[81] Scaling Our Businesses Through Process, Team and Procedures


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Welcome to Bootstrapped Web, Epsidoe 81.  Today we are giving our updates as both of our businesses are growing and we’re scaling them quickly.  We also answer a listener’s question regarding content marketing and converting website visitors to customers.

Brian has been focused on AudienceOps.  He talks about the current development of a WordPress plugin, the first of his software tools.  It’s a call to action tool that offers a bonus pdf download after receiving a customer’s email address.  He will begin to install it on client’s sites and after that will do a release as a stand-alone tool, with a free version and a pro version.  Brian is also focusing on plugging holes in any part of his processes,  while keeping the quality.  He paused all sales and marketing while he could get a handle on things and now he is ready to get back to sales and marketing.   Brian will be speaking at the upcoming Microconf Europe held in Barcelona from August 31 to September 1.  In mid-September, Brian will head to Norfolk, Virginia to be part of Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing Conference.  Use the coupon code: Brian Casel to get 15 percent off your ticket price.

Jordan is busy moving into the next phase of building a team and separating out the different functions and responsibilities.  Jordan started by documenting the whole process  and assigning tasks to team members.  At CartHook, Jordan is still responsible for converting customers from free trial to paid, but can see where that could change in the future.  For the time being, pre sales and onboarding is being handled by one person and after the trial begins it then goes to another team member.  Jordan believes the owner should not necessarily be the operator at every level and he needs to spend his time in sales and marketing.

Brian and Jordan then answer a listener’s question on how to convert a site visitor to a  paying customer.  They break down the steps involved that center around email and providing more content to those on your email list which will put you in the position of authority in your area of expertise and then in a position to convert those on your email list to paying customers.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please give us a five-star review and we’ll mention your handle on a future episode of the Bootstrapped Web Podcast.  Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[80] Brecht Palombo on Longterm Travel as an Entrepreneur


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Brecht and his family left their New Hampshire home and headed out in an Airstream to Austin, Texas.  The trip to Austin developed into a plan to be on the road for almost a year.  In addition to Texas, their stops included Southern California, Oregon, Idaho.  They are back in New Hampshire and planning to hit the road again in about two weeks.

Jordan and his family left New York and flew to San Francisco.  Their stops included Berlin, Germany and Denver, Seattle, Portland and Miami.  They settled in Portland and have been there for about two years.

Brian and his family are preparing for their trip.  They plan to hit the road in September and travel around the country for most of the first year before traveling internationally.  They’ll use airbnb for scheduling places to stay.

Travel topics covered include:

• Purging yourself of excess belongings before your trip
• Heavy duty research before you leave and while traveling
• If you need to get your business to a certain state before you leave
• Coworking spaces and how to spend less time working
• Traveling with kids
• Dealing with the pushback from family and friends

Jordan says being an entrepreneur allows you to live an exceptional life and travel brings you closer to your goals for that life.  Brecht says that when getting pushback, you should discount what others say about your travel plans, it has no bearing on how it will go for you.  He would rather regret having done something than not having done something.

For more on Brecht, check out distressedpro.com or hit him up on Twitter @brechtify.  Also, check out his Bootstrapped with Kids podcast.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please give us a five-star review and we’ll mention your handle on a future episode of the Bootstrapped Web Podcast.  Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

[79] Building Awesome Online Courses with Keith Perhac of Summit Evergreen


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Welcome to Bootstrapped Web, Episode 79.  Today Brian is away, but I’m excited to welcome Keith Perhac to the show.  Keith is the Founder and CTO of Summit Evergreen, an online membership software platform that makes it easy to create beautiful online courses and membership sites. Keith and Jordan discuss how it isn’t always easy to find information products that are well organized and curated from people you trust.  According to Keith, online courses take information and package it into a continued narrative.  He explains what online course programs offer that ebooks don’t and why more people are becoming more and more interested in the format.

Keith runs down three steps somebody should consider in deciding on a topic for an online course:

  • Base your course content on your area of expertise and the place where you are a problem solver
  • The importance of selecting something you are interested in so it lasts you beyond the initial offering
  • Don’t assume that what you know isn’t valuable

Keith advises a launch process before any of the course work is started.  Among other things, it will allow you to gauge interest and build trust right from the start.  The launch process needs to include a landing page with information about the course and an opt-in form.

As far as what’s succeeding with online courses, Keith says video is dominating and he explains it in greater detail.  Keith also has some advice that draws on feedback from users and a journal page and process that allows users to feel supported and have a positive lasting impression about the course.

If you’ve been wanting to find out more about developing your own online course, check out  Summit Evergreen.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please give us a five-star review and we’ll mention your handle on a future episode of the show.  Head here to leave a review in iTunes.

[78] Changing the Course of Our Businesses


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Welcome to Episode 78 of Bootstrapped Web.  Today we are both very excited to bring some major updates in our businesses.  It’s very fortunate that we both are finally able to discuss these topics in detail, as both have to come close in the last couple of weeks.

Both of these announcements break the typical mold of what we have historically considered to be a “Bootstrapped” business.  In this way, they are going to change the trajectory of not just their respective businesses, but also of the entrepreneurial journey that Jordan and Brian will embark upon in the future.

These last few months have been great learning lessons for us, and we are excited to share these lessons with you.  The tagline of the show “This is the show for you, the founder who learns by doing” certainly applies to these latest developments in the business, and we hope that some of these insights help you bring your businesses along to the next level too.

If you liked today’s show,  Brian and Jordan would appreciate if you could leave a review in iTunes.

[77] Justin McGill on the Importance of Visibility as a Founder


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Jordan is on the road and in today’s episode Brian is joined by Justin McGill.  In December 2014 Justin took on a challenge to launch a business in 24 hours and from that, LeadFuze, an email prospecting and lead generation service was born.  Justin also co-hosts the Zero to Scale podcast about bootstrapping startups to $20k a month and beyond, and also documents Justin’s journey with LeadFuze.

Justin talks about the importance of setting public goals.  When he launched his current endeavor he set a goal of $1,000/mo in recurring revenue within 30 days.  The first two weeks which hit over the Christmas holiday were slow, but he achieved his goal and currently LeadFuze has grown to $18,000/mo.

Brian and Justin discuss the importance of having a visible public goal for your business as a way to motivate yourself and identify a success method with a revenue number and a deadline to reach it.  Additionally, being transparent holds you accountable.

Justin also discusses:

  • His background and how he drew on that to start LeadFuze
  • How he applied what he knew from a marketing perspective to his own business.
  • How a “done for you” concept in a software product is a win.
  • Why his involvement in entrepreneurship communities is important to him and those he interacts with and the value of having conversations with like-minded people.
  • How his podcast has helped his business.

Contact Justin through his email, justin@leadfuze.com or at justinmcgill.net or on Twitter @Jus10McGill   and check out the podcast he co-hosts, Zero to Scale.

If you liked today’s show,  Brian and Jordan would appreciate if you could leave a  review in iTunes.

[76]  Tim Conley on Entrepreneur Coaching


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On this episode Tim Conley joins Brian and Jordan to talk about what to expect from an entrepreneur coach.

Tim is an expert in management consulting and coaching and has helped many people push their business to the next level.  He believes that business success is 90% mental and coaching can help  an entrepreneur get over their own mental hurdles.

The guys discuss discuss the differences between mentor, coach and consultant and what a consultant can offer that the others may not.

Topics covered include:

  • At what point in your business is a coach the correct option for you.
  • How to find a coach that’s right for you.
  • What should you expect to pay and what should you expect for the return on your investment.
  • The various levels of coaching.
  • The nuts and bolts of coaching.

Tim believes that the best coach is one who has seen a range of scenarios and can effectively apply their experience and knowledge to your situation.

Tim can be reached through his website timconley.co or on Twitter @TimConley.

If you enjoyed today’s show we’d love it if you could leave us a review in iTunes.

 

 

[75] Pricing Strategy, Marketing Focus, and Launch Updates


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Welcome to Bootstrapped Web Episode 75.

First we want to thank David Lizerbran, and J-Fin for their recent reviews. Really appreciate the encouraging words and thanks for leaving us a review.

This week we’re catching up on recent developments in our businesses. Jordan has been in New York working with his co-founder Ben for the last week. This kind of in-person work together with your team is so powerful, and Jordan tries to do it once every few months at least. He also noticed how being in a city like New York brings out networking and connection opportunities even for online based businesses.

Jordan has been deep in the marketing efforts of his business. Instead of straight outbound sales emails he has been doing outbound efforts to get potential customers onto a webinar they’re putting on about abandoned carts and ecommerce. This is adding an extra layer of value instead of just asking for customers to start a trial.

Jordan is also starting a podcast surrounding Carthook which he’s sure will drive new inbound leads, and if he can engineer the launch right it will land in the New and Noteworthy section of iTunes.

The last of Jordan’s updates is a change in pricing. From a variable pricing model based on recovered revenue now each customer is going to be charged a fixed price. This has been a bit of work but with clear expectations set with customers it has been going smoothly.

Brian has been deep into getting Audience Ops off the ground and is about 4 weeks into it’s launch. They have 6 paying customers currently with 2 additional customers waiting to start in the coming weeks. The challenge thus far has not been sales and marketing, but scaling the production of supplying the materials to customers initially. This is quickly becoming standardized and is streamlining well.

Aside from hiring writers to create the content of the articles and social media work Brian is in the process of hiring at least one Virtual Assistant and used Virtual Staff Finder to help select good candidates. These team members will be helping schedule WordPress posts, social media posts, and creating images that accompany those pieces.

As if starting Audience Ops isn’t enough, Brian is also creating a WordPress plugin that will help people with customized content upgrades for posts. This will be available in both free and premium formats soon.

The Productize course is also doing really well. May was the best month ever without a major promotion, likely the result of some marketing automation work Brian implemented a few months ago and are finally paying off.

If you’re enjoying the show, head over to iTunes and leave us a 5-star review.  Thanks!

[74] Effective Positioning with Philip Morgan


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Welcome to Episode 74 of Bootstrapped Web.  Jordan is out this week, but I’m excited to welcome my good friend Philip Morgan on to the podcast.

Philip is the founder of My Content Sherpa and Drip Sherpa, both of which are productized services around content marketing and drip email sequences, respectively.

Philip has also just launched a podcast called Consulting Pipeline Podcast, which is focused on how to get consultants a more robust pipeline.

Philip’s own consulting services are now starting to focus directly on working with development shops.  Focusing his positioning statement has helped him say no to more customers, while at the same time charging more and delivering more value to those he does serve.

Niching down and positioning yourself in a very definitive way can seem daunting at first, but Philip has found it liberating and has given him peace with the work he’s doing for customers.

Philip has literally “written the book” on how to position yourself, The Positioning Manual for Technical Firms.

Philip has put together a free 6 part email crash course on how to better position yourself within your niche.  Click here to get access.

You can reach out to Philip directly on Twitter @Philip_Morgan and on his website, PhilipMorganConsulting.com

If you’re enjoying the show, head over to iTunes and leave us a 5-star review.  Thanks!

[73]  Taylor Pearson on The End of Jobs


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On this episode Taylor Pearson joins Jordan and Brian to discuss the changing world…from traditional jobs to entrepreneurship.

Taylor began as an interpreter and English teacher and transitioned to an entrepreneur and marketing consultant.  He talks about his upcoming book, The End of Jobs, which he hopes will help people take the steps to become an entrepreneur.

The guys discuss how technology and the internet have changed the traditional safe types of jobs due to companies turning over faster and faster.  Through time what was once considered a safe job is no longer the case.  The changes have enabled entrepreneurs who make smart financial decisions to gain greater control.  Taylor demonstrates how safe jobs are like “the turkey problem” which is a dilemma faced by holiday gobblers each year.

Taylor explains how apprenticeships with entrepreneurs and stair-stepping with low-risk micro businesses can lead to success.

Check out Taylor’s website to learn more about the soon-to-be-released book and stay tuned to his site for some upcoming book giveaways.  If you opt-in on Taylor’s book page you’ll get a free copy when it comes out.  Taylor will be hanging out in the comments below and will let us know when the giveaway for $1310 of books goes live.

Today’s episode was sponsored by PodcastMotor.  The concierge podcast editing service which does does everything from editing your show to publishing it on all major podcast networks. Bootstrapped Web uses PodcastMotor and highly recommends it if you’re serious about your podcast.  Mention Bootstrapped Web when you sign up to get 2 free episodes of the Concierge Service.

If you enjoyed today’s show we’d love it if you could leave us a review in iTunes.

[72] Updates on AudienceOps and Carthook

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This week Brian and Jordan catch up on the latest with their businesses.

Brian is gaining momentum with AudienceOps and getting those initial customers with the new business.  Traction is gaining steam and the first handful of customers have signed up for Brian’s new service.

Brian is using Nusii to create proposals and Stripe Checkout Pro plugin on his new site to accept new payments via Stripe.

Jordan is busy with podcasts.  He can be heard on TalkingCode where he offers advice on how to find a technical co-founder and on RougueStartups Jordan talks about the risks and rewards of leaving a high-paying job for the startup world.

Jordan discusses his plans to start an e-commerce podcast for CartHook.  Stay tuned for more on that in coming episodes.

Brian and Jordan also talk about the value of podcasting as another way of adding quality content and building audience trust.  This content medium is gaining momentum quickly and should be considered as a way to reach your target audience.

This episode is brought to you by PodcastMotor.  Stop by PodcastMotor.com to check out their Concierge Service.  We use PodcastMotor here at BootstrappedWeb and it’s been a great way to get shows out on a regular basis.

If you enjoyed today’s show we’d love it if you could leave us a review in iTunes.