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October 11, 2019
Negativity kills businesses (among other things). Negative, unhappy entrepreneurs are rarely successful. Negative, unhappy teams are rarely productive. The downsides to the downside are endless. And too often, we don’t address negativity in our businesses because we don’t see it in the first place. Today, we discuss the subtle negative influences you might be missing, and how to address them. We’ll offer a list of changes you can make today, and propose a 30-day experiment to see exactly how cutting the negativity can impact your life and business. Don’t worry — this is not a self-help episode. Positivity is simply a smart business strategy. Learn what changes to experiment with, and how to incorporate them into your team culture. These changes are practical and immediately applicable. Detox your business, and see how much better you feel — and how much better your business performs. Click Play!
October 10, 2019
Comparison pages cut right to the point, showing why your product is better than the competition’s. But are they always effective? Spoiler alert: no, they’re not. Unless you know what you’re doing, of course. Today, we discuss what makes a comparison page work, and why. So many small businesses try to use these pages as weapons to demolish the competition, when they should be using them to make the best case for the right fit. We’ll share examples of websites that do it right, and explain what’s wrong with sites that use comparisons as an opportunity to talk smack. With a properly crafted comparison page, you won’t need to “hurt” the competition — you’ll just make an honest case for why your product is the right choice. Learn how to compare and contrast the smart way. Click Play!
October 9, 2019
You’ve only got so much money to spend on marketing. How do you get the best ROI? It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’re helping one listener figure out how to prioritize their marketing needs. Making those marketing dollars work efficiently is a must-have skill for any lean starter-upper, especially when you’re new to the scene. With a little strategy, your marketing results can be way bigger than the sum of your (cost-effective) marketing budget. Tune in, and hear what matters most in marketing — including the ways people needlessly waste marketing dollars without even realizing it. Our list of priorities may surprise you, and they don’t focus on immediate results. But if you plan to be in business for a while, these are the investments you should make.
October 8, 2019
More and more, customer service is key to any business’s sustainability. Things are different now. As business niches down and democratizes, consumers simply expect more: more personal attention, more help, and more results. No matter the product or business, the bar for service is higher than ever before. The fact is, customer service can make or break your business in the long term. Today, we discuss 3 core elements of truly great customer service: the kind that convinces people to stick with you and recommend your business to others. These elements might sound simple, but executing them properly takes some intentional effort. Nail these 3 things, though, and the results will be more than worth it. Increase customer lifetime value. Demolish churn. Create evangelists for your business. Click Play!
October 7, 2019
How can you create revenue momentum? If you’re ready to watch your revenue growth snowball, you need to have the right systems in place from Day One. That’s the subject of this week’s very readable, endlessly useful Must-Read book for entrepreneurs. Victor Cheng’s Extreme Revenue Growth is less of a book and more of a manual. It’s also on the short list of the absolute best books we’ve come across, ever. Seriously. Read it, read it again, and keep it around for reference. Cheng breaks down the overall structural strategies that big businesses use to keep revenue trending upwards. You can use these strategies too, no matter where you are in your business. Take these systems, and put them in place. Set them, but definitely don’t forget them — they’ll enable the growth you’re working for. These ideas are new and different, but we predict they’re gonna be timeless in no time at all. Click Play!
October 4, 2019
Good ol’ fashioned print marketing: it still exists, even for digital entrepreneurs like us. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten any cheaper. Anyone who’s ever purchased an ink cartridge knows how ridiculously expensive printing things can be. So what’s an entrepreneur to do when they need banners, flyers, t-shirts, business cards, and everything else? Today, we’ve got 4 specific tricks you can use to lower the cost of printed materials and raise the return on investment. And don’t worry — we’re not talking about cutting corners here, or doing things on the cheap. You can lower the cost without sacrificing one iota of quality. You just have to know how. We’ll explain the most efficient process for creating print materials, and discuss where (and how) to look for the best price. Get the job done beautifully, without blowing your marketing budget. Click Play!
October 3, 2019
Never stop learning. Part of being a successful entrepreneur is keeping up on the latest ways to be better at...well, everything. But especially marketing. Of course, there’s a ton of content out there, and roughly eighty bazillion “gurus” with blogs full of advice on how to market. That’s why today, we’re sharing the 5 blogs we ourselves read. They’re so good — so valuable — that even our absurdly busy selves consider them worth every second we spend reading them. Some are general, some focus on specifics like writing or video marketing. Some have been around for years; others are newish to the scene. Some are long. Some are short. Some are more inspirational, others more practical. Some are daily, and some are not even monthly. But all of them make us better marketers, one blog at a time. Hear which blogs we bookmarked and subscribed to, and see if you agree. Find out what we look for in a blog, and why these 5 stand out. Most importantly, hear how you can integrate their value into your business journey. Click Play!
October 2, 2019
We keep hearing it’s a global marketplace out there. Unfortunately, not all of the globe has access to the same resources and services that make entrepreneurship possible. What’s an international business person to do? It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’ve got a listener who can’t find a payment processor willing to do business with their Nigeria-based company. It’s a sad fact of our “global” business scene that it can be nearly impossible to get payment processing, banking, and credit services when you’re in certain countries. But there’s a solution. An incredible, fairly recent, game-changing solution for anyone willing to do business across borders. Tune in, and hear about this little-known trick that can shatter borders — and barriers — for your business. Click Play!
October 1, 2019
There’s a ton of competition for you, but you’re ready to play anyway. So how do you win? If you’re diving into a crowded, highly competitive market (think fitness coaching or social media app development), there’s a single fact you have to accept: having a great product isn’t enough. You’ve got to have more than just the best thing to sell.The sooner you learn this, the better. A fantastic product is a floor, not a ceiling. Today, we discuss what you have to do to have any chance in a space with tons of other companies. We would know: we’ve both succeeded and failed in competitive markets (It turns out we’re not the only business coaches or SaaS developers out there. Who knew?). Today’s advice might sound...off to you, at first. It’s counterintuitive, and it involves letting go of certain customers (a lot of them, actually). But it’s tried, it’s true, and it’s the best hope for any entrepreneur bold enough to take on an army of other businesses. Click Play!
September 30, 2019
Every entrepreneur has a toolkit. Adding to that toolkit adds to your potential. There’s one tool that’s undeniably valuable, and can instantly multiply your reach: speaking another language. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs never think of it. Others don’t pursue it, because they’re afraid it’s too difficult. But without a doubt, learning a language can be huge for you and your business. Best of all, it might not be as difficult as you think. Steve Kaufmann speaks multiple languages, and has seen how it opens doors. He’s the founder of language-learning service Lingq, and he’s this week’s guest teacher.Today, Kaufmann offers a surprisingly convenient trick to accelerate language learning, so you can make a serious effort towards being bi or multi-lingual. This isn’t one of our typical business episodes, but it’s deeply, profoundly relevant to making the most of yourself as an entrepreneur. Tune in, and see how you can reach entire markets you’ve never even considered. Click Play!
September 27, 2019
Netflix...am I right? I mean, they did it. They really did it. Netflix took a perfectly un-disrupted industry (movie rentals) and coolly demolished a corporate behemoth (remember Blockbuster?), seemingly without breaking a sweat. And before you knew it, they pivoted to pioneer an absolutely groundbreaking new way to deliver entertainment. Was it luck? Was it some endless stream of financing? Was it the will of the Business Gods? Of course not. It was strategy, courage, innovation, and no small amount of risk. Today, we explore the uniquely valuable, inventive business model that’s proved not just enduring, but culturally relevant and personally important to millions of consumers. More importantly, we dissect just how they did it. We’ve distilled 3 distinct lessons the story of Netflix can teach any entrepreneur. By understanding the principles behind their success, you can emulate the Netflix approach and make your own disruptive mark on your corner of the market. Click Play!
September 26, 2019
Billboards just won’t cut it anymore. Today, it seems like every kind of company is investing in media: everything from books to series to full-on films, all for marketing purposes. Is it a wise investment? Does someone who sells shoes or auto parts or coding courses need a movie to convert their audience? Well, maybe. It’s all about the impact of “touchpoint” marketing, and the need to give way more than the marketers of the past ever had to. Today, customers need more than a pitch: they need a narrative. Every cent (and every minute) you spend on media can come back to you tenfold, provided you execute wisely. Today, we discuss how multimedia efforts add weight and momentum to all your other marketing efforts, and why even startups with beginner budgets can afford to make their mark with compelling media content. Click Play!
September 25, 2019
Where’s the line between you and your business? Legally speaking, it’s a question worth asking. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’re helping one listener decide when it’s time to register a business as a separate entity from themselves. A solopreneur is still running a business, after all — even if it’s a one-person show. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both sole proprietorship and registering a completely separate business. While the rules can vary from nation to nation, most of the Western world has a pretty clear set of standards that can help you make the best decision. We’ll share what we know from experience, as well as point you in the direction of who exactly you should ask. Listen in, and hear why not registering as a business can make it difficult to measure your success. Learn about the effects of registering on everything from your taxes to your personal credit. Get the facts, and make an informed choice. Click Play!
September 24, 2019
We all need a break. That includes your employees. As your team grows, it’s inevitable that your team members will ask for some downtime. For that reason, it’s important to have a set policy in place that defines when and how they can access a little R&R. Plan for it now, and you’ll avoid problems later. There’s a spectrum of leave policies, from “take off whenever you want” to “we work 24/7 365.” Generally speaking, both extreme ends of the spectrum have been proven ineffective. Where you land on the Time Off Question can make all the difference to your team’s happiness, productivity, and long-term loyalty. Today, we discuss the ins and outs of leave policy, from national holidays to sick time to those ill-defined “personal” days. We explore what to include in contracts and other employment agreements, especially with remote teams with a diverse array of holidays and cultural priorities. Tune in, and create a company culture that lets your people rest and recharge without sacrificing productivity. Click Play!
September 23, 2019
How did they do it? It’s a question entrepreneurs ask about other successful startups all the time. Very rarely do we get a full, honest answer. Even more rarely do we get an answer that’s completely original. But every once in a while… Shape Up by Ryan Singer is the true story of how the wildly successful Basecamp blazed their own trail, with creative approaches to business management that no one else dared to try. Basecamp’s management model is unique and idiosyncratic, and it might not work for everyone — but it’s sure worth learning about. If you’re building a business — especially one with a digital product — the lessons outlined in Shape Up are incredibly valuable. Again, you might not agree with every move Basecamp made (some of their tactics are controversial, to say the least), but challenging “best practices” and questioning your assumptions is always healthy. Hear all about this book, and get inspired to seek new and inventive ways of doing business. Click Play!
September 20, 2019
Market researchers obsess over figuring out what customers want. We have our own method. We just ask them. Customer interviews are an underutilized strategy that can cut right to the heart of product development. When you get on the phone and learn exactly what customers like — and don’t like — you can guide your company more wisely. From features to benefits to the specific language customers use, there’s a gold mine of information, just a chat away. Learn how to stop advertising and start listening. We’ve got 3 major, fundamental lessons picked up from dozens of customer conversations, each of which opened our minds to new approaches in our business. Hear how we conduct these calls and extract the information we need to make practical, needle-moving changes. You’ll never know what people want until you ask. Click Play!
September 19, 2019
We all love our customers — especially the ones who first bought our products and helped us build the foundation of our business. But “grandfathering,” the policy of keeping prices eternally low for those early adopters, may not be a sustainable long-term strategy. Your business has to grow, change, and evolve. Usually, that means prices have to rise too. We’re not saying you should never grandfather. Depending on where you are and the size of your market share, a little love for those first-generation customers can be a wise move. But when the math stops working, you can’t let sentimental feelings get in the way of taking your business to the next level. Here how we’re exploring our own pricing changes, and how we plan to navigate the effect on our current customers. Learn how to transition to a level of pricing that matches increased overhead on your part. See how delighting your customers is less about keeping prices down, and more about making sure your product is worth every cent. Click Play!
September 18, 2019
Enough already! When you’re new to business, it can feel impossible to turn anything, or anyone, down. But if you’re not careful, you can “yes” yourself into a total productivity breakdown — leaving your business worse off than if you’d simply had the courage to say “no.” It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’re helping a classic “yes” addict. What many of us don’t realize is that every time we say “yes” to one thing, we are — by definition — saying “no” to something else. That can only lead to one conclusion: a great entrepreneur has priorities, not an endless To-Do list. Learn how to support and impress the people who rely on you, without burning yourself out. Understand how doing less can create more opportunities. Tune in, and see how tackling fewer things empowers you to tackle them like a champ. Plus, hear our simple strategy for finally seeing the true value of your precious, limited time. Click Play!
September 17, 2019
Marketing: should you hire out, or hire in? It’s kind of like deciding whether to cook or call for takeout. On the one hand, you have ease, convenience, and the experience of specialists. On the other, you have a chance to create something that’s yours — something truly grounded in your own business and message. We’ve done both, so we know the advantages of each option. Today, we discuss the true value of outside marketing agencies versus your own marketing staff. Which is the smarter play for you? With so many facets of marketing to consider (content, strategy, copy, etc.), building your own marketing team is no small project. But the long-term rewards can mean everything to your business. We break down the skill sets required to truly “market” — and what we mean by “market” — as well as the specific challenges of assembling your own team. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s right for you. Click Play!
September 16, 2019
What are you worth? That’s the essential question of this week’s Must-Read book for entrepreneurs, Bob Burg’s The Go-Giver. It’s a book that’s simple, highly readable, digestible, and fun. But the lessons it imparts are as profound as they are practical. Honestly, it’s a book we couldn’t wait to read and review. Burg is a respected speaker, writer, and friend of the $100 MBA Show. The Go-Giver, in our humble opinion, should be on every entrepreneur’s shelf. It’s an easy read that packs an incredibly powerful punch, exploring 5 “laws” of business through fun, engaging narratives. Put simply, it’ll make you a better business person. Learn how to gauge your true value on the market. Define yourself and your business in terms of what you can do for others, and live by that clearly defined worth. Click Play!
September 13, 2019
What’s a leader’s job? As our business grows, we can find ourselves plateauing. That’s because a business founder has to make a difficult transition: at first, you’re the person responsible for everything. But ultimately, you have to let go of more and more responsibilities, handing them off so that you can focus on bigger, broader things. And that can be hard as heck. As CEO, refusing to let go of responsibilities will leave important things undone. Refusing to surrender your To Do list will take you away from CEO-specific priorities. If you can’t adapt to the new role that success hands you, you’ll stay exactly where you are — and that’s death for an entrepreneur. Today, we discuss how to make the switch from “I got this” to “they got this,” and become the leader you aim to be. Omar would know; he’s learned to let our growing team take over one spinning plate after another, so he can keep his eye on the horizon. And if he can do it, you can too. Click Play!
September 12, 2019
Before you try to sell, ask yourself: what’s the point? All products, and all marketing, should address the pain point. It’s about being customer-centric. Customers will choose your business if they think it offers the best cure for their pain. In other words, customers ultimately don’t want the most features or the coolest look or even the best price. They just want the best solution to their problem. Customers don’t care how cool we think our products are. And despite our assumptions, price is definitely not the deciding factor most of the time. All sales start with a problem, with the “pain” of needing a product that does x, y, or z. This trumps every other feature or benefit. If you keep your eye on the pain, customers will choose you. A pain-centric approach will help you differentiate your business and make the best argument against the competition. Tune in, and learn how to listen to your customers, not just pitch to them. Find out what’s hurting, and offer the fix. Articulate why — every other factor aside — your offer can cross one problem off their list. Click Play!
September 11, 2019
It’s gonna happen. If you make even a modest name for yourself in business or media, your inbox will become a very crowded place. Potential investors, partners, and guest writers and speakers will find your email address and fire away. We all want to network, but networking strategically is tough when you have a thousand unopened cold emails from perfect strangers. What’s an entrepreneur to do? It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener is wondering exactly that. Today, we discuss how to address the million demands on your time that come popping into your inbox every day. You can remain nice, polite, and professional without sacrificing hours of your workday to exchanges with everyone who finds their way into your inbox. Omar would know — he used to lose a ton of time to cold emails, until he discovered the solution we’re sharing today. Protect your time without being rude. Free yourself without missing out on genuine opportunities. Clean up that inbox with a clear conscience. Click Play!
September 10, 2019
What’s the right website hosting platform for you business? There’s no shortage of options. Recently, we pondered whether Webflow would be a better fit for certain businesses, including ours. Omar did some intense research, comparing and contrasting Webflow with WordPress, Weebly, and the rest. The results are an in-depth lesson on what makes this platform unique, and how it might serve your business best — depending on your needs and your website design skills. It’s not about deciding which platform is “better” or “worse.” This episode is all about the unique features and functions of Webflow for anyone who’s interested. And no, this episode is 100%, absolutely, unequivocally not sponsored. You may decide Webflow isn’t for you at all. Of course, there’s only one way to find out. Tune in, hear what Webflow has to offer, and see if (like us), you’d seriously considering switching platforms. Click Play!
September 9, 2019
Every one of your goals depends on mastering one skill: what we normally call “focus.” Nir Eyal thinks of it a little differently. He knows that cutting out distractions and getting in the zone is the key that unlocks all doors. But rather than “focus,” he refers to “traction” — as in, the opposite of “distraction.” It’s a powerful philosophy — but he explains it better than we can. Nir is this week’s special guest teacher. After featuring his book Hooked on our Must-Read book episode, we were thrilled for the chance to have Nir come by and explain the premise of his new book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. Today, Nir offers his 4 pillars of Indistractability, the key strategies for cutting the “dis” and getting some traction. In an era of endless “pings, dings, and other things,” indistractability may be the most crucial skill in an entrepreneur’s set. Make yourself more focused, more efficient, and more valuable. Get business handled, and protect your free time while you’re at it! Click Play!
September 6, 2019
Who wins in business: the jack of all trades, or the master of one? It’s one of the most important questions an entrepreneur can ask about their business. Should your product be defined by versatility, mass appeal, and all-around utility? Or is it best to make your product uniquely, unbeatably awesome at solving one particular problem? Should you compete with everyone at everything, or should you make it so no one can compete with you at one thing? We’ve got a straightforward answer to this one, and lots of examples to make our case. We’ll even discuss how we chose a strategy for our own businesses, and why answering the broad vs. deep question is so fundamental to your chances of success. Learn where to put your focus, and how spread your focus should really be. Click Play!
September 5, 2019
What makes a good developer? More importantly, how can you find one? If you’re building an app, a website, or any other kind of digital product, your business is only as good as your devs. We know — we’ve spent the last several years building our own webinar software, including a radical top-down redesign that took some serious developer talent to pull off. We can’t do it ourselves, so finding that talent is one of our most important jobs. Today, we discuss how to attract the best developers, and separate them from the rest of their over-crowded field. There’s a bazillion of them out there, and it can be tough for non-devs to evaluate their ability. Fortunately, our experience has shown us what matters most. Learn what skills and abilities are non-negotiable, the lack of which instantly eliminates applicants from your search. Learn what attributes make a dev most likely to move your project forward. Learn how to interview, test, and hire the true keepers. Click Play!
September 4, 2019
If your content isn’t marketing, you’re not content marketing. Blogs are fun to write, and valuable for your audience. But if they aren’t converting, they’re worth bupkus to your business. Today, we discuss how to move past the “spray and pray” method of throwing content into the wind, hoping for results. It’s time to start tracking, start measuring, and start using your blog to make progress. Of course, that takes a little know-how. It’s not enough to be a good blogger. You’ve got to get a handle on tracking content performance, lead attribution, and conversion rates. You’ve got to be able to reverse-connect the dots — from sales to traffic, and from traffic to content. Otherwise, you have no idea if your blog is worth the time it takes to write. Learn how to measure your blog’s performance, with or without helpful CRM software. Find out if your words are generating leads, and sales. Click Play!
September 3, 2019
We all want to move our business forward. But true success means reaching a point where your business moves itself forward. That’s momentum, and that’s the topic of today’s episode. At some point, you need to stop pushing the boulder uphill, and get over the hump. There’s a way of working that encourages this — a strategy that’s built for momentum, not just progress. You just have to change your routine. Today, we discuss how to revamp your approach, and schedule your workday in a way that maximizes momentum. A little discipline can go a long way towards making your results equal more than the sum of your efforts. It’s about focus, it’s about motivation, and it’s about time management. But most of all, it’s about creating self-propulsion for your company. Your work can work better, and finally get the ball of your business rolling in a big way. Click Play!
September 2, 2019
How do people make it in business? Every once in a while, a successful entrepreneur writes a book that helps answer that question. Explosive Growth has a title that sounds like it’s a bit much, but the content lives up to it. Clif Lerner is a startup founder who’s had his share of failures (and then some), but took each setback as a lesson in how to do better on the next try. Now, his app has over 100 million active users, and his lessons are worth hearing. This is the best kind of business book: an entertaining personal narrative with practical applications. It’s the story of an entrepreneur who didn’t stumble into success, but turned things around when things looked their worst. In this case, Growth doesn’t just refer to the shrewd strategies Lerner used to acquire more and more customers. It refers to taking your lumps, learning from your failures, and improving as a business person. That’s a lesson we could all use. Click Play!
August 30, 2019
Most people think of podcasting as more of a B2C thing, reaching out to a wide audience of consumers to establish your reputation. But we’ve got a secret: podcasts are incredible marketing tools for B2B sales, too! Selling to other businesses is all about relationships and networking. As it turns out, hosting a popular podcast creates a ton of networking opportunities, as you can leverage the value of your own audience and offer it to other business leaders. With a good podcast, you don’t just cement your reputation among consumers — you make a name for yourself with other entrepreneurs. Today, we discuss how podcasting has supercharged our networking, and how you can use your podcast to navigate your own business community. Plus, we offer tips on how to get started if you’re new to the podcasting game. Click Play!
August 29, 2019
Thinking about offering a free version of your service? Do the math first. A free plan for your recurring payment/subscription model can be an incredible marketing and sales tool. Just ask Google: the free service can haul potential paying customers in by the bazillions. But it only works if the freebies convert. Every day, your free version costs you money — so there has to be an appropriate ROI. We’ve spent some time discussing the issue with Patrick Campbell of Profitwell. His insights had a direct impact on our choice not to create a free version of our own software, WebinarNinja. That said, the free plan model can work beautifully for the right kinds of services. Today, we discuss how to make this strategy work, what situations it’s perfect for, and why it’s not for everyone. With examples of the types of businesses it can help, you can decide if a free plan is right for you. Click Play!
August 28, 2019
Refund requests happen. They’re unavoidable. But how you respond can make all the difference in the success of your business. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’re helping one listener learn how to turn those refund requests into opportunities — to keep the sale, to keep the customer, or to improve your company’s reputation in the long run. You won’t stop every refund, but you’ll make a positive impact on your customer relationships no matter what. We’ll discuss the most common reasons customers request refunds, and how to address those reasons so the customer is more likely to change their mind. We’ll also explain what to do when a refund is appropriate, so that it’s not a total loss. Plus, we’ve got tips on preventing customers from wanting refunds in the first place. Customers need the option of a refund to feel secure in their purchases. But that doesn’t mean every refund is a good idea, or a lost cause. Find out why — Click Play!
August 27, 2019
So. Little. Time. It’s every entrepreneur’s curse. But there might be more time than you think — if you know how to manage it properly. We all wish there were more than 24 hours in a day, and we’ve all hit our pillows anxious about what we didn’t accomplish. But there is hope. There is time you haven’t been using. And we’ve got 3 ways to find it. As we like to say, time is not money; it’s way more valuable. Today, we’ll explain the three methods anyone can use to make the most of those precious 24. You can improve productivity for your business, and add more R&R time to your life. You can use one, two, or all three of these tricks to finally have the time you need to succeed. We use all 3 methods ourselves. From endless long days at the beginning, we’ve finally found ourselves with some time to enjoy existing while building our businesses. You can too — Click Play!
August 26, 2019
When it comes to branding, words are everything. Trademark rules are complicated, and new entrepreneurs face two dangers when choosing company names, product names, and any other brand-identifying language. First, there’s the risk of running afoul of trademark laws. More likely, though, is the brand-killing possibility of not protecting your own business’s uniqueness from potential rippers-off. Good thing we know a trademark expert! Ali Smith is the marketing manager for trademark.com, a site that helps business owners protect their brand. She’s here to discuss the major pitfalls to avoid when choosing your words, so you can knock out the knockoffs early on. Plus, Ali will explain how the trademark process works, and what happens when you file one for your business. Get the unique branding you need, and choose trademarks that’ll set your brand apart from the rest. Click Play!
August 23, 2019
The business meal: effective relationship builder, or Mad Men throwback? While the 3-martini lunches of the past may no longer be in vogue, buying someone a meal can be an incredibly good investment. A meal can add a layer of personal connection that’s often missing from today’s mostly virtual business relationships. It can open doors. It can even be the start of a long-term partnership. Of course, you have to do it right. Today, we’ll discuss how the modern business lunch or dinner works. From choosing the restaurant to setting your expectations, the casual bite requires thought and planning. It’s warm, it’s personal, and it’s even a little old-fashioned. But it’s a strategy, one with serious business potential. With a little forethought, you might be one falafel away from moving your business forward. Click Play!
August 22, 2019
We usually think of content as something we give away. But should you be getting something in return, besides exposure? Today, we discuss whether to build the wall — the paywall, that is. Or at the very least, whether you should require an email address or other opt-in to access your premium content. Does it deter people from accessing your content, and possibly being converted? Or does a gate have the opposite effect, signifying value and moving visitors closer to becoming customers? Whether you host a podcast, create videos, or write guides and e-books, a solid gate may be ironic; rather than separating you from your audience, this barrier might actually bring people closer. When someone chooses to exchange something for content, they’ve bought more than access — they’ve bought in. Tune in, and decide if some of your content would be more effective if it wasn’t just given away. Click Play!
August 21, 2019
Success requires the right tools. For entrepreneurs, tool #1 is usually the laptop. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’re helping one listener decide which laptop is best for her business. She’s an online coach, so her window to the online world will have a major effect on her business. With so many options and so many features available, the mind can boggle at the sheer variety of computers out there. Fortunately, we know a thing or two about online business, and the tech available. Today, we’ll explain what really matters when it comes to laptops. From screen size to RAM to storage space, your choice has to fit your needs. Whatever your budget, there’s a laptop out there can help you reach your goals. You just have to distinguish it from the other (approximately) billion laptops on the market. Tune in, and hear what specs actually make a difference. Plus, we’ll share our favorite laptops at various price points — and don’t worry, this is sponsor-free. Click Play!
August 20, 2019
We work from home. Why? More importantly, should you? Some of the reasons are obvious, like the convenience of having no commute and the money saved on renting a space. But those aren’t the only reasons we’ve chosen to run our entire business — remote team included — from the same building in which we sleep and eat. There’s a lot more to it. We’ve been doing it this way for about 6 years. We’ve also tried the alternatives: coworking spaces, cafes, and even a full-on office. After all our experimenting, we don’t only know that working from home is our best option. We know why it’s our best option. Today, we’ll discuss how working from home affects our productivity, sanity, and success. We’ll also be clear about what can go wrong with a home office, and why this one size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Listen in, and decide where your business should call home. Click Play!
August 19, 2019
How long will this take? It’s a question we have to ask about every task, big or small. One of the toughest parts of managing a team is coordinating a long-term project with some sense of timeliness. Multiple people, multiple agendas, all adding up to one result. It can’t take too long, but it can’t be rushed, either. You need some idea of how long a project should take, but everyone has to be on board. That’s where this week’s special guest teacher comes in. Laura B. Janusek is a project management expert, and founding member of Modern Teacher. She knows that accurate timelines can empower a team, especially if everyone buys into the target completion date. She also knows that “deadline” can be a scary concept, especially with a complex goal. Today, Janusek lays out a specific technique she uses to bring the team together and decide on a realistic timeline. By making the estimate a shared task, the team takes ownership of the company’s time, and avoids feeling either rushed or complacent. Before you tackle your next big project, tune in. Click Play!
August 16, 2019
Social media can be hard to keep up with. But for entrepreneurs, every marketing opportunity counts. So what’s up with TikTok? There’s always a “next big thing” in social media, and many platforms are more hype than usefulness. But TikTok is making waves, and its success has reached a point where ignoring it is no longer the wisest option. It’s currently the 4th largest platform online — bigger (we kid you not) than Twitter. With hundreds of millions of active users, it’s pretty inconceivable that none of them are potential customers. TikTok’s explosive growth in the last few years indicates that spending a little time exploring the potential of this video sharing platform may be in your company’s best interest. See if TikTok can make a difference for your business — Click Play!
August 15, 2019
Get better at what you do. Get faster. Get more efficient. Get things done. Today, we’re highlighting the 5 best productivity tools an entrepreneur could ask for — when the budget is $0. It’s almost shocking that these tools are free, because the value they add is incalculable. At zero cost to you, you can organize your life and work in ways that maximize your output. If you’re putting the “lean” in lean startup, these tools are musts. Some you’ve heard of, some maybe not. But all of them help you get more out of every minute you work, and help you reach your goals that much sooner. Boost your productivity, and hasten your growth, without spending a dime. We use each and every one of these tools ourselves, and we almost feel guilty for not paying...almost. Click Play!
August 14, 2019
Entrepreneurship is challenging. But the biggest challenge is the mental challenge to leave guaranteed outcomes behind, and strike out on your own. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’ve got a risk-averse listener who’s terrified of failing in business. He needs to know how to bridge the emotional gap between a comfortable day job and the wild ride of independence. Getting started means taking a leap, a brave, scary, momentous leap into a world of total freedom — and undeniable uncertainty. We can’t blame our listener for being a little hesitant. Today, we’ll discuss how to overcome the mental barrier between you and entrepreneurship. We’ve got specific strategies for confronting the dark unknown, and getting comfortable enough with the prospect of failure to beat your fear. Being afraid is normal. Being afraid is healthy. But being afraid should never hold you back. Click Play!
August 13, 2019
So you want to start your own business. What’s taking so long? Here at the $100 MBA, we battle a myth. We battle it day in and day out, because it’s the one thing holding more entrepreneurs back than anything else: the belief that you need huge amounts of funding, education, time, or resources to start a successful business. It’s not that you won’t ever need things like knowledge or capital. You just don’t need as much as you might think to get started! You can begin the journey any time, including right now, and gather those things along the way. All it takes is a little guidance, and the will to move forward. So many people want to be independent entrepreneurs, but too many people overestimate the obstacles to doing so. You don’t need a huge budget. You don’t need the experience of an expert. You don’t need a degree. You don’t need “passion,” or some Earth-shattering product idea. You just need to take the first steps. You can build a business right now, today. What business will depend on you, but there are a few categories of business that anyone can establish with minimal resources and experience. We know — we’ve built these businesses ourselves. Today, we’re sharing 5 specific types of businesses that you can start with nothing but a laptop and decent wifi. The greatest preparation for entrepreneurship? Just plain doing it. We talk all the time about the MVP, or Minimum Viable Product. It means that every product has to start somewhere, that it can’t be perfect before you get the ball rolling. The same applies to entrepreneurs. If you want to be in business for yourself, the most important thing you can do is to get started! You don’t need the features of a long-established career to begin one. Sometimes, you just have to stop packing and get on the road. Whether it’s service, creative, or educational, there are countless ways to leverage your talents into a real-world business. With this lesson, we offer 5 examples. We discuss why you don’t need to wait for conditions to be “perfect” to start a business, how to find your niche, and how to find your first clients. Tune in, hear how jumping into entrepreneurship really works, and decide how you can start your independent business journey, right this minute. After the lesson, stick around for a very special, very important announcement for all our listeners. We can't wait to share this lesson, and we can't wait to share this week's exciting news. Let's kill the excuses. Let's kill the doubt. Let's get going! Click Play!
August 12, 2019
You don’t need to start a business to be an entrepreneur. You just need to find one. Sometimes, there’s an alternative path we just don’t see. Jaryd Krause saw one, as a working plumber who wanted to get into business for himself. Instead of creating a whole new operation from scratch, he got into the business of businesses — buying existing companies and turning them into largely passive income streams. Today, Jaryd stops by to show us exactly how to hunt for that perfect pre-fab company. The statistics make a compelling case for Jaryd’s approach; with most startups failing, acquiring something with a proven track record is a pretty intelligent strategy. Jaryd’s experience has shown him exactly what to look for in a pre-existing business, and how to find it. Tune in, and learn how to research, what to spend, and what questions to ask. This lesson is a perfect beginner’s guide to buying online businesses, for those who want to split the difference between the security of conventional employment and the risk of entrepreneurship. Click Play!
August 9, 2019
Apple does not sell the most devices. Apple does not bring in the most revenue. Apple does not dominate the market. But Apple makes more money than literally every other company. Today, we discuss how, and what it can mean for you. Your business isn’t the size of Apple’s, but the profit strategy Apple uses can work just as well at any scale. It’s about putting profit first, and making sure the margins reflect a strategy that means every dime you spend is returned to the maximum. In short, it means competing for value — not price, revenue, size, or anything else. With a profit-first mindset, you can create incredible stability for your business. It’s what allows Apple to completely outperform the competition, without bothering to offer sales or discounts. It’s what allows them to rake in the profits, without breaking a sweat over what percentage of the market they control. For Apple, it’s all about profitability, and it shows. Take a page from the Book of Jobs: Click Play!
August 8, 2019
It might’ve taken months, or more, to earn a customer’s business — but you don’t have that long to make sure you keep it. The first phase after the initial transaction is where the most important impressions are made. Before the purchase, the customer’s excitement about your product is theoretical. Once money has changed hands, though, it’s reality time. Either this customer will get the most out of your product and trust you for the long haul, or not. If not, you’re wasting some of your investment in sales and marketing. Churn kills. The customers you have are a far greater source of revenue than the customers you don’t have yet. Treat them right from the jump, and you invest in something that will sustain your business for years. Today, we’ll discuss how to give your new customers the early wins and immediate satisfaction that kicks off a long, mutually beneficial relationship. When the cash register rings, you’ve got one more sale to make: the one you just made. Tune in, and learn how. Click Play!
August 7, 2019
A big project is like a big meal: you can’t swallow it all at once. When the task before you is huge, where do you start? It’s Q&A Wednesday! We’ve got a question from a listener with a conventional job, but a problem that’s very common in entrepreneurship. Our listener’s new boss wants her to implement a comprehensive new approach office-wide, but has left it completely up to her to decide how. When all you have is an endgame, finding the beginning can be tough. Today, we explain how to turn a general goal into an actionable plan. From defining the goal more precisely, to establishing milestones, to measuring success, you can turn vague hopes into winning realities. We’ll discuss our listener’s specific task, and how to extrapolate her example to apply to any large undertaking — including starting a new business. You’ve got big ideas. Let’s turn them into results. Click Play!
August 6, 2019
Staying focused and motivated over the course of long projects is one of those skills an entrepreneur simply has to have. It’s one of the key differences between entrepreneurship and conventional work — you’re responsible for the long term, not just the day’s or week’s to-do list. That said, we understand how tough it can be to sustain morale over months and months, especially when the endgame seems so far away. Fear not! Today, we explain exactly how to keep your eye on the prize, however long it takes. We’re at the tail end of our own project, one that’s currently in its 18th month. When we started a year and a half ago, the finish line was well over the horizon. Now, our consistency and patience is paying off. We’ll discuss the organizational and management strategies you can use to make every day of your project feel like Day One, all the way through. From writing a book to launching a product, you can handle shifting timelines, hard-to-envision outcomes, and the sheer unknown. You know what the say about a journey of a thousand miles. Take the first step today — Click Play!
August 5, 2019
Interested in entrepreneurship, but afraid to quit your day job? We’ve got incredible news: you don’t have to. This week’s special guest, Shaan Patel, built a multimillion-dollar business on the side, while working full-time as a doctor. He’s the cofounder of ClearHat digital marketing, a best-selling author, and a successful Shark Tank contestant — and he did it all without giving up his 9-to-5. Today, Patel explains exactly what it takes to build a viable, profitable business in your spare time. From finding your niche, to marketing efficiently, to taking your first steps, Patel’s got the strategies that work. And yes, he also explains how to find the time! You don’t have to risk it all to start your own business. With a little discipline, a little creativity, and a smart approach, you can venture into entrepreneurship without losing your stable income. Patel did it; others have done it. How about you? Click Play!
August 2, 2019
In many ways, the earliest phase of starting a new business is the most fun. The possibilities are endless. The sky’s the limit. The only boundaries are imagination. But eventually, you have to make a decision. Today, we discuss some general, universal truths we’ve discovered in the course of founding multiple businesses. We’ll share what we’ve learned to best determine what’ll work and what won’t, from idea validation to business modeling. Whether you’re starting your first business, or moving on to your next, these tips are timeless. We’ll explore some atypical options that you may not have considered, even if it’s not your first rodeo. From the philosophical to the practical, these tips can improve your chances of picking the right business to get into next. Every journey starts with Step One. Make sure yours is in the right direction: Click Play!
August 1, 2019
Finding great employees takes time and money. But are you getting the most from your hiring budget? No entrepreneur should be afraid of investing in great team members. That said, there are smarter, less costly ways to find the right fit. With a little knowledge, you can save thousands that would otherwise be wasted on redundant efforts. We would know — we’ve found employees the wrong way ourselves, only to find out we could’ve discovered the same talent without all the expense.. Today, we share 5 specific strategies we use to find, attract, and hire the right person for the job. Without recruiters or agencies, you can widen the search field while narrowing down to the best prospects. We’ll detail each strategy, and explain why the best hire isn’t always the cheapest. Plus, we’ll share the best websites to post for your open positions. Click Play!
July 31, 2019
Your workspace matters. Efficiency, productivity, and overall well-being are greatly influenced by the feng shui of your office. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener is curious about our own setup, specifically the workspace of our intrepid host, Omar. Over the years, Omar’s tried different arrangements to facilitate writing, podcasting, video recording, and everything else. His current setup gives him the minimalist, all-business access to his daily tools that makes for maximum efficiency. In other words, Omar’s workspace works for him. Depending on your needs, it might work for you, too. Omar will discuss how he keeps clutter down and productivity up, by removing the distractions and disruptions that plague many a desk. With a podcast to record and a million other multimedia tasks to perform, integrating the right tech into the space took some trial and error. Not only should your office setup promote productivity, it should promote posture, energy, and overall good health. Compare notes with Omar, and see what you can do to make your space a business advantage. Click Play!
July 30, 2019
SEO means traffic, and traffic means sales. If you’ve hit an SEO plateau, we can help. Today, we offer a few simple fixes that can really move the needle on your website. Search Engine Optimization is a cottage industry, with loads of experts claiming to have the “secret” to getting your site noticed by Google, et al. But sometimes, the simplest tricks are the most effective. We’ve got some easy-to-apply strategies that, with a few hours’ work, can boost your traffic in a matter of weeks. We’ve tried them (among many others) for ourselves, and found that these are the simplest, best bang-for-your-buck tricks in the bag. Take a smarter approach than stuffing keywords, or shelling out cash. Make your content as SEO-fficient as possible, with a few tactics you may not’ve thought of. Keep driving traffic, keep growing your audience, and keep moving forward. Click Play!
July 29, 2019
Are you getting the most from your customers? Don’t be shy: when your product delivers, customers have no problem rewarding you. If they can invest in even more value from your business, that’s a win-win. But as the business owner, you can’t just expect customers to offer you more revenue. You’ve got to make a proposition. Today, special guest Mark Thompson stops by to explain exactly how to get more overall CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value) from each and every customer. With a few smart pitches or pricing structure changes, you can maximize the ROI on every conversion, while delighting your customers even more. We met Thompson at a recent conference, and his expertise left us no choice but to ask him on the show. He’s the co-founder of PayKickstart, and a revenue expert who’s helped scores of entrepreneurs get the most out of every happy customer. Your existing customers have just as much (or much more) potential to increase your revenue than newly acquired customers. Don’t leave money on the table — Click Play!
July 26, 2019
Every entrepreneur knows you gotta keep the marketing content coming. But life being life, everyone needs a break sometimes. So how can you pump the brakes without losing momentum — and disappointing your audience? There is a way. Whether you host a podcast, write a blog, or run a YouTube channel, a little planning can give you the space you need to take a pause. With relatively small adjustments to your content creation schedule, you can invest in a “savings account” of content to deploy whenever you need a break. Alternatively, entrepreneurs with an established audience and a solid backlog of content can take a true break: not releasing any new content at all for a while. With some specific examples, we’ll discuss how to prepare your audience for such a hiatus in a way that doesn’t damage the long-term following you’ve built. You work hard to produce great content, and your audience looks forward to it. Give yourself the time you need and deserve, so that you can continue to delight your fans. Click Play!
July 25, 2019
You have too much website traffic. What a great problem to have! As your business grows, so will your site hosting needs. You can’t afford to have a slow website that loses all the traffic you’ve worked so hard to gain. This is one of those crucial conversion turning points, when the fruits of your marketing can become the next crop of leads — or not. A bad user experience on your site will turn people off, and hurt your credibility. It’s time to upgrade. Don’t worry — we’ve been through many hosting upgrades. Today we’ll explain (in plain layman’s terms) how to scale up at different price ranges and levels of technical expertise. Whether you’re a knowledgeable techie who just needs the tools, or a technophobe who just wants it taken care of, there are options for you. Congratulations on winning an audience. Now, let’s serve them. Click Play!
July 24, 2019
Writing ain’t easy, but it’s necessary. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener wants to know if it’s ok to farm out the blogging. The written word is irreplaceable as a form of marketing content, especially when it comes to SEO. People love blogs — and so does Google. But if you’re not a natural wordsmith, should you just delegate to one of the many talented full-time writers out there? Yes, and no. Today, we explain how you can cultivate your own writing craft while trusting a pro for the day-to-day content. We discuss how to find a great writer, what to look for, and how we utilize our own go-to Word Guy. We’ll also explore how becoming a better writer makes you a better overall communicator, marketer, and entrepreneur. Words market, words sell. Words matter! Click Play!
July 23, 2019
Motivation: it’s not all about the money. When you’re running a lean startup, every cent counts — and there often aren’t that many of them. Plugging away day after day for a long-term result can get tiring, even demotivating for your staff. So how can you keep your team genuinely excited about what they do, and wanting to do their best? Today, we’ve got 5 answers to that question. We’ve built our own businesses from the ground up, and couldn’t always afford big trips or fancy dinners. We’ve learned from experience that (besides money) appreciation is the most valuable thing you can offer a dedicated employee. By going out of your way to show someone how much they’re valued, you invest in a productive relationship. Money buys their work. But appreciation buys their best work. Check out our creative, low-cost ways to show the love, and see how they work for your team. Click Play!
July 22, 2019
Office drama is unavoidable. But how you respond to it is your choice.Today, we have a ridiculously qualified guest teacher, Anne Grady. She's a speaker, consultant, and academic with more expertise on the psychology of intra-office relations than just about anyone. Grady is here to explain  how to proactively head off the drama, and keep your workplace as low-stress as possible.We don't always think of it, but a leader's first job is navigating human nature — especially in business.If you consider drama-quashing just another part of your job, it becomes much easier to manage conflicting personalities. Grady will discuss some of the science behind our emotional reactions to disagreement, and how to manage, rather than avoid, natural human tendencies towards drama.Keep it real, not reality TV. Learn how to cultivate harmony and be a balanced, emotionally intelligent leader. Click Play!
July 19, 2019
Are you ready for this. Really ready? Here at The $100MBA Show, we don’t sell “the dream.” We want our audience to go into business for themselves armed with the knowledge they need. Sometimes, that means asking extremely tough questions, and accepting the honest answers for better or worse. If you don’t go in confident and sure, things can end badly. Today, we discuss 3 specific questions that must be asked and answered before you actually try to launch a business. With these questions, you can get a definitive answer as to your true readiness. Entrepreneurship is a massive, life-altering decision. Rather than encouraging every listener to jump in, we prefer to separate people into two categories: people who would like to run a business, and people who are ready to. Which are you? Even if you’re not ready, you’ll have a better idea of what to do next. Maybe you’ll stick with a rewarding conventional job. Maybe you’ll take a few steps to get truly ready for entrepreneurship. Maybe you’re actually ready to go, and all you need is to know for sure. Either way, let’s find out! Click Play!
July 18, 2019
Which Spice Girl are you? Which Skittles color matches your personality? Take our quiz and find out! Many, many companies and websites use quizzes to capture email addresses. But for all their silliness, is there a serious lead generation strategy here? We’ve been researching this method in-depth recently, and we thought we’d share our findings. Today, we discuss how quizzes work, how well they work, and whether they’re appropriate for your business. The key, as always, is tying in genuine value for the audience. We’ve found that quizzes offer a potential gold mine of data for business owners — data that can help you make better decisions and meet the specific needs of your subscribers. A great quiz doesn’t just produce a laugh; it helps you segment your audience in a way that brings them one step closer to buying. Learn how to target potential customers with a better, smarter information-gathering strategy. See how to keep the process streamlined and easy for you, with some of the best and easiest-to-use tools available now. See if you can design a quiz that’s relevant, valuable and useful. Click Play!
July 17, 2019
Nobody likes a huckster. There’s an unfortunate trend in the online course business: hype-heavy “personalities” trying to seduce their audience with flair instead of substance. In this week’s Q&A, one listener wants to know how to sell a course on its merits, with a marketing strategy that’s more genuine, more serious, and more respectable. We agree with our listener. If you want to project value, be real. Today, we discuss four specific examples you can model your sales approach on. These course creators educate, rather than “sell.” They make reasonable claims, and back them up. They don’t “sell the dream.” They make a value proposition, and invite their audience to see for themselves. Learn how to sell like you’re serious, at any price point. Build a relationship with customers, rather than trying to seduce them. Create trust, not hype. Earn long-term customers instead of short-term targets. Click Play!
July 16, 2019
All things come to an end, including employment. When the inevitable parting of ways occurs, you shouldn’t just wing it. For the sake of your team, you need a plan. Today, we discuss what procedures your business should have in place when someone moves on, retires, or has to be let go. Intentionally managing the effects of a departure on your team is smart business, and reinforces the kind of thoughtful, respectful company culture you want to instill. We’ll explain how to handle the practical and emotional aspects of losing a team member — from changing passwords and managing access to protecting the feelings of all concerned. Having exit plans built into your company from the start will serve your business as it grows, but it’s just as important when your team is small and relationships are closer. Plan for amicable goodbyes. You won’t regret it. Click Play!
July 15, 2019
Every entrepreneur tries to validate their product idea before they try to sell it. But what about validating your potential business model? Today’s special guest teacher, Justin Lokitz, believes that business model validation is just as important as product idea validation. And just as the idea validation process can reveal tweaks or alternatives that improve your initial idea, your business plan should be flexible and open to improvement, too. By arming yourself with a toolkit of different business model options, you can quickly adapt your marketing strategy to whatever works best. Lokitz is an author, speaker, and consultant with a flexible approach to business. He sees different marketing components as moveable pieces that can adapt to the market itself, as you test and validate strategies along the way. Today, he’ll explain (in great detail), how to create your own multi-optional framework. Get the notepad out, friends. Today’s episode is a crash course, an in-depth lesson from a deeply knowledgeable expert. Plus, Lokitz has a special discount on his business model workshop for our listeners. Click Play!
July 12, 2019
If there’s one quality every entrepreneur needs, it’s decisiveness. Going into business for yourself is a bold decision, the first of many. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have so many important decisions to make — and you don’t have time to mull them over for too long. For every huge call you have to make, there’s another one coming just around the corner, so confidence is key. With the stakes high, doubt can creep in. That leaves all of us at risk for a common entrepreneurial ailment: Analysis Paralysis. We can help. Today, we’ll help you learn the difference between healthy self-questioning and harmful self-doubting. We’ll discuss specific, strategic ways to deal with Analysis Paralysis, and where to reach out for support. This episode will help you win the psychological battle that every entrepreneur has to fight sometimes. As independent business people, we don’t have someone making decisions for us. Learn how to focus on decision-making as a skill, rather than obsessing over individual decisions. Learn what it takes to make the call, every time, with confidence. Click Play!
July 11, 2019
Sales is changing. As business models evolve, and lean startups do more with fewer people, is the dedicated sales team a thing of the past? It depends. Today, we discuss when businesses need a full-time sales team, regardless of the product. In some cases, the ROI simply isn’t there. In others, it’s well worth the investment. We’ll help you decide whether your business would thrive best in a traditional sales team structure, or whether integrating sales into other job descriptions makes more sense. It may be smarter and more efficient to let sales be an aspect of everything from product development to marketing. It might not take much “selling,” in the traditional sense, to move your product. Either way, the first step in ensuring great sales is figuring out which approach fits your market. Learn how to gauge where your business is on the “low touch” to “high touch” sales spectrum, and decide what resources to apply. Plus, we’ll offer tips on building your sales team efficiently, from the ground up. Click Play!
July 10, 2019
Mastermind groups are all the rage, but are they worth the (sometimes hefty) price tags? This week’s Q&A comes from a listener who has an opportunity to attend a pretty exclusive Mastermind, at a pretty substantial cost. At $5,000, it’s worth taking a moment to make sure it’s a good investment. Fortunately, our intrepid host Omar has participated in enough Masterminds to develop a way to gauge the ROI. Today, we’ll share our framework for assessing the cost/benefit ratio of a Mastermind group, at any price. We’ll describe the number one factor that truly determines the value of a Mastermind, and how to assess that value in the context of your own business. With your own budget and business experience in mind, you can evaluate each Mastermind for what it’s really worth to you. Learn how to make the call with confidence, plus hear about alternatives, for when the price isn’t right. Click Play!
July 9, 2019
Is your business leaking? We’re gonna say it: Customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition. If you’ve got a churn problem, the time, money, and effort you put into attracting and converting is being wasted. Let’s put a stop to that, now! Whether you run a subscription or service-based business that depends on monthly revenue, or you just want to keep your customers coming back, the churn has got to go. Customer retention protects the investment you make in your business, and acts as a hedge against slow growth periods. Today, we discuss how to make sure your customer turnover isn’t outpacing your growth. We share our system for identifying and plugging any “leaks” that hurt your stability. Create a stable basis for long-term growth by creating lifetime customers. Make all that marketing worth it. Click Play!
July 8, 2019
Your product might be the most important employee. There’s a new approach to product development and marketing. Rather than focus on features, or even benefits, this new outlook takes it a step further. Your product has a job. The customer is the employer. Your success will depend on what kind of “employee” your product is. If it sounds outside the box, it is. The approach is all laid out in a deeply detailed, paradigm-shifting book called Jobs to Be Done by Anthony W. Ulwick. It’s based on decades of research — and despite how academic it is, this book has serious practical implications. This Must-Read book offers an alternative (or supplement to) the “pain points” approach of solving customer problems. Today, we discuss the philosophy behind the book, and offer the best examples of this theory in practice. Bottom line: this book will help you focus on what matters most to customers, by seeing your product from the most customer-centric perspective. Click Play!
July 5, 2019
At this point in the content marketing game, video isn’t an option: it’s a requirement. Video content works to help you build an audience. As we like to point out, YouTube is technically the world’s second-largest search engine after Google. But we also know how difficult, intimidating, and time-consuming video production can be. We’ve struggled with equipment, software, and all the rest. So we decided to make it simple. Today, we’ll explain how to streamline your video content production. By making some key choices and focusing on the basic essentials, you can take the hassle out of filming videos. The result? Consistent, effective content that does what it’s meant to: drive traffic. Tune in, and hear how we learned the hard way that trying to do too much is counter-productive. You don’t have to be Spielberg to produce quality, engaging content that’ll boost your business. You just have to know some key basics. Click Play!
July 4, 2019
For entrepreneurs, time is the single most valuable resource. So how can you get more of it? Executive assistants are not just for Fortune 500 CEOs. Any time you can get work off your plate, it’s an opportunity to spend more time doing more important things. To hire an assistant is to buy time — and that’s always a fantastic investment. Today, we’ll explain how to go about finding the right assistant for you. Whether it’s local or digital, full-time or part-time, there’s probably someone who can free you from some menial tasks. As you focus on what matters most, your business thrives — thanks in part to your assistant. We’ll discuss how and where to find your EA, just as our intrepid host Omar is doing now. Since he’s in the market, we figured sharing our experience would be helpful to those listeners who are also considering bringing an assistant on board. Click Play!
July 3, 2019
Go it alone, or get some help? Every entrepreneur has to ask this question, and the answer isn’t always obvious. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener is weighing the ups and downs of full independence. When you “bootstrap” your business (as we did), you have total freedom, and total control. No investors, no loans, nada. You answer to no one, and can take your business in any direction you wish. You also accept all of the risk. Is there a time when it’s best to get outside investment? We’ve found that for some businesses, the freedom is worth the risk. But for others, the loss of equity is well worth the stability that comes with external help. Today, we’ll explain when it’s smartest to accept a helping hand, and when it’s best to go it alone. Then, you can make the best decision for yourself and your company. Click Play!
July 2, 2019
If a question seems scary, it’s probably worth asking. So be honest — are you really happy? This deep, fundamental question is a must-ask every so often. When you first get into independent business, the initial excitement is great. But that early buzz fades, and as the long-term reality of entrepreneurship sets in, you have to self-examine. The good news? If the answer is no, you can fix it. Maybe there are certain aspects of entrepreneurship you don’t enjoy, even if you love running your own business. Maybe the right hire, or the right change in protocol, will make you fall in love with your biz all over again. Then again, maybe not. Either way, it’s best to know. Today, we’ll discuss exactly how to get an honest answer from yourself, and what to do if you’re no longer on Cloud 9. The greatest benefit of entrepreneurship is the freedom to make your own choices — even the hard ones. Click Play!
July 1, 2019
Your team won’t improve on its own. That’s the task of leadership: to get the best from your team by helping them grow. Sarah Wirth is a professional development expert with extensive coaching and corporate experience. Today, she’s here to show us how to deliver the kind of feedback that gets results — but doesn’t alienate your employees. It takes some skill to be supportive and critical at the same time. To protect the investment you make in your employees, that skill is worth developing. By perfecting your feedback game, you can cut down on costly, wasteful employee turnover. You can create a work environment where your team feels challenged, but respected. With Wirth’s data-driven advice and specific action steps, you can keep it cool personally and professionally. Take Wirth’s tips, and watch your team thrive. Click Play!
June 28, 2019
When you’re starting a business, there’s a big, fundamental question you have to ask before you do anything else: build the audience first, or the product? There are advantages to both options. In fact, we’ve built businesses both ways, and seen all the ways each approach can go right and wrong. In the end, we learned that it all depends on the kind of business and the circumstances in which you’re building it. Either way, it’s a choice you have to make carefully. Today, we explain exactly how to figure out which way will work for you. We’ll discuss what exactly an “audience” is in terms of a business asset, and how to assess its value relative to the investment you make in it. Then, you can decide whether to build that audience first or second. Both your product and your audience can be built around each other, like a binary star system. Tune in, and take the first step toward answering what might be the most important question for a new entrepreneur. Click Play!
June 27, 2019
Considering a team retreat? We just got back from our first, and we learned a ton. We took the whole team to Bali, Indonesia for some work, play, and all-around bonding. From all over the globe, our remote employees flew in and met face-to-face for the first time ever. Organizing the trip was no small feat, but it was worth every minute of planning and every company dime we spent. Today, we discuss the things that went great, and the things we’ll do differently next time. We review the logistics, and explain how we kept the trip mission-focused, positive, and productive. Hear what we did right and wrong, so you can have as great a time as our team did — and meet your business goals while you’re there. Before you start packing for your team’s big getaway, tune in to this episode. Click Play!
June 26, 2019
Webinars work! When it comes to connecting with an audience, converting them into customers, and keeping them around, you can’t beat the personal touch of a webinar. But if you’re new to the webinar game, should you jump right into live webinars? Or is it safer and smarter to use the pre-recorded version at first? It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener wonders if automated webinars are better for a first-timer. We’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both options, so you can decide how to approach webinar-ing yourself. While some projects are definitely better tackled with an automated webinar, there are some situations where you have to go live — even at the beginning. Learn how to balance your approach, and why one option is definitely better when you’re establishing yourself. Plus, take advantage of some free webinar training resources we offer through WebinarNinja. Click Play!
June 25, 2019
Are you missing out on millions of potential customers because you don’t speak their language? Whether you sell books, courses, or even services, translating your content could open doors. But the time and effort required might not make sense, depending on the business. Today, we discuss when investing in translation can net serious returns. It’s a big world out there, and you may be able to serve more of it. We’ll explain how to implement a multilingual approach for maximum ROI. Choosing the right languages to work in, finding the right translators, and creating a long-term strategy all take some support and know-how. Fortunately, there are resources available. Get ready to branch out to new, untapped markets. Click Play!
June 24, 2019
What if your product could do the sales and marketing for you? That’s the premise of this week’s Must-Read book for entrepreneurs, Product-Led Growth by Wes Bush. It ranks pretty high on our all-time list of great business books, because it explains a breakthrough marketing strategy in a way that’s highly readable, fun, and immediately applicable. As captivating as a good novel, this absolute must for SaaS business owners shows how putting the product first can make marketing a breeze. Full of examples and clear instructions, the book explains how to get the product into your audience’s hands as quickly as possible — making the product itself its own advertisement. Learn why some “freemium” models fail, while others work like a charm. Before you start your next campaign, listen to this episode. You may need far less marketing than you think. Click Play!
June 21, 2019
The toughest part of being a leader? Leading. It’s one thing to have a vision, and the ability to pay people to carry out tasks. Anyone can do that. But truly building a motivated team that can sustain a business long-term takes something more. It takes genuine, emotional buy-in from the employees. So how do you make that happen? Today, we explain how your job as a leader is to make every person feel like part of a shared mission. We start by exploring how to articulate that mission in a way that’s understandable, so that your employees know exactly what the endgame is. From there, we discuss how to reinforce that mission, every single day. Your team can’t keep their eyes on the prize until they know what it is. Teach them to see the job beyond the job. Inspire them to have a real stake in your success, beyond simple compensation. The results are astounding. Click Play!
June 20, 2019
As we like to preach, exchanging time for money is just about the worst deal in business. No other kind of entrepreneur understands that better than the celebrity chef. From Ramsay to Oliver to Ray, these entrepreneurs used their talent to generate passive income, rather than just punching the clock in a restaurant forever. They stopped selling their time, and started selling their knowledge, experience, and personalities. No matter what business you’re in, you can take a page from their (cook)book. Today, we explain how cooking is the best example of a skill that’s better monetized through adjacent products. Whatever you’re good at, get paid to do it — but don’t stop there. As long as you’re exchanging labor for cash, you’re always dependent on someone else. Learn from the Emerils of the world, and start formulating your strategy for independent success. You are more valuable than just your time and labor! Click Play!
June 19, 2019
Hate public speaking? You’re not the only one. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and we’re helping one listener who’s got a perfect opportunity to raise brand awareness, gain credibility, and get that all-important exposure. Thing is, it means talking in front of people. For many of us, there’s nothing more intimidating. Is there any way out of it that doesn’t hurt the business? Public speaking is neither natural nor comfortable for most people. If you’re not into it, don’t see it as a flaw or a weakness in yourself. Instead, see it as an opportunity: to grow professionally and/or to find creative alternatives. That’s exactly what we’re discussing today. On this episode, we approach the problem from two perspectives. First, we explain how to improve your public speaking and grow more comfortable. But also, we explore other options, ways to get that exposure from somewhere closer to your own comfort zone. Don’t let fear of public speaking hold you or your business back. Click Play!
June 18, 2019
The key to sustainable small business: minimum profitability. The $5k per month mark is a crucial one, known as the “escape velocity” at which revenue generation is strong enough to actually, truly sustain a company. If your business can make it to $5k quickly, you’ll know for sure whether it’s a winner, or if it’s time to pull the plug and move on. The faster you get there, the sooner you’ll reach your ultimate business goals. So, how can we fast-track this all-important metric? How can we move as quickly as possible out of the experimental phase and into real-world business-building? With some strong tactics (and a few sacrifices), you can get there sooner — whether “there” is investing full-time into a proven idea, or moving on to the next one. Reach that moment of truth ASAP. Your time is precious, and you deserve a strategy that doesn’t waste any. Click Play!
June 17, 2019
Social media marketing: we all have a vague idea that it can work. But without a good strategy, it can be a massive waste of time and resources. Today, we’ve got a guest teacher who can help. Nancy Gathecha is a Germany-based consultant and author who knows how to get the most out of social media, without investing too much. She’s here to share 5 simple practices that’ll help you get results without devouring precious time. Hint: the best strategy is the one you can be consistent with. Gathecha’s social media philosophy holds that the easier your plan is to follow, the more effective it will be. There’s simply too much noise on social media to dive down the rabbit hole. Instead, she argues, you can focus on a pared-down plan that’ll maximize your return on investment. Learn how to turn people’s social media habits into your company’s growth opportunities. Let go of the intimidation factor, and find an attack plan you can stick with. Plus, get Nancy’s free gift to help you get started. Click Play!
June 14, 2019
If you’re not on YouTube, you’re not marketing. YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world, after Google. And just as every entrepreneur seeks to climb the ranks of the Big G, you should be putting content onto humanity’s favorite video platform. The only problem: there’s a ton of people doing exactly that. Today, we discuss how to stand out, find your niche, and claim your own corner of YouTube. There are way too many voices out there, especially for popular topics and industries. It’s more difficult than ever to be noticed — and more important. We’ll explain how the YouTube SEO game has changed, and how to adapt your marketing strategy accordingly. We’ll also share specific resources you can use to learn more about climbing the YouTube ranks. Even if you’ve never posted a video, it’s time to learn how to build your YouTube presence. Click Play!
June 13, 2019
Social media is changing. So is social media marketing. If you’ve seen the news, you know that Facebook, Twitter, and the rest are doing a walk of shame after failing to protect user privacy. And as the public generally gets tired of overexposure, the social media world is shifting to something more segmented, more clustered, and yes, more private. Start adjusting your marketing strategy now. Today, we’ll discuss how the shift to private groups and messaging will change the landscape. The days of funneling leads from the newsfeed are coming to a close. Customer acquisition will require a different skill set than it used to — and email will become even more important than it already is. Let’s get ahead of the curve, together. Click Play!
June 12, 2019
Social proof is a marketing must. So how do you get it? It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener needs reviews and testimonials for their website. Whether it’s for your homepage, or just to get your credibility going on review-heavy sites like Yelp or Amazon, you need evangelists. Otherwise, it’s just your word against the competition’s. Today, we discuss how to get more reviews — the kind that actually spur interest, trust, and growth. We explain how to get your customers to share what you want them to, without blatantly “bribing” anyone for good reviews. We’ll get into who to ask, and how to ask from your existing customer base. We’ll detail how to leverage great customer experiences into testimonials, so your social proof is as genuine as it comes. Plus, we’ve also got great tips on how to get reviews even if you don’t have many (or any) customers. Click Play!
June 11, 2019
Sometimes, a small business should stay that way. Not everything has to scale. Entrepreneurship isn’t about creating the biggest company possible; it’s about creating the life you want for yourself. And if that life doesn’t involve making billions, or running a national business empire...you’re not alone. Today, we discuss why one size (size L) doesn’t fit all. Independent business people around the world run permanently small businesses, and couldn’t be happier. Yes, there are downsides and challenges to being one of the little guys. There are also considerable advantages. Whether you’re a solopreneur, in a partnership, or just running a small team or Mom & Pop shop, let’s consider keeping it small-time. Maybe you’re in it for the craft. Maybe you only want enough money to be independent. Maybe huge isn’t for you — it certainly isn’t for everyone. Click Play!
June 10, 2019
We’re all great leaders when things are going well. But how does a great leader handle a crisis? If you’re looking for an overall leadership model, you shouldn’t look any further than Abraham Lincoln. As President, he led his nation through the worst-case scenario: a necessary but devastating civil war. Along the way, he had navigate divisions in his own team that were almost as deep as those between North and South. How did he pull it off? In Lincoln On Leadership, author Donald T. Phillips takes us through Lincoln’s decision-making process as he sought to reunite a country. Lincoln didn’t just have to beat the Confederate army; he had to sell his viewpoint, and get his own side of the war to execute his vision without resorting to coercion. Lincoln managed and balanced conflicting viewpoints and personalities, with no guaranteed outcome. In business, you’ll face similar (if less dramatic) scenarios. Learn how one of history’s greatest leaders got the results that counted when everything was (sometimes literally) on fire. Click Play!
June 7, 2019
You don’t need to reach the most customers. You need to reach the right customers. Big-tent marketing, reaching out to the widest audience possible, is a thing of the past. Modern marketing is all about targeted campaigns aimed at people who would love your product specifically. If you try to speak to everyone, you’ll speak to no one. Rather than speaking louder, you’re going to speak the right language. By choosing the right words, you’ll draw in the customers that stick around. By attracting the right people, you’ll reduce churn and maximize your chances of long-term success, not short-term attention. By blowing that dog whistle at the right frequency, you’ll bring in the keepers, not just the curious. Learn how to articulate a message that inspires devotion from people who could really use your solutions. Earn lifers, not just clicks and exposure. We’ll show you how — Click Play!
June 6, 2019
There’s a powerful number you have to discover: your product’s value metric. The value metric is the exact measure, in dollars and cents, of what your product is worth to customers. It’s not what the product is worth in raw materials, or what it costs in overhead, or even its monetary ROI. It’s simply how much money a customer would gladly exchange to enjoy whatever your product does for them. Yes, it’s a little subjective, but it can be translated into a cash amount. And it’s crucial to know exactly what that amount is. Today, we explain how to figure out how much you can really charge, based on the value metric. It might take time, but it’s worth every minute you spend to find out where the ceiling is. By setting your price by the value metric (instead of other, less reliable metrics), you can maximize your revenue-per-customer, and widen those profit margins considerably. We’ll show you how to calculate this all-important number, plus offer some examples of businesses that nail their own value metric perfectly. This might be the most profitable podcast episode you listen to all year. Click Play!
June 5, 2019
We talk a lot about the importance of personal branding. But do you have to be the face of your business? Yes and no. It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener has a great product idea but no desire to stand in front of the crowd. Think of all the brands that succeed in large part because of a charismatic founder. Is it possible to just let the product shine and take a behind-the-scenes role? Does every business need a human face? Can you sell without selling yourself? Today, we explore the drawbacks of avoiding the limelight. While introverts can run successful business, that introversion poses challenges. Adapting to and overcoming those challenges is doable, though, with the right strategies. Unfortunately for the intro-preneurs, a business with a reclusive founder is no longer viable in our hyper-connected, Internet-driven marketing reality. That said, you can show the audience what they need to see without overexposing yourself. Click Play!
June 4, 2019
Interviews can be tough...for the interviewer. There’s nothing more awkward than struggling to find out if the person you’re interviewing is right for the job. Even worse, passing on the perfect fit because you didn’t get the information you needed is just plain tragic. So how can you make sure to draw out the very best of what the candidate has to offer? It’s time to make an interview plan. Even as our team has grown, we still conduct initial interviews personally. What we say and ask is very deliberate, designed to save us time and get right to the heart of the matter. By refining our pre-interview process, we’re able to hire with confidence, not question marks. Tune in, and learn how to make the most of your time spent in interviews. Make sure you get a clear picture of each candidate’s true potential. Set them — and your business — up for success. Click Play!
June 3, 2019
You can’t just sell the product. You have to sell your story. Heather Saffer is the queen of DIY public relations. Without any help from high-priced professionals, she managed to tell a tale that built a narrative foundation for her brand. As an entrepreneur, author, and reality TV personality, she’s mastered the art of being noticed — on her own terms. With her homemade PR strategies, Saffer launched and guided a frosting (yes, frosting) empire to success. Since then, she’s taken the media-swaying lessons she learned along the way to those in need of a branding boost. Today, Saffer stops by to explain how she made a name for herself. By committing to standing out from the rest of her niche, she was able to get the positive media attention that explodes brands. By putting herself at the forefront, she convinced people to believe in her product. Learn how to articulate your own value, and get an incredibly helpful bonus gift from Saffer. Click Play!
May 31, 2019
It’s time to put aside politics, and focus on business. Diversity matters. Monoculture is a weakness. Diversity is just as important for your business goals as it is for anyone’s social goals. Today, we’ll explain why a team that looks, acts, and thinks the same has trouble innovating. We’ll also bust one of the ugliest, most backward myths in business: that prioritizing diversity means not hiring “the best” candidate for the job. We’ll explain what you’re missing when you only hire people like yourself, and how to integrate diversity into your hiring metrics in a way that puts success first. Diversity doesn’t just happen — it’s something smart entrepreneurs cultivate intentionally. Learn how: Click Play!
May 30, 2019
You’ll get around to it...right? Of course not. Procrastination is a classic business-killer, one that’s derailed many an entrepreneurial dream before it even got anywhere. The road to independent success is littered with fallen entrepreneurs who just never got around to this, that, or the other thing. If that’s a problem for you, it’s time to address it. Now. Avoidance, conscious or otherwise, is a common problem. To beat it, you have to understand why you’re doing it, and develop a crucial skill: catching yourself doing it. With the system we discuss today, you can train yourself to get the ball rolling on anything, anytime. Learn our step-by-step method to see procrastination coming, cut it off, and leave it in the dust. Get business handled, from the first minute. Click Play!
May 29, 2019
Our humble little business has been mentioned (positively) by some of the biggest dogs in business media. Forbes, HuffPo, and the like have kind words for us, and we’re proud. So how the heck did that happen? It’s Q&A Wednesday, and one listener wants to know how to replicate that positive attention. The obvious boost in exposure and credibility is no small thing, so what was our secret to getting the spotlight? Today, we fill you in. Right off the bat, we’ll admit: we’re not talented schmoozers, or intentional press darlings. The reason we were able to dip our cup into the traffic flow of big-time outlets has more to do with how we manage our performance, not our public relations. In fact, we’ve never spent a dime on PR. Hear how we got the nod from on high, and see if you can do it too. Click Play!
May 28, 2019
It’s time to get ready to sell your business. We’re serious. Even if you are nowhere near moving on from your current enterprise, it’s important to keep your business in selling shape. Keeping your business super organized is just good practice. Being sell-ready isn’t something you should do right before it’s time to sell — it’s a mindset you should maintain always. By acting as if you’re ready to sell, you’ll keep your business at its most efficient and highest-performing. From your systems to your books to your assets, keeping the ship tight enough to sell means keeping it tight enough to excel. Not to mention, you never know when your business will be audited by a potential investor, partner, or — yes — even a potential buyer. Why wait? Learn how to function on a sell-ready mindset, and your business will thrive. Click Play!
May 27, 2019
It’s time to clean up your digital life. Digital distractions are deceptive. Because they don’t take up physical space, it can seem like they’re not overwhelming you the way, say, laundry or tchotchke can. But if random websites, social media platforms, and online services are wasting your time, they need to go. Seriously — digital distractions are stealing time from your business. This week’s Must-Read will show you how to clean house, and bring calm, focus, and productivity back into your day. Cal Newport is the authority on focus, having led the crusade against distraction since his seminal Deep Work. Now, he’s taking another swing at the distraction demon with Digital Minimalism. Today, we discuss the key takeaways from this book. Learn how to compartmentalize, reduce, and be free of the online tchotchke that’s slowing you down. Click Play!
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