How to persuade potential customers into becoming customers

You’re about to hear from a woman who has built up a business in a part of the world that you wouldn’t expect.

Bushra Azhar is the founder of The Persuasion Revolution, where small businesses make big bucks using the psychology of persuasion.

I want to find out how she built her business and the persuasion techniques she teaches her customers.

Bushra Azhar is the founder of The Persuasion Revolution, where small businesses make big bucks using the psychology of persuasion.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I know that a lot of you are going to tune out as soon as you hear my guest’s voice because she has an accent. It doesn’t matter if in this interview you’re going to find out how to persuade your customers and potential customers better. It doesn’t matter if she’s going to teach you one technique that you’re going to use for the rest of your life.

You probably–I understand the way that people think–are going to hear an accent where it’s going to take you maybe five minutes to fully adjust to it, and you’re going to say, “Screw it, I’m going to see what’s going on in my podcast app.”

But for the few of you who will listen in, you are going to hear a woman who, in a part of the world where you wouldn’t expect it, has built up a business that touches the whole world, where, by teaching persuasion she is earning good money, helping influence her customers, allowing them to persuade their customers and get more business and, as a result, I wanted to have her on here.

I want to find out how she built up her business, and I want to find out some of the persuasion techniques that she teaches her customers. Her name is Bushra Azhaar. Did I get that right? You pronounce it.

Bushra: Yes, you did. Okay. Thank you so much, Andrew, for having me.

Andrew: I didn’t do the full intro. I just want to make sure I get your first name pronounced properly. If I’m going to make fun of accents I have to accept–

Bushra: If I’m going to scare people away with my accent, let me start.

Andrew: Do it. How do you pronounce your name?

Bushra: Okay. My name is Bushra Azhar.

Andrew: Bushra Azhar. That second part, the last name is the part that I’m not getting right, but I appreciate you getting in there. You are the founder of The Persuasion Revolution. That’s where tiny businesses make big bucks by using the psychology of persuasion. This interview is sponsored by two companies–Toptal, the company that will help people hire their next great developer or designer and Acuity Scheduling, the company that made you shriek before we started because you love them as much as I do. We’ll talk about them later. First, welcome.

Bushra: Thank you so much for having me. It is an absolute pleasure. And this accent thing, we can all blame it on Hollywood. Every Indian character, every South Asian character, they just constantly make fun of my accent. It’s as if Hollywood, they have something against me. I don’t get it. It’s a propaganda.

Andrew: I asked you before the interview. I said, “I don’t want hard feelings. I’m going to bring up your accent. Are you okay with that?” And you said, “Do it, I want it.” We’re basically bringing up your flaw–I don’t know that I would call it a flaw–what in some people’s eyes be considered a flaw right up front. You said, “Andrew, this is good. It’s good persuasion, Andrew. Way to go.” Why is it good persuasion to bring up your flaws right away?

Bushra: Okay. I’m just going to go a bit nerdy on you. Just because I have a South Asian accent does not mean that I’m not smart. Actually, that means that I’m smart because typically–

Andrew: If you’re going with stereotypes, yeah, it works in your favor.

Bushra: All the nerd types, always, that’s the stereotypical–

Andrew: Why do you want people to–is that what it is? If we call attention to your accent people’s stereotypes will kick in and say, “She’s got a South Asian accent. She is probably very smart.” Is that what we’re going for?

Bushra: Yeah. That’s probably also one of the reasons, but also because I want people to know that I’ve done all of this despite the accent. That’s kind of my flag that I keep around. It’s not just the accent. It’s also the way I look, the fact that I am not the typical online–the typical seven-figure business owner. I’m not white enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not freaking thin enough. There are all of those things that I’ve–it’s a giant finger to all of those who would tell you, “You can’t do these things.” So, my existence is a giant finger.

Andrew: A giant middle finger, you mean, to them?

Bushra: Sorry?

Andrew: It’s a giant middle finger you’re saying to them.

Bushra: It is any finger.

Andrew: I see.

Bushra: In our culture, any finger is wrong. You don’t show any finger to people.

Andrew: I see. You’re talking about in what country right now?

Bushra: So, I am based in Saudi Arabia, but I am originally from Pakistan.

Andrew: Okay.

Bushra: Yeah. In our culture, any finger is wrong. So, about flaws, which is very–

Andrew: Yeah. I feel like it’s the pratfall effect. What’s the pratfall effect?

Bushra: I’m so glad you brought it up. The pratfall effect, the concept is that when you appear less than perfect, when you appear flawed, not only does it make you more endearing and more charming, but it also makes you more likeable. This whole idea behind pratfall effect is if you appear too perfect, people don’t like you as much. So if you are doing interviews or whether you have a website or any sort of interaction where likeability is an issue, where you want people to connect to you or relate to you or like you, then it’s better to appear less than perfect than to appear too perfect.

So personal brands especially, if they are creating a brand where they want people to believe them or trust them or like them or just relate to them, a better way to do that is to share some of your flaws. You need to be careful of what flaws you share. If the flaws you share, they are related to your subject matter expertise, that’s a problem because that diminishes your authority, but it has to be something that makes you appear less than perfect. Numerous studies have been done on this and something that I do in my business and my brand is entirely based on this.

Andrew: How do you do that? Give me an example of how you do it.

Bushra: The first example was what you witnessed.

Andrew: Right. You know what? The first thing I saw–most people are going to listen to this, they’re not going to see the visual, but I like the backdrop. I thought that looks great. I thought that I heard that you were in a closet. I said, “Wow, she actually spruced it up somewhere. She took this interview somewhere else.” What did you say when I complimented your backdrop?

Bushra: Yeah. So immediately–I didn’t even accept that compliment. I said, “Thank you so much, but it’s a shower curtain. A lot of people would tell me and have told me, “Don’t tell others. It doesn’t look like I’m a shower curtain.” I’m like, “No, that’s my pratfall effect,” because that’s the very first thing that made you laugh and I’m hoping made you like me better because 30 seconds later you said, “Oh my god, you have a great sense of humor.”

When you use self-deprecating humor, not only do you become–you take advantage of the pratfall effect, but you also use humor without appearing bitchy. So, Ellen, the celebrity, is a beautiful example of this. People come to her show, all the guests, they’re constantly laughing. They’re all jokes. 80% of jokes are on her behalf. She’s constantly making fun of herself. What that does is it keeps the guests comfortable. She’s not making fun of them. She’s laughing with them and she’s mostly making fun of herself. That is, again, a great way of using the pratfall effect.

Andrew: I see. That also, when you say, “Hey, I’m making one-point-whatever million dollars selling this stuff online,” it doesn’t make you look like a jerk. It doesn’t make you look like an arrogant showoff, but it’s just part of this honest person who we see who also will say she has this accent that’s a little tough to get comfortable with for Americans.

Bushra: Exactly.

Andrew: That’s what we’re talking about.

Bushra: And a statement based on that–I’ve used this on my webinars a lot when I would make this statement. Imagine someone who is absolutely perfect. She makes this statement and said, “I made $1 million, you can make $1 million too.” The other person who’s watching her, they’re like, “I can’t.” So when I say I make $1 million, I almost follow up with a statement which is very interesting. I would always say, “I’ve made $1 million in my business, anyone can do it. Have you seen me?” That’s something that I always say. I would always say, “Have you seen me?”

Andrew: I see. How much money do you make?

Bushra: I make a lot of money. I don’t even know what to do with that money.

Andrew: How much in 2016?

Bushra: So, 2016, I made about $1.6 million.

Andrew: $1.6 million selling what?

Bushra: Selling myself, essentially.

Andrew: No, come on. Your husband would kill you.

Bushra: Yeah. The first money I made, he actually thought I was selling naked pictures of myself on the internet. Yeah. But that’s story for another time.

Andrew: What are you selling online that you’re generating $1.6 million?

Bushra: I come from a corporate background, so I have a portfolio of products. But I would say 90+ percent are online courses. Different forms addressing different pain points, addressing different price points, but they’re mostly online courses.

Andrew: And some of it from what I saw there was the Persuasion Hacks Lab, where I pay a monthly fee and I get to see your scripts and your ongoing training. What’s the other thing? The scripts are for email scripts that I could send out.

Bushra: Yes.

Andrew: What else are you selling?

Bushra: So the Persuasion Hacks Lab is my monthly salary check replacement because that’s kind of the monthly recurring income. Then I think the giant moneymaker that kind of pushed me over the $1 million mark is a program that’s a high end program. It’s called Sold Out Launch. It’s priced between $1,500 to $10,000. That’s really the major moneymaker.

Andrew: Okay, Sold Out Launch, I see it, SoldOutLaunch.com.

Bushra: Yeah.

Andrew: The name, Bushra, what does it mean, and how did you get that name?

Bushra: So the name means good news, but it’s not really good news.

Andrew: It’s not?

Bushra: I like to refer to my name as–it’s so funny because the name really means good news. But I like to refer to my name as an insurance policy. So I would say when I was born, my parents took out an insurance policy called Bushra. It’s true for anyone–I can say that without hesitation–if you know anyone from South Asia, from India or Pakistan who has the name Bushra, the only reason she has the name Bushra is because she was probably a disappointment when she was born because the parents were expecting a boy.

There’s this myth that if you name your daughter Bushra, the child after that daughter is going to be a boy. 100% of the time if a kid is named Bushra, it’s because they were hoping it would be a boy and it was not a boy.

Andrew: Your parents were hoping you’d be a boy and you said, “We didn’t get a boy. We got a second girl. If we say good news, it’s like she’s heralding the good news of the next child being a boy.” So, for the rest of your life, you’re the person who they didn’t want, but who’s going to help bring–did they end up with a boy afterwards?

Bushra: They did. It took 16 years, but the insurance policy paid off.

Andrew: Wow. Okay. And as a result, you told our producer, you said, “I knew this was not what they were looking for. They were looking for like a different kind of a girl if they were going to get a girl, but ideally a boy. Because of that, I had to learn to be more persuasive to get yes’s. What’s a way that you got people to say yes? What’s a way that you were persuasive as a kid?

Bushra: So I think a lot of things. For the first part of, I think, pre-puberty, I just pretended to be a boy. So, for a really long time, I just pretended to be a boy, to the point where people would ask me, “Are you a boy or a girl?”

Andrew: Wow.

Bushra: So it’s like one degree above a tomboy. Even now, I have a lot of those things that people would normally not consider feminine. I think a lot of the first pre-puberty was where I was pretending to be a boy. There are so many things in our culture, there are so many things that are okay if you’re a boy, but if you’re a girl, especially a girl with opinions, it is not that easy to get your point across.

Even though I come from a relatively modern family, I don’t come from a conservative family and my parents are extremely supportive once they accepted the fact that this is it, this is the card that we are dealt, extremely supportive. But that was the first tactic. Then I experimented with a lot of different things. There was one point in my life where I pretended to be a psychic. Gosh, Andrew, that was fun.

Andrew: Like you really said, “I can see the future?”

Bushra: Yeah.

Andrew: How did you persuade people that you could see the future? We’re talking about when you were a child.

Bushra: Yeah. No, I told them–I painted pictures of their future lives. I told them the names of their future husbands, how many children they’re going to have.

Andrew: I see. That specificity got them to accept that you knew something and then you eventually had to accept that you didn’t. You were called out. But I can see how you were developing this talent early on. You took this talent into a corporate consulting gig in Saudi Arabia. In fact, I was looking at your background. You were CFO of a national bank in Pakistan.

You then were senior sustainability consultant and operations manager at Tamkeen Sustainability Advisors. You say that when you were in Saudi Arabia is when you really had to develop your persuasion skills and your teaching skills. Give me an example of something that you had to do to persuade people back at the consulting gig in Saudi Arabia.

Bushra: A lot of things. Pakistan is a conservative society. But it is a conservative society more at an individual level. People have their conservative opinions. But Saudi Arabia is a state-mandated conservative society. So it is conservative, but it is also state mandated. So there are a lot of things that women cannot do in the country.

So, when I joined the consulting work, it was really interesting because we would go to meetings where I would be the only woman in the entire building. We would go to meetings where we were told an hour before the meeting, “Oh, by the way, women cannot enter the building.” I’m like, “Okay, so how am I supposed to get in?” That was an actual case that happened to us.

Andrew: What do you do with that if you’re not allowed to get in? Do you just not get to go to the meeting?

Bushra: We had a prince sign off a special permission for us, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but then it was about a six-hour long meeting. Imagine trying to hold your pee in for six hours because there are no [inaudible 00:14:19].

Andrew: Because they don’t have a women’s bathroom in a building where women aren’t supposed to be.

Bushra: Because there are no women. Women are not–because women are probably distracting. I don’t even know. That was an interesting experience. So many, many different situations where when you are pitching–so basic communication skills, when you’re trying to sell to someone, you make eye contact, right? You make eye contact. You use your gestures. You move your entire body, and in a lot of those cases, you can’t make eye contact because for religious reasons, those men would not look at you because they don’t make eye contact with women. How are you supposed to convince someone who’s not even going to look at you?

So a lot of really tricky situations–so, I kind of learned a lot of those. I perfected a lot of those shortcuts. To top it off, I don’t speak the language. I don’t speak Arabic. So it was like every single strike was against me. I’m speaking English. Most of them don’t speak English.

Andrew: And still you were so persuasive you were saying the junior consultants were trained by you. Give me an example of something you had to persuade?

Bushra: So we had this–

Andrew: Something you had to convince somebody to do is what I meant. Something you had to persuade is a weird way to put it. Yes?

Bushra: So we had this really massive pitch. We were a team of all women. This was for a mining company, a really big Saudi mining company. They mine gold, for god’s sakes. They mine gold. Anyway, it’s this big mining company. We were supposed to go for the pitch. We’re an all-girls team. I’m the only non-native, most of the others are Saudis. We’re like, “Okay, what do we do?” We knew that we’d probably go in and no one would make eye contact with us because it’s an entire board of all men. What do we do? We’re supposed to pitch.

So what we did was–it was really interesting–what we did was we put together a video. So I worked in sustainability, corporate social responsibility. The whole concept was how can companies make more money by doing good, right? So doing better by doing good.

So what we did was we actually put together a futurecast video of how their company is going to look like. We actually created an animation of their CEO giving interviews on CNBC and Forbes and all those because we knew that they would not be looking at us, but they would definitely be open to looking at a video that showcases how their company is going to be.

So that futurecasting, which in a normal situation I would paint that picture with my words, right? You would go in a presentation with a pitch and you kind of paint a picture. I know in that situation I can’t paint a picture because no one would look at me. We put together a video which was a huge hit, where we basically showed press releases and their company doing all of these great things and getting featured in [inaudible 00:17:20].

Andrew: Futurecasting–that’s the name for that?

Bushra: The futurecasting is something you use in copywriting with your words, right? You can use futurecasting, where you would say what their future is going to look like if they decide to work with you.

Andrew: I’ve seen some software companies do that well with me, like when they’re getting started, they might want me to add some of their tools to my site and so they’ll make a copy of one of my pages and add their tool to it and say, “Andrew, this is what your site can look like with our tool.”

Dan, the founder of Optimizely told me essentially that’s what his site did that allowed him to increase his conversions. He said, “People come to my site. They can enter their URL. They can immediately see what my software can do to their site even though we haven’t implemented Optimizely, the A/B testing software on their site.” I see. So futurecasting is one way you learned to persuade when you couldn’t be looked at. What’s another technique that you use? I love these and I love that you name them too.
Bushra: Actually, futurecasting is not a term that I can take credit for. It’s a copywriting term.

Andrew: Oh, is that right? Okay.

Bushra: Another angle that we used is this inherent distrust of consultants, right? So when companies work with consultants, it’s not that they don’t want to hire consultants. Their biggest fear is the consultants will leave and we won’t know how to implement or we won’t have a team. So we use this technique that now I use in my business in every single thing when I think it’s applicable to every single business, which is the believability switch.

I call it the believability switch where when you’re trying to pitch to someone, again, whether in person or online, when you’re trying to make your argument, we build our sales argument and every copywriting principle tells us convince them of the benefits, convince them of your expertise, convince them of you and you product.

We spend so much time and energy convincing them about how great we are or how great the product is and they believe us. They do believe us. They believe our product, they believe us, but what they don’t believe in is their own ability to get those results.

So companies, for example, they look at you like, “That’s a great consultant. I want to hire her, but I don’t have the team to implement this. I don’t have the capability.” Your clients, your prospective students, they also look at you and they’re like, “Oh my god, I love what Bushra’s selling. I love her product. But I can’t do this. I’m not as dynamic. I’m not a good writer.” So that is the believability switch. We spend so much time and energy selling them our belief, but we don’t spend enough energy convincing them of their own ability.

Andrew: I see.

Bushra: So that’s something that I love focusing on not matter what you sell. I don’t care what you sell. It has to be–that believability switch has to be activated. You need to convince them to believe in their own ability.

Andrew: So, how do you do that?

Bushra: So two words, magic words–even if. So no matter what you’re selling, not matter what your value proposition is, no matter what your solution is–one example that comes to mind from software and I don’t even remember which software it is, but I remember I came across this landing page for a bookkeeping software and it said, “Bookkeeping made easy, anyone can keep their books together even if you can barely distinguish your debits from your credits.”

So, when you use a statement like this, when someone looks at that, they’re like, “Okay, I want a bookkeeping software, but I don’t even know what debit or credits care. I have no clue.” So, when I put that statement to the forefront and I say even if you can barely tell your debit from your credit, I’m like, “Oh my god, she knows me, she knows my ability and I believe her. I believe her and I believe myself.”

Andrew: By the way, I was trying to figure out if you looked at my eyes, and it seemed like I wasn’t paying attention it’s because I Google and research while we’re talking. I think that company might be Bench, because when I Google for Bench, it looks like the description of their company includes the phrase, “Even if you don’t what bookkeeping is yet, this is the right team to get you up, etc.” I see. That’s what we’re looking at. If someone is so nervous they don’t think they can do this, we want to say, “Even if . . .” and then address their concern. Then that little thing will make them feel that yes, they can do it and then they will be more likely to sign up.

Bushra: Yeah. I’ve used this statement and we were talking about this before we started recording. I had a program and there was this one line in the sales page that said–the sales page was bloody 20,000 word, but there was this one sentence on sales page that said, “Yes, you can write high-converting, super persuasive copy even if you can barely write a grocery list.” And two people bought that program and they emailed me and said they bought because of that one line.

Another program, another system I have is about–I use the same statement and said, “Yes, you can write personality-infused copy even if you have the personality of a sand flea.” So, people love that because a lot of people would say, “Oh my god, my personality is not that great.” So, when you say, “Even if you have the personality of a sand flea,” I’m like, “I can actually do this even if my personality sucks.”

Andrew: Makes sense. All right. Let me take a moment here and tell people about this company that you and I both love. It’s Acuity Scheduling. I use it to make it easy for people to book calls with me or frankly to book interviews. What you do is you connect it to your calendar. You paint on the calendar what days and times you’re available and you then have a link that you can pass to anyone and they can book a time with you. Why do you like it? How do you use it?

Bushra: Okay. So I have this switch. I have a switch for everything. I have this switch called edutainment switch, which is, again, bringing in your personality no matter what you’re selling. It’s really interesting because Acuity Scheduling is a company that I signed up for the free trial and I couldn’t figure it out because I am dumb. I cancelled. I cancelled the subscription but I remained on their email list because their emails are so freaking fun. They infuse personality in every single thing there, so I feel like I know the company.

I stayed on the email list and low and behold, three months later I joined them back. I don’t remember any other brand where I’ve done this, but they do such a great job of connecting with you, sharing their personality. The brand personality is so poignant that there’s no way you can miss it. I love them.

Andrew: Yeah. We talked about this before we started about how the help button will say something like, “Come on, you know you need help. Click me.”

Bushra: Yeah.

Andrew: Little personality touches are really important to them. That actually shows in the way that they even will address your issue. If you have a customer service issue, there’s someone there who responds and then has that sense of humor and personality that will let you work with them to figure out the solution. I don’t think it was that you were stupid before. I think that they were adding so many features for a long time that the software was a little hard to manage because there are so many features in here.

Since then, they’ve remade the site. I’m in love with the design of the site right now. It’s so much better than the competitors that we used to use because with the competitors, as my team at Mixergy expanded and I had one producer and then a second producer and a personal assistant, if anyone needed to make an adjustment to the calendar, they’d always come back to me and say, “Andrew, I don’t know how to do this,” and then I would have to do it.

Now we use Acuity if the producer can’t schedule meetings with potential guests next week, she knows where she goes in and she just paints those days as unavailable. If my assistant needs to delete a contact or add a contact, it’s easy. I’ve used them because when I sell something new–we teach her at Mixergy and when I sell something new, I want to talk to potential customers. I want to understand why they want it, what they’re looking for out of it so that I have some connection with the people who are going to buy and learn from me.

But there are so many people who wanted to learn this thing. It was bots. I wanted to teach people how to us messenger bots. So many people wanted to talk to me I couldn’t possibly send dates to all of them. What I did was I created a calendar. I emailed it to them. I also added to the calendar a requirement for them to tell me why they want to do this, what’s their goal, just like all the background information that would help make the conversation fully useful.

So they got my calendar, they got to pick the date that I was available and that they liked. They then had a form where they put in their name so I knew who they were, their phone number so I know how to connect with them and then a few pieces of information that I asked for. They then got a calendar link so it was on their calendar. They don’t forget to be there for the call. I had it on my calendar and when I click on their name in my calendar, I have all the answers to the questions that I wanted, so I’m fully prepared.

Bushra: I love that. I think I’m still stupid because I don’t think I’m using any of those features.

Andrew: There are so many things you can do with it. You can add it to your CRM. You can use Zapier to connect it to other tools. One of the things that I like about it is when I look at somebody–I had a call with Matt Anderson yesterday at 12:00 Pacific time. I have all his questions. But I also see he is on Eastern time. So, for me, when it was noon, it was 3:00 p.m. his time.

That kind of thing really helps, especially when you work with people internationally. You know, “All right, it’s 6:00 a.m. they just got up for this phone call.” It’s convenient for me but it’s a little inconvenient for them. Why don’t I start the conversation by bringing up the fact that it’s 6:00 a.m. Thanks for getting up so early. Lots of great touches like that. If you need it, if you want to get on calls with more of your people, you owe it to yourself to go check out Acuity Scheduling.

It’s created by a long-time Mixergy fan. So he is giving us a big, big set of free days so if you want to try it, close sales with it, you’re going to have a 45-day trial. Basically my whole sales cycle could have happened on their free account. That’s how generous they are with their free time. Go check it out. Here’s the special URL–AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy. You’re going to see all the ways that people use it. They have Stripe integration. So, if you’re a consultant, you could say, “Pick a date and now pay me, people.” It’s so good. It’s so good.

All right. So you then said, “Look, I’m doing a lot of this training. I can teach this to other people. I’m going to build a website and I’m going to start teaching,” right? Did you start creating content marketing, or am I off? I saw you nod your head as I said it, like, “Yeah, that’s technically true but not exactly.”

Bushra: Yeah. That’s technically true but not really true. Yeah. It didn’t really start off as–I wish I could say I was that perceptive and that strategic, but I wasn’t. I really wanted to kind of dabble into this online business thing, because I saw all these people making all these random gigantic claims about how much money you could make on the internet, and I basically thought that was BS. So I started it kind of as a personal challenge, like, “Let’s just try this out and see how that goes.”

So I paid like $30 for a WordPress theme. I did everything to get on my own. I had existing hosting. I just kind of pulled the whole thing together. My website looked literally like a pile of poop. It was horrid. Do not plug it in.

Andrew: What was the URL on the site? I want to see this horrid . . .

Bushra: It was The Persuasion Revolution. Do not plug it in Wayback Machine. It is a pile of poop. It used to be a pile of poop. So I just wanted to kind of experiment. I was constantly bombarded with these ideas on how much you can, “You can make $1 million,” and I was like, “That’s not possible.” So it started kind of as a personal challenge. I didn’t tell anyone. I was telling you the story about how my husband thought I was selling naked pictures on the internet because he had no idea I started a business.

Andrew: How did you get anyone to–I like that you started it with a homepage and an about page and you kept it really simple. What I’m curious about is how did you get anyone to come to the site, let alone to buy from you?

Bushra: So, guest blogging. I exclusively used guest blogging.

Andrew: So you went to other people’s sites and wrote about what?

Bushra: Even before I had a website, I posted about five pieces on, again, persuasion and negotiation based on my–I’m a social psychology buff. I had a lot of experience to go back, built it on and I was good at writing. So I wrote a few pieces on Medium. I pitched to do 12 blogs. I sent them links to the Medium articles because I didn’t have a website. I guess I was really good at the pitch because I heard back from eight of those and I wrote eight guest blogs in one weekend. So that was really–then I started sending those people to the landing page because the website wasn’t there. And then from there–

Andrew: Which landing page?

Bushra: Again, it was ThePeruasionRevolution.com. It used to only have a landing page.

Andrew: The reason I said which landing page is I’m on that site. I wouldn’t call it a pile of poop, but it definitely does not look like a landing page.

Bushra: No, no, no, now it’s a website.

Andrew: No. I’m on the archive. I’m on the Internet Archive. I see it. It’s asking for an email address. Enter your email so we send you the test link, hit me up.

Bushra: Come on. It’s horrid.

Andrew: Okay. It’s not a landing page, but I get it. This is where you sent them. That’s how you started building your mailing list. I noticed you didn’t include your last name on Medium. Why not?

Bushra: Because I didn’t want people to know who I was because I was a respectable–thank you very much–a respectable consultant, and I didn’t want people to know I was dabbling in something as sinful as online business. Come on.

Andrew: I see. I see one of your Medium posts, “Three Psychological Tricks to Price Your Products So They Seem Like a Bloody Steal.” Okay. What was your technique?

Bushra: Do not judge.

Andrew: I’m not judging. What was your technique to getting people to say yes to guest posts from you?

Bushra: I have a script on my website. I use that exact same script. Since then, people have used the same script to pitch to me, which is kind of meta.

Andrew: Yeah. Give me an understanding of why that script works even if we don’t go into the details of what’s in it.

Bushra: Okay. So the way that script works is because it is very unusual. So the subject line was, “A Gushing Torrent of Admiration.”

Andrew: “A Gushing Torrent of Admiration.”

Bushra: And something, I don’t remember what it was. It wasn’t a guest post pitch. I think that was really the very first thing kind of standing out in an inbox. I also made sure that whoever I pitched to, I engaged with them a little bit on Twitter. So I used exclusively Twitter to kind of make connection with those people. So I kind of followed them. I tried to make myself visible to them and then I sent them the email.

I think the very first thing literally was the subject line that I used. I think it said, “A Gushing Torrent of Admiration” and “Big Ask” or something, I don’t remember the exact words. The email opens and it literally opens with, “I am sending this email so I can send a gushing torrent of admiration your way. Don’t mind me if I trip over my own two feet.” It was very full of personality, compliments.

We all know, again, social psychology, flattery works. Even if people know that you’re flattering them, it still works. Even if they know that you’re doing it because you want something from them. Flattery at the beginning, very specific example of what you like about them, refer to one of their pieces. Then I gave them very specific ideas that I wanted to pitch. I not only gave them those ideas. I also told them the SEO potential for each idea. So, I gave them the idea. I gave them the keywords and I gave them the SEO potential for each keyword.

Andrew: How did you learn how to do that?

Bushra: Because I was spending a lot of time on the internet. I had a corporate blog for a really long time. So I knew the dynamics of online things, but I had never made money online. I had a corporate blog related to my corporate work.

Andrew: Okay. What’s this Non-Icky Persuasion Toolkit, the PDF?

Bushra: Yeah. It was my opt-in–

Andrew: Lead magnet?

Bushra: Yeah. It still is my opt-in even though I think I’ve grown out of it in a massive way. It still converts really well. So it’s there.

Andrew: All right. So I see then. Then you ended up with people on your mailing list. You said, “You know what? Someone wanted to buy from me.” Who was this person who wanted to buy from you, your first customer?

Bushra: Someone read a guest post. I was going by the typical online business advice, which is you know, you have to build your authority for a year, create your list and don’t worry about selling. So I was like, “Okay, I’m just doing my thing. I’m not selling.”

Then someone reaches out to me. She read one of my guest posts and she reached out to me and said, “I was looking for your work with me page and I can’t find it and I wanted to hire you and how can I hire you?” I was like, “Holy shit. How does that even work?” I don’t have a PayPal account. I don’t even know whether I can have a PayPal account.

Andrew: Because you’re in Saudi Arabia.

Bushra: Because I’m in Saudi Arabia. I have no idea what to offer. I haven’t even thought about my services. We weren’t supposed to think about money for a while. I was like, “Oh my god, what do I do?” I put together some random services where I said, “Buy me, pay me $500 and buy me.” Literally that was the offer. I linked it to a PayPal, personal PayPal account. I had just opened it. I linked it to my credit card and I just sent her the link. And she sent me $500. I was like, “How does that even work? She’s never met me. She’s never seen me and she just sent me money.”

So then I had to tell my husband because at that point I’m like, “I can’t keep it together anymore. I can barely keep it together on a good day.” That day I could not keep it together. I go and tell him. My husband is an accountant, and he’s a really nice guy. He’s a good human being. He’s not like me at all. He’s a normal human being. He has no idea I started something.

I went and I told him, “Someone just sent me $500 on the internet.” He was like, “What are you putting on the internet? Bushra, why are people sending you money?” I was like, “You know what? Dude, I’ve had two kids. Have you seen me? Why would someone pay $500 for pictures of me?” Anyway, I had to kind of explain the backstory. That was amazing.

Andrew: I could see it. I’m on your site. I can see how you were trying to figure out what exactly to sell. I’m looking at an early 2014 version of the site. It was like, “Do you understand what makes people tick? Do you know how to get inside their brains? Do you know how to evoke emotions in them?” Basically you’re saying, “If you don’t, I can teach you. Work with me. We’ll do one on one.” I’m looking at a more evolved version of the page where yes, you were still using PayPal, but you had like a $500 option, an $800 option, a $1,000 option. You were just kind of putting stuff in there trying to figure out what people would want, right?

Bushra: Yeah. “Pay me money and buy me.” Literally, that’s what I was doing. I think that helped me a lot to kind of craft my offers.

Andrew: You know what? I’ve recommended that people do that for a long time before creating any kind of info product or anything else. Just do consulting because then you’ll understand what people’s problems are and what a win for them is. The one change I would suggest is after they buy, instead of–after they click the button, which you call the “I want this” button, instead of taking them to PayPal, I would take them to a form where they first tell you what a win is for them, what’s the problem they’re trying to solve and then when they hit submit, then they go to the form.

That way, even if they don’t end up buying, you understand what are they looking for. If they do end up buying, you start to see, “Here’s what a win is for people who pay. Here’s the problem that’s brought them to my site. Even though I think it’s a pile of poop, they still are willing to pay for it.” But I like that you were moving so fast and you said, “I’m not going to start to do a lot more. That’s when you got into, from what I understand from your conversation with our producer, you got into site reviews?

Bushra: Yeah. I did 100 free website reviews in three weeks. I know that a lot of people don’t believe in doing free work, but I needed that. I needed that for my own piece of mind that I really understood what I was talking about. I really wanted to kind of earn that. I think we get that from the corporate–we want to earn our status. So I did 100 free website reviews. I got almost 80 of them to give me testimonials, and I got almost 50 of them to become paying customers.

Andrew: So anyone who wanted a website review can schedule–is it a phone call or an email?

Bushra: No. They just send me a link of the page, the objective that they’re trying to achieve, a small questionnaire. I send them a 30-minute video with revisions, upload to YouTube, send it to them. I was doing that while I was still doing consulting work. So those three weeks were crazy.

Andrew: That is crazy. I see. Okay. So then you send it over to them. I understand how 80% of them would say, “This is useful. I’m going to give you a testimonial.” I like that you asked for that. I’m wondering, how do you get them to buy? What’s the upsell and what’s the way that you tell them?

Bushra: So most of those people actually reached out to me immediately and decided, “Okay, we want more of this.” So a lot of those people bought on the spot. I had the pile of poop disguised as a services page. So a lot of people bought. Then the rest of the people after three months when I launched my first landing page program, they bought that program. So some of them became one-on-one clients. The others bought my course. So I think I did a good job of establishing that rapport.

Andrew: Yes. I see. Okay. You made money from it, you said in the first six months $28,000. How? What were you selling that you got $28,000?

Bushra: So a lot of one on one work and then in October of 2014, I created my first program. I wasn’t planning to create it, like almost everything in my life happened by accident. Someone approached me and said, “I’m a graphic designer and I’m looking for someone to collaborate with from a copy/persuasion angle to create a product together.” So I was like, “Okay, cool. Let’s do it.” So we created a program together. It was called 3 Day 3k. It was a $49 product. We ended up selling 320 of those. So that was really my first taste of the blood, online courses. That really was what kind of changed everything. I was like, “Okay, this is really interesting. I want to do more of this.”

Andrew: How’d you know what to put into your course?

Bushra: So I had already done those reviews, 100 website reviews. I’d already read up on most of these. what was interesting about that course was that I used basic core psychological principles and just kind of tailored them to an online communication setting because you know, all of those ideas about getting the attention. So, when you would, for example, go in a corporate pitch, and the way you would structure your sales argument or the way you would structure your sales presentation, it’s based on those building blocks. You build a sales argument.

So I took the same logic and implemented it on to a landing page which was very different from most of the copywriting advice because copywriting advice is mostly based on copywriting principles, the attention. I literally had no idea how copywriting works. I thought copywriting was copyrighting. I didn’t even know which copywriting was the–

Andrew: So not copywriting as when writing with a pen, it’s copyrighting as in making it right.

Bushra: Yeah. I was that bad. I had no idea. It was a very different spin on–I literally just took, I looked at a landing page as a sales argument. The way I would build a sales argument if I’m trying to convince someone, that’s exactly how I structured it. The course was structured based on that.

Andrew: Okay. All right. I want to come back and ask you about the membership site and how that helped grow the business. But first, I’ve got to tell you about this guy, Eric Brown. Eric sent me a text message. This is for my sponsor, Toptal. Eric sent me a message saying, “Hey, Andrew, I created this software. Can I come over and show it to you?” I said, “Okay.” He said, “I’ll bring over scotch.” I said, “You don’t need to bring over scotch. If you want to come, I’ve got scotch. Let’s just hang out.”

And he showed me this website. He said, “Look, Andrew, I know you’re trying to rethink how to run your business. I know you’ve got a team of people you want to coordinate. I created this piece of software called Permia.” Anyone who’s listening can go check it out at Permia.com.

And I looked at the back end. He said, “Here’s how to understand what your goal is as a company. Here’s how to set out your milestones. Here are the tactics you use. Here’s how they all connect so everyone on a team knows what this year’s goals are and what the tactics are that we’re going to try to get there and what the milestones are that will tell us whether we did it or not.” And he showed me all this and I said, “This is great.” I already Googled him. I already LinkedIn in. I saw the guy had over a decade of IT experience. I’m not surprised that he put it together, though I’m impressed and I’m impressed by the design.

Then he says, “You know, Andrew, I actually didn’t do this. It’s because of Toptal. You keep talking about this company called Toptal. They have a bunch of top developers. I want the best of the best. I’ve worked with the best of the best. I want them.” So he went to Toptal. He hired their developers. They built the software I looked at and I’ve been using. They designed it too. Toptal has designers.

So he went to them and he says, “I heard Andrew talk about this. What’s the deal?” Toptal does for him what they’ll do for anyone who’s listening to me. They understand his goal. They understand how he wants to work. They understand his style. They talk to you and then they make an introduction to the right developer and if you need a designer to the right designer and then you get to Google working with them.

I’ve said this before. There are a few people in the Mixergy audience who have such good experiences with Toptal they literally have brought scotch to my office to say thank you and to show me what they did.

Bushra: Okay. Thank you for this because I’m looking for someone. There’s an app idea stuck in my head for so many months. So, great. I’m hopping on over to Toptal.

Andrew: You should. One of the first things they’ll do is talk to you and tell you does it work or not. I used to get complaints from people because Toptal would tell them, “Actually, it’s not a good fit for us. We can’t help you with that,” which is nice. They complained to me, but I think they should be happy Toptal would do that. If you’re not a good fit, they should tell you. They shouldn’t just take your money. This is a company that has money from Andreessen Horowitz, one of the best if not the best VC firm or the most coveted VC firm right now in the valley. They don’t need your money.

The thing that I had with Toptal, by the way–this is where I think their website can use an even if statement–I’ve heard of people like Eric who work in Silicon Valley, who end up hiring the best of the best developers. I’ve heard of that. I always think it’s not for me. These are like the best of the best developers. I have a WordPress site that needs this tweak. I have a WordPress site that needs that change. I’ve always thought it’s not for me.

And then one time on a phone call with them I said sheepishly, “By the way, I have this problem. Do you guys have anyone?” Just kind of feeling it out. They said, “Yeah, of course. We have WordPress people.” We have all kinds of developers. Let us know what you’re looking for. So, I whipped out my credit card and I bought right there and I worked with them.

All right. If you guys are out there and you’re listening to me, do not hesitate to go check out Toptal. As I’ve said, if it’s a good fit, they’ll find the best of the best developers for you. If it’s not a good fit, they’ll turn you away and you can complain to me. I’ll be happy to hear it.

Here’s the URL. If you want to get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours, that’s going to come to you in addition to a no risk trial period of up to two weeks. Here’s the special URL. Go to Toptal.com/Mixergy, top as in top of the mountain, tal as in talent, Toptal.com/Mixergy. You don’t have to bring a scotch over, but if you do, I’d enjoy it and we’ll share it. So, go check them out. You’ll enjoy it. You’ll be happy you did and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Membership–why did you decide to do a membership site, coming back to your story?

Bushra: Because I was missing my monthly paycheck. Seriously, that was the reason.

Andrew: You just said, “Look, if I’m a consultant, I’m about to switch my whole life over to this new online business, I don’t want this situation where I don’t know what my revenue is. I need something consistent so that I know where. . .”

Bushra: Yeah.

Andrew: I see. So that’s where the reason came from. How did you come up with what to charge a recurring fee for?

Bushra: I charged–I have really low self-esteem. So I charged the lowest price that I could think of because I thought no one would buy.

Andrew: What was that?

Bushra: $7.

Andrew: $7 a month.

Bushra: Yeah. That’s what I started with. So $7, I wanted to–I kind of–so, I was making six figures in my consulting work and I was still doing consulting. So my whole idea was I wanted to replace those six figures. I was thinking small. But I wanted to replace those six figures. So, my initial idea was okay, if I can get–I started in March, 2015. So I was like, March, 2015, if I can get in that month 400 members, the first month $7 and then the month after would be $14, I can kind of scale it up. I got those 400 members. I got 400 members the first month I opened it. Since then it’s my pride and joy.

Andrew: How’d you know what to put in there? It needs to be a natural fit for continuity. You can’t just say, “Look, I have a whole bunch of content.” What’s the thing that made it fit for continuity?

Bushra: This was something I recommend to people. When they say, “We want to create a membership site. How do we decide whether I should create a membership site or a course?” I love this example and I always give this example. The only that should go on a membership and a continuity program has to be a continuous solution to a continuous problem. If it’s a one-shot solution like get rid of acne, right? If they’ve gotten rid of acne, they don’t need it. It’s not a continuous solution to a continuous problem.

Whereas persuasion or writing persuasive emails or email scripts, it is an ongoing continuous problem. So, unless it a continuous solution to a continuous problem, do not put it into a recurring monthly revenue because it will pain people every month they get hit by that bill.

Andrew: But if they have a problem on an ongoing basis, then they feel the slap coming at them every week, every month and this is a remedy to that. So what’s the problem that you identified?

Bushra: So, in my case, the membership site is for someone who cannot afford a $1,000 program. She can’t even afford a $100 program. I wanted to create–the first one year of my business was all about I’m going to create products for someone from Pakistan or India or Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, where people live on $2 a day, right? So every single product that I created for the first one year was under $50. So my first $100k came from products under $50, all products under $50 was basically the first $100k that I made.

Andrew: I see.

Bushra: That was the market that I’m targeting. They’re not really sure of what to say. They’re not comfortable saying it. They need all these small hacks, small mini-trainings that are really simple. They can’t shell out $100, $200, $500, $200. So it is really for that kind of an audience. Now I have a lot of members from North America. That’s fine. But I also attract a lot of people from low income countries because they want to get into online business but its’ not the price point. They cannot afford most of what’s out there.

Andrew: I see. I’ve noticed–I’m looking at old versions of your site and new versions. I’ve noticed that in the old photos, you used to have the soft lens or something or soft lighting. It was like very pretty, very–

Bushra: Sweet.

Andrew: Sweet, full of pearls, right? It looks like what a corporate person would have on their site. But I also notice that your personality was starting to come out, things like the price for working with you was three cookies, “Buy me three cookies, $2.99 if you want to work with me and I’ll help you with persuasion tweaks for your opt-in page. Buy me four cookies and I’ll give you a video critique and five suggested persuasion tweaks.” Your articles were called “Latest Slaps,” right? So I could see your personality starting to come through. I could see it as it evolves as I go through this.

Bushra: I think once I realized that no one was really watching you–I think we just worry too much. I thought my clients would be watching me. You’re working with Saudi companies. Even though most of those people I’m working with are educated, but they’re still conservative. I thought they were watching me and judging me. No one cares. We just worry too much. I think once I realized that, a lot of those decisions became easy because that’s who I am in real life. So, yeah, you should never go to my corporate blog because that’s–

Andrew: What is your corporate blog? I don’t want to go to it.

Bushra: It doesn’t sound like me at all.

Andrew: What was it?

Bushra: It’s called Good Business Sense. It’s called GBSense.com.

Andrew: What is it, GBSense.com?

Bushra: Good Business Sense, GBSense.com. It’s a completely different personality, two completely different people. I do sometimes wonder if I have a split personality or personalities.

Andrew: “Seven Lessons I Learned from My First G4 Report,” you know what? I see a little bit of the BuzzFeed in it, “Hint, Number Five is Why You Should Not Think Any More About Making the Jump.” “CSR Strategy Setting in One Infographic.”

Bushra: A little bit of the BuzzFeed. I was trying. Again, very corporatey. I wrote for Forbes and I wrote for Fast Company. So obviously, I was using a very different corporatey tone. Yeah. That split personality thing between two brands, now last March–it’s been a year now–I quit my corporate work. So, I don’t have to worry about any of that.

Andrew: You want to know something? It’s even on your site that you were acting very different. There’s a cartoon version of you in the 30 Days of Persuasion that you had on the site in 2005. Yes, you have dark hair, but otherwise you look like a very white American housewife with a side business and a corset. Do you remember what I’m talking about?

Bushra: Yes, I do. Thank you so much for insulting me with a smile.

Andrew: Here’s what I’m wondering about that. I get how naturally we gravitate towards creating this image, the whiter image the lighter image, the part people expect. What I’m wondering is how did you know what your personality was. How did you know how to express that part of who you were in a written form? That takes work.

Bushra: Yeah. It does. Okay. So I have always written–I’ve always talked like this. I’ve always been sort of right now what you see, this is exactly who I am. But again, when you’re putting yourself on the information, again, I think it all boils down to this whole idea of perfection when that you see on the internet, right? I would never–the first webinars that I did, I am talking like a really nice, sweet individual. I smile and I’m not loud and I don’t curse and I’m really sweet because somehow we are told that that’s what equates authority, that’s what equates maturity.

Andrew: It’s not like we set out to be that. We just happen to do it.

Bushra: Naturally, yes.

Andrew: Here’s the example that I think of a lot for this. Groucho Marx used to be up on stage as Julius Henry Marx, his real name. He was performing. He was doing comedy and here comes Julius Marx. Him and his brothers would do it. When they got off the stage, they would just kind of kid each other and they would each have a name.

Someone, another performer said, “What are you doing? This name you guys are giving each other is the thing. That’s what makes you interesting. Bring it up on stage.” So they started to do it there. But somebody had to shake them out of their property personalities. I’m wondering what got you to do that. Was there any external exercise, a therapist?

Bushra: I don’t think there was a watershed moment. I actually took a course on–it was a $27 course on how to learn American accent. As you can see, it did not work even though I followed it. I promise I did all the exercises. She asked me to drink warm honey water. I promise I did that too. It didn’t work. So I tried all of those things. I think the only option that was left for me was just to be this. I really could not do that anymore. I tried. I promise. I used to write my blog posts and then I would kind of pick up random words in thesaurus and come up with better English words.

Andrew: I see. Yeah.

Bushra: I think eventually I got tired and I was like, “This is it. I can’t.”

Andrew: For me, it was talking to Seth Godin. I said, “Look, Seth, I don’t know how you do it, but every day you put out a blog post.” And some days there were even two blog posts coming out. And he said, “It doesn’t hurt that I write I think and I write the way I talk. That allows me to really put it out there.” I realized a lot of the agony of writing, a lot of the agony of speaking, a lot of the agony of creating is taking what you’re thinking and making it a little more presentable. What if you don’t have to do that? What if you actually are better off doing it without that? So that helped a lot.

Bushra: Oh my god. I love that. I think that’s, yeah, I think it’s funny because what you said was it makes so much sense because for the longest time, I didn’t get my audios or my videos or my webinars transcribed. When I did and I read it, I was like, “Oh my god, that’s exactly how I write. I had no idea.” I had to kind of go through that exercise to see how similar my writing and my speaking is.

Andrew: You know what else helps? The FN key on the new Macs. If you set it up right, just like turn on dictation, whenever you hit the FN key twice, a little microphone comes up, it takes a little longer than it should, and you can just speak into the Mac and the Mac will turn your speech into text, which then you can go in and edit and change.

Bushra: Yeah. I do that in Google Docs. It’s funny because I did that in Google Docs. It’s an option in Google Docs. I was doing it and my daughter walks in and we start a conversation and the Google Docs–

Andrew: It picks up on that?

Bushra: It was an interesting parenting lesson. I realized I’m a really shitty parent after I read that.

Andrew: What did you say?

Bushra: I probably just scared her of Heaven and Hell or something.

Andrew: I’m going to try it right now. Let me see.

Bushra: You don’t have an accent like mine. Come on.

Andrew: This is Andrew and I’m now talking into my computer. I wonder how well this is going to do. Wow, this actually keeps up with my voice so much faster thank stinking iMac’s dictation. And iMac dictation is not bad. Didn’t get the word stinking and it thinks I meant “I, Max,” the movie. But still, it works. I like it.

Bushra: It will learn. The more you speak into it–

Andrew: It will learn?

Bushra: It learned my accent.

Andrew: It did?

Bushra: It does. It’s smart. It learns the more you use it.

Andrew: Yeah. It teaches you as you use it. I just hit stop so it wouldn’t keep dictating and it says, “You can say period and new line.” So now I know a little bit more. Let’s talk about some of the tools that you use to sell. Why don’t we start with Teachable? Why do you use Teachable to present your classes instead of WordPress or something else?

Bushra: Oh, okay. I’m only experimenting with Teachable right now. I find it very interesting. To be fair, the only reason I decided to try out Teachable was–it’s probably the politically incorrect answer, but the only reason I tried it out is because my region does not give me a lot of payment gateway options. That’s the reason I decided to try it out because Teachable is one of those payment gateway options that work in my region.

Andrew: Yeah. I forget. I lived in Argentina and I hated how I had–I couldn’t use PayPal. I would have to ask a friend to go sign me up for PayPal. I had to have a friend in the US–or to pay for Skype because they thought I was defrauding them of the $2.95 a month to use Skype internationally. Weird.

Bushra: In Saudi, Skype is banned, so right now we’re using a banned software.

Andrew: Is that right?

Bushra: Yeah. I’m on a VPN right now.

Andrew: You’re on a VPN and you’re sounding this clear?

Bushra: Yes.

Andrew: Killer.

Bushra: Because I pay for the VPN. Everyone in Saudi uses VPN because a lot of the things are banned.

Andrew: I didn’t realize it was banned. So what else are you using? What else are you using to sell?

Bushra: Because I am completely self-taught, I did not have a team until two months ago. So literally every single thing in my business I used to do on my own. So I experimented with a ton of tools. I tried probably every single membership plugin that’s out there. I learned it. I tried it out and I discarded it. So, right now, I’m testing out teachable. I am on WordPress with Divi and a membership plugin.

Andrew: MemberMouse?

Bushra: MemberMouse.

Andrew: Yes, that’s good.

Bushra: I’ve also tried OptimizePress. I have tried Leadpages.

Andrew: OptimizePress for creating landing pages.

Bushra: For landing pages, for creating membership sites, entire membership sites. I have moved my membership site four times. Again, when you are learning it on your own and when you’re experimenting–I’m not a programmer, so you mess things up. So, whenever I mess things up I just move.

Andrew: And you can take your customers and their repeat revenue to these new platforms?

Bushra: Yeah. So that was one. I used to be with a payment processor. I will not take the names. But they just one day woke up and they told me, “Because you’re in a high risk country and you have a high risk passport,” they didn’t say that, but I think it’s also the fact I’m Muslim, they said, “We’re closing your account.” So I had 600 recurring members hosted on that website and they just closed it down and said, “We can’t do anything.”

Andrew: What do you do with that with the 600 recurring people?

Bushra: I basically begged people to move. But I lost a lot of people.

Andrew: Yeah, I bet.

Bushra: They kept about $90,000 of my dollars. Again, high risk region–I think anyone who’s not in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, kind of the well-established online business cultures, I think they struggle with this. So, in my case, I’ve struggled. They kept my money. Right now I’m using PayPal and PayPal charges me almost 10%.

Andrew: Because of where you are?

Bushra: Because of the three different ways that I have to use to get the money into my bank account. I end up paying almost 10% of my revenues to PayPal. But it helps because I’m in a tax-free zone. So, it’s fine. At least I don’t have to pay taxes.

Andrew: I see. You know who’s working on doing this is a past Mixergy guest, the founder of Stripe. He recognizes there’s this issue. I think what he’s trying to do is help people internationally create corporations in the US, so then it’s like you’re a US company and all these people can–

Bushra: I think it’s a beautiful solution. I think it would work. My opinion of that is I think it’s a beautiful solution. I would jump right on it if I was in a taxable zone. But if I’m in a tax free zone, I don’t want to put myself in tax bracket for US. Why would I do that? But it definitely works for someone who is already paying taxes.

Andrew: There’s a need here, for sure. It’s not being felt by the people who could create the solution. Unfortunately it’s easier for someone in the US to create the solution than someone outside the US. What you’re trying to do is bring people into the US banking system which makes it easier to process. Where do you get your traffic right now? What’s your funnel looking like?

Bushra: Facebook ads. So, right now, it is almost exclusively Facebook ads. I don’t have time to do a lot of guest posting anywhere, so it’s almost exclusively Facebook ads. I’ve been really lucky. They’re super cheap. I don’t know why.

Andrew: What are the ads offering?

Bushra: A lot of different funnels. I’d run five different types of ads. I don’t just run opt-in ads. I run something that I call seduction ads, which are ongoing ads, which more kind of create likability and trust. Then I have authority building ads, which are ads leading to my blog posts. Then I have constantly video ads running where I’m doing two types of videos, one are the authority videos and the other are the spoof videos that I’m doing.

Andrew: What do the authority videos and authority posts help you with?

Bushra: So, basically, what happens is right now only focusing on video views and clicks and then I retarget them with funnel for the membership site.

Andrew: I see. So it’s a video or an article that establishes you as an authority. They’re targeted. Then you come back and you get their email address.

Bushra: Yeah.

Andrew: What’s the reason? What’s the opt-in for the email?

Bushra: Yeah. I don’t show any opt-in ads to cold audience at all. I think the days of showing opt-in ads to audiences, I think they’re long gone. I think it’s disrespectful, honestly, showing an opt-in ad to an audience who’s never seen you or heard you, I think it’s disrespectful.

They’ve seen my video, they’ve engaged with my video or they’ve clicked through and then they see something that I call the 5-Minute Persuasion Makeover, which is a small video series that leads to the Persuasion Hacks Lab, that’s the funnel. Right now, I put in–so, it’s doing really, really well. I give them a $7 trial for the first month. I spend on average, if I spend, say, about $100, I would make about $350, $360. It’s doing really well.

Andrew: So authority ad, a link to an article that shows you’re an authority, then they come back to Facebook and they see a video?

Bushra: They see an opt-in ad for the 5-Minute Persuasion Makeover.

Andrew: Okay. So then they opt in by giving you their email address and then you drip out the persuasion video, or do you send it out right away?

Bushra: They watch it right away. They enter their opt-in. They watch the first video. In the first video, I tell them–so, I deliver the value and I tell them, “Dude, if you want that $7 trial for the Persuasion Hacks Lab, you can only do it in the next 48 hours. They see a timer on the page.

Andrew: What do you use to create that timer?

Bushra: Deadline Funnel.

Andrew: Okay. They don’t get to watch a video until they give you their email address?

Bushra: Yes.

Andrew: And what do you use to keep track of the–what email software do you use?

Bushra: Ontraport.

Andrew: Ontraport. I see. That way if they buy, you don’t keep trying to sell it to them, if they don’t buy then you do. What’s your drip like as an influencer, as a persuader?

Bushra: Again, that one, this particular funnel is because it’s leading to the–the focus is on those 48 hours and those 48 hours they’ll see about four emails, but then after that, it’s seduction authority, seduction authority until I launch. Because I launch, every two months, then they’re the tease and prime emails I use for my launch.

Andrew: That’s a more expensive product that you told me is 90% of your revenue.

Bushra: Yeah.

Andrew: When you see tease and seduction, what’s a seduction email like?

Bushra: So seduction is I want them to like me. It’s not about–there is no other purpose to the seduction email except for people to like me.

Andrew: That’s it.

Bushra: It sounds really wrong.

Andrew: It does sound kind of needy when you say it that way.

Bushra: Yeah, you made me say that. I said it and it sounds so creepy.

Andrew: What do you mean? What do you do to get people to like you?

Bushra: A story, a little bit about you, pratfall effect, a lot of the pratfall effect, background, why I did what I did, that’s the seduction email. Then the authority email is where I am not interested in them liking me, I just want them to see me as a subject matter expert. That’s the authority piece, the authority email. Then tease and prime emails are emails related to whatever I’m launching, which a lot of people do and I respect that, but I’m still going to judge them, where they’re launching something and they’ll pop into your inbox and say, “Enrollment in this course is open,” or, “I’m doing a webinar, sign up.” I think that’s kind of, again, disrespectful.

So, whenever I’m launching something, I do a tease and prime. Tease is where you basically start sharing content related to the topic of your launch. Then priming is where you kind of excite them about whatever you want them to sign up for. So tease them, prime them, and then pitch to them. Again, it’s all about building that momentum.

Andrew: I see. What you teach is this whole launch process that I’m trying to tease out a little bit at a time. The URL for that is?

Bushra: SoldOutLaunch.com.

Andrew: SoldOutLaunch.com. Right now I can see that it is–look at the title. “Yes, you can go from no idea to sold out launch in 35 days even if you have taken a zillion other courses, even if you know you’ve seen and done it all, even if you have two hours a day to work on your launch and no budget to hire a coach, mentor or designer.” I love that.

All right. Thank you so much for being on here.

Bushra: Thank you so much for having me, Andrew. Even though I kicked my husband out of the bedroom, but I’m so grateful that we could connect.

Andrew: Let me ask you this. We’ve setup your video very nicely. We’ve kind of laughed at how that’s a shower curtain, but you hid your mic so people don’t see why you sound so good. You said, “Andrew, come on, I put on makeup. I’m not going to put the mic in front of my face the way that you do.” Let me ask you this, would you be willing to turn your camera around so we can see this room or non-room that you broadcast from?

Bushra: Yeah.

Andrew: Let’s take a look.

Bushra: Okay. Let’s do it.

Andrew: All right. I see the curtain, which I really like. That’s such a good shower curtain.

Bushra: That’s my desk.

Andrew: That’s your desk?

Bushra: That’s my desk. That’s the laundry basket. Those are my dirty laundry. There’s a towel on the floor, which obviously I didn’t bother, one of those. Those are my husband’s shoes.

Andrew: This is literally a closet?

Bushra: It is a closet. Yes.

Andrew: But you’ve got good lighting.

Bushra: Yeah. That’s because there’s a broken lamp, which you just saw the broken lamp.

Andrew: Lightning helps a lot. All right. Bushra, I am very excited to have met you. Thank you so much for being on here. Everyone else, if you’re listening, make sure to check out her site. Of course, the two sponsor sites–the first is a company that will help you get your next great developer or designer and now even an MBA. Do what Eric did. Go check out Toptal.com/Mixergy.

And the second site is a site that excites us both. We use it when we want to get on the phone with somebody. You should do it too. If you want to get on calls with people, you want your sales people to make more calls or to have more calls scheduled, no wasted time. Go check out AcuityScheduling.com–no wait, actually AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy and you’ll get all that free time, AcuityScheduling.com/Mixergy. I’m grateful to them both for sponsoring.

Thank you so much for doing this interview.

Bushra: Thank you so March for having me.

Andrew: All right. Bye, everyone.


  • Mary Thompson Ottman

    I love Bushra!! So many golden nuggets dropping like coins on the floor!

    Mary Ottman

  • Isis Arjeta

    Bushra’s accent is amazing! If she can make big bucks being a wacky and wild woman with a huge accent, there’s hope for me haha!

  • marie andrew piazza

    Bushra!!!! persuade the heck and more. Love it!

  • marie andrew piazza

    i love and use acuity. it is the best and so flexible

  • Julia

    Bushra is the persuasion queen! I’m so glad you are interviewing her!

  • Cristina Corban

    Bushra’s Revolution: where more businesses make more bucks and fun! :D

  • Cecilie Aslaksen

    Bushra is gold! She’s authentic and by being so, she grabs her audience’s attention, keeps it, and turns them into returning customers that keeps on buying every single product she launches.

  • Colleen Kochannek

    Loved the comment on using standard / core psychology concepts and adapting them for the online environment. I think we sometimes try to make ‘online’ too hard.

  • style&chic

    This was one super dynamic almost roasting conversation but you came out of it as authentic as it can get yet owning it without dominating. Brava! Well done!

  • Hira Ali

    Loved it!!! So amazing as usual

  • Hannah Ashcroft

    There’s a reason that Bushra has an army of raving fans that devour every word she utters even if they’ve heard the story a hundred times before!
    Pure, refreshing, liquid gold. We need more Bushras in the world ?

  • Shannon Dahlen

    Bushra is a master of persuasion, a brilliant online marketer, a woman with a huge heart that is making an impact in the world, and a woman who has a following that is 100% ride or die because she’s one of few that aren’t full of shit. If you don’t know her, if you don’t love her, if you’re not learning from her, you’re missing out.

  • Kylie Russell

    Bushra is the one person I’ll stop and listen to or watch anywhere anytime!
    She’s gives away so many of her secrets…. and we Bushra-lings soak it all up and profit from her hard work. I’m so impressed I stumbled across her when I did!

  • Kalyani Pardeshi

    Bushra is so relate-able simply because she is so down to earth, she has broken boundaries so many of us mere mortals dream of doing! One of the things I love about her and her work is the way she embraces what she considers, are her flaws and how she teaches all of us to do the same as it brings about a likeability like no other, a relate-ability like no other. She is passionate about her work and she lives and breathes it. I always had a never say die attitude but Bushra has taken my perseverance to a whole new level through her training. She inspired me! #shebelievedshecouldandshedid

  • Elsewine Rietveld

    Bushra is the smartest lady I know. She’s real, fun, full of inspiration, edutainment and so many valuable tips, hacks and tools.
    I love her!

  • Wendy Cohen

    Bushra has a heart of gold and so bloody persuasive. She cares so much about her students and over delivers on every thing that she puts out on the interwebs. Great interview- I listened to the end and that is rare :-P. Loved the showcase of her cloffice and the towel, kinda disruptive, no? She is a rare gem of the online business world. So blessed to know this beautiful woman, inside and out. #realandraw

  • Margot Gobetti

    Bushra is amazing and helped to empower women from all countries to believe that they can start a business and be successfully + she teaches how without brake your bank account.

  • Bushra’s products never disappoint! She does so well because she cares about solving problems for people and uses her genius to do it. I love me some Bushra!

  • Kylie Ansett

    Right off the bat you can tell this is not going to be your typical interview. Filled with gold and gold-dust and gold nuggets for anyone who wants to get ahead with an online business.

  • Cindy Kennedy

    Love, love, love the idea of the believability switch and using “even if…”. Bushra nails it yet again!!!

  • Addie Maes

    Such a huge fan of Bushra. She knows her shit. I could listen to her talk for days.

  • ki

    Yay!! i love you bushra!! you were good news to me!!

  • Madhu Seth

    This was a great interview! Filled in all the little nuggets that were missing! The timeline gave it a good perspective as I have heard it in all bits and pieces before. I think he kept you on his toes but you were dancing all through!

  • Vanessa Waite

    Bushra’s struggles and story is precisely why I know there is hope for anyone! I mean look how much crap was against her! I can’t listen to my own excuses anymore. Brilliant interview it provided so many powerful psychological switches for how to approach situations creatively.

  • Leah Kelly Harvath

    Every time I listen to Bushra Azhar I learn something new. So many actionable take-ways as usual that always reignite my excitement about my online business. Thanks for the great interview!

  • Donna Brown

    Every time I listen to Bushra, I always learn something valuable! Love her heart, her accent and her absolute brilliance!!!

  • Samara Albadri

    I love Bushra! I started following her few months ago and I can say that she knows her stuff and constantly learning from her. Thank you Bushra for all you do!

  • Sally

    I love Bushra’s work, she is very down to earth and very persuasive, I highly recommend her Sold Out Launch Program.

  • Anne LL

    Bushra is the real deal. Genius, brilliant and full of valuable information. Thank you for this fantastic interview!

  • Amber Khan

    Bushra is without a doubt one of the most inspiring and intelligent woman of today. Couple of good reminders there in the interview.

  • Helen Loo

    Bushra is amazing!! I can’t believe how relatable, funny, and brilliant she is. I learned so much, thank you for interviewing her!

  • Bushraaaa!!! Love this woman to bits and she’s probably the only one I stalk and even message obsessively to see what she’s offering so I can buy from her ASAP… Her programs and her podcast are GOLD!! This interview just confirms what I already knew… Ms. B is the uncrowned queen of persuasion and if you’d apply any of her tips, you’d know exactly what I’m talking about!!

  • Kolarele Sonaike

    Bushra rocks!

  • Peter

    Love Bushra’s enthusiasm and step-by-step processes. Literally nothing like it. I’ve been with her since the beginning, buying a whole bunch of her products. Compared to other so-called gurus, Bushra’s material is gold. Whereas others give you a general framework, Bushra gives you the framework, the coaching, and the detailed tactics to actually implement a complex plan.

  • Gonneke Brons

    This was such a JOY to watch and very informational as well. My love for Bushra grew even more. Woman you are so real! And I feel hopeful now that my Dutch accent won’t be keeping me from being succesful.

  • Daniel

    I follow Bushra everyday and I do not know, what are you waiting for, if you have not yet joined her secret group on Facebook: 60 Second Persuasion. Great interview and lessons, a lot of fun.

  • Shamanth

    Bushra I love you!! Andrew about time ……. :) I am glad you interviewed her.

  • Sandra

    Wisdom is wisdom, accent or no accent, and Bushra has that in ABUNDANCE. Love her wisdom, wit and wackiness! Great interview.

  • Nihal Ruwa

    Bushra is THE guru of all gurus accent or no accent..

  • Daire

    Fabulous as always, Lady B!

  • Kathy Doucette

    No matter what level of experience you have with online marketing, Bushra Azhar can help you do it better! Irreverant, funny and always educational, Bushra shares her knowledge on everything! She has a mix of free and paid training, podcasts and Facebook groups available to her community that are packed with information on every area of online marketing. Whether you are just working through the free trainings, the PH Lab hacks (monthly membership) orher higher end courses, you will get real knowledge and actionable steps that you can take immediate action on. Think of her as the anti-guru who actually wants you to succeed and get on her list!

  • Arkamitra Roy

    I think this was my favourite Bushra interview so far. Even though I knew her background story, this interview was successful in making me know and understand her better. And the tip about writing the same way that I speak… I love it! My writing is always way more formal than how I speak, but maybe there’s hope for me after all!

  • Alexia van Schaardenburg

    Loved the future focused idea. Just used it in a corporate proposal! It really helped give a more interesting twist to a conventional piece of writing. thank you.

  • CindyBall

    Great interview Bushra. I love your combination of thorough process combined enthusiam.

  • Irena Kirn

    Loved it! as always. One of the nuggets – “write the way you speak!” So advice to myself (and to everybody) – speak, record your speech and do a transcription! :) The way to success is being and showing who you are – so if you can’t see yourself yet – use Bushra’s guidance.

  • Dr. Jane

    Great interview Andrew. Bushra not only told an inspiring story but gave actionable tips and great examples. This interview will be time well spent for all your viewers & listeners!

  • Bushra!!! So incredible, as always! Love you to delicious peices, mama! ???

  • Emma Veiga-Malta

    I’ve known about Bushra through a business group we’re both members of – love that you interviewed her Andrew. More people like her to bring a smile to our start-up faces :)

  • You do know Americans have accents too yeah? :p

    Great job Bushra! Keep kicking goals! :)

  • Fred AJ

    What a great interview with Bushra, thank you! She’s so no-nonsense, and I love how she demystifies psychological concepts so we can apply them in a non-yucky way to help grow our businesses.

  • Tricia Mitchell

    Loved this interview. Andrew’s no-holds barred interview style and Bushra’s honest; the gems, the giveaways & the “through the keyhole” style snoop at the end! It was a fabulous walk through of Bushra’s products and personality. Great listening!

  • Cantina Schweitzer Leggo

    Bushra is beyond freak’n amazing!! I stumbled across her a few months ago and she has me seriously ADDICTED! Not only does she know her shit…she helps me look and sound like I do too! Love this woman!!

  • Great interview – what an awesome, genuine person and loved the strategies she shared.

  • Jessica Killingley

    This woman is freaking amazing. After listening to her talk for about ten minutes I’d got my credit card out… totally transformational advice on copy, website strategy EVERYTHING! Fantastic interview, thank you both.

  • Linda

    Started with fortune telling at a young age, and look at how that talent translated into business: future casting!
    Amazing story and amazing work! Thanks Bushra!

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