Andrew: Hey everyone its Andrew Warner founder of mixerg.com, home of the ambitious upstart and i launched something that i think is pretty crappy. I’m going to be honest with you Tim, I launched a page membership site and i did it quicker than i even expected. i actually hired an outsourcing company they created the site much faster than i expected. here i am, I’m happy to launch something crappy and learn how to improve it instead of waiting till i learn everything and then launch something perfect. So i launched a premium site on mixerg and i said now going to learn from the audience how to fix it and more importantly i’m going to bring on experienced people who’ve done this who know how to launch premium paid sites who know how to sell content to come here and teach me and we’ill record the interview because i know in my audience people want to learn how to do this stuff too. Maybe the don’t want to sell content, maybe they don’t want to sell what i’m selling on mixerg.com, maybe non of it is exactly right for them but if the can take away some of these lessons and apply them to what they want sell online then i think we’ve done them justice. Maybe all they want to do is create a paid web app and everone else is giving their stuff away. Listening to today’s interview hopefully will teach them how to charge and bring in revenue from their web app and also what we’re gona do is talk about some of the objections, anytime you charge for anything online you’re gona get resistance i want to talk about some of those objections whether they’re valid and when they’re not and when we disagree with them. Alright so the person that i invited here is the person who’s blog i’ve been reading for along time i’m charging he’s Tim Berkwin he’s the founder of membercon along with a few other websites we will talk about here and membercon is a website that teaches what he’s learning and what he’s applying as he’s selling membership sites and from what i see Tim they’re all content based membership sites that your selling right?
Tim: Right! specifically content sites their based on interviews, that our fortee, we take interviews in any industry and we turn that into the content, can of like what you did obviously, for any subject any topic.
Andrew: alright, and again if the person listening to us does not have interviews but have something else to teach anyone and wants to figure out how to sell it this interview the goal of it is to help them get there. maybe they have a web app or something else that they want to charge online my goal here is to teach them from your experience, before we get into that i want to establish who you are, you and i know each other before this site that’s how i discovered your blog. You were in this conference that was very influential in this base can you tell the people what the conference was and what was it about
and we’ll spend a little bit of time on your background and then get into this.
Tim: so the very first buisness i ever started was a trade about online trading and that was back in 1998 i was a cop actually with LAPD, i was a day trader a well back when day trading before that was even term. I could’nt find a convention to go to meet other traders to talk about how to trade stocks better and features and currency and all that so we started one i didn’t know a thing about trade shows so that was the firt one and i started a few conferences after that as well but that was the first one that actually started from scratch and eventually sold to a bigger trade show company.
Andrew: Ok and then there was another one that was influential in mypace where you and i first met. what was that one?
Tim: Right, It’s five different names basically over the five different shows we did but it was podcats in new media expo so it was an event for initially just for podcasters it was large in 2005 we said lets get together with other podcasters and talk about audio equipments and get it in audience and recordings and editing and all that good stuff and there wasn’t a whole lot out there at the time, well there was nothing out there at the time so we started it and ontario,California in southern California and i sold that one eventually to blog world which last year was the first time was intergrated in both new media expo and blog world together.
Andrew: And i went to the very first conference the very first podcasting conference that what we called it for a long time that you created i loved it i love the idea of listening to podcast because i had a long commute i used to go running cycling and i wanted somthing to listen to in all those places.And you had a conference that brought together the people who were creating it and help me understand what was going on and i was curious i also actually, now that i think of it i first discovered you through your podcast on triatheletes and i find that if i’m listening to people doing something i get into the mood to do it myself, so if i’m listening to somebody talk about their running experience and talk about was it triathlons.
Tim: It was called endurance radio.
Andrew: Endurance radio yes it was like 20 minute pieces.
Tim: and now its called Endurance Plant.
Tim: And now it called Endurance Plant.
Andrew: I actually sold that one too. but it started out a podcasting mountain biking site and the reason i got into podcasting with that because these are actually active people and i started getting emails saying i got to get through all these rigimoral to transfer these audio files to my mp3 device and don’t even know if ther was an ipod out there back then but i was thinking ok let me try to make this easier for my audience to get the content because it was too hard to get a podcast.
Interviewee: because it was really hard to, I mean it’s still too hard to get a podcast now. But much easier with itunes, but there wasn’t itunes back then. So I went on online and started to Goggle to find out how to help my audience to transfer the files to their mp3 device because they aren’t sitting at their computers. These are guys that are out there doing 300-mile bike rides, half marathons every weekend just to get ready for triathlons. So they’re out there. A lot of down time so they’re trying to get their minds off the pain so they’re looking for content to listen to. So I typed in, somehow I came across the work podcast and started looking into it. At that time it was probably 35 results for the word podcast. I mean it had just started. And I thought well this is good. And we added, my brother Emil is our software guy. We had an RSS feed but it was mostly just to say hey a new interview has been added. Come to the website. It was totally this is what an RSS feed is supposed to do which is to send content to them. So we added the enclosure tags in our RSS feed and we were podcasting. That’s kind of how we fell into it. Trade show guy in me said, ‘Look. There are a lot of people asking questions about equipment and how to do this. This sounds like a great show to me.’ So we started that event
Andrew: Okay all right. So then you did all that. It was in your path. It sounds like you sold just about everything that you created. And you moved on to creating a couple of sites including trader interviews where you do what?
Interviewee: I interview successful traders. The guys that are at home; sitting in their homes trading the markets through direct access account. Some of these guys make millions of dollars per year. Some of them make couple hundred thousand dollars per year. Typically it’s their full-time job just to trade everyday. Nobody knows they’re names. They’re not market gurus. I go out and try to find these guys and talk them into talking to me about their strategies and how they make money.
Andrew: Why aren’t you, are you giving this stuff away for free actually?
Interviewee: I was actually giving the stuff away for free. I was sitting in the same boat you are right now, Andrew in that I’d been doing the site free for about 2 years and we had a lot of content in there and we weren’t making any money. I mean, we probably made, 6 – 7 thousands dollars, tops over two years. In trying to deal Google ads and try to deal with advertisers on-board. I was spending all my time on the phone trying to convince an advertiser to spend $500, spend $1000 with us. And I thought, ‘This is nonsense. I’m spending all my time on the phone with advertisers. What I want to do is spend my time on the phone with traders and talking with them finding out how they do this.’ and so we made the decision to go to
Andrew: What about this? Maybe you’re not a good salesman, and maybe that’s why you weren’t able to sell ads.
Interviewee: I would say that’s probably true. At the same time.
Andrew: No. It’s not. I was setting you up. I saw you years ago and I’m not going to let you say it. I saw you sell ads to conferences. You’re selling sponsorship spots. You’re selling ads to Endurance Radio, I believe. Right?
Interviewee: Right. We were doing that. We had some big advertisers.
Andrew: I don’t want to speak for you. I was setting you up. I was expecting an answer. I didn’t get the answer. I should still hope back what my expectations were and let you speak. So I did think of you as a very good salesman. Why do you say that you weren’t?
Interviewee: Well. Let me back it up. We got some good advertisers. We got Gatorade on-board to advertise on Endurance Radio and to have agencies try us. There was always a discussion about what is podcasting. We knew banners. That what we knew. We knew clicks. We can track that. We can find out how many people were clicking. Listening to my podcast. The were asking I can tell you how many people downloaded it. I can tell you it they put it on. I can tell you the number of subscribers to our RSS feed. I cannot tell you if they actually listened to your ad. So that was always a hurdle right there. The problem was that we never had enough traffic to make it worthwhile to. I was calling Gatorade, their advertising agency and saying, ‘Look we’ve got 10,000 downloads per month from tri-athletes. These are the most avid endurance people you can imagine. It’s your perfect audience. If you want to try Gatorade endurance this is the best place to do it because these guys are crazy about their training and they want good stuff in their bodies.’ But even that, even 10,000 most dedicated athletes that you can imagine, that would be the perfect audience for them, it was never enough. They’re out on
Andrew: What about the trader interviews? Could you sell ads? What about trader interviews? Could you sell advertising to e*trade and to the to other sites that are catering to traders? Isn’t there money in that?
Interviewee: There is a little bit of money. But there’s not quit-your-job kind of money for the kind of traffic that we had. I tried for three years to build it up to millions of hits per month, which is what they want to make it worth their while. They’re spending millions of dollars on ad campaigns. They’re not going to. It’s not even worth their time to spend 1000 bucks or 2000 bucks on a test. It’s not their model. Even though it’s the absolutely perfect niche audience. I spoke until I was blue in the face about how we had the best audience. Everybody who is listening is the right person. Not the shotgun approach put it out there all over the place and maybe 10% of people at best.
Interviewee: And maybe 10% of those people at best or the wide audience. So
unless you got that exact millions of hits and you are able to show that, it
just wasn’t interesting to them. And yet I knew I had a good audience that was
willing to pay for something. Either they were willing to pay with their
tension, but I knew they were willing to pay with real dollars and within you
know four months. You know just forget them within the first 30 days clipping
to a membership side, we made more money in the first 30 days than I had in
the past 2-1/2 years doing it.
Andrew: That is a big statement right there. So you had trader interviews. You
are offering for it free and within you said how long, you were making more
than you made in the first…
Interviewee: Thirty days.
Andrew: Thirty days you made more in the past two years and a half.
Interviewee: Right, right.
Andrew: And this is with you getting on the phone sound ads with you making an
effort. You are not sitting back and not trying. Maybe, somebody can listen to
this and say you are not making enough of an effort. Maybe, you are saying
like I am…
Interviewee: No, I was sending out media kits every day. I was on the phone
4-5 hours a day trying to get at the door of ad agencies, trying to get to the
director of marketing. I definitely put in the time. And because of that, the
content suffered and so it was actually, it was, it had the reverse effect. I
was probably losing traffic because my contents started to suck because I was
spending so much time trying to get advertisers. And so I thought, this is
You know we need to find a different model that is going to work for a knit
site where I am not constantly having to worry about sending media kits out,
and I didn’t want to outsource it because there wasn’t enough money to even
outsource it, to pay somebody because for the traffic we had, they weren’t
going to make enough money doing that either. So the membership and selling
the content itself was the other option, and it was the best thing that we
ever did. And we were open since…
Andrew: Sounds like it did, it changed your whole outlook, it gave you
something new to teach, something new to show to the rest of us through Member
Con which is the site where you are teaching us what you learning through
TraderInterviews.com and through some of the other sites that you are working
on, but and I want to ask you about what the reaction was. For me when I did
it, the reaction was absolutely appropriate I think on the first day because
it was a mistake. We accidentally set everything behind a pay walk. I didn’t
mean to do any of that. It happened.
Andrew: But there is some level of outrage that people are going to have when
you take something that is free and you are selling and you say, “You have got
to pay for it.” What was it for you?
Interviewee: Same thing, I had, many of the people said, “I will never come
back to your site. I will never listen to an interview again.” And for, I was
like fine. “That is totally your choice but guess what, you are never going to
buy anything from me anyway, so see you later.” And that was honest in my
choice. It is not trying to be cynical. I am not trying to be rude about it,
but I am not here to help you out and give you free content and as much as you
want and you know have to go on (xx: 12:45) (laughs). That is not what I am
going to do.
Our traffic probably dropped by at least half. And we never had that much
traffic to begin with. But we, I wouldn’t be surprised if our traffic dropped
by 75% when we opened up the membership site. But you know what, the people
that stuck around, the people that paid who made this a real business and
instead of just some cheery thing where I was just putting it up for fun. I
was just no longer willing to do that. And so yeah, you are going to get the
people to say, ” I will never come back to your site. You are selling out.”
“Yeah, fine. See you later. Have a nice day.”
I am not here to give you what you want. I am here to create a business, and
that meant I could do longer interviews for the people that paid. I could
create better contents because I was spending all my time creating the
content, and I just ignored the folks, the whiners as I called them on your
page (chuckles). You know, you had people who said and I had the same thing.
Hey, how about coming. Let us, let us do this thing and we will pay you in
links. We will pay you in a tension. And I find, you know what until somebody
can show me that I pay my mortgage with a tension online and till I can link
it to my mortgage company for my blog instead of sending a check, that doesn’t
make sense to me.
I would have opposed and this is getting a little bit of side tangier but I
wrote a post about a year and a half ago, another blog I was doing called
“Internet Famous Dirt Pour” and it was all about all these people that had
thousands of followers and thousands of our excess readers, and at the end of
the month, we are asking for donations to buy me microphones so they could do
a better podcast. And I thought that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
Why don’t you show that, if you don’t think you have, if you are not, if you
don’t think you are valuable for your content, if you don’t think you are valuable, your content is valuable, why is your audience going to think your content is valuable? It doesn’t make sense.
And they won’t think that I would say Henry that I think you did wrong. He is. You asked your audience what they should pay. (laughs) And I have said this time and time again, “Don’t bother” because the people that are going to say, “I don’t want to pay anything” or “I am going to pay a dollar a month” are never going to buy from you anyway. That is not your audience. And if they get pissed off because they think that you are selling out a (xx 14:45) trogy . Guess what, they are not going to buy anything from you anyway. So who cares. So if you want to be famous and you want to have a tall (xx 14:45) by, you know, put out as much content as you want, and everybody will love you and say how great you are. That is fine. I am here not to be loved. I am here to create a business. I want to be loved by the people that pay me and are members…
Interviewee: ÖI want to be loved by the people that pay me and are members. But, at the end of the day, if you don’t like my business model, then see you later. Go find somewhere else, that you can find a place that you can get your free content and your freebies all day long, then that’s your choice.
Andrew: How many people did you have in your audience when you made this switch? In my head, I’m imagining the emails I’ll get afterwards that say, ‘That’s great for Tim. He had millions of people in his audience on TraderInterviews.com. Of course, some 1% of them might buy and that’s why he’s making a living off of this.’ I don’t think that’s true. Can you give us a sense with the audience?
Interviewee: No. Before we went to a paid model – I’d have to go check the analytics – but I think maybe we were getting a couple of thousand unique visitors a day; maybe, on a good day. Now, we get, probably, about the same only because we’ve grown since that time. On Sundays, maybe we’ll have 500 unique visitors. That is nothing! I mean, that’s hardly anything. But, we’re making probably good $20,000-$25,000 a month now doing it this way with the little traffic. That’s why, when I hear people say, ‘I need to have, at least, 10,000 uniques a month.’ No, you don’t, you really don’t.
If you’ve got great content and you’ve got a passionate audienceÖwhat I will concede is that my site’s about making money. So, it’s always going to be easier to charge for that. Whenever you talk about start doing business or making money, the making money online things are a whole different because that’s kind of just gotten bust, just kind of incestuous list of marketing in the whole Internet marketing thing. But if you’re talking about ways that people can make money, they can take this information immediately and then apply it and make some money on their own. Obviously, it’s going to be a little easier to charge.
But our traffic is nothing. If you look at us on Alexa or Compete.com, we have no traffic. I’ll be honest with you right there, it’s very little. But we have a real business because the people that do pay stick around and they’re passionate about it. So, you don’t need a lot of traffic. In fact, Andrew, if your audience, you got a lot of traffic. I looked at your Compete stats and the thing that, the gentleman – forgive me – the gentleman right before that you were talking to. He put up a chart, you got a lot of traffic!
Andrew: Compete is underestimating my traffic. I, suddenly, in the last few months, when I started doing a new interview everydayÖI’ve talked to you about this, so we can get into details, we can get into and talk about that, but the traffic is even higher than that. It’s not insane, but it’s grown faster than I have ever did before, which is nice.
Interviewee: Right. If you lost 95% of that traffic, Andrew, and you turned this into a full member site, I think you’re being way generous by only charging for the archives. I mean, if it was me, I would say, ‘Andrew, you need to charge for everything.’ But, it’s a personal choice, and I totally get that, but, it’s not about numbers anymore. People are so obsessed with Twitter. The number of Twitter followers and number of RSS subscribers, I would say the most important number that anybody should be talking or thinking about is their email newsletter list because that’s where the money is made.
Truly, the old fashion email is where we make 90% of our sales, and I email my list almost everyday. That’s another controversial fact, too. Most people say, ‘Oh, that’s too much. You’re going to spam people.’ No, the more you email your list, with good content, you can’t put crap out there, and it’s hard work, but a good email every single day and point to something that’s good. But, if you train your list to take action, the more you email, the more money you’re going to make. That’s just the fact. You think it’s the opposite. You think people are going to unsubscribe.
Yes, we get a lot of unsubscribed because we eliminate people that are not action takers or not buyers very, very quickly. That’s fine with me. I’m not here to build a list of a million people. I’m here to build a list of 5,000 buyers. We’ve done email trades with other companies and our little, we have about 5,000 people on our email list for trade interviews. We did a trade with a company that had 139,000 subscribers to their email list and my performance blew theirs out of the water. So, it’s not about having the biggest list, it’s having a list that takes action, that’s what you want.
Andrew: What’s an email trade, by the way? I want to make sure that I understand that.
Interviewee: So, we would go out to them and say, ‘Look, we will promote some product that you have or some piece of content that you have to our list and you promote a piece of content that we have to your list.’ Another case, we have a free interview we give away. It’s a little over an hour long, so we say, ‘Promote that for us and we will promote something on yours.’ If it’s free, that’s easier to get them in the list than get them into this sales funnel.
We train our list that, when they get an email from us, it’s not just to read something. It’s to click on a link and take some sort of an action. Whether it be take a survey, buy something, enter your email address and name to get a free piece of content. Every email we send out is a call-to-action, and that’s where most companies, I think, fail. So, they have this huge email list that are absolutely worthless because the people that are on the list are not used to taking action when they get an email from these folks.
Andrew: Interesting. That’s different from what I was thinking.
Andrew: Interesting. That’s different from what I was thinking. In fact, I’ve had an email list for a long time and I don’t email anybody on it because I don’t want to bother them in their inbox. Now, these people signed up for email, some of them complain. I keep thinking, ‘I don’t want to bother them in their inbox.’
Interviewee: Yes. You got to [xx]
Andrew: I’m not ready to get [xx], but you know what, I’m accepting that you need to go more than I am. I’m accepting, too, that I haven’t cancelled Facebook even though they send me incessant emails. I cannot stop emails that I get from Facebook. All I can do is tell Google to automark them as red or archive them because there’s too many emails from them.
Interviewee: Right. It’s easy to fall into that trap. You say, ‘I don’t want to bother my subscribers.’ But, if you don’t want to bother them, if they’re not passionate about the subject that you’re going and telling them about, you’re giving them good information. As opposed on our blog in a day where somebody, ‘Sign up for our free interviewee and then unsubscribe within three minutes.’ The first four emails that they get in our autoresponder chain, there’s no call-to-action, there’s nothing, it’s just free content. It’s just how to trade better. We get people that unsubscribe, and that’s fine, because they are self qualifying themselves. Taking action, I want them off the list as soon as possible, because I pay for every subscriber that’s on the list. I don’t want anybody on the list who just don’t want to be there.
Andrew: It’s true. I pay for every subscriber who’s on my list because I pay for months and months and months. I’m paying because I don’t want to bother them. I’m paying and not doing anything because I don’t want to bother them. As somebody here in the comments, [xx] them in the comments is saying, ‘Right, Andrew, these interesting folks do want to be bothered, they’ve asked for it.’
Interviewee: What’s important, do you want to be famous, Andrew, or do you want to make money? That’s really the bottom line. Do you want to be the guy everybody loves or do you want to make money? That’s the choice, I think, that people have to make. You can be both.
Andrew: I want to be both. When I look at my heroes, they’re not the guys who are just getting up everyday trying to make money and trying to just make money. At least, they were the people like Malcolm Forbes, who I was talking about earlier today. Malcolm Forbes made a fortune for himself, made himself a spot on the Fortune 400 list, but he didn’t do it just by creating four magazines or by creating whatever was hot. He said, ‘No. My passion is to help entrepreneurs by highlighting great entrepreneur stories. That’s what Forbes Magazine is going to do, it’s going to be the capitalist tool,’ and so on. These are messages that survived. He’s dead, but his influence on me and his influence on the US mindset is still felt. I want to be able to do both of those.
You’re right, I’m neglecting the finance part of it, and I’m neglecting the finance part of it because I believe that online little culture that says, ‘Free is good. People who offer free are good people. Charging is bad and comes from evil people.’ To an extent, I buy into it and I buy into it because I know the people who are out there in my audience that are random strangers, I care about them. I wake up every morning trying to figure out how can I help them in their lives. But at the same time, you’re right, you got to think also about what’s better for my business, what’s better for me as a person, too. Or else, you become a mat, that everybody loves the mat but nobody respects the mat and no one wants ever to have a conversation with the mat, a doormat.
Interviewee: I would never go to a website owner and say, ‘You have to charge for your content. You’re fool if you don’t charge for your content.’ In essence, what these people are saying, ‘You’re fool if you charge for your content. I like free stuff, and that’s the way it should be.’ ‘Well, that’s fine, you would never buy anything from me anyway. See you later.’ The idea that there’s so much free content out there, you’ll never succeed there. That is complete hogwash. I have stronger words but I won’t use them. That’s a nonsense.
Andrew: I’ve talked to successful people who do sell content and I’ve heard their point of view on why they’re able to sell content even though there’s a world out there of free information. But I’d like to hear your point of view on that. Why is it in the world where I can get YouTube to give me free videos, where Motley Fool is giving me free articles on stocks, where there are tons and tons and tons of sources out there for stock information. Why are you, Tim, able to get people to take cash out of their pocket to get your stock information?
Interviewee: So there’s a few reasons. I would say the first reason is you really can’t find a lot of what we do out there. Yes, there are other people that interview traders, but they were crappy jobs. They don’t know how to interview. They don’t really know traders that well. They don’t know the questions that these traders want answered. So, I would say our service is pretty unique that way. We’re not a stock-picking service. Tim Sykes does, basically, picks, so he does penny stocks. But, there are very few sites out there that offer really good quality interviews with no name traders that are really hard to get.
There’s nothing in there for these guys to talk to me. They don’t sell anything. They don’t have a blog. They’re trading at home and making a million bucks in Kansas City, trading at home in their big house. They have no desire to talk to me, but I talk them usually, I’m calling in a favor from a friend who knows them. Their friends of friends have been in the industry for like 12 years. So, I think they’re paying for my access to a certain extent. Just like, not everybody can get to interview with Leo Laporte or some of these guys that you do interviews with. Let’s just state of the 37 [xx] guys, you could have [xx] to get with a lot of what they offer with Google Docs and everything else for free. But those guys are very successful because they make it easy to do, too. There’s convenience and there’s a reason that the bottled water industry is a billion dollar industry even though there’s free tap water and drinking fountains everywhere. It’s because it’s convenient and there’s quality standards, all that good stuff. So, there are reasons why people want to buy things from you.
I would say, sure, if you want to go and spend hours and hours searching everyday for the right content and you’re not sure of the source. You’re a trusted source to your audience, people trust you, the questions that you’re going to ask are good, and that you’re going to get good answers from people. I don’t go to YouTube and try to find something similar, but who is this? Who’s put out this content? Do they have ulterior motives? Are they trying to sell me something? All those things, when you can put your trust into somebody or into a site are worth paying for. The people that are pay you for, they’re not come on to your site and say, ‘Yes. 39 bucks sounds good’ or ‘A hundred bucks sounds good, charge me that.’ They just go about their credit card and become members, they don’t bother commenting.
Interviewee: …a lot of what they offer with Google Docs, and everything else, for free. But those guys are very successful, because they make it easy to do, too. Right? They make it. There’s convenience. There’s a reason that the bottled water industry is a billion industry, even though there’s free tap water in drinking fountains everywhere. It’s because it’s convenient, and you know, there’s quality standards. All that’s good stuff, right? So there’s reasons why people want to buy things from you. Yeah, you can go. I would say sure. If you want to go and spend hours and hours searching everyday for the right content, and you’re not sure of the source, right, because you’re a trusted source to your audience. People trust you that the questions you’re going to ask are good, and that you’re going to get good answers from people. I can go to YouTube and try to find something similar, but who is this? Who’s put out this content? Do they have any ulterior motives? Are they trying to sell me something? All those things. When you can put your trust into somebody, or into a site worth paying for. And the people that are paid for it? They’re not going to come on to your site and say, “Yeah, yeah, 39 bucks sounds good. A hundred bucks sounds good. Charge me that.” They just whip out their credit card and they become members. They don’t bother commenting. Probably because they’re too busy, which is one of the reasons why they’re paying you to be that filter for them. So all the people who have time to comment about why they won’t pay, would never pay anyway. Right? So that’s what’s so ironic about it, and what’s so interesting. And why people should ignore pretty miuch everybody. And that’s not just don’t ask your audience what they want. But I think asking them what they think they should pay is a mistake, because you’re not going to get any good data from that. If I really felt like you’re going to get great data, and you’re going to know what price point to charge. Oh, like 30% said they’d charge. You’re not going to know, because the most vocal group are the people who won’t pay anything. So you’re not going to learn anything from that.
Andrew: OK. By the way, the reason that people are saying that. People are complimenting me for the way that I charged, which is to say, “Guys, pay your own. Pay whatever you want.” And I offered lots of different options, including name your own price. I’m getting a lot of compliments for that. I’ve got to be honest, and not from you, obviously. You disagree with it. But I’m getting a lot of comments from people in the industry, and compliments, I should say, from people in the industry. I’ve got to be honest. I didn’t earn those compliments. It was an accident. I didn’t have a full site up and running. I needed some landing page as the guys were tagging certain parts of my site as “premium access only”. I needed something to lead them to. And I said, “I can’t lead them. If somebody’s trying to access this premium information, I can’t lead them to a page that charges for anything, because there’s nothing really to charge, except for one or two posts.” Anyway, ended up leaving it there, because it all happened so fast. I’m interested in the response that I’m getting for it. It’s kind of a sociology experiment, or it’s interesting. And I’m leaving it up there for now. At the same time, I understand that that cannot survive. I want to talk a little bit.
Interviewee: It’s almost like a donation jar at that point. Right? Can you really sustain a real business with a tip jar? I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s a sustainable business model.
Andrew: I don’t think so either. If anyone is listening to us live, or on the recorded version, who believes that you can sustain a business through a donation option, let me know. I know that Leo Laporte talks endlessly about that was his vision for Twit.tv. Only donations. It didn’t work. Who is loved more than Leo Laporte on the internet? I can’t think of a single person. The Dali Lama, I don’t believe online, is loved as much as Leo Laporte. And he wasn’t able to get a donation-based business going. And YouTube…
Interviewee: Right. Well, and everybody points to NPR. Well, NPR can do it. Well, you know what? I’m not NPR. I don’t have radio stations all around the country. I don’t have that kind of traffic to be able to be able to do fund raising twice a year, and earn millions and millions. And even though NPR is public, it’s a million dollar business with budgets. And so don’t tell me NPR, because that’s not a valid…
Andrew: I wouldn’t be NPR if they were making a billion dollars a year profit. I would never want to be a beggar. I listen to NPR all the time. I’ve a lot of respect for the content there. To be a beggar for a living, I would never. I would never go and be an NPR host, and then have to go do one of those begathons. You have to, at some point be a human being. At some point, you have to understand that even the guys, I’m in South America here. There are people out here with their hands out. They have a little bit of self-respect, and little bit of self-esteem, more, it feels to me, than some of the beggars that I see on public radio and television. That’s not my goal in life. We need to elevate content creators beyond that, I believe. If you disagree with me, you guys can say that. You guys know that I’m always open to hearing. All right. I want to go into…
Interviewee: Wait, one more thing, Andrew, on the pricing thing, is that people are going to value your content at whatever you say it’s worth. There will be people who will say, “Tim, Trader Interviews is not worth a buck a month.” Fine, you were never going to be customer anyway. It doesn’t matter what I set it, you know. But if I say that it’s worth a hundred bucks a month, it’s worth a hundred bucks a month. That’s what the people who are going to pay are going to pay. So what you say it’s worth is really what people are going to value it at. And if you say it’s worth nothing because it’s free, or if you think it’s worth, I don’t think it’s worth enough to make it a membership, but I want to put a tip jar out there, then nobody’s going to value that. You said it, too. They’re not going to respect the content.
Andrew: You’re absolutely right. Crystal in the audience is saying NPR just got 225 million dollars from the estate of Joan Crock. It’s true. And as much as I believe that you should not donate, not give money to NPR, I know my wife donates and gives money to them and other causes like that.
Andrew: I know my wife donates it. My wife gives money to them and other causes like that. So there are people out there who support it. It’s not for me, it’s not the kind of person that I want to be. I want to give of myself and but I don’t want to belittle myself in the process. Okay, I want, I think we’ve made a big, powerful statement here. I’m opening it up for people to disagree with us in the chat and afterwards as much as they want. I want to hear opposing points of view, but I also want to spend a lot of time in this interview learning from what you’ve learned so that even someone who disagrees with us can take these techniques and use them in a way they do agree with. Let’s talk a little more about email and then I’ve got a list of other things you brought up that I want to dive into. Email-I’ve talked to multiple people here who, they believe in blogging, but it seems that email does more for them. I want to know, if you’re going to do content every day, why not put it online free on a blog where people can link to you. Why is email so popular? There’s two different questions, but what do you think?
Interviewee: Right. Because we’ve just found that people take action on emails–they don’t take as much action on a blog post–and that’s just the way it is. We went from…when we had a fulcrom on the side of our blog, on the side of our website, that said “Sign up for a free email newsletter,” we would get 3-4 people signing up a day. When we put up a lightbox there that said “Get this free piece of content…” And a lightbox for somebody who doesn’t know is, I don’t what to call it a pop-up, but it works similarly. After you’re on the site for 30 seconds or as you’re about to leave, if you go up to click the back button, it will come up and it will pop up and say, “Get a free interview. Enter your email” and there’s a close button below.
When we added that lightbox, which people love to hate, we went from 2 or 3 email newsletter subscriptions a day to 40-50 a day. On a good day, we have 120/150 email newsletter subscribers a day. And people come up again–it’s the same thing as charging–people will say, “I’m not going to use a lightbox. I hate those things! I’ll never use a lightbox.” But hey, it works. “Well, you know, it wouldn’t work for my audience.” It will work, I promise you it will work.
There are ways to do it that aren’t in-your-face so much. We talk about that line that I’m not going to cross. I don’t want to cross the line that, when I go to an internet marketing site, that when I go to click the back button that I get this pop-up that says “Wait, hold on. Don’t leave! Cancel.” And then you cancel and it’s the wrong “Cancel.” They’ve confused you or tricked you into going to another. I’m not willing to go to that, but I’m telling you the lightbox works. You can hate it all, as much as you want. Fine! You can stick with your 2-3 email signers a day. You add the lightbox, I promise you you will go from that to double, triple, quadruple that number every day. So adding that lightbox to your website works. It works. It does work.
Andrew, I don’t know how many you get on your(I saw your form up on the right side of your page), if you get alot there. I guarantee if you make that a lightbox you get four times as many the first hour you’ve put that up there than you’ve gotten in the past week. It just works. It works really well.
Every email to is (getting back to that) a call to action. You’ve got to train your list that, when you send out an email, do not put the entire message that you want there. Whether you want them to come to your website to fill out a survey, to go to somebody else’s website, to click on a piece of content. Every email message needs to be one message, one link, not multiple links. Every link goes to the same place. You may put the link in the email message in more than once, maybe two or three times. But every email message you send out has to one thought, one link. That’s it. That’s what people to respond to now. They don’t respond to email newsletters that have fifteen links that you can see fifteen different stores. That doesn’t work. Some of the trades we’ve done have been listed in the newsletter have been pathetic. You’ve got to get your list used to clicking on links and taking action. That’s the most important point so that when…it doesn’t have to be “buy something” but that can be one of the things, one of the points of action you want them to take.
But if you start to email your list now Andrew, it’s going to take at least a month probably. Maybe two/three weeks of emailing everyday to get everyone of the list that are non-action takers, who get pissed off because you email them every day to have the buyers remain to get them used to taking action so that “I understand that when I get an email from Andrew, it’s a direction, it’s a call to action. Do something! It’s not to read some cool story. It’s to take action.”
That’s the most important tip I can give people about their newletter lists.
Andrew: What is it that…I wonder why is that you can’t have multiple links in there? I noticed the same thing with Facebook. I’m drowning in Facebook email. Can’t they wait until mid-way through the day and then they send all the messages that they want to that came in up until then.
And then why can’t I get another email at the end of the day with a summary of all the messages they’ve sent you until now? Why do they do one message, one link, that’s it? Why does that work?
Interviewee: Yeah, let’s do it in digest format then. Let’s take all the things…
Interviewee: Because you won’t click on anything. That’s the best answer. Or you’ll click on one thing and never come back again.
Interviewee: Öand you’ll never come back to that email.
Andrew: Are you talking about the paradox of choice? That when you give people too many choices they just freeze and they move on because it’s too distracting and takes up too many brain cycles. Or do you even have a theory on what it is?
Interviewee: Absolutely, absolutely. And they’re going to click one time. They’re going to click on one thing and so you want to make every message that one thing is the one thing they can do. And make it very clear what you want them to do. The trouble with long emails is that people think that the reason email exists is to sell something, and that’s not the case. For me, what I’ve found for us. We’ve found that email is the call to action and that’s it. If you want to sell something, you’ve got to take them somewhere and have them do something to do that. The longer an email is, the longer your gut reaction is to say I’ll put this into my temporary hold, or I’ll put this into my read later file and guess what? You never do. So newsletters, first of all, stop calling it a newsletter. Because that’s another thing; people think of newsletters, they think I’ll come back to this. They never do. Newsletters are terrible for creating action. So it’s just about making sure that there’s only one place to go. And all of your email newsletters. Because that’s all they’re going to do anyway. If you’ve got 15 links, they’re going to click on one. So you might as well just make it one. Now I’ve turned off all my Facebook stuffÖ
Andrew: What do you call it if not an email newsletter?
Interviewee: I call it an email list.
Interviewee: But we toyed with this. We’ve tried to figure out what to call this, because the people know when they’re signing up for something. They’re signing up for something that’s going to require them to take action. And if they’re not willing to do it, fine. The unsubscribe link is right there at the bottom. Because I’m not here to make a huge email list that makes your life great and that you feel nice and warm and fuzzy every time you get an email from me. I’m here to give you good information that is you need to take action on right then and there. So the only emails I get from Facebook now are if someone repped on my wall or if I’m tagged in a photo or something along that line where I can kind of do that. But I’ve turned off pretty much everything else because of that.
Andrew: A few people in the audience are askingÖ
Interviewee: There is a line you can cross where it’s too much.
Andrew: In the audience is asking what a lightbox is, and I think a few other people aren’t exactly sure what it is. There are a lot of great hacker sites that will show you how to create a lightbox and what it is. But if you go to membercon.com, is that the way to spell member? Membercon.com, I’m a horrible speller. You’ll see his lightbox and see exactly how it works, but apparently you have to wait half a minute to do it. I want to get to a few other things here, but shoot, I just forgot what I wasÖ Oh! I know what I was going to ask you. Before I get into market how to bribe people and legal and so many other things here on my life, ask you, what if I were to say to you, Tim, I’m not running this interview for free, people. Only people who are paid members of Mixergy get to access my interview with Tim Burkwin because he’s teaching you how to make money, because he believes in charging. I’m only going to limit it to those people. Your audience for this interview is going to go from thousands of people who get excited about this who could potentially worship you the way thatÖ Who else was it? I don’t want to bring up specific names. But there are a handful of people out there being worshipped by my audience now. Worship is the wrong word. I can never come up with the right vocabulary word. Someone else in the audience helped me figure it out. But you go from being praised by people for coming online and doing this for free. From getting value because now you’re going to lead more people to membercon.com and have more people find out about who Tim Burkwin is. To me getting all the value is the interviewer because I’m going to get to sell a few new memberships because of this. All the value goes to me from you. What do you say to that question?
Interviewee: I would say all you’re doing for me, Andrew, is getting rid of all the people that yeah think it’s cool and think it’s nice and yeah this is great information. How many blog posts have you seen comments on? Hey this is great, I’ve filed this away until I’m ready to do it. Guess what? I know those people never do it anyway. So all you’re doing is making sure that the most passionate peopleÖ If they had paid toÖ I fully encourage you to do that. If you want to do that, put this behind a payroll and say, this is some great information, put it behind a payroll. Partly I’m doing that because I like you Andrew, I think you’re onto something here. But part of it is I know the people that are willing to pay, those people are action takers. And so those are the audience I want. I don’t want 1,000 hits on membercon. I want 5 hits from the people that are willing to take action. And that’s the new paradigm that you peopleÖ That you people. That people have to get used to is that it’s about creating quality listeners, people who want to do something and do it right now. It does me no good to do 1,000 hits on my website of people that aren’t willing to take action. If they think it’s cool and neat, that’s not important to me. I don’t care about getting a bunch of people to think my site is great. I care about the people that are willing to spend some money or take action of some sort. And I hate to keep beating a dead horse with that, but I think it’s that important. So I think you would just be qualifying me to those people and making sure that the people coming to the site are people that are my target audience.
Andrew: WhatÖ And by the way, the way that I’m doing it is, I offer the interviews for free for a little bit, and then I put them in the vault and thenÖ
I put them in the vault and then at that point you pay, but you’re paying, not for the transcript, which I offer for free anyway, not for all the summaries that I add, which I sometimes do and sometimes don’t depending on how long it takes me to put up the interview, I hate to say. But just for the ability to listen to it and the convenience to downloading it. I can give people some value there. What about the people though on your side? / Lemme ask you this, did the the people- the first mistake is asking people if they will pay, the second mistake is apologizing for it. And I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing at all. It’s just that there are so many content career bloggers out there that the moment they try to sell something it’s like, I’m so sorry I’m gonna try and sell you something now. Don’t apologize for it. You have no reason to apologize. Do not apologize for wanting to monetize and make money with what you do. You work hard at it. Make some money with it. Don’t apologize for it. People should be thankful that you’re gonna make the quality of the stuff so high that you feel it’s worth something, and that’s really important./ Hi, I was gonna ask about the people you’re interviewing. These are traders, what’s in it for them; to have somebody listen? Are they selling products too? Are they people who want you to buy their system and so they’re happy to come to your paid audience knowing that they’ve already paid you so they might be more likely to pay them? / Once in a while I’ll interview somebody who is legitimately trading full-time and is teaching it or has created some sort of software product around that. And even when that’s the case I’m very leery of it and only at the very end, the last ten seconds of the interview, that’s when I say, and by the way, John has a website at johndoe.com. That’s it. That’s the amount of promotion. And if they don’t like that, then unfortunately I can’t use it. Because it’s behind a membership wall. Because they’re paying for these interviews, I can’t have them be promotional advertisements. The ones that are a little more promotions we’ll tie an affiliate link with them, I’ll put it out as a free interview perhaps, maybe that’s a way to use the content. But that’s part of what these people are paying for. There’s nothing in it for them to interview. And they’re hard as hell to get. Some of these guys they’ve been chasing down for a year before they say Tim, all right, I’m tired of you calling me, fine. Let’s do 30 minutes and I’ll tell you what I’m doing. And those are the best interviews. That’s what worth paying for. Because nobody else can talk to those guys. You can’t reach those guys. I work really hard at reaching those traders. And it’s not easy, but that’s part of the value of what I provide. Part of what’s worth paying for. And I’ll do 4 interviews a month, I’ll only use 2 of them. Because the other ones, while the guys are fantastic traders, and I’ve heard they’re making millions of dollars trading, they can’t put two sentences together, it’s a terrible interview and I don’t use it. So to find somebody who is legitimately successful as a trader, can talk about what they’re doing, explain it to me on the phone, those two things alone are really tough to get. But that’s what people I think are paying for, and that’s what’s worth the value in the site. So it’s really hard to get the interviews but I think that’s what people are paying for. / Uh, by the way, this is one of the few interviews where the live audience grows as the interview continues and you guys are right, uh, they’re lovin’ you, and they’re scrollin’ too fast for me to see what it is. Great points I’m hearing, I’m hearing people say Andrew he’s right, this is business don’t apologize and so on. Uhm, what / I, it upsets me so much when I see people bashing content creators because they want something for free. Just pisses me off and it’s just not necessary. I’m sure I’ll get some hate mail from the people. I had somebody comment on my site how I commented on yours how I made a sarcastic remark about yeah I’ll link to my mortgage company next time instead of sending a check and everybody’ll be happy, and I get sarcastic about it sometimes, but I really, it- I’m sure these people have jobs, maybe they don’t, maybe they’re in mom’s basement. But if they have a job I’m sure the company they work for sells something, and so to just think, and a lot of them work for online companies, and how they support themselves is okay, but the way we choose to is not, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. / You know what, I respect Jeff Jarvis a lot, and I read his blog, I love listening to him on Yellowport’s show, and actually he’s the host of the show on the Yellowport, so I’m a big fan of his ideas, but whenever he talks about we’re in a link economy, I always think, let’s let somebody else go out and try this link economy. Go to the supermarket, buy all your groceries, and when it comes times to pay say, What’s your website, I’m gonna link to you 500 times to pay for this. It’s easy to say we’re in the link economy when you’re in a few places. Either in academics and you’re studying the environment, or maybe you’re somebody like Google and links to you are a good indication of how you’re gonna make money. It’s easy to say we’re in a link economy,when all you care about is reputation, or you’re trying to build up a fame for yourself. But you’re right, at some point business is business. Now where that point is, I still haven’t figured out. But I wanna be mature enough to say I don’t know everything, and I know that you’ve tested a lot, and I’m gonna test a lot and I’m gonna learn from you and people like you, and from the audience too.
Andrew: And I know it sounds weak to ask the audience, but I know I’ve also gotten there are a handful of people in the audience who will email me directly and say or post a comment and will give me some bit of insight that I never could have gotten anywhere else.
And I think part of it is, these guys are out there building websites every day and building web businesses or working for Internet businesses every day. And they’ll say,” Andrew, I’m not supposed to tell you this, but here’s how my boss does it. Here are my boss’s numbers. Let’s get on the phone together and I’ll walk you through our Google analytics and you’re going to get to see a few things that you’re not supposed to.”
All right, I want to talk a little bit about marketing.
Interviewee: It surprises me, too, that – this attention economy?
Interviewee: Wasn’t that 1999… I think I lost you there, Andrew.
Andrew: Right, right. Am I back up on your screen?
Interviewee: Wasn’t it 1999 where everybody says we’re going to get as many eyeballs as we can? We’ll figure how to make money later. That failed. That didn’t work. So if 2000 through even 2009 was the attention – it just makes me gag to even say that, because you’re right. You can’t pay any bills with attention.
I don’t care about being famous. I think that model’s been proven a failure unless you are the major media companies, and even then, the newspapers, you know, they have trouble. That’s a whole other story, but this decade is going to be about realizing that paid is the way it’s going to be and if everybody has to be dragged into that economy, then fine.
And there will always be free stuff out there and the quality will be whatever it is for free. You get what you pay for. Nothing has been more true than you get what you pay for online.
You know, I think there are a couple of problems here and the guys who are charging don’t get attention because they’re not seeking attention for themselves. The people who are just seeking attention for themselves have to give up fees and they get recognized and it seems like they’re the only ones who are out there succeeding.
There are a lot of people out there who I know are selling who refuse to do Mixergy interviews because there’s no goal for them. There’s no purpose for them here. They’re not trying to build a reputation for themselves and so people don’t know about them.
Actually, there was something else that I was going to say, but…
Interviewee: And that’s okay, too. There are plenty of people out there that are [xx].
Andrew: All right. Let’s move on to marketing, then. How are you getting people to come on to your site? You’re not giving anything for free. There isn’t enough of a lure over to your site. Actually, you are giving some things for free. I know that there’s some text on there, but it’s… the biggest piece, you’re not giving away for free. How are you getting people to your site?
Interviewee: So it’s been word of mouth. I mean we tried Google pay-per-click and we tried other things, but in this industry of online trading, you’ve got the E-Trades and the Ameritrades and the Schawbs of the world paying $50 a click and $60 for leads.
I mean there’s just no way economically we can compete with that, and so we’re in this space that unfortunately people are spending a ton of money on Google pay-per-click and aren’t, I think, worrying too much about if it really translates into anything. So it’s not a choice for us, unfortunately, to compete with that.
So we have done a couple of things. The most successful thing we’ve done is we go out and find somebody who has a large audience, a pocket of audience. We go find a financial website that is free and has got a lot of people in it, or somebody who’s charging.
We’ll say, look, come over to our site. We’ll use our go-to webinar account. We will do webinar together. You teach my audience something. You get access to my audience and you teach them something and we’ll promote your site, but everybody has to sign up through our site. And so they join our newsletter list at the same time they join up for the webinar.
That’s been a really successful way that we’ve been able to get traffic. And so creating some free content is good. I mean we do give away stuff. We give away a full interview plus some bonus material at the end that’s highlights of interviews. It’s about 60 minutes. When they come in and they sign up for the lightbox they do get something for free.
We do the free thing to get people in the door so that we can then say, look, you’ve seen the value of our free stuff. It’s great. I hope you think it’s great. The paid stuff is great, too. And people think – I think one of the mistakes that people made is they hold back their great stuff. I would say give away – take the best interview you have and give that one away for free, because then people will say, if the free stuff is this good, I’m sure the paid stuff is good, too.
So doing free webinars, giving away a free interview that is basically a good example of the types of interviews we do, that’s how we create that. It’s just been by word of mouth. I talk to a lot of people about it. We have an affiliate program that does help people promote our affiliate program. We pay them for referrals for new members.
So it’s been pretty scrappy. It’s been pretty low-end in terms of just making sure it’s word of mouth and we’ve tried a lot of [xx]. We tried some Facebook ads… pretty limited success. Word of mouth has been really the thing that’s brought people to us the most.
Andrew: Music Trainer in the audience is asking what about a five day trial? Somebody else is saying… Qwell Horst… everyone’s picking these names that I don’t know. I know Music Trainer actually is his business, so Music Trainer is asking about a five day trial. Qwell Horst is asking about money-back guarantee. What do you use to get people a little bit more comfortable with spending money?
Interviewee: So we’ve tested a bunch of different things with that. The only thing we haven’t tested is an outright free trial and the reason is because we’ve got over 200 interviews in our archives
Interviewee: … and the reason is because we’ve got over 200 interviews in our archives, and if we gave a free trial we’d probably get a lot of people who come in, download as much as they can, then leave. So we tried a dollar trial for the first seven days, and then it’s 39 bucks thereafter. We found we had a lot of people sign up for the dollar, and we had just as many people who would sign up at the full 39 dollars right away, that would stick. We actually had more people stick that way then we did when we offered a dollar trial for the first seven days – most would cancel and it would only be a buck, rather than go on for the 39 dollars. We even had people that said ‘I didn’t know you were going to charge me, you misled me somehow’, even though we thought it was pretty clear that we’re doing a dollar offer for seven days and if you didn’t cancel it was going to be thirty-nine bucks. So we just put it straight up there: the free interview we give away to join our email newsletter… I said newsletter. To join our EMAIL LIST…
Andrew: Ö we need a better name…
Interviewee: Ö is the free trial.
Andrew: I see.
Interviewee: That’s our free trial, in essence. And so, if you liked that, we think that’s enough. That’s over an hour of an interview, and some other things too. We think that’s enough for you to decide. And if you decide it’s not for you ñ that’s fine. I don’t think giving them full access to the site is going to change their mind any more if they didn’t like the one free interview we gave them already.
Interviewee: And there was another question about the…?
Andrew: 5 day trial, thirty-day money-back guarantee. Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
Interviewee: (reluctantly) We do. I mean, if somebody comes to me ñ and it rarely happens, thankfully ñ but if somebody comes and says ‘Look, this wasn’t what I thought it was.’, we’ll give someone their money back. We’ve done some paid webinars and things where we’ve had to do that. But… everybody does that. Everybody says there’s a thirty-day money-back guarantee. I didn’t see that by having it there, by taking that space, that banner that said money-back guarantee for the first seventy (?) days, I did not see that it actually converted people or got people off the fence. There were other things that we’ve done ñ discounts once in a while, a sale occasionally, or we’ll open up access to archives or interviews that never were released ñ those are the kinds of things that got people off the fence, that created that urgency. And by the way, no matter how great your content is, now matter how awesome you think it is and that there’s nothing else available out there, if you don’t create some sort of urgency people are not going to buy it. That’s the honest truth about that.
Andrew: I want to ask you about urgency, because I know you’ve blogged about that. I’ve got to ask – first of all, I’m not good with names ñ a few people in the audience have come up with ‘Action List’ instead of a newsletter or mailing list. I want to give that person credit but I may not be able to because the chatroom scrolled past it too quickly. But I want to ask the audience a question: How are we getting more and more people in here, that came from Tanja (?). How are we getting more and more people in this room? I know seventy-five people in a live audience doesn’t seem big because we’ve had hundreds before, but I’ll be open with you guys in the audience: we’ve had hundreds of people because my friends who ran the video hosting site would put me on the front page and suddenly the video would get hundreds of people, but that was an artificial number. This is seventy-five people who are actually on Mixergy.com listening live.
Andrew: Did somebody tweak (?) the sound? Can somebody check it out for me and let me know? I’ll read it from the comments if you guys can figure out what’s going on here.
Andrew: What about urgency?
Interviewee: Maybe we’re striking a nerve with this. Maybe people are realizing they don’t have to give everything away for free. I hope that’s what it is…
Andrew: I do think that this is one of those things. I’ve already said that if you want to get a lot of traffic, see what everyone else is listening to, what everyone else believes, and say the exact opposite. You don’t even have to believe it, you just say the exact opposite ñ you’ll get a lot of traffic. This I think is something that does that, but does it without trying. It goes against what everyone believes, but you’re not just trying to piss people off. We’re not trying to create controversy for the sake of controversy. So I think we’re getting the attention from that, and at the same time we’re also getting the authenticity. I see what it is. Ramit Zeki (??), the guy from the website Iwillteachyoutoberich.com who has actually been pushing me to sell my content, who teaches people how to save money, who has that best-selling book and the funny title for his website, iwillteachyoutoberich.com, he tweeted out and of course I should have known that when he’s doing that. And I don’t know how many people are watching from (??), I’m always grateful to them for linking to me and posting, but I can’t see their counter on mixergy.com. I decided to just let them post it on their site, but focus on the audience here because the conversation is a little bit more relevant to what we’re talking about.
Andrew: Alright, let’s go into a sense of urgency. You’ve blogged a lot about it. You mentioned the importance of creating a sense of urgency. How do we do that?
Interviewee: Well, how you don’t do it anymore is you say: ‘This is…’. You can’t create false urgency. We’ve all seen the internet marketers who’ll say ‘I’m only selling 500 of these courses’ and then you get emailed every so often saying ‘Now there’s only 200 left’, ‘Now there’s only 100 left’. People aren’t idiots, right? They know that it’s a digital product and you can sell as many as you want.
Interviewee: ÖOf course you want to sell as many as you want. The changes are a little bit different if you’re doing a purpose little private coaching program where you’re really spending one on one time, or you know, its like a group, you have a mastermind a group of people, if you have five at a roundtable, you probably get more done than if you have fifty, alright its harder to train that many people. But you have to create urgency in a way that, makes sense, and is not just, kind of, makes you kind of cringe when you think about it, we’ve all seen those sites. So the way we do it is, occasionally we will say, ‘look, a lifetime membership to our site is, $999 bucks and we’re going to offer it for $499 for a limited time.’ That’s okay. You can create urgency by just doing a discount for a certain amount of time, or you can throw in something extra for a certain amount of time, but, at the same time, everybody knows what you’re doing these days. People are pretty savvy, when it comes to, internet content and they know, when they are being scammed or toyed with, as opposed to, ‘he’s trying to generate some extra sales, we get that, you know I’ve been thinking about getting on board for a while, this is a good price, I’m going to take action.’ And if that, that’s what gets people off the fence. You’re not trying to, confuse somebody into saying, putting up a counter up there and saying, ‘the interviews are only going to be up for a certain amount of time.’ We’ve done that, we’ve had traders that say, ‘hey look, I’ll do an interview with you, but post it for like two weeks and then take it down.’ And we’ll say ‘fine.’ And we will use that as a way to create some urgency we’ll say, ‘look, the trader we talked to, was hesitant to do the interview with us anyway, he wants it only up there for a couple of weeks, if you become a member in the next two weeks you get it, if you don’t, its going down forever.’ And we’ve done that. So, there are ways you can create urgency without being too, what’s the word, just too slimy, and, too internet marketing, and I don’t say that in a bad way but unfortunately it’s got kind of a bad taste in people mouths about how people use it. But, even the credit card companies are jumping in now and saying, ‘look, you cannot create false urgency by saying there’s only 200 of your MP3’s available, we all know that’s crap. You can’t say, that, this is gone and the countdown resets at midnight, it’ll go back to 24 hours.’ People are smart to that stuff. They don’t buy that anymore, you might be able to fool one or two people but for the most part, the people that you could fool with that, do you really want them as, members of your site anyway? If they are gonna fall for that, so you just have to be very careful about it and, when you create urgency, make sure it’s genuine, and not just slimy, every night at midnight you reset the clock.
Andrew: Alright before I go to the next question, guys, can you please on Twitter, thank ‘At Rhameet’ for sending over all this traffic? If you do, not only am I going to be grateful for it, but that guy will catch the little niceties that you do to Rhameet, he ends up repaying you back in ways you never would have known. He did the same thing with me earlier this week, I’m not sure what I can talk about and what I can’t all I’m gonna say is, ‘Rhameet, thank you for all the little things.’ Guys, forget, don’t even expect a repayment, but know that you will, say thank you to him just as a way of connecting with someone whose great whose gonna look out for you in the future. Okay, I notice, speaking of counter, I notice when I look at the blog post on your site, and you’re just using word press so I recognize a lot of things, what I don’t usually see in word press is a counter, or a clock, something, I forget what that clock was, but there’s one for every single post. Why do you do it, what does it mean?
Interviewee: Right, that was a test we ran and we’ve taken it off. You go to the site now and it’s not there anymore. But we did a test where, we said, there’s two types of memberships. This was a way to create urgency for a monthly membership. If you join the regular monthly membership, you get the most four recent pieces of content in our case it’s the four most recent interviews, but you don’t get access to the back archives, 200 plus interviews we’ve done with other traders, so if you want to do $39 a month, you get just the four most recent interviews plus all the new ones going forward as long as you’re a member. And so that countdown was to say that ‘if you join after this time, those interviews are going into the archives and won’t be available to you.’ It didn’t create as much, urgency as we had thought and so we thought maybe, because two of our membership choices now are.. (inaudible)Ö
Andrew: Sorry it looks like we’re, a little bit of a lag with Skype. Let’s, we just caught up with the Skype lag, you were saying, ‘because there were two different something’ and then I didn’t hear the rest.
Interviewee: Sure, so because there are two different options now, we have three membership choice options, because two of them, the interviews never really do expire unless we have a special on like the one I talked about, because two of them, they don’t expire, we took it off and we said, ‘you know it didn’t quite have the push that we thought it would.’ So we went away with it. Now we might bring it back at some point, but, one of the things we’ve done is we’ve tested so many things with that siteÖ
End of transcription.
Interviewee: …user’s heads start to spin a little bit, and they would say, ‘every [??] strikes.’ Lance says, ‘why don’t you just join, then, and then it will be the same price that we made for you?’ We need [??] the tent around to see what works and what hasn’t, so you’ll see us throw up really weird stuff. [??] at the top, say this interview’s only available for a short time, or we’re cloning this e-book for about 30 minutes to see [??] take what happens. I’m kind of ADD that way. Unfortunately, my brother bears the brunt of this, he’s the one who programs it all. So, I say, ‘[??], how about doing this?’ And sometimes, he rolls his eyes, but most of the time he agrees. He understands that look, we’re just trying to test the thing to see what works the best. So, yeah, the count day clock is something we tested to the point where it worked the way we wanted it to, so we took it down for now.
Andrew: All right. I’m already hearing the skeptics who are going to say, ‘stop with the gimmics, just offer good content. No more gimmics, no more urgencies, no more light boxes, just good content.’ What’s the answer to that?
Interviewee: Yeah, the answer is it doesn’t work. The last time I checked, ever. You can be the best content for hand gliders. You can be the best content for rocket model, rocket built cores. If you don’t create a reason for people to get off the fence, they’re not going to do it. It’s the plain, simple truth. We tried it for two years. We tried [??] for two years, and nobody bought it. There is just, people understand that, look, you can have great content but there’s something else that people need to be able to get off the fence. You know there are some people that will come on board because you have great content, but not enough of them to say, quit your job kind of money. And that’s really what I’m talking about. We’re talking like a car payment every month. I’m talking about quit your job kind of money, and the only way to do that is to create urgency along with fantastic content. You can’t have one without the other. You will see that crappy content won’t work, that great content with no urgency doesn’t work, you got to have the two together. And you know what, you think it would sell by itself, it just doesn’t. And I know, because we’ve been doing if for three years. Even with our conference, even back in 2000, when we put together speakers at a conference, that nobody else heard of, speaking before a public arena for the first time they were ever going to speak, unless we said, “In two weeks, on Friday, the price is going from 4 and half to six and a half,” people wouldn’t sign up. I would love to sit here, at the best content in the world’s going to sell itself, in the reality, it just wouldn’t.
Andrew: Well, I agree. You know what? The New York Times is a great example of that. I read the New York Times religiously. Every night before I go to sleep, every morning when I wake up, I look at it on my i-Phone. I read it. I’ve never bought a single thing from them, since the paper went digital. There just isn’t a reason to do it. Now if they said, “No more unless you pay us. Or we’re going to charge you more next week.” Or they actually started to act like business people, I might, because I can’t live without the New York Times. I’m addicted to them. But screw them. I actually run ad blockers, so that they don’t even make a few pennies off of me. And I think I’m the typical person out there on the internet who’s a techie. And I don’t mean to say, “Screw them,” but that’s the way I’m acting when I run ad blockers on a site that I love. OK. Another thing that you mentioned…
Interviewee: And you know what, Andrew? No if they…
Andrew: Sorry. We do have…
Interviewee: About your ad blockers, you don’t get to block…
Andrew: Oh, I’m sorry. We have bit of a lag.
Andrew: I wonder what we should do about that. Should I just disconnect and call right back? Yeah, let’s take the risk. This is too good for me to…
Andrew: deal with a lag. I’m sorry. I’m going to call you right back in a moment. All right. So I flushed out the connection. We’re back together. You were asking me a question. What was the question?
Interviewee: If the New York Times was going to be able to block you from totally accessing their site, if you used ad blockers, would you turn the ads back on?
Andrew: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Interviewee: Or are you you going to say, “No, forget them. Forget them.” If you bought my ad blocking, I’ll never do that again. “Fine. Why would we want you here anyway? If they’re going to block our ads, and just get our content for free, what value are you to us? You don’t have any value. Why do we want you here? You love the New York Times. Great. And you love us. Fantastic. Pay our bills.” Now what?
Andrew: I see. You know why I think they’re doing that? Because they’re
Interviewee: So what?
Andrew: thinking maybe Andrew doesn’t look at our ads. He’s not worth any money to us. He’s just taxing our system. But, he’ll talk about our articles. We’ll have influence because there are people like Andrew out there who are smart enough to block ads? Those people are smart enough to get the respect of their listeners when they talk about an article in the New York Times. Those are the people who will talk about our bed pieces. Those are the people who might link to us because they’re smart enough also to own a blog because they can cancel ads. What do you think about that?
Interviewee: Honestly, OK, where does this stop? Andrew, you got smart people that watch your show, and listen to you and trust you as a content creator. At what point along the line do I make money? OK, so I refer your site to 50 other people. They’re watching with their ad blockers on, too. Fantastic. Still haven’t made any money, yet. Those 50 people tell 50 of their friends who all may or may not have ad blockers. At what point do I say, ‘OK, I have thousands…
Interviewee: point do I say, okay, I have thousands of people, thousands of people coming to me, my site every day, awesome, people love me, they think my interviews are fantastic, they think my content is fantastic, that’s great. I got a mortgage due next week, now what do I do? So I think, if you’re a huge media company and you’ve got thousands, and millions and millions of visitors and you have a dedicated sales team that can go out and sell advertising, you can try to make money that way. Even those guys have had a tough time with that model. And for an individual, forget about it, you’re never going to have millions and millions of visitors enough to sustain that business model for years and years and years. And so, my answer to that is, again, do you want to be famous and loved or do you want to pay your bills? And do you want to have a sustainable business that you can create even better content because people feel that it’s worth paying for? So, you know, if you want to be famous on the internet, if you want people to love you and you want to have a hundred thousand YouTube downloads and views, an hour after you put up your content, far be it for me to say that that’s not right. But don’t come to me then and when I’m trying to charge my content and I’ll take twenty people who are willing to buy my content over your twenty thousand who viewed your video and say that I’m somehow selling out because of that. My model’s just different from yours, I actually want to make some money, if you don’t, that’s fine, but don’t give me crap about wanting to monetize my content in a way that I think gives the people who pay for it value and we all win.
Andrew: Todd W. in the audience is saying, ‘Tim, how much money are you making so that we know if we should value your advice?’ And of course he gave the number,
Andrew: I don’t know all the websites that he has, I do know the specific one that we agreed we’d be talking about, Trader Interviews dot com and that’s the one that he said twenty to twenty five thousand a month with that one website. And he even gave us traffic numbers, about five thousand uniques a day. And member
Interviewee: Here’s what I did, and I put a blog post up about this too. We made about seven, I think it said we made about seven thousand bucks in the two years we had in advertising before that. We opened up our membership site in May, and through December thirty first we made a hundred and five thousand dollars. Now I put that out on a blog post. We actually have a consulting agreement with another content company that we make another hundred thousand dollars on, we do some ebooks on some niche sites that we’re testing, we made about sixteen grand on that last year. We’re on track to do about half a million on Trader Interviews dot com, this year, so I’ll be, I’m very up front with the numbers because on some of the kind of test sites that we’re doing in niche but I haven’t named on our blog, I’ll still talk about what worked and what didn’t, but Trader Interviews has really been kind of our test ground and I would say, ‘Here’s what works and this is why,’ that’s kind of our proof positive that this can work.
Andrew: Wow, those are incredible numbers to be sharing here and publicly like this. Don’t you guys love when somebody’s sharing numbers? This has got to be, I know that I’m not a huge, that there’s not a huge audience of people like me, but I know that there are some who are as passionate about hearing numbers like that as most people are about listening to Britney Spears’ latest album or finding out whether Michael Jackson died because somebody killed him or because he killed himself or because of the pill that he took. I love numbers like that, I’m so grateful to you for being open about it.
Interviewee: Well, the people that probably will look at that and say, ‘Five hundred thousand dollars,’ are the guys that are raising seven, eight million dollars. I mean this is not, I’ve never written a business plan, I’ve never sold a business for more than three million bucks. Three million dollars is still a lot of money, but I’ve never written a business plan or raised money, but I, you know, for, there are two employees of our company, myself and my brother, Neal, we are half owners and we’re both employees. So it’s not, you know, what my next step is, okay, ‘Is this going to be, have a great job and we make a half million dollars each?’ Which is a lot of money folks, I’m not denying that, but it’s also not Digg dot com selling to Google for thirty million or thirty billion dollars, it’s not that kind of money either so I’m kind of in this middle area right? I don’t want a job, I’m a terrible employee, I’m ruined to be an employee because I don’t like anybody telling me what to do so now that I’ve worked for myself for the past twelve years, there’s no way I could work for anybody else, I’d get fired, I’m sure, so I’m in this area where I want to create a job but I’m ready, my next level is, ‘Let’s take this to a business,’ I don’t know that I want to hire people, but I know I don’t want to raise money, I don’t want to be beholden to investors, so I’ve got to create something that I can sell and retire for, maybe at four or five million dollars and do the sites over and over again. If I had my choice, I would start a site and sell it within two years. Everything I’ve ever started, I’ve sold or just closed because it wasn’t working out. But I think this is, that’s a viable model is at first you create yourself quit your job money and then you take it to the next level. And you invest and you try different things and so, there’s not a lot that’s said about the people like us that just have these small businesses that make a lot of money doing this but aren’t willing to raise money and want to go the venture route. But I know this
Andrew: I’m going to say this too, this
Interviewee: most of your guests are that type.
Andrew: A lot of my guests are that type, a lot of my audience is that type, they’re not looking for cash to come in the door, they’re looking to build equity in their business and then sell it, I’ll say this, though, there are a lot of people who this resonates with perfectly and even people who are
Andrew: …and even people who are looking to build the next Dig, I think you need to learn from more than the current Facebook and the current Delicious and the current Google.com. We need to reach out and bring ideas from other places and then bring them into our own business. I would love it at some point to interview the top grocery store owner. Grocery stores, old technology, there isn’t anything that’s directly related here, but I bet if we have a conversation with him about how he gets his customers, about how he hands his fliers out, there might be little tidbits that we can bring to this business. Everything in business is an education for somebody else in a different business. You don’t have to be in the same business. I want to keep moving on. There’s so much here, I want to hold onto you for 24 hours, if I could. But let’s move up the pace, and it’s looks like the audience, too. I know [Rameed] is not tweeting continuously here we stay here. But we stay here at these high numbers because of the content and I think because of the speed that we’re moving through. Let’s talk about bribes.
Interviewee: That’s good because the more people that can counteract all those negative naysayers, the freebie hows on your website, the content, the comments, the better. That’s why I’m talking about it on MemberCon.com. I want people to be able to quit their job and come so that more people can realize that selling content is a real modus, not just something that internet marketers can do. And you don’t have to be slimy about it, either.
Andrew: Let’s talk about bribes. I was hesitating for a second, because I’m not so sure that for me, for my audience, for my way of thinking, that quit your job money is the way to work, because I think that phrase has been used too much by the opportunity seeking, by the opportunists. The get rich quick guys. We need something else. We need another phrase here that I would feel comfortable with. Having said that, I understand what you’re saying. Real business is to make real money, because that’s what it takes to grow, that’s what it takes to pay the bills, that’s what it takes to make something that’s meaningful in the world.
Interviewee: That’s how I started it, too. I started small. I think it’s almost overwhelming for people to think about starting a blog and then quitting your job. There’s so much that has to happen in between there. So, when I was a cop, it was just, I was selling e-book, and I wanted to make my truck payment. That was my first goal. OK, I got to the point where I was making my truck payment. Now, I’m going to try to make my house payment, and back then, it was maybe twice my car payment. I got to that point, I made my house payment. And then, at some point, all my bills got paid, and I thought, OK, I’m about to make detective here at LAPD, I can either stick around and have a job, or I can keep going. Let’s try to make enough money to quit the job, and just start, set small goals. And that’s how I made it real for me. For not everybody else, for everyone, it doesn’t work, when you focus on the end dollar, sometimes it doesn’t always work. For me, that’s what motivates me, and so, having a set goal, I want to pay this bill every month with my content. And just keep going, keep going. And that, between starting a blog and quitting your job, it’s a series of bold steps, and that’s what did it for me.
Andrew: Guys, tell me in the audience what you think of this interview. I want to get some feedback from you guys. I was hoping for more arguments here from the audience, but people are too busy loving. I’d like a little bit more insight. In fact, the ratings …
Interviewee: Let’s have the haters.
Andrew: Let’s have the haters. Does somebody have anything to disagree with? And if not, maybe you can just, let’s start off with the haters. I want a little bit of push-back. If anyone disagrees with anything or feels that I’m not doing a thorough enough interview, let me know. I feel I am, but I’m want to be open. Bribes, use that a few times, I used it in past interviews to describe the way that web sites that get activity, that get people engaged, persuade their members to get engaged. I was actually rebuked, I was told that you shouldn’t call it a bribe. There’s some other word, I forget what it was, but I’m not very good with vocabulary, so that word didn’t stick in my head. Bribe stuck there, so let’s stick with the word, bribe, for now. What do we do to bribe?
Interviewee: Well, let’s say this. The only time that I think legitimately using the word getting attention is the right way to do it is with, you’re going to trade your attention to me for a little bit for me giving you some information back. So, in the case of trainer interviews, we’re giving away a full interview that are members normally get. A very good example of what our members get, I am going to give that to you if you will trade with me, if you will give me your attention for maybe a couple of weeks. You’re going to get on our e-mail newsletter list. I’m going to show you some great content. I’m going to show you the types of things that you’re going to get as a member. And at some point, I’m going to say, ‘OK, it’s time to become a member.’ And at that point the person makes the decision as to, I’m done giving you my attention, I’ve given you my attention for a couple of weeks, and you’ve tried to convince me that your membership site and that your content is worth paying for. I don’t believe it, I’m out of here. Fine, those people are gone. In fact, I’m trying to get them off as quickly as possible. I want to bring it down from two weeks to about two days. And then the people that say, ‘you can miss me. I’ve seen all the stuff you have given me, I’ve given you my attention for a couple of weeks, I am ready to become a member.’ Make it easy for them, but at some point, the people that are on the list for two years…
Interviewee:Öon the list for two years, they will get used to you giving out free content all the time if you take that long to convince them that your stuff is worth paying for. And so you want to stop doing the free content all the time and say, ‘Look, that’s it. You’re done.’ In fact, Emile and I have talked about saying if we have somebody on our email visitor list that hasn’t become a member in six months, we’re going to kick you off our list. Now that’s totally different than what most people think about, right? Like maybe they’ll give it to you next month, or next month, or next month.
The honest truth is that they’re going to decide within about a day. Within about 24 hours they know whether your content is worth paying for or not, and they’re going to decide. If you’re not willing to get off the fence, I’m going to push you off the fence. Either way, I’m going to push you to become a member or I’m going to push you out of here. Because either way, I want you to make a decision. It’s the indecision makers that I want off the list as soon as possible. If you’re wanting to come back later because you’re ready to make a decision, fine. You’re welcome to come back. But you need to make a decision either way. And I push people to do that.
And it’s different than most people who say, ‘Let’s handle them with kid gloves. Let’s try and convince them, OK, it’s been three months now.’ No. Decide. Get off the fence. Get off the pot. Decide what you want to do. That’s really what we’re looking for.
So, you’re trading information for a short amount of time. It comes to a point when they need to make a decision. Either way. And you want that to happen as quickly as possible.
Andrew: Someone in the audience earlier asked how big your email list was.
Interviewee: About five thousand.
Andrew: Wow, that’s it. Five thousand.
Interviewee: Five thousand.
Andrew: So that’s five thousand, five hundred a day. Anyone could get to that.
Interviewee: That’s what I’m saying. If we didn’t kick all the people off of our list, or have them self-eliminate themselves because they don’t like what we’re doing, we could probably have a list of 25,000 to 30,000. But in the end, it’s those 5,000 that I want anyway. So why am I going to spend all this money trying to maintain that list of 25,000 when it’s the 5,000 I want anyway.
I had a blog posted I wrote awhile back and it was called ‘Hive-Fives for Unsubscribes.’ And it was all about every time I see another unsubscribe come in there, I’m like whoo! One more person has self-eliminated. That’s one more person I don’t have to bug anymore, or one more person that is not going to make a decision that I don’t have to worry about anymore. I only want people on the list who are willing to make decisions and willing to take action.
Andrew: Guys, if you haven’t, I want to see ratings. What do you think about this interview, one to 10. I like the way that you’re presenting these ideas, I like the enthusiasm here. I like the value that we’re giving people. I’m now of two minds. One side of me says, ‘Andrew, charge for just this interview and test it out. And this is the perfect interview to test on.’ Another part of me says, ‘This is some of my best freaking work! I want to put this online and let people see whatës possible!’
This is some of my best freaking work because it’s unexpected. Everyone expects Mark Souster [sp] to be a fantastic interview. And you know what? That guy was a phenomenal interview. Everyone expects [xx] Vanatroff to be an incredible interview, and you know what? He was. You’re a guy who I don’t think enough people know about and you’re a guy who’s part of the Internet space that doesn’t get covered by the major blogs that most people don’t expect us to be a good interview. But if they see this, they’re going to love me. But you’re right and that goes back into love. And I got my [xxx]
Interviewee: [laughs] It goes back into love.
Interviewee: Here’s one of the things you said, I’ll ask you. Here’s one of the things you said. I was surprised, Andrew, because you saidÖone of the comments that you replied to, it was a really negative comment. It said, ‘I’m never going to listen to your stuff again if you charge.’ You said, ‘I’m really surprised at the push back here.’ Where you really surprised? You’re legitimately surprised people kind of pushed back on that?
Andrew: Yes I was because you know what? I was getting a lot of praise for the past stuff, but it didn’t feel like the reaction that I’m getting now. People are acting like they can’t like with this. That I just am a slum lord who shut off the water to their building and they’re saying, ‘I cannot live in this building without water.’ I have to wonderÖ.I’ve got to be grateful, but I also have to wonder if some of this is justÖNo, it’s not logical that people would be this upset because you know what? I said the latest week of interviews, or more, is going to be free. That right there is a minimum of five mixed review [sp] programs right there.
The top post, the top things on the site have to be free. I’m promoting what the site’s about. That’s going to be free for you. I’m going to have a package of interviews that are free, and I know you’re going to be cringing when you hear this, a package of interviews that are free to get people started. If they don’t know anything about I me I want to introduce them to my best work. So you get the latest, you get the package, you get the featured. They’re all free. You don’t have to register for anything.
And I said now that I’ve got this stuff for premium members only, every week I’ll take some out and I’ll make them available to you. How many hours a week do you have to listen to Mixergy? That’s why it just didn’t process in my head. I was just thinking, Come on. Do you really have this many hours a week, or this is just illogical.
Now everything I do here, I try to be as logical as possible. I even go to the point of saying, ‘I’ve got a point of view. I’ve got to be logical and accept that this isn’t the only point of view out there. I’m inviting somebody here to talk to me.
Andrew: I’m inviting somebody here to talk to me. I’ve got to shut up and listen to their point of view too. And that’s what I was saying. Also on Hacker News I said that I’m going to be…I said 4the same thing and people said, ‘What about students who can’t afford to pay?’ And I’m thinking, ‘I accept that students can’t afford to pay but there’s so much here that’s free. Is it that bad?’ And I wonder if it’s just people who are piling on. I wonder if it’s people who are seeing something that I don’t see here. I don’t know what it is.
Interviewee: I’ll go a step further Andrew and this will probably get me a few comments, okay, but if the students can’t afford to pay do you really want them part of your audience?
Andrew: I have to say yes. I am trying to build a movement here and I want as many people in the movement as possible.
Interviewee: That’s why you allowed the first interviews for free. You’re right; I mean, essentially you’re not changing anything but people can still get exactly what they want with the choice of watching those current ones for free. You’re really… I guess the only reason…I wasn’t surprised because I knew that that would come. Anytime…if you’ve done free content for a long time and you go to try to charge behind a pay wall, it’s going to happen. But it’s a very vocal minority who are going to have the bad things to say about that. The people that are going to pay you are just going to whip out their credit cards and become members. And so I don’t mean that you don’t want students do you, because students don’t have any money? I don’t mean that in a bad way. But again, looking at it from a business model, yeah, there are people out there that can’t pay but like on Trader Interviews if you can’t afford 39 bucks a month how do you have an account to be able to trade the market at eTrade or Scott Trade? It didn’t make any sense to me either. These are all people that wouldn’t be valuable to me even if I wanted to do advertising because they don’t have any money to open an account with eTrade even if eTrade was my main sponsor. So there comes to a point where you say, ‘I want to do some good but at the same time I got to support myself as well.’
Andrew: Well, I’m trying to think of where I was. Earlier when I was asking people to pushback, here’s what they said. They said, ‘He’s dead on,’ I see from Guest 413334. Usually people who don’t have real names are the ones who are the biggest nudniks. It’s interesting that here in this chat board people who just use guess whatever number is automatically assigned to them actually are pretty positive people. You don’t push your content out you just use a lock down loadable player. Yeah, actually let’s talk a little bit about technology from that. What technologies do you use? We talked earlier about how you Worpress to publish. What do you use for your membership site?
Interviewee: Actually for TraderInterviews dot com that site was built a long time ago and so Emile has adjusted it. We use A Member on the back end to run the membership side of the site. We’ve kind of customized that quite a bit. Emile’s customized that quite a bit. The beauty of having a brother who’s a software engineer who I can call at 11 o’clock at night and say, ‘We need the site to do this,’ and he can have it coded up in about 20 minutes and it’s done. So I have a definite advantage there. But we use A Member to do that. I use Authorize dot net as our payment gateway. And we have a merchant account for a bank, Wells Fargo. So those three components are what you really need. There are other things out there. WPWishlist if you want to use WordPress as a blog. And then Pro Membership plug ins on top of that. Even if it’s not membership but you’re just selling content I would highly recommend that you get something that can handle the membership too in case you ever want to go that route. Some people don’t want to do that. They just want to sell an ebook. Well, you can certainly do that with like One Shopping Cart or something like that. The stuff out there is pretty easily available and through elance or something else there’s a lot of people that work on this stuff too. It’s pretty easy to put together a paid content site these days.
Andrew: And for email did you say that you used A Webber? Awebber dot com.
Interviewee: We use Awebber for our email. Yep. And it worked out pretty well. Little bugging here and there once in a while but for the most part it works really well.
Andrew: I see where Ramit’s here in the audience and I’m not catching the full conversation that he’s having by chat but he’s saying that larger scale brand issues because he does TV and media interviews, etc. Yeah. He does have different…Ramit does a lot of T V and I think his website has a different approach. You can’t sell everything. He’s trying to win over a crowd. He’s trying to have something that’s presentable. But here I am scrolling down I see the rest. He does have Scrooge Strategy dot com and a few other websites. Let’s see….this thing is scrolling a little fast. Oh, this is great! Thank you guys for being open here. I really thought this was going to be a fight. So Matt is saying he’s going to give it a ten. Dan Blank a ten. Guess-whatever-number-was assigned-to-him-but-I- don’t-know-why-he’s-not ñusing-his-website-so-at-least-I’ll-promote-him-in-my-interviews is also offering it a nine. Robert is offering it a 10. Lucas a nine. Ten plus. Pedro a nine. Wow. Wow. Thank you guys. You know what, it’s so easy to be anonymous here and just pee on everything. I probably shouldn’t use that in this kind of professional interview but I’m grateful to you guys for being so open and so helpful in these interviews.
Andrew: I’m grateful to you guys for being so open and so helpful in these interviews, do I have any other questions? Yes. I kept scrolling things down, I have one last question here: legal, do you have people sign anything before they come in and do an interview with you? I know that’s a question that I’ve been thinking about.
Interviewee: We have a one page release basically that people sign that says: you realize that you’re being interviewed, that I’m not paying you for it, that I’m going to sell it and that I can do whatever I want with it. That’s basically what it says in a nutshell, but it’s a one pager that people have to sign and at one point we had, I have to ask Ameal about this, but at one point we had a template that you can download when we were doing the podcast expo for podcasters. I’ll try to find that and put it up on membercon, it’s been a while since we’ve done that. We had templates for if you wanted to sell advertising, we had an ad agreement and an insertion order and an interview release template, but I think if you search google for interview release you could probably find one, but I’ll try to post it on membercon as well.
Andrew: That’s a good idea, thank you guys, I’m seeing all these great responses, Anthony Doctolero, “he almost sounds effed but it’s passion.” It actually is, I love that, it is really hard when I’m doing an interview with somebody who doesn’t bring the passion, who’s not…who doesn’t have a point of view, who doesn’t have something that he can teach that’s usable. I am really grateful when I get to interview somebody who has that. Let’s see what else we have here, Dan: “Don’t think it’s possible to do both, a movement is different than a business”, Jang is in the audience asking Dan “Don’t you think it’s possible to do both?” I believe it is, what do you think of that, do you think it’s possible to build a movement that needs a big audience and at the same time a business that builds revenues?
Interviewee: I think it’s possible to do both if for instance on the mixtergy side, if you gave out one interview a month that was for free out of the ones you did every single day; you can still create some energy, you can still create some momentum from that, but you want to be very careful about how much free content you put out there, because there is a line that you cross where people are so use to the free stuff they say I’ll just wait for the freebies to come out and I won’t join the membership site. Again I’m not in this for charity, I’m not in this to just give out the great information and have people love that I give them good stuff to use in their everyday lives, I’m here to make money with this as well. The thing…I guess I come off like this capitalist pig and I’m just here to make money and it’s important for everybody to know that I treat our members really well, our lifetime members get a handwritten note from me, I’m always writing thank you notes to people and sending it out in the mail. I get these emails back, “Oh my God you sent me a handwritten thank you note for joining an online membership site, that’s unheard of.” It’s so easy to set yourself apart, that way there’s a lot of things you can do but I mean I really do feel like we put out a lot of value and it’s worth something and that’s why we charge for it. It’s not just about me making money, although that’s a nice side benefit, but I think we deliver the value for those, we over deliver on the value for our subscribers and that’s why their willing to pay.
Andrew: well, thank you for doing this interview, that’s a great place for us to leave it, we did like two interviews in this program, I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long in a long time, if ever. So thank you for staying with this interview for as long as we did. I’m going to say it over and over as a way of saying thank you, guys go over to membercon.com, check out some of the past post, check out some of the stats that he’s shown, you’ve shown what’s worked for you and what hasn’t. I dig stats like you wouldn’t believe, maybe it’s because I just got married recently, but to me stats are my porn, especially numbers of traffic and revenues. So if anyone has any of those they want to share with me, email them to me. Any other way for people to see you? To connect with you?
Interviewee: On twitter I’m Tim Burkwin, facebook I’m on there as well, so you can search for me there. We just created…one of the things we’re coming out with is just showing people how we do interviews as content, kind of like this, so we have a website called www.interviewincome.com they have four videos up there that show exactly how we do interviews and how to create an audience for that, so that’s something, if they want to check that out as well. If I leave you with anything Andrew it’s that at some point your going to have to make a decision about what your content is worth and don’t let people who say that everything should be free out there, keep you back, hold you back. Unfortunately when you charge for content there are people out there that don’t like what your going to do. I hate to say the old thing about building a thick skin but ignore it because the moment you start charging for content your going to get people that say “Ahhh, you sold out and you should always be free,” don’t worry about it, your going to get those people. The people that are going to pay you are gonna simply take out their credit card and enter it into the form and they’re not going to tell you this is a great thing that they’re paying, they’re not going to say “please charge me $99.00 dollars a month I’m willing to pay that”, they’re just going to pay whatever you say it’s worth.