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EFP: 46 – Building Bad-Ass Business Systems With James Schramko

Justin Cooke May 10, 2013

Having moving pieces and keeping those pieces in check is a key differentiator between having a real business and being self-employed. Joe and I talk about our business systems quite often, but today we wanted to sit down with someone we know runs a well-oiled machine.

Introducing James Schramko and Building Bad Ass Business Systems

We invited James Schramko on the show to discuss with us his journey from a self-employed affiliate marketer to running a full-blown international business empire.

There are a TON of key concepts and takeaways in this episode. I literally went back and listened through this episode again to pick up some tips or tricks I might have missed on the call. I encourage you to listen careful and see which business strategies you can extract and apply as you build your own online empire.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As


“If I don’t use, it’s a loser. If I use it – I know my audience will be interested.” – James Schramko – Click To Tweet!

“(You don’t want your team) so concerned about putting rice on the table that they’re not loosening up and innovating.” – James Schramko – Click To Tweet!

“Up-market is key – The lower you are on the totem pole, the more people you’re competing with” – Justin Cooke – Click To Tweet!

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Rocking the boat and ruffled feathers when baking redundancy into your business
  • Debt Collector – Car Salesman – Internet Marketing – How does that work?
  • Taking your one-man-band to a full-on business
  • Taking advantage of the maturing internet marketing industry
  • Doubling your income in six weeks through reaching out to current customers
  • Outshining the IM charlatans
  • The Chocolate Wheel – Serving the right customer needs at the right time
  • Be careful with affiliates and launches – This can turn into an “affiliate tax” where you’re paying over and over for your OWN customer
  • Niche Business Ideas: Personalized Image database + Targeting verticals in your current business


How are you building systems and process into your business? Did you learn something new in this episode? We’d love for you to share your thoughts below or on Twitter!


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Announcer:                        Welcome to the Empire Flippers Podcast. Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty of ideas, but are short on substance? Worried that eBook you bought for $17.95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you long for?

Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of niche profits without the bullshit. Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe, from Empire Flippers.

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to episode 46 of the Empire Flippers Podcast. I’m your host Justin Cook, and I’m here with Joe Hot Money Magnotti. What’s going on, buddy?

Joe Magnotti:                    What’s up, everybody?

Justin Cooke:                     We’ve got a great episode lined up for you this week. We’re going to be talking to James Schramko about Badass Business Systems. This guy is boss, as far as building in software and automation and people into different systems in his business, and we’re going to be going through that in a few minutes.

Before we do that, let’s do some updates, news, and info. First thing I’ve got, buddy, seven new five-star iTunes reviews.

Joe Magnotti:                    Read them off.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s not too bad. No, I mean, that’s what you get when you bribe for these a bit. But, hey man, I’ll take what we can get.

First we’ve got Lorethian. “Justin and Joe are the ones you need to listen to if you want to learn how to make money online.”

We’ve got Kev. “I’m not currently building my sites, but I still listen because of all the great advice for all types of startup entrepreneurs.”

Tim in Taiwan says, “It’s great to learn how to fight back against the giant multi-nationals.” Nice, buddy.

Rob Longley. “Glad to see you guys are still on track after your name change.”

We’ve got Charles, says, “If anyone’s going to build a business, not just a niche site, Justin and Joe can provide you with some amazing mindsets.”

Jason. “This is by far my favorite internet marketing podcast.”

Well, thanks guys. I really appreciate it. Appreciate all the five-star iTunes reviews.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. Awesome stuff, man. Keep them coming, and we’re running the giveaway until the end of May.

Justin Cooke:                     Absolutely. Next point, we have a vetted site for sale on the marketplace. And we also have a package of sites available for sale as of the time of this recording. So make sure to check out the marketplace if you’re shopping for sites. And we have a couple of other things kind of up our sleeve that we’ll be working on here in the very near future for you.

Next point. Joe you just got back, buddy. You left me.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. Hot Money making some money.

Justin Cooke:                     Hot Money making money. So, Joe runs off to Cebu. We had a client coming into the Philippines that really kind of wanted to do a face-to-face, shake hands-

Joe Magnotti:                    A prospect. I wouldn’t even call him a client, because he wouldn’t sign on the dotted line until he met me in person.

Justin Cooke:                     All right.

Joe Magnotti:                    That’s okay.

Justin Cooke:                     Well, yeah. So, Eric, our intern, kind of set this one up, right? He was working the deal and working his magic, and set up a deal for the two of you to fly out to Cebu, meet up with this guy. And you looked a ton of office space, which is pretty interesting.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I mean, that was really cool. Because this guy definitely wants his people in an office. And I don’t think we want … Even though we have two people in Cebu right now, we’re ready to really open an office there either. So we were looking for seats to rent. So I went to a lot of different places that had seats available.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s talk about that. So there are basically three types of seats, right? They have renting call center, co-working or co-location space, and then suites.

Joe Magnotti:                    Right. And so the renting call center space makes sense if you need equipment, if you need backup, your guys don’t have computers. That sort of thing.

Justin Cooke:                     It ain’t sexy, though.

Joe Magnotti:                    It ain’t sexy and it could be loud at night, because there could be telemarketing people in there. So, you know, that could be-

Justin Cooke:                     You have the small little desk a lot of times because they’re, you know, cramming them in there basically.

Joe Magnotti:                    Right. But you do get the double power failover. You do get the super fast internet, right. But, yeah, it’s not sexy. You’re going to have a very basic chair and a small desk.

Then you’ve got the co-working locations like Location 360. Location 63, sorry Chris, that Chris has available. And he definitely has top notch internet, sexy spot-

Justin Cooke:                     It’s cool. It’s Google-ish, right?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. And, I mean, if you-

Justin Cooke:                     The bean bags and … yeah, got the whole thing down.

Joe Magnotti:                    If I’m going to work in Cebu, and I need a place to work from, that’s where I’m going to work from. So, you know, that’s definitely an option. And the third place is an executive-suite style where you rent an actual small office. They’ve taken a floor plan and broken it up into several different two-man or three-man offices, and you can rent them out. But it’s quite expensive and a little bit overkill.

Justin Cooke:                     Anyone in the U.S. or Australia, everyone’s familiar with that. But, like, you said it was a bit stuffy though too. You said it wasn’t cool. It wasn’t great internet.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, the internet was not so good. They opened in December, they’ve been having internet problems since then, apparently. And then they have a two MG download for an office of, like, 50 people or something. It’s just not enough.

And the other problem is, it does seem kind of stuffy and corporate.

Justin Cooke:                     You know, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Because a lot of times in the Philippines, executive suites are used by an HR company that works with the banana farmers or something, right? It’s not very tech savvy, tech friendly.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. And it definitely seems like it’s geared towards the executive coming into town for meetings, because they have a conference room available, meeting rooms available, they have a secretary that greets you at the door. All that stuff that really we don’t need. I don’t know. And it wasn’t cheap either. It wasn’t cheap.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. That’s definitely the case in the Philippines. If you want to go higher tech, you’re going to look at the BPOs or the call centers, because they generally have better redundancies in place.

Anyway, enough about that. Next point is, we’ve got an interesting situation that we want to share with you. So, we have an admin person, right? A basic admin person that, she kind of runs all of our admin. She does everything, from social security here, taxes, making sure all their salaries are paid. Just everything.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, and she even does a little bit of the bookkeeping as well.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. And she was also doing the hiring, right? And it got a little rough, so she was over … She was pulling her hair out, basically, and screaming at Joe in her way.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     So we realized we need to bring on a hiring manager. So we brought on someone basically to do the hiring, the onboarding process for our team, and then also letting people go and final paperwork. And then to kind of work with the supervisors on their needs and that kind of stuff.

So, basically, someone to kind of take some of her role over. It’s also a good hit-by-a-Jeep-me redundancy thing. But the thing is is that, whatever you do that, you have a one-man band. And you’re asking them, even though they’re stressed out and busy, to kind of pass on some of their workload. It can cause a little bit of frustration or strife, because the original person is kind of doing it their way. And you have this new person on the scene who’s coming in with fresh ideas and rocking the boat a little bit.

So we’re dealing with that a little bit right now.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. I mean, I think that’s to, like you said, it’s to be expected. You took someone’s role, and you split one person’s role into two people’s role. And so it may be more of a thing where she doesn’t know what tasks to push off and what tasks to keep.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. I mean, normally we don’t see this because if our supervisors are hiring people, we’re not really involved today. But this is more critical hire, or a more important hire where they report to us. So it’s something that we’re dealing with and kind of going through and kind of stepping them through. Which I’d love just expect it to be a little different, a little difficult as you guys kind of meld together. But you’ll figure it out, you’re professionals.

Joe Magnotti:                    I think it’s a good management experience for us as we grow in our company and we get bigger. This is going to happen to us in the future, where we have to take roles and split them from one person to-

Justin Cooke:                     Which is one of the reasons we can guide them through the process, because we’ve done this before anyway.

Joe Magnotti:                    Right.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay, really soon we’re going to get into the episode. We’ve got a great interview lined up with James Schramko. It’s fantastic. Let’s get into it.

Announcer:                        This is the Empire Flippers Podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     Hey guys, we’re here with James Schramko, from and the Freedom Ocean Podcast. I’m really excited to have him on. I’ve heard some other interviews he’s had, specifically on the Lifestyle Business Podcast. And he has another one I need to listen to on Foolish Adventure. But we’re glad to have him here.

What’s going on, James? How are you doing?

James:                                  Yeah, I’m actually over your way at the moment.

Justin Cooke:                     I know, buddy. You’re in the Philippines, man. So you’re up in Makati. We’re in the same time zone, I’m digging it.

James:                                  Yeah, it’s like the easiest interview to schedule so far. Like, the exact same time, because I’m always battling U.S. time zones and UK, Dubai, even people in Australia are on different time zones at different times of the year.

Joe Magnotti:                    How is the big smoke comparing to the weather in Australia?

James:                                  Well, I live at the beach in Australia and the weather’s been pretty good there. So I’m actually fine with the heat. They’re more worried about me than I am worried about me. But I do see the ladies walking around with umbrellas so they can stay nice and white, and that cracks me up.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, avoiding the sun. James, let’s talk a little bit about your business. So you started off, back in the day you were a car salesman. And then you transitioned to Internet Marketing. Tell us a little bit about that.

James:                                  Yeah. Actually, I graduated to car salesman from debt collector. So it was a great little progression there. But in my last job, I was a general manager of a Mercedes-Benz dealership and that’s when I started dabbling with the online stuff. Because I was feeling really concerned that all my money was coming from one person. And the internet was kind of taking off and killing traditional businesses like travel agents, which my family were into.

I sort of got the whole sales and marketing thing, and the lure of being able to sell anything to anyone anywhere in the world was so great that I figured I really needed to learn how to build a website. So I just started on that build a website journey.

Well I went on, graduated to car sales. I noticed that online it was starting to get important. It was closing down businesses around me. The travel agents, et cetera. So I figured that I really wanted to learn how to build a website, and I started learning how to do that at home in my spare time. And I pursued that until the point that I actually made enough income that I could quit my job. And the cutoff point for me was to match my salary, which was near on $300,000 a year.

Justin Cooke:                     So that’s interesting, Jim. Let me ask you. So, you started to get into internet marketing. You’re doing some affiliate plays. How did you turn it from one guy making some money from affiliate sales to more of a real online business? I think some of our listeners, that’s something that they struggle with, is going from a one-man band to a business.

James:                                  Yeah. Because I was running a big business and, at one point, the business I was in charge of … The last one was doing close to 50 million dollars a year, according to a publication that came out ranking it in the top few companies. But at one point were doing a hundred million dollars a year.

So I was responsible for enormous budgets, and I learnt a lot about selling time, stock, and money. I was dealing wholesale and retail. I was dealing with the local geographic are and then the national brand. International brand values like Mercedes-Benz. So, I learnt so much that it’s just transferred across. And I didn’t get at the time, how people were putting up these slapdash red sales letters that were just bashing people over the head with one-way direct marking messages.

I thought that was quite cheesy and short-term. It was sort of like the gold rush. And I thought it’s going to mature, it’s going to develop into a more sophisticated model. I know these guys will get cleaned out. And, over the years, I’ve watched them sort of move out of the market. And the thing’s getting real and getting serious.

So I’ve always approached it with a lifetime customer value approach. And I’ve always been careful not to be single-point sensitive with anything, whether it’s collecting money or products that I promote. And I’ve done the right moves that have allowed me to continue to grow the business, where other people just get shot out of the water because they make silly errors that … They don’t know because they’re not business people in some cases.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, it’s interesting that you were able to leverage your business experience into your own business. It’s similar story to what Justin and I have done. But, how did you know? I mean, $300,000 a year, that’s hard income to replace. And I think that a lot of people were interested in when did you know that this was going to be a real success? You know, you’re at $20,000, you’re like, “Oh my God, this is just a hobby,” kind of thing. When did you know that you would be able to replace your full-time income?

James:                                  Well it took me a couple of years to ramp up to that. And, just before I quit my job, I was earning around about $10,000 a month from my affiliate marketing. And I’d just started doing info-products, which there’s a whole story behind that. But it took me nine months to make my first sale. It was a ridiculously slow progression.

I refused to buy courses. I didn’t go to events. I tried to learn everything myself, which was the slowest most difficult way possible. And from that one or two affiliate sales, I started building up. I remember making three sales in a month for $150 commission. And then it went up to $500. And then $1,000. Then $1,500. Then two and a half … It was just this slow snowball, but I kept growing it. One thing that I’m good at is just growing businesses. I can get the seed of it and just keep growing and refining and optimizing it.

And by the time I got to ten grand a month, I really needed a massive innovation to double that. And that’s what happened. I went overseas, I attended an event, I got plugged into a whole new bunch of people who influenced me. I came back from that event and, within six weeks, I’d gone out to two people in my local area who I’d built websites for already at some point or had been introduced to through a referral. And I said, “Listen, I’m doing this internet marketing full-time. You can come onboard. It’ll be $5,500 per month. Do you want to go for this?” And they said, “Sure.”

So I had these two customers. That instantly took my income up over 20 grand a month, and I’d reached my threshold. I felt like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. It was always there to get. I already knew these people. I could have offered this before, probably a year before, but it was probably the scariest thing to do is to quit a really plum job with fantastic benefits for a big brand that most people would consider the ultimate career.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s so funny. I wonder if some of your success was the fact that you were kind of self-taught, basically. I know a lot of people are going to read these, like, $20 eBooks and they think so small. So small-ball that it hurts them as far as building out a real business.

It’s funny, though, that we did the same thing. We didn’t buy a bunch of products or anything as far as learning how to build an online business. But the truth is, is that, you know … And the reason for that is like 95% of those products suck, right? They’re just not any good or they’re rehashed stuff.

James:                                  That’s the real reason. That’s the thing, I’ve got a very fine-tuned BS detector from speaking to people on the showroom floor every day for decades. You get to know people. And I just could see through this stuff. And I realized that they were charlatans. And I wasn’t going to buy them.

I think the first few eBooks I bought, I got great value from because they more or less validated things that I was doing and gave me a few extra tips. I think that Rich Jerk was one the first ones that I bought. Yeah.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. So you’ve done something interesting, coming a little bit more to the present, you’ve done something interesting that we’ve done lately, which is unify all your brands under one banner,

Tell us a little bit why you did that.

James:                                  Yeah, so there was this convergence of different things that happened all at the same time. I wanted to get a merchant facility for processing money because I was already pulling in over a million dollars a year through PayPal. And I didn’t want to be single-source dependent in case of emergency. Not that I have a problem with refunds, it’s like 1%.

Secondly, I had a PR account that allowed me to put out a press release every day. But they really wanted me to stick to one domain.

Thirdly, people kept asking me, “Where do I got and find out about all of your products, because you’ve got so many.” Because I had about 10 or 12 different brands, products, and services at that time. I was also finding it hard to switch between all the different brands and services I had. To go and individually market them was to shuffle between them, mentally and organizationally. It was quite resource-intensive. So I wanted simplify things. And I figured that I would turn this site, which I was curating information from my other sites on, into the primary source. So I just sort of switched over and I put most of my marketing into that.

And, within a year, I was able to turn off my affiliate program. I’ve been able to generate a lot more leads and opt-ins. And the branding on that site’s very strong. Most of the people, like two-thirds of them, come back over and over again. It continues to snowball in its growth. It’s going to hit 100,000 podcast downloads a month soon, which is significant because it only started really about a year ago from the time that we’re recording this. So it was one place to put my energy.

And then I’ve used all the places where people normally do this, like Facebook or YouTube, to syndicate that site and to get people across there. And that’s where, I think, that’s where the expression own the racecourse comes from. I want to be in control of the asset. When I’m putting that premium content up there and directing people to it, I want to be in charge of it. And it’s a classic case where you see people building out on other people’s platforms, and then the platform changes. And it disrupts their business to the point where, sometimes, they go out of business.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s funny, own the racecourse. We’re talking about info products that sucked. This is one that actually doesn’t. I remember I reached out to you because I’d heard about it a little bit. I said, “Can I get more information on that?”

And, you know, you let me peek behind the curtain a bit and I was like, “Wow, this is something that’s actually legit.” Like, it’s one of the few things that, I can see how that makes sense. And that influenced some of our business later on, which I’m going to talk about in a bit.

But you mention that it’s kind of difficult to have all these brands out there. I know that, at the time, jumping between this brand to that brand, you lose something there, right? And being able to come just from SuperFastBusiness, I’m James at SuperFastBusiness, makes a lot more sense in your message, in your strength, I think, of your marketing efforts. So I do get that.

I want to talk to you a little bit, James, about the chocolate wheel. So this is interesting, where a lot of internet marketers are kind of like, “Okay, I’ll get the sales in. I’ll sell them and move on to the next one. Let’s see how many sales I can get. I’m going to sell this to as many customers as possible.” And your approach is a little different. You look at the customers you get in the door say, okay, what do my customers want and how can I serve them different products?

When did you start to do that? When was the first … How did that come about with your online business?

James:                                  Well, the first iteration of it was my affiliate marketing product. The campaign was selling website development software. And I ended up making a value-added offer. I mean, I hate discounts, I hate rebates and cash back. I hate that from the car industry. And Mercedes-Benz were really vigilant about charging full price. I didn’t want to give money back, so I created bonus. And the bonus was a cheat sheet, helping people who bought this software get better results. It helped them with their Search Engine Optimization. It helped them configure the software better than it came out of the box. So they were getting a real value-add.

Then I had people trying to buy that from me. So, that’s when I recognized a pattern from the car dealership. That people might go in to buy a car, but then they want to service it. And then they might be servicing a car, but then they want to upgrade it or buy a new one. Or they want to finance the car. Or perhaps their finance renewal’s due, but then they end up buying a new one. Or they just want a part, like a petrol cap. They come in for carpet mats and end up buying a car.

And I’ve realized that all these departments were feeding each other. But the managers were so siloed out that they were fighting with each other and they didn’t recognize they had the one customer. So I realized that the same customer who bought the software wanted the instructions on how to use it. And then this light switched twigged and it’s like, hang on a minute, there’s more people out there who already own the software who don’t know how to use it that I should be marketing this guide to. So I put up its own domain name and started selling it by itself. And that was my first info-product. And this thing, I remember clearly, there was this one day I was moving house. I put it up for sale, and I made a thousand dollars of sales in the first day. And that continued for the whole week. And that’s when I realized, hang on, I could do this full-time.

Joe Magnotti:                    Cool, cool, cool. So, that’s an awesome impact on your business. But in order to get to this sort of chocolate wheel approach, did you have to change your mindset? Or was it more you had to change the mindset of your customers?

James:                                  No. It’s already there, it’s inherent. The same person who bought the website software also buys domains, also wants hosting, also probably doesn’t even want to build it themselves and would rather have someone do it for them. And that’s how now my website business is a substantial business where we just build websites for people. And I don’t even recommend that people learn how to build a website like I did. I think that was a mistake. For $199 we’ll just install their website within a few hours, like the same day. There’s no reason they should spend that money on software and spend the next nine months dicking around with font sizes.

I just basically realized these customers had evolving needs, and I could either take a position in the market and stay there, or I could grow with them. One of the extensions of this was, firstly I realized these affiliate products I promote, I really should find a recurring affiliate product. So I started promoting a forum. And that switch was really impactful for my business, because now I was getting repeat revenue from the same sale.

The next iteration was, well, most of the forums suck, so I think I’ll create my own. And I’ll start it by offering it as a bonus for product launch. So I did a product launch and I sold 86 copies at $2,000 each. And I gave those people access to my first forum. I gave them, I think, two or three months for free. And then they were re-billing if they stayed, and it was $67 a month. I built that forum up to a monstrous forum, and that was a partnership. And I learnt my lesson with that one. And now I have my own, two paid communities. I’ve got the low price one, and then the higher priced one where people want to evolve to and get the next level of education and solution and access.

Basically what I’m telling you is that I’m dealing with mostly the same customer. I only have 23,000 records on my email subscription list. But my repeat purchase is somewhere around 90% in my database. And I’m dealing with the same people for the whole time in most cases. And I just keep-

Justin Cooke:                     So cool because, yeah you’re building your-

James:                                  Yeah I just keep providing products that they ask for and they beg for. And then I create it. So I know what they want.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s cool because you’re able to build a relationship with them, right? I mean, over time they get to know you better because they’ve bought this product from you and they come back and buy another product from you. And it’s relationship sales. You don’t have to convince them who you are and why they should trust you. They know you already.

James:                                  Yes, and it creates a whole set of new paradigms that you have to be aware of if you’re in the traditional IM mindspace. It actually means the affiliate model doesn’t work that well for you, because you end up repeatedly paying affiliates on the same customer you already have a relationship with. So if my average customer has five or six of my products, you know, after the first product I don’t really want to pay another five or six times for that first relationship. You overpay. So it’s like an affiliate tax.

The other thing is, you don’t need to do product launches. You just do releases. You just tell them it’s available and it just takes off. So, I don’t have affiliates, I don’t have launches, I don’t have JVs, I don’t do the whole free webinar thing all the time. So, it allows you to focus on just creating good products and services. And making sure that you look after the ones you’ve got. If you just do that, then the rest of it takes care of itself.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s funny, James. So we were, when we were starting off with Ad sense Flippers, we were selling our own sites, right? And that was going really well. We were selling sites, people were buying them, there’s a lot of demand. And they would ask for these products. They would say, “Hey, can’t you just do this? Or can’t you do that?” And we always told people we don’t have a system for that. It’s not really set up that way.

How silly of us, right? People are asking us, “Hey, we’d like to pay you money for this. Can you do this for us?” And we’re like no. No, it’s okay. We have our own process and way of doing things. Silly now but, I mean, that’s kind of the mindset.

How do you find out new products to target? Is it normally customer requests, where they come to you and say, “Hey, can you build this for me?”

James:                                  Yeah. I would very rarely survey a customer and say, “Hey, what would you wish I had,” or whatever. I know what they want. At the moment, I get a request every single day for a particular product or service that we don’t currently provide the way that they want it, but I know they want it badly. Because there’s no question that it’s a business model. It’s irrefutable, because that sort of level of demand from my existing customers is strong.

So, I know what to develop. They ask me for stuff. I’ve got a laundry list of things that I can create if it suits my style of working or my preference. Yeah. So I always know what needs to be done, it’s just a matter of capacity management, which affects all of us.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, it’s wheel house too. Like, is that really a good fit for your brand, your business, and where you want to go? Is it complimentary to your other products?

Something that, James, that we talk a lot about is the engagement funnel, right? Where you have your casual reader, turns into a regular reader, turns into a fan, turns into a superfan. And we’ve done a pretty good job, I think, of offering both free information and products to the casual readers, the regular readers, and the fans. But you started the membership groups, and then you have a mastermind as well.

Tell me a little bit about that. How do those work today? Is it more people looking to learn from you? Or is it more of a community learning from each other?

James:                                  Well, one … It’s probably a little bit of both. But the lower priced one, the Fastweb Formula one, is now mostly the community is strong in itself. Oh gosh, there’s nearly 700 members. They really support each other and answer each other’s questions, and they meet up in most major cities around the world. So it’s a very strong community in that regard, much like Dynamite Circle is.

But then in Silver Circle there’s no question that they’re looking to access me. They’re basically buying my time on a group share basis. How it evolved is a separate story. I don’t know if you want to go to that or not. Again, customer demand. People kept seeing that I was being successful when they were failing, and they ask for help. Like, “How do I do this?” Or, “How can I do that?” Or I spot opportunities that they don’t see. And so, “You know if you just do this or that you could blah blah blah.” And they go, “Really? How do I do that?”

It always astounds me how helpless people seem to be. But I thought I’d test this just to filter out the people who just kept asking me and wanting free email coaching. I put a PayPal button on my blog. At the time, it was my internet marketing speed blog, which is a long story. But I put a $700 PayPal recurring button, and this guy came along and ordered it. He tracked me down. He actually knew that I was behind the scenes for some other guy, recognized my style, came to my site, ordered it, and said, “Teach me.”

Within a month, he was making an extra 700 bucks a day because I was able to do some significant work that helped me and ended up sending him at last half a million dollars in partnership fees for something we did together, a joint venture. So it was a great investment for him. But then the natural fall on from that is, listen, one-on-one is great, but one-to-many is a more effective model for me the way that I’m set up now. So, that’s how it evolved.

And then I’ve got this other thing that’s not advertised and it’s not on a site as such. But I do have some clients who pay much more than the Silver Circle for me just to do stuff for them. They don’t want to learn anything. They don’t want to know about it. And they don’t want reporting or contact, they just want me to do it. And that’s one of the other things we do.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, we have customers like that too on the outsourcing side, where they’re just clients. They don’t really care. We’re more of a middle man, we deliver the labor to them. And it’s a good value for us, but it’s always better to have your own product.


James:                                  Well, that is my own product. They never touch my labor. No one touches our labor, it’s completely hidden from the rest of the world. Everything is productized and packaged, because I think that’s the best model for me to sell. I know there’s some of our friends do the opposite, where they actually just pass the people on and don’t even touch that.

But I figure if someone’s good enough to hire, I should hire them. And then it’s up to me to … I’ll pay their labor full-time and then I’ll repackage that time and sell it to someone who’s in need. I’ll manage the whole process because that’s what I’m good at.

And the last place that I worked at, there was 70-something staff. And I’ve pretty much recreated my old business, except now I own it.

Justin Cooke:                     We’ve done the agents where you basically are renting their time and middle-manning. But it’s kind of a race to the bottom. Bigger fans, I think of productized services for sure. That’s nice.

But we also have another piece where you, it’s basically hands off on our part. It’s run by the client. But the margins are a lot thinner on those types of deals.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, but it does bring up the point of how do you come up with these products, right? I mean, it’s great to say, okay people come to you and ask you for something to be done and then you productize that service or find people to do it. And I understand that, and that’s kind of what we’ve done at Empire Flippers as well.

But when you come up with something completely new, how do you come up with this process?

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. I guess our question-

James:                                  Well, another way to do it is to develop something based on your own need. That’s the other way that I create stuff. I create things that I need and, invariably, my entire community will probably need it as well.

Joe Magnotti:                    How do you decide if that’s a winner or a loser?

James:                                  Because I use it. If I don’t use it, it’s a loser. If I use it, then that means I’ve already checked for other options and couldn’t find what I needed, so I had something created. Whether it’s a service or a software or whatever. Then I know that my audience will probably be interested in it as well.

Justin Cooke:                     So even if you created a product that you didn’t use but made you money, you would still consider that a loser because you weren’t using it?

James:                                  Well, no. I’m just saying that the way that I know that it’s going to be a winner is if I use it. That’s like a … I’m the kind of person who loves to promote and endorse things that I use and love, because I’ve went through the research and the due diligence and I still use it. And people trust me. And that is why, even though we sort of brushed it off, the affiliate stuff, I still make more in affiliate marketing than most people will ever make in their entire career online.

And it’s just like a side thing for me. It’s really just like a byproduct of the things that I use. I pretty much only promote the things that I use. And the fact that I use them is enough for most of my community to say, “Well if James uses it, then it’s probably a good idea.”

Justin Cooke:                     It’s cool. It seems you kind of have a method where you or your team, you guys do it for yourself first, kind of test through it. And then I see like an info-product come out of it. And then products, like a done-for-you service out of it as well. So sometimes the info-products are free, sometimes they’re paid. But you always have the done-for-you service that goes along with it. And that stems from things you’re doing for yourself to help grow your brand and business, right?

James:                                  Yes. And it’s much better because it’s aligned with your values, and where you’re focused, and your passion. Earn the Racecourse is a great example because, I don’t know if you’re aware of all the iterations of that, but the first version was me doing it for someone else at $6,000 a month. The second version of it was me doing it for myself. The third version of it was a mastermind full live workshop for a dozen people at a high price point. The next version was a webinar for my lower priced community. The next version was as an individual product. The next version was to give it away free. And then the final version is us doing it for other people.

So it’s had like eight versions.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s a product life cycle, basically.

James:                                  Yes. And it’s all come from what we’re doing. We’re naturally doing it in our ecosystem, so it’s so easy to be excited about and to talk about and to be knowledgeable about it. And I’ve recently, for my paid members, released the OTR Reloaded, which is everything I’ve learnt after a year. And then there’ll be continual iterations. I’ll now float that across to the free side of it in the next few months, and then I’ll create something better for my paid members. So they’re always ahead of the curve.

Justin Cooke:                     It reminds me of your content syndication methods, where you go from a high-touch piece to the low-end stuff. So you do a five-minute HD video, and then you create a podcast out of it, a transcript, a press release, a couple of articles.

You’re kind of doing that with your products, too, where you have a high-touch, $6,000 a month product for someone. Then you do it for yourself, then you have it in a mastermind group at a higher dollar amount. And continue to move down the value chain with that. It’s pretty cool.

James:                                  Yeah. I’m into integration. I want to cover all ends of the spectrum, if it’s practical.

Joe Magnotti:                    Cool. So Justin and I were talking pre-call about your team here in the Philippines. From what I understand you have 80-plus people, and you meet with them every day. It’s an e-meeting, and online meeting of course.

But talk to us a little bit about that, because I’m a operations nerd and I love hearing about corporate structure and how to manage and stuff like that. That’s real interesting to me.

James:                                  Yeah. Well, there’s not quite that many. I’ll just go on record. But we’re still well and truly close to the 60 mark, I’d say. But in terms of the meetings, we have them … There’s a core group of managers that are around eight, I meet with them every morning. And straight after that call there’s the group meeting with the rest of the business, which is every other person.

And generally, I think now we’ve switched over to [inaudible 00:35:09], and I don’t attend those so much because I’m working on other projects. However, I’m very, very closely connected with my core group of managers. So I’ve stepped back one layer over the last six months.

I think it actually happened when I went to Europe in October for a whole month. I took the whole month off. And when I came back, I just didn’t go to those meetings anymore. But in saying that, the business has continued to grow and profit. And I think that’s worked out well. I think they can actually communicate better in their own tone. So that’s one side of it.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, it’s funny. Chris Ducker challenged us not that long ago to kind of give a bit more autonomy to our crew. And we’re from middle management, right? So we’re used to kind of drilling down on projects. Kind of doing more stuff ourselves. So it was little uncomfortable to back out of that.

We started doing that and realizing that, wow, these people can figure things out on their own. And even if they make mistakes, it’s not that big of a deal. And it frees up our time, which is fantastic of course.

James:                                  If they’re not making mistakes, then you’re definitely doing it wrong. Because they’re so concerned about putting rice on the table that they’re not letting themselves loosen up a bit and innovate.

My people … That’s not the right word, they’re not my people. They’re lovely people who I get to work with on a daily basis, and amazingly talented, and they’re okay if they make mistakes. I mean, we do some crazy stuff. We’ve blown up servers. We’ve done all sorts of stuff. But we’ve got lots of redundancy in our business. We’ve got backups of everything. We have two people that can do every single job. We also achieve more innovation than most people probably in this culture, because they make some steps forward sometimes. And if they don’t always work out, then we pull back.

But we’re quite dynamic as an organization. And it’s because we have that … It’s also called loose-tight management. We have tight numbers and reporting that can show us what’s happening without us having to be drilling right down there. We can be quite loose with what they’re up to during the day. I’m not interested in time-tracking software and all the crap that comes with bureaucracy and really tight-fisted management.

I hated working for companies like that, and there’s no way anyone in my company will have to endure 360 degree reviews and all that crap. If someone’s not happy we just say, hey, we’re not happy. You can really simplify the business when you let go of all the bureaucracy that slows companies down from being effective.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, that’s the fake work, right? It feels like you’re getting work done, but you’re really just adding layers of complexity that are not really required.

James:                                  It’s ass-covering, it’s butt-covering bureaucracy so that people can protect their little fiefdoms and jobs. And we strip all that away, and we just get down to work.

Justin Cooke:                     The redundancy is key. We have a saying here, what-if-you-got-hit-by-a-Jeep me. So, yeah, if you got-hit-by-a-Jeep me, how would our business continue to go on? We try to instill that in our team.

James:                                  Well, we call it a Noah. Everyone has a Noah. You know, like the Ark? Two of everything.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, yeah. Two of everything.

James:                                  You have to have a backup. It’s just not optional. There’s no role in our business that’s single-point sensitive. Because I want them to have holidays. And, yes, there’ll be brown-outs or whatever. You need to have that protection. It actually helps them have a more fulfilled employment if they can teach someone else, and if they can have time off.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, some of your best employees are the ones that are constantly moving up the value chain and replacing themselves. As a business owner that’s what you’re constantly doing, is finding people who can do your job, right? So …

James:                                  Exactly.

Justin Cooke:                     Employees that can do that is really helpful.

James:                                  Always. As an entrepreneur, being able to pass the ball and keep running down the field is the whole point.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s great. Let’s talk a little bit … And one of the reasons that I’m really interested in some of the stuff you’re doing, James, is because it appeals to me. Your process and some of the tools in your system, I think we really like. Because that’s really kind of the way we’ve built our business.

So a not-necessarily-a-frontman approach. You have a great behind the scenes business going that a lot of people, I think, weren’t aware of or haven’t been aware of up until more recently. Let’s talk a little bit about the systems that you use. I know that, at one point, you had used AWeber and you switched over to Office AutoPilot, which is now Ontraport.

We’re looking to do a similar thing, so this is my selfish question for you. We’re looking to go to either Office AutoPilot or Infusion Soft. Do you know a little bit about the difference? When you looked into it, what convinced you to go with OAP?

James:                                  I tried Infusion Soft many years ago, probably three years ago now. And, back then, it was very hard for me to use. It didn’t work with PayPal directly, which was a probably for me, because that’s all I had. And it was it hard to get a merchant facility. And the open hours were 12 hours apart for me, or thereabouts. They were never there when I was awake and vice versa. So I just struggled with it, and ended up having to ask for a refund.

I believe with their mapping system and their funding now, that it would be easier to use and more likely to be the long-term winner of the two for being in business and being professional and all of that. But I still think it’s probably well-suited to someone with a few people in the team, or someone who can look after it more hands on. And if you do need PayPal and memberships, et cetera, there’ll be a few plug-ins and integrations that will require some custom work.

OAP is much easier to use out of the box. It’s a lot like a AWeber.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. So, that’s the interesting part for me, because Justin’s been geeking out about this OAP versus Infusion Soft. But actually I think the real question is AWeber versus OAP.

When do you know that your organization is ready for OAP? When do you need to ditch AWeber and move one?

James:                                  Okay so, in my case, it’s when you’re spending three or four hundred dollars a month in subscription fees, because that’s what AWeber was costing me with the analytics package. I had about 40,000 records.

But, in my business model, remember that most of my people are on multiple lists, which was a nightmare. I had 160 segmented lists, because I’m big on segmentation and I’m big on testing, and I ended up with all these lists. It was becoming too difficult to communicate with the people based on segments. It’s like trying to use Microsoft Outlook, and then switching to Gmail with labels instead of folders. And that’s what Office AutoPilot does.

If you have segments within your business. And if it appeals to you to be able to just tag people and call up groups based on tags, or to just talk with the high-value people, or to just talk with people who are of a particular segment of your business and not the other people, or to have a lot of this automated, then Office AutoPilot’s going to do that for you. But AWeber’s going to require a plug-in, an add-on. There are ones out there, but it’s sort of patching things together.

Justin Cooke:                     I think understanding our customers better is important, Joe. If we’re really going to provide the chocolate wheel to customers, if we’re going to provide that value to customers, we need to know them a bit better and let them opt in to what they want.

So, if they want to sell sites with us and let us broker the sites, I want to be able to contact those guys directly. The ones that have previously done it. If they’re buyers and we have new sites available, tell them we have new sites for sale. If they like our products when we offer-

James:                                  Okay. But this is where it’s so … This is going to blow your head off if you’re not aware of it. It’s so easy for you. If you import your AWeber list into Office AutoPilot and, providing they say yes that’s fine, which they should do unless you’ve bought it or something silly, then what will happen is you can go to … Like, you can literally send a link in your email that talks about the thing you’re just mentioning there. And if they click on that, and only if they click on it, it can add a tag that they’re interested in that. And the next time you broadcast about that thing, it will pick those people up. They don’t have to double opt-in again, they don’t have to change anything.

I’ll give you an example of how this works. In my emails, at the bottom of the email, there’s a little link. And it says this email is sent with OAP. And anyone that clicks on that link will then be tagged with interested in OAP and be automatically sent a followup talking about my journey from AWeber to Office AutoPilot and the things that were considerations for me. It’s so smart because it’s only sending to someone who was interested enough to click that particular link.

If you take it the next step, I’ve got things on my sales page, I used to put the order checkout there. And now I’ve changed it with a button to continue. When people click on that button, it will now track them and sending them a shopping cart abandonment follow up if they didn’t end up purchasing. It will send them a note just confirming.

So I’ve got live event coming up. If they click on that button, and they’re already in my system, then after an hour it will send them a little follow up saying, “Hey, you know at the event we’re going to be talking about this, that, and the other. Whatever, if you’ve got any questions, hit reply and let me know.” I’ve had people hit reply and let me know. And then I answer their question, and then they order a ticket. And at a thousand bucks a pop, I’ve paid for Office AutoPilot like ten times over.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, that’s so cool. I love where it can track the lead scoring, basically, right? So, depending on how active they are in your audience, you can tier one, tier 2, tier 3 based on their reaction.

I think that’s really, really cool. So it’s done, buddy. Done. Office AutoPilot.

Last question for you on this issue. Office AutoPilot or Ontraport?

James:                                  Well, it’s-

Justin Cooke:                     It’s the exact same software?

James:                                  Yeah, it’s actually … The new version of Office AutoPilot will be branded Ontraport and what will happen is new customers will get the new version. And legacy customers like me will get the old version until they figure out how to port it across to the new one. And after the new customers have ironed all the bugs.

So I’ve seen the new version. I think it’s been coming for a long time. And frankly I don’t care to go to the new version at anytime soon, because I’m not tapping a fraction of the power that’s available there.

But the most important thing is, the current version of Office AutoPilot is as easy to use as AWeber, and you won’t need anyone else in the business to manage it. I still queue up and send my own emails even though my team can draft them and stuff. It’s really easy to use.

Joe Magnotti:                    That’s the thing, James. I would shit myself if we paid for, got Infusion Soft, we were using, and then I can’t do it myself, I need someone else to always be in there helping me with it technically.

James:                                  It’s almost certain that you will need someone else for some of the things based on … I mean, I have a large section of customers who have it, and they have serious onboarding processes and coaching calls and whatever. But I only know about three people who absolutely love it and rave about it and it’s … But they’re mostly always technically savvy and really interested in that stuff. So, if that’s you, you could probably do it yourself. But it’s not me.

I’m a marketer and a business owner, I don’t want to get bogged very deep in technical stuff. I’m not that geeky.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, no. Not me either, man.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I see where that’s going real quickly in our organization. Joe …

Justin Cooke:                     Joe, help me buddy. Help me.

So, James, let me ask you … Let’s get away from the software a bit. You know, a lot of our audience, they’re new to internet marketing or they are trying to build up an audience where they can ask them what kind of products they should deliver, and ask them what they should do.

If you had to start over, you didn’t have the cash, you don’t have the audience that you have now, would you start the same way? Would you do affiliate marketing first? Would you build an audience first and then start asking them? How would you go about … What would your structure look like as far as setting up your business?

James:                                  I would pretty much … I mean, the answer for me is usually I’d do what I’m doing now. Because what I’m doing now is working for people who’ve got nothing. That Own the Racecourse, sort of, authority blog model is great, because whoever’s putting good value content out there will build an audience. Even if it’s tiny, they’ll be relevant and they will buy. And it snowballs and grows, and you own it, and you can pivot with it.

You know, one of the greatest things about the way I’ve set up SuperFastBusiness is there’s no order button on that site. The primary action I want people to take after they’ve opted in, is to go to my products page and buy something at one of my sites. It sends them off to my sites. But I can sell those sites. I could literally sell my SEO business or my website business, and then roll in something else. I can just send them off to an affiliate offer instead. I could be a reseller.

So it give me a lot of options. It’s like the engine that powers the vehicle, and I can change that vehicle anytime I want. I can send people to different offers. So, I would focus on the core authority building because brandable traffic is very hard for people to compete with you on, and you can build up that audience with your podcasting or your videos or just text. But any sort of rich media is going to be the way to go, and it’s a long lasting residual thing.

And I would say, my top tips would be find something that you can sell that’s recurring. That’s so key. Get that recurring business model happening and focus on the lifetime customer that you intend to have forever. These things are important. And the next thing is, go for a higher priced product first, because it’s about the same effort to sell a higher priced product as it is to sell a $7 eBook.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, upmarket is key. Every time you’re racing to the bottom, the lower you go on that totem pole, the more people you’re competing with, too. We found that with sites as well.

If you’re selling sites that are pre-earnings, right? Anyone can slap a WordPress site together, but if you get the site earning, and then you get the earning from multiple sources, and you get the earnings higher, you’re reaching up the value chain. And not everyone can do that, which is why you get paid a premium.

James:                                  The main thing I want to point out is, I think the ascension model that people teach is just crap. You don’t have to start with free, and then low price, and then next price up, and then the high price. Start with the high price today. That’s my top tip.

Joe Magnotti:                    Cool, I like that idea.

Justin Cooke:                     Hot Money over here.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. No, it’s supporting people, like Justin was saying. Supporting people on the back end that spend more money. It just makes it valuable to speak to people who are spending $2,000 with you, rather than some guy who spend five bucks and has 14 questions.

James:                                  It’s far more motivating. You can take the time to have a Skype call. You could even visit someone for the right amount.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, even if you have a thousand customers, it just sucks. It’s more hassle. It’s, you know, more support cost.

James:                                  But if you have a thousand customers at $2,000, now you’re talking.

Justin Cooke:                     Now you’re baller, right?

James, let’s get into our last section, which is basically our niche business idea. So, we ask all of our guests, and we do this ourselves too, is that we might have something kind of bouncing around in our heads or some idea that we haven’t really, we’ve been busy to roll out, but it is something we believe in our or we believe that could make some money and do well for others.

So I’m going to ask you, man, give me your niche business idea. What do you got?

James:                                  I’ve got nothing. Well, I’ve got plenty of ideas. I’m happy to share a few. How many do you want?

Justin Cooke:                     28 is usually enough. One or two, man, is cool.

James:                                  I’ll tell you one thing. Every single day, I get an email from someone, or a Facebook like, or a help desk request, “Where do you get those pictures for you blog posts? What software are you using to create those pictures for your blog posts? How do I order those pictures for your blog posts?”

Because every single day we have an original picture on our blog post. And people go nuts for it. So I know for a fact that I could sell those things all day long. I’m also certain that running a design business could be challenging for scalability. However, if someone could create software that allows you to configure some presets that will still allow you to generate an original picture … I’m not talking about stock footage. I’m just talking about a highly configurable set of images that could be customized. Like those old flip books where you’d match the top with the middle with the bottom, you know?

Because I think original images really, really awesome. And people notice it. So there’s huge demand for that. So if someone’s a bit arty, or they think they’ve got a stable of designers, that would be a great business.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, kind of like Powtoon for images instead of video. Powtoon is this service that we use to create our Intelli-theme video.

James:                                  Cartoon videos.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     Powtoons. It gives you kind of a cartoony kind of start up video or intro welcome type video. It’s good. I has some animated cartoon guys. But it doesn’t have … It’s not for images, it’s for video.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, it has like 200 elements or something like that, of different animations that you can put together in a unique video. And once you put it together right, wow, it looks very professional.

Justin Cooke:                     Something like that for images, though, would be pretty cool, yeah. Like a Powtoons for images. That’s cool.

Joe Magnotti:                    Good idea, James.

James:                                  Yeah. There’s other ideas. I could give you something kind of general that people could apply to whatever their idea is, or their existing business that they probably don’t realize is an idea.

Justin Cooke:                     Sure.

James:                                  Okay. So this one, it’s around verticals. And probably a lot of listeners don’t know what that means. But verticals, industry classifications, you can niche out into specific industries. So we do it with our web design company. We make custom themes for specific verticals, like roofing contractors or lawyers.

Justin Cooke:                     Exactly.

James:                                  And they’re our own custom designs, but they appeal to a specific market. And people in those markets really respond to anyone who’s paying attention to just them and making them feel special. And, of course, the price can go up and the conversions go up.

So, one thing would be to go and have a look at any existing product or service you have and just see if you could package that for a specific industry so that they resonate strongly with it. And then that opens up industry bodies. You can find all the suppliers to that existing industry. It might be the pool industry or whatever. But you go and find all the shops, the suppliers, the wholesalers, the conventions, the governing bodies, and you get your direct response and all that stuff.

You can really just hit the specific niche. And there’s so many examples of people being successful in just one niche. But if you have a product or service and you’re not niching it for verticals, that’s a great way to increase your revenue.

Justin Cooke:                     I love that. I know a guy in the U.S. that does that with apps. So he targets SMBs, and targets them by vertical. And he gets to know that vertical really, really well, because he’s building for, let’s say, plumbers, right? So plumbing companies, he builds them apps and he targets these verticals and gets to know them extremely well and can charge a premium for it as well because it’s so niched out.

James:                                  Yeah. So, you’ll get a premium if you go through the verticals. And, even in SEO, we sort of do it with reputation management. That’s just a little … The vertical of people who have bad reputations is a whole little segment of the market that has a massive problem that will pay-

Justin Cooke:                     Oh, god. Do you run across some dirtballs on that or what?

James:                                  Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     And are they, normally just have a-

James:                                  Like, if we get the wrong sort of person we won’t touch the job.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

James:                                  Because we’re very effective. And some people deserve to die in hell. But they are actually examples of people who get unfairly reputationalized by a nasty competitor or something. It’s just status, where the competitor will go and take out fake reviews or whatever. And you don’t feel so bad about that. That’s just dirty business that’s happening, not some guy, some sicko that’s in deep trouble.

That’s not a huge part of our business, but it’s just an example where you have a little hot spot of high, high, commercial intent and a needy customer.

Justin Cooke:                     Awesome, James. Well, it’s been fantastic interviewing you. I’m definitely going to go back to this and take down some notes. I was too busy trying to come up with the next thing to do that right now, but I’ll listen back.

If someone wants to get ahold of you, where can they do that? How should they reach out?

James:                                  Oh. Well, I reply to my emails. But they can go to, jump onto the list there. Using Office AutoPilot, I actually have a link in that email that lets people get it either daily or weekly. So that’s another segmentation.

So, if you want to hear from me every few days, or if you just want to hear from me once a week. And you can reply to any of the emails. I’m not hard to find. I’m on Facebook as well.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool, boss. Well, it’s been great having you on. We really appreciate it, man.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, thanks James. We really appreciate it, and hopefully talk to you again soon.

James:                                  Thank you. Anytime, guys.

Announcer:                        The Empire Flippers Podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     All right, everybody. So we actually recorded this about a week ago or so. And Joe, you’re beating me up a little bit. I was too, “Oh, this is amazing, I love this,” right? You were beating me up.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     I mean, seriously, the idea or the concept of the chocolate wheel, looking at long-term lifetime value of clients and really trying to serve their needs more on an individual client base is, I think, phenomenal. And it really, it suits our style. It suits what we’re doing, too, because we don’t have crazy traffic, right? We have less traffic. But if we can really meet the needs of the customers that we have, we’re going to be able to get more out of them and provide more value to them and it works out better for everyone, I think.

I also really like the fact that he kind of helps people down the engagement funnel. So, he goes from free products to paid products to membership to mastermind. So, depending on which level of connection you’re at or whatever, there’s a spot for everyone.

I don’t really feel like we have that right now. I think we may eventually, but we’re not there yet.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. I was going to say, we need to get better at that. I know the marketing arm is not my department, but this definitely seems like something that’s, not an easy win, I mean there’s a lot that goes into it, but once you get that down it’s easier to make money with that funnel.

Justin Cooke:                     Well, I’d be careful passing the buck to the marketing guy on that one. That’s, I think, a business strategy or business process that I think it’s going to be all-enveloping. It’s not just how do we get people interested in what we’re doing, it’s how do we get them engaged and more involved in what we’re doing?

Either way, let’s move right on to our tips, tricks, and our plans for the future.

Announcer:                        You’re listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe.

Justin Cooke:                     All right. So our tip for you this week, specifically, is regarding opt-in boxes. So I was talking to you about Dan Norris from Informly, who I love his content marketing strategies. Guy is great.

And we started talking a little bit about the difference to conversion with opt-in boxes. The idea is is that, if you’re going to have a piece of pillar content. Let’s say two to three thousand words that’s just well-researched, you really put the work in. The idea is to put an opt-in box on that content that absolutely relates to and gives a bribe or an offer related to the content itself.

So we tested this out with the Intelli-theme launch, or the Intelli-theme case study. And I put a bribe there at the bottom. Basically, if you want to go through a launch, you want a checklist of the things we learned in the launch, go ahead and sign up here. And we’ve got, to date, I think we’ve got like 70 email signups just from that opt-in box.

So, I think it’s definitely effective. I think it’s interesting though. A lot of times people have in their content, they have just a regular opt-in box. It’s the same one. Maybe it’s enticing and it gives their bribe or whatever as their giveaway, but it’s not specific to the content.

Joe Magnotti:                    So, a specific opt-in box. That’s your tip.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. So, if you have piece of pillar content, give a bribe, a giveaway, something short, that is right round the content that they’re working with. And it’ll get a lot more … Your conversion rate will be much higher.

Joe Magnotti:                    I’m thinking about a niche business idea right now. Somebody make a plug-in that automatically, based on your content, makes a new AWeber list for you somehow and signs up people for that list.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. I mean, something like Opt-In Skin. I don’t know, I don’t think it’s specific to the content. If you know if you can make the specific Opt-In Skin box based on the content that’s on the page, I’d really like to know about it. Let us know in the comments, and we will thank you.

All right. That’s it for episode 46 of the Empire Flippers Podcast. It’s been great. Wonderful having you with us. Make sure to check us out on Twitter at EmpireFlippers, and we’ll see you next week.

Joe Magnotti:                    Bye-bye, everybody.

Announcer:                        You’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers Podcast, with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up for more. That’s

Thanks for listening.


  • Carl Spira says:

    Hi there! Your podcast is getting better by the minute…….A quick note about the Aweber vs Office Autopilot.
    There is an informative blogpost about Infusoft vs Hubspot here:

    They are the big canons but I have a feeling you will soon be there.
    You two and James Schramko, what a breeze! (James will understand, he’s an old mariner)

  • Mark Eichenlaub says:

    Awesome stuff Justin! Wish I’d found you sooner. I am working to implement these techniques to help my runners with less effort at my coaching/blogging site

  • Great podcast with some rock solid tips. Thanks guys.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Ian! I really liked our guest this week, hehe. He’s doing some pretty awesome stuff with business systems that we’d be happy to replicate and learn more about, for sure.

  • Leon says:

    I love the podcast. This episode just seemed very ” online marketing bs ” to me…

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Sorry to hear, Leon. 🙁

      I think it’s because James is a sales guy at heart and that tends to shine through. Ultimately, though…he’s built a legit business online and we’re fans of the systems he’s built into his business.

    • Hi Leon. Thanks for your feedback. (Sidenote: I didn’t ask to be on the show. I am happily running my business without needing extra promotion). Also I definitely dont want to appeal to everyone . People who absorb my message will prosper. Take care.

    • Simon James says:

      Wow Leon. What a completely sweeping, pointless generalisation!

      Perhaps, before you leave another helpful comment somewhere, you might want to consider concepts such as “giving specifics”, “constructive criticism” and “well reasoned arguments”.

  • James says:

    Great episode, and I just wanted to say PowToon is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for to step up my video presence, thanks for the share!

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Nice, James, that’s great to hear! PowToon is pretty cool…we were pretty happy with how our IntelliTheme video turned out.

  • Tashia says:

    I agree with James when he said that the same person who buys the website software, also wants to buy the domain, also wants hosting etc…. I AM that type of customer. I would rather have someone do it for me, and I will pay them for it.

  • Iain says:

    I’m so use to James in bit sized pieces from his podcast that this was an amazing detailed conversation with him.

    I remember when I first head of James and I was a little unsure, so I didn’t follow him much. However, when I did start looking into some of his concepts like own the racecourse, I was blown away.

    Thank guys for doing the great interview.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Glad you liked it, Iain!

      I’m not sure if I mentioned it to James or not, but I believe I ran across him some time ago and felt the same way. (Meh) I don’t think I looked into it and just thought he was one of those “Internet Marketers”

      Of course, once I realized he knew what he was talking about with a “real” business I was a fan. 🙂 I think his content is usually Tier 2 / Tier 1:

      • When I started one of my affiliate markets was IM’ers until I discovered the truth about how porrly they run their businesses and treat their customers. I stopped promoting them three years ago.

  • hey guys you cook up a sweet podcast. Thank you for having me on the show.

  • Dan Norris says:

    Solid guys Schramko is a boss.

    Thanks for the shout. Re the plugin this is going to be a future feature of Informly. Not only an optin that is specific to the plugin but what about an optin that’s specific to the content and the user! No point asking the same people to opt into the same things all the time.

    Stay tuned for that one.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      No problem, Dan. Yeah, Schramko’s on point. I actually thought Joe and I were a bit off in this one, but when I went back through to listen to the podcast it sounded better than I remembered it, heh.

      Cool feature for sure…can’t wait to check it out!

  • Viv says:

    No transcript?

  • Hi Justin! Another awesome episode you got there. I do learn a lot from here especially now that I find Internet a special source of additional income.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Arwin!

      There’s definitely some additional income you can make online. The BEST way to do that, though, is to think of ways you can help solve other people’s problems. 🙂

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