Tor Refsland is a big authority when it comes to networking with influencers. He managed to get featured on 158 blogs in 14 months with his first blog and won several awards. He helps entrepreneurs network with influencers and position their brand so they can attract the right clients fast.
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- Freedom Journal, John’s book which Tor says is his recommendation to listeners.
3 Key Points:
- Narrow your niche.
- Connect with influencers in your niche.
- Do what is best for your clients, and you will get what you are seeking in return.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:00] – Tor is in Norway with his wife and daughter.
- [01:24] – He believes in helping others to get what he wants from his business.
- [02:22] – How do you generate revenue today? – His revenue comes from coaching, PR packages, and his Massive Exposure from Scratch digital product.
- [04:17] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: During his first year of blogging, he felt like a fraud. He didn’t feel like a success because he wasn’t earning the money he deserved.
- [06:00] – He hadn’t narrowed down his niche or narrowed down his ideal customer.
- [08:36] – What do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets?– “You need to narrow down your niche [and] please create your target avatar!”
- [09:20] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: It was three days from his birthday. The “birthday technique” was a way for him to give thanks to everyone on his blog. But he had to focus on narrowing his niche.
- [11:11] – He realized he was good at networking.
- [11:27] – He reached out for testimonials.
- [12:00] – He decided to set up a targeted email list.
- [12:52] – He tried the “free technique”, but first he wanted to find interest.
- [13:38] – He asked his listeners what they wanted to know and in what format.
- [14:19] – He was very transparent.
- [14:36] – He reached out to cold leads and turned them into paying clients.
- [15:43] – Pre-free opt-in is a great way to go.
- [17:02] – Connect with influencers in your niche.
- [17:39] – “You can have everything in life you want, if you can just help enough people get what they want.“
- [17:51] – Biggest weakness? To be able to unplug and focus on what really matters.
- [18:33] – There should not be a huge shift between work and play.
- [18:57] – Biggest strength? Ability to take a complex topic and break it down into simple steps.
- [19:40] – What has Tor most fired up today? “Being on this podcast, and completing my course Massive Exposure from Scratch.“
- [22:10] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? –Moving to zero income as an entrepreneur.
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Whatever you do, you should never compromise on the quality you deliver.”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – Self-discipline
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation? – Google Calendar
- Do you recommend one book for our listeners? – Your Freedom Journal!
- Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter is taken cared of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – I would build relationships, build a landing page, and build my brand. Then I would reach out to influencers for connections.
- Parting piece of advice and how to connect with you – A gift for Fire Nation: check out his exclusive course: timemanagementchef.com/fire
Tor Refsland: I am so prepared, John, that I almost couldn’t sleep last night.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. Tor is a big authority when it comes to networking with influencers. He managed to get featured on 158 blogs in just 14 months with his first blog, and won several awards. He helps entrepreneurs network with influencers and position their brand, so they can attract the right clients fast. Tor, take a minute; fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Tor Refsland: Okay, sure, John. So I live in Norway with my girlfriend Sarah and my lovely baby daughter, Luna, who soon becomes 1 year – and I’m basically just hustling every day in order to build a strong brand and help a lot of people; and like Zig Ziglar said, “When you help enough people to get what they want, you will finally get what you want.” And it’s all about providing a lot of value first, and that’s also the key to networking with influencers online.
John Lee Dumas: Well, Fire Nation, I can vouch firsthand: Tor is a hustler. This guy would email me for requests for quotes, would make these epic posts. I mean, he is a guy that’s up. He’s working every single day. And guess what? He’s not doing big, huge things every single day. He is sometimes, but he’s doing the little things right every single day – putting the work in, putting the time in, building something meaningful step-by-step-by-step. So ask yourself that, Fire Nation: What are you doing every single day to build your future like Tor is, straight up?
Now, Tor, it’s one thing to be featured on 158 blogs, to win an award, XYZ – but come on, man, you get a baby; you get a girlfriend; you got to make money. How do you generate revenue today? Break it down for my listeners so that we can emulate where your success is.
Tor Refsland: Really good question, John; so basically, my main revenue right now comes from coaching, from selling PR packages that basically help companies and small business owners to get featured on top blogs, and my digital project – Massive Exposure from Scratch.
John Lee Dumas: Now, break down what the pricing structure looks on those things.
Tor Refsland: Yeah, so my coaching is basically from $500.00 per month, and then it moves up to $1000.00 and so on. And they get, like, one 60-minute Skype session with me, to have direct email access to me which only my coaching clients have, and I have a weekly follow-up. And I create an action plan from session to session; because that is where most people, or most entrepreneurs actually kind of fall short – because they don’t have an action plan, and they don’t have the accountability to do the necessary tasks in order to hit their goals.
John Lee Dumas: Sounds like every one of your clients needs a freedom journal, Tor.
Tor Refsland: Yeah. They do.
John Lee Dumas: So what are the other pricing models you have?
Tor Refsland: The PR packages are from $500.00 and up – that’s more just getting people featured on top blogs and round-up posts, and stuff like that. And it’s also my digital project, Massive Exposure from Scratch, which is being sold for $500.00.
John Lee Dumas: Wonderful; so you like that number, 500. And, Fire Nation, you really need to sit down and say, “Listen, where is the value exchange going on, here? What are my clients, what are my customers going to get for the value that I’m providing?” A lot of people struggle with pricing. I get it. You’ve just got to start somewhere, and then just start to grow, and just manage, from that point going forward. Now, Tor, what I really want to do is talk about what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to-date; because we love the stories here at EOFire. In fact, I insist upon them. So take us to the moment that you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to-date, and really break that story down.
Tor Refsland: So I will do that – and this is something that – the funny thing about this story is that it kind of – people will kind of think of it as a success in the start, but when I start peeling the onion, they will see behind the curtains. So I will just tell you the story. So right before I was finishing up my first year of blogging, I had been featured on 100+ top blogs, I had built an email list of 3000+ subscribers, won a few awards and stuff like that. But I felt like a total fraud, John. And why? Because the influences I knew, and my peers, saw me as a success, but I didn’t feel like it since I wasn’t earning the money I thought I should, compared to all the hard work and effort I had put in.
So I’d been doing the big mistake in the start, targeting everybody; because I started out in the productivity niche. And my goal was actually, at that time, to just target everyone who could walk on two legs and read. So the people on my email list were people from students to CEOs. And the way that you talk to them, and their issues, are completely different. So basically, I did two major mistakes: number one, I hadn’t narrowed down my niche enough; and number two, I hadn’t created my avatar, my idol customer. And also another thing: I was also more passionate about the marketing niche. So I was basically telling myself, “If I don’t pull myself together right now, John, I will basically fall flat on my face and pay miserably.”
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, what I love about this story is, number one, it’s so real and it’s so common. There are so many entrepreneurs out there, who you’re seeing all over the place. They’re on Facebook, they’re on Snapchat, they’re on Instagram. They’re being featured in Inc., they’re being featured in Forbes. But when it comes down to barebones, and if you were able to peek under the hood, you actually wouldn’t be that impressed with what you’re seeing. And that’s why I start EOFire interview off with saying, “Hey, how are you generating revenue? How are you making more money?” Because, Fire Nation, it’s not easy; but you can get out there, and you can get your name out there.
You can boost your posts on Facebook, you can buy ads. You can do this, you can do that. But what are you doing that’s actually generating real revenue? That’s so important, and Tor was struggling with this. And guess what? You will too, Fire Nation, if you haven’t already; because it’s part of the journey. We all struggle with the revenue. I mean, look at my income reports. The entire first year that I worked, I generated $41,000.00 in gross, and $26,000.00 in net revenue. That’s for a year of hard, hard work. And most of that money, by the way, came at the very end of that year.
So generating revenue’s not an easy thing. You really need to say, “Hey, how am I going to connect with somebody on a deep-enough level to really generate the significant revenue that I need to run a business, to run my life?” And that’s why I love what you said, Tor, about how you were going one mile wide, and one inch deep. You were trying to resonate with everybody, therefore you were resonating with nobody. But, Fire Nation, if you just say, “Hey, I’m going one inch wide, and one mile deep, and I’m going to find my perfect customer, client avatar – just one person to start, just like, ‘I feel like Tor is speaking directly to me.’” That person will pay you money because they feel like you’re speaking directly to them. So focus on the avatar, focus on the niche, focus on that first dollar in the door, then you can focus on amplifying that first dollar – where I went, again, from $26,000.00 net – my first year – to a recent month in February of 2016, where I did almost $600,000.00 in a month. So it’s all about finding that revenue generation, and amplifying it – what you’re doing, Tor.
So hey, Tor, that’s my big takeaway. In just one sentence, what do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets?
Tor Refsland: I can actually say two things. Number one, you need to narrow down your niche because you can’t all be marketers if you’re in the marketing niche. You need to narrow it down so it will be easier for you to stand out and position yourself. And number two, for the sake of your own future, please create your target avatar.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you need to create that target avatar. You need to know who you’re speaking to; if you haven’t heard me talk about Jimmy before, go to eofire.com/one, that’s o-n-e, I’ve got a great tutorial video there about who my avatar is that you can model yours after in whatever niche that you want to create.
Now, Tor, let’s move along to another story. This is an “a-ha” moment. And you’ve gotten a lot of “a-ha” moments in your life. I mean, you’ve – again – won a lot of awards, been featured on 158 blogs; but take us to the moment: where were you when you had one of your greatest “a-ha” moments, that you know Fire Nation could really learn a lot from? Take us to that moment, Tor, and tell us that story.
Tor Refsland: Sure I will, John. This actually just happened three days after my worst experience, which I just previously told. The thing was that I figured out that I was feeling like a total fraud when I was about to complete my first year of blogging, and it was three days before my birthday. So my birthday is 17th of December –
John Lee Dumas: Oh, mine’s December 16th.
Tor Refsland: Awesome; high-five.
John Lee Dumas: You’ve got to be sending me a birthday message, this coming December.
Tor Refsland: Absolutely.
John Lee Dumas: Sagittarius.
Tor Refsland: So the thing was that, what I did the previous time was that I created something I call, “The Birthday Technique,” which is basically just that I spent my birthday writing a blog post where it’s not about me and my birthday, but actually about helping – just by thanking and giving praise to all the people that had helped me the year before to accomplish my goals.
So I had, like, three days before my birthday, and I was planning to create a huge post. But I was just thinking, “Gosh, Tor, if you cannot be able to do some magic right now, and just narrow your niche down, and just reposition yourself ASAP, you’re going to be freaking doomed; because there’s going to be a lot of traffic. And if you ever need to reposition, you need to do it now.” So I started to think about, “Okay, what have other influencers, and my peers been telling me about – giving me compliments about – before?”
And then it started to dawn on me. People have said, like, “Tor, you’re really good with networking with influencers. You know all the big players and stuff like that.” So I was like, “Oh, okay. Maybe there is something with this connecting with influencers stuff. So okay, let me just try this out.” So what I did, I reached out to some of the really biggest influencers out there, and I got testimonials for my blogger outreach skills, for my outreach skills to network with other influencers.
And I got a testimonial from you, John, from Yaro Starak, from Jon Morrow, from Jaime Masters – former Tardy – and from Adam Carmack. And I went, “I got a testimonial from these huge people.” I was just like, “Okay. Darn, there is something in this. I need to do something.” So my step number two was basically that I was going to test something. I wanted to build a highly-targeted email list because I’m so fed-up with people saying, “Oh, it’s everything – the magic is in your 10,000 subscribers. And then you will earn $1.00 per month, per subscriber. Oh my God, you will earn $10,000.00 per month.”
It’s just like, “Are you freaking kidding me? That’s just bull –”
Sorry about that. So the thing was that, “Okay, that is just total fraud.” So I want to prove to people that you can build a highly-targeted email list. And Derek Halpern from Social Triggers talks about, “Before you create a digital product, you should create a free product to see if there is a demand for that topic.” So I was just thinking, “That’s cool, but there is no way I’m going to waste my time to create a free product before I know this is something people want.” So created something I call The Pre-Free Technique – which is basically to create an opt-in form for a free course before you have created it.
So I would say, “Hey, I’m going to launch a free course called X, and it will do this for you. Why? Let’s make some sparks; sign up now.” And my course was called, “How to Blog Outreach Like a Boss.” My goal was to get 100 subscribers on that targeted-email list. Then I would create the free course. I published my post using The Birthday Technique, and I got my first 100 subscribers in eight hours. And then I created a VIP list from them, and started a new waiting list under there.
And when people got on my list, John, I asked them about: number one, what their biggest struggle was regarding the topic, and number two, in which format did they want to get the free course presented in: text, video, audio, webinars?
And they told me – in addition, I told them, “It’s going to be impossible for me to take everything that I know about this topic and put it into this free course. However, at the end of this course, you will have the opportunity to join my advance course, where I will be sharing everything I know about the topic. And since you are a charter member, you will get access to it for a discounted price.” I just wanted to be totally transparent about that. And people were like, “Oh, dude, Tor, you’re really transparent. Oh, you talk about how we do this stuff. You are not like those sleazy people.”
I was just like, “Yeah. It’s just about being honest.” So my step number three was that I was – John, I needed to test – if I could use my blogger outreach skills, and turn it into revenue for my business – if not, it would be hard for me to sell the course. So I turned myself into a human guinea pig, and I built a coaching business from zero to $3,000.00 per month in less than three months. And how did I do that? By reaching out to cold leads, and turning them into paying clients paying me from 500 to $1,500.00 per month.
Then I was thinking, “Okay, this works. Let’s pre-launch my product.” Long story short, I created the free course for them; I built a targeted-email list of 777 subscribers in three-and-a-half months; I pre-launched my product before I had created it, and I made $6,000.00 in sales.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, this is pure gold. And I love, Tor, how you’re just being completely transparent on these numbers, and your struggles, and your “a-ha” moments. One thing I really want to focus on, Fire Nation, that I hope you took away from this, was the pre-free opt-in. I’m a huge proponent of creating free courses as well – and, of course, freepodcastcourse.com, my free webinar course – I mean, I love free – we’re actually coming out with a freegoalscourse.com, you can check that out.
And I love free because it’s free, and it’s no bearing on people to join, to get great content, to know, like, and trust me – or in Tor’s case, Tor – as an authority figure. And then when it comes down the line, we can say, “Hey, by the way, you either took my course, which was free; or you’re currently taking it and now doing a webinar, or I’m having a promotion for my premium course.” You can have that conversation with them. But before Tor even takes the time to create a free course – which, by the way, took me a lot of time to create a free podcast course – now, of course, I knew that I had the audience waiting for it – but Tor didn’t, and you may not, either.
So why not create a pre-free opt-in? I mean, it’s pure genius. It’s pure gold; because then you can prove, “Hey, if people are opting-in for this free course, now I can go ahead and create this free course.” And then once you have the free course, you have people really going into it, giving you feedback. You can ask them, “What are you struggling with within this course,” just within life in general. You can get more information and create webinars off of that, create great content off of that. And it all started with a pre-free opt-in; pure gold, Tor. I love that.
Another thing you talked about was connecting with influencers; I mean, Fire Nation, that was my biggest success story, was connecting with influencers. EOFire, my podcast: I could connect with the Tim Ferrisses and the Gary Vaynerchuks, and the Barbara Corcorans of the world because of my podcast. It’s just like Tor was connecting with me, and Jaime Tardy, and – fill in the blank; because he was focused on connecting with influencers.
So maybe you don’t want a podcast, maybe you don’t want a blog, or maybe you do; and that’s where you can connect with influencers; but you have to find whatever niche you’re going into; how can I connect with the influencers in my niche? That is going to be huge. And let’s end with that Zig Ziglar quote, “You can have everything in life you want, Fire Nation, if you would just help enough other people get what they want.” And yes, Zig Ziglar did say “Fire Nation” in there.
Tor, I want to move forward now into what you consider your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur. And keep it to just one sentence.
Tor Refsland: Sure. My biggest weakness as an entrepreneur is to be able to unplug my mind, and not think about my business, in my spare time.
John Lee Dumas: Now, why is that a negative?
Tor Refsland: Basically because I’m not so good at focusing on the things that really matter, which would be my family and friends, when I’m with them – because my mind is turning all about the new ideas, and how I’m going to increase revenue in my business –
John Lee Dumas: Are you saying that your work doesn’t matter?
Tor Refsland: I’m saying that my work matters, but I should also be good to be relaxed more, and try to unplug when I’m with my family and friends.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, balance is important, but I really want you to realize that if you really feel like you need a major shift between work – quote-unquote, “work,” – and play – quote-unquote, “play,” – then you need to be re-evaluating, too, what your quote-unquote “work” is; because it really can be interflowing within, if it’s something that you really do enjoy, if it’s really a passion, if it really is your bliss. Now, Tor, what is your biggest strength?
Tor Refsland: It’s my ability to take a complex topic, and break it down into simple steps that anyone can replicate.
John Lee Dumas: Well, you proved that, actually, when you talk about the pre-free opt-in; because that’s a pretty complex topic in a lot of ways; snap of the fingers, “Boom,” you broke it down for us. I get it. I’m sure, Fire Nation, you understand what it means to have a pre-free opt-in. You just go ahead, you create a little blog and it says, “Hey, this is going to be a free course that I’m going to create. Sign up here to be alerted when it’s ready.” I mean, that’s great; if don’t get enough people signing up for it, then you just don’t create it. You send an email to those people that did, and say, “Sorry. I was going to do this, but there’s just not enough interest. I’ll let you know if there ever is.”
Now, what would you say is the one thing, Tor, you are most fired-up about today?
Tor Refsland: Today, it was basically being on this podcast, obviously. But besides that, it’s completing my course, Massive Exposure from Scratch. I got great feedback from my students, and I will soon launch the product; and I already have many great influencers that have agreed to become an affiliate. And I see it as my mission to help entrepreneurs to freaking stand out by building genuine relationships with influencers and peers.
John Lee Dumas: Now, speaking about “great,” Fire Nation, we have a great lightning round coming up. We’re going to take a quick minute to thank our sponsors.
Fire Nation, being an entrepreneur, it’s an adventure – an adventure discovering what freedom and happiness means for you. Any given day’s going to involve a mix of challenges – from making big decisions, to taking big risks. No one ever said it was going to be easy. But always remember, you didn’t start your own business just to get stuck in it. Things like doing your own bookkeeping, that is not for you. You started your business so you can do what you love. You started your own business to express your creativity, share your big ideas, and make an impact.
Bookkeeping: let Bench handle your bookkeeping so you don’t have to. Get 20 percent off your first six months of bookkeeping. Just visit bench.co/fire. That’s bench.co/fire.
Tor, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
Tor Refsland: Absolutely, John.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Tor Refsland: I was making the move from my six-figure job to starting as an entrepreneur, with zero in income.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Tor Refsland: When I was headhunted to one of the biggest companies in Norway, my headhunter told me, “Whatever you do Tor, you should never compromise on the quality you deliver.”
John Lee Dumas: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Tor Refsland: That I’m very self-disciplined; and once I’ve set a goal, I have the self-discipline to do the necessary activities that will help me to reach that goal every single day, regardless of whether I feel like it or not.
John Lee Dumas: Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation.
Tor Refsland: This is dead simple, but Google Calendar: it will make wonders for your schedule.
John Lee Dumas: I love GCal. If you could recommend just one book for our listeners, Tor, what would it be and why?
Tor Refsland: Probably has, of course, John, to be your Freedom Journal because it helps people to achieve their goals in 100 days or less.
John Lee Dumas: Boom. Well, Fire Nation, Tor was not paid to read that message. Thank you for the kind words, Tor, really appreciate it. And this is the last question of the lightning round; but it’s a doozy, brother.
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’s taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Tor Refsland: Good question; number one, I would focus on building genuine relationships with influencers online right out of the gate; number two, I would create a landing page, not a blog; and number three, I would start building my brand, an email list, and guest posting, to getting featured on blogs, and doing it like crazy. And after those seven days, I would reach out to the influencers I had built a good connection with, and I would say to them, “Hey, listen, I created something I call The Pre-Free Technique; which will help you to find out what your audience wants, and then create a product for them. If you want to increase your revenue, I will help you do it for free. And when you make cents with the product, we will split the income.”
John Lee Dumas: Gold, gold, gold. And, Tor, I want to end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance from you, the best way we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Tor Refsland: People can come and visit me at timemangagementchef.com, but I’ve also got an awesome, awesome, gift for your awesome Fire Nation.
John Lee Dumas: Yay.
Tor Refsland: Yay. And that’s my exclusive course on how to skyrocket your online business by building genuine relationships with influencers online, and you can come find it at timemanagementchef.com/fire.
John Lee Dumas: /fire. And, Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with Tor and JLD today, so keep up the heat. And head on over to EOFire.com; just type “tor,” T-O-R, in the search bar. His Show Notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. That’s a time-stamped show notes page, so you’ll be able to have access to everything that we talked about. And of course, that special gift for you is timemanagementchef.com/fire. Am I right, Tor?
Tor Refsland: That’s correct, John.
John Lee Dumas: Tor, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, brother; and we’ll catch you on the flip side.
Tor Refsland: Awesome. Thanks for having me, John; I had a blast.
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