Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How Mike Dillard Did it - he gets naked in public...

Naked is being completely transparent about your own success. A Review of Elevation Income.

A Review of Elevation Income. Mike Dillard, Robert Hiersh

The risk with "getting naked" - or telling exactly how you do something - is that anyone can "reverse engineer" what you are doing and then don't need to buy your product or service.

Practically, you won't have any credibility with potential buyers until you do - in this modern Internet Age we live in. That's why you have multiple videos on a launch, and the sequence is usual to 1) create demand, 2) show how you fulfill that demand - honestly, 3) testimonials, 4) pitch.

Of course, I dissected this 2nd video in order to find out all they said and took notes. Meanwhile they posted a recap of Video 2 on the Evolution Group blog.

[Update: While this was originally a review to encourage affiliate sales (my own naked moment) - it became a research line of its own. Below is a rather hefty, link-burdened alternative to what they are offering and recommending - and why.

While I still intend to get this product myself, my own studies are based from having $0 to start with and making the business pay its own way from the start.

I still consider listening and studying under millionaires who made it on their own to be extremely valuable. Even when my research resulted in different recommendations by the time I was through.]

Here's what I came up with:

The 3 part formula to business success:

  1. Your product or service solves a problem - or helps people avoid pain.
  2. You need to identify an elegant solution - simple, fast, inexpensive (and scalable)
  3. Acquire a "rain-making skill" - something which generates customers.
While Mike Dillard and Robert Hirsch give great examples, we'll skip these (you can see their blog or review that video as needed) to see how we can apply them to our own scene.

Obviously, your own solution is something which has as many people having that problem as possible.  Your solution is so direct that it applies to everyone's scene - and is so simple that anyone can (and should) use it.

The elegant solution is a mix of online sales and physical fulfilment. This has only really been possible for perhaps 5 years, although it's been evolving for more than that. That is the leverage of the Internet - and where Dillard actually made his success, not Network Marketing by itself. He discovered Internet Marketing and used this to create a membership site which delivered products to Network Marketers.

Then he turned around and did the same thing with Elevation Group. It's a membership site with a single product - a recurring monthly payment/income/commission.

I diverge here, as my concept of doing this is even cheaper than Mike and Robert's. I'm starting from scratch, and making my business pay for itself as it goes. So when they say you can plunk down $1,000 for a video series - I say: OK, but where do I get that 1 grand to begin with?

Suggested here is that you really crack the books on copywriting and human psychology, much as Mike did. (I've personally gotten a good way through mastering these two subjects and will go ahead to set aside time to complete them.)

Criteria for a New Business

  • Simple, small, run from home personally, or with few employees.
  • Recurring income with monthly subscription fee.
  • Get it up and running in 90 days.
  • A targeted potential of $100,000 a month.
The first three are obvious and doable. (Although 90 days is - "I'm from Missouri - go ahead and show me.") Getting 100 grand a month will get you over a million by the end of the year.

That's the target - duplicate what Dillard did originally with his Magnetic Sponsoring - and then grow it from there. Again, you may have expenses such as affiliate commissions to pay out, and overhead monthly to your fulfilment companies. But when you walk away with even a third of that - it's still a 6-figure personal profit you can invest in other passive income ventures (however, that is another story.)


Here's what they recommend, and what I've found out about these - and other solutions.

Shopping Cart: 
  • Infusionsoft
Drawback is that it also has a $1,995 mandatory Kickstarter fee.
  • Alternative Dillard recommends is Clickbank for digital products. 
They also do physical now. The trick is to marry them up with a fulfilment backend, like Disk.com - since physical products have less return rates. It's a two-step - your internal release to your existing list is digital only, which then earns you income to do a physical product. (Otherwise, books can be produced with Lulu.com and disks with Kunaki.com - but you're left shipping these products personally, much like Mike started out. However, that small inconvenience of direct shipping can give you the income to scale up your backend - worth considering.
(This for various reasons, such as digital download security, and time they've been around.)This is $34/mo and does all almost  all that Clickbank does in terms of a shopping cart and more, but misses the marketplace where affiliates can find you. It will take some study, but says it can even send your email for you, as well as recruit affiliates. Otherwise, you can do just as Dillard did with his Magnetic Sponsoring and promote for your own affiliates. (Preliminary research shows paydotcom to be a good alternative - low [$0] cost starting as a vendor and expands to unlimited product lines - lots of additional features, such as the ability to sign up affiliates under your brand.)

[Update: There's another alternative with JVZoo. Much cheaper than Clickbank. But misses the huge marketplace Clickbank has - and you have to do your own refunds, after your affiliate has already been paid. This changes yet again - DigiResults. Because they are free (Clickbank has gone over to a monthly fee model) and also allow you to do physical products. They cover refunds and affiliate payments as well.]

Email Service Provider:
Most any will do, providing they will integrate with Clickbank (or *ahem* 1shoppingcart.)

Hosting Account:
Godaddy is recommended, but there are others. You can even do it for free with Google's  Blogger.com - just transfer the domain name over to that blog. (You still have to pay GoDaddy about $11 annually to keep your domain name registered.)

Someone to create your lead pages
They recommend Leadpages.net - but this is another monthly expense you may not have to start with. Perhaps Fiverr.com can get you a designer to do a decent one for you as a one-time expense. Then upgrade to Leadpages for their ability to do split-testing, etc. in order to increase conversion rates.

If you only want to create video landing pages, like Kajabi, then the alternative looks to be VideoPlayer2 - which is a one-time purchase.

A monthly membership site:
While they recommend Kajabi.com, there are alternatives to this in various Wordpress plug-ins - however the point is that you don't want to be running your own site (it's a real pain, even if you know how to do it.)
I did find this fairly comprehensive and comparative description for membership solutions. His bottom line: the jury is still out. But you have choices. That author's work is based on running his own site. I'm ruling that out for both of us - for now.

The hosted alternatives (Kajabi, FusionHQ, PremiumWebCart, Nanacast) all really compete at that $97-99/mo range for enough features to grow. The chief use of all of these is to offer video-based sales format landing pages. (Kajabi is also reviewed as having a single product that you're pushing, a single look, etc.)

One point that did come out of this last, that a proper membership backend will save you other fees (such as Clickbank wanting to charge you $45 set up fee per product and then take a slice out of every single sale.)

Note: there are many, many Wordpress solutions. However, I've had problems with wordpress getting me kicked off hosting because it would jam their servers (plug-in conflicts.) If you aren't a die-hard techie who's been running your own sites for years, then get someone else to host your site. (I don't know at this writing that having Wordpress.com host your site will enable you to have a membership plugin running there - a fast search says "no".)

How to set up a home business

This isn't a substitute for the DVD's which Mike and Robert are planning to ship (10 video lessons with a 500 page manual + bonuses.)

What I'm saying here is based on my decades (literally) of working in and around the online marketing scene. I've had my successes, just not (yet) the scale of Dillard and Hiersh. (Although I'm planning to get their course, anyway.)

0. Do your homework and come up with your unique solution to a common problem, an elegant internet-based implementation, and your own rain-making (copywriting) skillsets.
00. Create a digital product which can be printed later. Make it as professional as you can, but the main point is to make it useful.
000. Work out your fulfillment - both immediate and scaling this. As Mike did, you can do digital downloads (as laid out below) to start with, then send out printed books you have created at the local quick-print shop, and then graduate up to disk.com
1. Get a domain name. Preferably, this is your own name, but it could be literally anything.  Cost: about $14 per year.
2. Set up a Blogger blog and assign that domain name to it - or get some decent hosting (about $7-10 per month) so you can set up a (free) Wordpress installation for your membership site, plus multiple Blogger blogs on the same domain - this is technical, but a better extension of your brand. Cost: $0 or about $10/mo.
3. Get an email solution. Cost: about $20 per month.
4. Get a shopping cart. I suggest  Clickbank or JVZoo,  1shoppingcart.com - cost: $34/mo (and say they cover emails for you.) Yes, eventually, you'll move to Infusionsoft. This gets you started. [Update: PayPal will get you started for $0, plus a fee from each sale.]
5. Design your landing pages from your own expertise, using templates provided, or hire a fiverr.com helper. Cost: $5 one-time or $0.
6. Decide on your membership site: either coughing up the $100 per month for a hosted solution, or hosting it yourself (depends on what you're comfortable with. Not having a membership site isn't really an option.) If you want to go with a hosted service, Cost: $100 per month (Nanacast recommended, even though it's got a learning curve. Premiumwebcart also offers membership services at that level, but won't replace your shopping cart until $150/mo - however one review says it replaces Infusionsoft at the top end - $200/mo.) [Update: Found that Dillard disclosed that Elevation Group until just recently was running on "WishList" plug-in on a Wordpress backend. That's simply a $97 one-time investment, while WP is a free install with most hosting. However, that doesn't give you the ability to manage affiliates. Dillard uses Infusionsoft. JVZoo or Clickbank fills that need with a per sale fee.]

We're now down to a $14 annual fee, plus $144/month. [Update: Or $97 one-time, $14 annually, $10 monthly. And there's your per sale fees...]

Later, you can upgrade to physical products, using something like Disk.com

Update: At the $147/mo tier, Nanacast does the email, shopping cart, affiliate management for you. And is well reviewed. Hmmm... It's just-higher and top level of $247 gives you 2-tier affiliate action, which may or may not be vital. 

Now, all of this is for you to review on your own. It looks great on paper. Nanacast has a "how-to" video page you should check out. As well as a free trial offer. (No, I don't have an affiliate account with them - maybe I should get one and change all these links... OK - go here to sign up.)

Financing Your Home Business

Separately, you'll need to set up your own financing to cover this action. Don't rob from your day job, but use that to support your family. Make the business pay for itself (with perhaps a small one-time personal "loan" to jump-start it.) I suggest following Mike's example of creating a "funded proposal" by setting up some blogs which push affiliate products on a regular basis. Consider this as part of your homework on seeing how the online world really operates. Once your funded proposal is generating sufficient income to cover expanding your business, then you can take the next leap. (You can also set this up by selling ebooks, or an eBay store - many options.)

Caveat: That "home business in 90 days" doesn't take into account learning the drive, focus, and hard-won "rain-making" skills you need in order to make that deadline. If you've already "failed" several times before this - and have studied the subject of marketing, which includes psychology and copywriting - then you should be set (as long as you studied your own failures honestly to learn from what you didn't know.)

Dillard was 5 or 6 years in the MLM business, being part of nearly a dozen opportunities before he finally put it all together and "hit it big." Sure, he made a million in less than 18 months, but that's just the icing on the cake.

Otherwise, without experience and knowledge under your belt, you are going to fail yet again and sit there sulking, being able to say that "Dillard is just a scammer." Because you weren't ready to take the plunge.

The alternative is recognizing that you need some additional study and training - in that case, by getting this course they offer now so that you can study and re-study it so when you are ready to pull the cord, you can have success find you when you're ready.

In short (a summary):

You are going to need
  • Capture page
  • Email Autoresponder
  • Sales Page
  • Shopping Cart
  • Thank You Page
  • Support Page
  • Fulfillment Page
  • Legal Disclaimers
My current scene, as of this research (and having gone through the Elevation Income materials completely now):
  • Wishlist (membership) on a hosted Wordpress installation (because I know this geek stuff)
  • DigiResults (sales backend and affiliate sales)
  • AWeber (autoresponder)

Cost is then
  • $10/mo. hosting, $14/yr. domain name
  • $20/mo. autoresponder
  • $97 one-time purchase of membership plug-in (Wordpress comes free with hosting.)
  • Per sales fee on transactions for affiliate sales.
Total: $30/mo. and $14/yr. recurring bills, plus a one-time $97 purchase.

That will get me started.

Sure, there are still other ongoing costs I have for living, such as courses and books, etc. The point is to get your business up for next to nothing and making its own way.

The point of this blog post is to help you get started without investing heavily in monthly overhead while your sales ramp up. You can move your content over there later. Right now, just get started with the minimal investment and recurring bills.

When you have your six/seven/eight-figure income, you can do whatever you want - but that is what financial freedom is all about.

- - - -

There's your review of Mike Dillard and Robert Hirsch's Elevation Income system. 

The subject has a great deal more details, but this blog post has (over)run long enough.

Bottom line of this say there's several options which can replace most if not all of what Dillard and Hirsch recommend. I don't know that more research wouldn't turn up something in addition. My point is to get you started with the best return for your necessarily minimal investment. And having everything under one roof is both eggs-in-one-basket approach, as well as a single interface for all your work.

The Elevation Income offer opens tomorrow, for about a week. I'd suggest you take them up on it if you're ready.  Even if you just want to study how they put it together.

See you up the line.

PS. It's LIVE - you and I can get our copies NOW!
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