Andrew: Hey there freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart and home of over a thousand interviews where I’ve done my brow like this and I’ve leaned in deeply and I push people a little bit too much because I think I take myself very seriously. I take this program very seriously. You know what? If I’m going to do this, I don’t want to do one of these half assed interviews. I want to do a program where you really get to learn something where at the end of it you go, “You know? I think I can change my life or a part of my life because of this interview.” That’s my goal for every conversation, and I know we’re going to get a lot of that in this one.
Today’s guest was frustrated with the PR work that she did for her clients, so she stopped doing it. Then she created a business that teaches people how to get more attention for their work and build their businesses. I invited her here not because she’s teaching other people and helping them grow but because of what she’s been able to do so fast. What’s interesting to me about her is that she seemed to come out of nowhere. She charged premium prices very quickly and even though she had a small audience she grew her revenues fast. I want to learn from her how she did it through online courses, Mastermind and everything else that she did. Today’s guest is Selena Soo. She is the founder of S2 Groupe, which helps coaches and consultants earn more. This whole conversation is brought to you by my sponsor, Theartofcharmpodcast.com. Later on I’ll talk to you about that. Right now I want to welcome Selena. Thanks for being here.
Selena: Thanks for having me.
Andrew: I said that you charge premium prices. Your highest price is what?
Selena: Twenty-four thousand dollars.
Andrew: Twenty-four thousand dollars, and a more typical price that you charge is?
Selena: Three thousand.
Andrew: Three thousand dollars. What does someone get for $24,000?
Selena: I have a Mastermind program and it’s a year-long program where I coach people who are looking to get more attention and visibility. Oftentimes as clients, they’re already successful. They’re making money, which is why they can invest, but now they want to go from being somebody who has this small audience that really loves them to really reaching more people. Getting on TV, in magazines, book deals, sponsorships.
Andrew: Do you pay them $24,000 and you get them on TV?
Selena: Oh no, they pay $24,000. They join my Mastermind program. During that program it’s a coaching program, but there’s also events. At these events I bring magazine editors, TV producers, literary agents. It’s really coaching and strategy, and also connecting them to people who they meet.
Andrew: I see. It’s online events or in person?
Selena: In person, three retreats per year.
Andrew: Okay, so $24,000 gets them access to three retreats. They still fly themselves out. Do they still pay for the hotel? Am I being too petty by asking stuff like this?
Selena: Yeah, they do.
Andrew: They do, they still pay for it themselves.
Andrew: Twenty-four, that’s high end. For 3,000, what does somebody get?
Selena: I have the six-month group program called Get Known, Get Clients. That’s coming up soon. It’s a super high touch program. Every single month there’s three live calls with me where I do trainings and Q & A. They get to be a part of this community. It’s really showing them how to go from either making just a little bit of money on the side or nothing to building a business that brings in 2,000, 3,000, 5,000, even $10,000 dollars a month. It’s a high touch group program that’s mentoring. It’s $3,000, but people can make that money back pretty quickly as long as they implement what I share.
Andrew: Interesting, by the way I’m looking at myself in a little video here on the screen on Skype. I do really lean deeply in. I’m treating this like a Mike Wallace interview. When he was interviewing Ayatollah Khomeini he didn’t have this kind of serious face. He was a little more lighthearted. I take this stuff seriously because frankly especially with this you’re doing things the opposite of the way I do them. I charge 25 bucks. We have a mutual friend Ramit who keeps texting me saying, “You should be upping your prices.” I’m especially curious about how you’re increasing your prices and how you came out of nowhere and were able to build up such an interesting business.
Let’s go back a little bit and really break this down and understand how you got here, how you charge, what you sell, and how you created the product. The whole thing so that I could and other people out there can learn from you and do something to get a little bit closer to your success. Let’s talk about this client. When you say you were frustrated, what was it that was frustrating about the clients that you had and what did you do for them?
Selena: I had a particular client. Obviously I’m really grateful because that was how I got my business started. I started working with her on retainer, but I think what happens sometimes when people hire publicists, they’re hoping that they’re going to be in Oprah Magazine next month. Or they’re hoping that Marie Forleo will put them on their show. Some really big person like Tim Ferriss will send out a solo email. Those kinds of things, honestly, it takes time for those things to happen. Sometimes those things won’t happen if you’re not just the natural …
Andrew: What were you charging?
Selena: For that originally when I started my business I put out $10,000 a month. I had two people who were very interested, but at the last minute, well, they said yes and they backed out. I think it was probably too high from the get-go. One of the clients, I thought it was going to be a side thing. I charged $4,000 a month, but what ended up happening is that it took up all of my time. It took up a lot of emotional energy that I actually didn’t want more clients. Even though I started with a great reputation in my industry and people were always asking …
Andrew: How did you get a great reputation if this is your first client?
Selena: There’s a couple of things. One thing is that my biggest passion is just connecting people, and promoting people that I really believe in. I would help people for free all the time. If I just spotted an opportunity I would …
Andrew: Give me an example. Who would you help for free?
Selena: Who would I help for free? Danielle LaPorte, telling Oprah Magazine about her. If someone I know is looking for a job I’ll connect them to the CEO of a big company and they get a six figure job. That’s just what I do.
Andrew: I see, that’s how you were able to build some friendships, some experience. You said, “I’m going to start charging for this because I’m getting good at it, and it’s worth money.” You had two clients who said, “Yes, I would sign up for this.” You said they both backed away?
Selena: Yes, I was pretty crushed because I was so excited. At the same time in retrospect I realized that was probably not the right pricing to start at.
Andrew: I pay $20,000 a month for a PR agency. Four thousand seems like a decent price. Why wasn’t it the right price?
Selena: Four thousand is great. That’s very affordable. Ten thousand was what I was charging.
Andrew: Oh, I see. Okay.
Selena: It was just me. I just thought that the pricing at the time I felt was right. Obviously there could be someone else that said yes, but I was willing to adjust it. I took on this client that was meant to be a side client, not taking up that much time, but it did. It took up a lot of my time, a lot of my emotional energy.
Andrew: What’s the kind of request that you would get? I’m spending a little too much time on this. I’ll move on in a moment. What’s a typical frustrating request that you would get or email?
Selena: I still get it all the time from people who say, “Can you get me in Oprah Magazine,” or “Can you connect me to Marie Forleo?” People wanting things to happen really quickly and also asking for things that they’re not ready for in their business. It’s not just about my contacts or how well I can pitch. It’s also are you ready for that kind of exposure yet? Have you done something that warrants that kind of really high-level attention?
Andrew: Okay. I see the frustration. What’s interesting to me is, one of the interesting things about you is that you created a focus group for yourself I see here in my notes. You created a focus group about yourself.
Selena: I was feeling stuck. I didn’t know what to do because I had this premium brand. People were coming to me. One thing I’ll add is because I was helping people all the time I had all these great endorsements on my website from day one. I had Danielle LaPorte, Marie Forleo, a bunch of magazine editors from Forbes, Glamour, and Oprah all endorsing me. I had that high-end brand from the beginning. People would come to me but after that one experience I didn’t want any clients. How can I really grow my business? I organized a focus group and I invited people that I cared about and who I thought were really smart. They came to this focus group. I shared what my challenges were.
Andrew: Aren’t you embarrassed to invite your friends over and say, “Here are my challenges,” number one, which is embarrassing enough, and number two, “Help me figure this out?”
Selena: Not really, because I’m a pretty transparent person. I definitely share with people where I struggle but I also share my successes.
Andrew: What’s in it for them? Why would I leave my house and come to your house and help you out with your problem? I’ve got a baby who’s got a problem, I’ve got my own problems because I can’t get HBO. I go to work on my iPad in the back room. I’ve got work issues here that I want to deal with. In all seriousness, why did these people who you asked to come out to help you?
Selena: The thing is I had an existing relationship with each person. In different ways I either helped them or was just a great friend to them. These are people who liked me, they cared about me and they wanted to see me succeed. I think that’s a part of the reason, but I also made it fun. I organized a little dinner party for everyone, then we were going to have a focus group. I just let people know how much it meant to me. The first person that I reached out to is my friend, Ramit Sethi. He’s so busy, it’s not like he can come to all these things. I said to him that I’m organizing this focus group because I’m really struggling in this area. “I would love for you to be there.”
I let him know that I was going to plan the date around his schedule. I said, “Are you free on this date or that date?” He knew it was important. It wasn’t like I was sending a mass email saying, “Show up and help me with stuff.” He came, then I reached out to Derek Halpern, who came which was amazing, and then my other friends. I got this really great group of people who gave me some of their time.
Andrew: I see, once you get a couple of anchor tenants like them then other people want to show up. I was saying it in a confrontational sounding way because that’s the way I would hear it in my head. I would think, “What? A focus group for you? Who would even want to come?” The truth is that if you invited me to one, you’ve been so nice to me, so considerate, so helpful, so professional, that I would come absolutely for anything.
Andrew: I also think actually that there’s something intriguing about doing a dinner like that. I’ll be honest with you. I had Ramit over to my house with a couple of the other interviewees. At one point someone said let’s go around the room and share something really personal. People did. Ramit did too, but the personal thing that he shared, I think he already blogged about. He didn’t go super deep. He wasn’t interested in entertaining us as a group with something private from his life. I could see how having a meaningful conversation that helps somebody at the table might maybe be more meaningful to him or to other people. I’m just helping you, I can see how it would make for interesting, valuable dinner conversation. You had it all. What did these people tell you that changed your life?
Selena: There are a couple of things. One is everyone believed in me, so that was good. Just even knowing that I had that support there. One of the things was that you need to start building your email list. At the time I hadn’t been building it because I just needed one client at X thousand dollars, then I was good for the month. But I also knew it was important because I wanted to help more people and do things in different ways. I don’t really know how to build my list. Ramit said, “Who could you talk to that knows more about list building than you?” Frankly it was everyone at the time. I was stumped. He said to me, “Selena, why haven’t you asked me if you can guest post for me?”
I was speechless. At the back of my mind I was thinking, “Oh, maybe one day I might have that opportunity, but it’s such a big thing.” It wasn’t something that I was really going to ask him. I also think that in that setting when we’re brainstorming. “How do we get Selena in a better situation and grow her business?” It was like he suggested the idea. I was really excited. He said, “You have to ask me.” I said, “Can I guest post for you, Ramit?” He said, “No.” I said, “Oh.” He said, “Because you didn’t ask me in the right way. It was not about me just helping you, it’s about you adding value to my audience. You need to pitch me.”
It actually took me quite a while. I was so uncomfortable, and it made me realize how difficult it was for me to ask because I really love to give. I just give effortlessly and freely, but when it comes to asking for something big like that it’s not always the most natural thing. I can do that for other people but not always for myself. I finally asked in the right way and he said yes. He gave me that super huge opportunity. That really changed so many things in my business.
Andrew: He told you and the group told you, grow your mailing list, which is advice that’s good for every business pretty much.
Andrew: Then he said, “Here’s how you can grow your mailing list. Guest post on my site but make sure you pitch me and keep my audience in mind.”
Andrew: How does that grow your mailing list if you’re blogging on a site?
Selena: With the article that I wrote there was a link to a free gift of mine. A lot of people signed up for that. Also with Ramit’s audience, these are people who are buyers. They’ve been trained by him. If they are lazy readers or not action takers they’re going to be kicked off the list or they’re going to disappear. This is super high quality people who believe in personal development and investing in their businesses and careers. Me being able to share a piece of work, a piece of thought leadership, they see me as that go to expert. They join my list, people will then sign up for things. Even other people who weren’t even on his list, they just saw it because it was all over social media. Some really top people reached out to me and it helped me land another client. That was over $20,000. That was actually more strategy and execution but it was for a shorter engagement. I think it was six months for over $20,000. I think that her seeing me on Ramit’s website and sharing what I do helped seal the deal.
Andrew: Here’s the post if I have this post right. It was how to get the attention of your favorite expert, a new detailed post. On the very bottom, is that the one?
Selena: Yes, that’s it.
Andrew: On then on the very bottom it said Selena Soo is a business strategist and publicity coach for entrepreneurs, experts, and authors. Get her exclusive four-step guide. The name of the guide is “How to Get Important People to Notice You.” For free I will teach readers, and that’s the site’s name. That links over to the page, it kind of looks like his. That’s where you collect email addresses. You still do that to this day. In fact, was it hard for you to ask me to tell my audience to go check out a URL of yours?
Selena: It wasn’t easy but I’m getting more used to it.
Andrew: What you want us to do is, I’m going to get back to your story, but you said, “Andrew, would you please link to S2-groupe.com/mixergy? If people go there what do they get?”
Selena: I have a video and it’s called Get VIP Access to Media Influencers and Online Stars. I share how I build relationships from the people from top magazines and online leaders. How people can develop those kinds of relationships too, to really grow their business in the same way that I did.
Andrew: Now people come over to their houses and they’re giving them feedback like you’ve got. I was giving you a hard time before we started because this URL is really bad for podcasts. I have to tell my audience S2 dash. Some people don’t know what a dash is, they actually type in a slash. I don’t think that’s true in my audience. The horizontal line and the word horizontal are pretty confusing for people, for some. Anyway, S2-groupe with an “e”. Why “e”, are you British?
Selena: No. Honestly, I didn’t know what to call my company and being somebody who doesn’t really like to always put myself front and center. I don’t want to call it Selena Soo Consulting or whatever. I just wanted something that was a little bit more anonymous, but I also didn’t know, am I going to have other people as a part of my company where I don’t want it to all be about me. My initials are “S and “S”, and then groupe, I couldn’t get just group without an “e”. Just G-R-O-U-P wasn’t available. Someone else in New York City had that company name. I needed to think of something different. I thought group has an “e” on the end and it sounds sophisticated, so why not? I don’t necessarily think it’s the best thing but it’s good enough. It’s worked so far.
Andrew: Okay, I wonder how many people actually go over to this URL and give you their email address. Part of me is reluctant to give URLs like this during an interview. I feel like I’m going to disappoint the guest. It’s not a strength that I have where someone in the middle of an interview is going to drop everything and go to a URL and enter their email address. Why emphasize? The strength that I have is you get tremendous credibility from having done this, because frankly if you withstand the tidal wave of words that come from me, and the eagerness that I have in my interview, then people feel like you’re a champ of some sorts. I feel like I should emphasize that. I’m curious, I’m going to do it right now, tell people they can go to S2-groupe, G-R-O-U-P-E, .com/mixergy. I get that video that explains how they could connect with experts. How many people did you get from that Ramit Sethi link?
Selena: It’s grown over time. At this point I think it’s close to 2,000 people.
Andrew: All right, not huge, but good.
Selena: I think that’s pretty good for 2,000 to sign up for my email list.
Andrew: You know what, we did one thing where we said get all the Y Combinator interviews on Mixergy. It took us no time to put the page up and we got a thousand email addresses. I was pretty disappointed, but maybe I shouldn’t be. Maybe I should be really happy. That was a one-day event.
Selena: I think that’s big.
Andrew: That may be the problem with me talking to people who sell their companies for billions of dollars. At the end of the day I look at 2,000 or 1,000 email addresses and I think maybe I’m doing something wrong. Meanwhile you thought I was onto something and you were. Now you have the mailing list. That still doesn’t get us to the $24,000 product. What’s the next step that you take that helped you figure out what the product should be?
Selena: I worked with a business coach. I realized my business model wasn’t working and that something needed to change. This coach, the program was close to $30,000 to be in her Mastermind. She basically said to me, “We need to change your model. You need to do more of the strategy work which you love and the coaching.” She had me create this program that was a six-month program. It was $800 a month, close to $5,000. I remember at the time she was saying basically, “Do an intensive at the beginning, then two 30 minute phone calls per month.” I was thinking, “Wait, someone’s paying me $800 for an hour?” I just thought nobody was going to buy it.
The thing is I just signed up to spend $30,000. I thought, “I’m not going to not take her advice. I’m just going to go all in and do what this person says.” Fortunately because my brand was so strong people didn’t care. They just wanted to work with me. It was, “Whatever you’re offering I’m just going to buy it.” Yes, I had that package. I think also, being at her Mastermind, I thought, “I can create my Mastermind too and it will definitely be a publicity Mastermind because I have all these amazing relationships and I want to share them with people.” I created my version of it and started off doing this six-month Mastermind. At the time the six-month Mastermind was $9,500. Close to $10,000, then I made it a year. I more than doubled it to $24,000 but added some new elements to the Mastermind to make it even more valuable. That’s how it happened.
Andrew: It was $15,000 a month and it was $10,000.
Selena: No, I was charging $800 a month when I was in private coaching for an hour a month after the intensive at the beginning. Then I did my Mastermind six-months. The six-month program was $9,500.
Andrew: Was the intensive your intensive or someone else’s?
Selena: My intensive. I worked with someone for a couple of hours in the first session. We really got to know each other. We had that foundation. We would do two 30-minute calls per month.
Selena: Yes, private.
Andrew: That was the first product that you offered.
Andrew: You knew that you could satisfy people, that you could get them the results they wanted because you’d done publicity before and you could show them what to do.
Andrew: Then you decided to do a Mastermind. What’s a Mastermind? I tend to think of a Mastermind as five people meeting on Skype or Google Hangout and talking every other week. What is it for you?
Selena: People use the word Mastermind so loosely. I’m sure there are different definitions out there, but basically the point of the Mastermind is bringing together really smart people who are all going places. Really leveraging the collective power of the group. Versus it only being me and a client speaking, they also have access now to a network of other amazing people who are going places. Also at the retreats I bring in guest speakers. They get to connect with all these amazing people. When they have a challenge, like with the focus group that I did, they can present it to an audience of really smart people who are all there to brainstorm and help them figure it out.
Andrew: Right from the start you had this idea that people would meet you in person?
Andrew: Wow, so that’s a lot of commitment that you’re taking on. You’re saying, “I’m going to talk to you over the phone one on one. We’re going to meet in person. I will bring people in who’ll help us out.” Then in these, what was it, monthly sessions that you said you do?
Selena: Yes, we also do a monthly group call.
Andrew: A monthly group call. It would just be how many people talking?
Selena: On the group calls, those are training calls but in terms of the live retreats they are really where the Masterminding tends to happen more. Also in the Facebook group where people are giving each other advice. The retreats would happen three times a year. A Facebook group is 24/7.
Andrew: Interesting, okay, so that was the initial product.
Andrew: You sold the first two right away because people just wanted to work with you. What kind of person was buying it?
Selena: The kind of person who was buying it were typically women. Women tend to be drawn to me. There are people who really believe that the work that they’re doing is so important that people need to know about it. They’re not really people who say, “I just want to be famous for the sake of being famous. Look at me.” I think the people who are drawn to me are people who almost feel like they have a spiritual responsibility to help people. Yes, maybe there is somebody else who may be a life coach or a health coach or whatever out there. They have such a unique way of sharing this information that they need to put themselves out there for the greater good. Those are the kinds of people who are drawn to me. They want to write books. They want to launch information pods, draw an audience, and connect with influencers. Those are the people who would come to me.
Andrew: All right, let me take a breath here. I’ll talk about Jordan Harbinger’s podcast. How does it feel? I feel like I do have a lot of intensity in this interview. Maybe it’s because you and I have done a session together before on Mixergy. Maybe it’s because there’s so much I want to get from you. Maybe it’s because you have just been such a good person to me I want to make sure to do this as well as possible. How does it feel on your side?
Selena: It’s okay, I don’t mind. I’m a little bit nervous but it’s okay.
Selena: No, it’s all good. Whenever I tell people I’m going to be on Mixergy they’re like, “Andres’s just going to ask you how much money you make. He’s going to ask you all these uncomfortable questions.” I kind of knew that was coming. I signed up for it but I’m a pretty open book, so it’s all good.
Andrew: Yes, you are actually. I will ask you those questions. As intense as I am, I feel like Jordan Harbinger might be even more intense. I’m intense within the interviews. He’s much more hang outy, having a good conversation. He’s relaxed, he takes a breath every once in a while. Look at this, he sent me this three page PDF that he has. Every time someone promotes his podcast he has these sets of notes that he wants. He specifically said, “Please give me a mid-roll, not a pre-roll.” Meaning he wanted us to talk about the podcast that he has in the middle of this conversation. He’s like a sponsor, more of a friendly sponsor.
Andrew: Here’s what he says. He says, “Make sure to tell people it’s a highly addictive program in a good way.” Make sure that no one’s worried that his podcast is going to addict them badly. You will not get cancer from the Artofcharmpodcast.com. He wants me to make sure to give that URL. The podcast brings together entrepreneurs, artists, thinkers, leaders, and all around interesting people to discuss relationships, attraction, life hacking and success as his PDF goes on to say. It’s a show that’s truly about leveling up in life, and relationships and friendships at work, at home, everywhere in between.
I have to say this about him. I’ve had him over my house for dinner. The guy is a genuine person, which I like. I look at people when we’re talking in person. Are they showy in person, do they feel like they could really be themselves? He really was and that comes across in his interviews. He has a really good conversation with people and dives in deep. He goes beyond what I do, which is beyond just entrepreneur conversations. You were on his podcast. What did you think of it?
Selena: It was an amazing experience. I told you a little bit earlier that I didn’t realize when I was being interviewed by him that he was recording, because he’s such a charmer. It was so natural. I didn’t realize, whoa, I was telling him everything. I thought, “Damn, I should have censored some things.” But it was all good. Yes, he’s amazing, he’s such a great interviewer. The interesting thing is, I’ve never heard of The Art of Charm before. I thought, okay, this is a site for guys who just want to learn about relationships and also career. Everywhere I went people were like, “Oh my gosh, you were on Art of Charm!” I went to see my energy worker and her receptionist was like, “You were on Art of Charm!” She’s an actress. It really has a wide reach. I didn’t realize that so many women actually really love it too.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s interesting. I think partially it’s because he spends maybe as much time doing promotion for his podcast as he does for doing the podcast. I don’t spend nearly enough time on promotion. I don’t have a PDF like this guy does. He’s got his act together. There’s a lot I can learn from him. In fact, the reason he’s in here is because he’s helping me. This is my small way of saying thank you, Jordan. I’m going to say thank you, Jordan, and to anyone else who wants to see this guy, who apparently your energy worker is listening to right now, and the guy next door is listening to. Go to Theartofcharmpodcast.com. It’s a special URL for mentions like this so he can track how many people we’re sending over to Theartofcharmpodcast.com. I’m grateful to him for being here. It sounds like things were working for you, but you still wanted to change things up. Why? Why not just stick with it as it was?
Selena: You mean with the coaching?
Andrew: You had your Mastermind, you had the live events, you had coaching you were doing over the phone?
Selena: Right, I knew that I wanted to reach more people. The thing is, even though my Mastermind is a very intimate group, there’s about 10 people usually at a time, I was starting to grow an email list. A lot of people would email me and they would just say, “Selena, I want to work with you one day. I’m saving up to work with you. I know for sure that you are the coach for me.” A lot of these people were kind of where I was starting out and not really knowing what direction to go in. I just really felt like I wanted to help these people. I wanted to connect with them, that I have something to share with more people.
Eventually I moved into create information products. It’s an interesting story because when I was in the coaching program in the Mastermind with my coach at the time, she was saying, “Do a thousand dollar program. Maybe it will get 10 people in the first time. We’ll have to hand sell them over the phone.” All of this. I started getting ready for that, working with a copyrighter and getting the video ready. I thought, “It’s not worth it for me to do a three month program, make 10 grand, and then I have to spend three months marketing it.” It’s like half a year for $10,000. It doesn’t make sense. I kind of put it on the back burner.
Ramit was working on this course year to launch and he was inviting some people to be a part of the beta group. I had to apply. Thank God, I got in because at first I didn’t think I was going to get in. I didn’t know if I fit the profile. I ended up getting accepted. In this beta group I learned his system for helping people create information products. He has definitely been the biggest influence of my online business. I have to credit a lot of my success to just what I’ve learned through his mentorship and teachings.
Andrew: What did he charge you for that? He was doing a course on how to create information products He wanted to have a few people be beta testers by bringing them in and working with them personally. What did he charge for that?
Selena: As a beta tester it’s free.
Andrew: Okay, because sometimes I think he charges for those kinds of programs too.
Selena: I would have paid anyway. I bought so many of his products. I bought seven of his products and then ZTL, I got in for free. Yes, I spent so much money. It kind of pales in comparison to the impact it has made on my business, but I basically buy anything of his that I feel great about.
Andrew: I get that. I know there are a lot of people who are like that. You take his course, you learn from him. How did that change what you were doing?
Selena: I tested my idea before launching it. I create this new program called Get Known, Get Clients. It was a $3,000 program. Instead of charging $1,000 I chose to charge $3,000. My coach at the time and other people thought I would get 10 people in the program. I got 50 people in the program. I made $150,000 from that program, the very first time launching it. Now I have had other programs that I’ve launched and it’s been so successful. It’s been amazing.
Andrew: You’re saying you tested it before you launched. That’s one of the things that he taught you to do. What were you testing? The price or the course?
Selena: The idea, reaching out to people and getting a sense that they would be willing to pay it. Not just putting it out there and hoping that people would shell out the money but asking them, “This is what I’m thinking about. Is this something that you would pay? I’m not saying you have to right now but is this something that you would actually invest in?” If someone says, “Oh, I would think about it or maybe.” Okay, that’s not a real answer, but if they say, “Oh, absolutely. I would totally pay money for that.”
Andrew: How do you do that? Do you actually email your whole list and say, “If I do this course, would you sign up for it?”
Selena: No, I didn’t email the whole list. I don’t remember exactly what I did. I surveyed people just about my business as a whole and what they were liking from me. I picked some of those people that were really responsive. I emailed them personally. I was just saying, “Hey, I’m thinking about launching a course.” Actually the course at the time was the networking course that I was looking to launch. “I was just wondering if you could give me some feedback.” People said yes, and I was thinking of offering this and pricing it at this dollar amount. “Would you buy this?” Some people said, “I’d have to think about it. I’m not sure. That’s kind of high.”
I put the networking course on the back burner and I focused on this other idea, which was more well received, around helping people get known as industry leaders and get clients. That was really successful. Later down the road I did the networking course. That ended up being very successful too once I got the messaging right.
Andrew: I see, doing his method of asking people if they want it before you build it. What it did for you was it kept you from creating a networking course with bad messaging.
Andrew: What do you say to somebody who listens to that and says, “You know what, if you had done that anyway and played with the messaging, she might have gotten it right. I’m going to create my course first instead of selling something that doesn’t exist yet.” I see that as a common issue.
Selena: Really? I think that’s such a bad idea. I think that first you need to make sure that people are going to buy otherwise there’s no point of having the course. That’s number one. You’re really creating something. Not just the ideas that you want to share but what do people actually want, and are going to invest money and time into learning? That’s definitely step one. Also with the courses I create, I actually create them as I go. I put them out there, people buy the program, and then I start creating it. It’s not done yet when it’s for sale. It happens live.
Andrew: What do you create? You check them out, see if they want it, then you start selling it? Is that the next step?
Andrew: How did that sale go for you? The one where you’re saying for $3,000 I’m going to show you how to grow your business by building a brand and getting it out there.
Selena: Yes, for that one I got 50 people to sign up.
Andrew: Fifty people?
Selena: Yes, five zero.
Andrew: Three thousand bucks apiece?
Andrew: So $150,000 before you even fully built it?
Selena: I hadn’t built it at all.
Andrew: You hadn’t built it at all? You say even before you really built it is an exaggeration. It’s before you built it.
Selena: Yes, right, Because at the time I didn’t know what the curriculum was going to be. I knew the general idea. It was a six-month program and there were 12 trainings. I didn’t have time to build out all 12 trainings in advance, but I had an idea. Okay, I’ll do something on this and that. What I did for the marketing, I picked what are the three core areas I’m going to help people with? The core areas were their business strategy, personal branding, and relationship building. I found that when I started my own business I had the personal brand, and I had the relationships, but I didn’t have the right business strategy. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to be going anywhere. Other people, they have the business strategy. They’re like, “I’m going to charge this much and have this kind of program.” But they don’t have the personal brand to justify premium pricing. They don’t have loyal customers or people who are passionate about learning from them. I think you need all three of those pieces to work together to grow a really successful business. I share that with people.
Andrew: What exactly were they getting? They were getting videos that were teaching them?
Selena: It’s live training. Every month there were three calls. Two were training calls that were typically about an hour, then there was live Q & A. There are two like that, then there’s a separate call that was just pure Q & A. They were all on a webinar with me three times a month, in the Facebook group with me. I was always in there, very active, commenting, giving people advice. It was really like a mentorship program for six months. There’s a lot of information programs out there that are $2,000 programs. Some of them are amazing but they don’t have that high touch where the instructor knows every single person in the program and really cares about their success and is watching them and supporting them. It’s usually not live, and there’s no opportunity for live Q & A. I think I really communicated that value. The right people were like, “I want to be a part of this.”
Andrew: I see. There were no videos that you created ahead of time. It was all in person on a webinar.
Selena: Yes, it was all live.
Andrew: But they could watch a replay if they missed a session.
Andrew: How did you figure out what to put into each module?
Selena: I really put in the modules what I needed when I was starting my business. Also what all of my friends knew. The things I learned in the $30,000 Mastermind are things I put into this six-month program that they could get for $3,000. When I was coaching people one on one, it became really clear to me what were people’s stumbling blocks. I think a mistake that people make, even knowing all about info products, is that they don’t have experience working with people one on one. In fact, they’re like, “It’s so hard to get one on one clients. They don’t want to pay me $200 now or whatever it is. Let me just create an info product and charge $19 or $97, then everyone’s going to want to buy it.” That is a business model headed for disaster because you’re not even touching what your clients really need. You haven’t solved problems for them yet. You haven’t built a following. I feel like when you work with people one on one, you have these amazing success stories. People care about you, they want to support you, and you start building your base. Then you can layer information products, but that’s not the first step.
Andrew: What did you do to develop your base? You had those email addresses, then I skipped forward to ta-da, you have something to sell. But somewhere along the way you were still in touch in people and building the trust and relationship that you were able to draw on when you had something to sell. How did you do that? What were you sending out to them?
Selena: Actually that’s a good question. I’m glad you asked that. I really believe so much in quality over quantity. With the people who were on my email list, I just took really good care of them. When they joined I had a really good nurture sequence that really shared a lot about myself. I shared a lot of stories, things that were emotional and create that bond between people, me and the reader. It encouraged them to email me. I respond to pretty much every email. Up until a couple of months ago I was literally responding to every single email that was coming into my inbox. Now I respond to maybe 98% of the emails I get.
People are like, “Wow, she responded to me. She cares about me.” They are short responses but they are thoughtful. I just take really good care of my people. When I think about when people join someone’s email list and they’re looking to learn from someone, they’re not just looking for more information because you can just Google things. They’re looking for inspiration. I think even when people join a program, they don’t realize this, but they’re looking for an emotional experience. They’re looking for hope and possibility and solutions. I used to think that this was going to be a huge liability in my business. I’m someone who’s so sensitive. I feel so much and all of that.
Typically you think people who are really tough are people who succeed in business, but I think actually my sensitivity is a huge asset. Being someone who can intuitively understand how people feel and what they care about and share and connect with them in that emotional way. I think my audience is very connected to me. To feel how much I care. With my courses, a lot of the time I’m teaching but I’m telling so many stories. It’s just story after story. When I put together a webinar I am thinking about what I’m going to teach but first I’m thinking about how can I make this super interesting so it just feels like me and them are having a conversation. I’m telling the coolest stories about my personal, my business, and even my life. They’re just being entertained and learning at the same time. I think that’s part of the reason why what I do has been effective and has gotten a good response.
Andrew: What is this workshop that you did where you felt like you were going to throw up?
Selena: That workshop is called Elevate Your Brand. I’ll back up a little bit and just share with you. I may have shared this with you before but not everyone knows this. I used to be so terrified of public speaking. I really think that there’s nobody more terrified than me. If I had to speak in front of people, in front of a classroom, my legs would literally shake. My face would go red. I would feel like throwing up. People would feel so bad for me, so embarrassed for me.
Andrew: I had that. I was in a law class in high school. I was supposed to be the defense attorney or something. I knew my stuff but my mouth got so dry. I couldn’t speak. I was shaky.
Selena: So you get it.
Andrew: It’s tough. It took me a lot of time to get comfortable on camera here.
Selena: Yes, that’s my background. I was always a behind the scenes person. I hated public speaking. I just like supporting visionary people. I started my business in June of 2012 and I just kind of got a feeling, “I want to share my knowledge with more people.” At the time, I think it was September or so, a couple of months later I had 150 people on my email list. I sent them an email and let them know that I was going to be doing an in-person workshop for two days. It was crazy because I was nervous enough talking for 30 seconds in front of people. Even if it was just “introduce yourselves.” I thought, “Oh my God, what am I going to say?” Thinking about how I’m going to introduce myself and not listening to anyone else. Yes, I had those kinds of fears. At the same time I put myself out there and I did this two-day workshop. I think about seven people signed up. They paid $600 for this two-day workshop in my home. What was cool about that is that I made over $4,000 in those two days. Meanwhile I was working with a client close to full time making $4,000 and not happy. I realized, okay, this is a way better way to go. I want to do more coaching and strategy and eventually work with more groups.
Andrew: I see. I got this box here just before this interview started. Look, people can see my office address. I’ll show it up for anyone who’s on video. This just came in. Let’s open it up. I hope that this is what I think it is. Oh yeah, this is what I think it is. Globes, little tiny ones for this event that I’m going to do, an activity at an event that I’m going to do on April 21. Partially it’s because I don’t want people to just watch me speak. I want them to be engaged and interact. This is for an experiment. I don’t want to reveal it just yet, I want them to be able to experiment and see if what I’m saying works. Then I thought, “This is brilliant!” But that’s only going to take up seven minutes of the event. I have three hours to fill up. That’s a lot of time. I think I could do it but I have two days. How did you fill up two days?
Selena: Let me think back to that time. I remember the week of the event. I was working on the curriculum. I would work, then I would stop. I would feel like throwing up. The thing is when you’re working with people one on one it’s easier. They say they have a problem and you just intuitively say, “Okay, this is my idea for you.” To create a course where you have to sit down and organize your information and prepare it and think about the right order is really hard. I think I was kind of crazy in a way, but I just decided to do it. People were coming and giving me money so I had to figure it out. I did have a friend come over. I was like, “Let’s talk it out together and let’s break down what I’m going to do.” I managed to figure it out and there were exercises too. It wasn’t just that I was talking the whole time. People would break and do an exercise and come back and share with the group. Yes, I did manage to fill up two days worth of content even though I wasn’t really …
Andrew: What’s the structure that you have? You know we do courses on Mixergy, and because we’re working with so many different kinds of people we have a structure that allows us to pull out information and organize it in a way that we can share with our audience. Without that structure I’d be lost. I don’t think I’d be lost but it would be a lot harder to coordinate with so many different people who I have never met before. Did you have a structure that allowed you to fill up two, what was it, three days?
Selena: Two days.
Andrew: Two days? Did you have a structure, did you have something you can share with us?
Selena: I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a structure. I don’t know. I was actually just creating it as I went. That week, just figuring it out. I have a structure now when I create courses. It’s super in-depth in terms of the market research that I do from customer research, call clients or people on my list and ask them certain questions. We’ll gather that information. We do surveys over email. There are so many things that we do. We gather so many data points, so much information. I’m pretty obsessive in terms of making sure that what I put out there is extremely good. A sales page kind of thing. I think we worked on the sales page for two months.
Andrew: Who’s we?
Selena: Me and my copywriter.
Andrew: How did you find a copywriter?
Selena: Through friends. I usually find people through referral. When I work on sales copy, marketing copy, I’m so obsessed about every single word and just really putting myself in people’s shoes and when I create a course. With my Get Known, Get Clients course, basically we would have live training calls every two weeks. I had two weeks in between each class to create the content. I would spend most of my week working on that along with my copywriter/course creator. Between the two of us a minimum of 50 hours, maybe 100 sometimes.
Andrew: What about this? It’s hard for you to get somebody into Oprah Magazine or whatever they expect to get.
Andrew: But you’re an expert. You can take some time and you can do it and you’ve done it before. When you’re teaching someone else they’re brand new. It’s going to take them longer. They’re more eager for it because they’re spending money that they worked so hard for. They’re really counting on you. In the back of their heads they’re saying maybe this is a scam and I got taken. Right?
Andrew: You have to train this newbie to do something that took you a while and get them enough results soon so that they don’t feel that this was a ripoff. What happens when you can’t do that fast enough for people?
Selena: It’s also setting expectations. When I create a course I always put myself in my student’s shoes. I know that there are certain things that are easy for me, but they are very hard for other people. One of the first things is what are their mindsets, their blocks that are going to prevent them from being successful? Really addressing their objections and concerns even while they’re in the course. They may have given the money but they still may think, “I can’t do this,” or they still have certain challenges. For example, in Get Known, Get Clients, I really want to build their confidence from day one because I knew that by the time we reach the third module, they’re going to need to get on the phone and sell their products and services.
That’s going to be so scary for people. How can I get them into the habit of reaching out to people? We started with market research. I had them reach out to at least 10 people, get on the phone with them. I gave them a list of questions to ask them. I did a lot of the heavy lifting up front in terms of creating all the questions for them and really getting them set up. I would even write out all the email scripts that they would use to reach out to people. Everything that I could do I would do.
Andrew: Did they get those results?
Andrew: They did.
Selena: So many great success stories. There is a massage therapist who was working six days a week. Now she’s working four days a week and she’s making $90,000 as a massage therapist. Her life is totally changed. People who are getting amazing corporate clients for their coaching work. All sorts of stories. Lots of people doubling their revenue or going from nothing to now bringing in 2,000, 5,000, $8,000 a month. It’s been really exciting.
Andrew: All right. Let’s see what’s next here in my notes. By the way, the reason I just got distracted, I have to say let’s see what’s in my notes. Usually I would have had the next question ready. You mentioned what your sales page looked like. I went back and I found a copy of it. It really is well written.
Selena: Oh thanks.
Andrew: Here’s the headline. “Yes, it’s possible for you to start earning 3,000, 5,000, or $10,000 a month in revenue even if you have very few or zero clients, no influential connections, and a small email list. Then you start telling your story. You have photos of yourself with well-known influencers. You talk about some of your success stories. It’s a well-written page. Can you say the name of your copywriter?
Selena: Yes, there’s a few I work with, but my main copywriter is Elizabeth Blue.
Andrew: Elizabeth Blue, is that who did this one?
Selena: Yes, she did this one. She works with me on all of the courses that I create.
Andrew: You’re also doing the 10 monthly payment thing which I didn’t realize is such a powerful thing.
Selena: Now it’s 12 monthly payments. It’s 12 monthly payments of $297 or a pay in full of $3,000. A lot of people would say to me $3,000 is not in their reach, but 297 a month is possible. I truly believe that if somebody’s serious about their business, and they’re all in, they need to invest something. You can invest $300 a month. Honestly, if they apply any of my strategies, you know, whether it’s the relationship building or the personal branding or the sales strategies. I don’t know who can’t make an extra $300 a month if they give it their all. It makes it doable for people.
Andrew: All right, fair point. I get really distracted by all the details of what you’re using for your shopping card and how you’re charging. Actually, it seems like that did it, but then did you double your revenue again? Did I understand that right?
Selena: I’ve had my business for two and a half years now. I doubled my revenue each time.
Andrew: How did you double your revenue?
Selena: Let’s see. I doubled the prices of my program is how I doubled my revenue. One thing I think would be helpful for people to hear. When I did my Elevate Your Brand course that was a $600, two-day event. I was talking to a friend of mine about this program. She’s like, “Selena, because of my reputation, because of the brand I built, I know people who would pay $2,000 to just spend some time with you two days.” She’s like, “You really need to double it to, at least, $1200.” I said, “I don’t know how to double the price. If I double the price I’d really want to create more value for people.” She told me, “It’s easy. Instead of calling it a two-day program, call it a two month program.”
There’s a two-day intensive and then you do a group call every month. You can do one group call a month, or maybe it was two, I honestly don’t remember what I did. Maybe it was every other week. Let’s just say it was every other week. Basically I added in four additional hours because I was on the call doing Q & A for the group of people. By just adding whether it was two or four additional hours, it doubled the perceived value. It more than doubled. Two days, now it’s a two-month program. I did that, then I doubled it again from $600 to $1,200 to about $2,500. With my private coaching, that started about $5,000 for six months. I doubled that to about $10,000 with the Mastermind format. I turned it into a year-long program. I more than doubled that because it was double the length.
Andrew: All in, how much revenue 2014?
Selena: In 2014, $315,000.
Andrew: Oh, and you started this 2013?
Selena: I started coaching in 2013?
Andrew: Coaching the year before?
Andrew: That’s phenomenal.
Selena: Thank you.
Andrew: I feel like you’re very confident about your abilities as a person who’s a connector in your PR abilities, in your teaching abilities, but we didn’t invite you to do an interview because you don’t feel yet like you are an incredible entrepreneur. Even when we asked you, “Did you feel like you’re an entrepreneur from a child, were you always an entrepreneur?” Your response to the producer was, “Not as a kid. I had a lot of social anxiety.”
Andrew: Which is so different from all the people who had excess swagger who we talk to via email. They’ll say, “You should interview me.” What have you done? “I’m going to do something great!” Okay, but so far what have you done? They come across in their first email, we know to dig in deeper, as having done 20 times what you did. You’re just really modest about yourself as an entrepreneur. What do you think of that assessment? I’m looking at you to see if my feedback is landing, if it’s right or if it’s wrong. You don’t seem to agree.
Selena: No, I agree with you. I am very proud of what I accomplished, but I also know how hard I worked for it. I’ve given it my all. It’s not just magically I made all this money and now I’m sitting on a beach. I do work hard and I really care so much about my clients. The thing is it’s interesting, because I am actually very confident. I think that I couldn’t move forward if I wasn’t confident. I have a quiet confidence, not like, “Look at me, I’m so amazing” because I have my weaknesses and challenges too. I think that it’s a confidence that just comes from knowing that I will do whatever it takes to succeed.
Andrew: A really elegant touch. Anyone who’s watching the video will get a sense of your personality and your attention to detail by just looking over your shoulder. There’s an elegance to the backdrop, there’s an attention to the height of the camera, there’s an attention to every detail. I always feel that way about every interaction that I’ve had with you. You know who has a lot of swagger? Ramit Sethi. I went back to see what his web page looked like when he first launched, when it was just a blog. I think he was in Stanford. I posted it on Twitter and he posted it in this course that you’re talking about, the Zero to Launch course where you taught how to build courses. To me the point he was making with that was, “Look at how basic my site was when I launched.” The point I got when I looked at that old page is he’s already telling people on his third post what to do with such authority and assertiveness that you think that he had already been in Fortune Magazine. You think he’d already built his business. No, he just had this WordPress site, but it helps.
Selena: I know, the thing is, his stuff is amazing. It’s one thing to have a lot of swagger and not being able to help people.
Andrew: He lives up to it. He’s also another person who I know if I email him right now he will respond probably in an hour and not a virtual assistant. He has teams of people who help him but he will respond because he’s obsessive.
Selena: But one thing I want to share just that you brought up the detail orientedness, I think it’s important because people don’t see what’s happening behind the scenes. In terms of my interview with you, one, you’re detail oriented. That’s why I did that pre-interview with April on your team. I was working with my copywriter today working on the different stories I could tell like key takeaways. I have my personal assistant come over. We went through your instructions. We set the lighting and everything perfectly. I got my hair and makeup done. I was like, why not? I set aside quite a number of hours getting ready for this interview. I couldn’t do that for everything. I think some people put in two hours into something, I’ll put in 10 hours.
I’m not somebody who also sends a million emails or I’m doing a million things. When I do do something I do it thoughtfully and intentionally. Now my business is growing to be an information product business. I think there’s a lot of people who really feel like quantity is so important. They’re sending this stuff out and it’s not even that good. I think that when you send low quality content, you’re training your readers to expect the next thing to be at that level. I really put a lot of intention to every single thing I do. Everything is super high touch. Another thing I’ll share is with my influence course. This is my networking course.
At the end of the course I let some people know that I was opening up Get Known, Get Clients early just one night only for those people and people signed up. What I did is for the people that signed up that night is I made a voice memo for them. I was in my room and I was thinking about each person and reading their questionnaires. Their thought questionnaires when they joined the program. I would just say things like, “Hi Mike, I just wanted to make this quick voice memo for you. I’m so excited to have you in this program. I’ve just been rereading your questionnaire and thinking about the work you’re doing. I’m so excited to be able to help you in this way.” I made those voice memos personalized for every single person. There were people who flipped out when they got it. They couldn’t believe that I took the time and energy to do that. That’s just how I do everything. It makes a big impact.
Andrew: That’s one of the most inspiring parts about doing this job. I get to see the behind the scenes stuff like that. That comes across in the way that you do business. I was just doing an interview with a guy just an hour or so before you. Amine, the founder of, I always mispronounce his company name, it’s Endicia. He does this postage business. Something like six out of 10, or seven out of 10 packages that you get from the USPS use his stamp system. He sold his business to, I forget the name of his company right now. The Rubbermaid People, I think. Anyway, what stood out for me is his assistant made sure that the details of the details of the interview were taken care of because that’s the kind of the person that he is.
Nobody would have known it unless I called it out within the interview that she wanted to make sure that I even understood that the cookies that his company would give out to potential clients were homemade. But he didn’t make it, it was his co-founder who made it. They made sure that the time was going to be right. They made sure that this and that and all that. I’ve now noticed this about a thousand times with people who are top producers. It’s amazing to see that. It’s inspiring. It’s the stuff that nobody will know within the Mixergy interview, except they’ll see that there’s a quality guest there. It’s just who they are. It’s their makeup. It’s amazing. There’s one other thing I want to ask about, this Mastermind thing. This is a personal question. The whole part of this interview is me trying to get to know you because I want to learn from you, but also for the audience.
Here’s the thing. I want to talk to someone later this week about potentially doing Masterminds for Mixergy. I don’t think like you. My way of thinking is how do we get as many people in the Mixergy audience to group up into Masterminds and help as many people as possible. I’m not going to charge anything extra for it. I’ll just allow them to get together and maybe create a forum where everyone who organizes a Mastermind within Mixergy will be able to come in and get support from other people who are hosting Masterminds. You don’t think that way. Talking to you makes me think I should do it a different way. That’s what?
Selena: Yes, that was such a bad idea. We need to talk. I think that if people don’t have to pay for it, they’re not going to take it as seriously. I think there’s just a better way to do it than just having it be loose and stuff and people kind of figure it out. They need you to be their leader. I just think there needs to be some structure. I think that you should charge for the kind of value you’re creating. I mean, me and you should brainstorm. I would be happy to give you all of my ideas.
Andrew: Interesting, the one thing you tell me is, “Andrew, don’t just give it away.” My idea was how do we get everyone in the audience who wants to be a part of a Mastermind to be in a Mastermind? We’ll group them up into five people and you’re saying don’t. What’s another suggestion that you have for me for doing it right?
Selena: The first thing that comes to mind, I’m not even thinking about the structure, is the sales piece, because you really need to build that really strong burning desire. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, I need to be in the Mixergy Mastermind. Wow, I can see how this would change my life. Am I going to get selected? Is there an opportunity for me to sign up?” There’s all this pent up passion. The way that they release that passion is that they get to purchase something. They’re going to take it more seriously. It’s like, “Okay guys, one email, we’re doing this thing. You’re welcome to join. It’s free, hooray.” People are not going to take it seriously so you really need to get people to step up.
Andrew: Interesting, all right, fair point. We were just going to have a conversation on Thursday. Me and someone else who’s going to help me to do it, about all the work we’re going to do to make sure that they were all connected properly. I’m not going to give your URL. I’m going to give the URL, the page that you want to hand out as the landing page. I’m so curious about how well this will do. The URL is letter S, the number two. I should have said that earlier. I probably said S2 and people are typing in T-W-O. No, it’s the number two. S2-groupe.com, G-R-O-U-P-E.com/mixergy. Right? Did I say that right?
Selena: That’s right.
Andrew: Is that the best way to promote it?
Selena: That is. Thank you.
Andrew: You know what we should do? We should mention something weird about this page that would make people really want to go see it. There’s nothing weird about this page that would make people want to see it. What did you build this page in? Maybe that’s something that would make me want to go check it out. Oh, it’s just a WordPress page. That’s it. Go sign up, see what her sales process is like. You’ve learned about this product and this business. I always like to sign up so that I could see how it actually unfolds. Selena, you’re about to sell this course again?
Andrew: That’s one reason why I would sign up. I’m actually going to go on right now.
Selena: Oh my gosh, I’m so honored, Andrew.
Andrew: I’m probably on the list already. I want to see when you start warming up your audience what that sounds like. I want to see what your interaction is like. I want to see, oh, even the confirmation page I like. Everything is very personalized, very personal.
Selena: Yes, I do some creative things in my email sequences. You’ll see. I talk about some personal things, even ex-boyfriends and things like that, but yeah, you’ll like it.
Andrew: All right, I dig it. Thank you so much for being on here. Everyone who’s out there, this is my opportunity to thank you all for being a part of the Mixergy community. I love doing this and I love the email that I get from everyone and I love that I get to have guests like you, Selena, on Mixergy. Thank you for doing this interview, and thank you all for being a part of me. Bye.