Ricky is the owner and operator of the popular family-friendly DaddyBlogger.com website, where he writes about parenting from a father’s perspective. In addition, he runs a series of successful conferences about blogging, social media, and Internet marketing in Vancouver, Canada.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Ricky was working his a$$ off running conferences, but when he looked back at the numbers, he was losing money every day. You HAVE to know the numbers, Fire Nation – it’s CRITICAL to your success!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Ricky scratched his own itch. There was no “Daddy blog” that filled the need he had; so he set out to create it!
Small Business Resource
- 1Password: Creates strong, unique passwords for every site, remembers them all for you, and logs you in with a single tap.
Best Business Book
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- DaddyBlogger.com: As a passionate father, I know you wanted to be informed and equipped about the latest marketing
Male Speaker: Hey, we got Daddy Blogger and JLD on the episode. We’re ready to burn this podcast up.
Interviewer: Boolyah. Ricky is the owner and operator of the popular family-friendly DaddyBlogger.com and this is where he writes about parenting from a father’s perspective and in addition he runs a series of successful conferences about blogging social media and internet marketing in Vancouver, Canada, our neighbors to the north.
All right, Ricky. Take a minute, fill in some of the gaps from that intro and give us a little glimpse into your personal life brother.
Interviewee: Sounds good. First of all, happy birthday to JLD’s mom.
Interviewer: Yes, Selena.
Interviewee: A little bit of background about me. I’m born and raised here I Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I know John you’ve never been up here so we definitely our arms are wide open ready to invite you here and tour you around our beautiful city. So born and raised here in Vancouver, graduated from the local university with a degree in psychology. Then I went around the world. I traveled to over 40 countries, I backpacked around Europe, I taught English in Japan, I studied in Australia and I came back and I was looking at what to do and that’s when I started my journey as an entrepreneur.
So I ran a few different businesses in the last four years, everything from event production to blogging, internet marketing and now it’s kind of a hybrid way. I do a lot of online and offline things together and am married to my beautiful wife Ann and have two wonderful kids, Riann and Ryan. Riann is three years old and my son Ryan is a year-and-a-half.
That’s my biggest passion, I would say. Father, family and building strong marriages.
Interviewer: You know that’s pretty darned clever. I picked up on that, Ann and Riann.
Interviewee: I’m glad you got it. Yeah, that’s how we came up with the name for our daughter Ann. So Ricky and Ann equals Riann and same with Ryan as well. We combined RY from Ricky and the AN from Ann and came up with Ryan. That’s kind of a Filipino tradition. My wife’s from the Philippines so that’s a tradition, to combine names. If you meet any Filipinos with a unique name that could probably be the origin of the name.
Interviewer: I’m going to have to ask Pat Flynn if he did that with Kioni and then his daughter as well. That would be very interesting. I’ll have to check with him.
Interviewee: Yeah, I’m quite sure I know Pat has some Filipino heritage so I’m sure that could have tied in.
Interviewer: Cool. So Ricky, let’s get down to brass tacks my friend because you’ve done it. You created a successful entrepreneurial venture at DaddyBlogger.com and it’s only getting bigger, it’s only getting better. You’re generating revenue. You’re providing an income for your family. You have a viable business. All exciting things. How do you do it? Specifically, break it down for our listeners. How are you generating revenue?
Interviewee: Yes, so there’s a few different ways that I personally generate revenue on my blog. The first is selling my own products and services. The second is I sell other people’s products and services, internet marketing. The third is I get advertisement and sponsors. I also want to be truthful so I make part of my income on my blog and the rest of my income through the events I run. So I run a series of different events, workshops and conferences all about blogging, social media and internet marketing.
Interviewer: Yeah, this is totally on you and this is completely off the cuff but I’m kind of the potential cusp of running some smaller events myself so what kind of numbers do you look at as far as people that show up, what’s the ticket price and things along those lines?
Interviewee: Yeah, great question about running events. There are a lot of variables to consider so the location, the venue, the time of year you’re running an event, the number of days, the cost, the type of attendees. So you have to look at all those variables so you can’t just put like a price out there but when you combine all those variables you got to figure out what are your costs, what are the expenses, where are you going to get your profit.
But basically the three major ways you make profit through events is through the ticket sales, through sponsors and through backend sales for your own products but also partnering up with other speakers. So basically partnering up with the speakers and splitting whatever they sell.
So those are some of the ways you can make revenue. In terms of marketing I think you go to market through e-mail marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, definitely getting some affiliates on board and one of the other big things about running an event is its never about you running the show and that’s something I’ve learned through running events over the last three or four years. It’s definitely all about the team, getting the team to take ownership of the event and that’s going to lead to success. Together [inaudible] [00:04:21] as they say and teamwork makes the dream work.
Interviewer: Now how many people have you had at your most recent events?
Interviewee: I’ve had 200 plus so I did three events already this year, three major conferences. I ran one called Social Media Mastery, I ran one called Blog Mastery and Inter-American Mastery and those are the three big conferences, a one-day, two-day and a three-day one in the span of five months. So it was a lot of work but it was so rewarding and I built up one to the other. So basically the first event had about 215 people and the other two had 120 to 150 people. Definitely the social media one was the hot one.
A lot of business owners are looking for different ways to use social media to build up their business. So, social media was a big one. Blogging was definitely a popular one.
Interviewer: What about podcasting?
Interviewee: Actually I did a podcasting workshop. There’s been a market here. I definitely have an interesting in doing a bigger conference for podcasting but I did do a workshop here locally with one of my friends, James Martell, who’s a podcaster.
Interviewee: You know him, hey?
Interviewee: Yeah, so we co-hosted an event together and it was good. We had about 20, 25 people at the workshop, definitely got people inspired and fired up about podcasting.
Interviewer: Awesome. Now some people kind of go about conferences with charging high ticket prices. Some people do it low. What’s your ticket price usually fluctuate at?
Interviewee: Anywhere between two to four hundred dollars so for the three-day one it was a $400.00. For the two-day one it was a $300.00 and for the one-day one it was $200.00. And I have like affiliate codes out there and I do a lot of speaking as well locally so when I do speaking I’ll offer a onetime offer for attendees only to get them to act. You know this whole scarcity factor and the urgency factor. Also it’s important to do things like the early bird special and getting affiliates on board and giving them promo codes.
The other thing I would say is giving them a high commissions. So I give them sometimes 50 percent of the ticket sale, sometimes it’s like $50.00 if they were $100.00. Definitely recommend getting the affiliates on board and offering them as much commission as you can afford because the more they sell actually the more you’ll make as well. They will be more incentivized to market it for you.
Interviewer: This is great feedback. Little verging off topic but when you have someone like Ricky Shetty on the line on Fire Nation you take advantage of what you can. Ricky you’ve had some great times. You’re currently experiencing them. Three successful conferences already in 2015 as we’re entering Q3 here.
But let’s talk about not just your failures because you have plenty, I have plenty. Let’s talk about your worst entrepreneurial moment and brother I want you to take me there down to the ground level. Tell us that story.
Interviewee: Great question, John. You know I’ve run these three successful conferences this year but you know when I first started events about 2011, about four years ago, I was doing these events called Networking of Purpose and all I knew was that I had a passion to bring people together.
My worst moment was when I was running these events and I was really losing more money than I was making. So I was charging too little, I didn’t have a good revenue model in place. I didn’t have the strong backend built. I didn’t have affiliates. I was doing a lot of it on my own. I was charging too little. So my biggest learning lesson from that I would say it was a failure because I ran it for six events, six months actually, an event a month, and I was getting a hundred people plus in the room even back then when I first started.
It was a lack of revenue for me and I was spending a lot on booking the venues and marketing it, etc. Pretty soon because if you are losing more money than you’re making you’re going to have to shut it down and I shut down the company and I took a little break.
That’s when I became a dad for the first time so I really got passionate about the father thing, family thing, being hands on and present in the life of my kids.
I got back into events but I’m doing it much more successfully as we talked about it earlier.
Interviewer: Yeah, that’s kind of one thing I wanted to make sure the Fire Nation is really taking in here Ricky is how important it is to know your numbers. That’s one thing that I do get pretty frustrated about when I see just these massive numbers getting thrown out all over the place. People saying, “I have a 350,000 person e-mail list.” Well, okay, but when you send an e-mail how many people are opening that? Are you having a .01 percent open rate or 10 percent open rate because that’s all that matters in reality.
Don’t share with me these massive numbers. I want to know the real things and Fire Nation, you as a business owner have to know your numbers intimately. You have to be in bed with your numbers. You have to know them inside and out otherwise you’re not going to be running a viable business.
Yes, we throw about big numbers at Entrepreneur On Fire every month with our income reports but I bring my CPA on not only to validate the reports but to talk about the importance of the numbers. We have an entire bookkeeping team separate from our accountant who does the numbers as well. You need to know these things. These reports are critical and Ricky you made that mistake. You didn’t know the numbers enough to know that you were losing money right at the beginning enough to shut it down quickly and that can just absolutely kill a business before it even starts.
So what’s the one thing you really want to make sure that Fire Nation gets Ricky from that period in your life?
Interviewee: You bring up a good point about knowing your numbers and if numbers aren’t your strength which a lot of us we’re not good at that, we’re not good at the numbers then definitely partner up with somebody who is good at that, you know. There’s this old saying about books and your unique ability. Dan Sullivan says that and I know you’re a big fan of Dan as well. So I would say partner up with people who are better than you and just focus on your strength.
So my strength was really the marketing, the bringing the people together and I ended up like my wife’s really good at numbers so she’s helping me out with the numbers and this year since we’ve been doing these bigger conferences we hired a bookkeeper, an accountant and I’ve just partnered up with other people who are a lot better than me at different parts of the conference. So just gathering that team around I would really emphasize that, the importance of the team aspect.
Interviewer: The team is so huge Fire Nation on so many levels. You need to have those people in those positions that are making up for where you lack a unique ability. I’m not an accountant. That’s why I have Mr. CPA on Fire.com himself, Josh Bowerly, critical part of my team.
You have to know the numbers and Ricky I’m sure you will agree with this, too. You have to know the numbers that actually matter. I mean to give that example again about the unique opens for an e-mail list. Even more importantly I hear people all the time saying, “Hey, I’m getting $3.00 conversions on Facebook to opt into my webinar.” Okay, but what is your cost per actual purchase of the product on the backend when you’re running that webinar from those Facebooks. Is anybody that you’re paying $3.00 to sign up, is anybody actually buying? That’s the number you have to be concerned with. So know the numbers that matter and really dial in on those.
If you just are not that person that’s going to do that find people that are and add them to your team. Ricky, we’re going to tell another story. This one’s going to be a light bulb moment, an aha that you’ve had at some point in your journey. So take us there. Tell us that moment.
Interviewee: Sure, John. I’m going to share a little bit about the origin story of my DaddyBlogger.com website. You know I was just about to be a new dad and as a lot of new dads, we’re really passionate about being the best dad possible. But there are a lot of fears around that, too, so for me a quick story. It’s like my parents ended up having a divorce and there was a lot of like domestic violence and disharmony in the actual marriage. Who does that affect the most of the entity John when a marriage doesn’t work out and families break up?
Interviewee: Yeah, absolutely, and I was one of those kids, a child of divorce, and that left me quite broken and when I was going to be a dad not only did I have a lot of excitement but honestly I had a lot of fears. I’m sure a lot of the dads and even the moms listening they could probably relate to my struggles there. I mean those fears and that excitement as well.
My biggest aha moment around that was I was looking for resources online and in bookshops and in libraries but I couldn’t find many resources specifically written from a dad’s perspective. There were tons and tons of mommalogues out there, tons of books written about pregnancy and delivery and hormonal changes and breastfeeding and all this kind of stuff but at the end of the day for me I was just like, “Hey, I want to hear from the dad’s perspective and how do I just be the best dad possible?”
Because I couldn’t find many of those resources I ended up creating them. So I created first of all DaddyBlogger.com, that’s been running two-and-a-half, almost three years now. Then I also saw that there was no books or anything like that so I ended up writing a book and in the book I basically interviewed a hundred different dads, kind of what you do on podcasting but I did it through Skype, Google Hangouts, in person and I got all this collective wisdom from the fathers and I put it into the book.
I also have a group here locally in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. We meet once a month and the whole goal there is to support dads. So yes, the biggest aha moment was led me to the success of Daddy Blogger was seeing the need in the marketplace. I mean if you look at the amount of dads, there’s literally billions of dads around the world and it’s a huge market but it’s really underserviced.
So I decided to basically solve the help, solve the problem instead of complaining about it, providing those resources and helping support dads any way I can.
Interviewer: Fire Nation keep your eyes open. As you’re living life, as you’re going about your day-to-day, what are things that you see need to be filled as far as voids, itches that need to bed scratched. What are pain points that you’re having. That’s all Ricky did. He just kept his eyes open and he went to find that thing that didn’t exist.
I couldn’t find a seven-day-a-week podcast. Here we are 1,050 episodes later. You know, Ricky couldn’t find a daddy blog he enjoyed. Here we are, he’s running conferences and doing his thing and generating revenue. He’s doing it because he kept his eyes open.
That’s my big takeaway, Ricky. Sum it up for us. What do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from that story?
Interviewee: You know, I look at a business as it’s really about providing a mission to people’s needs. So from that story it’s really about that’s just like me, they need resources. They’re dads, there’s new dads, expecting dads who are being formed if you want to call it that every day, every moment, right? And there’s so few resources so I basically just saw that and I provided a solution.
The same with the conferences we are talking about as well. I saw the need for social media training, for blog training, for internet marketing training and I basically just provided that. At the end of the day I really feel that business is a solution to people’s needs.
Interviewer: Wow, love that. Fire Nation I hope you’re taking notes. I mean this is Ricky Shetty dropping value bombs left and right.
Ricky, what’s your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Interviewee: You know I would say my biggest weakness is the strategy and the planning. I would say my biggest strength is really about implementing quickly. So when I was looking for those resources for dads I was like hey, there’s no resources, let me implement. And then after implementing I figured out later about the strategy and the planning and the revenue model. So I would say my biggest weakness is the lack of planning, the lack of strategy right from the beginning.
Now I have a mentor, I have a mastermind and they are really helping me with that, the strategy, the planning. Kind of like all the stuff you need to do before the launch.
Interviewer: Mentors and masterminds, Fire Nation. There’s a reason these names keep coming up. What’s your biggest strength?
Interviewee: Definitely I would say that the whole thing about implementing quickly so even with these conferences, last year I was running smaller workshops, for like 20, 30 people. I’ve wanted to do conferences but I kept procrastinating and all that. But this year I just like, hey, instead of waiting until the end of the year, let me just launch it and do the conference. There’ll be some things I’m going to make mistakes at. I’m not sure how many people will turn up and the very first conference which I launched in February I basically only had about two months from the idea to the implementation. From the idea to the implementation it was like a two-month period.
I was expecting maybe 80 to 100 people there and like 215 people showed up so I feel that’s really because I took action and I figured it out as I went. You know, build the airplane as you go.
Interviewer: Absolutely. Build that airplane, Fire Nation. Ricky what is one thing that has you more fired up today than anything else?
Interviewee: You know, besides my big passion for fatherhood, families and marriages and seeing dads really involved with their kids, one of my big passions really right now is building community. When I say I run these conferences there’s also the struggles of organizing it, the stress involved with that, people cancelling at the last minute, sometimes the lack of ticket sales. So there’s all that stress.
But one of the greatest moments for me is when the conference is running, there’s another speaker on stage, I just go to the back of the room, I just sit down, close my eyes, I open my eyes and I see all these people learning, being educated, connecting and all the community being built. That really fires me up, John, just the fact that I was the catalyst for people connecting. So being a catalyst for connection is definitely something that really fires me up whether with the father niche that I’m in or these events I’m running about social media, blogging, internet marketing. Definitely this whole thing about connecting people together.
Interviewer: Wow. Fire Nation, we’re about to enter the lightning round but before we do let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors.
Ricky, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Interviewee: I am prepared, let’s hit it.
Interviewer: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Interviewee: You know, I used the story my parents told me that was really holding me back. I come from a traditional Indian household where you get your education in and get a job and then get married, have kids.
Interviewer: Let’s be honest. It’s become a doctor is basically what it is.
Interviewee: Yeah, become a doctor, sometimes an engineer, sometimes a lawyer, right? So I think a part of it was the kind of the family upbringing or the societal upbringing. Part of it was the lack of knowledge. I just didn’t know how to run a business. I didn’t have an MBA so I would say those were the couple things holding me back.
Then I read things like Rich Dad Poor Dad and I realized, hey, anyone can be an entrepreneur and I did it and I’m super proud of that decision, one of the best I made in my life.
Interviewer: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Interviewee: You know the best advice I’ve ever received John was when two people in the span of a week, of one week, they came over to my place and one was a girl and one was a guy and they were close friends of mine. They said to me, “Hey, Ricky. You have this blog, you’re running these events but you’re not being vulnerable enough.” They both told me this message, be more vulnerable.
I struggled with that, you know. I was just like I don’t know if I can. I don’t think it’s the right place. But I decided to do it and I shared my whole e-mail on this podcast here at the beginning I shared about my parents breaking up and my dad leaving me as a broken child. I actually got voted most shy in high school and now I’m a speaker, a conference producer, etc.
So when I share that story people really connect with that story and the fact that I’m being vulnerable and they say, “Thanks for all the advice about blogging, social media, internet marketing, etc., but really what I connected with you is your stories.” So I would say definitely the best advice was be vulnerable.
Interviewee: What’s a personal habit that you believe contributes to your success?
Interviewer: You know, every Sunday John I practice something called the Weekly Sabbath so even though I work as an entrepreneur sometimes I’m working in the daytime, sometimes I work in the evening, sometimes I’m working late at night or early morning, sometimes I’m working on Saturdays. What I do every Sunday is really my sacred time, my holy day if you want to call it that. It’s my Sabbath.
Sunday mornings we’ll go to church as a family. We’ll have a family lunch together. We’ll do a family activity and I’ll purposely not do anything on the day in terms of business. I won’t have any meetings, won’t do any calls, try not to even think about the business. So that’s something I’ve been doing actively ever since I got married and now that I have kids and even though I’m running these multiple businesses I still practice that day off. Six days working, seventh day off.
Interviewer: Do you have an internet resource Ricky like in NeverNotes that you can share with our listeners?
Interviewee: Yeah, I use something called 1Password John and I know some of you who are listening you probably struggle with remembering all your passwords from your websites, your blogs, your social media, your e-mails, your banking, etc. You probably have these lot of passwords and I was struggling with those. A lot of times I had to reset the password and clink on the link and you want your password reset, right?
Then someone told me about something called 1Password and basically what that is you just put all of your accounts under that 1Password and all you need to do is just log into that 1Password and everything will open up. It’s super secure; you can check it out on 1Password.com. There’s another one called LastPass but I found 1Password to be a really good resource for helping me not have that password overload.
Interviewer: Even more so than just password overload have you Ricky recently listened to Chalene Johnson’s episodes?
Interviewee: No, I haven’t John.
Interviewer: Absolutely mind boggling. Chalene Johnson is a really like big time fitness blogger, podcaster. She has a lot of great fans, a ton of audience members and she was hacked. She had like 400,000 Instagram followers and she was hacked and she had to scramble. She lost that account, all these different things. Long story short, she created these three epic podcast episodes that are on her podcast right now. It’s called Build Your Tribe.
She gets into just the scary world we live in with hackers and the one biggest takeaway you need something like a LastPass, like a 1Password because that actually protects you. Not only is it better as far as efficiency and just a better organized way to run your life it’s so much safer too because everything is encrypted.
So it’s something you really want to look into Fire Nation if you’re storing passwords anywhere but in something like a LastPass which I use or a 1Password which Ricky recommends you’re really making a huge mistake at this point and you really need to look at yourself and say, hey, it’s time to upgrade to be both more efficient and to be a lot safer.
Go listen to those three episodes. They were so well done and I guarantee after listening to those you will be getting into one of these things.
So good for you, Ricky.
Interviewee: Thanks. I definitely recommend it for this whole thing about the security and productivity.
Interviewer: If you could recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Interviewee: One of my favorite books at the moment is this book called Start With Why by Simon Sinek and he goes into this thing called the golden circle, the what, the how, the why. A lot of companies, a lot of businesses, a lot of entrepreneurs they start with what they do even when you go to networking events. People are like, “What do you do? What do you do?” And especially those little elevators punch back and forth.
But what Simon Sinek in the book talks about is really this whole thing about starting with why. Why do you do what you do? People won’t buy your what; they’ll buy your why. And you know even in this episode I was hearing about my why and my passion for a positive family and when I do my events and all that people really resonated with my why and I feel that’s one of the reasons why I’m successful today is because I start with my why.
I highly recommend that book if you are struggling with trying to figure out what is your why.
Interviewer: Well Fire Nation I know you love audio so I teamed up with AudioBooks and if you haven’t already you can get an amazing audio book for free at EOFirebook.com.
And Ricky, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to earth but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, your food and shelter is taken care of but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Interviewee: In the next seven days John I would do what I’m good at. So my unique ability is bringing people together so I would first of all go out for some teas and coffees and dinners and lunches with people building that community together. With the $500.00 I’d book a venue and I would basically hold a big event where I bring in people together and I’d basically be the connection I was talking about.
You know I would bring in different speakers and I would use different social media outlets to market it and those people that I’m taking out to those teas and coffees I would look at their strengths, their unique abilities, seeing whether they’d like to be speakers, if they’d like to be volunteers, if they’d like to attend and really building that community.
That $500.00 would lead into more revenue through things like the backend sales, getting sponsors, etc. So I think I would just do what I’m doing now on this alternate planet John.
Interviewer: Well Ricky, I love that. I love that you are now living your calling. So let’s end today on Fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Interviewee: My parting piece of advice is I think by Robert Kiyosaki. Your net worth is your net worth and I find really in my life and my building up my social media following and now running these events, conferences, my blog, it’s really that net worth I built is my net worth and I’m seeing that income coming in, I’m finally have having the success I struggled with in the beginning as an entrepreneur.
So I would say definitely, build your net worth, build your tribe, build your community. I couldn’t add to that more. Build that tribe of yours. Just like you are doing with podcasts, just like I’ve done with my events John.
And in terms of if people want to connect with me the easiest way to connect with me is just DaddyBlogger.com. I have links to all my different events on there and I’d love to connect, I love to support other dads. If you’re a dad I’d love to interview you as well so just make sure you check out DaddyBlogger.com.
Interviewer: Wow, Fire Nation you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with Ricky and JLD today so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com and just type “Ricky” in the search bar. His [inaudible] [00:26:58] page will pop right up with everything that we’ve been talking about, the books, the resources, all the goodness all in one place. And of course, head right over to DaddyBlogger.com to check Ricky out and everything that he has going on.
And Ricky, I just want to thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today and for that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
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