Ever wonder what it takes to start a green online business selling informational products? Info product marketing is one of the most profitable ways to make money online – digital products have low overhead, and can be a great source of passive income. You can literally make money while you sleep.
Info product marketing is not the path of the lazy, however. A lot of work goes into getting an info product marketing business off the ground. In this interview, John Gallagher, founder of LearningHerbs.com, and creator of the WildCraft! An Herbal Adventure board game shares with us what it took to launch his backyard medicinal herb online empire from scratch. You will learn:
- What it takes to create, produce, and distribute a small run, specialty board game
- The pros and cons of manufacturing in China
- How to sell out your product, even if your email list is small
- How to create a high quality, email list of raving fans who will buy from you over and over again
- The importance of sequencing your emails for successful product launch
- How to get your first info product website off the ground, and great free tools you should be using
- Why ready, fire, aim is critical to Internet business success
- The importance of surveying your email list and beta testing your products
If you find John’s story as fascinating as I do, mosey on over to LearningHerbs.com and sign up for his email list to get direct insight into John’s info marketing methodology. You can also connect with John Gallagher on Facebook and Twitter.
Watch the Full Program
About John Gallagher
John Gallagher is a five element acupuncturist and herbalist who founded LearningHerbs.com with his wife Kimberly in 2005. He’s worked over 20 years connecting people to nature, and their products teach people about herbs, home remedies, and learning the plants of ones area. It’s herbal medicine made simple, for everyone.
LearningHerbs.com offers the Herbal Medicine Making Kit and the Wildcraft herbal board game all the time. HerbMentor.com is their community mentoring membership site for all experience levels. LearningHerbs.com has many free courses, ebooks and articles. They also offer specialty courses with notable herbalists from time to time, such as Culinary Herbalism with KP Khalsa, president of the American Herbalist Guild as well as Herb Energetics with Kiva Rose.
Just to go to LearningHerbs.com to download our free courses and ebooks, such as Supermarket Herbalism or the Healing Herbs eBook, which teaches 23 of the most important herbs to know through simple remedy and recipe making.
- Wilderness Awareness School
- DeLano Service Board & Card Game Production
- Chinaberry Children’s Books & Toys
- Montessori Schools
- Waldorf Schools
00:01 Lorna Li: This is episode 5 of Entrepreneurs for a Change. If you like this podcast, please subscribe to our mailing list at entrepreneursforachange.com.
00:11 LL: Are you ready to be the change? If so, you’ve come to the right place. You are about to join a movement of entrepreneurs, who are empowering people, saving the planet, and turning your passion into profits while creating the lifestyle of your dream. If you don’t believe us, check at our website at entrepreneursforacange.com. A place where you can be inspired, mentored and supported by a tribe of change making entrepreneurs just like you.
00:39 LL: Hi, this is Lorna Li, Editor in Chief of Green Marketing TV and Entrepreneurs for a Change. We’re here with John Gallagher who is a five-element acupuncturist and herbalist who founded learningherbs.com with his wife Kimberly in 2005. He has worked over 20 years connecting people to nature and their product is to teach people about herbs, home remedies and learning about the plants in their locale. What I love about John is that he’s taking his offline passion for herbal medicine and turned it into a profitable online business following a highly effective product launch methodology. John’s going to share with us his experience launching and growing his internet business that teaches people about the healing power of medicinal plants that may be growing in your own backyard.
01:25 LL: So, John, I am so excited to be talking to you right now because I first discovered your story while watching Jeff Walker’s product launch formula three launch case studies. And I love your story because I used to work in a non-profit sector, and I know how challenging it can be to turn one’s deep irrational or actually rational desire to make the world a better place into a profitable endeavor. And I think all of us who have toiled in the social sector are very familiar with the paradigm of scarcity and being paid so little for doing work that is so needed in the world. So, I’m really curious about your background. Can you tell me more about what inspired you to create a backyard herb board game?
02:07 John Gallagher: Well, I had worked in Wilderness Awareness School, a nonprofit for since the early 90′s and why I did that was because, originally back in college, I was more like environmental activist type of person but then I learned of John Young, founder of Wilderness Awareness School, I started working with him and about 20 years ago or something and then what I really… What really is awesome is he was helping the environment through education and inspiration like getting people really excited to learn about what grows around them, what lives around them and when you know what lives around you, you have a sense of place. So many of us have no connection to nature. We just go around our cars, in and out of our garages, we don’t take walks, we don’t really learn what’s around there or understand the ecology of the area. So when you really have that knowledge and that connection which isn’t hard to do, you do something about it. If somebody tries to mess up something that’s around you, to be more that.
03:04 JG: So… And then your… The activism that you might have comes from a deep sense of connection and not just out of anger because the way something should be or you’re not connected to. So, all those years I worked at Wilderness Awareness School and most of the time there was really just getting the word out. So, I really kind of became the database computer layout communications person there. Eventually, I did start taking herbal remedy classes and what not because I had an interest in plants. And the reason I did that was when my son was born, and I… You know, it didn’t come with an instruction manual in how to take care of him, something like, “What do you do when they’re sick?” And certainly it wasn’t kind of like taking the… Like a doctor if he has an ear infection, you know, because all I know they do is give you antibiotics and then we all know how bad that stuff is for you.
03:51 JG: So, it’s basically like… I basically wanted to learn how to care for my children naturally. So I gained that interest in herbs and at the same time I had all the skills at the Wilderness Awareness School that I was doing, I mean, I even like taught computers at Community College at one point during the course of that, so I have a bit of that background. And somewhere down the line I wanted to put all that together, take all my kind of background in communication and marketing and design and stuff like that and put it with my passion for herbs because by that time, at Wilderness Awareness School about 2005 I was teaching herbal studies with the college level program there, like medicine making and what not. So, it was just a natural fit that I put all that… I was able to put all together when we first came out, like a kit, an herbal kit like, like… Which we still sell on our site. And it kind of gives you everything you need to start in a box.
04:50 JG: And I was able to design that and do that in such a way, out of 15 years of working with people, distance learning because I designed a home study course 20 years ago that’s still very popular and actually, I mean, I don’t direct it anymore. They come out in naturalist training program, they come on in other work and I got that going with John Young, the founder so I had a lot of years of… I started this thing before there’s AOL email, so I’ve been working with students teaching them long distance and how people learn and what inspires and excites them for quite a long time. So, I just put all those skills together and all that and you know that’s what led to it. I’ve always had a background and sort of performance and production and layout that I’ve been doing ever since I was 14 years old probably in high school. I was doing layout in the yearbook or doing the school play, like I was doing like all this creative… I like making things. [chuckle]
05:47 LL: So, it sounds like you’re really well-versed in teaching people at a distance. And you also had some skills in communication and design and computers. So, at a certain point when did you decide, “Oh, a board game. Let’s create a board game called Wildcraft that distils the knowledge that I have of medicinal plants and nature and turns into a fun experience for families and for kids.” And then from that point when you came up with the concept, how long did it take you to create that product from concept to the time when it was produced and shipped to your house?
06:25 JG: Well, my son Rowan is about almost 12 now and when he was around four or so, we lived in this tiny one-bedroom apartment and my wife was taking these classes in Seattle for a while and she was gone a lot of nights. So Rowan and I had a lot of time to sit around and play games. And I, as a responsible parent, of course wanted him to play the educational games, like the various nature games that there are, because there’s lots of them. But he always just wanted to play Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.
07:04 LL: I remember that game. I love that game!
07:07 JG: Basically, it’s like, “Dad… ” Pretty much it was like, “Dad, this game suck.” They don’t, it’s just that he was kind of young and that’s why he wanted to go more in that direction. So, at that point I have this idea, “Wow, what if you can just kind of combine an educational kind of game that actually may be taught to kids something along with something that was the classic board games, the things that we all like.” The only games that you… All of you listening to this, probably remember as a kid like the most are the ones with those kinds of little shortcuts in chutes and ladders and spinners and little car, like the game of life with the little cars going around, that kind of stuff. At least that’s what I remember. But it was just an idea I had, Rowan and I sketched this little thing out of on a piece of cardboard, still have the piece of cardboard, and it kind of went on the back burner for a while because it was just like, just an idea that I had, I never actually thought I would make it. It was just between the two of us.
08:05 JG: Somewhere down the line later on, my wife, Kimberly, she’s been an alternative school teacher, she has a degree in education, she’s also a story teller and she loves writing and she’s also really into games. I personally, it’s a secret between me and our listeners, I’m not really a game player, I don’t really like games that much. But she does, she loves them and she plays them with my kids all the time. We have this huge stack of board games. So she said, “You know, I really like to do that.” So she just did like on index cards writing little pictures, she can’t draw or anything, but she has little pictures and icons and things and she put these all these together and she would play with Rowan and all his friends and try to find all the holes in the game, what would work, what couldn’t work, what was the… All these stuff because she could see the whole thing. And she worked on it for a long time in the testing phase. And eventually our friend, an artist, came through town magically for a few months and needed some work and we just happen to have some money coming through us from a very small inheritance but enough to pay her and get some board games created.
09:10 JG: It was just enough, it was really, really magical and strange this all synchronistic things like, “Huh, that’s interesting.” So my friend, Beatriz did all the artwork and then so when that process was finished between my wife and her instructions of the game play and she kind of work with her mainly in most of the whole process, I kind of came back in at the end when it came time to lay it all out, I took all the pictures and the large pictures that can’t go… To scan it I bought a little $100 scanner and scanned in all the cards and stuff that she made, I laid it all out in adobe and designed myself. And then, there are places to manufacture online that actually specialize in board game making like production, believe it or not. And I gave the shout out to delanoservice.com, I thought it was delano.com, but just Google D-E-L-A-N-O or board game you’ll find they’re in Michigan.
10:12 JG: We started out with a company that did them out at China and I know that some people might be cringing at that, how could you do that or whatever. But when you’re doing a really, really, really small run like we did at 1500 and you’re just trying to start out it was really impossible, we couldn’t have done it at all. So, the good thing was we’re able to start by going through a place that brokered with China. The bad news is that the quality of the product was horrendous and we really felt bad about that and the first round of the game was kind of embarrassing for the quality of how the production was. So, we luckily finally found a good eco-friendly and reasonable and awesome people over at Delano in the US or in Michigan so this way we can get them done in the US and we can also get them done on eco-friendly control. I mean, we really tried so hard in China we’ll be like, “Do you use recycled materials?” They’re like, “What? Recycled material?” They didn’t know what we meant by these things and what kind of inks and this and that, literally, I’m serious.
11:07 LL: Yeah, like soy-based inks.
11:08 JG: It was like, “What’s this?”
11:09 LL: What are…
11:10 JG: Come on. So yeah, when we got it started it was a little dark spot there but we got it started anyway. But I think these days with Delano and other options there’s ways people can get started more reasonable. And the thing is you might spend less money in China getting the game done, but you’re going to spend a bunch in freight getting over here. So if you get it done in the US you spend more in the production but you spend a lot less in freight. So it’s only a little more gain it turns out especially if you go in the realm of about 5,000 games at a time like we do.
11:48 LL: That’s interesting. Do you think Delano does small runs too or is it possible to find a small run manufacturer here?
11:55 JG: Yeah. The smallest run you’re going to find is about 2,500 and you need… And I think the investment will be about the same. Yeah, you might be able to China and run a 1,500 games and shipped over for about $20,000 or you might get about 2,500 games in this country for about $25,000 to $28,000. So you’re talking about just a little more to get started. But it’s worth it, believe me and the headache, I mean, oh my gosh, it was just… I would have paid double if I had to feel the headaches I had to deal with in the Chinese situation. And so…
12:29 LL: You got to put a price tag on your state of mind, too.
12:32 JG: Totally. What I’m able to save made in the USA and we have a shipping place… Delano will ship… It was also a shipping facility that we go out of, it’s right near by the… It was a little more versatile. We have other products too. We’d like to drop ship so we have a… We get to like support the economy in Michigan and the hardworking folks there and support some businesses where the economy is a little tougher, and we feel good about that. And the game is awesome, people love it and it’s reliable, ships reliable, made reliably. But you know… But all in all, the board game, I think we were able to go and make that and try selling that because we had an internet presence with a list that I could market to. And that probably may be one of your next questions but it’s kind of like we weren’t necessarily doing it as like… There’s a family in our valley here that makes board game very mainstream, but the board game is really great. They have it in a lot of big stores and stuff and that’s their business, to make the board game. It’s not ours.
13:38 JG: For us, it’s kind of like part of what we do and kind of like a calling card if you will. We use it kind of more like a marketing piece, like something that gets us noticed like we’re the people with the herb board game. And so, people in the herbal world go, “Oh yeah, I know that. I know you.” So it supports our other… We use it as a tool to support our overall business. It makes… It doesn’t lose money but it also isn’t anything that would… We sell about 5,000 of them a year. We do good through that and most of that is through our own website and also through a few wholesalers. I wholesale but I don’t try to wholesale. I hate trying to get accounts and stuff set up and all that kind of stuff, and I don’t want to deal with any big places because they try to rip you. They’re always trying to guide you to the big stores and chains and stuff. I don’t want to deal with any of that. So a lot of specialty stores and boutiques and high-end educational catalogs. People like that found us and called us and Chinaberry is one, for example, that we were in for a while. We’re in Montessori. We’re in the Waldorf, you know, like catalogs like that kind of stuff and a lot of verbalizing, as you would imagine catalogs and stuff, sites and what not.
14:40 JG: So yeah, we sell a few through them but we don’t really make anything wholesale because of the mark ups and all but we just treat it like a marketing tool for our other businesses. And that’s not too different than a lot of authors do. Like if you want to be an expert in something, whatever it is, and a lot of people say, “Oh, you should write a book.” There’s a lot of presses out there that specifically publish books for people who want to be an expert in something so they look like they have they’re published author. And so, we kind of use the game. I kind of… Might be more like that than anything. It’s just kind of like having a book in a way, kind of legitimize us by having a hard good product I think, which is something that in every business I think should have a hard good product if they can.
15:19 LL: It’s a bit like intellectual proof, you know.
15:21 JG: Yeah, yeah, exactly. If they can do that, that’s great, but the good news is now that you can get some money going things started without having to have a hard good product. You can get to that later maybe when you can afford it. You can start a business now with a YouTube account, an iPhone.
15:39 LL: Okay. Let me backtrack a bit. So when you… So, from concept to production, how long did it take to create Wildcraft? Was that a process of six months?
15:48 JG: Well, once it got in here, like my wife said, “I want to do this,” she might have spent six to nine months or more trying to, just slowly. Imagine, we got two kids and well I imagine so we’re not like… At that time we were not working on full time. I had a three-day week job at the time. I was going to acupuncture school at the time. I was studying for my boards. I was running the smaller version of LearningHerbs at the time. I was doing all that stuff and with the kids and everything. So we were putting like… It wasn’t a full-time thing. So it might have taken her like slowly about six months to a year to kind of like get the concept together, a few months with the artist. So it might have been a year by the time it went into lay out. It took me about two weeks to lay it out because when I start jamming on something and I start on the computer and no one talks to me for two weeks and I work around the clock, I can get stuff done and I got that done pretty quick.
16:41 JG: But any professional designer that you… If anyone out there listening on Elance or guru.com or something like that, it could do something that fast, too, lay something out, you don’t have to lay out stuff out anymore. In fact I relied… I outsource a lot of my own design work these days because why should I do it when I can get someone overnight for $50 somewhere? [laughter] So basically… And then and that went into the actual printing part. And yeah, if you hear, say for using like Delano or something, you’re looking like… China is a lot longer, but if you went to something like Delano you’re like, it will get you two months to get approved, look it over. Yeah, you’re looking about six month period from having the games in your hand from you to submitting the art work because it’s very tedious and it takes time and you have to get on production schedules. It’s not a fly-by-night thing, you know, like a game. [laughter]
17:32 LL: Interesting, interesting. Did you actually go through several iterations of Wildcraft or is the board game pretty much as is, you know, as you conceptualized it? I know like there’s a lot of recommendations by internet business, entrepreneurs, to launch a beta and then keep improving it but I can imagine with the hard goods, it’s probably going to be so laborious.
17:52 JG: You’re right. It is, it is. It would be really hard to go with, have a game or something like that, a hard good that you were getting in production as beta, it’s no different than a book. You could, you know, you might do your edits on the second edition, but the problem is, you might do your edits on the second edition but what if your first edition doesn’t sell well because it sucks? At least if something sucks and it’s a digital version, you can pull it back and quickly change it. You know, if you have $20,000, $30,000 worth of board games and something’s not working and it’s not good then it’s really hard, you’re going to sell all those somehow and then have all these games you’re not happy with or books that you’re not happy with. So, yeah, you got to be a lot more careful. But no, to answer your question, the game is pretty much exactly the same as the first, except for design changes. Like, I changed minimal things like the size of the box and some design stuff, but other than that, it’s exactly the same, you know.
18:46 LL: So it sounds like, yeah, a big commitment, a big investment. You decide that you’re going to create a certain amount of product. Were you afraid that no one was going to want it? That the market just wouldn’t be interested?
18:58 JG: No, because the thing is…
18:59 LL: You knew your audience would buy this.
19:01 JG: Yeah, yeah, yeah, because that’s the thing. Once you get like, I’ve had people come up to me who wanted to start businesses and they see the board game thing and think it’s cool and they go, “Oh, I want to make a game,” and they don’t realize that you got to sell that to somebody. And, you know, and these people, some of the people I could think of that are asking me that are people that have not had a business yet, or a list, or an audience, so I would build that with other products and stuff in your niche, whether you’re making a game or a book or something, before you approach that. But the thing is with me, is that I had a list of a couple of thousand people and I knew that there were a lot of people that liked us and I have an audience. And I knew from the past experience and some media publishing with Wilderness Awareness School that I did that I knew the hardships of trying to get something in big stores or what that involved, and the mark-ups, and the whole… What you’re really made. I mean, I knew all the realities of that stuff already.
20:04 JG: So, the thing that kind of made me want to go into it was the fact that I knew I could retail myself which is key. You got to, you know… And that I had a group of people who might be interested in this and I mean I think it was cool. Thing is, as a parent, I knew this is the exact thing I’d be looking for and I really knew my market well from years and years of being in the nature skills and learning tools field. I mean, it’s still the same thing as I always did with Wilderness Awareness. I knew how these folks think and I knew what they’re looking for and having been a parent I kind of knew that it would do well in the long run. But yeah, I mean, so, yeah, I wasn’t too concerned because I had a community online, and that’s what the key is right there.
20:53 LL: Yeah I think too a big question is… A couple of questions which is, you know, first of all, how important is the size of the list? Because a thousand doesn’t sound like very much to me. But yet it seems like it was a number that you felt confident enough starting with.
21:10 JG: Yeah, it was a couple, probably a couple thousand maybe I guess, or whatever. And also, you got to realize too, which I wasn’t really too aware because I’m not really a person who tracks stats and looks at Analytics. I still never man it on my own six years into it. [laughter] Somehow we make it. No. You know, like, you got to realize that only 20% to 30% if you’re lucky are going to actually open your emails [laughter]
21:34 LL: Exactly. Right?
21:36 JG: So, at any given time. Now this is 2006 or 2007 I think, so it was a little different then. Before Facebook and, you know, it was really hit the streets and all these other social media or even online video. So, the internet was a little different in landscape. But the truth is, and I don’t know, did you want me to tell the story of the launch or how that happens? Like, because it involves the story, folks might… That I had told through Jeff Walker.
22:05 LL: Yeah, I’m really curious, I mean, yeah.
22:06 JG: Okay yeah, because it’s kind of interesting because, no, the list size is not so much what’s important as the quality of the list and the relationship you have. So if you’re taking an email address for something, when you take an email address, you want to exchange that for something of real high value. So you don’t just say, “Oh, sign up for my newsletter,” and then never send them a newsletter, or send them a mediocre newsletter, or just send them a bunch of stuff just because you feel like you should send them something. I mean, if you’re doing that, don’t do that. That’s just, you know, you’re wasting your time. When you get an email address, you want to exchange it for something of high value like, something really awesome that you would sign up for personally, like something that would excite you. Like what would you put your email address in for and put that on your site.
22:48 LL: Is that what you did from day one?
22:51 JG: No.
22:52 LL: Are you very engaged?
22:54 JG: I eventually learned some of that stuff later, but at the time, I was exchanging email address for a really high-quality newsletter that I published monthly for six years sort of straight now, never missed one. And it’s always of extreme excellent quality and really exciting and awesome, and so because I send something monthly to my people, I’m always… Did I say my people? You know, I mean my list. Because I’m sending something to them monthly like that, it keeps the people on the list warm and looking at what I’m doing, you know. And it keeps the relationship set up because that’s the key right there is the relationship. I’m getting to know you personally, not some cold business or faceless business, but your story and who you are. That’s how things really work on the internet, you know. It’s like… That’s why Facebook and social networking and YouTube and all these things, Twitter, are really popular, is because it’s able to suddenly put a person-to-person, point-to-point kind of relationship on something, so.
24:00 JG: Well I know friends who set up sites and they try to be all official. You know some people like, “Oh, I could be like an official place and I’m only one guy on my house. Ha-ha. They don’t know that.” Like, “No, no, no. Look like you’re just one guy in your house, people like that.” [laughter] So, I think no matter what the niche people like that. So, I had that from the beginning and I had that list. But here’s what happened is I just assumed that people would just kind of buy it. And I guess maybe I thought that right away and Christmas season was coming up so I knew the game was coming out. So I decided to take some pre-orders because I knew it was coming being dropped off in a few weeks or at least hoping it was through China and the customs. Oh my God, talk about nightmare, I got to deal with customs and sometimes they hold your shipment for a month and oh, my God, it’s terrible. Anyway, go back to… For a small business anyway. And so, I put it out there to my list, and say, “Hey, I got this game coming out.” And I give an order about and everything. In the first week I was buying, I sold like 12 copies. And I’m like pre-ordered and I sold 12 copies, so here’s my confidence just shattered, right? Oh, my God.
25:11 LL: How am I going to pay my rent on 12 board game sales, right?
25:16 JG: Or going to like, how I’m going to… I’ve gotten now a garage full of board games and…
25:22 LL: Oh, no! [laughter]
25:23 JG: Absolutely full of board games and coming and I’ve got to sell them. They’d taken over my whole house. And so what am I going to do about this? And so, frantically, I Googled how to launch a product and stuff and that’s when I found Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula. And I’m not here trying to sell this thing or anything I’m just telling you what happened. Like I’m not promoting, though I love it, I’m not promoting it. I’m just saying this is what I…
25:48 LL: Yeah. I will disclose too that I am an owner of Product Launch Formula and I’m so excited to go through that program.
25:54 JG: Okay. That’s so folks listening just know that I’m just telling the story of what happened. I’m not here trying to plug something. It’s not…
26:01 LL: No, you’re not. [chuckle]
26:04 JG: So, anyway I used that and what Product Launch Formula is, to put it as simply as I can, is it takes the relationship that you have with your list or teaches you how to have a relationship with your list, but I already had one so I had that going for me which is good, and at least some size of the list. And it teaches you proper sequencing of emails. Because we all know how we get enthralled in the release of maybe a Hollywood movie or maybe a better example is like any Apple fans out there know like the next iPhone or iPad or a Mac is coming out. I’m pretty sure that the Mac people probably own this too [laughter] or the Apple people. So, it teaches you like how a small business and a person can use the power of sequencing and how to do that along with your own story and narrative. How to develop that whole story, as well as sequencing involving storytelling and free content and really great stuff to help you really connect with your list and involve them in a process in a story into a bigger event and involve them in this event that’s going to happen.
27:24 JG: So, I used the Apple thing as an analogy because most people listen and have at least seen like how the whole country gets enraptured in the iPad when it came out kind of a thing. And so, it’s not too different in a way but doing sequencing and all with your list. And so when you do that and you do that properly which is wonderful because you see I hate, I mean like nobody likes selling stuff. Some people do, but nobody likes going out and focusing on the selling like, oh, I got to go market or sell. What this enables you to do is to do what you like to do which is just connect with people, telling cool stories and share free stuff and be really generous and nice and connect with them and not have to focus on the hard sales. So then by the time you actually open your shopping cart for the event, people have already made up their mind if they want to buy it or not and chances are lots of them want to buy it. And so through different techniques that they teach you, you get this windfall of sales that when you open your cart.
28:31 JG: And I’ve done it over and over and over and over and over again for my own and other people’s products like dozens of launches at this point, maybe a dozen for bigger products that I’ve put together. And it has never not worked. And why it has never not worked is because you’re using these techniques on the list that you respect, appreciate, treat well, are generous with, are transparent with. You see, you can’t… There’s no shortcuts, this isn’t slogan, this isn’t a fast track. This is for somebody who wants to build a business, who wants to be in it for the long haul, who wants to have a fan base, people love them, do what they and buy whatever they come out with and to be loyal to your business and to what you’re doing. Really that’s what the magic is behind it. So, if you try to do this, and do it quickly or try to do some kind of fly-by-night thing or a one-time thing, it’s not going to work. And none of those techniques will ever work in that situation. So, you just know that…
29:45 JG: I had a friend call me this has been toiling in all these internet marketing products and being overwhelmed by all these possibilities in the last year and he’s taken this year off where he is trying to… He’d probably have his internet business launched in successful by now. He’s like month 11 and he called me, and he’s like, “John, I really need to get something done quick. I need to get something quick here, you know. I just have… I’ve gone through all these products, I’m not sure what to do man.” And I’m like, “Well, the first thing you’re going to do is get a job.” [laughter]
30:16 LL: Oh no! [laughter]
30:19 JG: “Get a job, at least part time, because that will make your wife happy,” because his wife wasn’t happy about what he was doing. And I said, “You’re going to take the rest of your time and you’re going to slowly work on your building a product and taking your time with these things that you’re going. And then in a couple of years from now you’ll see yourself maybe with a couple of some sales made and with the beginning of a business. You’ll have tested things.” I mean, in a way I’m going to say I got a little bit lucky in that my intuition of a product and a business that people wanted was spot on, right? But it wasn’t without a shitload of work. Like I’ve been… I’ve busted… I’m a workaholic, bust my ass. Like I’ll work on this business… I mean, I make a living at it just fine, but I still like can’t help but work on it 60 hours a week. You know, I… It’s not toiling, I love it. It’s great. I get to work out of… I’m talking to you from my house right here, in my little office. And I’m looking out at my back window and my daughter’s bouncing on the trampoline right now. And how many other guys sitting at work get to look out the window and see their kids bouncing on a trampoline? I mean, yeah I’m working but…
31:27 JG: Yeah, exactly so… But it’s the whole process. I mean I know I go on and on and I can be tangential in my speaking, but the point is that I’m hoping folks listening to this know that they go back, right back around with the board game, is that my ability to sell… Oh yeah, when I relaunched the game using Product Launch Formula techniques a month later, right when I had the games finally in my house in stock, 650 sold. And from that list of, a little under 2000. So that’s a 30-something percent conversion rate from my main list. And from the sublist, they have you do, make a sub-list, I think I probably… I think that was actually a 50% conversion rate on that game. And so, that was incredible and, I mean, it changed our lives. And those techniques, I use it to build my business, every product, everything I do, everything I think is in terms of those techniques. And it’s so awesome. It’s so awesome to have this business where people love what you do and you’re just really giving. I mean, I am able to just style my people in my list, because I make a living at this, with some amazing free stuff. Probably 75% of what I may create every year is free. And the more free stuff you give, and the more you give and give and give, the more you get. As long as I have a business model where I’m making money, I can afford to be really generous to the greater internet community. I did a webinar last night that had 3000 people on it and I did one a couple months ago that had 6000 people on it. And it was free then and people loved it. And nothing was being pitched, just information. [chuckle]
33:20 LL: So, I want to ask you this question that I think a lot of these internet business gurus never really talk about, which is the whole question around time. So they’re always selling, “Oh, like how do you create internet freedom by creating a profitable product and blah, blah, blah?” And I think one of the walls people hit up against are… A couple of the walls is it’s actually going to take a lot of work and actually going to require that you learn. Because these internet marketing gurus, they already know how to market, they already know how to use technology. And the truth is, the audience, there are two words the audiences don’t want to hear: Learn and work.
34:02 JG: Yeah. [laughter]
34:02 LL: And so, given your whole process, like, I mean I’d love for you to be honest with us on how much time and work this was for you.
34:13 JG: Right. I’ll just tell you right up front that you go to any internet marketers and they’re telling you that you’re going to have more time and, “Look at me hanging out by the beach,” they’re freaking liars. I think it’s bullshit. I think all that stuff that you see a lot of people is a bunch of BS. And I’ve heard that from internet marketers, pretty high level internet marketing gurus that have told me that in confidence. Basically, a lot of the top-level internet marketers and people that I know that are out there are people like me, and that they love working, they work a lot. But I think in their terms of what… But those people that I buy from, that I’m studying with, aren’t out there sitting on the beach saying that you’re… With their computer. First of all, beaches and computers don’t mix. You take your computer on the beach it’s going to get sand in it, so dump that idea.
34:58 JG: But the other thing is I think really what’s going on here is lifestyle and how you want to live your life. I mean, I love working, I love doing something. I think a lot of people do. They like contributing and they like working at stuff every day. So I think more it’s the lifestyle and the freedom that I don’t have a boss or anyone to report to. I can get out of bed when I want and this and that. Granted I do, like I said, I work well over 40 hours a week, but I don’t notice that I’m working because I love doing it. And somewhere along the line when… After I started our membership site or mentor.com, which is a monthly subscription, that enabled me to focus on this full time. So, because I had a reliable income I could rely on every month, and it wasn’t just based on sales and a certain product or a certain launch, it was something that… Income I could get every month that I could rely on. Now we have a few employees even, which is kind of fun.
35:58 LL: Okay, so 12 board game sales to 650, how long did that take?
36:02 JG: And it… Well, yeah just a few weeks because I used Product Launch Formula. I went back to the same exact list a few weeks later and used the same exact… Used Product Launch Formula techniques with my same list three weeks later and I sold 650. That’s the same list that I initially sold 12 to. So…
36:21 LL: That is reassuring. I’m glad it didn’t take you a year.
36:24 JG: I mean the thing that people have to realize is that I work at it a lot and things, but I have been at this for six years and I’ve built a lot up in that time. But I would say that it didn’t… That… I mean once I started having the time to work on it more and more it was… It actually was pretty quick like I’ve been making a living off of it. I started the business a couple years later, we had the game a year later I had… It only took me like three years to do the full time thing. But, it depends on the product. You can make an information product, a video based information product pretty quickly and get it up there and have it going, and then go to your list and sell it to them. An example is an information product that I made, a joint venture with an herbalist a couple months ago. We put it… We put it… We recorded it all like in a day and a half and then I… It took me a month to put it together, I went and did my launch, it took me another month. And we did a six figure launch in a week and that was like… It took me two and a half months of work. And so that was pretty good. It was really good. That was monumental for me. But I couldn’t have done that had I not done all the other stuff, you know, because it’s a slow build up.
37:41 JG: So, if you do a launch don’t compare yourself to the people with million dollar launches or six figure launches. If you do a launch and make a hundred dollars the first launch, wow, you made a hundred dollars. That’s amazing! You know what I mean? You know like that first launch of selling those board games, I’ll never forget that, you know, that was huge. I’ll never forget the first day I put my herbal kit up for sale and sold a couple of them to a list of people that I knew, like just in my email address book. [laughter] You know, in 2005, and that was just monumental, my first dollar, you know. You just have to start and do something and not strategize or think about it too much. Some people are like those ready, aim, fire people, right? And then… Well, a lot of people are like ready aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim and they keep aiming before they fire and then they don’t get anything done because they think that something has to be perfect or whatever. I’m more like a ready fire, aim person. Actually I’m more like ready, fire, fire, fire, fire, fire [laughter] and then aim a year later and figure out what I did, what happened, you know.
38:41 JG: And that’s just because like you might have gotten from this interview that I’m just create… I’m just prolific in making stuff, I just love making things like audios and videos and courses and internet. For people like me the internet is a big playground because you’re not… I’m no longer bound by production like having to make a DVD and packaging and limited to two hours on a DVD. Heck, I can put up a course, I’m working on a course now that is coming out next year that’s going to have like 22 hours of material on it. And you know I’m going to be able to put that together up on a site without having to do any hard production. It’s like a miracle it can be for me. So, the whole thing is going to cost me as much as probably run of DVDs would. [laughter] It’s amazing.
39:29 LL: So we’re coming to the end of our segment and I want to end it with two questions for our audience, okay? So, the first question is chicken or egg? So, again going back to what these internet marketers try to push like, “Oh, turn your unique genius into a profitable product and then you’ll be rich.” Well, what comes first? Do you need to build up an audience first, in order to then survey and get feedback on your product? Or do you go to the trouble of creating a product that you don’t know the market will want? So, that’s the first question. Chicken or egg? List or product? And then the second question is, what’s your words of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
40:09 JG: You know, it’s… It’s… I’m such not a black and white person. I’m a very gray area kind of person I guess that’s why I… [laughter] But, it’s because basically I created a product first and it works for me and I put it out there, and I still make that very same product today that I came out with six years ago. And so, sometimes you’re going to have a great idea for a product first and then you just know it’s good, and so you might go a site around that. But, I think on the most part though, if you have no idea or you’re not sure, that it really is kind of a thing where you’ll want to build up an audience by, whether it be through YouTube videos or blogging. Or I would suggest a lot of free sources, not spend any money which is brilliant that you can do a lot now and host on Ustream video because Hosting is expensive. I don’t even want to show you my monthly bill on video hosting. But, it’s like… But you can use YouTube and other free video and other free ways to get content up. You can… You can lead people to a Facebook fan page and communicate with them that way.
41:17 JG: And you can also have a blog with a mailing list with a great free gift and get some email contacts that way and just put up… And use WordPress, and use some basic SEO stuff just to make sure you are using the right keywords and stuff that people are searching for. And so I think that’s the way to go first is to kind of do that back end of it and building up a bit of a list because then, as like what Product Launch Formula also will teach you is… Or if you don’t take it or not, you know, you can just… Whether you do that or not just follow what I’ve been saying, and you can do surveys using free survey monkey because you have 100 responses for free. You know like I did that with my membership site. It supports my business when I had my list, I didn’t make that membership site until I knew what people wanted and I need good surveys and that’s in two things. There was one, it actually told me what I needed to build, and two, it told my audience in, “Something cool was coming around the corner,” like, “I’m looking into something,” and they have like their ears perked up because I was telling them that I was going to come out with something a little more advanced for them.
42:31 JG: So, I’m a big… Yeah, I think that’s the way to go because… And then, you can get some surveys and you can do some product test and beta test with certain samplings of your list and just make sure that before you bother… Before you bother making content, you got to know what people are searching for and you have to think like your audience. Like so, in my audience, they might be searching for home remedies, so they might type in cold and flu remedy. And then I make… Then I would want to make a page or a video around that one single thought, cold or flu remedy or earache remedy or whatever it is and your niche of the problem that this is a key right here. How do you know that? Well you just, you know, look out on the Internet for people who teach you that stuff or there are keyword tools, free AdWords. Google AdWords has a keyword tool. You could use Wordtracker if you’re site build owner like me. Sitesell.com, there’s a keyword tool that teaches, actually, the sitesell… What the SBI teaches involve process from start to finish because they host education in it as well as giving you all the tools and the hosting and everything you need.
43:36 LL: Who, what, where and what, how?
43:38 JG: Sitesell or sitebuildit. Actually if you check out sbi.com and you can check out that. But like I said, I’m not trying to promote something, I’m just trying to say, simply you just try to find a way to make your articles or content based on what people are looking for online and you do that with the focused keywords, long-tail keywords. And that’s pretty much it, and you’re good to go. So, yeah, I think I would go… So wrap up like I would go with the egg is… The chicken or the egg thing, I would say that I would start with building the community relationships that people are offering for your online content and then develop your product later.
44:14 LL: Okay. Awesome. So, are there any words of advice that you might want to share for someone who is trying to follow the same path you are, someone who is trying to build up an internet business? Any other things that you… Mistakes you made along the way that you would advise people to avoid?
44:31 JG: Right. I think the number one thing to avoid is just thinking about it too much. I do advise a lot of folks, I mean not publicly consult but you know, friends of mine, I know a lot of people in my life and they see what I’m doing and I get lots of calls, I talk to a lot of people, and a lot of people take an interest and tried to use different things I’ve suggested on. Some of them haven’t had great success but others that have actually gone and tried and haven’t had success are the ones who think too much and try to plan too much. You know, get some inspirations, have some ideas but really just shoot, you know, ready, fire, aim, just go get some stuff out there. Even if you… Once you have… Make the blog, put five articles up, make the YouTube channel, put a couple videos up. Once you start, you just have to start and it might sound basic but I swear I have some really, talented friends out there who I think could crush it online here. They were just paralyzed because they just have that fear of what people are going to think if it’s not absolutely perfect, and you can’t think of perfection. What you think is value. What am I giving people value? If a video or something… Who cares even if it doesn’t look like Hollywood, the video? Who cares that it’s not fully edited or not the best English in the world? The point is that you fired the gun and you got something out up there and that you were creating value. Never put a single piece of content out without thinking to yourself, “Is this creating value for people or is just this another piece of junk that you could fill up the internet with?” And if you are creating value, then people will find you and they’ll appreciate you and you’ll build an audience. And that’s my advice.
46:10 LL: Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us on this interview. We really find your story fascinating and inspiring. I know you’re working on different projects so how do we connect with you better?
46:21 JG: You know the best way to connect with me and it’s also a great way to just learn is just follow… Looking on how I do things, just go to learningherbs.com and just stick your email address in there and then, you can get on my list and then you’ll know about any projects I have coming and what not and believe me, you’ll know. [laughter]
46:40 LL: Excellent. Excellent. Thank you so much. This is Lorna Li, Editor-in-Chief of Green Marketing TV and Entrepreneurs for a Change. Thank you so much for listening to the Entrepreneurs for a Change podcast. If you like the show, please share the log by going to iTunes where you can rate the show and leave us a comment. Don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list on enterpreneursforachange.com so we can send you tips and resources to help you grow your change making business.