At the time of that first conversation with Jake, he was focusing on so many different business ideas. A lot. I mean dozens. So I gave him some advice to narrow things down a little bit.
I ask him at the top of today's show, “Did you take my advice?” The short answer is yes, and he seems to be hitting his stride. He's narrowed down the number of businesses he's focusing on, cleaned up his email marketing, and is even in the process of selling off one of his businesses.
I love the new direction he's taking and how he's both getting time back and putting more dollars in his pocket as a result.
A big running theme here at AskPat is that entrepreneurs love to start new things. But the way to grow any of those things is to narrow down, say no to certain things. You have to let go to grow, and that's what Jake's done.
AP 1204: Where Are They Now? Jake Lang
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here. And welcome to episode 1,204 of AskPat 2.0. We just got to keep going with these episodes, because they're so great. Today, we have another person who's been on the show before 1,116 was when he was back with us and that was a number of years ago. This is Jake Lang from TheEntrepreneurRideAlong.com. Back when we chatted with him a couple years back, he was focusing on so many different business ideas. A lot. And I'm telling you dozens, and I gave him some advice to narrow things down a little bit.
Pat Flynn: And I ask him at the top of the Show, "well, did you take my advice?" And you'll hear what he says. It's really interesting. I also love the new direction of where he is going and how some of the time that he's gotten back as a result of the decisions he's made and where he is putting in that time and how it's actually turning into more dollars in his pocket. So a lot of great things covered in this episode. Let's not wait any longer. This is Jake Lang. Here we go.
Pat Flynn: Jake, welcome back to AskPat. It's been a while. How have you been?
Jake Lang: I've been great. Yeah. Thanks for having me back on the show.
Pat Flynn: Last time you were on, you were doing a lot. You had a lot of businesses, you were working on email marketing, but you also had I think, six different things and starting two other ones. Do you remember some of the things we chatted about the last time?
Jake Lang: I do, yes. And I implemented pretty much everything that I could.
Pat Flynn: Nice. What was maybe one or two things that you implemented and how did those things turn out?
Jake Lang: One thing is just getting more focused on my main business is being the insurance business, where I sell online courses in the insurance industry and my entrepreneur education business, where I help entrepreneurs find their first business idea and start their first online business. And I'm in the process of selling off one of my businesses right now. I used Empire Flippers and then got a buyer and they're buying one of my sites from me, so that's a really cool process. Some of the other ones I'm just putting on the back burner for now. So, thank you. And then, the other big thing is email marketing. We talked a lot about that in the last session and I really fixed that and took your advice and just really simplified it. And that's been doing great since we spoke last.
Pat Flynn: I love that. That seems to be a big running theme here at AskPat is just especially we as entrepreneurs, like you, like me, we love to start new things and we want to put our hand in everything. And then really the answer to how to grow with any of those things is to narrow down, say no to certain things. Was that hard for you to do is to let go of some of these things that you did have a hand in?
Jake Lang: It is. And it's still hard for me seeing some of the businesses going away and seeing them sitting there in the background and not being worked on. So, it is a battle every day thinking that I could start something new. I could go back to those and scale those up. It's tough, but at the same time, I'm seeing the benefits and it's rewarding. I'm seeing my other businesses grow, which is important.
Pat Flynn: So tell us a little bit about your insurance business for people who don't remember it, or didn't hear that episode. What is this business specifically? And what are the big things that have happened since we've chatted that have really sparked some growth for you?
Jake Lang: Yeah. So this business, it's Associate PI is the name of the business. I sell online courses for the CPCU certification. So, I used to work in the industry. Actually, that's a big change that I didn't bring up is I quit my day job as of April, 2021.
Pat Flynn: Hey.
Jake Lang: Now I'm full-time entrepreneurship.
Pat Flynn: Congratulations.
Jake Lang: Thank you. Thank you. So that was a huge change that I forgot to mention. Thanks to our conversation, focusing on this insurance business and my entrepreneur business, that gave me the ability to leave. Anyways, back to the insurance business, selling online courses for the CPCU certification, very similar to what you did with the LEED exams, where I took these exams. So I created my own study material and I help people pass these exams just like I did about five years ago now when I passed them. Big things that I did there is I really did a lot of work reworking the website and the email funnel there, switched my courses over to Thinkific; it used to be hosted on WordPress and it was really clunky and slow. Switched over to Thinkific and that is really clean and seamless. Tweaked the whole email marketing funnel as well.
Jake Lang: And now it's just really easy for people to come to my website, download my free practice exam, get right on my email funnel and buy my courses. And now I've actually hired a ghost writer, which is helping me write additional courses. I'm branching out to other insurance designations, exams that I've taken that they've been sitting in my notes for years. I just never got around to writing those courses because I had everything else that I was working on. So I brought on some help and I have somebody now helping me write that course. So, that's cool, launching new courses that I don't have to write. I just get to come in and tweak them at the end after somebody does the first draft.
Pat Flynn: Nice. And so I'm imagining that a customer that comes in through your initial product is the perfect customer for some of these other courses. So you're able to serve them even further and generate more income from the same customer. Is that right?
Jake Lang: Exactly. Because the certification that I sell courses for, there's eight exams, so I sell all eight of those courses. But then once you pass that ...
Pat Flynn: Nice.
Jake Lang: Yeah. So it's pretty great. It's just recurring revenue going through all my courses, but there's these other certifications afterwards that once you get the CPCU, you can go for the ARM and the API and these other certifications that are easier, but that you get credit towards them. So, it's an easy upsell after you pass the certification that I sell courses for. So, that's the new strategy going into 2022.
Pat Flynn: I like that. That's really smart. And that's actually where I fell short because I was too scared to get into any other new topics that would've been perfect for somebody who had passed my exam because I was just too afraid. So well done to you, and hiring, that's a new venture and we'll talk about that in a minute. Tell us a little bit about the current business, your main one with the insurance business, tell us about the customer journey. How are people finding you? And what's the journey you take them on until a sale?
Jake Lang: Most of the traffic comes to my website through SEO. That was my big strategy from back when I started this website is there's not a lot of people out there talking about the certification, especially not somebody that's passed the exams and giving information. Typical customer journey is they're reading one of my blogs. I write about every exam and my experience and here's what you need to know, and the most important topics. They find my blog, on the blog and on my website, big thing I want them to do is get on my email list. So, my lead magnet is a free practice exam, just 10 to 20 questions to give you a sense of what type of questions, how they're formatted, what's the exam going to be like? So from there they download my lead magnet, they get on my email list and then I have a bunch of segmentation because again, there's eight different exams.
Jake Lang: So I have to segment them based on which exam they're taking. You go through this funnel or that funnel. They're all pretty similar sequences. I use ConvertKit, so it makes it really easy. So they just follow a sequence for their exam that they're taking and I give them all my value and here's everything you need to know to pass this exam. And within there, I mix in some sales messaging like, "I know this is the most difficult part of the exam, so that's why I created my course to focus on this part of the exam." That's how I upsell or I sell into my course like that. So that's the typical customer journey there.
Pat Flynn: Love it. That's super great. And as far as your day to day, tell us with a business like this, you wake up, what are you doing, how automated is this really?
Jake Lang: It's pretty much fully automated, which is why right now I can focus on creating new courses and improving the platform and that systemization because I really don't do a ton of work on it in terms of upkeep. I don't even do that much customer service, answering emails, maybe a couple emails a day. So it's really just automated, customers find me through my blogs when they're searching on Google, straight to my email list, straight through the funnel. Then every day I'll see just new sales coming in and just get a notification. And then they upsell and buy my next course, so it just works automatically.
Pat Flynn: Oh man, it sounds amazing.
Jake Lang: It's been good so far, but again, like we talked about last time, some bumps in the road and some things that I'm still figuring out and trying to grow it bigger.
Pat Flynn: I love it. And you had mentioned that you now also have time to focus on another business, and you help people with discovering their first businesses or their niches. And obviously that's something I've talked about a lot and from your perspective, and because you teach this, for somebody listening who may be a little bit like us and have a ton of ideas. We've all now seen what happens when you focus on one, how do you help others who are listening right now focus on that idea or find that idea in the first place? What's Jake's strategy for doing that?
Jake Lang: Yeah. So it's my strategy, actually, my big project after I quit my job was I wrote a book for that business, for this entrepreneur education business. The book is all about how to find that first business idea and just narrow it down to one. And in the book I say like, "You got to dedicate a minimum of one year to this one business idea that you come away from this book, you got to put in that time. It's hard when you have five, six, more than that viable ideas. But if you spread yourself too thin and try and focus on all those, you're going to get nothing done. And the beauty is those ideas aren't going away. You can just put them on the back burner. About a year or two from now, You can go back and get that idea and start that other business that you really wanted to start. But just pick that one best idea, focus on that for now and that's the business that you're going to run with." So, that's what I've really been focusing on for that entrepreneur education business.
Pat Flynn: Where can people find that book? What's the name of it? And also your business there, where can people go to learn more?
Jake Lang: Yeah, so that business is TheEntrepreneurRideAlong.com, and the book is Step One. It's called Step One, the surprisingly simple process to research, validate and choose the perfect online business idea. And that's over at steponebook.com. You're featured in that book a little bit. I'd reached out to SPI Pro a while back when I was writing, worked with Nōn and he gave me some stories that I could use of yours just from listening to you for years that I could work into the book and be like, "Hey, here's another example of what Pat did with the LEED exam and FoodTruckr." And things like that I used as case studies in there, which was very nice of SPI to let me to use.
Pat Flynn: Oh, of course. Our pleasure and happy to, and thank you again for featuring me in the book a little bit. It's interesting with these books, I took the same approach. It seems like this book would've been perfect for you when you started all of your niche ideas and stuff. And I almost take the same approach as like, I'm writing books for my younger version of my self. Did you have that approach with this book? So people don't go the same path I do, here it is all laid out in front of you.
Jake Lang: That's a hundred percent. I was thinking about myself five, 10 years ago when I was just struggling. My first ideas went nowhere, because they were just wrong from step one. That's why the book is Step One, because I was wrong from that first step. So I talk about my original first businesses and failures that went nowhere. And my coaching clients that I work with now, the number one question I help answer is, "I want to start a business, but I don't know what to do." So, that's where I fine tune that process with just teaching people, which I didn't really know that process until I started teaching people and my coaching clients and just used what I used from my experience, starting these businesses. And then just worked that into a book. Like you said, just teaching myself 10 years ago.
Pat Flynn: What's your take, Jake, since you teach this stuff on passion and how important passion is for a specific space? And it's really interesting because Jake, you're in the insurance space and I know that you've had experience there. You have taken tests there, obviously. Do you have a passion for insurance, therefore, it's cool to talk about it? Where does passion lie on the spectrum for you as far as starting a business?
Jake Lang: I don't, so I would say out of all the business I've ever started, the only one I'm passionate about is the entrepreneur education one because I love talking to entrepreneurs. I have a passion for starting new businesses and building businesses, finding that idea. So, I talk a little bit about this in the book because I'm torn on it where I tell people you don't have to be totally passionate about the idea, if you are really passionate about building a business around it and the process of building a business, which is just featuring my mindset and what I do and how I've started my businesses. That being said, I also talk about how your first business doesn't and it doesn't need to be, or probably won't be your last business then. You might start one, like I did, really enjoy the process, scale it, get it up, get automated.
Jake Lang: Then you can sell it off, and as you're working towards finding exactly what you're passionate about, which is what I did. I started a bunch of businesses and realized I'm really passionate about the teaching of the entrepreneurship space. And I love learning about this stuff. I can just keep doing it and then just showcase what I'm doing. Here's where I messed up. Here's where I'm succeeding and finding that passion along the journey because it was really hard for me to find a business idea when I was really focused about what I'm passionate about when I couldn't figure out to turn my passions into a business. And that stalled me a lot at the beginning when I really just needed to find something, start it, and then get that first business out there and learn.
Pat Flynn: That's such a key point. I think a lot of people hope that there's going to be a sign that their thing that they love becomes the business that they will run with. And it's not always going to be like that. Sometimes you might start something that maybe you're not all the way into, but there's some passion somewhere around that. And you had mentioned the passion of the journey to figure that thing out, right? For example, with the security guard training stuff that I did, I wasn't passionate about security guards obviously, but I was passionate about trying to solve the problem of how do I show up on a search engine to help those people. Right? And so that was a passion there. The passion in serving people just in general could always and should be a part of that, of course. So yeah, there's many ways to do it.
Pat Flynn: And I'm glad that you said that because I think a lot of people, we have this false hope of, well, we have to be completely in love with the product in order for it to succeed. And that's not true. There has to be love somewhere though, and care for your customer is obviously going to be key. So where does Jake go from here? You have these two businesses that you're focusing on, you're selling another one and it seems like you're getting even more focused now. What is more-focused Jake going to be more focused on into 2022 and beyond?
Jake Lang: Yeah, so right now, actually I am just starting to launch a membership platform for The Entrepreneur Ride Along community. The book is feeding right into this membership community that I'm putting together because I've hosted a lot of group coaching and one-on-one coaching. And I turned those into courses, but over the last year, it's got really scattered on trying to figure out how to send people to what course when they join my community, join my email list, sending them to the right course and the right product that they need at this time. So I'm working on solving that by, you can just get access to all the courses, all the content that I'm creating. You can get access to my books just by joining the membership. That's where you can pay to get access to everything, get access to me, get access to a community where it's gonna bringing my coaching, my courses and everything into one. Just started pre-selling that, I've only put it out to five people individually, so far.
Jake Lang: So I'm saying brand new, but five for five so far, five people signed up for the membership, which is cool. I haven't even created a sales page. Haven't even launched it, but no, I got five members and the thing's not even built yet. It's just a couple of courses in Teachable right now. And I'll probably use Circle or something like that, like you're using and to create a community like that. So still work in progress, but the pre-sale's going well. So, that's the next project for The Entrepreneur Ride Along website.
Pat Flynn: I love it. And I love how you said you individually reached out to five people and you just had conversations to make sure it's the right fit. And you're five for five, which is fantastic. And community and memberships and those kinds of things are in my opinion, the future of business. And so it's really great to see that you're getting ahead on that as well. And of course, we've been all in on SPI Pro and we'll continue to go all in on it because we've seen the best results from it.
Pat Flynn: And so, yes, we have our courses and we have our free content of course, but it's when people come for the content, but then they stay for the community. And they stay for that membership and that identity of being somebody who's on the same path as others. And that's really great. So Jake, congratulations to you and what a wonderful update. I hope this inspires everybody here at the beginning of 2022, which is when this episode comes out to stay and remain focused and yes, you're likely going to get a million other ideas. You can put them aside and you've already said yes to some things, most likely, let's continue to do that. And Jake, best of luck to you. One more time, where should people go to follow and check out your stuff?
Jake Lang: Sure. Yeah. You can check out the book at StepOnebook.com and you can check out my website at theentrepreneurridealong.com. And that's where the membership and all the other free content is. So that's where I'm hanging out.
Pat Flynn: Awesome. Love it, Jake. Thanks so much for the update. Appreciate you and best of luck to you.
Jake Lang: Awesome. Thank you.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Jake Lang. It was great to catch up again. You can listen to his first episode and just hear just how many things he had going on. You could tell how many things he had going on, even without going back there. Right? He had to let go some stuff in order to grow. And I always say that, you got to let go to grow. You got to let go to grow. Right? So that was episode 1,116 that you can check out. This episode, 1,204. We got a lot more great episodes coming. Some more coaching calls coming your way starting next week. We're pretty much not necessarily done, but we're good on the "where are they now?" Episodes.
Pat Flynn: We've had a few months of those ,and those are again my favorite episodes to record, but it's time to bring some new coaching students on. And we got some fun things planned. Again, you might have heard the announcement of us changing the name of the podcast to The Smart Bar. Eventually that's going to happen later in the year, and not just having myself on the show to coach people, but other people, our partners, other friends to help provide value to you too, because the network we built here has been so amazing. There's just so much incredible knowledge in this space.
Pat Flynn: That'll come and you'll hear it, but we're not there yet. Next week we got another coaching call and I hope you subscribe if you haven't already. We got a lot of great stuff coming your way, and I appreciate you so, so much. So until then, cheers. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. And as always, Team Flynn for the win. Peace.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to AskPat at AskPat.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. AskPat is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.