John Lee Dumas: EntrepreneurOnFire’s Weekend Jam Session, Episode 6.
VO: Welcome to EntrepreneurOnFire’s Weekend Jam Session with your host, John Lee Dumas. Prepare to ignite!
John Lee Dumas: Hey, Fire Nation! Welcome to another Question and Answer Weekend Jam Session. I’m so glad you joined us. We have some great questions coming up, so let’s just get launched. “John, I love your podcast and I listen to it all the time. I’ve been dealing with real estate for some time now and I have recently started a blog teaching people how to flip houses. I’ve been utilizing VAs in my business for real estate and I found it interesting that you also use them. My question is how were you able to train your VAs to work your social media for you? Mike Nelson.” His website is www.wholesalinghouses101.com.
Well, Mike, this is a great question about virtual assistants and I have some very actionable advice for you. I personally went to Virtual Staff Finder. You can find them on my resources page at EntrepreneurOnFire.com/resources. What they do for you is that they actually go out and find three specific VAs that fit your needs. So I specifically requested three VAs that had social media skills. So they went out, they vetted the virtual assistants out in the Philippines who all had good quality social media skills that fit exactly what I was looking for, brought them back to me. I was able to interview them over Skype and over email and really continue the vetting process on my own, and then hire the ones that I actually thought would be a good fit for my program. So that’s my recommendation. Go to a service that you can actually rely on that will provide you with legitimate VAs who have resumes, who have past working experiences that can be vetted by an organization so that you know they have a good living environment, a stable Internet connection, and you can really make them part of a valuable team.
Then to train them, again, on my resources page, you can go and you can find ScreenFlow, and you can also find Camtasia. What these products do is they actually record your screen as you are going through it, so if you want to teach them any task to do, just record it once, and then email that recording to them and they’ll be able to very, very quickly learn exactly how to do exactly what you’re requesting them to do. You’ll be surprised, A, how quickly they pick it up, and B, how quickly they’re using their ingenuity to start teaching you things. I’m telling you, my VAs are so talented. They do some amazing things. I could not be more positive. Give them the tools, and they will do the rest.
My next question is from another guy in the real estate industry. His name is Michael from Property People Painting. “John, I want to expand my painting business into a home remodeling business. I know a handful of people who want to diversify their portfolios into real estate investments. What would be a good way for me to pull the money together, invest it in real estate and use my company to rehab the properties to increase their value and have the highest returns for all? I would like to acquire some ownership stake in the process for facilitating the venture, along with the cost of rehabbing the properties. I would like a short term strategy of renting the properties while the rental rates are high. The extra strategy would be to sell the properties when their value reaches a certain mark. Thank you. Michael.”
Michael, this is a very specific question, very real estate-related. So I went out into the community, brought back my good friend, my brother-in-law, Justin Lamontagne. He is a commercial broker for the Dunham Group based out of Portland, Maine. He gave us a great answer. Let me just launch into his words. “Events like that starts with trust. Your investors have to know and trust you, your work and ability to provide a reasonable return on their investment. So I’d start by clearly defining who you are, what your role is and what type of entity you’re creating – a limited partnership, an LLC, a REIT or whatever – so that you can raise capital. Secondly, you need to hit the ground and find properties with upside. Talk to local brokers, auctioneers, bankers, lawyers, and always be on the lookout for the opportunity. The secret to success in real estate is really no secret. It’s location. The trick for you will be to identify something within budget in a quality location that you can add value to. You can then carry the property at a higher rental rate and ultimately sell their premium when the market fully stabilizes. It’ll take great entrepreneurial fortitude and spirit to pull it off, but it sounds like you’re asking the right questions or heading in the right direction. Good luck.”
Guys, that is some amazing advice from a very experienced and successful commercial broker, Justin Lamontagne. Please feel free to reach out to him. His email is email@example.com. Ask him another question along the real estate lines if you have one or just bug him to start a podcast about real estate in general because this guy has a wealth of information that really should be shared with the world. So get him on the airwaves, get him on iTunes, guys. He deserves to be there.
My next question is from Matt Hoates. “Hi, John. Keep it up. I’m loving all these podcasts. As Darren Hardy says in The Compound Effect, they are really filling up my mind with clean and clear water for the day. Speaking of Darren Hardy, he would be a great interview to land.” I definitely agree with you, Matt. “Also, in his book he talks about peak performance partners. Could the mastermind community that you are building provide the service to match partners together? I think this could be based on business type and how far along you are in your business. This would be extremely helpful to me because it can be difficult to find someone that’s at a similar place in terms of experience.”
Matt, you brought up a number of great points here. It is so difficult to find like-minded entrepreneurs that are going to improve you as a person, as an entrepreneur, and really challenge you to push your limits and to hold you accountable. All those things are so important, and that’s why masterminds are so important. Ignite is truly my baby and I’m looking to build that into something extremely special. Whoever gets in in the ground floor with me are going to have a huge part in creating exactly how Ignite, my elite mastermind membership program, fleshes out. As of right now, the sky is the limit, the future is unwritten. Everything you said is extremely important. I could not be a bigger fan of masterminds. I’m in a great one right now. That’s why I want to focus a lot of my energy on Ignite. So tune in everybody. Go to ignitemastermind.com. Check it out. Get on our list. Inquire about it. There are a lot of good things going on. We’re going to have a lot of fun and build a great community.
This next question is from another Matt. It’s kind of long, so I’m just going to buzz right through it. “Hi, John. First off, I’m loving the show. Right now, I’m struggling with the naming of my business and the logo design. I’ve got the podcast name and the overall format decided, but the name I will use to register the business, I’m struggling with. Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on something that many users and customers will not see or pay much attention to. Also, I’ve used resources like LogoBee in the past, but they’re pricey. I’ve checked out Fiverr.com and the examples many people have don’t completely wow me. I thought about the possibility of doing a logo myself. How important do you view the logo and other graphics versus the content itself? What are some guidelines you would suggest for the logo? Should I have a picture of myself in the logo similar to yours? I’ve seen many abstract logos and title cards used for blogs and podcasts, and as long as they look fresh and distinct, I generally like them. Do you have a checklist I can follow when developing my logo? Thanks, Matt.”
Matt, this is a great question, and let me just start at the very beginning. A lot of entrepreneurs get hung up on things that don’t matter at the start. Now by don’t matter, I mean they don’t matter as far as you can’t let them stop you from starting. Those things are logos and names. You should honestly be putting one foot in front of the other right now every single day and moving yourself forward and not getting hung up on anything as you just charge forward. That being said, you do need to put due diligence and time and effort into your name and logo because those things are important. They represent you and your brand, but that can develop over time. You can still take the first six months to fully develop your name and fully develop your brand, and you need to realize that that is going to be what represents you and your company so it has to be impressive, but at the same time, it can’t stop you from moving forward. You need to get that momentum going and go forward. My logo has already changed since I launched just a month ago. I have adjusted it to look a little different, to give it a little more personality, to give it a little more me, a little more John persona. So that’s my advice to you. Pick a name. Grab a logo from Fiverr.com. It doesn’t have to wow you. Move forward. Get some feedback. Be willing to change it, but just don’t let it hold you up. Go forward with everything. Make sure you start the trademarking process now with your name. Make sure you just get a logo that is clean and clear and precise, and move forward and know that you can just over time.
Our next question comes from our good friend, Joel Hawkins from Market Street Soap Works, which is marketstreetsoapworks.com. His question basically says “Are there any quality free or low cost services out there for small businesses? I’m currently using SCORE and SBDC in my area.”
Joel really wants to keep expenses as low as possible, and I commend him for that. That is so important when you’re starting out as an entrepreneur. You have to keep that runway as long as possible because you do not want to go into more debt than is necessary. So bootstrap, keep it lean, keep everything low. A great example of this is MailChimp. Your first 500 subscribers are free. So you can start with this great opt-in service. Until you reach 500 subscribers, you don’t have to pay anything. So just make sure you start. Get your feet wet. Be moving forward. Then when you do need to move into a paid service, really vet things out and make sure you’re going with the highest quality, lowest priced available option.
My next question is from Allan [Slowes]. Hey, John. Thanks for the message and I love your podcast. My greatest struggle at the moment is narrowing down all the ideas I have to one thing I need to focus on. What is the one project I should focus on now? What should I research and put my energy towards? I find it very hard to pick one thing, especially with all the responsibilities as a father, husband and active church member. I love your podcast and it gives me a lot of resources and contacts when I’m having trouble keeping up. You must work very hard to deliver five interviews a week, but I find it very difficult to listen to all of them and take notes and research all the things that are mentioned. Do you have any tips to help with this? Keep doing what you’re doing. Many of us really appreciate all your hard work. Allan.”
Allan, great stuff. First of all, yes, I definitely do work very hard to deliver five podcasts, and now seven with this Question and Answer session, but it’s work of passion and the feedback that I get more than makes it worthwhile. So thank you for your question. This is my tip. Listen, don’t focus with just trying to consume too much. You just need to focus on consuming what you can, when you can, and make sure you’re being efficient with your time. What are you doing when you’re driving to work? What are you doing when you’re working out or walking the dog? Use that time to consume this stuff so you’re not consuming this stuff when you could be doing other things.
Again, there are only certain things that you need to be focusing on within each podcast as it applies to you. So decide what your passion is and decide what a viable business is, and where those two things meet, there’s going to be a viable business in there. Then once you figure that out, then you push forward and just focus on that, and I mean really focus. Start with a website, and then just move forward from there. You’ll find that once you actually have an idea and you can just focus towards that, everything else falls by the wayside and you need to tune out all that excess noise.
For me, when I decided to start a podcast, I didn’t let anything else get in my way. I just focused on starting the podcast, and then once I got that going, I started incorporating the other parts of the business. So one step at a time. I can’t tell you exactly what to focus on because I don’t know where your passions are and I don’t know where that would make a viable business. So again, just take some time, figure that out, and then start taking steps to make that happen.
Our next question is from Kelly [Alford]. “John, right now my biggest problem is getting started. I’m getting fired up just listening to podcasts from EntrepreneurOnFire, Smart Passive Income and Internet Business Mastery among others, and I’m just lost in the huge amount of information I’m consuming every day. I’ve set for myself a deadline of replacing my income from the overnight factory job I currently have with income from more passive sources by January 1st, but I don’t know where to start. I need help. Truest regards, Kelly. P.S. I only make $12 per hour and I’ve consumed enough info to know it’s possible.”
Kelly, absolutely, it is possible. I’m going to have to refer back to my last answer that I just gave Allan. You really truly just need to focus. You need to just really set a specific amount of time that you’re consuming information. You’re probably spending way too much time consuming and not enough time doing. So you need to limit your podcast listening, you need to limit your reading of different blogs on websites to one hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half a day, and then spend the rest of your free time actually putting a plan together and taking steps forward. You can only consume so much. You need to actually put it into action. Think of it like consuming the content as like eating food. You need to do that, but you need to get out and exercise or you’ll just get fat. That’s my analogy. Consume a legitimate amount, but not too much, and then get out there and exercise so you can stay lean, mean and hungry, and believe me, believe me, you can make it happen.
The next question comes from Eric Philips. “Good afternoon, John. I’m currently struggling with identifying the niche that’s right for me. This is in terms of interest, possibility and stability. I have tons of methods for finding niches and I’m good at that, but finding the one that I’m willing to put my all into is extremely difficult. Thanks, Eric.”
Fire Nation, we’ve definitely been having a theme in this Question and Answer session, and Eric, this is a great question. So besides referring back to my last two answers, I’m going to ask Fire Nation to do this. This is a visual exercise. Visually draw two circles that intersect. In one circle you’re going to write down everything that you love about your niche that you’ve decided to choose. In the other circle, you’re going to write down all the ways to make money in that niche. And then in the space where those two circles overlap, so the combination of both of those circles, write those things that you like, and that can make money, in that middle section. Then once you have that list of things that you’re actually passionate about in your list and the things that you can make money with in that list, then start looking on what you want to focus on.
So for instance, for me, on my circle of things that I loved about entrepreneurship, I loved talking to entrepreneurs, I loved getting great ideas and I loved helping to educate people, and those are all things that I put into one side and it just made a lot of sense to create a daily podcast of interviewing today’s most inspiring and successful entrepreneurs. And then ways to make money. Well, that would be through membership sites, through affiliate marketing, through products that I’m recommending, potential sponsorships. I’ve already been approached by Audible.com to sponsor EntrepreneurOnFire. So there are ways to make money. And so those things are some things that overlapped with things that I enjoyed about entrepreneurship and podcasting, and then ways to make money. So that’s what I’m focusing on. That’s what you need to do. You need to focus on a niche, and then find what you love about it and what you can make money in it, and then focus on that part of your niche. Best of luck.
So this next question is from John Lightfoot of LED Bulbs UK. Their website is www.ledbulbsuk.co.uk. His question is “Hi, John. I’m helping my wife set up an e-commerce store here in the UK selling energy-efficient LED light bulbs. When commissioned, the website had very few competitor retails online selling these products, but by the time our web developer got us up and running – and this took so long – quite a few more had entered the market. Our problem has been to find a decent SEO company to cart away to the top of the search engines and how to differentiate ourselves. We have found a decent SEO company, but the proof is in the eating. We are trying to differentiate ourselves by being a family-friendly store, just like the one that used to be in our neighborhood. So the problems are getting to page one of the search engines for small e-commerce sites, and also finding effective ways to differentiate ourselves. Great podcast, by the way. Regards, John.”
John, these are some great questions. Every company struggles with these. I would love to refer you to two of my podcasts specifically. The one with Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, and the other one with Erica Douglass of Whoosh Traffic. Those were two amazing podcasts with two amazing SEO experts. Both of those companies – Whoosh Traffic and SEOmoz – are leaders in their industry about SEO, and the one that they will tell you over and over again, they would all tell you right now, is it truly always does come down to content. You need to provide as much content as possible on your site. Relevant, powerful content that’s shareable, that will get you links from expert sites, from relevant sites, and you just can’t try these cheap backlinking strategies. They don’t work anymore. Google is too smart, which we should in reality be happy for because no longer do you have to be worried about some scammers coming on and just finding a way to get to the top of Google with some crappy website. Now you have to be a legitimate business with legitimate content. So focus on the content. If your SEO company is telling you anything different, listen to those two podcasts that I produced with Rand Fishkin and Erica Douglass. You will hear what are the best practices in the industry and you’ll be happy you did.
This next question is from Samantha Martin, the founder and director of The Traveling Advisor. Her website is www.thetravelingadvisor.com. “Hi, John. Thanks for the opportunity to be connected to a community of entrepreneurs. I recently launched my website and business about eight weeks ago and I am struggling to decipher how to reach my target audience to test my concepts. Some people suggest really focusing on SEO. Others say building a personal network, etcetera. I understand that there’s no silver bullet and it is all of the above, but with a one-woman shop, sometimes it is difficult to know which direction to invest my time and limited resources. Thoughts? Thanks. Samantha.”
Samantha, great question! First of all, if you’ve been listening, the last answer will really be of help to you. Go back and listen to both of those podcasts about SEO and you will realize that building a personal network and SEO really are one and the same. You need to focus on content as much as possible. Develop great content about traveling, about advising traveling, comment on different traveling forums, linking back to your site, try to write guest posts for your industry leaders. Find industry leaders and other niches. Maybe like a food niche in say Italy where you can write for them about people that would be traveling to that place in Italy and they might want to eat there. So you need to find creative ways to think outside of the box to get connected with other industry leaders because that is extremely important. Build a community, build a forum, have people interact with you, and you will definitely see your business rise. Best of luck, Samantha. I really like what you’re doing, and I hope you have the determination to make it through the tough spots, and there will always be tough spots.
So Fire Nation, this concludes yet another Question and Answer Jam Session. I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Keep those great questions coming. Make sure you’re giving me your name, your business, your website. These Weekend Jam Sessions are driving great traffic to websites, so make sure you’re promoting yourself. This is what we’re doing here at Fire Nation. We are promoting each other’s businesses, we’re looking to build the entrepreneurial sphere in everybody and have as many people succeed as possibly as you can. So enjoy your next podcast of EntrepreneurOnFire. I’m sure it’s going to be with a great entrepreneur. Until next time, 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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