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The Best Way to Make Money Blogging (And Change the World)

WRITING 101

If you have been blogging for six months and haven’t made any money, this post will show you how to finally make money blogging.

If you are considering launching an online business, this post will make sure you don’t wait six months to make money.

If you have an idea, this post will show you how to make it matter (and make it profitable).

***

Everyone says, “Just help people and the money will follow.”

Not true.

First, you need a structure that captures value.

Then you can focus on helping people.

Each is “necessary but not sufficient”.

We were helping people with StartupBros for nearly two years with nearly zero compensation.

In the last couple months we brought in more than a quarter-million dollars.

We went from charging nothing for a set of ideas, to charging $497, to now charging $997.

How did this happen?

And how can you apply it to your own ideas?

Let’s take a look…

“Take a simple idea and take it seriously.” – Charlie Munger

 

The set of ideas I’m talking about is Will’s epic blog post: How You Can Make Big Money Importing From China–The Rise and Fall of My Empire….

It’s had millions of views and over 1400 comments. It’s used in forums and online communities around the world as the place to start if you want to start building an importing business.

It was valuable, but no money was coming in. What happened?

There was no quantum leap in the quality of information. No new breakthrough in technology.

The real improvement was in making the ideas more applicable.

We infused the ideas with power by building a structure and community around them. We’ll call this process institutionalization.

This matters for those who want to make money and/or change the world.

Let’s look at each.

1. Make More Money

It’s hard to make money blogging or writing a book. You need something else. Take a look:

The Bible vs James Patterson

FullSizeRender

James Patterson is one of the most widely read authors living. More people read his books to completion than the Bible probably.

The $96.96 billion difference is that the ideas of the Bible have been thoroughly institutionalized.

“Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism have all succeeded in relating larger ideas about the salvation of mankind to such subordinate material activities as managing weekend retreats, radio stations, restaurants, museums, lecture halls and clothing lines.” – Alain de Botton

The potential profit and power of an idea are found in their integration with everyday life.

If copies of the Bible were just passed out to be studied by people in their free time Christianity wouldn’t have gotten far.

It’s the rituals, communities, traditions, and live stories that ensured the ideas would matter for millennia.

Jesus didn’t pass out pamphlets. He told stories and made demonstrations.

The Billionaires’ Buddy

Peter-Diamandis with success

Peter Diamandis is a multi-multi-millionaire and friends with some of the world’s best-known billionaires. He hangs out with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Ray Kurzweil, and Richard Branson. He started an asteroid-mining company with a few of them. Tim Ferriss had him on his podcast recently and Tim talked about how lazy Peter made him feel.

Anyway, Peter released a new book recently. It’s supposed to be groundbreaking but it really isn’t. It’s about how new technologies allow change to happen rapidly at massive levels. We all know this.

I bring this up because the interesting thing is that he released the book not to release the book but to introduce everyone to his coaching program, Abundance 360. He doesn’t make money blogging, he barely makes any money on his book, he makes money creating educational platforms that provide structures for his written ideas.

abundance 360 coachingPeter appreciates the power of books, sure, but he knows that any real change that comes out of his ideas are going to come through an institution. He’s created a massive structure to ensure that the ideas from Bold are actually used by creating a thoroughly structured program and vibrant community around them.

Some Examples:

  • Star Wars is more than movies because it was institutionalized. Most of its profits have come of from activities that have little to do with the screen.
  • Disney isn’t the empire it is today just because of it’s wonderful characters. It’s the process of bringing those characters off the screen and into our lives that makes it “magical”. The theme parks where we can go to live pieces of our favorite fantasy worlds, the stuffed animals, lunch boxes, and everything else that enter our everyday lives.
  • Paul Graham reinvented the VC industry because he created a structure (an institution) around a series of popular essays and talks he gave. Y-Combinator is the manifestation of this. (Interestingly, Graham maintains that his essays will matter more in the long run.)
  • Tony Robbins wrote a couple books decades ago then spent twenty years finding more powerful ways to deliver that information. He created structures that forced people to change. I would guess that 1% or less of his revenue comes from book sales. Books matter, freeing their ideas matters more.

“The task of a man is not to see what is dimly in the distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” – Thomas Carlyle

Examples of simple, existing ideas being amplified:

  • The Internet existed for many years before Marc Andreesen made it widely usable (and profitable for entrepreneurs) with Mosaic and then Netscape. It was always interesting, but it needed to be usable to be powerful.
  • Microsoft unveiled the first tablet a full decade before the iPad, it just wasn’t easy enough to use. The same is true for MP3 players and smart phones. They each existed before Apple monopolized the markets. They made them easily useful.

tablet ipad

  • Warren Buffett follows investing rules that are mostly understandable. He has just been able to apply them within Berkshire Hathaway in ways that others couldn’t.
  • Every sports player knows that mental toughness matters. John Wooden has been able to help his players actually get it.
  • We all know that many of our anxieties are irrational. It may take a psychotherapist to help us make that knowledge applicable.

In our case, Will wrote an excellent post on creating an importing business. Millions of people read it. A few started businesses.

For most people it wasn’t actually useful though. They’d read it and forgot it. It was just too much to consider.
We read too much every day to put it all into action. Too many conflicting listicles. Too many potentially profitable ideas.

When the information was translated into a coaching program­–our now-infamous Importing Empire Jumpstart Group–it became much more powerful.

When a structure, improved delivery mechanism, motivation, community, and just-in-time information were added the ideas became exponentially more useful for those interested in starting their importing businesses.

It also became exponentially more profitable.

The blog post on it’s own made just about zero dollars. The coaching program brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars just in the last couple months.

There is money in leveraging great ideas.

2. Change the World

keep-calm-and-change-the-world-72

This section is for those who shun profitability in favor of changing the world. I argue that those serious thinkers who are sincere about changing the world have a moral obligation to institutionalize good ideas.

The British philosopher Alain de Botton makes this argument in Religion for Atheists:

“In his Republic, Plato conveyed a touching understanding (born from experience) of the limits of the lone intellectual, when he remarked that the world would not be set right until philosophers became kings, or philosopher kings. In other words, writing books can’t be enough if one wishes to change things. Thinkers must learn to master the power of institutions for their ideas to have any chance of achieving a pervasive influence on the world.”

We tend to overvalue the novel and undervalue the obvious solutions staring us in the face. Many times we just need to invest in a preexisting good idea, not find a new one.

the-republic-plato

The major problems of humanity aren’t novel:

  • We want to feel like we’re a part of something.
  • We want to believe in a better future.
  • We want to make more money.
  • We want to feel that this all means something.
  • We want to have fun.
  • We want to feel confident.
  • We want to eat better food more conveniently.
  • We want be entertained.
  • We want Amazon same-day delivery!

A blog post about creating an importing business can be useful for some, entertaining for most. For a few, it was the only thing they needed to start their business.

When we created a coaching program out of it, though, we met a whole host of needs that a blog post couldn’t:

  • A sense of community. They feel less lonely on their entrepreneurial journey. The power of this cannot be overstated. We’ll explore this more in-depth in the next section.
  • The right info at the right time. The biggest challenge with reading books and blog posts is that the exact piece of information you need is never there. When you have smart humans to talk to you don’t need to guess at where to look.
  • Motivation. MIT, Yale, Stanford and others put all their courses online for free. Virtually zero people take advantage of this. Why? Because they don’t have the professor motivating them. We are there to support our clients through doubts and get them excited about their future.
  • New information. The program evolves to meet the needs of the clients. Some very popular books go through editions to stay up-to-date. Some information changes too fast to capture in any way but live.

Spreading an idea widely matters, sure. Depth may matter more.

A Buzzfeed article that reaches 1million people matters less than a coaching program that fundamentally changes the lives of 100 people.

This is hard to appreciate when everyone tells you to measure things by the amount of views or “Likes” something gets. The problem is that these don’t measure the actual impact something has. A funny gif is good for a laugh, but it won’t make any kind of shift in your life.

If you truly care about an idea, you have a responsibility to make it spread in the most powerful way possible.

Let’s look at how we turned a blog post into an institution, creating huge profits and impact.

How To: Identify, Create, and Deliver Your Online Course (OR: Make Your Idea Matter)

Time for the nitty-gritty.

There are a lot of ways to institutionalize an idea. We’ll focus here on only one: creating an online training program based on a set of ideas.

Following is an overview of everything you need to know to create a coaching program or course around your idea. Here is an overview:

  1. Identifying a worthy idea
  2. Fundamental decisions about your program
  3. What you need to provide
  4. The technical delivery mechanism for the program

1. Identifying A Potential Course

IdentifyYour Course

What course should you create?

For us, this was obvious. Will’s importing post had 1200+ comments that was driving a huge percentage of our traffic. Our inbox was flooded with people asking about importing—some offering to pay for help. Importing was the way to go.

Many times the answer is less obvious.

Here are some ways to get ideas:

  • What do people ask you for advice about? This may be by email, social media, or in comments. Maybe it’s in person. If you can’t figure this out, try asking your best friend. Many times people close to us have more of an appreciation for these things than we do.
  • What are other people in your niche selling? If someone else is doing a course on something successfully then there’s a market for it. (This is not to say that just because nobody is teaching a course there isn’t a market for it.)
  • What blog post on your site has the best engagement? If it has a “how-to” element then this subject is a strong contender.
  • Ask people what they want to know more about. If you already have a platform, ask your audience.
  • Poke around in forums, Quora, reddit, and other online places where people look for advice. What are the common questions people ask?

There are a few filters that you need to run every idea through:

  • Is it obvious who this information is for? If not, you may need to focus the idea.
  • Can you promise a specific outcome for the course? The more specific the outcome the easier it is for people to envision what their life will be like after completing the program. This boosts sales and allows you to charge a premium for your product (the more specific the more you can charge, generally).
  • Can you provide step-by-step instructions to complete the course? We all want to work with a program that works. It doesn’t have to be completely rigid but you should be able to break the program down pretty thoroughly. This makes it much more likely that (1) people will be interested in the program and that (2) people will complete the program.
  • Have you used the information in the program? You should be able to show the results of you applying the steps to your own life. If you can’t do this, then using someone else’s results can work as well. For us, Will can talk about how he built a sizable importing business when he was in his early teens using the information in the program. There was more important information to be had, though, so we brought in specialized experts to fill in knowledge gaps. You don’t need to know it all!

If your idea is getting a lot of engagement and you can answer “yes” to the above four questions, then you’re on to something.

2. Fundamental Decisions About Your Business

IdentifyYour Course (1)

Once you know what you’re going to teach your course in, a ton of new questions pop up. They can be overwhelming and feel like difficult decisions.

With the right frame these decisions become simple to make.

Static course vs live coaching program? (And our hybrid alternative.)

A static course is a collection of video files and PDFs that you can create one time and then deliver immediately to anyone who purchases it.

The benefits of a static course:

  • Create once and then you can sell it forever.
  • There is exactly zero extra work per new sale.
  • You can sell this whenever you want, no need to stick to a schedule.

The drawbacks:

  • It’s often more difficult charge premium prices.
  • It’s more difficult to get feedback to know if it’s working.
  • You aren’t able to create as strong of a connection to your clients.
  • If you get popular people will pirate your stuff.

A live coaching program is delivered to a group of people live. You meet regularly with a group of people online to deliver new content and provide personal help as they need it. The benefits & drawbacks are essentially the reverse of a static course.

The benefits of a live coaching program:

  • You can easily charge a lot more money.
  • You can adapt the course in real time to make sure it’s meeting the needs of your clients.
  • You create a powerful connection with your clients.
  • It’s easier to build a community around the product that you will then be able to sell to others.
  • Your coaching can’t be pirated.

The drawbacks:

  • It takes a lot more time. You need to be there to help in real time.
  • Every sale adds a level of new work.
  • You have to launch on certain dates.
  • You need to re-deliver the course every time.

Most people recommend the static course because it’s much more straightforward and you don’t have to give people ownership of your time.

We stumbled into a hybrid option with the importing coaching program. The thinking was: Well, we’ll start with a live course and then create a static course once we know exactly what people want.

After a while, we ended up in this “dynamic-static” program where we were doing live coaching while building up a library of static resources. Below is what our program looks like now. Think about which elements might be useful for your own program:

  • Each Tuesday we hold a live presentation with an expert and record it. These recordings are broken up into chapters and uploaded to a member’s area where clients can reference them whenever they need to.
  • We have a library of links, PDFs, templates, and other static resources that clients always have available.
  • We have a vibrant client-only Facebook group where importers can discuss details of their businesses, the challenges they’re facing, and their successes.
  • Forums for a more structured place for the community to interact. These community features have become some of the most useful bits of this program. It takes a lot of tender loving care to get them going, but completely worth it.
  • A secret email address where clients can reach us and quickly get detailed responses.
  • Significant discounts to the most important services that our group uses.

You can see here that we are able to take advantage of the benefits of the both the live and static programs.

My Recommendation:

If this is your first time at this and you have the time to do a live coaching program I would go with that. You will be able to charge more money and thus not need to get as many sales.

You’ll also be able to refine the structure of the program. This will help you create an effective static product later on if that’s what you want to do.

Pricing

Always charge more than you think you should.

With your first course, you won’t think you’re worth much money. We all take for granted the knowledge we have. You need to charge an uncomfortably large amount.

If you charge $97 when you should have charged $497 and you’re teaching a live course, you’re going to hate yourself and your clients halfway through.

We originally priced our program at $497 and thought it was way too much.

As soon as we started making sales people were blown away by how cheap it was. So we doubled the price to $997, it might go up again.

People are happy to pay for things that work.

If you don’t have information that works, don’t sell anything. If you do have information that works, sell it for what it’s worth. You can use your competitors to help make this decision.

Charging more also makes it much more exciting to make a sale. Two $497 sales in a day is something to be excited about, two $97 sales not so much. This helps keep your momentum going.

You’ll notice every price I mentioned ended in a “7”, it converts better than other numbers for some reason. I would follow that rule.

Also, accept payment plans if you can. Our $997 program has 3- and 6-month payment plans that help a lot of people get in that wouldn’t otherwise.

Minimum Amount of People

What would make it worth creating the course?

$1,000? $5,000? $10,000?

The number you pick really doesn’t matter, it’s just good to have a bar to aim for. A bar that, once hit, makes you happy to deliver the course.

For example, I was going to launch an e-book writing program a while ago. If I could get $10,000 in signups (that would be twenty at $497) by individually emailing those who expressed interest then I’d be happy to do it. I wasn’t able to hit that mark so I decided not to deliver the course.

To do this you’ll need to establish a launch date in the future so people don’t expect immediate access to the program.

Who Will Deliver the Course?

Can you do it or do you need to bring in outside experts?

Most people teach the entire course themselves.

Both can work well.

Experts can fill in your knowledge gaps while boosting the value of your course (making it easier to charge more money).

Should You Worry About Competition?

Yes and no, but mostly no.

If there are 100 other courses out there teaching exactly what you want to be teaching, that means it’s a healthy market.

Use your competition to help you find a gap in the market.

Are all the programs too complex? Make a simplified one.

Are they too basic? Make a more in-depth one.

Are they bland? Add more personality.

Are the unprofessional? Maybe you’re the one who can bring some class.

A lot of times the only differentiator you need is you. What is your story using this information? Once you can tell a compelling story about your experience you rarely need much more to make a sale.

Remember, at $497 a pop, ten sales amounts to $4970. You can make great money without making a ton of sales.

3. What Your Program Needs to Provide

IdentifyYour Course (2)

Remember that you are creating a structure to make a set of ideas matter more.

That’s all your course needs to provide: a structure to make a particular set of ideas extremely actionable.

You can break this into two essential elements:

  • Step-by-step Roadmap
  • Motivation

Everything you do within the course will serve one of these two requirements.

Step-by-Step

In order for your program to be effective it should always be obvious to your participants what the next step is and the how to implement that step.

People need to know where they are in a process in order to gauge progress and make sure they’re heading in the right direction.

Let’s look at how this plays out in our importing course.

Anyone can read Will’s posts on importing and get the information they need to start an importing business. It’s even broken into a fairly thorough roadmap for the most part.

When people join the program, though, there are thorough instructions on the exact problem they are on. They know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it before moving to the next step.

The live part of the program strengthens this, they can ask if they are ready to move onto the next step and we can tell them.

They can focus on the step in front of them because they know it’s part of a larger system.

Of course, many things (like entrepreneurship) can’t be broken into an exact roadmap. That would be too simple. The job of the roadmap is getting them going in the right direction in a way that will allow them to find out everything they need on the way.

Motivation

Maybe the biggest downfall of books and blog posts is they’re overall inability to inspire us to put they’re information into action.

This ability to inspire action is becoming a more and more valuable skill. When all the information in the world is available to everyone, it’s the people who use it most effectively who win.

“The professor is then a good motivator first and foremost. Let’s hire good motivators. Let’s teach our professors how to motivate. Let’s judge them on that basis. Let’s treat professors more like athletics coaches, personal therapists, and preachers, because that is what they will evolve to be.” – Tyler Cowen, Average is Over

Doesn’t it feel like everyone is a life coach now? Everyone’s purpose in life is to inspire you.

These people, for the most part, are frightened, unemployed, and not worth listening to. However, more serious “motivators” are only becoming more important in our economy. Tyler Cowen explains in Average is Over (this is a little long):

When a person is not doing what he or she is supposed to be doing, someone has to deliver that message in just the right way. Show up on time! Don’t shop online at your desk! Sell more of our products! Listen more closely to our customers! It is a complicated communication because you are both making the person feel bad about what they have been doing and getting them willing to achieve better results. Expert coaching or motivating will be a competitive growth sector for jobs.

And just as conscientiousness will become a more important quality in labor markets, so will teaching and instilling conscientiousness become more important in the economy as a whole, a theme outlined by Daniel Akst in his brilliant yet neglected 2011 book We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess. A lot of new jobs will be coming in the area of motivation. These jobs will require some very serious skills, but again they won’t primarily be skills of a high tech nature or skills that are taught very well by our current colleges and universities. And again, these high expertise coaching jobs won’t be shipped overseas.

High-skilled performers, including business executives, will have some kind of coach. There will be too much value at stake to let high performers operate without a steady stream of external advice, even if that advice has to be applied rather subtly. Top doctors will have a coach, just as today’s top tennis players (and some of the mediocre ones) all have coaches. Today the coach of a CEO is very often the spouse, the personal assistant, or even a subordinate, or sometimes a member of the board of directors. Coaching is already remarkably important in our economy, and the high productivity of top earners will cause it to become essential.

What’s the point?

Being able to motivate people to use your information is essential.

If you’ve got a solid step-by-step roadmap down then you can often point to that and re-invigorate their belief in the process. Remind them of their goals.

This type of motivation is easier if you go with a live coaching program. You can hear people’s concern and remind them that many others have faced and triumphed over that very obstacle.

You can’t be providing one-on-one coaching sessions for everyone in your group, though. So you’ve got to build motivation into the structure.

Here are several ways you can build motivation into your program:

  • Communities. This is the best way possible to keep large amounts of people motivated. You need to foster a positive community where people share their successes. In our group, people post “sample selfies” when they receive a sample order–the first large hurdle to creating an importing business. They will also post pictures of the first sizable paycheck they get from selling products. It’s no all positive, however, people need to be able to share their concerns as well. People will post in our Facebook group something like, “I’m feeling disheartened, I’ve been doing research for hours and nothing is working.” These are answered by successful importers who have gone through the group and know how tough it is at the beginning–it’s a group that will applaud you when you win and support you when you’re down. To implement this at first you may just want to create a private Facebook group. You can also use member only forums.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 5.52.02 PM

  • Testimonials. We often collect stories from people doing well using our program. This is a HUGE help to motivate people because it’s proof that the roadmap you’ve given them does in fact lead where you say it does. Keep track of those doing well with your information and save their stories
  • When people progress, cheer them on publicly. This boosts their motivation and everyone around them.
  • Create a kind of achievement system to help participants appreciate how far they’ve progressed. It’s very easy to only see what you haven’t yet achieved and this can be demotivating, it’s up to you to remind them to look at what they’ve done.
  • Reminders of the finish line. Many of our clients’ favorite live sessions are when someone comes on who has done exactly what they want to. In many cases it’s more important to have them show that it is possible than actually provide any new information. It’s hard for us to believe in a level of success we’ve never had before, so we default to thinking it’s not for us. Of course this is bollox, we just need to be reminded that it’s possible.

There are all sorts of ways to boost people’s motivation.

This isn’t optional. If you have the best information in the world but can’t convince anyone to use it, you’re screwed.

If you have sub-part information but get people to put it into action, you win.

And, let’s not forget: your customers win.

4. The Tech: How to Deliver Your Course

IdentifyYour Course (3)

I am not going to go deep into this. There are new options popping up every day, most of them aren’t very good.

We’ll look at an overview of the tech we use to deliver our importing training program:

(Keep in mind this is nowhere near an exhaustive list. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask in the comments.)

  • We use GoToWebinar host our live sessions. There are a ton of newer options with cool features out but none are as reliable. Reliability matters a lot, and GoToWebinar does everything we need, we’re sticking with it.
  • After recording the videos from GoToWebinar, we upload them to Wistia, a video-hosting service. This is expensive; you may want to go with Vimeo
  • Once these videos are uploaded, we need to embed them in our member’s site so that everyone can access them. This area was built with OptimizePress. It’s where our members can log in and view past recordings. Here are a couple screenshots from our OptimizePress Members’ area:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 5.27.23 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 5.27.56 PM

  • Amazon S3 to host many of our recourses like PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, etc.
  • We used Facebook exclusively for our private community at first. Recently, we’ve added forums using InvisionPower Board.

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  • We use Help Scout so that our growing team can make sure that we answer all of our client’s emails quickly while keeping track of other team member’s interactions with a client.

This is deceivingly simple. Here are some of the important services that we use to get manage clients and get ready for the program:

  • LeadPages helps us easily create landing pages to collect email addresses. (This is one of our essential tools, you can see a demo here.) You’ve probably seen this page:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 5.37.22 PM

  • Office Autopilot(Ontraport) allows us to manage the various email addresses we collect, manage our clients and potential clients, send out emails to large groups of people, create payment pages, and all sorts of other stuff.
  • Visual Website Optimizer allows us to test our pages to make sure they are converting at the highest rates possible. This tool alone has the potential to multiply the value of a single landing page.
  • PayPal and PayLeap process payments so that people can actually join our programs.
  • WordPress enables about 23% of the Internet and StartupBros is a proud member of that 23%.
  • Facebook Ads have been the best advertisement outlet for us by far. This may change, but for now it’s treating us well.

Again, this list is not meant to provide a comprehensive list of tools you need in order to deliver an online course. My aim is to provide you an overview of some of the essential tools that you may want to use when launching your own course.

If you’re interested in learning more about how specifically to implement these tools, let me know, I’m happy to talk about this quite a bit more.

TL;DR: Bringing It All Together

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College graduates today are expected to change their careers three times by the time they’re 38.

Going back to get another degree each time isn’t an option. They need faster, cheaper, and more effective education. If you have an idea of how to solve this, you’re in luck.

This is one of an infinite set of possibilities.

There are a slew of other problems and skills that universities don’t even attempt to help us with. Just a few:

  • Nutrition
  • Self-control
  • Purpose
  • Depression
  • Internet marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Storytelling
  • Creating sales funnels
  • Selling
  • Networking
  • Self-confidence
  • Exercise
  • Public speaking
  • Typing
  • Programming
  • Raising capital
  • … on and on

If you can create a solution to any human problem, you’ve located an opportunity.

You can write a book or blog post, but this is leaving a lot on the table. If you stop at writing about something then your work will be worth much less money to you and much less to society.

In order for an idea to change the world and create true wealth it must be institutionalized.

This means embodying it, creating a structure around it, and making it actionable.

You can do this in many ways. Different ideas require different structures. I have provided one possibility: that of creating an online training program around your idea.

This model has been popular with charlatans and “internet marketers” for years but is now reaching the mainstream and is demanding to be taken seriously.

Coaching and consulting are massive growth industries in a world where the efforts of certain individuals are becoming more leveraged than ever before. Creating an online training program is the most effective way to take advantage of this trend.

You are already capable of creating a course. You just need to realize it. Use the indicators I suggested to looks for ideas you may be able use for your own training program.

If this idea meets the requirements we discussed then begin to move forward.

You don’t need a degree or a certification. You only need to deliver valuable information in a valuable way.

Don’t let the impostor syndrome hold you back. If people ask your advice on a certain subject it’s safe to say that you know something about that subject. You’ll never know everything–nobody does–but you know enough to help people make better decisions than they’d be able to otherwise.

Traditional jobs aren’t coming back. The economy is doing well, but this only matters for people who know how to do well in this economy. Great teachers, coaches, and consultants are doing great.

Stop getting frustrated because your ideas lay dormant. Give them the power they deserve.

What Do You Need? (I Need You!)

I am going to be discussing this much more but I need to know from you what specifically you need to know more about.

What is unclear? Where are you getting stuck? What are your fears about this?

We read and reply to every one!
  • Ben

    GREAT post. As you note toward the end, there is really a significant ecosystem around this already. I’d specifically recommend following Jeff Walker and reading his book “Launch” as his material goes into great detail on this.

    • Glad you liked it Ben!

      Jeff Walker is the grandaddy of the Launch, love his course 🙂

  • Kyle, great post! Can you use this same ideology to drive more traffic to an app and increase lead generation?

    -Nick

  • Mariana

    Wow! That’s some powerful stuff Kyle. I’m trying to learn ‘mental toughness’ at the moment.
    I’m stuck on finding an idea for importing. I was thinking plastic containers for baby purees. I just need to keep researching products/suppliers. So far am just using Alibaba and eBay.
    The only criticism I have about your article is that it is very long. It had my attention for the first half with all the theoretical stuff then the rest I skimmed through. The theory captivated me as I could really relate and its very well written. Plus I’m reading this stuff on my iPhone which is part of the reason my attention span is short. Plus I have an eight month old baby so Im not making much time at the moment to actually sit in front of a computer.

    Thank you for this article.
    You have inspired me today and helped get my focus back:)

    Ps. I hope this response doesn’t go onto a feed please. I’m trying to get off a different one at the moment giving me headaches.
    Cheers
    Mariana

  • Scott Frahlich

    Hey I really enjoyed this piece. I have taught many online courses for a private college here in the northeast and I know that I have the skills to create great online content that would help others. The trick is just getting it organized and then marketing it. This was a great article and i will definitely use it to put my course on the right track toward developing a new source of income. Thank you!

    Scott

  • Yet another great post. Thanks Kyle!

  • Ven

    Great post Kyle. I love reading your blogs. I’m thankful you email links to me because I’ve nrver just visited the site on my own. I have so many ideas and don’t know where to start but I just thought of one that could do really well. I need to read more posts and take action like my friend Carter always says. Keep up the awesome work and THANK YOU!

  • I need help getting a blog set up. I have graphics and content but I suck at Web stuff

  • Karl

    Brilliant article! I generally struggle to finish reading anything that doesn’t really capture my attention but this had me engaged! I love the transparency of your information of exactly which tools and vehicles you actually use to run your business day to day, no secrets. Do you run any live coaching courses in the UK ?

    Thanks again
    Karl

  • Jay

    hey kyle – excellent post – I have a lot of idea’s to change the world and loved the phrase: “I argue that those serious thinkers who are sincere about changing the world have a moral obligation to institutionalize good ideas.” I also really appreciated the openess about how you guys go about generating profits and how what tools you use. I guess right now my fear is that I put an idea out there but fail to a. communicate it properly, b. get the tech infrastructure right and c. commit many long hours to the idea and it fails outright. Sounds like I have imposter syndrome 🙂 I’ll have a look at the link you posted in Ven’s comment. Thanks, Jay

    • Those are certainly some of the bigger hurdles Jay! Each takes some practice & guidance but you can certainly overcome… impostor syndrome indeed! 🙂

  • Earl Martin

    I’ve been told that I trust people way to easy, so I’ve trained myself to research thing thoroughly before making a big decision. I happened to click on a link on FB that introduced me to Startup Bros, and ever since then I just couldn’t find 1 thing that didn’t come across as sincere and honest. I see your sincerity through this post, and in everything you guys do. Even the fact that you’re honest when you’ve messed up stuff (like forum and email issues), and apologize openly about it instead of cover it up, that makes me trust this whole system even more. You are transparent and honest and open. Even in this post, you are giving away so much information that, like you said, you probably take for granted, but is highly appreciate by others. I appreciate the fact that you are sharing this with us all. I’ve already learned so much in the short period that I’ve been part of this group. Love this article. Absolutely no crits about it at all. You are killing it. Keep doing what you’re doing Kyle! Same goes for Will 🙂

    • Hi Earl,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s not always the easiest to be honest, but it seems to clearly be the best path in the long run… I don’t know why more people don’t do it!

      It’s a pleasure to have you in the StartupBros family 🙂

  • As someone who has been a “Mr. Mom” for many years, reading this post reminds me of the importance of helping others by teaching (coaching) them to find their life’s purpose.

    The explanations you present are clear and concise – Thanks!

  • Great post, Kyle! This is something I’ve attempted a few times, but just seem to be too busy or disorganized. I wonder how much things would change if I had a partner? Did your productivity increase a great deal when Startupbros was formed?

    I’m one who thinks everyone knows everything I know-to the point of not even giving clear instructions sometimes for things I consider a no brainer. I don’t want to insult anyone by telling them how to do it, but they want me to give more instruction. At that point, I feel I don’t know enough or not qualified to teach classes. I will definitely let this article boost and cheer me as intended! Thank you!

    • Great to see you over here Anita! Thank you 🙂

      Really, it probably depends on the partner. Our productivity went up a bit when we partnered up. It went up more when we moved into the same house. It REALLY spiked when we were committed to delivering the first course by a launch date. Now it’s gone up even more that we’ve hired someone.

      Each time the level of necessity/commitment has gone up, productivity “magically” follows.

      I struggle with this a ton. Writing publicly and teaching people helps me separate out what IS somewhat rare knowledge and what isn’t. Even publishing this I thought “everyone already knows it, the best I’ll be able to do is put a slightly different spin…” but it turns out it’s genuinely new for many people.

      From what I’ve learned from you going through the Jumpstart program… you know A TON… the experience you have with such a wide variety of products and marketplaces over a long period of time–that’s real experience! Talking with friends or family about details of what you do could be helpful in making you realize it.

      I’ll see you in the forums 🙂

  • Bernadette

    Hi Kyle,
    All I can say is God is Great. I think your blog is gift to those who want to succeed and make a huge difference. You have been very open and generous with your info. I have often thought about writing a blog but thought my delivery of any content might bore the breaches off people. But, you know what, I am going to try. Great customer service going on here. Thank you.

    • Do it Bernadette! I hope you let me know when it you make it live 🙂

  • Kate

    Great post, Kyle! You always write very inspiring stuff. Can you tell us what you used to create your members area on your Site? This something I’ve been struggling with finding a good solution. Thanks in advance.

    • This is OptimizePress, you’ll find a link to it just over the screenshots of the member’s area.

      • Kate

        Thanks Kyle. I didn’t realize OP had member’s area capability. I’ll have to look into it again!

  • Wow! This is a lot of excellent info. I almost was sad when I got to the bottom and
    had to leave. You have captured the essence of business and with all of the helpful
    ideas of where to go to each level of an online business one can not lose if patience
    and fortitude is there already. The quest for knowledge must also be within reach.
    Thank you so much for sharing so much!
    [email protected] snowy, rainy Maryland….

  • “Books matter, freeing their ideas matters more.”

    This observation that you made about Tony Robbins applies directly to your blog post of yesteryear that started off your course!

    Without dating myself (which I hear is frowned upon in most cultures 🙂 ) let me say that I was around for the release of Unlimited Power back in the 80’s. Tony Robbins was NOT a household name. But he was able to take some compelling ideas, repackage them, and make a slew of money as well as quite a name for himself.

    I see you guys accelerating much faster. Would LOVE to see your course in the hands of every kid on the brink of graduating high school and wondering about working for “The Man”… or taking his financial future and stability in his OWN hands.

    Bully for you, Bros! I’m very excited to see your success and even more excited to see you urging others on. I have a friend with AMAZING ideas that needs to read your article, especially the part about worrying if you’re charging too much.

    Okay Bros, thanks for this inspiring article and the email that brought me to it.

    Keep Stepping,

    Kurt

    • Thanks for the inspiring comment Kurt! Age is wisdom for people like you

      I hope your friend is able to find these ideas useful 🙂

  • I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article. It’s definitely given me some more motivation towards my ultimate goal, which is becoming my own boss. You’ve given me some great ideas towards a brand that I could potentially create to help coach and motivate others, especially in a facet where I may not be certified in (fitness & nutrition / life decisions). The only thing I may have to disagree with you on this article, is that in some college courses (and some I did take personally), is that they do teach public speaking and nutrition. The networking wasn’t taught, but it was a self-taught principle I discovered while attending college and discovered the correct proportion of “what you know vs. who you know.” The education taught within the nutrition and public speaking may be outdated, which can be capitalized with an iconic person within that demographic that can be related to the audience. I appreciate the time you and Will take to write these articles and educate us on becoming successful entrepreneurs, this particular article couldn’t have came for me at a better point in my life.

    • Hey Vince,

      Valid points. I actually took a public speaking course in college that was really just a two-week course for executives that our professor expanded into a semester. It was one of the most valuable courses I took! I was referring widely available courses.

      Nutrition information in general is outdated and unscientific… it’s really a bad situation–and a huge opportunity. I’m glad you had a good experience with your though.

      If you have any questions as you move forward, always feel free to send them our way 🙂

  • Incredible, Incredible, Incredible post.

    I went back and re-read the part about “institutionalizing” twice. You guys have found gold there. People talk about “monetizing your passion”, but they don’t talk about “institutionalizing” it. (Probably wouldn’t sell as well, lol)

    As a member of your $997, I know that you guys over-deliver and have created a really excellent, step-by-step program. I’ve gotten too busy to work with it, but I hope for it to return in 6 months and dive in.

    For now, I’m off to go finish my own institution.

    • Hi Quinton,

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m excited to see what you do when you find the space to work on your business 🙂

      “Institutionalizing” certainly wouldn’t sell well lol! I even hesitated to use it in this post. Thought it was worth it to be as specific as possible.

      Glad to hear from you!

  • Thanks for such a focused, timely, practical resource post. I’m sharing it!

  • Harry McGill

    It’s a great piece of work and advice for those amongst us who wish to do large trainings and grow their business in this area and so much more besides. I like it Kyle. You just give it all away again.
    Clearly if you’re successful you don’t need to hide anything.
    You guys are showing us all the way forward.
    A ‘BIG THANKS’ to you both.

  • Another great post bros, sparking me and useful concept. Thanks again.

  • Natalie

    I just got to the ‘The major problems of humanity aren’t novel’ and felt compelled to say thanks. I am sick of hearing ‘Oh sell on the pain’. This is such a better slant on this old 70’s diatribe. I really like your take on this. It just seems a bit more in tune. Thanks for sharing and best of luck on your continued success. Nat

    • Thanks Natalie, I didn’t even make the connection when I wrote it but you’re exactly right. Great connection.

  • Hi Kyle,

    You might remember me…I wrote you about the impact your “Imposter Syndrome” post had on me, and we’ve talked about doing an interview for my podcast. This post came along at just the right time for me, and I really need to do the things you’re saying–like, now. I came out of over 20 years of doing a daily faith-based radio show, and was shown the door last May. Since then, I think I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the wrong ways to connect with my audience and leverage that connection. I just need some clarity about the right way to do it.

    I lost my job at a Catholic talk-radio network last May. I was let go with no notice, so there was no last show or announcement about what I was doing. Ever since then, people have been continuing to seek me out. I started doing a daily podcast back in August because I was getting hundreds of emails and Facebook interactions from people who wanted to know what happened, and how they could stay connected with me. I did a daily podcast for five months, and was generating 700-100 downloads a day, with some episodes doing more that twice that. I’ve had some episodes that were listened to as many or more people that listened to a typical hour of my show, when it was on 30 radio stations and on a network website that generated a lot of streaming traffic. I’ve also had a very loyal, very connected core audience. I haven’t done a podcast since February 3, and I had over 400 downloads yesterday. I’ve been doing mainstream-themed podcasts about movies and sci-fi TV, and two of the three weekly podcasts are generating about 400 downloads a day. I’ve had almost 143,000 downloads of my podcasts since August, and by the end of the weekend that number will be over 145,000. Nearly a year after I left the airwaves, people are still looking for me, primarily through Google and Facebook. It seems like that’s all got to mean something, but I don’t know how to translate that into something I can sell effectively.

    The first few months of the podcast I asked for direct support through voluntary subscriptions, and that dried up around December. I never expected it to be a sustainable way to generate income, but I didn’t know what else to do. Even so, I was really surprised with the response. People definitely want me to do a daily show, and to stay connected to me.

    You mentioned that the issue wasn’t creating more and more content, but effectively promoting the content I was creating. I feel kind of stalled out, because I was spending a lot of time creating content that people listened to, but wasn’t generating income. I don’t think the issue is that my listeners aren’t responsive; I’m not giving them things to support other than the podcast–and I don’t want to make that about donations or constantly ask for money.

    I know there are things I should be doing that I’m not doing; I haven’t been blogging regularly, and I know I should be. I kind of hate Facebook, and I haven’t been good about that, either. The posts that generate the most response are when I talk about myself, and I guess that feels a little weird. It shouldn’t, because I spent 25 years sharing big chunks of my life on the radio. Listeners feel like they know me, they tell me they love hearing stories about my family, and they feel very connected and invested.

    I still struggle with Imposter Syndrome in a huge way. The thing people want to hear me talk about is my faith, and my own challenges, and the point of connection to the challenges everyone faces. I’m very, very good at doing this, and it’s not fake. It’s just been a lot harder to do since I got fired. Losing a show with your name on it–especially one that had so many very personal elements, and was driven by my connection to my audience–is really hard to take. I’ve been worried about what people think of me–people I used to work for, other people in Catholic media–and that’s held me back. Between the rejection and the challenges I’ve had finding work, I’ve also struggled with my faith more than a little. I know that’s something I should actually be talking about more, because it’s a universal experience. I think I also need to make peace with the fact that my faith is my primary point of connection with people. Reinventing myself really hasn’t worked–mostly, I think, because I really don’t want to. Sometimes it’s really hard to push through that Imposter Syndrome, especially when I’m talking to people about things I’m personally struggling with.

    I know that my primary point of connection with people is through my faith. The things I really excel at are taking something that can seem really daunting and kind of arcane–2,000 years of Catholic teaching, and reams of information that can seem really intimidating and confusing–and making it clear and relatable to people. I’m also very good at helping people to apply principles of faith to the challenges and struggles in their lives. I’m also a very good interviewer, and people appreciate both my perspective and the way I connect with guests.

    I have a pretty sizable following, especially considering how inconsistent I’ve been about some basic means of promotion. Honestly, at this point I need to figure out how to turn that connection into a steady stream of income. I approached my daily podcast as though it were a radio show, and that really hasn’t worked. I guess I need to adjust my approach for the medium, but I don’t understand it the way I understood radio.

    Some friends of mine (published authors) have encouraged me to write a book based on a talk I gave at a spiritual retreat a few years ago. It was about how there’s dignity and worth in the struggle with have with meaning, and for people of faith, with the struggles they have with their own faith. That’s probably a great topic for an e-course or online seminar–and a live or recorded course would have the advantage of using my verbal communication skills. People have also asked for reflections for Lent, and in general about my ability to translate Church teaching into something more relatable. People like hearing about my own experience becoming Catholic as an adult.

    I need to give my current followers more of what they want–which really boils down to daily connection and fresh content. I don’t know if a daily, hourlong podcast is the way to go, but probably some combination of blogging and podcasting would keep that connection. I need to figure out how to reach out beyond those core listeners to other people that would appreciate and benefit from my perspective. I need to find the best way to offer unique content in a form that people would be willing to pay for (and I really need to do that, like, now).

    When I look at the podcast numbers–as well as the response I get from blogging and Facebook when I’m consistent with it–there’s definitely something there to work with. I know it should be obvious, but I really feel stuck about what to do with it all. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to develop a freelance business doing audio production and producing podcasts for other people, and really haven’t gotten much traction. I feel like I’m spending most of my time (and a lot of my money) trying to cultivate the wrong stuff. I need to know what would be the two or three most effective ways to use my time and resources, and how I can take my connection to a very loyal core audience and generate income with it. I don’t want to be crass about it, but all the connection in the world doesn’t help me if it’s not generating an income, and ultimately I can’t serve that audience they way they want to be served.

    I’ve been very, very successful in generating money for other people; in my last job, I played a pivotal role in generating over $4.5 million a year in direct donations through pledge drives an on-air appeals. For 10 years before that, I hosted a radio show that generated over $1 million a year very consistently. How do I take that and make it work for me now? I have the skills–and I even have the core audience–but I’m having a hell of a time trying to put the pieces together.

    • SteveK

      Do what many radio hosts do. Give away regular content to keep people coming back, but save “the good stuff” for members only. Rush, Hannity, they all do this.

  • maryam

    Wow! Just what I need right now. I’ve observed that people around me keep coming to me for advice or should i say motivation. Been thinking of turning this into a profitable venture but didn’t know how. Thanks for this beautiful post. Need more on it.

    • I’m interested to know what details you’re most interested in 🙂

  • Amazing article Kyle, I can’t believe you just gave away all this extremely helpful information for free, I especially can relate to what you said about “change the world”. Thanks again, Kyle.

  • Johan (Jonathan)

    Not sure if you remember but I attended the last webinar before the launch of your $497 program but couldn’t make it in because of a students budget (or lack thereof), but I’ve been keeping up and following your posts I just wish you had the payment plans the first go around. You’re getting further out of reach every day dammit! |:/

  • Angela

    Fantastic Kyle! You guys never cease to impress with the depth of information and the clear and engaging manner in which you communicate concepts. Although I don’t have any suggestions at this stage as to what further information might be useful (it’s already very comprehensive!), I just want to say how much I also appreciate the honesty and transparency with which you conduct your business and interactions as does everyone else here. Your willingness to help others and share your knowledge is amazing.
    From giving ideas on where one could start with blogging to how to build that into something a lot bigger, providing the specific tools and resources that you have used and use to build your own business! Thank you so much as always 🙂

    • Thank you so much for this Angela. We help as much as we can and stay honest. It’s crazy to me how much of a competitive advantage that is!

      I’m so glad you’ve joined our community in such a big way. You’re great to spend time with!

  • Great message… Under promise, over deliver and provide a premium consultative service with a premium price tag. This is what I regularly do during my day job and will slowly be integrating these techniques on my blog as well. Thanks again guys.

  • Brilliant article that came exactly at the right time. I too love your transparency. You’ve given us all of the tools we need. Now the work begins.

  • I appreciate the fact that you guys put out REALLY actionable content. And that you rarely write about stuff–ideas, strategies, or tips–unless you’ve first done it, or have had success with it.

    That being said, this is a very good article and I will probably return to it more times in the coming months. In fact, I’m going to re-read it and take some more thorough notes tomorrow morning.

    —-
    MIT, Yale, Stanford and others put all their courses online for free. Virtually zero people take advantage of this.

    I like what you’re saying about the (future) importance of motivation in the role of teaching. I am definitely of the same opinion. I did not know that those Ivy League (?) universities were putting out their courses for free. Even less so that they’re not being used — which surprises me, given the U.S college bubble/dilemma. However, this ‘intellectual inactivity in the Internet age’, if it might be called that, does not shock me.

    I think most people are doing a rather poor job taking advantage of the massive opportunity of learning provided by the Internet; unprecedented in history. Most people of our generation are basically squandering this chance in preference of using social networks and stuff like that…

    …Every wants to “make money online”, “work a 4-hour work week” and “build an Internet-based business”. But how many young people will actually sit down and apply themselves to do the work?

    I’m really curious, and kind of scared — for others, not myself — about what’s going to happen to mainstream society, and the middle class in particular, over the next 10-30 years. Books like Average is Over and Netocrats–both of which I think have a lot of insights on this–paint a pretty dark picture, as you are aware.

    —-
    WHAT I AM MOST INTERESTED IN:

    You mention “achievement systems”. Could you give some other example of this–or direct me to some place where I could read more on how to do this? Obviously there’s stuff like “gamification”, but that’s not what I’m looking for.

    P.S
    Nice sandwich picture. Haha!

    • Thanks for the comment Ludvig, I always learn something from your responses/posts/any communication with you in general.

      People are definitely doing a poor job at taking advantage of these trends. I suppose every generation will have people that capitalize on certain trends to a degree that others don’t.

      The darkest picture I see is the collapse of meaning/narrative as we’ve talked about. And I think our best option is in doing work intensely. (I’ve still got to read Netocrats/Netocracy!)

      We are working on building out new achievement systems but right now it’s basically a tradition of sharing progress. When the samples come in, when the first money milestone is hit, etc, people take pictures, post them, and we all celebrate.

      We just launched member forums as well and there is a place there specifically for sharing wins. We are going to be launching a “member spotlight” program that celebrates an especially helpful member of the community.

      If this isn’t what you mean let me know. Talk to you soon!

      • That is indeed what I was referring to, regarding the achievement systems. Thanks for sharing that.

        I agree with you, the best option is to find something you’re interested in, become obsessed with that, and find a way to make it your job.

        We live in interesting times.

        • Interesting indeed 🙂

          Yeah, wish I had something more interesting/revolutionary to report on the achievement system. Turns out humans have changed all that much when it comes to that stuff

  • Hi Kyle
    First of all thanks for making my Beer Taste batter 😀
    i just sat with mug and started browse around and ended up reading till last comment.
    “Take a simple idea and take it seriously.” – Charlie Munger
    This is what kept me reading. Can you imagine how long time it took me to read this?
    😀 Probably NOT.

  • Samantha Stauf

    I’ve been making a long term plan for a website/book success. This article really made me think. You’re so right, when it comes to stories or any other service really, the more the idea or service is integrated into the persons daily life, the higher the obsession level climbs and the more natural it will be to invest not only in the main product but side ones. As an obsessive person, I’ve lived that. I just never really thought about marketing in that way. Another eye opening article!

    • You’ve seen more in this article than I think most did. Thanks for the insightful comment!

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  • Awesome post, I love the analogy you had around “institutionalizing” your material and creating the right structure. The chart comparing Patterson to the Bible really says it all. And thanks for sharing all the tech you use!

    • I’m glad this (and Travis’ reddit post) was useful!

      Feel free to email if you have any specific questions 🙂

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  • Michiel

    Kyle,

    You wrote:

    (◾Paul Graham reinvented the VC industry because he created a structure (an institution) around a series of popular essays and talks he gave. Y-Combinator is the manifestation of this. (Interestingly, Graham maintains that his essays will matter more in the long run.)

    Where did Paul Graham say this?

    Regards,

    Michiel

    • In multiple places, at least one of his essays… I forget exactly which one though. Sorry!

  • Man, so much good stuff all over this site. I’ll be up to date eventually! My strategy is a simple one. I just keep building my readership and engagement, then I learn from my visitors what THEY want. From there, all I have to do is fill that need(either myself or find an affiliate program for something I believe in). I haven’t been at this long compared to some but all the pieces fit.

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  • Shoaib Akram

    Hi,

    Blogging has always been my greatest passion whether I make money from it or not. Yet this article of yours have added to my motivation to continue blogging. Your blog has good resources for blogging info.

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