Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Earn Money From Your Own Home Business: Mike DIllard's Elevation Income Review and Guide

Note: this is a very long post, as this recent blog series is becoming a book. Sorry. Print it out and study it at your leisure.

It's almost true that you can create and run a home business to earn millions in passive income on autopilot.

Autopilot works nice.

Well, Mike Dillard got it nearly right.

And I'm sure he's crying all the way to the bank.

His latest release of Elevation Income might have made him 9 figures, but at least 8. At $1,000 a pop, he only needed 1,000 people to sign up in order to crack a cool million. And his mailing list for EVG is about 400,000 - 2 or 3% of that would be 8K - 12K signups. Do the math.

Even with the overhead of a 50% affiliate commission, given that he recorded most of these videos in a single day, and were based on earlier videos on a beta (internal) release that already netted him 7 figures - there really wasn't a lot that had to be invested.

Figure he cleared several million profit in the week it was open. Soon, he'll open it again with monthly fees instead of a lump sum. More benefits, perhaps. More millions into his accounts.

Now you can do this, too. If you got his course, you just got showed how.

But that's very probably why you're reading this. A very small percentage of you actually got the course (like me) and want a second opinion of what he covers. (That's what I'm here for.)

The rest are clueless about Dillard or just can't take the leap right now.

I'm just telling you: no you don't have to get his course. Yes, you really should, though.

I'm about to tell you why - if I haven't already in this book up to this point. There are sections where he violates his own rules. And other sections where he gives up key datums, seemingly without knowing it.

For the fine line is how to get the 6- and 7-figure income like Dillard did - but start from scratch (or so), not having to invest heavily in something that you don't even know if it works. 

You don't have Dillard's millions to start with - but he didn't, either. Originally, I mean. Let's start where he did:

He started Magnetic Sponsoring in his sparse apartment where he had a desk, a bed, and a TV tray. Most of the stuff he owned was still in boxes because he didn't even own shelves. Once he made his breakthrough, he was worth 7 figures and it caught him by surprise. Sure, he went out and bought a big screen TV and a fancy car, but his spending spree isn't why we are here.

We want to tear apart his Elevation Income course from the top down and see if and how you can apply this to your own home business to make extra passive income - for retirement, for investments, to replace your day job, all of the above.

Starting from scratch. Like the real world entrepreneurs do all the time.

Overall

Mike's secret to success is simply one thing:

JV launch to a membership.

Breaking that down:
  • He had a digital product - his Magnetic Sponsoring book.
  • He set up joint venture deals with affiliate marketers to promote his product to their lists.
  • Next was setting up one-time backend offers to increase the sales.
  • Then he was able to offer additional (mostly digital) courses to that new list he had just built, as well as continuing to reward affiliates for sending traffic his way. (50% commissions.)
  • For Elevation Group, this product was a membership, where he got recurring income from subscription-based services.

Magnetic Sponsoring continues today as a 7-figure annual income business.

Elevation Group took him into 8 figures.

The underlying principle is to leverage everything

Let's break down each of his 10 videos which are part of the Elevation Income course:

Video 1: How to Come Up with a Million-Dollar Business Idea in Less than 10 Minutes


Their "secret sauce" is that building a successful business can be broken down into three basic steps...


  1. Identify A Problem
  2. Create An Elegant Solution
  3. Acquire A Skill

This video is about the first step. 

Your problem has to be shared by a lot of people who will pay you money for the solution. 

Simple.

When you see competition in a given area, it just goes to show you that there is money changing hands in this area already. The trick is to set out an area in that market which you can grab for your own use (and profit.) That's your Unique Sales Proposition - which can be as little as just doing a local service near where you live, or carving out a particular niche (Photography From Home, Barbecue Recipes for Texans, Training Your Pet to Guard Your House and Family, for examples.)

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

One of their pet phrases, this has at least a couple of meanings:
  1. Is this problem personally fascinating to you so that you are emotionally rewarded enough to stay with it?
  2. Is there enough income to make it worth your while?
Both are needful for you to have your success with this.

To find your idea, or to verify whether it's viable, they suggest going to Amazon and Clickbank to see if other people are making money with this. 

Video 2:  Finding Your Elegant Solution


"...our goal is to choose a business model that...
  1. Takes your current skills, personality, and goals into account. 
  2. Is the model that is as simple, fast, and inexpensive to implement as possible. (Elegant)."
In video 10, Dillard further defines "elegant" as: having the biggest yield possible for the least amount of cost and effort.

What they are talking about through most of this is an information product which can be promoted and delivered online. This generates passive income on a recurring basis from a membership site.

Sure, they have testimonials from people running various businesses where they are personally involved. But both Mike Dillard and Robert Riesch made their income on highly-leveraged passive income. Meaning they did very little work once that business was established and then continued to rake in considerable income.

That's the passive point of this. You work this business up so that you have plenty of spare time for other interests (like starting more passive income streams.)

They go into all these various personality types. And you can visit WealthDynamics.com to find out all about them.

Sure, you can build a business around nearly problem that desperately needs solving. 

In this video, Mike goes through the process he used to narrow down his choices in Elevation Group to monthly video interviews with the uber-rich about their investing strategies.

Again, he's selling information products, which are probably the most highly leveraged business options possible right now. Those are his examples. I'm hobby-horsing on these because that's what I'm into as well.

One of the sales videos he put up (the 3rd one) was simply testimonials about people who had used what they learned from the pilot course to increase their own income dramatically. Many were physical products or services. 

The third leg of this home-business stool is to get your "million-dollar skill."

Video 3: You are One Skill Away From Making Your First Million Dollars.


Bottom line: 

"The amount of money you make today is a direct reflection of your "PVL", or 'Personal Value Level'.

"Human society uses a simple tool called "money", to quickly and easily communicate the relative value of all things, from an apple, to a gallon of gasoline, to the wage for a job.

"Through our free-market system, the world dictates how much money you make, according to three factors:
  • Competition: The number of people who are also capable of performing any particular job.
  • Education: The amount of specialized skills or education needed to perform the job.
  • Leverage: The number of people around the world which your work benefits."

Waiters invest their time on a given set of tables in a single restaurant and are paid based on their personal service (and the quality of food, as well as location, of that restaurant.)

CEO's of companies are paid based on how much dividends they return to the Board. They can run (huge) corporations successfully.

In Magnetic Sponsoring, he proved this out.

  • He learned copywriting, which is a skill only one in a million ever truly master (although many and any can and do get good at it enough to improve their sales markedly.)
  • He learned how to apply this with online marketing - email, ads, landing pages, etc.
  • He was able to reach "masses" of people, which leveraged into considerable income - even at only a $37 entry level.
What they call a "rain-making" skill for Dillard boiled down to this statement: 

"Your business is marketing.
He who markets and promotes best, wins."

 The rain-making skill is the one which brings in sales. If you don't know how to do this - but are expert in another area - then partner with someone who does.

Rain-making is bringing in sales. That's the key takeaway. No sales = no business.

And he then gives a laundry list of places where you can learn marketing and copywriting. This is by no means a complete list, but shows his influences. (I'm doing my own study of this area and will create a resource toolkit soon...)

Again - the primary examples of this are to create and offer information product online for sale, preferably on a membership basis so you can build your relationships with that list and provide continuing service. The greater your value, the more you'll get paid in exchange.

But you (or someone on your team) needs to know how to make it rain.

Video 4: How to Turn Your Business Into a Magnet for Customers, Clients, Employees



Dillard goes into this "attraction marketing" scene which he probably got mostly from "Magnetic Marketing" Dan Kennedy.

The core scene he also laid out in his Magnetic Sponsoring: 

Leaders attract followers.

It's a natural phenomenon, which is documented. About 97-99% of everyone in any particular field or niche are followers. 

The solution is to personally become a leader, and make your business into the market-leader. 

The personal way you do this is to start with "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. And then add on other all-time bestsellers in this area. (My personal preference is to find authors who have passed on, but their works continue to sell. "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey is another. Also "The Strangest Secret" recording by Earl Nightingale, and the books he mentions there. "Science of Getting Rich" by Wallace Wattles is another good one. (Of course, I've been studying and publishing these and other books for years, so...)

Dillard goes into this "Alpha" scene in some detail. And he's got it about half right - enough to make him millions, anyway. One giveaway is this: 
"Now here's the great part... It doesn't take a lot to increase your value in the eyes of a prospect. All you need to do is know just a little bit more than they do, and you're instantly in a position of power and value."
The real value is in what you give away, not what you are.

Spend most of your time working out how to best help as many people as you can and you'll have the core of this scene. Sure, that will mean getting above their petty problems personally - and being able to remain emotionally detached as you help them through the steps they are going to need to take to improve their lives.

But your prime work is in improving others lives. That is the only real way to improve your own. It's the Golden Rule again. As Napoleon Hill said, "You have to give before you can get."

And as you have simple, effective solutions delivered by no-nonsense authority, you'll find this "Magnetic Attraction" working for you and your company.

Video 5: Wire Your Mind for Money



Mindset.

Here's where you're going to start causatively re-programming yourself out of those nasty habits you've had which keep you poor - or at least in less money, wealth, and abundance than you want. 

Here's what they got right out of all this:
  • You have to develop a "burning desire" for what you want.
  • You have to let go of the past and present in order to achieve the reality you desire.
  • Money is a physical symbol of energy and value.
  • Your emotional attachments form your limits.
  • Your surroundings, including your friends, reinforce your mindset.
  • It's your obligation to be rich, your responsibility.

And most importantly: 
Everything you need is already in you. 

The rest of this lesson is pretty useless. His diatribe on Wal-Mart is pretty much BS as it shows his emotional aversion to that area. His statement that "thoughts, ideas, and attitudes are real things, and that they are contagious" - just shows his fears surfacing. Both of these statements mean that 
  1. Dillard is still emotionally attached to these areas (and so, limited.)
  2. Dillard hasn't really let go of the past and present.
Sure, he's getting there. The point is that you can't hold anyone up as a pious example to follow. (Especially me and this blog.) You have to be yourself and follow your own lead. Accept everything conditionally and test it for yourself. Use only what works for you. Lots of people have given up looking for gold when they were just a few inches or a few feet away from the mother lode. (See the classic, "Acres of Diamonds" by Russel Conwell.)

Here's the real useful way to reprogram your mind for money success: T. Harv Eker's "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind."  Because he's been there, done that, and now has been teaching others to make their own success for over a decade (since 2001) and has reportedly helped over 1.5 million people improve their lives by moving toward financial freedom.

But Dillard is completely correct that your mind has long been wired to just follow along with the crowd. Once you find your own true voice in the matter of value and exchange (aka: "money") then you'll have the metaphor-model to follow to success from here on out.

Video 6: Ready, Set, Go


This lesson gets you started with the basics. 

Practically, the only way you can do this wrong is to not take action at all. 

But the best way to acquire rapid wealth is to work with the end in mind. This is best covered by another of T. Harv Eker's books, "Speedwealth" - which Dillard inadvertently (for the most part, anyway) followed.

If you take the concept that you want to start a business that you can sell majority interest in, franchise, or license - so it becomes truly passive income that you don't have to "work" at (like a just-over-broke J.O.B.)

The key concerns he has are: 
  • Plans for future growth.
  • How big is your vision for your business?
  • Is the domain name available, or has it been taken already?
  • Are there potential trademark concerns?
  • Is the name easy to say and spell?
  • Is the name "sellable?" (Not many buyers out there for a business named "Mike Dillard, Inc.")
  • What feelings and message do you want your business name to convey?
None of these should hang you up, even if you ignore them. But, taking these into account from the outset should speed things up.

Again, begin with the end in mind. Envision what this business is going to look like 3-5 years from now - and then decide based on that vision what steps you have to take to achieve it. Napoleon Hill (yes, you should have a copy of this book on your desk, all tabbed out, underlined, and dog-eared from study) - he said that you start NOW and improve on your plans as you go along. Period.

As a matter of fact, you don't even have to finish this blog post. Do something now which forwards your vision, your burning desire. 

(Of course, reading the rest of the articles in this series will help you a lot - which is why they are being made into a book. )

Your steps:
1) Envision where you want to be in 3-5 years with your home business.
2) Figure out a sensible name people can remember and spell, then get a domain name as close to that as possible. (But something like Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc. might do as well.)
3) Get some reliable hosting and put the domain name on it.
4) Skip to Video 10 and get started with the rest of the steps.
Then concentrate on getting the business financially viable and keeping it that way.

One other point: set up an LLC to protect your ass-ets. Those in New Mexico protect your privacy.

They also recommend getting and using a local P.O. Box (not inside an actual post office, but a private company - better security and privacy, again.)

As well, get a local bank for your business checking and savings. I'd recommend a local Credit Union for better rates and returns.

Video 7 - Part 1:  How To Create Marketing Systems That Automatically Tell and Sell For You 24/7


Top 10 Rules for Effective Marketing

Rule #1: Know what you're really selling

Nobody who bought a drill actually wanted a drill. They wanted a hole. Therefore, if you want to sell drills, you should advertise information about making holes –NOT information about drills!" - Perry Marshall
You always talk about the emotional benefits of the end-results your potential customer or client is looking for. Then help them justify it with a logical reason for buying from you.

Rule #2: Know Who You're Selling To...

QUESTION: So who should you market your product or service to?

While the answer might seem obvious in hindsight, I've found that it actually isn’t to the unstudied entrepreneur...


ANSWER: We want to sell our products and services to those who‘ve purchased a similar product or service before, or people who are actively searching out your product or service today.

You want to move your target in front of where they're aiming at anyway. This is the other half to "attractive" marketing. Find where people are and put some content out there (ads, perhaps) which they are already looking for. Then you'll "attract" their click-through's, phone calls, or walk-in's.

You have to know who wants the stuff you want to sell, where they are, and what they expect to pay for it. You also have to know their emotional ties to it, and how they want to be talked to.

Rule #3: The Biggest Secret to Effective Marketing...

Creating trust.

The most effective way to demonstrate value and build trust, is to give that value away freely.

The more value (energy), you put out into the world, the more you'll receive in return.

Our modern marketing process really means giving away the store in the second part of it (first is getting their rapt attention.) The common phrase for this is "getting completely naked" - as you are telling them exactly how the whole process works. They'll stay on because they can trust that you are going to do what you say - as you've given them the complete outline - and also because they want to see what's going to happen next (as well as see if they can get it for a low price and in a format which makes it easy to consume.)

Rule #4 Under Promise and Over Deliver...

Obvious, but seldom actually done these days. This is what Professor Robert Cialdini didn't write about in his landmark "Influence" book - only including it as a footnote, since it was so commonly expected.

Dillard & Co. set their own benchmark at giving 10X what people expect to pay for. They follow Jeff Walker - who showed them how to do their launches - and also gives tons of incredible bonuses (such as free tickets to a live meetup with industry experts in Vegas) as part of his offers.

Rule #5: There are Only 3 Way s to Increase Your Cash Flow...

  1. Acquire more customers through promotion and advertising.
  2. Increase the average ticket price by increasing your prices, or
  3. Offer additional products or upgrades during the checkout process.
This is also known by different names, such as One-Time-Offer (OTO) on the backend as an upsell (paying more for additional products) or downsell (paying less for the original product.)

I just saw that 3 separate areas have been added to Elevation Group in order to offer additional services or products to their clients: 
  • "How Do I Lay A Solid Financial Foundation In A New Financial Era?"  
  • "How Do I Protect My Quality Of Life"?
  • "How Do I Make My Money Work For Me?"

Rule #6: Playing It Safe Will Cost You Sales...

Be yourself, and never compromise with what you honestly believe to be true. Accept everything conditionally until you test it for yourself. When any new datum passes your tests, then hold it up as your new calvary flag.

This doesn't mean you're rude or impolite - or go out of your way to make people uncomfortable.

People are looking for leaders who have self-esteem and who are dead-certain about what they are about. Be certain, definite, and decisive. Decide, then act. Never waver - forge ahead. Do course corrections, sure, but down let the engine room come off the power on whatever course you set.

Rule #7: You're Not Building a Business, You're Building a Distribution Channel...
"At the end of the day, our business, and your business... is our LIST.

"Whether that list is comprised of email readers, Facebook Fans, YouTube channel subscribers, or followers on Twitter.

"More specifically, it's the quality of the relationship you have with the people on your list.

The more time, attention, and affection you give to the people on your list, the more valuable and profitable it will become."
You are building the channel you distribute your content on. This channel builds to the exact degree you communicate regularly to them - not too much, not too little.

Here's the one secret Dillard used to build fortune:
"The reason why The Elevation Group did over $3 Million in sales in its first 7 days, is because I had built a distribution channel at Magnetic Sponsoring, and a relationship with those readers over the course of years.

"Our affiliates, who promoted EVG during the launch week, also had existing lists and distribution channels.

"The relationship they have with their readers allowed them to successfully endorse and recommend EVG as a company and as a product."

While there are other channels (Dillard disses Twitter and social media here) - none are as effective as email. In Magnetic Sponsoring, Dillard noted that the business IS the list. If your opportunity cancels your contract, you still had your business - and can find another opportunity and take your downline with you. If you are only working for "The Man" then you have nothing and get to start from scratch - again.

There are other, very effective distribution channels, but their care and upkeep are beyond the scope of this article (and book).

Rule #8: Ignore the Technology Fads

Oops - here's Mike being Mike here. Mike mastered copywriting, online marketing and one of these "fads" - Google Adwords (and credits Perry Marshall for it).

He lumps SEO and YouTube in this. Yes, it takes months to master this - however if you're already there, then the real lesson is to stick with what you know.

Learn your specialty (you are already there, even if you may not accept that fact right now.) Learn (or partner with someone who has) rain-making skills. That will include list-building. He's saying here that those other technology "fads" are optional. But if you already know them (as I do) then that's simply a plus.

The point is to work from your list as the top of the pyramid and work down from there - does this new piece of technology improve my relationships and my ability to add value to my list? Does it rapidly build my list?

What he's saying here is to FOCUS ON WHAT WORKS. Avoid the "bright, shiny object" syndrome.

Rule #9: You Must Be Able to Communicate What Your Business Does, and How it Benefits Others in One Single Sentence...

This is the "elevator pitch" - which lasts as long as the ride between floors.

The point again here is to enable you to focus on your core vision. T. Harv Eker says he refines this every month, and has been doing it for years.

His use is in the "tag line" for your business - and split-tests this so it communicates best. Your choice. I think it's more important than just a pat phrase. It's a core value and you need to know it cold. You evolve, it evolves. Review it, understand it, clarify it. Practice makes permanent.

Rule #10: Always Split-test - everything.

This is very sensible. And your membership backend needs to allow you to do this.

As he says, "Something as simple as using a red headline instead of a black one, can increase your sales by as much as 25%."

You are always tweaking. Once you can't improve it, that ad or page or opt-in becomes your "control" and now you work to invent something which performs better. When it does, that becomes your new control. Some ads have run for 20 years without a single change to them. Study Joe Sugarman and John Caples for ads like these.

Summary

Keep this in mind:

Build your backend so Joint Venture Affiliates can promote your Membership - and then keep adding more Products that give excess Value. 

That's how Mike Dillard has done it - his one trick that always works. Everything else either contributes or distracts. Focus on that one point. Your buyers do.

Video Session #7 – Part 2: How To Create Your Own Cash Producing Information Product In Less Than 72 Hours

He shortcuts this to four options:
  1. You can create your own digital product such as an Ebook.
  2. You can create a physical product such as a nutrition supplement.
  3. You can create and sell a service, from Social Media management, to baby-sitting, to dentistry.
  4. Or you can sell a product produced by someone else as an affiliate.
His own actions were creating information products (1) and getting affiliates to sell them (2).

What he proposes you do to learn the ropes in Magnetic Sponsoring is to get your practice by selling others (his) affiliate products and so build an income stream which will allow you to invest in your business. That's his "funded proposal" or "self-liquidating offer."


How to do that:

Step 0: Know yourself and know your passion. 

(Mike omits this, but he's covered it earlier.)

Step 1: Choose a title and angle for your product. 

This is backwards. You need to know your Unique Sales Proposition (USP) and then you can create the title for it. Or write the damned thing first and then take the catchiest phrase from it as the title. (Movies do this all the time.)  

Dillard is shorthanding this incredibly. Fortunately, I've scraped up some ebooks for you.

Step 2: Choosing your Product Format

Do as Dillard did:
a. Test the waters with an ebook. Tweak this until it converts well. 
b. Publish it via Lulu.com so you can create hardcopy versions. 
c. Create a video trailer for this. 
d. Then do as Dillard did for his ebook - create a series of videos which promotes the book. If you record them high enough quality to begin with, they'll wind up as DVD's, which are additional products. 

The point is to KISS from the start. (Keep it stupidly simple.)

Step 3: Creating the Content

Here, he's simple: 

"Rule 1: Write at least one new page per day no matter what. (I'm typically able to write 3-10 pages per day).

"Rule 2: Don't be a perfectionist. Just get your knowledge on paper as quickly as possible."

If you don't trust your own editing, then hire someone to do it for you. Again, consult Joe Sugarman about this process. Copywriters do this all the time. No big deal. Just write it out and get it done. Outline if you want. Use blog content if you want.

The deal is: Write it. Tweak it. Publish it.

Ebooks are tweaked after they are published all the time. That Magnetic Sponsoring book was tweaked several times per these videos into the format you see it in now. (And the version of it on Amazon is essentially the same text, with a different title "Only Suckers Buy Leads" and cover.)

He covers videos in this lesson as well. Same 2 rules apply. Get it done. You can use Camtasia or some equivalent program to edit videos if you don't want to stand in front of the camera.

Write it out, then record it. Create an outline, create a powerpoint presentation from that outline, export these to individual images, match the images up with your audio. Export it to a good format. Upload to YouTube or wherever.

KISS. You can always tweak it later, as long as you keep the originals around.

How to Create a Membership Site

Well, he tempts you here. The real layout is in Video 10. And I've already covered the research I had to do in order to come up with the current best scene for those of us starting from scratch.

Again, you can invest time or money on these "technological fads." Hire someone, or crack the books and get it done yourself. Dillard spent money on them. The other solution is to get scripts which are dead simple to install. Maybe you know a geek who works for sandwiches, or beer, or...

Subscription services (so you can get recurring income) is the ability to "drip" your content out over time. You create a dozen units of it and then have this stuff come out each month. Or every month, you're involved in creating content - which, if  you have enough subscribers, should keep you and everyone happy. As long as you are following your passion...

Video Session #7 – Part 3: How To Create An Automated, Cash-Producing Marketing Funnel...

It's called a funnel, because not all people will take up every offer you send them. So the amount lessens with each step. (Not that your worried, as the ones which do are sending you more income. Just keep them happy at each step with real value.)

Step 1:

You use either ads, or content at the top of the funnel. People click on your link. Ads aren't required - they cost extra.

Step 2:

They opt-in and give you their email address, and perhaps a name. The page with the opt-in is known as a landing page or capture page.

Step 3:

Once they submit their email address, they are taken to the formal sales presentation for our product or service. This is a sales page.

Step 4:

At this point, the person either chooses to buy our product and become a customer, or they choose not to.

If they choose to buy, they are offered any additional products or services we might have during their checkout process.

These are commonly referred to as "upsells."

If they choose not to purchase, they remain in our email auto-responder system and will receive a series of pre-written emails designed to address any of the common objections that prevented them from buying initially.

Step 5:

Once the checkout process is complete, they are referred to the login page for the Member's Area so they can consume their product.

Dillard goes into more detail about how to set up your marketing pages so they are effective. 

Essential point is to give away your most valuable stuff at the outset in order to gain trust. And this will set your trap, as now they feel obligated to give you something in return. So the sales process starts.

In Dillard's original Magnetic Marketing case, he actually wrote an over-long sales piece which was split into 7 parts. But the format is the same - it's a long sales letter with all the points needed to convert people to sales. And by repetition, he's able to get people to sign up for an inexpensive product - which then puts them into the sales funnel for other upsells and offers.

The rest of this video lesson is about how to build a sales page and what needs to be on it. He also gives live links to his best emails - a swipe file to use. 

My comment on this is that old Japanese adage: "No one school has all the teachers." Mike can get you started, but you are going to need to get more books on this, particularly the classic bestsellers. 

Video Session #7 – Part 4: How To Write Cash-Producing Sales Letters And Videos…

"To learn copywriting is to learn how to print money out of thin air."

This lesson is all about What Mike Dillard Knows About Copywriting. He quotes some good authors (John Colton and Michel Fortin) and gives some links. Practically, if you want to get his version of how this is done, then get the course. I'm not going to reproduce it here, as the basics he covers can be found with a little Internet research. You're going to have to study some books on the subject, plus do as he did and try that Dillard technique of transcribing the all-time great sales letters long-hand in order to internalize the style and methods.

My consistent point through all this is to not take a single person as the Consummate Source of All in any area. Study and sample broadly, look for commonalities. Test everything for yourself. Including everything I write here.

On the resource page for this book, I'll include the links I've found of many books you can study for free. The concept is to study many, many successful authors and work out what appeals and works for you. You will have your own style in this. 

There's pricing points, etc. to contend with. Again, check out Thrivelearning Institute Library for books on this area as well as what you can scrape from the Internet.

Some authors to look up (and download available books from the Internet):
  • Michel Fortin
  • Pete Godfrey
  • Claude Hopkins*
  • David Ogilvy
  • Victor Schwab*
  • Bob Serling
  • Joe Sugarman*
  • Elmer Wheeler*
  • Robert Collier*
  • Elmer Wheeler*
  • J. George Fredericks
  • Albert Lasker*
  • Eugene Schwartz*
[Update: I removed the current-generation "IM" (mostly tips & tricks) crowd and added the classics, which all the rest get their "mojo" from. Those in stars are the ones I have concluded are the best of the best.]
Many have books available on Amazon as well...

(Video Session #7, parts 5, 6, and 7 are Case Studies - based on Dillard's successes.)

Video Session #8: How To Hire And Build An Incredible Team Of "A-Players"





This is Robert Hirsch's video, really. Mike admits this is his weak area. 

You start out as a one-man operation (unless you need a partner to do the "rain-making" for you.)

You only add people when you can't outsource it. Having a team for the sake of a team is a form of "needing approval" or some emotional attachment.

There is a difference if you aren't running an information product membership - like a brick-and-mortar operation where you physically meet and handle people. Or where you physically manufacture your own products. I'm talking from the one-man info-product shop at this point.

"For an entrepreneur, a team has 2 purposes:
  •     To scale you up.
  •     To free you up."
The other mantra is: "Hire slowly, fire quickly."

Frankly, I'd suggest you get the course and watch this video if you need more help in this area. For most of us, the warning to simply stick to out-sourcing is the best advice that can be given to any entrepreneur.

Let's review a membership area and see where you would need help first.

0. You provide the vision.
1. Your main job is to keep providing new products and/or revising and upgrading the earlier ones.
2. You second duty is to provide, tweak, and improve your marketing & copywriting.

Both of these increase cash flow and keep the operation profitable.

3. Customer Service is the next area where overload can keep you from working on one or the other above.
4. Next beyond that is technical support for your products or the site itself.

Except for Point 0, you can buy or hire your way out of problems in any of these areas. Like Steve Jobs and Apple, your vision is a personal thing and something you alone can do.

So when you feel you are being prevented from the creative stuff or the vision stuff - that's when you outsource (preferably) or hire in (not-so-much.)

Video Session #9: The Financial Metrics And Statements We Use To Run Our Companies



For a one-man shop, get something like Quickbooks so you can keep track of your finances and get some help at tax time.

You need to track some parts of your business. 

"You cannot manage what you can't measure."

This is Robert Hirsch's end of things. (Mike is being polite and sitting there again.)  Hirsch recommends a book "The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand" by Darren Mullis and Judith Orloff. (Unfortunately out of print; used copies probably available on Amazon.)

From Quickbooks (or similar) you can generate 3 reports to keep track of:
  •  Profit and Loss Statement (P&L) = Profit
    Also known as an Income Statement, a P&L displays the amount of profit or loss over a timeframe in question.

  •     Balance Sheet = Financial Condition
    The Balance Sheet shows you assets, versus liabilities and owner’s equity, held by your company.

  •     Cash Flow Statement = Cash
    This shows cash-in versus cash-out, no matter where it came from or went to (sales, investment, operations, debt payments, etc.).

To boil this down to simplicities: 
"The number one thing you need to keep on top of is cash flow.
"Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business.
"No cash flow = no business.
"Every entrepreneur is in the business of generating positive cash flow.

One fascinating point that made Mike hire Robert as a consultant is that Mike had no clue why he couldn't expand his business. For all the millions coming in, he couldn't get that business to expand to the next level.

One problem is that he was spending his money on self described "doo-dads" instead of investing in actual assets which would bring in more income directly or indirectly. Owning a building is a liability unless it's vital to keeping the business running. Owning the software which runs your business is an asset.  (Now if you rent out half of that building, which then pays all the operating expenses for your business, then that building becomes an asset. See the difference? The difference is whether it's costing or bringing you money.)

Because you can run an info-product business from anywhere, your key asset would be your own laptop (and ensuring everything is backed up somewhere in case that machine goes south.) Everything else you purchase in terms of services (web hosting, Internet access) will either cost money or bring you more. Liability or asset.

Other indicators you could/should watch:


  • Conversion percentage  -  how many sales compared to how many people viewed that page.
  • Gross Income (before expenses), Net Income (after expenses, before taxes)


[While we are in the area, let me plug T. Harv Eker's "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" Seminar again. In this, he has a "7 Jar" system for running your personal budget. And in this, if you are self-employed, you take out 20% for taxes right off the top, and then divide the rest into 6 categories which cover the gamut of necessities, investments, savings, education, etc. This brings some personal sanity to your life and I can guarantee you that if someone had dragged Mike Dillard to one of these, this would have been a very different set of videos. If you set aside for taxes first, and budget everything into accounts then this whole scene becomes way more manageable for a one-person business.]


  • Cost of Goods Sold - the real cost of every product which goes out the door.
  • Average Ticket Price - Sales per buyer on average.
  • Lifetime Customer Value - total revenue per customer
  • Cost per Lead - marketing cost  per number of leads generated (not sales, but prospects)
  • Refund Rate
  • Accounts Payable - what you owe
  • Accounts Receivable - what is owed to you

The bottom line is that you can also get all this out-sourced.

I suggest you run the books yourself to keep track of things - or some sort of accounting system which will tell you the above.  Do your books once per month to see how things are shaping up. Tally your cash and bills once weekly to ensure you are keeping on track.

There's other metrics that you can track, like your car dashboard has all those gauges. Here's what EVG runs on (click to enlarge):


This is a rough and shortened view of things to get you started. You can add or subtract from this as you see fit. Again, test and use what works for you.

Video Session #10: Bringing Your Business To Life, And Making Your First Sale...



Here's what you need to know from this video: 

Rule 1: Keep It Simple. You don't need complex, feature rich software to run your business. You need to make your first sale, and then repeat that single step over and over again as many times as possible each day. 
Rule 2: Keep It Low Cost. Don't spend a dollar more than you need to until you make that first sale and prove the viability of your business model and product. 
Rule 3: Keep It Standard. The words "custom" or "proprietary", translate into, "death" and "bankruptcy" for your business when it comes to software. Avoid them at all costs and use the services I'm going to share with you today as they come out of the box.
Make your business fit within the constraints of the software. Do not change the software to fit your desires for the business. There is no perfect solution. Every option we have will be a compromise, so don't chase the dream of a perfect system. 
Rule 4: Whenever you or someone on your team says the words, "Wouldn't it be cool if we could _________?" Please re-read Rule #3.
Our goal today is to bring your business to life, and make your first sale as quickly, easily, and cheaply as possible. Period. 
All you need to have in order to make your first sale are these four things...
  •     A capture page to capture email addresses and build your list.
  •     A sales page with a sales video or letter.
  •     A shopping cart to take the order.
  •     A "thank you" page where the customer can access the product they purchased.
My problem with this video is that same problem any realistic start-up has: You can't throw money at a solution when you don't have money to begin with. 

In this case, you do as Mike says, not as he does.

Dillard is shifting EVG over to Infusionsoft and Kajabi. Great if you have a $2,000 fee plus $400 per month.  All this before you have a single sale. 

His alternative is Clickbank, which has gone over to a subscription model per Dillard.

Nope, learn from the old Mike Dillard - from the pre-Magnetic-Sponsoring-break-out days:

1. Get a domain name.
2. Get some decent hosting.
3. Sign up with DigiCipher or JVZoo where you don't have to pay to host your product or sign up.
4. Set up some quick pages and funnel some traffic to them so you can get sales and test those sales pages and your product. 
5. When you have a consistently selling product, set up Wordpress on your hosting (free), and get Insta-member ($47 one-time payment) to set up your membership. And get a decent auto-responder service like AWeber (about $20/mo.) or similar - don't try this at home, most decent web hosts won't allow that type of traffic without heavy throttles. Mail Chimp and others have intro services for nothing up to 500 subscribers, so that might be the way to get started.

The key point is to make your business pay for the marketing you need to do. So you start small and build as you can afford it. 

Sure, you can always scale up to what Dillard is doing, but let's be more real to begin with. Most of us don't have a small business income which has 2 grand laying around and another 400 bucks we can toss around every month. 

a. Get started however you can, but stay out of debt as much as possible. 
b. Make more money than it costs you to keep operating. 
c. Invest in facilities which are actual assets and will help you make more money. 
d. Constantly work to improve efficiencies and eliminate liabilities.

It's the rotation from b through d which will keep you in the black and expanding. 

When you have "excess" income, re-invest that into the company to make it more possible to deliver. Otherwise, if you have enough emergency operating reserves, then invest it in another passive income asset and diversify your income sources. 

Remember this: Doo-Dads are liabilities unless they make it more possible for you to produce more income. 

[I'm back with another T. Harv Eker plug. One of his 7 jars is a "Play" jar. This is 10% of your budget after taxes are setaside for. You have to blow this every month on just pure friviolities and luxuries. The reason is to reward that subconscious side of you that needs it. Of course, the more you make, the more you have to spend... Now, there is also a charity jar, so realise you are giving back more as well. But just keep this in mind as you go. Again, Dillard's home business system in conjunction with Eker's Millionaire Mind training should set you on the right path for sure.]

And that's a wrap.

Thanks for being along on this ride. 

As I mentioned, I got the idea to release all this data as a (free) ebook so people could get the data and decide for themselves. 

This book pays for itself with the affiliate links scattered throughout. Feel free to click and buy. 

Meanwhile, I'm building my own membership...

See you on the other side.

Robert

PS. Stay tuned for a Guide to Memberships which I've scraped from other sources. Like you, I need to know the steps I'm taking will put me on the path to where I really want to end up...
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