AskPat 266 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here. Welcome to Episode 266 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. We have a great question from Sean, all the way over in Ireland.
Before we get to that, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is AWeber.com, the email service provider that I've used for years to help me set up email lists and be able to collect subscribers, collect their email addresses so I can send them emails later. Not just whenever I feel like writing and email, but I can write emails beforehand and take advantage of their autoresponder sequence, which allows me to send out emails automatically based off of how long people have been on the list, which is super cool and allows you to stay in contact with people over time. When you do send out those timely emails for promotions and whatnot, your emails are more likely to be opened. That's how I've been able to amass a 65–70% open rate, which is awesome. For most of my emails. Some emails do better than others because of the subject lines. Anyway, that's up to you. The email service provider I recommend is AWeber. If you got to AWeber.com/askpat you could give it a shot for 30 days for $1. AWeber.com/askpat.
Sweet! Now, let's get to today's question from Sean.
Sean: Hi, Pat Flynn. Sean McGinnis here from Ireland. I have a few products I'm interested in selling online. Mostly are for the nightclub industry. DJs, things like laser lights, ebook on Facebook for nightclubs. Also, maybe a blog on Facebook for nightclubs. Finally, I'm interested in selling earplugs for DJs. Now, Pat, at the moment they're just ideas. I'm on oDesk asking guys who set up if, let's see, websites for me. Inquire about who can help me sell these things. Kind of just lost. Seems like a huge mountain I have to climb here. Maybe if you give me a few points, steps. Is oDesk a good place to recruit these days? Is there some other website or place I should be sourcing staff? Listen, that's it. Love the show. Keep up the good work. Thank you very much.
Pat Flynn: Sean, thank you so much for the question, and hello all the way over there in Ireland. I wish to visit Ireland one day, because I'm a quarter Irish, and I bet I have a lot of family there, and I just don't even know it yet. Anyway, thank you so much for the question. It's really cool, 'cause I actually used to DJ. A lot of people, well, I guess a lot of you who listen to Smart Passive Income know this, because I've mentioned it in the beginning of my episodes once, but I used to DJ. I used to DJ in college. Not really hardcore or anything like that, but I used to spin and scratch and do all that stuff at college parties, which was kind of interesting. I've done a wedding one time, which was even more interesting.
So, you want to sell DJ equipment, which is pretty cool. Obviously, there's a huge market for it, so it's a good niche to get into. The question is, what position are you going to put yourself in? How are you going to stand out from everybody else out there who's already doing it? Now, don't let the fact that everybody else is already doing it stop you. What you can see is what is needed and what can you do better than everybody else that's out there? Perhaps it's the kind of content that lays on top of the shop that you have. The ability for you to make a connection with people or to teach people stuff with free and valuable content surrounding your store and the equipment that they have to buy. Again, maybe it's equipment that you manufacture yourself. You mentioned earplugs for DJs. This is something that we've been talking a lot about on SmartPassiveIncome.com, because, in a recent episode with Ryan Moran, Episode 144, you can check it out by going to SmartPassiveIncome.com/Session144, you'll hear him talk about how he is working with overseas manufacturers to build higher quality things like yoga mats. He actually walks you through step by step how he does this. He sells them on Amazon. That could help make things … I haven't done it myself yet, although this is potentially going to be the next experiment for Smart Passive Income. I'd love to give it a shot myself, but my gut tells me that could be a possibility for you, Sean. In terms of getting things manufactured or wholesaled somewhere and then you sell them on Amazon. Maybe you find things around your area that are discounted, or you find … Maybe you have connections already with companies who are selling things at a discounted price and you get those things. Then, you have Amazon fulfill for you.
That takes me back to SmartPassiveIncome.com/Session99 with Jessica and Cliff Larrew, who took a different approach to utilizing Amazon. The reason why Amazon is so big and so important here is because when you think about it, there's like 400 million people on there who want to buy stuff. It's a giant pool of people who are customers. It's a search engine where you know that … I mean, I would go in there and do some research and see what's being sold in there already. You might find some holes. Going along the whole search engine thing, where I was going with that is it's the only search engine where you know that if you do the proper research, that those people are buyers on the other end. You could utilize the Amazon FBA program, Fulfilled By Amazon program, to find products perhaps at a discount price, or maybe you get the wholesale or something. Then, you ship them to Amazon and they'll fulfill the orders for you. I've actually tested this myself. I bought a couple headphones, ironically enough. There was a New York Knicks headphone, a Dwyane Wade headphone, and I can't remember the other one. Orlando Magic, I think. On sale at Best Buy for a ridiculous price, 75% off the retail price. There's an app that goes along with Amazon that you can check to see how much items typically will sell for. It was selling for 300% over what I bought it for. So, I was like, “Hmm, let's give this a shot.” It worked. I actually sold all three of those headphones on Amazon FBA. I made a total profit of about $30–40. It was pretty cool. It didn't take too much work, but I did still have to ship those things to Amazon, then list them and then do that whole thing. That's another option you could do, too.
You could also take the option of building your own site. Whether a WordPress site or a SquareSpace site or wherever and set up shop there. Like, an ecommerce site. The tricky part with that is, if you set up that from scratch, then your job is to figure out how to have people come over to your site. That's where advertising on Facebook and on Twitter and on even YouTube, would be really helpful. You could also, if you have these DJ earplugs that you were talking about. That's interesting. You might be able to utilize a crowdfunding platform like Indiegogo or Kickstarter to help with the marketing of something brand new. That's where I was going with that. When you start your own thing off of a site like Amazon … ‘Cause Amazon, there's people on there already. The trick is to get in front of those people by means of search or related items and things like that. When you build something on your own from scratch, then the only people who know about it are the people who you tell. If you're paying for ads, or if you happen to, over time, get found in Google for certain keywords, if you're doing stuff like niche sites and things like that. Maybe you make connections and give some products to other people who might have an influence over a large audience who is matched up with your target audience.
There's a lot of ways to go about it. I didn't even answer your question yet. I think, hopefully, this is getting the gears turning, in terms of how to market this and how to get going with it. It may change your direction, in terms of working with somebody on oDesk, because a lot of those things, like I was saying, you could use, for example, an ecommerce site or use Shopify.com to set up shop, in which case, it would mostly be done for you. There are templates already available. oDesk.com is a good site. I've used it several times before. Elance is the one that I actually prefer. I just have had better luck with it, in terms of the quality of people. If you're going to hire somebody on Elance or oDesk, those are for one-off jobs. You post your job description of what you need done. Then, you're going to have people bid on your job and say, “Oh, I will do this job for X amount of dollars.” I've done this for anything from app and software development to web design to logo design to even legal help. Even writers, finding writers on both of those sites, actually. [Note: Elance and oDesk have since merged to form Upwork. New name, same services.]
There are a lot of mistakes that I made in the past. The first mistake I made was going for the lowest bidder. This was a mistake I made when building app software for the iOS, or for iPhone. We went with, when I say we, I mean my buddy from high school and I. We got inspired back in 2008 to start an app company. We wanted to dive right in so fast. We got a bid within 24 hours after placing our job description. This was on Elance, actually. We took that first bid. It happened to be the lowest bid. Some time went by, and there were four or five bids, and that was within 24 hours. We took the lowest bid, just because we wanted to save as much money as possible. As a result of doing that, we ended up spending more money and wasting a lot more time. A job that was supposed to take three weeks and $1,000 ended up taking three months and $6,000. It was because we didn't do our due diligence with that company. We were just so excited to work, and we just wanted to get going. No, no, no, no, no. You want to do your research. That means don't … Put your job description up there, and be as detailed as you like to be. Make sure that … I would recommend communicating with those people beforehand, who you potentially you would want to work with. There's going to be some that you can already delete and filter out: “No, I don't want to work with them.” Or, “The bid's too high,” or, “They just don't have the experience or the portfolio that I'm looking for.” There might be a few of those people, developers and people who would want to work with you for your job that you might be interested in. Talk to them. Communicate. See how fast they respond. See what their communication is like. You might even be able to, and this isn't always the case, but have them do a quick, small job. Have—actually have them point you to one of their successful projects. Then, you reach out to those people and … Those people that they would refer to and say, “Hey, did you enjoy working with this person? What was the experience like?” You want to do this research beforehand, as if you were hiring somebody for your own company. Because, that's kind of what you do.
The only thing is, with Elance or oDesk, after that project is over, you award that person that money, and the job is done. You can work with that person again on something else if you like. If you're looking for somebody who's more long term, somebody who's going to be continually doing the same things over time, then I would recommend going with either a half-time virtual assistant or a full-time virtual assistant. If you're going to get a general VA, which more for administrative type stuff, posting blog posts and social media updates and things like that, you can go to VirtualStaffFinder.com, which is Chris Ducker's program. His head hunters service for virtual staff. If you are looking for a developer or graphic designer, oDesk and Elance is a good place to start. You might find people that you could work longer term on those places, as well. Even before that, if you have a chance, if you already have a network of people, start with the people that they know, as well. This way you avoid any mishaps down the road. You get a trusted recommendation from a friend. That's worth much more and easier than doing all this research, looking into portfolios and reviews and things like that.
Another thing on oDesk and Elance is the escrow. That's essentially, when you connect with somebody and he says, “I want to work with you,” and you say, “Okay, let's do this.” With an escrow you fund the project, but he doesn't get that money yet. It means a third party gets that money, and that allows you to make sure that person does the job and doesn't just run away with the money. Once that person completes a job, he checks with you to see if you're happy; it's all done on Elance and oDesk. Both of those have escrow programs. Then, you can release that money to them and everybody's happy.
A few other key pointers with working with people from Elance or oDesk, is you want to make sure that their feedback is great. Look and see how many other jobs they've done before. If they've never done a job before, I wouldn't work with them, cause you never know. They could talk the sweetest talk in their little description or in their communication. But, if they don't have proof that they've worked with somebody before, and they've enjoyed working with them, then I wouldn't even take that risk, because you're going to waste a lot of time and money, perhaps, if you just hire the wrong person. I would also look to see how many repeat clients they have. I believe Elance will share this with you. I'm not sure if oDesk has this. Repeat clients is a good sign that somebody liked working with this person so much that they hired them again. Lastly, you definitely want to make sure you look at their portfolio to see if their style or their work is up to par with your own standards for what you're looking to do. Even if just the kind of work they do aligns with what you want done.
So, Sean, I hope this answers your question, and I appreciate it. We're going to fly an AskPat t-shirt all the way over to Ireland for you. I'd love to get a picture of it in some Ireland landmark, if you happen to go into some famous area in Ireland someday; that'd be kind of cool. But, you don't have to do that! Anyway, if any of you listening have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page. Bunch of questions coming in. I love you guys for asking these questions. These are so fantastic. Obviously, the show wouldn't be here without you, so you guys are what make the show. I just answer the questions based on my experience or my research that I do before answering these questions. I appreciate you guys for it. Thank you so much.
Finally, I also want to recommend AWeber.com, today's sponsor, for your email service needs. So, if you are looking to build an email list, which you absolutely should … One of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started was not building an email list, and I made that mistake twice. Once on GreenExamAcademy.com, which was my first site, which helped people pass an exam in the architecture industry. That was terrible, because when I came out with my second product, I didn't have a list of people to email. I didn't have a list of my existing customers from my first product to email. How terrible is that? And I made the same mistake with SmartPassiveIncome.com, which was actually live for one year and three months before I finally came out with an opt-in form on my blog in January of 2010. Man! I still kick myself for that. Anyway. You gotta get hooked up with AWeber. AWeber.com/askpat. You can go check it out there. Thirty days for $1.
Lastly, as always, I like to end with a quote. Today's quote comes from Thomas Jefferson. He says, “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Cheers. I'll see you guys in the next episode of AskPat.
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