[47] Business Models for Bootstrappers

[47] Business Models for Bootstrappers

 
 
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There are an endless number of ways to make money online. But you’ve gotta pick the right business models at the right times. Today’s episode focuses on business models for bootstrappers, and how to decide which ones to pursue at different stages of the game.

Check it out:

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • Sketchnotes Handbook by Mike Rhode – http://rohdesign.com/sketchnotes/ (discovered it on Product People)

    Jordan’s update:

    • Really proud of the previous episode on family businesses.
    • Trying to loosen up more and remember to stay aware of my mood and happiness. If I don’t consciously pay attention to it I tend to drift toward stress and impatience. Not cool for anyone, but especially when you’ve got little kids.
    • CartHook is keeping up the momentum, I’ve hired a few people to help with SEO and content writing, and the search for developers looks like it’s all going to work out after all.
    • Taking a page out of Brian’s book and planning for the next few months, which is always eye-opening.

    In This Episode…

    Different business models for different stages of the game:

    • Phase 1:  Employed
      • Goal:  Go out on your own, and replace your income
    • Phase 2:  Freelancing (client work)
      • Goal:  Move beyond trading time for money
    • Phase 3:  Launched product 1
      • Goal:  Traction and moving forward
    • Phase 4:  Growing a company
      • Goal:  Go big / double down / multiply

    Links

     

[46] Family Business

[46] Family Business

 
 
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Today we’re joined by returning champ, Matt Medeiros, who hosts the Matt Report show, all about WordPress and business.  His company recently launched Conductor Plugin for WordPress.

But enough about WordPress… Today, we had the pleasure of talking about something not many of us talk about: Doing business with family members.

Both Matt and Jordan have plenty of experience.  Both were/are involved in businesses with their father’s and brothers and we talked at length about the ups, the downs, the ins, the outs, and everything in between when you mix family and business.

[45] To Build An Audience Or…

[45] To Build An Audience Or…

 
 
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Today’s episode is all about the right way to build an audience and the right reasons to do it. Brian gives his advice and perspective as someone who has built an audience over the past few years, while I’m in the very early stages. Whatever position you find yourself in, you’ll get a lot out of this one.

Check it out:

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • Launched Productize! Just 2 days in and very happy (and relieved) with the response so far… I promise to share full details and numbers in an episode in November.
    • Actually had the first sale before I even announced it was open 🙂
    • And now that we have a good number of customers already inside the course, I’m excited to open up the new community (private Facebook group) for everyone to interact…
    • A few people asked about the Productize Workshop and what’s involved there… I’m breaking it into small groups of about 5, and as a group we’ll hammer through personalized feedback and strategy on each attendee’s productized business. Very interactive. Some have called it a Mastermind call and I think that describes it well.
    • $100 off sale is currently still on through Halloween.
  • Overall, just relieved and happy to get some rest.  I was actually in the office until 5am the morning of launch getting all of the videos finalized and uploaded.

Jordan’s update:

  • Remember when I talked about clearing my plate and being able to focus about a month ago? Yeah well, that’s finally happening. It’s amazing how much progress you can make when you start to focus.
  • CartHook is picking up momentum, have the most free trials going I’ve ever had, and we’re releasing new features.
  • Still struggling with finding a developer to build new integrations, but I’ve got a few prospects that I believe will work out.
  • Been thinking A LOT about the next move on the info product side of things, which leads right into today’s episode.

In This Episode…

The power of the email list.

  • Gets people to return. Basically no other way to do that, reliably.
  • Your early email subscribers are your most loyal, they’ll help spread your content.

What should you write about?

  • Write about what you know and what you do every day.
  • Every time you deal with something difficult, that’s an opportunity for content.

Guest blogging

  • Best way to get in front of new audiences.
  • How to start…
    • Start small (but not too small)
    • Pitch a topic that you know is relevant to their audience (do your research)
    • Leverage guest publishings to land more (bigger) sites
    • Snowball effect: Blogs come to you… Mentions and random meetings turn into guest blog opportunities.

Podcasting

  • Truly different dynamic. Audience really feels like they “know” you.
  • Less competition. Easy to rank highly in iTunes (but hard to get to the TOP).
  • I see podcasting as an inbound channel. People discover the podcast first (iTunes/Stitcher) and then make their way to my site and newsletter.

Links

 

[44] How to Build a Productized Service Business w/ Nick Disabato (Draft Revise)

[44] How to Build a Productized Service Business w/ Nick Disabato (Draft Revise)

 
 
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Really great show for you this week all about Productized Services. We talk about examples of Productized Services and the first step to productizing. Then we have a great interview with Nick Disabato, founder of Draft Revise.

Check it, check it out:

and the interview with Nick:

Updates

Brian’s update:

Jordan’s update:

  • Too much travel on the personal front – stressing me out but back to normal now.
  • Trying to move things forward with CartHook – having trouble finding development help.

In This Episode…

Brian shared a few high-level concepts pulled from his course material, including:

  • Common scenarios for freelancers or bootstrappers to get into Productized Services
  • Types of productized services (consulting, scalable, and software/service hybrid)
  • 1st steps to get started with productizing
  • How to choose one service to focus on
  • How to choose one niche to focus on

Plus plenty of examples pulled from Brian’s research interviews, like:

 

Nick Disabato

https://draft.nu/
https://draft.nu/revise/
https://twitter.com/nickd

[43] How to Raise Prices, Outsourcing, and Other Listener Questions

[43] How to Raise Prices, Outsourcing, and Other Listener Questions

 
 
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In this week’s show we take listener questions about raising prices, validating product ideas, automating lead gen, and more.

Check it out:

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • It’s crunch time, and it’s getting a little stressful. I am planning to open my course, Productize, on October 21st. But I have A LOT to do in order to make that happen. Namely, produce all of the lesson videos. So I’m working later than I usually do, and spending some weekends in the office to make it happen.
  • Once this is launched, I want to take a short break at the end of October to regroup and refresh. Then dive back into Restaurant Engine in November.

Jordan’s update:

  • Focused on CartHook and making progress on multiple fronts. New features being built, hiring a developer to build new shopping cart integrations, and I’m spending my time on sales and marketing.
  • Staying focused on CartHook until the marketing systems are in place, but doing a lot of thinking about the consulting front. Developing my strategy for shorter term revenue that combines consulting with an online course.

In This Episode…

  • Matt Medeiros of Matt Report asked about the upcoming product launch of Conductor, a WordPress plugin (that looks amazing, btw).
  • Matt Ward of The Art of the Kickstart asked about productizing his Kickstarter consulting business.
  • Alejandro Ruiz asked about automating lead generation on Facebook.
  • Julio Barros asked about validating an idea whose audience is primarily offline.
  • John Hooley asked about evaluating new opportunities as a bootstrapper.
  • Two listeners asked about the challenge of raising prices when they’re outsourcing the work.

Links

 

Do you have questions or topics you want us to cover? Leave a comment below and we’ll make it happen.

[42] Using Webinars as a Bootstrapper

[42] Using Webinars as a Bootstrapper

 
 
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This episode is all about Webinars. We all hear about webinars and how effective they can be and we watch some people make an absolute killing using them. In this episode we talk about why to use them, how to use them, and how we plan on using them in the future.

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • Starting to pay more attention to other’s marketing tactics and actually study them by taking notes.
    • Subscribing to email launch sequences then reviewing them
    • Attending a webinar to see how it’s done
  • This week I wrote a post called How to Delegate When You’re Creative, which seems to be resonating and getting retweeted quite a bit.
  • I discovered how to Pin a Tweet to my Twitter profile. So I created a tweet, which promotes my free crash course in Productizing, included a big banner image on it, and then Pinned it to my profile. Now anyone who views my profile sees this. Big spike in opt-ins this week, we’ll see if it’s permanent.

Jordan’s update:

  • Keeping the momentum going from the previous few weeks – really working my ass off to take full advantage of every opportunity that comes up
  • Really enjoying the narrowed focus on CartHook now and it’s starting to pay off
  • Been taking a page out of Brian’s book and planning things out over the next few months instead of seeing everything week by week

In This Episode…

  • Why are webinars effective for getting customers?
  • Are webinars over-used?
  • How are each of us using webinars in our businesses?
  • What are some key techniques we’ve picked up when it comes to doing webinars?
  • How can we track and measure a webinar sales funnel?
  • Tools we use to run webinars?

Links

[41] Outsourcing: When, Why & How?

[41] Outsourcing: When, Why & How?

 
 
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This one is all about “Outsourcing.” Tricky word, that. In this episode, we talk about hiring and outsourcing different parts of our businesses and the associated struggles and lessons. You can’t do everything yourself, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to figure out what you should outsource and how.

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • Intensive writing these days.
  • Struggling with productivity / scheduling – trying to better optimize my morning routine and nutrition.

Jordan’s update:

  • Mixergy interview basically blew up my life – bunch of sign ups, lots of emails, requests for new integrations.
  • Lots of strain on many of the “manual” pieces of the business that we discussed – stressful but also helps guide me in prioritizing.

In This Episode…

  • How does outsourcing fit into our businesses?
  • What does outsourcing mean for bootstrappers? Why outsource?
  • Jordan’s experience with outsourcing:
    • Odesk is my friend, all the time, they’re always top of mind as I go about running my business life
    • Hiring an overly-qualified Harvard grad to help with my consulting business
    • Relying on outsourced developers to build out integrations for CartHook
  • Brian’s experience:
    • Outsourcing consulting project work
    • Hiring part-time and full-time employees for Restaurant Engine
  • Hiring Remotely / Overseas / Domestic
    • High-level project work (domestic)
    • Customer-facing phone (domestic)
    • Customer-facing email/chat (Philippines)
  • Process for hiring, interviewing, onboarding
    • Hiring on a project basis
    • Hiring for ongoing position
  • Managing, communication
    • Hours (overseas timezones, etc.)
    • Tools (Slack, Skype, Email, HelpScout)
    • Procedures (Google Docs)

Links

[40] Doing Customer Research

[40] Doing Customer Research

 
 
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In this episode, Jordan and Brian do a deep dive into doing Customer Research.  You know, talking to customers, and putting in the time to truly understand who they are, what they value, and how you can leverage that “intel” to better position your product in the early days and beyond.

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • I’m trying to optimize my work day, putting creative stuff in the morning, and emails, calls and other crap in the afternoons.
  • Early-bird tickets for Big Snow Tiny Conf are now on sale, so if you want to join a small group of founders and hit the slopes at Sugarbush, VT in January, reserve your spot now.

Jordan’s update:

  • My mixergy interview got published which was really exciting on a personal level and also cranked up the business side of things
  • The sales funnel course is all done!

In This Episode…

  • Why doing (or not doing) customer research truly makes or breaks a business.
  • Brian’s 8-step process for doing customer research, which he’s done on 3 out 4 of his businesses (spoiler alert:  The 4th one didn’t turn out so well)
  • Which questions to ask when we do customer interviews
  • Jordan’s “Idea Extraction” process that he learned from Dayne Maxwell’s Foundation training.

Links

[39] Doing Things Manually

[39] Doing Things Manually

 
 
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In this episode, we talk all about the things we do manually, which most might assume we have automated.

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • September is a crazy hectic month…
  • Pushing to launch my course, Productize, in October, so I’m hustling to write and shoot all the lesson videos in September.
  • …And write 3+ guest articles on some pretty big blogs
  • …And my employee is out on maternity leave this month, so I must do 1-2 hours of sales calls every day.
  • …And I still spend half of every week home watching our 6-month old.

Jordan’s update: 

  • As I mentioned previously, August was all about clearing my plate and laying out my strategy through the end of the year
  • Well, my plate isn’t quite 100% clear but I do have my strategy set and starting to build the necessary momentum on it now
  • In short, instead of splitting my time equally on a bunch of different projects, I’ve decided to focus on building a marketing machine for CartHook, and generating additional income with one big consulting client and that’s it.
  • And a bit on the real-life side of thing, man did I go on a freaking entrepreneur rollercoaster this week.  I found myself going from super high to super low over and over again and I really had to step away from

In this episode…

  • The Why behind doing things manually, and how it helps you gain traction in the early days and beyond.
  • Jordan’s manual cold email strategy that gained his first 20 customers for CartHook.
  • Brian’s sales consultation strategy to get (and keep) customers on Restaurant Engine.
  • The guys compare notes on manual onboarding.
  • Manual dunning emails and cancellation process.
  • And more of the nitty-gritty details that run our businesses behind the scenes!

Links…

[38] Building an Audience-Based Business with Justin Jackson

[38] Building an Audience-Based Business with Justin Jackson

 
 
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Justin Jackson not only built a sizable audience built on the highly valuable content he shares on his blog, newsletter, and podcast… He successfully monetizes with premium courses and private community products.  Oh, and he also works a full-time job and has four kids (what?!).  We dig into all of it in this episode.

Updates

Brian’s update:

  • I spent the last 2 months preparing to switch from Mailchimp to Drip.  They’ve been adding automation features, which is what I need most, but I’ve been finding lots of other cool features, like it’s built-in site analytics and conversion reports.
  • Brad Tousnard and I are planning to release early-bird tickets to BigSnowTinyConf.com sometime in September.

Jordan’s update:

  • New CartHook features coming along nicely, ready for release by mid-September
  • Sales funnel course in its last week
  • Client projects wrapping up and the plate is being cleared, I’m like a crossbow with its string drawn back right now, lots of potential energy built up about to turn into kinetic energy in September
  • Another really interesting experience related to our “think big” conversation last week, happened during a pitch/call with a potential client.

In this episode…

  • How does Justin Jackson find the time to do what he does online—AND keep a full-time job and a family of 6?
  • We dig into the WHY of building an audience.  Why does it matter?  How does it help advance a business?
  • Then we get into the HOW.  How exactly does Justin’s produce something that resonates and deliver it every Saturday in his newsletter?
  • We talked a lot about empathy, and what it means to have empathy for your audience, and how this helps produce real results.
  • And we talked all about Justin’s recent course launch, his sequence of events, how it went and where he’s going next.

Links