December 16, 2012 Weekend Jam Session
John Lee Dumas: Alright, Fire Nation! Welcome to another Weekend Jam Session where you ask, I answer to the best of my abilities, and where I can’t, I bring in experts from the outside to answer your questions. We’re going to start this show off a little different. I’m going to call it “The Best Review Segment.” Now, if you really enjoy EntrepreneurOnFire, it warms my heart when you go and you leave a 5 star rating and review in iTunes. It really helps with the exposure of the show. It helps EntrepreneurOnFire continue to climb the rankings in iTunes. So it really means a lot to me, Fire Nation. Every now and then, I just get an insanely fun or different review, so I’m going to start sharing those on the Weekend Jam Session.
The one that I’m going to share today is by Jeff from [Renovati]. I can immediately see that it is a 5 star rating, but the title line was “Warning!” so I definitely was curious as to what he was going to say. “I noticed there are an abundance of 5 star reviews around here. Praises abound. I see terms like “amazing” and “inspiring” and “best” brandished about. That’s why I feel like it’s my duty to deliver a cautionary tale. Call it my public service announcement, if you like. If you drink the Kool-Aid and subscribe to EntrepreneurOnFire, be very, very careful. You’ve just taken the first step towards the edge of a slippery slope, my friend. John Lee Dumas is a conspirator. He pushes valuable actionable content to you every day. Your Stitcher stream or podcast playlist will be so full of nicely packaged, palpably timed interviews, that the rest of your podcast life will suffer. His guest list will slam into your veins with the addictive qualities greater than the latest designer drug. You’ll abandon old friends and podcast families just to make room for your next hit of EOFire. My advice to you, don’t listen to even the first syllable of EntrepreneurOnFire until you are literally ready to burn. Good job, John! Keep it up!”
Man, Jeff! Just like being an entrepreneur is a rollercoaster, this review is a rollercoaster. I just had no idea where you’re going, but I love where you ended up. So thank you for the great review, Jeff. It’s a great start to EntrepreneurOnFire’s Best Reviews Segment.
Alright, Fire Nation. Let’s kick it into the questions. The first question is from Nate [Guvia]. “Hey, John. Is a membership site good for a local service-based business? I’ve just created a smoothies delivery service that delivers custom made smoothies to your door or office every morning.” Wow! Can I order one right now, Nate? [Laughs] “If not a membership site, what’s the best site for a locally-based business? Thanks, brother. Happiest of thanks, and I owe you a ton of them.”
Well, Nate, thank you for listening. Thank you for engaging, and let me answer your question. I don’t think a membership site is specifically what you need to be looking for. You should be looking to create an open site that involves the community. Your site needs to be a place where people are going in your community for stuff that’s relevant to your business. There are definitely people that are passionate about smoothies in your area and you need to get them to flock to your website, have them create different flavors and “Smoothie Days” at the office so they get their bosses to buy them for them so you can bring in a bulk order to an office and have “Smoothie Day.” That’s just a great way for an office manager to pick it up a little bit at the office. So you should be delivering promotions to different businesses around, offering maybe a 5% or 10% bulk discount for “Nate’s Smoothie Days.” I really want you to focus on Yelp. Get your business on Yelp.com, and then really reach out to people and ask for reviews so when people are going to Yelp and they’re searching for smoothies, your business or your name is coming up and there’s awesome reviews about it. Yelp is a great resource that most local businesses don’t use, although Yelp is specifically for local businesses. I hope that helps, Nate.
The next question is from [Gareth] Brown. I hope that I’m pronouncing your name correctly, [Gareth]. “Hi, John. Love the podcast. Some great insightful content in every single one event. Thank you. Something I haven’t heard you discuss is how you protect your own idea. I am working on a project, but I’m extremely concerned that as soon as I convert my vision into reality, it will be stolen by other businesses. I make it to market first, but won’t be able to compete against larger businesses. Do you have any suggestions on how to protect your online product? Many thanks, [Gareth].”
[Gareth], there are a couple lines of thinking in regards to this subject and I’m going to give you both, and then I’m going to give you my honest opinion. The first line of thinking is you do need to be taking the proper steps. I don’t know what this project you’re working on is, but if there are patents that can be obtained, if there are copyrights or trademarks that can be obtained, you should be doing these things, and you can simply google “trademark, copyright, patents” on Google and figure out exactly the next step that you need to take in your state, in your country, for your product.
Another point that I do want to bring up – and I’m just going to go ahead and say that this is the side that I’m on – so many of the most successful entrepreneurs that I’ve talked to, the Barbara Corcorans of the world, the Gary Vaynerchuks, they say time and time again, “John, I am always having people contacting me and saying, ‘Will you please sign a nondisclosure before we talk because I’m scared of my idea or product or service being stolen?’” And time and time again, these incredibly successful entrepreneurs say, “John, when I hear that, I know that people are paralyzed to move. I know that they’re scared to act and I know that they’re looking at it the wrong way.” In their experience, if it really is a great idea, it needs to be shoved down the throat of your competitors or potential competitors before they make that realization. If your product or idea or vision hasn’t been proven in the marketplace yet, believe me, these businesses, these competitors that you’re envisioning are too busy and wrapped up in what they’re doing to take some flyer on some other vision or project that hasn’t been proven yet, and if you come out and create an incredibly high valued product, you will be too far ahead of them to catch up any time in the foreseeable future. So [Gareth], stop using excuses to hold you back. You need to get out there, launch your product, start getting feedback from customers, continue to improve it, put your blood, sweat and tears in it, don’t be paralyzed by these unfounded fears that every entrepreneur with a good idea seems to have and just go, just move, just start that ball rolling.
The next question is from John Lane, and his subject was “Theme and Promotion.” “Hey, John. Where can I get some free or cheap theme music for my podcast and how can I get a voiceover or someone to advertise my show like you have at the beginning of your podcast?” Well, John, get out your pen, get out your pencil. Get your fingers ready to type. Here’s a couple great resources. For theme music, MusicBakery.com and Pond5.com. Those are my two favorites. Now neither one of them are free, but they’re both quite cheap. This music that you are buying becomes royalty-free so you are not going to be crossing any lines in any areas. So MusicBakery.com, Pond5.com. Pond5 also has some amazing sound effects that you can get – thunderbolts, lightning claps, cheering fans, a slow clap. Whatever you want, these two websites are great resources. As far as getting a voiceover, I personally use Voice123 and there’s also Voices.com. Both of those website are extremely good. They’re set up like 99designs, if anybody’s familiar with that, where you submit the words, and then you have 10 or 15 professional voice artists give it their best go, and then you choose who you want to work with. You pick that one person and you work with that one person until it’s perfect. That’s going to cost you between $100 to $200. If you want to go a cheaper route, and I definitely recommend this to start because it’s just a great way to go, Fiverr.com. You can get pretty much anything you want these days for $5 in the online world. It’s crazy but true. Check this website out. Use their search bar. Type in “voiceover.” You’re going to get a ton of people. You can listen to demos that they put on there, and if you like what you hear, go ahead and give it a try. It’s five bucks. I use it for my Weekend Jam Session. That English-sounding lady cost me $5 to do a voiceover to that music that I bought from MusicBakery.com. So I’m preaching what I’m using, brother. Check it out, let me know how it works for you, and best of luck!
This next question is from Bob. “Hello, John. Love your podcast. I think I’ve listened to all of them and I’m planning to listen from the beginning all over again. I wanted your recommendation on where to start looking for a virtual assistant. I can’t spend the $400 for someone to find me. I’m afraid it might not work out and lose the money, and it’s too much. My big issue is that my whole work revolves around me. I need help to learn how to delegate. Where do you suggest that I can start besides the one that you mentioned on your website? Are there others you recommend? I remember another guest you had offered a site where you can read all the applicants’ resumes. I really need help. Thanks. Bob.”
Well, Bob, the site that I’ve used and that is on EntrepreneurOnFire/resources is VirtualStaffFinder.com with my good friend, Chris Ducker. He’s a guy that moved over from London, started a company up in the Philippines, and for $400, they will go out and vet a ton of potential applicants in the exact areas that you want, and then they’ll present you with three highly qualified, professional virtual assistants. I’ve used it for all three of my virtual assistants. I’ve had extremely good success, but there is a $400 upfront fee. So if you can’t afford that, I would suggest going to oDesk or Elance.com. Both of which are on EntrepreneurOnFire.com/resources as well. So go to my resources page, check them out. You can read the resumes of the virtual assistants at those places. You can hire them at no upfront cost. Just whatever you agree to pay them. It’s a great service. Don’t worry about delegation at first. That’s just something that will come as you work with these people. Just get that ball rolling and you’ll figure it out along the way. Jump and that net will appear, Bob.
This next question is from Kim Franklin, the co-owner of Studio Sequoia at StudioSequoia.com. “Hey there, John. I absolutely love your podcast. It’s the first thing I listen to each morning so my mind is ignited with positive vibes for the entire day. I own a wedding, engagement and event photography company, Studio Sequoia, that has really taken off at a very fast and successful rate over the past year. My business partner and I work our tail feathers off between marketing, meetings with brides and photo shoots. At the moment, we are investing majority of our money back into the business to purchase expensive equipment like lenses, lighting, tripods, computer programs and camera bodies. Since the majority of our money is tied up at the moment getting all the gear we need, I was wondering if you had any tips or ideas as far as creative free or low cost marketing goes. Oftentimes, I find myself overwhelmed with all the social media streams out there and don’t know where to place my time and attention. At the moment, we focus on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Would it benefit us to go much beyond this or should I just focus all of my attention on a set number of social streams? By the way, I am beyond excited that you are going to be airing the Gary Vaynerchuk interview next Tuesday. I heard you make mention a while back that you interviewed him and I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for the day to come. Yay! You are such an amazing gift to the world of young entrepreneurs like myself. You really keep the fire and passion burning in us all. Keep up the stellar work, my friend.”
Well, Kim, thank you. Those are just kind words and I just love getting these stories from people who are out there working hard and making it happen, and man, you are doing all of those things. I checked out what you have going on and I really have to tell you this. You need to be focusing a vast majority of your time and effort that you can on Pinterest. Pinterest is where you need to be. You need to just learn how to master that one. Don’t worry about Twitter, don’t worry about Facebook if you don’t have the time for them. Your focus must be on the social media aspect of Pinterest. There are incredible things you can do with Pinterest now with pictures and videos and sharing, and people buy on Pinterest. They choose people to work with on Pinterest. Brides are going to Pinterest in huge numbers to find inspiration. If you’re that inspiration, believe me, they’re going to use you. Google Melanie Duncan, Pinterest and you will find incredible tips and hints and tricks to make your Pinterest page as great as possible.
I’m going to leave you with one phenomenal tip, and this is for all of Fire Nation. She was asking for a low cost or free way to potentially market her business, and I’m going to tell you a phenomenal one that I’ve used to incredible success to be featured in top flight magazines, blogs, on radio stations, on other podcasts, in books. You name it. Go to HelpAReporterOut.com. The acronym is HARO – HelpAReporterOut.com. Sign up and what you’re going to get is in your specific industry, you’re going to get three emails a day. These emails are going to be from journalists who are looking for stories in different industries, and if you find stories that apply to your industry, then you can click that button, reply to them, tell them how you apply to the story that they’re looking to write, and you’ll get mentioned in their article. Reporters are always looking for stories. That’s their job. Be there for them. Be the answer to that story. I’ve answered these HelpAReporterOut queries so many times, three times a day, any that apply to EntrepreneurOnFire, and as a result of that, as I alluded to earlier, I’ve been featured in huge blog posts, newspapers, magazines, podcasts, radio shows, all because I’m giving them exactly what they’re looking for. That’s a huge trick, Fire Nation. I really hope you use it for your business, and if you do, let me know how it works.
I’m going to end today with a couple great emails from just Fire Nation faithful. “Hey, John. A big congratulations on your continued phenomenal success. I couldn’t be happier for you and I’m glad I ran across your podcast from the get-go. Your interviews are awesome to begin with and they just keep getting better and better. Thank you so much for what you do. You have been an inspiration. Thanks to you I have rebuilt my website, PlayBaseballClassics.com, from scratch, switching from a Mac OS product named Hype to WordPress using PageLines. PageLines saved the day. It’s a great product because it’s so much more visual to use and comprehend than the other themes that I checked out. Thank you for listing them as a resource on your site and for mentioning them in one of your podcasts. Also, I changed my product line revenue model, and that has resulted in a few hundred dollars in a couple of weeks. Yet I’ve spent zero dollars on advertising to generate that. Thanks to listening to your podcast, I followed the advice of listening to my customers and changed from offering an eGame download only version to a full printed and shipped product. I price it high to ensure my profit margin was well worth the effort to move towards this model, and it has been a hit. My customers are asking for it and I made the switch.”
“Also, I added a blog, which has definitely helped out in getting my ranking in Google to the first page fairly consistently for the search terms that are important to my product. You had many guests that talked about their blogging and how it helped them in many ways. So again, thank you and I thank them as well. I could go on and on, John, though I still have much more to do and will keep you posted. Meanwhile, I’m working on another brand new venture that I plan to launch in January. That’s when I’ll reach out to you about your very cool podcast offering, PodPlatform.com. It’s going to be perfect to get my new idea moving in the right direction fast. I will write to you about it in January. Have a great “On Fire” day. Dean Patino of PlayBaseballClassics.com.”
Dean, I’m so glad that EntrepreneurOnFire can be of this big an inspiration to you and I hope it continues. This last email is from Jeremy, a Fire Nation faithful. “John, your podcast has inspired me. I’ve been trying to do these sorts of things for many years, but every time I tried in the past, I failed. I failed because they didn’t seem like they were working and I thought and felt like they would never work. Now, thanks in large part to your podcast, I’ve learned that my problem wasn’t in the ideas but the follow through. I mean, I always knew I had to follow through to succeed. I just never felt like I would succeed even if I followed through, and I was scared. I learned that nearly every – if not every entrepreneur – is scared at first. Your podcast helped me to overcome that fear and now I see a brighter future. I’m no longer afraid to follow my dreams because of you, seriously, man. I’ve read lots of books on how to start businesses and how to sell things. I’ve read The 4-Hour Workweek, Laptop Millionaire, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and many other books on business and entrepreneurship. I have the skills and the knowhow in my head because of all those books. However, I was never really able to lock on to my passion before. I was never able to really figure out that I could make money doing things I loved to do. I always felt like I would have to make money doing something I hated until I had enough money to go off and do what I loved.”
“I have a vision for the future and it’s beautiful. I am walking towards my dream nearly every day now. Last Saturday and Sunday, I decided to take a break from this entrepreneur stuff, but I found myself fooling around with my site and working on it. I couldn’t just not work on it. I love the idea and the idea of doing it so much, I love it already. I just hope I can create some great posts and really help some people. So anyway, sorry this email is getting long. I just want to let you know that you’ve helped out a lot. Your interviews have helped me overcome the fear hurdle and the bad concept that my ideas would never work. I finally started a blog I love and I think it’s a winner. You can check it out, StorySage.com. I didn’t write this email to plug myself though. I just felt that after saying all of that, I should give you the address so you can see what you’ve helped inspire. Anyway, looking forward to the mastermind group. Sincerely, Jeremy the Story Sage.”
Jeremy, Dean, all of Fire Nation, thank you guys so much for your support of what my dream and my passion is, which is sharing the story of successful entrepreneurs to help inspire every entrepreneur out there that wants to follow their passion and follow their dreams. Let’s finish out 2012 strong together, and then let’s all take focus on the beautiful opportunities that lie ahead in 2013.
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