The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 038 Corbett Barr

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The Entrepreneurs Radio Show 038 Corbett Barr

  1. 1. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 1 of 22 EPISODE #38: CORBETT BARR In this episode, Travis talk with successful entrepreneur and trusted adviser Corbett Barr. Corbett is the founder of the successful websites Think Traffic and Expert Enough, which have helped entrepreneurs over the years with ways on how to start-up or improve their business. Corbett's blogs have also garnered millions of viewers and established his presence in today's business and entrepreneurial world. Corbett and Travis shares valuable insight on how to use blogs to make a name for yourself and your business and to ensure that you'll have a long and faithful following that will last through the years. Also they've discussed The Pillars of a Thriving Audience Framework and ways to attract more traffic to your website is really helpful for entrepreneurs looking to improve their business. Corbett Barr – How to start a blog that grows your business Travis: Hey, it’s Travis Lane Jenkins, welcome episode number 38 of Diamonds in Your Own Backyard, the Entrepreneur's Radio Show, conversations with successful business owners that grow your business. Sandra, my co-host is still in the center of Daytona International Raceway. Sandra, as always, I know you're listening. Get back to us as soon as possible. Today we're talking about using a blog as a way to build a serious following, along with a variety of things that will help you take your business to the next level. So be sure and stay with us until the very end because I have a couple of things that I want to share with you, and I'll also tell you who I'm going to connect you within the next episode. Now if you enjoy these free podcast that we create for you, we would really appreciate it if you'd go to iTunes and post a comment, and rate the show. This would help us and instruct, and inspire more great entrepreneurs just like yourself. Now for some quick perspective on the show for our new friends that just joined us. I want you to think of this, I guess from this angle, from this perspective. Even though we're having conversations with some of the brightest entrepreneurs and brilliant thought leaders around, I want you to think of this as a conversation between four friends, me, Sandra when she's here, you, and then of course, our guest. Everyone that we're talking with has found success doing what they teach, and they want to help you by sharing what they've discovered.
  2. 2. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 2 of 22 Now normally, the only way to get this level of personal access to so many high level entrepreneurs beyond having your own show is to join a high level mastermind, go to seminars, go to events and build those relationships over several years. And now through the show, I'm super excited that we get to share these great people with you to fast-forward your connections and your success. So our guest today is Corbett Barr. Corbett is the founder of Think Traffic and Expert Enough. He has a flagship course called How to Start a Blog that Matters. Basically Corbett Barr helps people build cool stuff online. So without further ado, welcome to the show Corbett. Corbett: Thanks so much for having me on. Travis: You bet, thanks for taking your time out. Before we get into what you teach and some of the strategies with the blogs and the other things that you teach for marketing. Would you mind giving us kind of a background of how you got started in this business and how you found success? Corbett: Yeah, absolutely. I'd be happy to. I should tell you right now, I'm actually talking to you from Mexico, this is where my wife and I live every winter and we've done that for the past 5 winters or so. And that all started in early 2009, I was actually on a road trip sabbatical; it was sort of between gigs. The business that I'd built before was a venture capital back start-up in San Francisco and we had worked hard on that for a few years and in the financial crash during 2008, we were caught without revenue to keep the whole team together and weren't able to raise enough. So at that point I decided that instead of sort of jumping into the next opportunity, I really wanted to clear my head, sort of get away from the normal influences and really think about what I wanted to do next instead of just jumping in to something. So we set off on a road trip, and we packed our car with our dog, drove down from San Francisco, and stopped in a bunch of different places in Mexico. We basically just did a big loop tour of the country. And I didn't have any intention to start a new business while we were down here but something really interesting happened. To me, my view of the world had always been that either you were a diligent corporate worker and you try to climb the ladder, high enough that you could eventually retire early. Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, you're an entrepreneur, and you really fought hard, you maybe slept under your desk and just slaved away at your business forty hours a week for years until hopefully you could sell it for something. But while we were down here in Mexico, we kept meeting people who weren't rich or retired but some of them figured out ways, their careers work around their lives instead of the other way around. So these people were young and vibrant in their 20s and 30s and 40s, and they had figured out ways to live in a foreign country every year. So I started asking people a lot of questions and this new way of living really just sort of struck me because like I said, I had sort of 2 views in the past. And that really
  3. 3. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 3 of 22 inspired me to start blogging, early 2009, basically to just chronicle our trip, to tell the story of all these interesting people that we're meeting and also really to start asking myself, sort of publicly, out loud, a lot of really deep questions about the nature of work and life and the balance between the two. So I started blogging in early 2009 and found a lot of early success with that. In the first year of blogging I had over a half a million people stop by the site talking about and as we get deeper and deeper on it despite having this early successful blogging, the thing that most people struggled with when they were trying to build an online business that might be able to support them in this sort of lifestyle was that they weren't able to attract an audience, they just couldn't figure out how to actually attract people to their website. So at some point in later in 2009, after having the success with blogging and also after start-up and learning to drive, I decided to start a new site called Think Traffic which is all about how to build thriving audiences online and that's probably where you found me today, I assume Travis. Travis: Yeah. Well, also through recommendations, I'm in some masterminds and so people that I'm directly connected with recommend other people like yourself. And so yeah, I want to go back a little ways here. So, you look like you're a pretty young guy, how old are you? Corbett: 36. Travis: 36, okay. And so, did you say 2007, you had issues or challenges and lost your business with some type of text start-up or something? Corbett: Yeah, exactly. It was in late 2008 if you recall, everyone thought the world was imploding, it was the---and that was right about time we were looking to raise an additional round of venture capital financing and I didn't actually lose the business in that case but my co-founder and I were very much at odds over the future direction of the business, and the money that we were able to raise was a fraction of what we needed to do, everything we wanted to, and to keep the team together. And I learned something from that business, if you don't mind me just detouring for a second. I learned something like venture capital business which is, you know, that you build a prototype, you raise money, you hire a team, and you really just go all out trying to build something. And you end up having a board of advisers, a board of directors, investors, probably a co-founder, you have employees, you have an office, all of these different things. And in the end because I didn't really focus much of that business in terms of it doesn’t match into my lifestyle. In the end, it ended up feeling like I had more bosses and less control over my life than I did when I was just a regular corporate employee.
  4. 4. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 4 of 22 So when it came time to build this new business, and when I was on the sabbatical, those were things that were really top of mind for me. How can I build a business that allows me to live the lifestyle that I want to live now instead of giving up all of the control that I have. Travis: Yeah, and I think that's great perspective and from me I've always started businesses, I've started multiple businesses and I've always started them from a shoestring approach, bootstrapping and I think most people do, so that's a really interesting perspective. It sounded like you were using, for the lack of a better term, some of the start-up techniques. How old was this business in 2008? Corbett: About 3 years. Travis: About 3 years, and so this was something that was funded from the very beginning, is that correct? Corbett: No, not really. So my business partner and I had worked for close to a year building a prototype, and business plan and pitch stack, and all that sort of stuff. And we actually launched an initial version of this service and then started shopping around the venture capitalist and talk to dozens of them and eventually raised around just about a year after we started working together. In that way it was bootstrapped. I left my comfy, corporate job after a couple of months of working on this start-up. So for a good 9 months or so I was working sort of without a safety net. Travis: Yeah, and I think most, the majority, the large percentage of small business owners bootstrap that business all the way until they either make it or they don't. So how did you get the perspective or the wisdom to seek outside financing? Because I think that's an uncommon path for most entrepreneurs. Corbett: I think it depends on sort of which circles you're in and where you live because where we live in San Francisco, when we're not travelling or we're not in Mexico and where I was at the time when we built that business. It's actually more common in the tech world at least, in the software world, it's more common to raise outside financing than it is to bootstrap. Travis: Yeah, I agree with you. Great point. Corbett: ...for me there. Travis: Okay. So now, where's that business, are you still involved in that business or what happened with that business? Corbett: I haven't been involved since late 2008, since I decided to leave the venture basically and with some sort of agreement and then I just completely moved on and basically started from scratch. And this new business I'm running now which is really, as you said at the opening, based around a blog.
  5. 5. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 5 of 22 This new business has been entirely bootstrapped and it took a while to generate revenue from this but now we're at the point where we have revenue, I have 2 really great team members that I work with, and we are totally self-sustaining and haven't touch a dime of outside investment. So this is how, at this point I'm able to basically live and work from wherever in the world I want to as long as there's a good internet connection and enough inspiration. Travis: Right. Well most entrepreneurs are somewhat control freaks anyways, we--maybe control freak is an overstatement but a lot of times you go out on your own because you want to call the shots rather than be submitted to someone that is maybe less capable of doing less of a quality job, so that's a lot of the reason frustration leads many of us to say, "Heck, I want to do this on my own and I want to do a better job." So it really makes sense what you're saying, transitioning to having all of these people that are trying to call shots in your new business is a new form of control. It's almost trading one evil for another. I don't want to portray employers as evil, but I portray anyone that tells me what I have to do on a regular basis as evil, from an employee's standpoint. I'm unemployable as you probably are yourself, right? Corbett: Yeah, I feel the same way. I don't know, I could probably hold a job, I feel like I might be able to at this point but once you've gotten a taste of entrepreneurship and it's actually worked out, I cannot imagine any scenario in which I would want to go work for someone else at this point. Travis: Exactly. Me too, it's my own terms. I'm a go-getter but I want to get up and get going, I want do what I want to, when I want to do it, in the way that I want to do it. And that's what the majority of everybody listening has that same time of mind-set. Let's transition into something else that you told us about, your story there is in, something that kind of blows my mind, as in 2009 you start blogging and how you find that level of success, what were the numbers again when you started blogging again within the first year? Corbett: I ended up with a half-million visitors over the first year. Travis: How do you do that is it organic, is it SEO, is it 10 different things, what is it? Corbett: Well, and this is exactly, we strive to answer this question at Think Traffic every day. Why do some sites become massive success while the vast majority go almost completely unnoticed? Travis: And so, what's the answer? Corbett: The answer for me was a combination of things but it did not involve any SEO or really any sort of traffic tactics or anything like that. At the end of the day it really comes down to creating something of value and putting it out there in a way that's easily digestible and then connecting with as many people that have influence in that space as possible. And using the same people that has
  6. 6. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 6 of 22 influence in the space that you're in, is because, an audience doesn't come out of thin air; an audience has to come from somewhere already. That's why so many people focus on SEO because there are people, every second, thousands of them typing words into Google search box and that's, you can sort of filter people away from that to your site and that's the way to get traffic but there are so many people competing in that regard that I prefer simply to try to create really great value in a topic that you're passionate about. Go out and connect with other people that have influence in a way that eventually will lead to opportunities to draw from their audience. Travis: Interesting. Gary Halbert said the one advantage he would prefer to have over everything. If he could choose any one advantage is a hungry crowd and it sounds like to me that that's part of the formula, here is beyond creating, obviously creating something useful, but having a hungry crowd, people that are seeking quality advice or direction or insight on that topic is maybe a big piece of that? Corbett: It's huge, and frankly, part of that can be luck or part of it can be strategic in the beginning when you're sort of deciding what problem exists in the world that you might want to solve in order to create your business around, because at the end of the day, that's really what a business is, right? It's something that either solves a problem or addresses a need or desire for a group of people and does that in a compelling way. And so at the beginning when you're thinking about what problem you want solved or what need you want to address, the hungrier the audience and the sort of most inadequate audience in terms of being served. If you can find an audience that just isn't being served, they had a really strong problem and they're hungry for answers but they're not being served by anyone else then that's a gold mine. Travis: Right. Well you know, there's another underpinning here, Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz, we did an interview with him and he had wrote on something he calls serendipity, and it sounds to me like, and you're explanation that's a little bit of what’s going on there is you've got out and provided consistent value through a multiple of platforms of other people that are well-respected as well, and through that a series of dots start connecting and things start coming together. And obviously this is all under the premises of producing quality stuff that people are interested in. But does that serendipity angle, does that hit a note with you, do you agree with that? Corbett: Yeah, I mean, I guess serendipity sounds like luck to me, I don't know, I think there's a quote about luck being prepared and then being in the right place at the right time, that sort of thing. So definitely, there are people that are massive successes out there that have sites that are really, really huge and they were fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. And to what degree their decision making process had to do with that versus just pure serendipity or pure luck, it's hard to say.
  7. 7. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 7 of 22 Travis: Right. I think it's where hard work and preparation meet with good timing is the definition of luck, right, to most people. And I understand what you're saying that serendipity seems to weigh heavily on luck and while luck is involved, it's not the main ingredient. Let's go back a little bit. How long--now that's some pretty impressive numbers and I find a lot of people are not big readers, so how long before you start ramping up to this very impressive numbers of traffic, how long before you started finding success and monetizing that? Corbett: Well, here's the thing with blogging. A blog isn't a business and this is a big mistake that I think a lot of people in the beginning, or maybe not a mistake but it's just something that people have to learn and I wasn't an exception to that rule. I had to learn this as well. You start a blog and you attract an audience but the content that you're providing isn't naturally just going to monetize itself, so if you're going to be able to slap an ad on your blog and earn enough money to support yourself. Unless you have hundreds of millions in page views, not just in the low hundreds of thousands, or millions. So in my case and a lot of people's cases, you start a blog around the topic that you're passionate about, maybe it's about just in general, trying to change the world, find who you are. Travel and explore and open your mind and that sort of stuff. A lot of people blog about those sorts of topics. But as I blogged about that I started thinking, "Well, if I'm going to turn this into a business, what problem am I really solving for people?" And I also knew from past business experience that it's difficult to build a business quickly if your topic is very broad, right? It's much easier if you focus in on something and try to be known for that particular thing. So as I looked around and all the people that read my blog and these people were hungry to sort of create, to become self-employed and to venture out in the world and to be able to live the life that they wanted to live. The common problem that I saw for them was that they launched a website but weren't able to attract an audience, it just basically sat there. So without an audience, it's pretty difficult to create a successful online business. So that's where I decided to start a new site called Think Traffic, and again, the goal of Think Traffic is simply to ask that question over and over again. Why do some sites become massive successes while the vast majority go almost completely unnoticed. And not necessarily to have all of the answers myself. That's another big thing. I believe if you're trying to become an expert at something, you have to have a little humility as well and realize that you're not going to have all the answers. So your job isn't to try to provide them where they don't exist but maybe to bring in other opinions and other experts. So that's essentially what we do at Think Traffic.
  8. 8. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 8 of 22 Travis: Interesting. So you had this large readership and you had to shift gears and how you're going to monetize this as a business, pay the bills, right? And so, would you mind sharing what the transition was for you to start monetizing that, what did you have to do? Corbett: Absolutely. So when I conceived of Think Traffic and the problem that I was going to solve for people, I also thought about how can I deliver on that promise in a way that I can get paid for it. So there were a couple of ways, one was initially through services, through doing consulting so I, you know, very often about how to draw an audience to your website and had services on my site, and people were able to hire me directly to do that. And services can be a great way when you're just getting started to get more revenue in the door, and also, maybe more importantly, to really work very closely with clients so that you can understand how they’re struggling and what their problems are so that then you can eventually build a more automated product or something that can serve a wider audience. So you started with services, and the next thing I built was essentially an online course that was delivered over 3 months and I worked to get a number of high-profile people in the online space to contribute to this course, and these were people that I've met, again, talking about trying to create relationships with people that have influence in your space. These are relationships that I had built over the preceding 18 months or so, and when it was time to build this product I reached out and 9 out of 10 that I asked said, “Yeah, they'd be happy to.” So basically did interviews in particular topics with these people, have them answer questions related to driving traffic, package that up into a big online course and sold that to my audience. And sold that sort of on an enrolment basis where it would be open. We would enrol a 100 or 150 people at once, and have them go through the course. Wrap up the course and then open the doors again, and sort of do that occasionally, every 4 months or so. Travis: So you were transitioning into being able to leverage and scale rather than a one-to-one, you are going one to many. So that definitely makes sense. One of the things you talked about is as you were talking with--It seemed to me, and tell me if I'm wrong. It seemed to me like one of the issues you were explaining in the beginning is you have not nichified your business to a certain industry, is that correct? Corbett: Yeah, I think the issue was again, figuring out what specific problem I was going to solve for people and what problem I could solve for them credibly, because I was blogging about, essentially, this alternative way of living, these people that I was meeting. That were not rich or retired but somehow not living in a foreign country every year. I couldn't deliver on that problem for people. Maybe they wanted that problem solved for them but there were a whole lot of steps in that process in order to fully live that type of lifestyle. One of those was potentially creating a business for yourself that was location independent essentially. So instead of trying to go head on at that really big problem that I hadn't completely solved for myself, I started breaking that down into components and thinking about
  9. 9. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 9 of 22 the different sub-problems that people face within that overall thing, and for me, the one that stood out that I thought I could help with was helping people to grow online audiences because that's a really big piece and a big problem that people face. Travis: Okay, so my thinking of niche-fying your audience was by industry and it was actually the opposite of that, it was by topic. Corbett: Yeah. Sure. Travis: Because I think a lot of people think of niche-fying, and of course I know that that's a word I made up there. But I think it illustrates clearly what we're talking about is a lot of people think of niche- fying their topic down to a certain industry or certain group of people and the niche was on your side of things of going deeper on a very specific topic or two, right? Corbett: Yeah, and already niche-fied my audience down to people that were build... Travis: Hey Corbett, I got some strange audio interference coming through, are you getting a call or anything right now? Corbett: I hear you just fine. Travis: You're complete garbled, hold on just a second; let me, my phones not ringing. Let me turn my phone off and just make sure that that's not interfering. What you’re saying is important here and I want to make sure that we get that. By the way, we'll edit this little section out. Corbett: Can you hear me okay now or am I still garbled? Travis: No, it's still, when you talk, it is, there's interference right over the top of you. Corbett: Do you want to hang-up and redial me on Skype, I don't have any cell phone or anything, you know. Travis: Yeah. Standby, let me pause this and I'll hang-up and call you back real quick, okay? Okay, so I had to pause that real quick. We had a strange interference come over, and so Corbett, do you remember that question that I asked you before we got interrupted? Corbett: Yes. Travis: Alright
  10. 10. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 10 of 22 Corbett: Yeah, absolutely. And so, we we're just talking about niching down the business and the fact that I niched down by topic and that's true, I sort of niched down by this specific problem that I thought people were having but I had already, my audience was already sort of niched down to begin with because I was really focused on small, independent, entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs that really wanted to build just bootstrap one person to 5-person sort of businesses, not--I wasn't focused on already established small businesses. I wasn't focused on Fortune 500's, and that's really important defining your audience in that way, it was really important because it helps you to create content that serves one specific group really well. But it also helps you to understand where you’re going to have to reach out to find those people. Because it wouldn't do me any good, probably, to go write at the big business magazines because those aren't my target market, I'm really looking at small, independent entrepreneurs. So you know, I had already niched my audience and I think you're right to bring that up, that is a very important step. Travis: Yeah. What you're saying is worth its weight in gold because a lot of people are focused on going wide and not very deep and it's similar to try and get an airplane to take flight at 35 miles an hour, it's just not going to happen. It's much easier for a business to become, people to become passionate about what you're doing and easier for you to monetize it when you have a smaller group of people that are completely compelled by the things that you're teaching them, right, do you agree with that? Corbett: Absolutely, and not only do I agree with and that has been my experience as well. Travis: Okay. And so, time wise in this new business, how long before you transitioned into really starting to catch your stride and financial success. Corbett: Well, there's a couple of faces I guess. So, from the time that I started the website at Think Traffic, within a few months I was able to keep myself busy with services, busy enough to support myself within just a few months. And that was due partly to, I know that you like to ask people what books made an impact on them, one that really impacted me early was a book called Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, and that book really gets out the heart of what the service provider needs to do package his services in a way that will get customers lining up to work with you. So I read and applied that book and within a few months I was pretty much booked solid with client work. So from that point I immediately started transitioning to, what am I going to do, how am I going to build out this product idea, and I ended up launching my online course almost exactly a year after I started that blog Think Traffic, and from the moment I launched that it was a big success. I was able to sell out the hundred spots that I had set aside for the 3-month course and those sold at I believe the first time around, they sold for $497. So that led to a big pay day, I was able to bring in around $50,000 for one course that lasted 3 months and that was really the point at which I was able to break away from doing services.
  11. 11. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 11 of 22 Travis: That's a pretty nice start there. Corbett: Yeah, it was a great start, I was really happy. Travis: So, now, the name of the show is a little esoteric for some people, it's called Diamonds in Your Own Backyard and it's from the stories of acres and acres of diamonds. I don't if you've, have you ever heard of that story? Corbett: No, I haven't. Travis: Yeah, it's a great story about a guy in the 14th-15th century that had the successful farm and family, and one night heard about incredible wealth of diamonds on the other side of the world. He just couldn't shake this dream, this fantasy of being just filthy rich. And so he ended up leaving his family, selling his farm leaving his family behind to go on a many year journey, only to die in the process. And a few years later they come to find that there were acres and acres of diamonds on his property that he sold, and in fact the Hope Diamond is from his property, the single biggest diamond. And I've found, I've been an entrepreneur for 22 entrepreneur and I've found that all this wisdom that I've gained over the years. I keep thinking that I have absolute clarity and then I continually to get proved wrong and the reason for that is I've had time to my life or I thought I was at my absolute lowest and it wasn't going to turn around. When it really--it was the diamond, it was--once I rinsed it off and took a closer look, it was the turning point in my life that transitioned me into who I am today and made an incredible change. Whether it's catastrophic or not, was there a diamond, what diamond was it for you that turned that light on and shaped you who you are today? Corbett: Oh, we talked about it earlier, I think the biggest diamond or the biggest backyard, whatever you want to call it, for me was that moment in late 2008 when the business that I poured 3 years of my life into was sort of crumbling all around me. And at the time that was incredibly painful. I was very unsure of what I wanted to do next, and I ended up taking a sabbatical basically just because I was so, and my thoughts were so muddied at that point, I was really unsure about what I was going to do next. And looking back on it now that was a fantastic turning point and I think that trajectory of my life changed dramatically because of that and like you said I really did end up looking, I guess, in my own backyard for problems to solve after that. And I'm just so glad now that I decided to build a business in a way that's really puts my lifestyle and control over my business and the people that I get to work with and the problems that I'm trying to solve, all front and center as oppose to trying to build a business to grow to the greatest revenue possible the quickest. I think all things equal money is great but money really; it's not the key to happiness. Travis: Right. Well I had a suspicion that that was the diamond in your backyard, although what I find and what I want to illustrate is there's a lot of great entrepreneurs like now, excuse me, that are
  12. 12. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 12 of 22 struggling. And one of the things that I've noticed is change doesn't come until you're at the end of your rope and a lot of times you're forced to do things that you probably wouldn't have done. And so, now if I could go back and sit with myself, and say, "Travis, you're going to be okay. This isn't as dark as you think, but this is the beginning of the greatest phase of your life." And I want--the reason why I focus on that with every show is I want that encouragement to be there that change does need to happen. And in most cases I don't see people making those drastic changes and stop doing some of the things that are getting in their way, and so maybe they're 2 foot from the end of the rope and they really don't change their way until they get to the end of the rope. And that's why I think it's such an important lesson there. I think we probably both made our point there. Would you mind if we transitioned into some of what you teach and what do you feel like are some the most common problems with entrepreneurs today based on the things that you teach when they come to you. Corbett: Well, in terms of attracting an audience, we use something that I call the Thriving Audience Framework, and that's really composed of 3 parts and it's important to note the 3 parts because most people when they think about growing an audience online they purely think about promotional tactics. Like how do I use social media, how do I use SEO? How do I use paid advertising, all these sort of tactics for growing an audience but maybe for the phrase "Putting a lipstick on a pig" before? Travis: Yes. Corbett: In most cases the reason that people don't have a thriving audience online has nothing to do with their promotional tactics; it has everything to do with the 2 other pillars of the thriving audience framework which are your foundation and your content. So the foundation is really the audience that you choose to serve. The problem that you choose to solve, the way that you present your information, your website, all those sorts of things and your content is purely the demonstration of how you're going to solve that problem for people. And I'm focused very much on information businesses or software businesses, that sort of thing online. If you were a product business, then your content, you would substitute for the actual product that you're creating. So foundation, content, promotion, those are really the 3 pillars. And until you get your foundation in order, until you figure out a good problem to solve, until you find a hungry crowd, as you said earlier. And until you create a really great body of work, a great set of blog post or podcast or videos, whatever it is that you're using to create content with. Until you have a really epic set of content, all the promotion in the world isn't going to help you. That's not to say that promotion isn't important, eventually it is but for most people, really the promotion that matters is building a great network of other people that are also involved in the same topic, people that have influence in that sphere. SEO and paid advertising and all these things are pretty much irrelevant for the small, independent entrepreneur. As far as the
  13. 13. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 13 of 22 people that I work with and the people that I've seen become successful. In fact SEO, I would go far as to say is for most people a waste of time because what happens is if you're blogging on really useful topics and you build up a body of work and you connect with enough people and you get sort of if you get inbound attention, people are linking to your work because of good enough quality, then search engine traffic actually starts to come naturally. Now I know there are things you could do to optimize that but for the most part people don't need to focus on that, they really need to focus on delivering value to their end customer. Travis: Yeah. And the connection with people and your industry is brilliant and I think. I think I agree 110% if I could agree more than a 100% because very few people place a focus on other people that are in their industry, most people look at them as competition. And rather than the way that you're talking about it. And I'll give you some examples, the connections that I created through the show completely have thrown me for a loop because I originally thought that I would create this show and just help share some wisdom and insight to entrepreneurs that really can afford real high level mentoring or counselling or advice or anything. Really, not just those everyone across the board. And so I thought it was going to be a great service to everyone and really the person that's getting the best end of the deal is me, because of the connections with the incredible people. And that's kind of a rant of what you're talking about there is once you become connected with people in your industry are similar, closer verticals to your industry. Things really start moving in a way. And I believe even that's the tie of serendipity that Ran was talking about is. You start getting connections. Maybe the results aren't luck but the connections are just incredibly powerful. Am I going in the direction that you mean that? Corbett: Yeah. Well, definitely. I mean, for a couple of reasons and part of its simply tactical because as I said before an audience doesn't come out of thin air so you have to think about, if I'm going to grow an audience for my site, where are the people that I want to attract already hanging out? And the fastest way to draw people to your site is to get featured in whatever platform those people are already hanging out in. And obviously people are hanging out as I said at Google, typing stuff in. People are hanging out in social media all day, so those are two places you can go to draw an audience. But beyond that there are massive blogs and websites and podcasts and things like that with huge audiences, and for example Travis, if I wanted to reach entrepreneurs, being on your show is a good way to do that because you have an audience of entrepreneurs. If I was in the let's say, crafting space, if I had a knitting blog or something then my goal is to get to know as many other knitting bloggers and podcasters and video people, YouTube people as exist and to try to form genuine friendships with those people to the degree that we can help each other out. And it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to meet or going to be able to meet and befriend a list people in your industry right away. But there are probably some great peers out there, people that are just starting out, or people that are little
  14. 14. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 14 of 22 bit ahead of you that you could become friends with, genuine friends with and those friendships can translate to business success for the both of you. Travis: Yeah, and it goes from there. Corbett: Right. Exactly. Travis: So if you're continually providing value and you're very solid in what you do, those relationships with the A's B's and C's, players across the board come in time. Now I wanted to--so my first business was a home improvement business and I never really wanted to hang out with other home improvement companies, and so that was 22 years ago. And so it really didn't occur to me to spend time with them, and I'm not even sure that that really applies in this model, but as things shifted with the internet, one of the things that I saw early on is, the best place to find people that want to learn Spanish is a site that sells Spanish language programs. I was surprised that that would be the best place to access people that want to learn to speak Spanish is another place where people are already buying that type of material, and that's again just another iteration of what you're talking about there. Could we pick maybe one topic and I don't know if this would be unfair to you or even tough to do on the spot. Can we pick like one genre and apply some of the pillars of what you're talking about in kind of like a real world situation. I know we have on the basis but maybe on the 3 pillars that you've talked about? Corbett: Sure, maybe we could talk about personal finance, that's a popular topic that a lot of people start blogs on. Personal finance spans a whole lot of different areas from saving to investing, to credit cards, and purchasing a home, making big life decision. There's all sorts of things that you could focus on. So in personal finance, if you're going to start a blog, there are a whole lot competitive sites out there. There's a ton of sites out there and for good reason, because there a lot of people looking for advise on personal finance and there are good ways monetize that audience as well from doing affiliate offers to advertising to creating your own sort of site, course, or something like that. So to stand out in this industry, if we go through that model, the foundation, content, and promotion model, the basis always has to be a strong foundation, without a strong foundation your house, your business will crumble. And the foundation in this case to me would involve identifying a very specific problem that people have and an ability for you as the content creator to solve that problem for them in an incredible way. So you could start a blog about cure for cancer but if you haven't spent years and years as a scientist, learning about how to solve that problem, it's unlikely that you're going to be able to solve in incredible way for people. So I you're going to start a blog about personal finance, you had better make sure that you actually know what you’re talking about. There are a whole lot of people out there starting blogs that simply don't know what they're talking about and it's no surprise that those never get off the ground.
  15. 15. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 15 of 22 So I would try to find a very specific problem and instead of just addressing personal finance as a whole, focus in on something. So for example, you could focus in on the best credit cards, there's a site out there called Nerd Wallet that does a really great job of really just showing you the best credit card deals out there for your given circumstance, that's one example. Another example of a site that's doing well is called Mr. Money Moustache, and I know it's a funny name, that's also a component of your foundation which is branding, that's a whole separate topic. But what Mr. Money Moustache focuses on is the idea that if you live on a small enough portion of your total income, no matter what. Travis: Hey Corbett, I'm sorry to interrupt you; we've got that back again. Corbett: Okay. Travis: Hold on just one second, we're at a good place at what you're saying here let me--it's back doing the same thing again. Corbett: Okay, no problem. Travis: Hold on, I'll dial you back. Okay, so I had to jump in and interrupt Corbett again. This guy's brilliant to be able to stay so focused when I keep interrupting him. Although we had some static coming over and I know that drives you guys crazy as it does me. So I had to interrupt him. Corbett you were talking about the-- was it the geek wallet? Corbett: Yeah, so Nerd Wallet exactly is a great example of a very focused topic within personal finance. So they don't try to address everything, that simply address helping you find the best credit card for your particular situation. Travis: Okay, so--well, talk about niche, that's very niche-specific isn't it? Corbett: Yeah, exactly. And so that's where, again, the foundation for me really comes down to making sure that you focus in on a specific topic because it's unlikely that you're going to do a good job of addressing everything within personal finance. So you can actually grow your site faster if you focus in on serving a subset of people and sort of becoming an expert on a particular problem. So another example that I wanted to share is a site called Mr. Money Moustache, and the site has a funny name and that's another lesson actually. Your foundation also involves branding which is something very important to think about but that's another lesson for another time. Mr. Money Moustache really focuses on extreme, early retirement. So that's again a very small subset of personal finance. And Mr. Money Moustache has a hypothesis which is proven out through math essentially, which is that if you live on a small enough portion of your overall personal income, you can retire at a very young age, regardless of how much income you earn. So for example, if you made a $100,000 a year and you're able to live off of $25,000 a year for example and save 75% of your overall income. And save that every year and just
  16. 16. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 16 of 22 earn an average amount of return from the market. The math works out that you can retire at an extremely young age. I don't know exactly what the math is, you'll have to check out the site for it but it's something like 10 years. In 10 years you'll have enough money in the bank to earn from interest using the 4% rule of withdrawals, you'll be able to earn enough to replace the income that you were living off of. So that's another example of a very extreme focus within a bigger overall topic of personal finance. So that's the foundation piece. You really need to niche down, identify your audience, come up with good branding and a very specific problem, and a unique way to solve that problem for people. So the second piece is content and content is really where the rubber meets the road. So you have this idea of this problem that you're going to solve and this unique solution that you've come up with. The content is really how you present that to your audience and I focus on content because content marketing is very effective. It's probably the most effective way to draw in a big audience right now online. Content marketing is essentially what you're doing Travis. You put out free content out there that's valuable to your audience, and they gather around for that free content, They come to know, like, and trust you, and that makes it very easy when it's time to make a sale to offer something up and to get some portion of that audience to become buyers of product or a service that you create. So that's why content is so important. And then thirdly, the third peddler is promotion. So in either of these cases with Nerd Wallet or Mr. Money Moustache or any other site that you're going to start within personal finance, you can't simply put your content out there and expect that an audience is going to grow magically, it doesn't work that. You could produce as much content as you want until you're blue in the face but if you don't get the word out about what you're doing it's going to be very difficult to grow a decent audience. So promotion usually gets broken down into a number of different tactics and social media is important and effective for a lot of people being active on social media like Twitter and Facebook and sharing your content there and looking for people that have questions about your topic that you might be able to help, those sorts of things are important. Leveraging content outpost, this is another promotion tactics. So let's say you have a podcast, you want to make sure that your podcast is in places where people are already hanging out like iTunes, like YouTube, places like that. We talked about search engine optimization, generally I don't think that's worth the time, and then again, the biggest one that we talked about a number of times already today is trying to get in front of other big audiences where they already hang out. So if I was Mr. Money Moustache I would try to get to know other personal finance bloggers that are talking about maybe slightly different topics so that there's no direct competition there, but start reaching out to people that have other blogs and start promoting them on your own site. Start telling your audience about how awesome they are and those people will notice and they'll be appreciative of it and eventually you might offer to write guest content for that person. You might offer to interview them on your show and just sort of start trying to cross-pollinate your audiences because that's really, to me,
  17. 17. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 17 of 22 the greatest source of traffic because something that we haven't talked about yet is quality of traffic versus quantity of traffic. So quality is far more important than quantity of traffic, you could have a million of visitors from some very unqualified site and none of those may turn into sales, versus if you partner up with some other blog that has a dedicated audience and their primed to learn about your information, when they come to your site you could end up with 10 people coming to your site and you might make a sale from that small group of ten people because they're a far greater quality. So I like to focus on quality of traffic and that's again why reaching out to other relevant audiences is one of the most powerful ways to grow your audience. Travis: I completely agree. You know Dean Jackson said, "It's better to convince 10% of the people a 100% of the way than 100% people 10% of the way." Corbett: Yes. Travis: And that sounds like exactly what you’re talking about. There’s so many things that we could talk about here that we're going to have to commit to doing another show further down the line, hopefully you'll agree to that, are you cool with that? Corbett: Yeah. Absolutely. It's been fun and yeah, I'm looking forward to it. Travis: Yeah, you're a brilliant guy. Listen; let's move in to the lightning round. Corbett: Alright, lightning round, let's do it. Travis: Yeah, I sent you over the 3 questions here because I wanted you to give a little thought to it and come prepared, everything else is unscripted and just organic, but this is just another way for us to add some additional value for everybody listening. What book or program made an impact on you related to business that you'd recommend and why? Corbett: So there are two and these are both by the same authors. There’s a company called 37 signals based out of Chicago which build productivity software online like project management software, and they've written 2 books. One is called Getting Real and the other is called Rework, and these are really just collections of a short essays and thoughts about how business can be done better in a modern age because there's a whole lot of corporate fluff and BS that baggage that people bring with them when they become entrepreneurs and this really tries to cut through all of that and get in the heart of what really matters. Travis: Okay, and so, and I'm a fan of Basecamp. Those guys are incredible. What is one of your favorite tools or pieces of technology that you've recently discovered if any, that you would recommend to other business owners and why?
  18. 18. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 18 of 22 Corbett: So again, I'm going to recommend two here and these are both in the payment processing arena and the reason I'm so excited about both of these is that payment processing online had been so antiquated for so long that state of the art for a long time was a traditional merchant account and gateway which is just another nightmare to set-up and use and PayPal which can be effective but it also has its own quirks. And it's just a new generation of paying processing services coming up and it makes life so much easier as an entrepreneur so you can focus on what really matters and stop worrying about your technology. So there are two, one is called Gum Road and Gum Road is a very simple way to package some sort of content and sell it on your website. So check-out Gum Road if you have an eBook, or a video, or something that you'd like to sell on your website, it's a really simple way to do that. Travis: Can you spell that? Corbett: Gum Road, G-U-M R-O-A-D, Gum Road. Travis: Okay. Corbett: Another one for payment processing is if you're getting a little bit more and you want to accept credit cards directly on your website and maybe you want to do a membership program or something like that. There's a service called Stripe, S-T-R-I-P-E and Stripe has done away with all of the headaches that existed with traditional sort of merchant accounts and has a gorgeous interface, really great support team and just as really, really easy to implement on your site. So check-out Stripe if want to accept credit cards directly and potentially set-up a membership site. Travis: So this is the answer to some of payment Nazis out there that are making life miserable for a lot of online business people. Corbett: Absolutely. Travis: Yeah, and so Stripe integrates with Infusionsoft and reoccurring payments and stuff like that? Corbett: Yeah, you'll have to look into your whatever sort of solution you use, whether it'd be Infusionsoft or office autopilot or if you just have Word press or something. Stripe integrates with a number of those and its being added more all the time. Travis: Right. What famous quote would best summarize your belief or your attitude in business? Corbett: Alright, here's a quote from Howard Thurman who is an American Civil Rights Leader, he said, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.” Because what the world needs is people is people who have come alive.
  19. 19. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 19 of 22 Travis: Amen to that. Corbett: Yeah. Travis: Sounds like to me your describing a lifestyle business. Is that a good way of summing up everything that we've been talking about today? Corbett: I think so, I've just seen so many people beat their head against the wall, trying to build a business because they saw it as an opportunity but you can tell that it's something that they're not really excited about. They don't really care about the topic and to me that's no way to live. Again, as I said before, money really isn't the key to happiness. The whole point for me of building a business, becoming an entrepreneur isn't just the money. Money is great but there are whole lot of other things that are important and to me. One of the most important things is to work on a problem that really makes you come alive. Something that you really care about helping the world or your audience achieve. Travis: I agree. I love Mexico by the way. I may swing by and visit with you one of these days. I speak a bit of Spanish enough to get myself in trouble. Corbett: Yup, that's all you need. Travis: So how do people connect with you? Corbett: Well, the easiest way is probably over at my site, Think Traffic, so that's at ThinkTraffic.net, and from there they'll find links to everything else that we've discussed. Travis: Yeah, and I'll go ahead and post all of your social media links so that people can just give them as many ways to connect with you as possible. Of the social medias that you're using, which ones are most effective for you right now? Corbett: I'm glad you asked that because for each individual business-type you need to evaluate whether or not a particular social media is going to be useful for you because a lot of people get advise that Twitter is the place you have to be or whatever fill in the blanks social media network and they find out that their audience just doesn't use that platform and it's a waste of time. So for us I think traffic, Twitter is a really great pace and Facebook is a really great place. But for other businesses, Twitter might not be effective; maybe Pinterest will be more useful, it all depends. Travis: Well I'm going to connect with you on both so that we can stay connected and we want to help support you. I'm going to throw you one quick curve, I've got a question for you that I did not send you. Corbett: Okay.
  20. 20. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 20 of 22 Travis: And so, what do you dream of achieving next in your business, your life? Corbett: Well, we have a new membership site called Fizzle and that site is essentially a video training library for online business builders and a community of entrepreneurs who are all trying to build something of value. So my goal with that is to grow that to help as many entrepreneurs who want to create legitimate value and to build an online business that they're actually proud of, to help them actually achieve that. And for anyone listening to this, when you put your audience first that makes everything fall in line. As long as you have their interest at heart and you try to really help people, that's where success comes from in business and that's why I put that first on my list, to help as many people through our training programs to build honest, successful online businesses. Travis: Is that something that you have, not only a dream of bringing people together in a virtual environment but maybe in a face to face environment as well? Corbett: Yeah, absolutely. That's one of the downsides of an online business. For as many upsides as it has, I think that bringing people together in person has no substitute and we definitely want to do that in the future as well. Travis: Without a doubt. Listen, I have a couple of things that I want to share with everybody. Thank you again for showing up. Can you hangout for a couple more minutes? Corbett: Absolutely, thanks so much for having me on Travis, it was fun. Travis: I really appreciate it and I sincerely mean it when I say I want to have you back so that we can cover some other things, okay? Corbett: Sounds great. End of Interview Travis: Alright. So I want to remind you that down at the bottom, just below the description of Corbett's interview and kind of his bio, I've placed some show notes to where you can find all of the links to the books and the resources that we mentioned in the show. I want to remind you to go to DIYOB.com so that's an abbreviation for Diamonds in your own backyard, DIYOB.com. Enter your name and we'll send you the 2013 Business Owner's Guide, From Frustration to $70 million. A behind the scenes look at what you need to know to grow your business to incredible levels of success. And it really doesn't matter where you're at in business right now. You don't have to, it's not even about wanting to grow
  21. 21. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 21 of 22 your business to $70 million, there's just a lot of things that people are not talking about that are essential to building a successful business in today's environment and so of course we'll send that to you as soon as you opt-in. Also, you'll become a member of the authentic entrepreneur nation, which is really a network of people, tools and resources right along the lines of what Corbett's talking about that you can use to refer to of people that you can trust to grow your business. This is basically mine and Sandra's private roll-o-decks that we use and we recommend and we'll have this ready for you very, very soon, as a matter of fact I'll send you an email, let you know when that is ready. Taking a little time to get that set-up. Now today I want to close the show with an inspirational quote from Henry David Thoreau, and the quote goes like this, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined." It really aligns with Corbett’s message. I believe that this quote is a great way of reminding you how bold you already area as an entrepreneur. Choosing to create your own path and becoming your own boss was a bold decision. Don't let the winding road and ups and downs of entrepreneurship cause you to lose sight of that dream. Keep a clear picture of your dreams and stay in action. This is Travis Lane Jenkins signing off for now. To your success, may you inspire those around you to go after their dreams too. Talk to you in the next episode. Take care.
  22. 22. THE ENTREPRENEUR’S RADIO SHOW Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs that Grow Your Business Copyright © 2012, 2013 The Entrepreneur’s Radio Show Page 22 of 22 How We Can Help You We know that finding someone that you can trust online today is hard and that so many “so called gurus” are self-‐appointed and have never really even done what they teach you to do. That’s exactly why we created the Double Your Profits Business Accelerator. This is an exclusive offer for our fans at a fraction of its normal cost. Here's what to expect. We'll Schedule a 'One on One' private session, where we'll take the time to dive deep into your business and tell you what is missing, so that you can have your best year ever! We'll do this by performing a S.W.O.T. Analysis. This tells us your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats within your business. This will be an eye opener for YOU, for several reasons, however some of the most common reasons are. As the 'Business Owner' it’s difficult to see the big picture of your own business because you’re in the middle of a daily management. And you are too emotionally involved to completely impartial. This is a common problem for EVERY business owner. It doesn’t matter if you are a one-man army, or an army of 150, the problem is still the same. Travis Lane Jenkins Business Mentor-Turn Around Specialist Radio Host of The Entrepreneurs Radio Show “Conversations with Self-made Millionaires and High-level Entrepreneurs That Grow Your Business"

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