness” and I’m using terms like the “business of you.” Build a business based around you, but not reliant on you. And I was kind of bringing people back to the VA thing, but I was talking more and more about the personal brand thing. And using examples of people like authors, speakers, coaches, experts, mentors, people like that, who were in that personal brand kind of world.
And, you know, within a few years, Andrew, I had developed, you know, “The Business of You,” which is my most booked keynote. I’ve done it over 50 times. I’m about to do it actually, next week for the last ever time. It’s a little bittersweet because it’s a really, really, really good 45-minute keynote. It’s fun, it’s educational, it’s inspiring. It’s a great keynote. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it, but it is time to sunset it. And it’s sweet because I know what’s coming up and I’m going to be doing my new keynote for the first time in September this year. And I’m really looking forward to taking everything I’ve done with that up to the next level.
And so we started developing it slowly but surely. And then actually it was July 4, 2014, I’m in San Diego, I’m at Pat Flynn’s house. We’ve just had a water balloon fight after having dogs and beer. And my wife and his wife, April, are in the garden playing with the kids and stuff. And me and Pat go to his office with a cup of coffee. And we start talking about what we want to do and who we want to do it for. And the term . . . to cut a long story down to a relatively short one sentence, the term “youpreneur” was born in that little coffee meeting on July 4, 2014.
Andrew: And this was just you two, as friends.
Chris: Just two of us, hanging. Yeah, I mean, Pat and I are best friends. We talk more about our families than we do business. But we know when push comes to shove, if we’ve ever got a problem or we want quick feedback or, you know, whatever. I mean, he just brought on board a brand new team, he’s just hired a whole bunch of people. And he knows that I’ve been doing it for over a decade. So he comes to me and says, “What do I do? What do I not do? How do I keep them motivated? Blah blah blah.” Three hours later, I’ve given him the blueprint.
Andrew: And you just chat for three hours?
Chris: Sometimes, yeah.
Andrew: And you go to him for what? What kind of advice do you go to him for?
Chris: I go to him, again, because I’m a little older than him, I’m eight and a half years older than him. I go to him for more of the tech savvy stuff. So I’ll talk to him, you know, about podcasting equipment and lighting for my videos and things like that. I might . . . he is a ninja email segmentator. He’s incredible with that. So I’ll talk to him about that stuff and how he’s kind of put people into different buckets and we’ve now done . . .
Andrew: What do you mean? So how do you segment your list based on what you’ve learned from him? Tell me an example.
Chris: Oh, totally. Yeah, absolutely. Oh, I mean, you know, just simple things like having just, you know, links with tags on them. You know, which one best describes you one, two, three. You click on it, boom. Now [inaudible 00:45:15].
Andrew: And then you create a different set of email, different set of sequences?
Chris: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: And what are the different . . . what are the different categories, for example, that you might have for Youpreneur?
Chris: The three big ones for Youpreneur is build, market and monetize. So depending on where you are in that journey of building the business of you, are you right at the beginning? Are you still building things up, creating an audience, getting your stuff together? Are you marketing it? Do you already have maybe a course? Are you doing a little mastermind already? Or are you really truly looking to monetize and build and grow?
Andrew: How did you know those were the three?
Chris: Actually, Periscope, 2015. Just before we were about to launch the Youpreneur Academy. We opened the door September 1, 2015. So just to show you, the term was born in July 2014, but we didn’t launch until September 2015. So we didn’t rush at all. But Periscope . . . in 2015 when Periscope hit hard, I remember my first Periscope broadcast was with my hand out the window of a taxi going down the Vegas Strip. And I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. All I remember is seeing all these hearts fluttering up.
Andrew: This was the live broadcasting thing that Twitter eventually bought.
Chris: That Twitter did. Exactly, yeah. Now, I mean, it was great. All of 2015, half of 2016, it was fantastic. I used to go live three or four times a week for about 15 minutes of time. When I started off, you know, I was getting, you know, 10, 20 people watching me. Six, seven months in, I’m getting 200, 300, 400, 500 people watching me. It was incredible. And I have been . . . I have customers now that are in my high-end mastermind program, which is called the Round Table, which found me initially in 2015 on Periscope, randomly completely. So we were utilizing Periscope in the run up to the launch to test one-liners for our landing page. So we would use things like, “The entrepreneurial community where nobody gets left behind.”
Andrew: When you say using it, where were you using it? Where were you putting it?
Chris: If I would say a one-liner as part of a live broadcast, if we got a flurry of hearts come up unprompted, we knew that that hit a nerve, a good nerve.
Andrew: You would just include it in conversation and see if you got any hearts for that?
Chris: We had them written down on Post-it notes.
Andrew: But it wasn’t you saying to people, “I’m going to test this line, if you like it put a heart on?”
Chris: No, no, no.
Andrew: No, that’s great.
Chris: Then it wouldn’t be authentic. Yeah. And I mean, you know, I used Periscope, you know, that was P2P. That was people to people on steroids, that platform. Because it was very mobile, it was in your pocket all the time. And, you know, one night I would be talking about, you know, the importance of building out a really, really well thought out About page on your website or your blog. And then the next night, I would be sitting there with a bourbon with a backing track on and my blues harmonica out. And people would be loving it.
Andrew: Just hang out.
Chris: Just hanging out. Just hanging out.
Andrew: Got it.
Chris: It was very, very interesting to see what Periscope did for us and we utilized it. We launched the Youpreneur Academy entirely on Periscope, an entire 10 days before we ever sent an email to our main list. For about three, four weeks we were developing a little VIP waitlist on Periscope of people that were interested, “Find out more” right. So it was like, “Oh, and if anybody’s interested, four weeks from now the doors to the Youpreneur Academy are going to swing open. We’re going to be doing a special offer for anybody that’s on the VIP waitlist, go to youpreneur.com/vip and hop on that waitlist right now.
And we were just dropping that 2 or 3 times in a 20-minute conversation on Periscope. And within, like I said, three, four weeks, we had 500, 600 people on there. We launched and, Andrew, in 48 hours we had almost 200 people join entirely on Periscope.
Andrew: I was checking out Twitter to see like how big of a following you have on Twitter to get an understanding of why it was so big. Your following on Twitter is 58,000 people.
Chris: Yeah, but you can take that with a pinch of salt really. I mean, Twitter is nowhere near as popular as it used to be. How many people are actually truly tuning into my tweets? Who knows, to be honest with you. But at the end of the day, it was very popular for us back then. It worked very well. We leaned into it, and it served us well and it launched the Youpreneur Academy, which then launched the book and the live conference a year and a half later. And, you know, we’re now in the process of developing our first very in-depth flagship online course, and another mastermind-type service for 2020, which we’re not quite sure how it’s going to work. But it’s all come out of, you know, feedback and surveys and all that.
Andrew: Chris, I’ll do a quick message about my second sponsor. Do you have a little bit more time?
Chris: Yeah. I can do a little bit more.
Andrew: Great. Second sponsor is a company called HostGator. In fact, Chris, let me turn this ad around on you again. I’ll ask you this, if somebody’s listening to us and says, “You know what, I’ve been wanting to be an entrepreneur of some kind. I’d like to start some kind of business.” What’s one example of something that they could do if they got a free hosting package? Or frankly, they don’t even need it for free because it’s so inexpensive. They went to HostGator, they signed up, now what? What’s one suggestion that you have for them?
Chris: Well, I’ve always said that, you know, the most important thing for you as an entrepreneur in today’s world is that you must own your own hub online.
Chris: Your own hub. You can’t build out a YouTube channel and expect to build, you know, a really long-term business out of it. I mean, I know there are, you know, anomalies with some very, very large YouTubers and things like that. But I mean, the average YouTuber . . . YouTube could crush your channel overnight, like it could disappear overnight. Same thing when I see people developing huge communities on Facebook groups, “Dude, you don’t own that.” Don’t build your business on rented land.
So you get the opportunity to get a domain name, to get a website up and running, start blogging, start telling people about you, your ideas, your opinions, the things that you like, the things you don’t like, share your knowledge, whatever that knowledge might be. And then, you know, utilize all those other platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, everything, to bring people back to your home.
And so your website is probably the most important part, particularly as a youpreneur, as a personal brand entrepreneur. Your website is the most important part of your business. And secondly is the growth of your email list. So your two sponsors today . . .
Andrew: Still, website and email.
Andrew: Still, website and email.
Chris: For me, 100%, yeah. And I know you love your bots, but for me . . .
Andrew: I do. You know what though, what I’m surprised to hear is someone who’s done so well with Periscope, I was expecting you say, “And you know what, Instagram is really very hot.” But no, you’re saying it’s those . . .
Chris: Listen, Instagram is hot for me. It’s without a doubt the number one platform for me socially, where I get the most amount of engagement and everything. But I’m telling you now, I don’t want people just to follow me on Instagram. I appreciate their eyeballs, of course. But I want them to get to my website, to opt in to my email list. It’s a smart way to do it.
Andrew: All right. For anyone who wants to get a website, it’s super inexpensive when you go to HostGator and frankly, it just works. All you have to do is go to hostgator.com/mixergy. When you do, you’re going to get the lowest price that they have available anywhere. But frankly, it doesn’t matter that much, Chris, because their price is so low that if I give you even a big discount on it, it’s still . . . a big discount on a low price is still, you know, it’s low. Doesn’t matter their price. What you’re going to get is great service from a company that just works and has been doing it for over a decade. And if you sign up using my URL which is hostgator.com/mixergy, not only will you get their lowest price, but also you’re going to get me in your corner, when it comes to them. All you have to do is go to hostgator.com/mixergy.
I’m kind of lost in your Instagram freaking page. Like look at this, instagram.com/chrisducker, you do have a lot more engagement even though you’re what, 30,000 followers. But I’m also fascinated by the people you’re with. How’d you get to be with . . . what’s this Gary Vaynerchuk experience? I see a picture of you two together.
Chris: I mean, Gary and I have known each other . . . we’re not best friends or anything. We’ve known each other for a good few years. We’ve hung out. We’ve, you know . . .
Andrew: You interviewed him on your podcast, is that what it is?
Chris: Oh, he’s come on the show a whole bunch of times. But I think that one photo you might be looking at is a while back. That was where we hung out for basically, I don’t know, three, four hours in a hotel suite. We did have an interview for the Youpreneur Academy for our proprietary content inside, and then we just sort of hung out for the afternoon. Actually, he was pretty cool that afternoon. My eldest son, who at the time was probably about 20 years-old was just in the process of kind of like getting started with a videographer game and he was doing stuff on Insta and, you know, landscape photography and all this kind of stuff. And Gary sat down with him, I kid you not, 30 minutes back and forth, just coaching him through things and . . .
Andrew: With your son?
Chris: With my son, 20 year-old boy. And my boy was just like . . . When eventually I left with Gary and walked with him over to the center where he was doing the closing keynote, when I met up with my son later on that evening, he said to me, “I know you bought me his book, dad.” I gave him a copy of “Crush It!” like a year earlier. He never read it, right? He’s just, you know, he’s a punk kid, he never read the book. And so he said, he really blew me away, “I’m going to read that book as soon as I get home.” I said, “That’s good. You read his book before you read my book. You do that.”
Andrew: But I get the sense that the reason . . . I get the sense he’s helping out your son . . .
Chris: These are the type of people that I want to surround myself with, you know, people that are smart and free with their experience and happy to help people. That’s what I’m all about.
Andrew: I wonder why does he do it. I get the sense that he does it because he’s a nice guy who wants to help people. But also if I were to think about what’s in it for him, it’s he’s testing like you were testing on Periscope, constantly saying, does this work for him? What’s his real problem? Does this line, does this answer, does this direction help him? And if it does, then that’s something that he files away and then repeats. Am I right?
Chris: I don’t think you’re wrong. I mean, I think, you know, I think probably only really Gary knows what Gary does and why. But I mean, clearly, you know, the influencer role that he has morphed himself into over the last, what, 10 years or so, clearly it has not hurt either his personal brand or his businesses. I think he’s a very . . . I think Gary Vaynerchuk is probably one of the smartest entrepreneurs in our realm and has been for a while.
A lot of people see, you know, the fact that he, you know, kind of gets up on stage with his jeans and his T-shirts and he drops the F bomb every 12 seconds and all that kind of stuff. And they probably don’t appreciate the fact that he’s actually, you know, running one of the fastest growing agencies on the planet. He’s, you know, doing incredible work with a lot of very, very, you know, big names, some of which he can talk about, some of which obviously he cannot. And I respect anybody.
I personally am not a fan of the swearing. I mean, I like, you know, a lot of other people might drop the F bomb every now and then, but I don’t see the need have to do it in my marketing, on stage, on my podcast or anything like that. Personally, that side of things we, you know, we definitely do clash on, not in a physical sense or anything. But I just don’t agree in it. I don’t see the need for why he needs to do it. Quite frankly, he doesn’t need to do it. But for a lot of people, you know, that shock factor is kind of what makes him who he is. And he says himself, you know, he curses. It’s the way he was brought up, the way he talks and he’s just going to carry on being authentic.
Andrew: Let me get back to you for a moment here. Youpreneur, I remember you were trying to figure out what software to use to run your membership etc. I get now how you got customers for it. What was the first like . . . what was the content in there when you got started?
Chris: So at the point when we started we had already had three Tropical Think Tank conferences over in the Philippines. So this was my . . .
Andrew: Tropical Think Tank was you inviting people to the Philippines, where you lived at the time, to just do like a mastermind. But it was a bigger group of people than you might have in a small high-end mastermind.
Chris: Correct. We had 50 people, and then we had 10 experts that would be on stage. So, you know, we had people like, you know, Pat was there one year. Brian Clark from Copyblogger was there one year. Lewis Howes was there one year. And they would get up on stage and share and then they would hang out for a whole week on a, you know, island in a five-star resort in the Philippines. It was great.
Andrew: Which means you’re bumping into them. You’re not just seeing them on stage and then moving away.
Chris: That’s the thing. I mean, you’re having breakfast with them. You’re hanging out at the bar in the evening with them. You’re bumping into them in the spa, you know, the hotel spa, all those things. And so it was a very, very intimate experience, very intimate experience. And we filmed all of the sessions.
Andrew: And that’s what went into the first batch.
Chris: That was [inaudible 00:59:02] to kind of kick things off. And then we would create a, you know, a workshop, a member-driven workshop, which we still do every month now. One of our members who . . . You know, understand, people who join the Youpreneur Academy are experts. They’re people who have got something to share on a particular niche. And so when somebody says, “I can put a workshop together in regards to LinkedIn video for the rest of the members,” boom, do it. When somebody else says, “Hey, can I talk about the power of avoiding burnout as an entrepreneur? I’ve been doing it 25 years.” Sure, go ahead and do it.
Andrew: How do you know that they’re going to do it well?
Chris: I mean, obviously, we don’t just say yes to everyone, right? So, you know, we put out regular calls for people who might be interested in doing something. We get to know people as part of the community, myself and my team, obviously, are on the lookout for people who are free with their expertise, and then they’re happy to answer questions in the forum, and things like that. But from time to time, you know, I just might know of somebody who is in there, who I’ve seen, you know, talk about it on Facebook Live or . . .
Andrew: Bring them in to do a session.
Chris: And I will personally invite them to come in and do a session. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. And so in the beginning it was the Tropical Think Tank recordings that was the content. Was there also a forum from the beginning?
Chris: There was a forum from day one.
Andrew: Can you still run a forum, like an actual forum on your site, not a Facebook group?
Chris: Nope, private forum. The way I look at the Facebook groups . . . and I have one Facebook group that is for past and present and future attendees for the Youpreneur Summit conference. That’s it. It’s a great way to be able to get people a little pumped up for a live event, keep them up to date with things and all that kind of stuff.
And obviously, that goes, you know, up and down. There’s lulls of, you know, very quiet times throughout the course of the year and, you know, a few months before the event, it’ll start kicking off all over again. So that’s the only Facebook group that I own and operate. And the way I look at Facebook group is they’re kind of the pub and then a forum is the boardroom. And we will have forum posts, which quite easily, Andrew, could be copied and pasted as blog posts on, you know, a whole bunch of different blogs . . .
Andrew: I’m surprised that people still go to forums. I thought that they [crosstalk 01:01:28] nobody goes to websites.
Chris: It’s honestly the way that you pitch it, you know, it’s the way you position it as part of the package. You know, they get a monthly workshop, they get access to all of our live event archive, and obviously the Youpreneur Summit stuff is in there now, as well. They get one hour open Q&A with me every month, which is done via Zoom. And then they get the community and that’s it. And we push people to the forum. I mean, we push them hard into that.
We tell them, “This is the reason why you’re joining. It’s not to ask Chris a question once a month, or to watch the workshop. Yes, you should do those things but you are joining this community of people so that you can engage with them in an environment that is very focused on the topic of building the business of you.” So if you want to know about book marketing, you go to the book marketing forum. If you want to know about becoming better at public speaking, you go to the public speaking forum. If you want to know about email marketing, you go to the email . . . and so on, and so on, and so on. And you can’t do that with a Facebook group. The Facebook group . . .
Andrew: No, there is no breaking down and then the . . .
Chris: . . . it’s disjointed. Search function is horrible. And I think because of the very nature of the fact that it’s, you know, 99% of the people that are using it, they’re using it on mobile, they’re short, sharp, fun, you know, thumb text messages, and there’s just no real . . . I just don’t really feel . . .
Andrew: Do you know what software you use for that?
Andrew: What software are you using for it?
Chris: We are using IP Board or Invision Power Board. It’s a great, great package and our people thoroughly love it. It’s incredibly mobile responsive in any mobile browser. You can obviously save it as a home screen icon on your phone. So it’s fundamentally an app, quite frankly. Very mobile responsive, and we have no problems at all keeping those forums . . .
Andrew: Is it called Invision Community now?
Andrew: I thought maybe they changed their name. I’m looking for it, just searching as you’re telling me. IP Board, let me see.
Chris: IP Board.
Andrew: I’ll look for it.
Chris: Or Invision Power. That’s the name of the company.
Andrew: Invision Power. Yeah, got it. Invision Power. Ah, there we go. Got it.
Andrew: How many people in the community now? Did you say it?
Chris: We have just over 600 people now.
Andrew: Wow. All right. For anyone who wants to go learn more about this, I think the book is the best place to go. Why are we giving . . . when I asked you like about the book you said, “Send people to youpreneur.com/book.” Why there? My instinct was just to go to Amazon and find it.
Chris: You can totally do that. I won’t stop anybody going to Amazon. You should totally do that. However, there are details of bonuses that we give to everybody who buys a copy of the book on youpreneur.com/book. So there’s additional workshops, there’s some downloadable blueprints that people can use as templates and things like that. And it’s all on that page. So all the details are there. But I mean, you know what . . .
Andrew: You do that because you want to get to know the people who buy your book.
Chris: Well, I mean, I just want to serve them more. You know, the book is great but, you know, there are several bits and pieces that I would love to send anybody who buys the book that will enable them to kind of do things inside of the book a little quicker maybe, or with a little less friction, or whatever the case may be. And so, if there’s a few bits and pieces I can send out to everybody, all they need to do is just send a copy of the receipt to email@example.com and we’ll take care of it for them.
Andrew: All right. Let me close it out with the watch that I see you on that website wearing. Is that the watch you ended up . . . I know that you lost a watch that your dad gave you. Is that the watch that was like a replacement?
Chris: I don’t know what website you’re on right now. What are you looking at? What URL?
Andrew: I thought maybe it was just like one big watch? I’m looking at the cover of Youpreneur, the “Rise of the Youpreneur.”
Chris: Okay. No, that’s a watch that . . . I bought that for myself.
Andrew: Just for yourself. I remember your dad gave you a watch, you lost it at a basketball game and you said to yourself, “Once I hit 100 full-time employees at my business . . . ” How many are you up to now?
Chris: Three hundred and fifty something.
Andrew: Three fifty. So when you hit 100 you promised yourself you’d do something. Did you do it? What did you do?
Chris: I went out and bought myself my dream watch, which is the Rolex Submariner. Just a black face, stainless steel Rolex sub. I bought that actually the day we hired our 100th employee. My wife looked at me and I was like, “He’s hired.” And she says, “You’re just saying that because you want to go get that watch.” But funnily enough, that guy actually now is one of our senior team leaders. And he’s been with us for, oh god, nine years now. So it was a good hire, that 100th hire. It was a good hire.
Andrew: It wasn’t just about the watch. All right, congratulations.
Chris: Thank you, brother.
Andrew: The website is youpreneur.com/book. And Chris actually reads the audio version of that book, which is why he needs a special spray to keep his voice going. I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. But first, I’m writing an email right now to Sachit saying, “Hey, ActiveCampaign is down. It’s got to be up by the time this interview is up.” It’s activecampaign.com/mixergy. And the second . . . So ActiveCampaign if you want to do your email marketing right. And the second is, if you want to get a website hosted right, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. And Chris, do you find that people are listening to a podcast on Alexa and all these smart speakers?
Chris: To be honest . . .
Andrew: Not enough.
Chris: I’m not sure. I don’t know. What I can tell you is that iTunes is becoming less and less important for us.
Andrew: What is becoming more dominant for you?
Chris: Spotify and iHeart, I think are the two . . . I don’t spend that much time looking at those numbers, to be honest with you.
Andrew: I don’t either.
Chris: But certainly Spotify. Without a doubt, Spotify has really blown up in the last six to eight months or so for us.
Andrew: They’re a really good podcast app. The only thing I wish that they had was Siri control because I like to yell at my phone and get what I want while I’m running. But, all right. I was going to say, guys, if you are listening using one of the smart speakers to my podcast or Chris . . . Chris, what’s your podcast called?
Chris: Youpreneur FM.
Andrew: Youpreneur FM or to Mixergy, let us know. I’m kind of curious about this. I find that I do not listen to podcasts much on my speaker, but I can. I’m thinking of putting one in the bathroom so while I shave, I could listen to a podcast. I just want to see, does it fit into our lives? Or is it more of a personal like earphones and iPhone thing?
Chris: That’s a really good question to know. I’d like to know the answer to that as well.
Andrew: Right. Like how dominate is this becoming? All right. Thank you guys all for listening. Chris, thanks for doing this interview. And I will see you when I meet somebody else in my next suite.
Chris: I’ll be there in your hotel suite hanging out for you.
Andrew: Pop in anytime. Pop into the listener’s suite. Bye, everyone.