[99] Updates De-Bottlenecking, Productize Relaunch, & Firing a Client


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It’s time for an update episode and we can say the new year is off to a really busy start for both of us. Brian is still traveling with his family and has some podcast interviews lined up soon. Jordan has returned home from Florida and has begun integrating new work habits into his routine. We both have an interesting update to share, but with different outcomes.

Brian’s update:

  • Heading to Colorado.
  • Preparing for Big Snow Tiny Con at both locations (Colorado and Vermont,)
  • Just completed a Productized Webinar
  • Launching a podcast series about Productized.
  • Audience Ops had a great December, but has slowed a bit in January.
  • Why Brian won’t do rushed jobs.

Jordan’s update:

  • Creating a bottleneck within the business. The team is trying to figure out how to fix the situation.
  • Business was slow in December, but has picked in January
  • Jordan and his team are reexamining their pricing and marketing strategies.
  • Lessons from Predictable Revenue.

Mentioned in this podcast:

Productize

Big Snow Tiny Con.

Mixergy

Tropical MBA

Greg Hickman

Audience Ops

Lead Pages

Carthook

Drip

Convert Kit

Predictable Revenue, by: Aaron Ross

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[98] Website Teardowns! a Form Builder, Invoicing, and WordPress products


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Today we are critiquing other people’s websites by going in with fresh eyes just as a new visitor might. Jordan likes the the timing because he is redoing Carthook and he has been thinking about the marketing, messaging, and sign-up process. Brian’s only issue with a tear-down with fresh eyes is that there are some issues that wouldn’t come up if the person doing the tear-down had the full story, but he still feels it’s good for perspective.  

We also want to give a shout out to podcast listener Chris Ronzio who is a consultant and owner of the software service Trainual. Chris is going to be interviewed in an upcoming Productize podcast.

FormKeep from Ben Orenstein

FormKeep handles the back-end part of a web form. Meaning that the site owner can submit a simple HTML form and FormKeep provides a URL for the site owner to use.

The first thing we notice is that we each get different headlines when we load the page.  Ben is likely doing A/B testing to see which headlines perform better. Jordan noticed that Ben is using optimizely to split test the headlines. We like different aspects of the headlines and taglines, but Brian doesn’t like that one headline mentions a competitor’s product in it.

It is a beautiful site with a slick design, but the flow and call-to-action could be improved. Jordan thinks the site needs to show more examples of the product and not just tell about it. Brian thinks there should be tiered pricing for target markets. The pricing area should have a call to action, and the create your form button should go to the form builder. The the top navigation should have a pricing button, and Jordan points out that potential customers almost always check price before moving further on.

  • Don’t mention competitor’s product in headline.
  • Benefit of product more clearly defined.
  • Explanation of pain point and what product solves could be more clear.
  • Show more examples instead of telling what product is.
  • No pricing link in top navigation.
  • Use Pricing instead of Pay Per Form.
  • Have tiered pricing plan for target markets.

Simple Invoices from Laurent Perrier

Jordan feels online invoicing & payments for freelancers is such a crowded space that it needs either super marketing or to niche down to a much narrower market than freelancers. Brian is looking for a killer feature that differentiates it from other invoicing tools. We like that the product also collects payments, connects with stripe, and allows recurrent billing. Jordan suggests moving the most important feature up top. Something like recurring billing or whatever makes the product unique.

Maybe capitalize on a niche that cares about multiple currencies and languages. Find and highlight a pain that this product solves. Maybe the lower pricing is necessary for a crowded market, but the price seems low.

  • Point out benefits such as exporting data makes accountants happy or get paid fast.
  • Find something to differentiate the product.
  • What is biggest pain and how Simple Invoices solves it.
  • Add multiple tiered pricing.
  • Price point seems low for unlimited product.

WP Pusher from Peter Suhm

WP Pusher is a WordPress plugin that allow developers to deploy themes and plugins directly from GitHub. The niche is focused on developers, and it answers the pain point of how to deploy themes and plugins from GitHub. Brian likes that the name of the business actually says what it does. Jordan likes how the animated gifs show what the plugin does. Brian doesn’t like how the gifs are in a loop and he doesn’t really know what is happening. 

  • Replace gifs with clear step by step instructions.
  • Show old process replaced with new better process.
  • Great lead collection with Free WP Git Crash Course
  • Homepage talks about pain, solution and FAQs
  • Blog posts don’t seem to add a lot of value.
  • May be too many pricing options, may be able to refine.
  • May be able to pare down fields and customize colors on checkout page.
  • Add header, logo, testimonials, guarantees, to checkout page.

We will do another episode of website tear-downs in the future. Keep sending them in, and if you have a specific question go ahead and send that in. We plan on getting to LeadFuze from Justin McGill next. Jordan is also open to criticism on the Carthook site as they prepare for an updated version.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Trainual

Productize

FormKeep

Wappalyzer

Optimizely

SimpleInvoices

WP Pusher

CartHook

LeadFuze

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[97] Problems to Solve in 2016


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It’s the new year and Jordan and Brian are ringing it in with an update episode that follows up on last week’s 2016 goals. In December Brian focused on updating the Productize course. There are new lessons and case studies, and it is officially launched.

Productize Your Business in 2016

Brian will be holding a workshop that covers a different angle of Productize services and how to grow them. The free workshop will be Thursday, January 14th at 11am Pacific (US) / 2pm Eastern (US) / 7pm GMT. Register Here.  Brian wants to focus on the big picture and how using Productize can help to position entrepreneurs to launch other products.

Challenges for 2016 Goals

Brian wants to follow up on challenges to his 2016 goals that he needs to solve. Specifically in the Audience Ops business.

  • Hiring full time employees.
  • Removing himself from sales.
  • Building up the software side of the Audience Ops business.
  • Working Less.

As the team grows, Brian will need to transition freelance employees to regular full-time employees. The logistics of the hiring process and conversion process present new challenges.

He also wants to remove himself from making the actual sales calls. He feels like his work is too tied to his time, and he would prefer to focus on the big picture. He has an efficient sales process. He just needs to work on hiring and training, so he can remove himself.

Brian wants to focus on building up the software side of the Audience Ops business. He has some WordPress plugins, but he would like the software side to be a fully functional marketing funnel. Software can be a long-term scalable solution. He wants all of his solutions connected in a seamless manner.

Working less would help balance work and family life, but the actionable steps are hard to define. Brian has a lot on his plate, he wants to find a way to work less or transition between work and family life better. He is currently shopping for a new house and has a daughter due in May. Finding the balance between work time and family time is challenging.

Challenges for Jordan

Jordan loves having things on his schedule. He has an upcoming joint webinar on January 21st, with PureChat the free live chat software, and he has no stress. Because he knows that it is scheduled, so it will get done.

He also has a daughter due in March. He is scheduled to be at a conference at the same time, so March will be a crazy month.

The surprising observation that Jordan noticed is he thought the quiet time in December would lead to more productivity, but it is actually having the opposite effect. The lack of momentum and lack of activity has made him unhappy.

December revenue and growth is the highest of any month for his business, yet the lack of momentum is making him frustrated. Work wise, Jordan likes to keep things moving. He may examine roles and restructure some of his time to feel like he is getting maximum value.

Takeaways

Brian wants to focus on creative stuff and not get caught up in day to day tasks. Jordan likes the momentum of activity and gets frustrated when things aren’t moving along.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Productize

Audience Ops

Productize Webinar January 14th

Purechat

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[96] Our 2015 Recap and 2016 Goals


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Today is a 2016 goal setting episode. Jordan and Brian look back on their 2015 goals and share why or why not those worked or didn’t work. We will also discuss new goals for the upcoming year 2016.

Brian had a lot of goals centered around Resturant Engine, but he sold it in 2015. He had no idea that would leave Resturant Engine and open up Audience Ops. He also didn’t know that he would be traveling with his family for such a long period of time. Going into 2016 his goals are more flexible.

  • Pick one aspect of the business (including himself) to improve.
  • Release updates for Productize.
  • Possibly create a Productize podcast.
  • Write a book about Audience Ops.
  • Develop new plugins for Audience Ops.

Jordan feels he made a lot of excuses this year, He focused a lot on Carthook and he hired his first full time employee. There are some goals he feels he passed with flying colors and others that were epic fails. However he has taken the missteps of 2015 and applied the lessons to his 2016 goals. 

  • Bring Carthook into profitability.
  • Think bigger.

 

Both Jordan and Brian have learned that circumstances change and goals have to change with them. Aside from these professional goals, the guys discuss personal goals for themselves and their families. Join the guys today and set some 2016 goals professional or personal of your own.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Productize Course

Audience Ops

Carthook

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

 

[95] Rollercoaster Entrepreneurial Emotions, Working with Partners & Hiring Fast Enough


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Jordan and Brian share their updates of their projects and the challenges that are ahead of them. December has became a roller coaster ride for both leaders. Today learn where the guys are in the day to day process of working with a team.

Jordan’s Update:

Jordan has been concerned with his productivity and the effectiveness of his team. They have been looking KPI (key performance indicators) and there have been some great trials and campaigns. Product was behind marketing, but soon marketing was behind product. Meaning Jordan was behind.

Besides the productivity issues Jordan is trying to find the best method of management.

Brian’s Update:

Brian has turned his attention to the Productize Course. He is designing upgrades and new content. Leads have tripled and are coming from more than just business connections. Brian is receiving inquiries from referrals, cold e-mail recipients, and new audience members. He is still primarily placing the sales calls.

Brian is trying to squeeze as much work into December as possible. He relates to Jordan’s management issues. He is having similar problems with a global online team. His current team is the largest he has ever managed.

 

 

Topics discussed in today’s episode:

  • The importance of looking at a project at a month by month basis.
  • Working with a team for accountability.
  • How much information to share with prospective clients.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

CartHook

Audience Ops

Productize

Nusii

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

[94] From “Accidental Solution” to $50K Launch of a Productized Service, with Dan Schwartz


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Today’s episode of the podcast is one several case study recordings that will be released as part of Brian’s productized course, along with some more advanced strategies and he’s looking forward to its next release.                           

In today’s episode, Brian talks with Dan Schwartz, a student of his productized course. A few months ago, Dan launched a productized service offering that did $50k in sales right out of the gate. He’s repeated that process a couple of times and we’ll talk about how he’s now iterating his early success with the done for you service to build it out as a SASS solution. 

Dan’s focus is primarily on real estate and using a product called Podio has built the framework of his own business. Dan’s service is targeted at real estate investors and is designed to manage their lead process. The service he sells includes a pre-built platform template on Podio that includes all of the automations that occur within that template via GlobiFlow. 

Today’s episode’s highlights include:

  • Dan’s Service
  • The Launch
  • First Steps
  • Positioning your product
  • Creating an automated workspace
  • Support and creating a knowledge base

The initial demand was more than Dan had anticipated and they were overwhelmed by the sales and need for support. Early on, he hired two assistants who were trained in the platform to ensure that customer needs were met. While it was difficult being mired in customer service issues on a day to day basis, it gave Dan a great opportunity to interact with his customers and get feedback on the product.

Visit Realautomation.biz to learn more about Dan’s current service offering. Dan is getting ready to launch Investorfuse.com, the productized service, designed to improve the current offering, with a targeted release date in January. You can also tune into Dan at Dasbeats.net and opt in for his newsletter, email him at Dan@dasbeats.net. Check him out on Facebook at the Investorfuse page.

In this Episode:

Podio

GlobiFlow

Webhook

Lob.com

Realautomation.biz

InvestorFuse.com

Dasbeats.net

As always, thanks for tuning in. Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.

[93] 80/20 Hacks That Move the Needle for Us


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Today we’re talking about a few tips that we’ve implemented in our lives that have had a larger than expected impact.

Brian’s inspiration for today’s podcast came from his plan to start running again. He’d always struggled and would start and stop, recently made a decision to do some research before he began again. He came across the “Pose Method” and significantly improved his running performance by making a few simple changes. He started to think about other ways small changes have made a big impact and today’s topic was born.

 

Jordan’s List

  • Take what you have right now and leverage it
  • Do a podcast
  • Stand while you work
  • Use technology to identify your best prospects
  • Use your resources – take advantage of all of your advantages

Brian’s List

  • Wake up early
  • Bulletproof Coffee/Bulletproof diet
  • Charge more for your services
  • Join a mastermind group
  • Focus on one big initiative at a time

Separate planning from execution. Ask yourself if certain tasks are going to contribute to achieving the goal I set for this month or this quarter. Determine the big goals, what I am working on, what I’m not working on and go from there.

Mentioned in this Podcast:

Bulletproof Coffee

The Bulletproof Diet

We want to hear about YOUR hacks. Let us know what you’re doing. Send us an email, reach out on Twitter.  Head here to leave a  review in iTunes.  

[92] Updates! Plugin Launch Results, High Value Customer Triggers, & Seasonality


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Brian and Jordan update their audience on the latest developments with their individual projects. Brian is traveling and will eventually end up in Austin, Texas in mid December through January. Jordan is currently in Miami and plans to stay through New Years.

Of the two, Jordan has the shortest update. He was experiencing technical problems because there was a surge in volume of their product. After two weeks of switching focus to the product their business picked up again. This lead to some technical problems that had to addressed.

Now the team is looking at the experience and finding ways to be more effective. They are cherry-picking the best projects that need a little extra “love” and learning which clients are going to trigger more business.

 

Brian’s turn:

Brian is noticing some seasonal lull in his business Audience Ops. He is getting leads, but they are wanting to wait till after the holidays. Jordan assures him that this can be good.

 

December is also the time to offer a prepaid plans to those who want to claim it on their taxes. Jordan reminds people who offer SASS to their mailing lists to keep taxes in mind.

While traveling Brian has launched Content Upgrades, a WordPress plug-in. He has delegated most of the non-sales aspects to VAs. He is very happy with the efficiency of this sales process.

Brian is still very hands on with the development of the plugins, He says he really still enjoys the sales calls.  Although his report is very positive, he wants to note that it hasn’t been all good. As Jordan added, “You need more in the positive column, than in the negative column. The negative column will never be empty for the week, for the month, or the day even. You just need more positives so it feels like things are going to move forward, than they are backwards.”

As a parting thought Jordan and Brian think that these updates are good for them. Looking at projects in increments of 30 days helps with frustration.

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.

 

 

[91] Figuring Out Who Your Target Customer Is (And Why)


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Today’s topic is finding your Target Market.

Today’s topic grew from a recent workshop Brian conducted about building up and attracting people to your email list.  A recurring question was, “Who do you want to join your email list?”  It’s a question that also comes up at Audience Ops? Who are you writing for? What is your Target Market?

Identifying your Market

Know who you’re targeting – know the type of business, size of operation and to take it to the next level, identify the mindset of the business. During a trial, you can often look at a customer, learn about them and then contact them to let them know how you can provide value.

Brian feels the first question everyone should be asking themselves when they’re looking to launch a business is “Who do you want to serve?” Figure out what the problem is that you know how to solve, a solution that you believe in that you’ve seen before, then figure out who has the problem – and who thinks it’s an expensive problem that they’re willing to pay to solve.

If you go toward a problem and help people solve it, other opportunities show themselves. You can identify many different opportunities within the same problem space, but then identify what saves people money.

At Carthook, the issue isn’t getting trials – they are trying to get higher quality leads that have more order volume.  Identify which ‘lever’ you should pull first to get those quality leads?

Identify your audience and create an avatar of your ideal customer. Using a targeting message, identify the best channels to reach that customer when its Content marketing, email lists, podcasting, etc. Sending the right message to the right lead is what will lead to higher quality leads that convert to business opportunities.

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.

[90] Staying Accountable With Teammates and Launching a Plugin Product


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Welcome to Bootstrapped Web, Episode 90. Today’s episode is our weekly update.

Brian’s Update:

Brian is still in North Carolina and has just launched the Content Upgrades Plugin.  It’s officially out the door and as of this podcast’s publication it will be available to the public. He’s still working on the domain for the plugin. Right now, contentupgrades.io is working but they just set up shop.audienceops.com where it will eventually be sold from.  It’s the first in a long list of plugins to come.

In the last couple of weeks he had to set up the shop, promote, hold a webinar, and finally launch. About 350 people registered for the webinar and about 80 attended live which was a pretty good turnout. There’s so much that goes into a webinar, but overall it went well.  The next step is to set up a more automated funnel. He’ll be using blog posts, a pdf download, a recorded version of the workshop all put together into an automated drip to drive sales.

Before he leaves NC, he wants to put together the primary lead magnet on Audience Ops which will be an email course. First we’ll use it internally, then launch it as a plug in.

He’s also working on a landing page plug in. If you already have a website and you’re already set up on wordpress, it’s not so easy to just whip up a landing page. Brian wanted a plug in that made it easy to set up a landing page that looked like the rest of the site – sort of an opt in page – a totally stripped down page that has your logo, your theme and some opt in information, rather than the just another page on the site.

Brian will be travelling throughout the majority of December. The team is gelling and working well together and he no longer needs to be involved in every step of the process. He can focus on building out new parts of the product, sales calls and growing the business.

Jordan’s Update:

Jordan is still entrenched in the day to day of Carthook, preventing him from the work he feels he should be doing. He’s got a lot of trials going on, he’s averaging more than one launch per day which is great, and everything’s heading in the right direction, but he has been buried.

At the end of the day when he takes stock of his day there was a lot of activity but he didn’t spend time on the strategic work that needs to be done. It’s ‘death by a thousand cuts”. Brian’s suggestion is to add a tier 1 admin to help with these types of tasks. If you can train a support person, it might even give your new customers peace of mind.

He’s using accountability – blocking off time to do strategic work, getting the work done and sharing status updates so that he’s accountable. It’s important for everyone to know what’s getting done to not overwhelm and to ensure that everyone knows everyone is working. It’s also important that he satisfies those who need his input but at the end of the day also satisfies his own objectives and goals.

He had to create the space he needed, put aside some of the daily details, and focus on strategic planning. Responding to someone five days later is unreasonable, but so is expecting someone to respond in a hour.

In the next episode Brian and Jordan will be talking about the ‘Target Market”.

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.