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Transcripts: IBM 91 | Listener Questions Answered

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Sterling: This is Internet Business Mastery, episode 91.

In a world where bosses control your life, and thoughts of escape fill your mind, where inspiration seems dead and cynicism rules the masses. You have a desire to break free; you feel the need to take control. Now there exists a place where the secrets of freedom and wealth are given to those who believe. Internet Business Mastery.com – free your mind!

Sterling: Hello, and welcome to Internet Business Mastery online at Internet Business Mastery.com, I’m Sterling….

Jay: And I’m Jay….

Sterling: And we’re here to help you escape the ‘9 to 5’ and live the lifestyle of your dreams by turning your life’s passion into a profitable internet business, even if you’re just getting started today. On this episode of Internet Business Mastery, we answer listener questions! And in the Quick Tip, we have a solution for easily handling your customer service.

We’d like to remind you that if you’d like to get a jumpstart on creating your own profitable internet business using our proven system, you can claim your risk free trial membership to the Internet Business Mastery Academy by going to freeaudiogift.com.

So Jay, you’re back again! You’re the travel master, tell everybody where you were and what’s going on with that now.

Jay: Um, well just got back from Washington DC going to Yanik Silver’s, you know he does his yearly Underground which you’ve been to many times as well.

Sterling: And I missed it! I should have gone! What was I thinking?

Jay: You’re worn out from moving.

Sterling: It’s information overload and yeah, I thought I was going to still be in the process of moving but it was all done and I was going oh what’s Jay up to now? I had to wait for your texts, “Hey! I just met so and so!”

Jay: Well and you know we’ve said how those events are really valuable most of all for networking type reasons and just to punctuate that, we paid to go to the event and everything, but I didn’t attend a single one of the sessions, the speakers. I spent all my time literally in the hallways, at dinner, at night just socializing with people and making connections and going around to the various other things that were going on.

I mean we set those deliberate goals for ourselves of what we wanted to get out by going to that event and that’s very much what I concentrated on. And even though I didn’t go to a single session, I’d still say it was 100% worth all the time, and effort, and money to go because I think even just a couple of those connections I made there and things I lined out are going to more than, I mean MORE than pay back the money that we put into obviously having me fly there, and paying for the ticket, and all those kinds of things.

So it was a fruitful thing, and as I believe we’ve said this before, but we think back to some of the big quantum leaps that happened in business for us, it’s often a relationship with the right person and the right time. And many times that comes in the form of being at events at the right time to meet those people. Because face time with people, buying drinks for people, buying dinner for people, just chatting with people in the hallways about their businesses, their life, their kids, whatever – are the things that make those kinds of connections that just make business go smoother and bring opportunity out of the woodwork. So it’s an important part of doing business for sure.

Sterling: And boy do I love paying for you to fly across the country and party without me! No, it’s awesome and it’s obviously always worked out for us as far as return on investment. We just have to look at it that way, and we very much do.

Jay: And it’s a quality event. Yanik brings together a lot of people, and so you’re sure to meet lots of friends and colleagues old and new, and there’s certainly ample opportunity to make things happen. So it’s definitely one that we recommend checking out in the future if you’re doing marketing online which I assume if you’re listening to this show you are. So that’s definitely an event we recommend as well.

Sterling: Yeah, and I guess next year if we go again, we’ll make sure to let everybody know we’re going so you can maybe meet up with us. That’s what we did the year before is met with people, met with listeners, some people that wanted to hang out. So love doing that too.

Jay: Definitely.

And now, the featured segment…

Jay: Alright in this episode’s featured segment, we thought we would do a little Q&A from the audience! We had some audio questions come in, and we picked a couple of those to go ahead and answer in this episode, some really good questions that we thought the rest of the audience might be thinking about as well. And then of course at the end of giving the answer to these we’ll let you know how you can send in your own audio question for the show too.

So the first one comes from a listener by the name of Mike from Alabama. So let’s go ahead and listen to his audio.

Mike: Hi Sterling and Jay, this is Mike Wilquik and I’m from Decauter, Alabama. I’ve been listening to your podcast for probably about a year and about six months ago I decided to start an online business where I build websites for clients, small businesses primarily.

And I’m having a major problem, and the major problem is – I almost have too much work! My website is MyDataWorks.net and basically I build websites for $120 a piece and then I look at having with that a year contract at about $30 a month which I service the site, I handle any regular maintenance to it, upgrades for security reasons. If someone wants a new module, some different feature, I can build that in for no cost because it’s under the contract. I can do training, I have training on my site, they log into my site for video training and so on.

And I’m having the time of my life, I just want to thank you guys for your help. It’s most appreciated, and we’ll talk to you again, goodbye.

Jay: Alright, well first of all Mike, congratulations on your success, glad you’re enjoying the online business so much and that we’ve been able to help out in any way with that. It sounds like you’ve picked a niche that’s fulfilling you and one thing that wasn’t in the comment there because we had to shorten it down for the show is also that his son is working in the business with him as well which is awesome, to be able to incorporate working with family and things like that, and it’s helping him save money for college.

So congratulations on all that, that’s awesome. But we wanted to speak a little bit to the whole problem you’re running into of just too much business to handle. And there’s a couple of pretty easy things that you could do to alleviate that problem that you’re having. First of all after hearing your prices and the comment, and looking at your site, I would definitely, definitely, most definitely raise your prices.

Sterling: I know, I was surprised. I was going what?! How come it’s so low? Especially for what you’re giving your customers.

Jay: And a lot of people totally undersell what it is that they’re doing. And sometimes it’s because they’re trying to compete on price, but competing on price is a losing proposition. There’s only one way that that goes and that’s down and then you end up having to do higher and higher and higher volume to compensate over time as prices keep getting pushed down and down.

And that’s why we teach this route of becoming the trusted brand so you don’t become a commodity. You’re not something that gets price shopped because people just want to do business with you because they know, like, and trust you. They’re not just doing business because you’re the cheapest option or you happen to be the closest dentist to their house type situation.

So definitely think about raising your prices, and even if you want to keep it on the front end, that cheap $120 site set up which is incredibly cheap. And I don’t know how much time each one of those is taking you. I mean hopefully you have an idea of what you think your time is worth and if you can set one of those things up in 15 minutes, then okay, maybe you’re doing fine there.

But if it takes you a couple hours and you’re now at a $60/hr worth of time, you want to start pushing that up higher for the success of your business, for a higher revenue, for lifestyle design, all kinds of reasons. But especially that $25 for ongoing service and customer support, and changes to the website, I mean that’s just…especially if that’s like an unlimited thing. I mean that’s just way, way, way too cheap.

Sterling: Crazy low. Yeah. Well and I would even test that startup fee. Go to $199 and then even go to $299 and see, test between those two numbers at the very least. And again, this all totally depends on how much time it takes you and the number two thing we’re going to tell you about in a second, we’ll change this a little bit too. But definitely test those numbers because this just seems really, really, really cheap meaning you could definitely get more money for this service.

It’s like have questions, you can call us! I mean if you’re actually going to be talking to people directly which remember, you might end up talking to somebody for 25 minutes, giving them all the answers to their questions, you’ve got to work all that into the fact that for the people that don’t sign up, you’ve still got to get paid for them too. So it just looks like a crazy good deal meaning you should actually up the price, right?

Jay: Yeah I mean if people have direct access to you for $25 a month, I mean that’s…and there’s also a perception thing. I mean if you’re not valuing your time as high as you could, then they’re not going to value your time. And another thing is when you charge higher prices, you get better customers, you get longer lasting customers, customers that don’t complain quite as much, and all kinds of things happen when you start raising your prices.

But in our business, people don’t get our direct email or direct access to us until they’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars as one of our platinum group members. I mean sometimes we go into the Academy forums and things like that, but for somebody to just be able to get our attention and say, “Hey, I’m having this problem, do you have an answer for me?” People don’t get that until the very highest level of our business. It’s just not scalable otherwise.

But the other thing, I guess there’s no way to tell from the comment but if it’s just you and your son doing all the work, then you definitely want to start bringing people on board to maybe handle customer service or to handle the installation of websites and some of the tech stuff. And the most cost effective by far way of doing that would be to hire offshore, go to the Philippines and hire customer service.

Well don’t go to the Philippines physically, but I mean go online and hire people from the Philippines to do customer service, to do site installation, turn those things into procedure lists. I’m sure you have a standard procedure for the website stuff that gets done, and if you come up with all the forms and procedures and everything, for a few hundred dollars, you can hire somebody in the Philippines that would be full time doing those procedures for you and installing websites, now you the owner of the business, can concentrate on marketing, and customer relations, and bringing in new opportunities, and refining the system, and making it better whereas if you are doing all the work, there’s an instant cap on your income.

Sterling: As well as your time, right? Like you won’t have the time to do the things you should be actually working on which most certainly is not configuring the hosting accounts and installing and all that stuff.

Jay: So it sounds like you’ve hit…I mean you’re enjoying it, you’re having some good success which is awesome. Big congratulations there, but you’re hitting what all of us hit at many points across the progression as an entrepreneur, and we hit one in the last few months ourselves and it’s a ceiling.

And that’s because you’ve reached the capacity of the current paradigm that you’re operating in, the current systems that you’re operating with and that means it’s time to go to a higher level of operation. And those two things – raising your prices and hiring offshore and creating procedures for those offshore people are two ways that you’ll be able to shatter that ceiling and I think you’ll see you’ll double, triple, quadruple your income very quickly when you start doing that..

Sterling: Before we go to the next one, I just wanted to mention that when I listened to your comment or question, the way you said what your URL was, I actually typed it in as MyDataWork.net instead of ‘works,’ you might want to buy the ‘work’ as well as works since you’ve already got works, get work as well because just in case. I mean I went to it and nobody owns that website so it just gave me an error and I was like oh what’s wrong? And even if you could get MyDataWork.com as well, that would be good, so just a suggestion.

Jay: Yeah, good tips. Alright, so let’s go to the next question, and this one comes from Hank.

Hank: Hello Jason and Sterling, this is Hank Davis from YourGuidedPodcasters.com, the social network for podcasting. I wanted to know if you could give me some tips that would help me harness my offline popularity and apply it online. Even though I try to add to the conversation with relevant content, I struggle with making new friends in the business base.

I’m a former pro athlete and I have a ton of friends in the real world, and people tend to gravitate towards me no matter what the setting is, but online not so much. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

Jay: Alright Hank, that’s a great question. And of course it’s hard to know without being able to follow up and ask a couple of follow up questions what exactly…you say offline, you feel like you can make friends and be popular offline just fine so is that like in a personal sense with like friends and social life? Or is that in a business sense meaning you’re well known offline or you speak a lot offline and those kinds of things?

But we can speak to both of those a bit but one thing I’d say first of all is when you start coming online with a brand, it can just take time to kind of build up even if you’re offline and your brand is really strong. It can take a little time to build some momentum online. You have to start building up your following on your blog or your following on the social media sites, or the number of people on your email list online and get people used to consuming your stuff online as well.

So just getting in there, delivering value consistently over time, you said you’re out there participating in the conversation and just not getting results, one of the biggest things is to get your own site, your own blog started, and just start consistently making great content on that site and then start getting it out through all the channels, getting it into Google and dropping links to it in Twitter and Facebook, and getting people on your email list.

But clearly if whatever you’re doing offline for popularity, you’ve just got to translate that online. It’s being yourself, being authentic, being cool to people. You can treat Twitter and Facebook like a cocktail party like you’d make friend there, talk to people about things that matter to them and then just deliver incredible value to start building up that social equity. What else would you have to say about that Sterling?

Sterling: Well okay, in the social side of things, the funny think about San Diego is they have Meetup groups called Tweetups. So basically this is for people who are using Twitter just for social interactions like to find new friends and hang out, and go to really cool places. So this particular Tweetup, the first one I went to I thought okay fine, I’ll go check this out kind of thinking I already know enough computer geeks that I hang out with.

I kind of thought okay, I’m going to go hang out with more people that are into the computer, and instead I went and it was at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. It was up on their upper floor overlooking the beach and everything, and the place was packed with every type of like person. They were more like social people and it’s funny because everybody had name tags and it was just for the Twitter people.

And there were hundreds of people there, and on their name tag they didn’t have their name, they had their Twitter ID. And I just was like going wow, so I was asking some of the people, “How do you guys use Twitter because I’ve only used it for business,” and they said almost every night of the week this humongous group of a thousand people that go through the Meetup can go at any given time and hang out with hundreds of people at all the cool spots in San Diego, just whatever spot somebody in the group is hanging out that night.

They’ll tweet it, and all the rest of the people will see that they’re there, so they basically had this like huge group that they could always hang out with and find the ones they’re really good friends with and that kind of thing. It was incredibly surprising the way people were using it socially. So it’s one of those things where if it’s more of a social thing, then the thing you do is you make sure you tell everybody what your Twitter ID is and get them at least on that, or on Facebook, or something that gets them into the online world with you and gets used to working with you in the online world.

You can also say that I know there’s a couple internet marketers that will sometimes will say, “Hey I’m in L.A., I’m going to have dinner here if you want to meet up,” and they do things like that. Well in the offline world you could tell people that you do that stuff sometimes, so that they would want to follow you on Twitter or Facebook or whatever.

And as far as business, obviously if you’re going out and meeting people, if you still use a business card, you could make it so that is your way to connect with you, or at least have it on there. So you’ve got your email address when you’re giving it to a business person and also on there it’s got your Twitter ID or the Facebook URL or something that makes it so that they can connect and certainly always tell people and tell them of the value you can get with you in the social media space and then actually give them the way to connect. So anyway, that’s the little bits of things I would add to that.

Jay: So there you go Hank, a few ideas for you but mostly it’s a matter of thinking yeah, what is it that I’m doing right offline and then finding the equivalent and bringing those people and bringing that way of being, those techniques that you’re using offline and finding the equivalent online. So good luck with that and let us know how it goes.

Alright, before we go into our breakthroughs we’d like to let you know, if you’d like to send in your own audio question or comment for the show, you can call our toll free number which is toll free 877-877-7507. One more time, that’s 877-877-7507. I guess as kind of a follow up to the point we just made, you can always follow us on Twitter as well. My Twitter handle is @JasonVO and Sterling yours is?

Sterling: Sterling7777, and I’m actually always surprised that we don’t get more audio calls and questions and comments and stuff because you get to say your URL, hello?

Jay: And plus we answer your question!

Sterling: Yeah to top it off, we can answer your questions. So definitely give us a call.

Jay: That’s true, what did we just say? Like the only surefire way to get direct access to us is to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in our platinum group, but when you send in…I mean not many people sending in audio questions and comments, we do like putting those kinds of things on our show.

So it’s going to be a high…if you emailed us the question, unless you’re a platinum member, there’s a good chance we’re not going to have time to get back to you. But if you send in an audio question to the show, much higher chance that we’ll put it on the show and actually answer your question.

Oh, and then follow us on Twitter and sometimes we take our ideas for shows or we’ll put questions out for the show on Twitter, or we’ll ask for Quick Tips off of Twitter sometimes, so definitely a good place to be interacting with us to have some input on the show as well.

Alright, so as usual we’ve got a couple breakthroughs. We like to share breakthroughs from our community, these come from Academy members. This is straight out of the Academy mastermind forums, lots of new fresh energy in the forums since we had that lifetime launch recently and just tons and tons of people signed up for lifetime memberships to the Academy. It was like three times the response than we expected to get to that particular promotion so we’re thrilled about that.

Sterling: Well and talk about a surge of new people in the mastermind forums in there, so that’s awesome.

Jay: Yeah, that’s very nice. So Diane Shadock who’s actually one of my platinum members from my new media platinum group from a year or so ago, she’s also an Academy member, and she posted the following:

She said, “I just posted my first podcast on my website and recorded three additional podcasts that are ready to go and we’re working on getting the podcasts in the various directories now. My next big goal, finalizing my information products and increasing my email newsletter subscriptions.”

I got an email from her a few days ago, she was thrilled to have that first one polished and in the can. She’s been working hard to get to the point where she’s at and have been doing a really great job, and I think it sounds great. And her podcast can be found over at EasySmallBusinessHR.com, so it’s in Human Resources, she’s helping small businesses with their Human Resource type stuff. So if you’ve got a small business you might want to check out EasySmallBusinessHR.com and listen to Diane’s podcast.

Sterling: Alright, next we’ve got Mandy Angsworth, I hope that’s right. Is that right?

Jay: I think so, yeah.

Sterling: Okay, and here is her breakthrough. “I posted my first video today, I was so nervous and had to record it like fifty times, but here it is. I want to do a video once a week so I should get better eventually. I got over a hundred email subscribers and now I’m going for five hundred.”

Well congratulations, and her site is BeadCircle.com. And congratulations, the first couple are going to be like that where you do fifty takes, but then pretty soon…I mean it used to take us what was it a couple of hours every time to record the podcast? And now it takes us almost a 1:1, if it takes us 35 mintues, it’s 35 minutes and that’s it. So keep going, and congratulations on your first big breakthrough there.

Jay: Yeah, I watched the video and I thought she did and excellent job, it was really well done. It was personable, some good how to information, so you’re definitely on the right track Mandy so good job with that.

Alright, let’s jump over to this episode’s Quick Tip.

It’s time for the Internet Business Quick Tip…

Jay: Alright, in this episode’s Quick Tip we’re going to talk a little bit about customer service. Actually this might be something that would help out Mike that we were talking to earlier. He said he had more work than he could handle and he’s got that monthly retainer or membership, or whatever he calls it where I’m sure lots of requests are coming in for additional work and lots of requests are coming in for updates and things like that.

If that’s all being handled through email, it gets out of hand really quickly because obviously there’s spam filters and emails are getting handed back and forth. And so it’s better to have a help desk situation where either party, either you or the customer, can go and see what the history of your interactions are all in one place. And the thing that we use for that is ZenDesk which is kind of like a ticketing desk, help desk and our customer service girl who lives in the Philippines, she goes in there and handles the majority of most of those inquiries.

She’s able to handle those right away and if not, it gets passed up to somebody higher in the chain. But that’s something we’ve been using for several months and it’s worked out really well because it does prevent that back and forth. They get an automatic email saying, ‘hey, it’s been received in the help desk. We’ll get back to you in the next 24-48 hours,’ and that kind of thing. And it’s just kind of made the whole process a lot cleaner and a lot smoother.

Sterling: Yeah, and she actually answers based on kind of an FAQ that we created when we got so many questions and most of the time it’s the same 10 questions. So you can at least start with that and then if the person can’t answer it for you, they’ll send it up to you or they’ll send it to the person who’s next on the chain that can possibly answer it.

And then when you answer anything new, you add that to the list of answers that she does for you, if that makes sense. So that’s just kind of a really smooth way to use ZenDesk.

Jay: Yeah, it also allows you to have that kind of a knowledge base too that people can search to find the answers to most common questions and stuff like that. It streamlines the business, saves you time, saves you hassle and energy drain and gives good will with the customers, makes the whole process a whole lot smoother which is why our Quick Tip for this episode is to check out ZenDesk.

Sterling: Now if you’d like dozens of other resources such as this one, you can find them in the Internet Business Mastery Academy, along with video tutorials showing you exactly how we use them. To get a 30-day no risk trial membership to the Internet Business Mastery Academy, visit freeaudiogift.com. That’s it for this episode of Internet Business Mastery, until next time we wish you ultimate success in your internet business.

You’ve been listening to the iconoclasts of the 9 to 5, and the purveyors of freedom and fulfillment – Sterling and Jay. Sterling and Jay invite you to discover one of their most popular audio programs ever – The 3 Pillars of Designing Your Ultimate Internet Lifestyle. Visit freeaudiogift.com now and sign up for the free weekly Internet Business Mastery email newsletter and you’ll get instant access to this life changing audio presentation pulled directly from the content of the acclaimed Internet Business Mastery Academy membership community. Go now to freeaudiogift.com. Internet Business Mastery – free your mind!

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