Dave Risley lives in Tampa Bay, Florida. He makes his living as a content marketing strategist and online publisher. Dave has been in this business for 14 years. He is a father, husband, entrepreneur, blogger, author, speaker, and consultant. In that order.
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- Your Big Idea: Successful Entrepreneurs have One Big Idea. Follow JLD’s FREE training & you’ll discover Your Big Idea in less than an hour!
- “Life is a game.” – Unknown click to tweet!
- Dave was offered 7 figures for his business while IN COLLEGE. Find out why it turned out to be a disaster!
Entrepreneurial AHA Moment
- Dave has learned that you can make a killing creating your own products that you love. He shares his secret to that success.
- Why did Dave Go from DavidRisley.com to BlogMarketingAcademy.com? For a VERY specific reason. Listen close!
- Dave gives some great advice on what to do in the next 7 days. Take notes!
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply exhilarated to introduce my guest today, David Risley. David, are you prepared to ignite?
David Risley: Absolutely!
John Lee Dumas: Dave lives in Tampa Bay, Florida. He makes his living as a content marketing strategist and online publisher. Dave has been in this business for 14 years. He’s a father, husband, entrepreneur, blogger, author, speaker and consultant in that order.
Dave, I’ve given a little overview. Why don’t you tell us a little more about who you are and what you do?
David Risley: Well, cool. Well, I’ve been in the business for about 14 years now. So I’ve been doing it quite a long time. About a decade of that was simply as a technology blogger. So I was a geek just talking about computers and technology. I ended up around college, and as I was going out of college, turning that into a business. So I was in the fortunate position of not having to look for a job when I graduated college. So I kind of went into that.
Many, many years later, probably around 2008, is when I started going into the stuff that you just said that I’m doing, which is the c0nsulting and content marketing and stuff like that and I’m actually showing people how to do that type of thing, while simultaneously also continuing to run that tech site.
John Lee Dumas: Very cool! Well, let’s transition to our first topic here, which is the success quote. At EntrepreneurOnFire, we like to start every podcast off with a success quote to kind of get the motivational ball rolling and get people fired up, get them a little excited before we launch into some more in-depth topics. So Dave, do you have a success quote for us?
David Risley: Well, I don’t know where I originally heard this one, but I definitely remember the idea. I don’t remember who said it. It was the idea of simply that life is a game and looking at it as a game. The idea of keeping your eye on a particular goal, not taking it too seriously. I mean we don’t take the game of football particularly – well, some people probably do, but I don’t take it particularly seriously. It’s you have a goal in mind and you’re going for it and you realize that it is basically a big game. I think if we look at our lives and our business that way, I think we’re going to be all the better for it.
John Lee Dumas: That is very cool. I like that quote. It kind of keeps things a little more light. You said you can’t attribute that to anybody, but how do you actually use that in your day-to-day life?
David Risley: It’s simply to have that as the mindset, especially when you’re running a business. Some things are going to go well, some things are not going to go so well, but if you don’t, for lack of a better word, take it personally and just realize this is a game. If somebody in football, if they get tackled or the quarterback gets the throw intercepted, I don’t think they’re going to go and consider their life to be ruined. They just realize that it’s part of the game and those kinds of things happen and then you kind of move on from it. So it’s the same thing with life and business.
John Lee Dumas: So real quick, what’s something that’s happened recently in the last couple of months that you just said, “You know what? Dave, I’m not going to take it this seriously. Life’s a game”?
David Risley: Let’s see, off the top of my head. Well, a recent example, this one wasn’t one that went particularly badly, but it was the idea of taking a product idea and turning it into something that I launched in a real short order of time. In fact, I just wrote a blog post about this. Part of the idea of doing it as quickly as I did was simply the game of doing it. Saying, hey, can I take an idea and turn it into something that I’m bringing to the attention of my email list and do it in 24 hours? I kind of had a deadline there, which is because I was leaving on vacation shortly thereafter that.
So that was the goal. It was just like, okay, let’s… Just like when you’re playing a game, sometimes you’ve got a ticker clock going there. You’re like, I got to get this done before that. It’s the same exact mentality that I was applying to that. So it wasn’t one where something went wrong, but it was one where something went right because I was treating it like that.
John Lee Dumas: Yes, there are a lot of cool apps out there right now that actually kind of use that mentality. I think one that I’ve seen is called RescueMe or RescueTime where you can actually set up a timer where you can’t do anything else, you can’t open up any other apps and you’re fighting against the clock and it really kind of makes you focus. There are a couple of books that are out like “Getting Stuff Done” that really just tell you that you really need to focus on what you’re doing at that moment because time will expand to the amount of space that you allot it to.
David Risley: That’s true. Actually, one of the things that I do sometimes when I’m working is have a timer running. If I have a clear idea and my task list has certain things, I’m like, “Okay, I need to get that done.” I keep my mind on that. I don’t get distracted by Facebook or something like that. Then I have a timer and I’m like, “Okay, the game is now on,” and to get that done before that timer hits zero.
John Lee Dumas: Great analogy. With football season coming up, I love the football analogy. I will say I do think that some people with Fantasy Football would disagree that football is just a game, but I’m with you.
David Risley: [Laughs] Yes.
John Lee Dumas: So let’s transition to our next topic now. This is a topic that resonates so deeply in the heart of every entrepreneur. That’s failure. Every entrepreneur starts from somewhere and you’re going through life. You come up against obstacles, you come up against challenges, you have failures, and you don’t let those failures define the person that you are, but you instead use them to move in a different direction or improve upon the direction that you’re moving in. Can you take us back to a moment where you failed and the steps that led up to that failure?
David Risley: Sure. Well, I mean first of all, I prefix everything with the fact that I don’t really look at things – like even with what I’m about to say – as a failure because again, it’s part of the game. You have an up and you have a down. If you sit there and view it as a failure – which, let’s face it, that’s a word that has a lot of baggage associated with it – then you can really get down about it, but just doing that obviously doesn’t get you anywhere.
One of the things that came to mind for me was – this was started not quite two years ago, but it was – what was it? Last year, toward the beginning of it. This was when Google Panda came out, which is the Google update where it basically messed with a lot of people. It took a lot of people’s traffic and sent it soaring downward because of the way that Google was changing their search index. My tech site got hit fairly hard by that. It went down probably on the order of 40% to 50% in traffic. It wasn’t overnight, but in the scheme of me having run this site for 10+ years, it seemed like overnight to me.
So obviously, I could have wallowed-up and be like, “Well, that was a failure,” but obviously, the idea was that the site was still going. I’m not going to sit there and say it’s all Google’s fault because I was looking at myself and taking in the lesson of what I was doing. That was that I wasn’t continually creating that part of the business. I had gotten so into the Blog Marketing Academy stuff and talking with bloggers and helping with that segment of my business that I tend to let the tech site just kind of coast on its own inertia.
One of the lessons it brought to me – and again, I could either look at it as a failure or take the lesson from it – was that I need to continually create these sections of the business that I start. I can’t just set it up and say, “Here, go coast,” and see what happens. It’s just like if you’re driving a car and you’ve got your foot on the gas. Well, if you take your foot off the gas, the car is going to slowly slow down to the point where it would stop.
So I think of businesses that way as well. It’s something that you need to continually create it and put it there. It’s kind of the same idea that you would have when you’re trying to create a business to begin with. You need to continually keep that spirit alive with your business, and I let that drop with the tech site.
John Lee Dumas: That’s so powerful. I recently had a great conversation with Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz and we got into the topic about SEO and really content creation. That’s another reason why it’s such an exciting time right now for people that are starting out and they want to create something that they’re passionate about because if you truly do create great content and you really focus on that, there’s opportunity for you out there because no longer can people just have had a site up for a long period of time and be coasting along, as you put it, and still remain at the top.
Google is really changing the game. For the better, for the worse, however you look at it, they are definitely changing the game. What actions did you specifically take to start playing Google’s game?
David Risley: [Laughs] Well, the weird thing is, especially in that realm, is everybody’s still trying to figure that out. I mean, because it was first Panda, and then it was Penguin. I mean these things just happen with Google. One can either sit there and try to game the system, or you just come back down to basics and realize, well, the whole point of it is to do quality content that people would want to see.
So I just kind of doubled down on that a little bit. I worked with the writers for the site and we were like, okay, we need to up the game in certain ways. Then I also did a few things on the business side of things to make the revenue stream less dependent on Google and less dependent on the amount of traffic that I’m pulling in from search.
One of the big ones that I did was I started up a membership site over there. Basically, it’s a premium newsletter that we put out. So it’s a revenue stream which is completely in-house. Even though we run advertising, I didn’t want to be dependent on it.
John Lee Dumas: Very powerful. Thank you for being so specific about that. It’s great hearing exactly actions that you are taking as an expert to remedy the situation. So again, thank you.
We’re going to transition to the next topic now, and that’s the aha moment. As entrepreneurs, we are always having little aha moments throughout the course of every day, week, month. These aha moments really help us kind of keep going and keep inspired and propel us to the next level and the next direction. Can you talk about a specific aha moment where this huge light bulb did come on for you and you just said, “Wow! I think I have something here. My audience is going to resonate with it. My listeners and my clients are really going to just latch on to this.” Can you describe that aha moment?
David Risley: Sure. The first one that comes to mind for me is actually, we got to go way back in time. This was before I was even helping bloggers and all that and just running the tech site. This was when I sold my first product online via the tech site.
It was basically a CD that I had compiled. I was actually burning the CD right there on my computer with blank CDs and stuffing them into Staples envelopes and licking stamps personally and running them down to the post office. The whole thing was very manual, but I just created this first product and started getting some orders for it.
What really got that going was a little bit of fear because at the time, this was during the dot-com boom of the late ‘90s, there was just so much happening in that space. One of the things that happened for me was that somebody actually acquired my tech site for a contract that now in retrospect, I know was complete and total bull crap, but as a college guy, somebody floated a big seven figure number in front of me and I’m like, “Holy hell! I want that, yes!” A 20/20 hindsight, obviously.
What happened was when that whole thing started falling apart, and all of a sudden I was not getting money from this site that legally, I didn’t even own anymore was kind of the whole thing falling apart. I realized I needed to come up with something that was not dependent on ads and not dependent on that company.
So while I was in the process of getting my site back under my own control again while these people were just going down, I sold my first product because I realized I needed something that again, like I said in the last part about the failure, I didn’t want to depend on the advertising.
So it was, like I said, a very simplistic product, but it really started the whole ball rolling. Now, I’m a big believer in bloggers selling their own products. Even on my blogging site, I talk about that all the time. I basically rip on the idea of depending on advertising exclusively because I just think it’s a very undependable idea.
John Lee Dumas: That’s great. I do got to say you’ve really peaked my curiosity. It’s back in the dot-com craze. You’re in college. You get offered a seven figure number for your website, for that business that you had generated. Can you talk about that?
David Risley: Yes. I mean, again, it’s in retrospect. Basically, the contract was a certain amount of cash that was coming in over a payment stream and then a bunch of stock options, but let’s get here, the stock options were not real.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
David Risley: Because this is not a company that was going public or even had a clear [A to B] path to do so. So basically, the contract was just a lot of fakery, and be it that I didn’t know any better at the time, I went with it because they said, “Well, you’re going to get a contract with X amount of dollars” and I’m like, “That sounds good.”
So basically, what they were doing was they were taking over the website and putting their own ads on there. Then they were going to be paying me a fairly decent monthly figure for a set amount of time, but essentially [there was no money] while that was happening. So it was just a really stupid acquisition. I never should have signed it, but it’s one of those things you really learn the hard way how business kind of works. Then the idea of creating real value and not fake value, which was a lot of what came out of that whole dot-com boom.
[It was] getting the site back to me. That company was falling apart so quickly, that I basically almost stole the site back from them and then held them in breach of contract and said, “If you want to come after me, it’s kind of your problem.” That’s kind of where it stood [Laughs]. Then they just disintegrated.
John Lee Dumas: In hindsight, you may have made mistakes along the way, but you did learn from it. You were able to move on and it’s obviously made you better at what you do today. So that aha moment specifically was creating content and creating great content and specific information products. Have you had a more recent aha moment with the whole new social media craze we’re now experiencing that you’ve applied to your business?
David Risley: That’s a social media craze?
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
David Risley: Well, it’s funny you mentioned social media. I don’t remember the exact moment that this occurred to me, but I’ve written about it. With social media specifically, I think my aha moment is that it’s generally a waste of time [Laughs]. I tend to focus more on the real business stuff and acquiring a real asset, which is an email list and things that can be leveraged. I think that the social media stuff, it’s not that one shouldn’t do it, but I think way too many people spend way too much time doing it and they’re sacrificing their actual business growth.
John Lee Dumas: That’s powerful. Thank you for sharing that. That’s an absolute aha moment because all we have is time. That’s all we have. If we’re devoting it to things that aren’t really making our bottom line, which is our headquarters, our business, our website, our email list, if we’re not making that more powerful, then we’re wasting that valuable time.
David Risley: Absolutely.
John Lee Dumas: So Dave, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
David Risley: I’ve had a few of them. I guess one that comes to mind was – I forgot when this was. Maybe three years ago. It was when I did my first large launch in the blogging space for Blog Masters Club and I had some affiliates, with one of them being Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, promoting for me.
That was an interesting moment for me because I had been reading ProBlogger like a lot of people for a long time before I ever even started talking about blogging myself. Then all of a sudden, I found myself in a position where he was actually promoting the product, my product, for me. That was definitely a moment where I realized something had just gotten accomplished.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a great I’ve made it moment. I love that. Thank you.
David Risley: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: So let’s move on to the next topic, and that’s your current business. You’ve been around for over 14 years doing what you do. You do a lot of things, as we touched on in the intro. You speak, you consult. I’ve actually been at one of your talks down at BlogWorld in New York City. It was a great venue down there. I really enjoyed meeting you and hearing you give a live presentation was phenomenal. So you really have a really well-rounded business. There’s a lot of things that you’re doing right now. What’s one thing that really excites you about your business today?
David Risley: Well, again, looking at it as a game was how we started. I mean one of the things that I’m really working on right now is specifically expanding my business beyond myself. I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s kind of cool to be able to say that, but at the same time, it’s still – I’m not a one man show because I have a couple VAs working for me – but still, this is a very small business compared to a lot that exist out there. Also, it’s still very dependent on me. Again, coming back to another point that I made earlier, if I’m not sitting there constantly creating this business in front of me, it will disintegrate.
So one of the things that I’m working on right now is actually expanding this business more systems-wise and to something that can actually be operated in that some of the levers get pulled by somebody besides myself where hopefully I don’t have to necessarily come up with every idea that ever happens. Then just have a business that can actually help people and produce products without me necessarily having to spearhead every single thing.
So that’s one of the big things I’m working on right now. It’s basically just kind of looking ahead and thinking. I have a lot of things I’d like to do with this business, but at the same time, I have things that I want to do outside this business. If I’m sitting at my desk every day all day, I’m not going to have time for any of it.
John Lee Dumas: Let’s dive into this more because this is something that’s quite near and dear to my heart. As I’m sitting here with my business right now, I have multiple VAs and I went through a great process through Chris Ducker at Virtual Staff Finder, who I believe you use as well, correct?
David Risley: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: So I’ve really enjoyed that process where you tell them the kind of VA you’re looking for. They go out into the Philippines and they bring you back three quality candidates who you interview and then you choose one. So it’s a great process to kind of vet out and really get down to a great quality VA.
Then at the end of it, you have a virtual assistant. So there you are sitting there in your business with a virtual assistant who’s kind of looking at you for tasks and jobs to do. What are a couple of things that you found have been very effective in utilizing your VA?
David Risley: Well, I come into this with experience because I have done it right and I’ve also screwed it up royally. I mean I did use Chris Ducker – and to no fault of his own, it was totally mine – the VA that he found for me, I had for a few months. Then it ended up not working out, and it was totally my own fault because that particular VA, I went in without any systems for them to plug into.
So this person was sitting there looking to me with exactly like you said. They were like, “Okay, what am I going to do now?” Obviously, we’re all human beings. If we don’t have enough to do, if we don’t feel like we’re producing, our morale tends to go down. I think that’s what happened with her and some personal problems came in, blah, blah, blah.
Now with the VAs that I have now, when they came on, it was for specific reasons. I have one that deals with my customer support. I like her because she’s very upbeat. She doesn’t need me to tell her how to answer every single question. She’s not in the Philippines. She’s actually in Canada, but it’s a matter of knowing exactly what you want them to do before you hire them.
I think it’s actually worth taking the time to think about the things that you are – or it’s not the best use of your time where it’s something that somebody else could do and to actually systematize it. Sometimes it can force you to really think about, okay, what do I actually take into mind when I do certain things? Then you’ll have to kind of like put that together into something that somebody else can go through. I’m actually working on some of that stuff internally in my own business right now.
John Lee Dumas: Great. Well, thank you for sharing that. So the word “entrepreneur” is a mystery to a lot of people. At EntrepreneurOnFire, we really try to pull back the curtain and show that it’s not that much of a mystery. That entrepreneurs are just your typical person with typical day-to-day mundane tasks.
Obviously, no day is the same for you. You have days that you do one thing and days you do another thing, but there are definitely commonalities that you’re doing day-to-day in consistent basis. Can you talk about two tasks that seem to occupy a majority of your day?
David Risley: Well in my business, obviously content is a big part of it. Content is one of those overused words in my business and it can mean an awful lot of things to a lot of people, but for me, I’ve got like two basic segments of that. One is the free side, which is the actual marketing stuff that goes up in the public blogs. Then I’ve got the private stuff, which is stuff that is generally being produced for customers inside my academy or on workshops and stuff like that.
I mean if I had to say two tasks, which obviously there’s a ton more, but occupy a majority of my time, those would be the two things. It’s content creation for the public, and then content creation for customers.
John Lee Dumas: So you’re deep in your business. You’re working on a lot of different angles. You’re getting your systems in place. You have your VAs chugging along. You’re having them utilize systems as well. You’re moving forward at a very efficient pace. What vision do you have for the future of David Risley?
David Risley: It kind of comes back to what we were just talking about with the systems. What I really want to do is expand my business so that people don’t equate it with David Risley because I don’t have any desire to be famous or to be some kind of a guru, or any of that crap. I mean if anybody says that about me, it’s kind of they’re kind of coming up with that on their own. I just want to like help people and accomplish the product that I’ve set up for my business.
That’s actually a big part of why I, a few months ago, renamed my site from DavidRisley.com to Blog Marketing Academy. I wanted something that was separate from myself so that when people came there, it wasn’t like they expected to do business only with me, but could do business with an entity that will produce the products that are promised.
So that’s what I really am shooting, is to develop that system behind Blog Marketing Academy and grow that. Then basically, I want to turn it into a business school for the Internet, but not necessarily in a physical space, but I want something that – I think, and I’ve talked about this many times, I feel like the Internet marketing or Internet business space leads a lot of people astray in the way that things are taught.
I feel like they focus too much on the Internet and not so much on the business. So you got people out there chasing things like Pinterest or Twitter or something when they don’t even have the basics in place of an actual business yet. So I really want to bring those types of things back down to some foundation, and build out upon that.
John Lee Dumas: Great. That’s exciting. Thank you. So we’re going to move into my favorite part of the show. We’re about to enter the Lightning Round. This is where I provide you with a series of questions, and then you come back at us with a series of mind-blowing and amazing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
David Risley: [Laughs] Let’s see what we can do.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Alright. I have five questions here. Definitely feel like you can take your time. Expound on each topic. We’re doing good with time. So here’s number one. What was the number one thing holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
David Risley: I don’t feel like there was anything really holding me back here. I mean, as I said earlier, I went into this straight out of college, and I was doing this as a hobby in college. I was making a little bit of money in college. It helps me pay my college tuition, which was quite nice. But then I was in a position where I just thought that I could expand upon that rather than go out and find some cubicle job, which is basically what my degree would have led me to.
If I had to identify a barrier here, probably the biggest thing would be the idea of bucking the trend because society obviously doesn’t have a full understanding of what I do. A lot of people don’t look at it as even a real job, but I don’t really care. I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and I didn’t want to be sitting in some kind of a cubicle.
One of the things that came to mind that kind of demonstrated that was when I bought my first house and kind of dealing with the bank. I mean getting a mortgage when you do something like this, especially when you came right out of school, I mean that’s pretty [expletive] difficult because they don’t understand you. I mean they probably thought I was a drug dealer or something. Then going in and getting married and having my first child and doing all that and having to support it financially doing this thing that most people didn’t understand or even knew was a real job.
So that was probably the biggest thing, is that mindset and being willing to buck the trend and not have to comply with the template that everybody lays out for you.
John Lee Dumas: Oh, that brings up a good visual. I can see you walking into a bank, and then being like, “Blogger? What?”
David Risley: I remember the specific question. I’m talking to the underwriter and they were like – I wasn’t making like fantastic money, but the increase was pretty high. They were, “Okay. How exactly did you go from this to this?” They were like asking me what it was I was doing because the underwriter just did not understand it. This was a person who completely had the power to disapprove the mortgage and it stressed the hell out of me. I sat there and tried to explain it to her and was like, “This is what I’m doing. It is real.”
John Lee Dumas: Oh, love it. So what’s the best business advice you ever received?
David Risley: Oh man, I’ve seen a lot of it. One that comes to mind is by Frank Kern, who I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of. He used this very colorful language. I’m not going to repeat it exactly the way he did but…
John Lee Dumas: Thank you.
David Risley: Yes. It was two things, and I remember laughing really hard when he said it. He said number one, “Thou shall not F around.” Then number two, “Thou shall not be a pussy.” I think of that as actually a really good business advice because especially dealing with some of the people that I’ve dealt with on my blog, a lot of people, they do screw around. They’re out there on Twitter and Facebook and doing a lot of things that are not going to grow a business.
I think that even though he’s a funny guy and he says these things and he does it in a very colorful way, I think it’s actually extremely sound advice that people need to take into account.
John Lee Dumas: That is sound advice. I mean, there are a lot of people that, as you said, spend a lot of time screwing around and are very timid. You need to take powerful, strong action, and that’s exactly what Frank Kern was suggesting.
David Risley: He’s had a lot of other advice as well, and it’s usually equally colorful, the way he says it.
John Lee Dumas: What is something that’s working for you and your business right now?
David Risley: Right now? Probably live events. I alluded earlier to the workshop that I’m delivering. I think you’re on there as well.
John Lee Dumas: I am. It’s great.
David Risley: Yes. It’s basically walking people through the technical hurdles of dealing with WordPress, which is a pretty common complaint in the blogging space. Backing up from that, it’s the idea of doing a live event and selling it as a product. It’s not like I haven’t done that before, but this was the underlying idea behind taking that idea that I had and bringing it to the public within 24 hours.
That was the product that I was talking about, and it was because I didn’t have to create this big thing first. It was all going to be done in real time and live, and obviously, recorded, but I was able to basically sell something that quite frankly did not exist yet. I was going to deliver it afterward on a scheduled date. So I think that works really well. Then also from a marketing perspective, it kind of helps that it’s got a specific start date. Then obviously, you can be like, “Okay. Well you got to join before then,” and that obviously helps with marketing.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. It’s just a great product and a great example. Like you saw the pain that was out there and you’ve created something to fix that pain. What you’ve done is you’ve created a live event that the fortunate ones such as myself can attend to live, and so we have the benefit of asking questions during it and seeing you actually go through it live and kind of crafting it to our questions.
You’re going to be able to continue to sell it as a product because its value is extremely high. So it can be something that’s scalable. You’ve done it once. You can sell it again and again. It’s a great product. So that is definitely something that is working right now. So thank you for sharing that with us.
David Risley: Yes. No problem. I definitely think that other people should do the same thing because I know a lot of people in my market who are looking to do this type of thing, they get stymied by the idea of product creation because they think it’s going to take a really long time to do that. It doesn’t matter what market you’re in. You can probably come up with some way to do a webinar and get people on there. In a lot more markets, they’re going to think it’s a lot more novel than a market like what I’m in.
So do a webinar. Even if it’s just a free thing. You’re trying to create something just as a list giveaway. Well, do a webinar and record it, and you can give away the recording as a way to get people onto your email list because when you tell people you’re going to show up in a particular time and you’re going to do a certain thing, whether they’re paying you or not, it’s a commitment. You’re going to do it and you’re going to stop procrastinating.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. One of the first articles that I read about podcasting when I initially started getting into podcasting was one that you wrote, which was a very detailed article. But then you linked and mentioned Cliff Ravenscraft of Podcast Answer Man, which led me to PodcastAnswerMan.com, where I went and found this amazing free webinar that I was able to watch this product, which then led me down the road to purchase more products from Cliff that he produced as an add-on, as an after the fact. So it was a great strategy for him. I really enjoy everything that went along with it and it was just a big help.
David Risley: Cool, cool. Yes.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best business book that you’ve read in the last six months?
David Risley: I read some fiction ones too. “Atlas Shrugged,” I just finished reading. As far as a business book, the one that comes to mind would be “Built to Sell.” I forgot the author of that, but I read it while I was out of town. It’s a really easy read. It’s actually written like a fiction book, but it is a business book. The whole idea is what we were talking about earlier, is creating a system out of the business. Obviously, the purpose in that book was to create something which you can turn around and sell.
Even though I’m not sitting here looking at my business and trying to figure out how to get out of it and sell it, it’s just that mentality of creating a system that can be repeated and ultimately sold. In that case, I think it’s a really good idea to bring to any business.
John Lee Dumas: Great! I’ll link that book up in the show notes with the author so people will be able to go straight to Amazon through that link.
So this last question is really my favorite, and it’s kind of a tricky one. So you can take your time, really digest it, and then come back with an answer. If you woke up tomorrow morning with all the experience and knowledge that you currently have today, but your business completely disappeared, leaving you with a clean slate, which many of our current entrepreneurs and listeners find themselves in right now, what would you do in the next seven days?
David Risley: Well, that is a big question. Well, the first thing is one has to figure out what market they’re going to go into. Obviously, it’s a lot easier once you decided that. It might take more than seven days to figure out exactly what market you want to be in, if you have not figured that out yet.
Let’s say I wanted to go back into the market that I’m in right now if nobody knew who the heck I was.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. This is you specifically.
David Risley: So the first thing obviously that I would do would be to put up a website. I would concentrate on doing it quickly. I would not worry about trying to look like somebody else or to have some professional graphic designer put things together for you. That’s all stuff that can come later. You just want to get the website out there and use a free theme or some premium one that you buy that’s already predesigned, and bam! With one click installs that most hosting companies have, and if you could buy a theme, you can have a site up in like an hour or less. So it’s really not that big of a hurdle. A lot of people just turn it into one mentally.
The absolute next thing you should do is start up your email list. It doesn’t matter where you host it. I obviously like AWeber quite a bit, but a lot of bloggers tend to use MailChimp, and that’s fine. Just have an email list from day number one so that when you start putting your content up on the site, which you need to start doing very quickly, the whole purpose of that is to get them onto your email list.
Then you should have a call to action underneath each post and somehow lead or write the post in such a way where it kind of lends itself up to joining the list as a natural extension of the blog post. It’s just you have a singular purpose here.
Then as far as getting your name out there, I would pretty much go through the people who have existing properties in whatever niche you’re going to be in. So in my case, if I was – and this is almost pretty much exactly what I did when I came into the blogging space – is I started interacting with the people that already had blogs about blogging. Obviously, I came into that with some authority, being that I had been doing this for a long time and was actually making a living as a blogger, but the key here, if starting out in seven days, is to get out there and start interacting with guest posting, helping them in some way with these movers and shakers of the niche because that’s just a really important thing to do to kind of get yourself out of this situation where nobody knows who you are.
Then I would probably come back to the webinar idea. Start really delivering some valuable content. Do it for free. I think webinars are great for list building. A lot of people too, they almost expect to be pitched on a webinar. Well, just buck the trend and don’t do that. All you’re trying to do here is build up, and do it quickly because we’re starting from scratch.
So I’d probably do some webinars to build the list, build that relationship, show that you’re a real human being, help them, and it’ll grow from there.
John Lee Dumas: Wonderful. Thank you so much for joining us today, Dave. You’ve given us some great actionable advice, and we’re all better for it.
David Risley: You’re very welcome.
John Lee Dumas: Let’s end by giving Fire Nation one last piece of advice, give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
David Risley: [Laughs] Well, you could find me over at BlogMarketingAcademy.com. That’s pretty much where – that’s kind of my home base now. I used to have some other properties and things were a little harder to find. Now, pretty much everything is rooted right off of Blog Marketing Academy. So that would be the best place you can go.
If you want to get a feel for how I do things, you can actually enroll in the 30 day Blog Transformation Challenge, which you’ll find right there at that site. It’s a free 30 day video course.
John Lee Dumas: Great! Well, Dave, thanks again, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.