John Lee Dumas: EntrepreneurOnFire, Weekend Jam Session, Episode 5.
VO: Welcome to EntrepreneurOnFire’s Weekend Jam Session with your host, John Lee Dumas. Prepare to ignite!
John Lee Dumas: Hey, Fire Nation! Thank you so much for joining me for our third Weekend Question and Answer Jam Session. I’ve been having so much fun and we’ve been getting so many good answers and so much good feedback. Let’s just keep this ball rolling. The first question is from Katie Milton of Merchants International and Texas Water Wars. That’s MerchantInternational.org. You can also find her at Facebook.com/texww. So her question is “John, first of all, I have to say that I’m very impressed with everything you do on EntrepreneurOnFire. You have a great thing going and I’m excited to have found this resource. Keep up the good work. Here are several struggles that I’m dealing with right now. Getting out of my own way. Getting out of my own head and having the confidence to pursue my goals.”
Katie, let’s tackle that one first, and that is such a common theme with all the entrepreneurs that I interview. At the beginning of their journeys, they had such issues with confidence to pursue what they wanted, their dreams and their passions. It’s so common. It happens with everybody. It’s ingrained in our mentalities, this self-doubt. It’s literally a survival mechanism that we are born with. So this is my advice. Just start. If it’s even a small step, start small. Write down a list of things that you need to do to get the ball rolling, and then do one of those things every single day. At the end of 10, 15 days, you would just be amazed at how far you have come and what you’ve accomplished. So don’t start with everything at once. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make out a list, start small, and just stay productive.
Your second question is “As a new blogger, I’m struggling with being able to write epic stuff. What is epic stuff exactly?” Well, that is so niche-specific and that is why it’s so important for us to really focus on a niche, because if we don’t narrow down what we’re focusing on, Katie, then we just end up trying to become a master at everything and end up being a master at nothing. So my advice is this. Whatever your niche is, keep it as small as possible. That makes it very easy to become a subject matter expert at it, and once you do, just go overboard. Really just deliver unbelievable content that you as an expert have the knowledge on and stuff that you know that people who are not an expert in would want to find out.
Then your third question is “As an expat that lives abroad in Mexico, I’m struggling to find like-minded individuals in businesses that help me grow. I’m just beginning to learn that there are resources that are available on the net. Which resources are worth paying for and which ones are hype?”
Well, that’s a great question and I’ll tell you, the thing is right now, Katie, there are so much just available online for free right now that you really need to think twice before you’re paying for something because a lot of people are giving away great content because that is such a value to their community. Just like these podcasts are free, there’s other things out there that are going to provide you great value at a free or very cheap level. So make sure you are definitely doing your due diligence before you’re really putting down any kind of a sizable amount of money.
Number two, you should be reaching out there and finding like-minded individuals to become in a mastermind with. With Google Hangout, with webinars, everything along those lines, it is so easy to get out there and to find just these people that share these passions with you that are going to keep you accountable for what you need to be doing. Spurring you on, and then supporting you when you do actually launch. For me, I’m part of a podcast mastermind. So when I first launched EntrepreneurOnFire, I immediately had a huge support system that came and gave me ratings and reviews that helped boost my rankings. They listened to my podcast and told their friends. Starting strong in podcasting is so important and they made that possible. So get into a mastermind. That’s one reason why I have created “Ignite,” which is an elite mastermind for entrepreneurs. It’s a very special place. It’s only for people who are really ready just to focus on that elite level. So find something like that, Katie, in your niche and make it happen.
This next question is from Dean Patino. It’s kind of a long one so I’m going to paraphrase slightly, but basically what he’s asking for is there’s so much out there right now with podcasts and Twitter and websites and LinkedIn. He wants to know, is there a specific order to get these things in? He ends by saying, “Essentially, I’m looking for a checklist. Today, there are many great resources, but they don’t necessarily explain the order at which people should leverage time and why. Perhaps it’s out there but I haven’t come across it. But if not, EntrepreneurOnFire could be the first to do this for all of us bursting at the seam. Thank you so much, John. Kind regards, Dean Patino.”
So Dean, these are great questions, and here’s my answer. You really want to focus on your platform. So the top of your priority list needs to be a website. That is something that you’re going to own, you’re going to create. That content is yours. That’s where people should congregate and that’s where you should be based out of. From that point, you can move outwards into social media. Now, this is only after you’ve established your website, and I would go in this order. I think Facebook is a great place right now. They’re really courting businesses and doing good things for businesses with their fan pages as another place for fans to flock to. So Facebook is great.
I would follow Facebook with a distant Twitter account. You need to have that on your radar, but it’s not a priority. LinkedIn is even further down the line. Pinterest is still a distant, distant last place. Although I will say in some niches, especially in the ones where you need a lot of visual items for whatever reason, Pinterest can be good, but that is still my order. I would put a podcast extremely high in that list personally, but podcast is not exactly social media. It’s just a great way to get out there and to talk and to establish yourself as an authority figure. So I would actually slide podcasting in as the third.
I think that focus on your website. Once you have that down, establish a Facebook network. Then if you’re ready and willing, put a podcast out there. Just do it once a week. Get out there. Talk about your niche, because I guarantee you, not a lot of people are doing that right now, so you’ll be very easily able to separate yourself that way. Get on the New and Noteworthy on iTunes, which a lot of people are searching for. That’s my suggestion, Dean. Go at it in that order. Thank you for the suggestion about the checklist. I’m definitely going to put that on my to do list. Best of luck. Keep us updated.
This next question is from Cycles. “Hi, John. Great podcast. I’m addicted. Whatever will I do if you stop doing an interview a day? I’m struggling with how much money to put into my blog, and by the end of the year, my podcast. It’s one thing when it’s a hobby, but this can soon be an expensive pursuit before it breaks even. So here’s the struggle. How much do you spend starting things up? How much did you spend? What’s a reasonable amount to stash away to pour into the bootstrap business startup, and how long before we start to see cash flow coming the other way? Best to you, Cycles.”
So Cycles, these are all great and valid questions, and I will be as transparent as possible with all of Fire Nation. My goal was to do EntrepreneurOnFire as well as I possibly could. So I was willing to pour in some savings that I had into this company. All in all, between web design, all the coaching that I’ve received, extra resources that I really did not need to have, but I just wanted to have, I have put in between $15,000 to $20,000 in EntrepreneurOnFire. Now, that is an honest number. There is absolutely no need to put in anywhere near that much money to start things up. You can do things for much, much cheaper, but I was looking to build as high a quality model as quickly as possible, and that does take some money. If you just wanted to be completely bootstrapped, you could have done this for definitely under $2,000.
So you listed out costs as you see them. Let me go through with these right now and tell you about what you should be paying. Self-hosting – I recommend on my resources page at EntrepreneurOnFire.com/resources, HostGator. They’re great, they’re 5 to 10 bucks a month at most, depending on what plan you go with. It’s very, very inexpensive. Domain names – you can go through HostGator for your domain name, you can go to GoDaddy. That’s going to be about $10 a year. Premium themes – you do not have to go with a paid for theme. That is not necessary. I did. I go with PageLines and I use Thesis Theme as well. Those cost about $150 each. Opt-in or equivalent – that would be an AWeber or a MailChimp is what I use for my email opt-in, and that does run you about $19 or $20 a month. Logos – go to Fiverr.com and find an artist that’s willing to make a logo for you for five bucks. They’re out there, there are talented people. It can be done. Transcription services – that’s very expensive. You’re not going to be able to get around that. I have a fulltime VA that does that. It costs me somewhere between $80 to $100 a week to do transcription services. That’s way on the low end too. I just searched high and low for a good transcriber. So I would not recommend going that route if you’re trying to bootstrap.
Mastermind groups – these can range from anywhere. If you’re going to be in one that’s sponsored by somebody that’s doing a lot of good things for you and bringing on guest speakers and providing resources and all of those things like my mastermind “Ignite” that I provide for the elite mastermind member, that’s going to cost you a couple hundred dollars a month, but there are definitely ones out there that are just not nearly as expensive and there’s ones that are free. But again, your mastermind is only going to be as good as the people that are in it. So if you need to start in the low end, go find some people that want to be in a mastermind and make it happen. Coaching – again, this is not going to be cheap. You get what you pay for. You’re going to be spending $1,000+ a month on a good coach. That’s just the going rate for a coach and that’s going to involve a couple of sessions. That’s why I knew that Ignite, my mastermind, was going to provide a lot of people with a much more affordable way to get access to coaches, to mentors’ time. Time is money, and you need to spend time finding affiliates and joining stuff like ClickBank and what do you value your time at? For me, I value my time pretty highly, but to me it’s an investment on the future.
Ongoing virtual assistants – I have three fulltime virtual assistants. Each one, I pay $500 a month to work 40 hours a week for me. They’re all from the Philippines. It’s a huge, huge pay raise for all of them. They could not be happier. They love what they do. They’re so involved, they’re so loyal. They are so hardworking, they’re so dedicated. I couldn’t speak more highly of my VAs. If you are able to go out there and get VAs and pay them that kind of money – the $500 a month – you are truly improving their quality of life because that kind of paycheck does not exist in the Philippines anywhere else. Equipment – that’s one place where I really did spend a lot of money. I spent about $3,000 to $4,000 on my equipment because I really wanted to provide my listeners with the highest quality audio possible.
Then the other not thought of costs – these definitely add up, Cycles. I’m telling you, there are a lot of things that come up every single day. I seem to always be joining these different special webinars that are costing $100 here, $100 there. I’ve been going to conferences and different meet-ups, and these things all cost money. So in summation, I really just do want to make it clear that you can do something like this for a couple hundred dollars a month if you really, really want to be bootstrapping. That is totally a great way to do it. Many people have grown from there.
I took at it as an immediate fulltime route. I had the savings which I wanted to invest and I did invest, and that’s why I’ve gone to where I have so quickly, but everybody needs to take their own path here. I hope that my transparency here helped you out, Cycles. I hope it helps the rest of Fire Nation listeners. Any more questions coming along these lines, I will be happy to answer them as honestly as possible.
This next question comes from Eric Woodchek from Imaging Spectrum Inc. His website is imagingspectrum.com. “Hi, John. I’m new to podcast, but I’ve already learned a lot and rekindled some fire in my entrepreneurial belly. Here’s what I’m struggling with. I head up marketing for a small company that I own with my two brothers. My struggle is finding time to implement all the great marketing ideas that our team comes up with. I’ve tried Elance, which was inconsistent. Boutique marketing firms, too expensive and too much drama. And now I’m looking to build a small in-house creative team, finding time to find the right candidates to stuff. Anyway, that’s my struggle. I know I’m not the only one so I’ll look forward to hearing how others address this area. Thanks and keep up the great work. Eric.”
Eric, this is a great question, and I’m just going to answer this from one angle – my angle, the way that I would approach this. I’m telling you, there is an unbelievable field of talent across the sea in the Philippines to hire virtual assistants in this area that will do great work for you. They will work the hours you want to work and you will find them to be extremely affordable. I pay mine $500 a month, and that is above the average and they are ecstatic with that kind of paycheck. They are very loyal, they are very hardworking and they are quick to adapt. English comes very naturally to them, and they just really do great work. I would truly recommend to do this.
Go to my resources page, EntrepreneurOnFire.com/resources. Scroll down to Virtual Staff Finder. Click on that link. You are going to be taken to the Virtual Staff Finder page where you can actually fill out exactly what you’re looking for. These are people with their feet on the ground. The owner of the company’s name is Chris Ducker. He’s from England. He moved over to the Philippines and set up shop there. He and his team go out. They find the right candidates for you and make sure that everything is good about where they’re at, that they fit your specifications. They interview them, and then they come back to you with three great candidates that specifically fit your request and your needs. So that takes away the time of having to scroll through tens of thousands of faceless resumes and you are just presented with three people who have been vetted by Chris Ducker and his company, Virtual Staff Finder. The fee is about $400 to do that, but it’s so much worth your time and effort to get these candidates. You can hire one, two or all three of them, and you have a bunch of virtual assistants that are skilled in the areas you’re looking for them to do, ready to work. I’m not sure if that’s exactly the angle that you’re looking to come from, but that’s what I would do if I was in your situation due to the experience that I’ve had, which has been great.
This last question is from Matthew P. Ludwick. “Hey, John. The weekly scheduling of my time and running multiple businesses has always been a challenge, managing chunks of time throughout each week, assigning to specific businesses and/or operations to be most effective.”
Matt, this is a challenge that every business goes through, small or large. My recommendation to you is to find a project task manager that works. I’m going to give you a couple that I would definitely recommend implementing as soon as possible. One is Basecamp. It’s run by the 37signals guys, Jason Fried. Awesome, awesome software to really get you and all of your different teams on the same page. Another free one is called “Asana.” That is a great free project management system that will take it to the next level. You can assign tasks. You can have them updated, crossed off, cross-referenced and what have you. You need to take a couple of minutes to really learn these programs and become a master of them. It doesn’t take long, but once you do, the amount of time, resources and effort that it will save you will be incredible.
I hope that was helpful, and Fire Nation, that wraps it up for today. I really hope that you enjoyed the Question and Answer session that we had. I’m trying to keep these at no more than 20 minutes. I definitely have a lot of questions, so if I didn’t get to yours, I am sorry, but hopefully next week, maybe even tomorrow. Until then, Fire Nation, prepare to ignite.
VO: Thank you so much for joining us today. Be sure to go to EOFire.com and subscribe to Fire Nation for the fantastic gifts we have waiting for you, Mr. or Mrs. Entrepreneur. Until next time, prepare to ignite.
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