October 2013 Income At-A-Glance
Gross Income for October: $100,284.00
Total Expenses for October: $11,305.92
Total Net Profit for October: $88,978.08
Difference b/t Oct. & Sept: +$43,595.29
Why we Publish a Monthly Income Report
Transparency is something that is sorely lacking in the online space these days.
Pat Flynn has led the way with 100% transparency via his monthly income report, and his readers love him for it.
Pat is a good friend and someone John and I highly respect, so if Pat is going to do it for online passive income… EntrepreneurOnFire is going to do it for Podcasting!
**We’ll receive a commission on the affiliate links below. If you click on my affiliate link and sign up for the products and services I trust and recommend, then I will earn a commission.
October was a CRAZY month
John traveled to San Francisco with Lewis Howes to meet with the head of iTunes Podcasting, as well as Stitcher Radio and SoundCloud. He came back full of FIRE at the direction these incredible companies are taking Podcasting… wow – we living in exciting times!
We ended the month with a BANG by launching Podcasters’ Paradise on October 31st, and with a $45,877 PRE-launch and over 200 members as it stands right now, Podcasters’ Paradise can be labeled as nothing short of a massive success, with SO much more to come!
Just like last month, we also had our share of failures and setbacks, which we’ll share with you today, and each month via our detailed income report.
Our goal in publishing this monthly income report is that you will be able to model our successes and avoid our failures as you navigate along your Entrepreneurial journey.
We have been very fortunate to find ways to monetize our Podcast very early on in our journey; however, if not for the size of our audience, this income report would look very different.
As an Entrepreneur, it should be a priority for you to find the vehicle that will allow you to build your audience. Once you have that audience, there are MANY ways to monetize.
If podcasting is your vehicle, then we’re excited for you, as you are in for an amazing ride, and we here at EntrepreneurOnFire have some incredible things in store for you. :)
Aright already! Let’s break it down…
Front Line Project For October 2013
Prep (& Launch!) Podcasters’ Paradise
Yep – this is pretty much what we did all throughout October! Well… we set aside some time to carve a few pumpkins, too :)
Okay, back to it: as we noted back in our September Income Report, Podcasters’ Paradise is a community that John envisioned while he was working on EntrepreneurOnFire’s very first digital product, originally named 6-Figure Podcasting.
True to The Lean Startup methodology, we started talking to our audience about how 6-Figure Podcasting could help them, and realized quite quickly that one set of videos wasn’t going to cut it.
Our pivot came by way of us simply looking inwards at something we had already created, and then brainstorming ideas on how we could recreate a similar thing for a different set of customers, with a different set of needs. Here was our thought process:
We knew that the community we had created with Fire Nation Elite, our 100-person membership mastermind, was something very special.
While we never dreamed of actually trying to replicate the Fire Nation Elite community exactly for this 6-Figure Podcasting project (the two communities have several differences), we knew from our experience that a community-based product would do really well.
So we thought, if we know that Entrepreneurs want to feel that sense of community, then why not create that community around the idea of podcasting?
How to validate an idea
In September’s Report, we talked about the steps we took post-vision.
Now I’m going to walk through how we went about validating our idea.
On September 7th we put together a very simple campaign in Infusionsoft (an opt-in form and a follow-up email confirmation), and then we created a LeadPage where people could sign up for insider info on Podcasters’ Paradise.
Our LeadPage consisted of bullet points and a short description of what Podcasters’ Paradise was going to be, as well as what it would offer those who decided to become lifetime members.
We shared this LeadPage on our email newsletter, our social media channels, and on our podcast.
By September 12th, five days later, our interest list hit 240 people.
Those signups were our proof that people were interested.
But then came the next part…
Are people interested enough to actually pay money for this?
We knew we weren’t going to be launching until late October, and so trying to sell Podcasters’ Paradise to people before it even existed was going to be a challenge. …Or would it be?
After the response we received from our interest campaign, we decided to run an Early Bird Special just for those who had signed up to be on the list to confirm that next level of validation.
The Early Bird Special would offer a lifetime membership to Podcasters’ Paradise for only $197 – the lowest price the membership would ever be.
We only made the special available for 72 hours, September 13 – September 15, and at the end of those 72 hours we had sold 35 lifetime memberships (totaling $7,000 in income) for a community that did not yet exist.
Proof of concept!
We continued to nurture our interest list, running a few other promos, and we added 4 more emails to the Podcasters’ Paradise email campaign that continued to provide more information and updates on Podcasters’ Paradise.
By the end of September, our interest list had grown to 430 people.
At this point, because our launch was still nearly a month away, we decided to schedule a Sneak Peek Webinar just for those who were on our interest list to provide them with an exclusive look at community we were building.
We scheduled the Webinar for October 17th. (To watch a re-recording of this webinar… click here!)
During the Webinar, John talked about his own Podcasting journey and walked through the benefits – and the exciting future – of podcasting!
We also had a live Q&A during the Webinar and gave participants a behind-the-scenes look at the community and some of the video tutorials we were working on, and we offered another special price just for attendees: the deal was a lifetime membership to Paradise for $220.
Between the Early Bird Special we ran back in September, the sales we made via our email campaign just by driving awareness about the community to our interest list, and the sales we made during our Webinar special, we were up to 98 paid members and still two weeks away from launch, totaling over $25k in sales!
Then, we decided to sneak in one more deal to celebrate our launch. So on October 31st we sent out another special to those on our interest list advertising $100 off a lifetime membership. By this time, the lifetime membership was up to $497, and so we were offering a deal for $397 that day only.
Today, we sit at over 200 members and counting, $55,222 in total revenue from mid-September to today, November 6th, and our lifetime membership price continues to rise as we continue to add value to the membership site daily.
So, our validation process, and our launch, were a HUGE success… but what about all the other stuff we encountered along the way?
Podcasters’ Paradise Roadblocks
We launched without any MAJOR disasters; however, we didn’t steer completely clear of a whole lot of twists and turns along the way. Here are a few things we had to tackle while building Paradise during the month of October:
1. Dynamic Pricing: Our Debate
We originally wanted to use Nanacast in order to set up our order form with dynamic pricing – something that Infusionsoft doesn’t offer. What is dynamic pricing? It’s pricing that changes at an interval and amount that you preset.
For example, you might go to Podcasters’ Parardise to purchase a lifetime membership, and when you land on the page the price shows $397. Every second, the price continues to go up; so if you were on the page for say one minute, then you would be watching the price go up from $397.
Dynamic pricing has proved to be a great tactic for product sales across the Internet. That said, after spending an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out the Nanacast system, in addition to the logistics of how Nanacast would integrate with Infusionsoft, and then how they would both integrate with our merchant account, we decided that it wasn’t worth any more of our time.
Ditching Nanacast ended up being a great thing for us because now we don’t have to worry about multiple systems talking to one another. At the end of the day, it’s more important for us to not have to worry about the bumps in the road that we already know how to avoid.
2. Is CustomerHub The Right Platform For Podcasters’ Paradise?
I spend a fair amount of time over-thinking things, and I had a period of about three days in October when several doubts about our membership site platform were creeping around in my head.
We love CustomerHub because it fully integrates with our CRM, Infusionsoft. Also, we currently use CustomerHub for Fire Nation Elite, so we have experience with the platform (and have had no complaints about it thus far).
Okay, Kate… then why would you even be thinking about other platforms?
I know, I know. Especially because John and I had already put multiple hours (probably 10-15) into organizing and building Podcasters’ Paradise within Customerhub.
My concern was that what we were trying to do with Podcasters’ Paradise might be better supported on another platform. Mainly, I was concerned with our Forum and the functionality of that.
We already knew we were going to use Maven Forum, which is a combination of the Simple:Press plugin on a WordPress site iFramed into Customerhub, (this is what we do with our Fire Nation Elite Forum as well).
Thing is, I knew the Podcasters’ Paradise Forum would be much more active than the Fire Nation Elite one due to the sheer size of the community. I had already dealt with a fair share of access issues and people not being able to login to the Forum in Fire Nation Elite, and I knew we didn’t have the resources to go through the same thing with more than double the number of people.
In addition, I was concerned about how the videos would be presented on Customerhub.
While the site is super user-friendly, it’s not very customizable in terms of layout. So the options for video presentation were slim.
After three days of research and talking to others in the industry who have experience working with membership site platforms like iMember360 and WishList Member, we ultimately decided that sticking with CustomerHub was the way to go:
- We know it fully integrates with Infusionsoft;
- We’re already familiar with the platform and its functionality;
- We know Maven Forum has great support and that they’ll help us get over the bumps;
- We had already put 10-15 hours of work into building Paradise within CustomerHub.
Oh yes, not to mention that we were about a week away from launch, so switching platforms and having to learn an entire new system was, potentially, a huge disaster waiting to happen.
Good reasons to stick with CustomerHub, right? I think so, too.
3. What To Do With Our Interest Campaign?
As you might have noticed from my explanation above, our initial opt-in form and auto-responder for those interested in learning more about Podcasters’ Paradise wasn’t set up with a ton of strategy behind it. The reason for this is that we wanted to get something out there to see if people would respond to it.
Once people did start responding, we realized we needed to start adding content to the campaign…
While we did spend a good amount of time putting together the initial campaign, it really wasn’t a true nurture campaign. As we approached our launch date, we saw a huge need for more focused content that added more value.
Because we had several contacts entering the system from different places, all signing up for different parts of each campaign that we had going, it was going to be tough to really get the interest group together in order to put them into this new nurture campaign.
After a lot of careful contact searches, we were able to round up over 600 contacts who had expressed interest in Podcasters’ Paradise, (but who hadn’t bought a membership yet), and get them started in our new Interest Campaign.
4. What About A Buyer’s Welcome Campaign?
With our launch fast approaching, we also recognized the need to create a Podcasters’ Paradise Buyer’s Welcome Campaign. This too required a lot of time and new content, and so over about 3 days we created several emails that would drip over time to those who had purchased a membership to Podcasters’ Paradise.
The main goal of the campaign was to continue to provide valuable information about how to actually utilize the tools and resources available within our membership site. We included things like how to set up your profile in the Forum, and how to navigate the video tutorials to find exactly what you’re looking for.
This was a great lesson learned from our Fire Nation Elite launch. When members bought into Fire Nation Elite, we simply sent them their login info and a link to the membership site. While we had resources available to them to help navigate and learn more about the tools within, we didn’t realize that people weren’t able to find these resources.
Thus, a buyer’s campaign would be a very important step in the process for Podcasters’ Paradise.
5. Troubleshoot Forum
As I mentioned before, the Forum was one of my concerns with using CustomerHub, as Maven Forum is really the only option you have (there is an add-on that Infusionsoft offers, but it’s more of a “support forum” versus and “community forum”).
So we took all the same steps to set up the Forum that we had taken with Fire Nation Elite, only this time we ran into a few issues because of the browser updates that both Chrome and FireFix had recently done. These updates included added security that would block content from any site that didn’t have an SSL Certificate.
This came to our attention one week before launch, which meant that between the time we found out and when we launched, there was a lot of work to be done!
We are still experiencing some minor issues with people accessing the Forum post-launch, but are working hard to identifying the reasons why and to get people set up! Continuous improvement every day!
Other Entrepreneurs On Fire News
Whew! Like I said, prepping and actually launching Podcasters’ Paradise was a huge undertaking. John’s rescue time (hour tracking app) has been out of control to say the least, most weeks topping 70+ hours. I don’t use rescue time, but on average I’d say my days have come in around 10-11 hours as well, give or take.
The other aspect of the business that has been taking up a lot of our attention (aside from the daily podcast of course!) is Fire Nation Elite.
We continue to be very active within our a thriving community of motivated entrepreneurs who are building their businesses and reaching towards their goals every single day. We could not be more excited about this amazing Tribe, and we love every minute we spend working with other passionate and inspired entrepreneurs.
*Update: Fire Nation Elite closed Dec 31, 2015.
Last, but not least, thanks to you, we also took some time out in October to celebrate our nomination for one of the Top 10 Business Podcasts for 2013! The Podcast Awards will be hosted in Las Vegas at the New Media Expo Conference coming up in January, 2014.
We’re truly grateful to have even been nominated, but man, would it feel great to win! If you love EntrepreneurOnFire, you can cast your vote one time every day until November 15th by clicking here. Thank you for all your love and support – it means the world to us!
Ready for the bare bones?
Fire Nation Elite Mastermind: $13,500
Sponsorship Income: $39,435
Podcast Launch (eBook on Amazon): $487
Podcasters’ Paradise: October: $35,787
1-on-1 Mentoring: $6,000
*Affiliate links below – if you click on my affiliate link and sign up for the products and services I trust and recommend, then I will earn a commission.
- BlueHost: $ 1500 (disclaimer: we will receive a commission if you use our affiliate link)
- Amazon: $ 218
- Social Media Online Summit: $800
- Audible CPA: $1680
- Web Designer referrals: $877
Total Gross Income in September: $100,284
- Taxes & Licenses: $71.46
- Promotional: $2,423.83
- Website Fees (includes new domains, hosting and certificate fees): $827.43
- Virtual Assistant Fees (includes outsourced projects): $600
- Donations: $107
- Education: $603.63
- Advertising: $1,532.95
- LibSyn: $100
- Travel: $719.49
- Other Business Expenses: $1,638
- ScheduleOnce*: $42.19
- Insurance*: $172.01
- Mentor*: $2,000
- Quickbooks Online*: $25
- Infusionsoft CRM*: $209
- Cell Phone*: $171
- eVoice*: $9.95
- Skype*: $2.99
- Adobe Creative Cloud*: $49.99
*Indicates a recurring, subscription-based payment
Total Expenses in October: $11,305.92
Total Net Profit for October 2013: $88,978.08
Things We Learned In October
Multiple Income Streams Are Critical
You may have heard other entrepreneurs talk about this before, but we want to reiterate it here. We know that our income could change at any minute: that’s part of being an entrepreneur. That’s also why it’s so important to create multiple income streams through your business so that if something falls apart, you’re not left struggling to keep your head above water.
Here’s a quick example: let’s pretend that our sponsorships were our only stream of income. We’d still be doing very well if this were the case. But what if next quarter we go back to our sponsors and ask them if they want to recommit for Q1 2014 and all of them say no? We’d be in a little bit of trouble… Just like that, all of our income would go away.
In reality, because we have multiple income streams set up, we could take a hit like this and still be in good shape. So we encourage you to think about this as you’re setting up your business. Be careful that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket…
How to Create an Affiliate Program
Infusionsoft is nicknamed “Confusionsoft” for a reason. It’s such a beast!
This month I had the pleasure of struggling through a ton of video tutorials, spending a lot of time on live chat, and also having some QT (quality time) with our Infusionsoft go-to guys while learning how to set up an affiliate program.
Why the struggle? Well, another part of our setup process for Podcasters’ Paradise was creating an affiliate program so that we could have others within the industry help promote Paradise to their communities. We knew that having the program set up within Infusionsoft would only work to our benefit (if you haven’t noticed already, we’re big fans of keeping as much in one place as possible!)
If I were to try and explain every step of the process here, I’d not only bore you to death, but I’d probably loose a lot of readers… So, if you’re interested in setting up an affiliate program in Infuionsoft, just rest assured that it is possible!
Do you think your audience would benefit from Podcasters’ Paradise? If so, you can sign up to become an affiliate, too!
Whew! Thank you so much for joining us again to hear about what went down in the EntrepreneurOnFire studios (and beyond) during the month of October.
We hope you not only took a few useful tips away from our journey, but that you also had as much fun reading this as we did writing it!
Until next month,
~ Kate & John
What information did you find most valuable in this post? What’s something we didn’t include here that you’d like to see in next month’s income report? Let us know in the comments section below!