Did you know that you can use your content in different ways to sell your online products?
In episode 85 of the Bean Ninjas Podcast, Matt Wolfe of Evergreen Profits and the Hustle and Flowchart Podcast (which he co-hosts with his business partner Joe) joins us as we talk all about marketing.
We talked about tips on how to sell online products through content and affiliate marketing, repurposing content, tech and tools we use in business and so much more. It was such a wide-ranging interview that I’m sure you’ll learn so much from.
In this episode, we discuss:
[02:04] The reason why he didn’t pursue his dream of becoming a pilot or an NBA player.
[04:11] Matt’s thoughts on the best part of being a dad.
[05:20] How marketing works like a puzzle.
[06:06] Focusing and narrowing down things he wants to do in 2020.
[09:35] Looking at data from social media.
[11:33] Using Improvely in their business.
[13:35] Matt talks about their podcast stats.
[14:24] Steps they took to grow their podcast.
[18:55] Using content in different forms to drive sales for products.
[21:00] Using video for marketing.
[22:48] How they repurpose and boost content.
[28:05] Affiliate programs – how they use it and their criteria for promoting affiliate products.
[32:32] Their go-to tools and processes for effectively managing energy.
[35:32] Communication tools they use in the business.
[38:04] The project management system they use.
[38:57] Bookkeeping and accounting tools they use for business.
[39:55] The meaning of financial freedom to Matt.
[41:27] How he learned about financial literacy when he was growing up.
[45:06] Things he practices to keep up with everything happening in his life.
[50:11] Books that have made an impact in his life.
Announcer Welcome to the Bean Ninjas Podcast, where you get an all-access pass to see what happens behind the closed doors of a fast-growing global bookkeeping and financial reporting business.
Hey, hey. Welcome to the Bean Ninjas Podcast. This is Anfernee Chansamooth, the Learning and Community Lead here at Bean Ninjas and I thought we’d meet today Matt Wolfe, from a couple of things; EvergreenProfits.com, which is the business, arm of the business. And also, the Hustle and Flowchart Podcast, which is actually how I discovered Matt, and his business partner, Joe; co-host, Joe.
So welcome to the show, Matt.
Yeah. Thanks for having me. I love talking about this stuff.
We’re going to definitely dig up all things marketing because that’s kind of the world that we live in. But also more about that, I’m all about finding out the human behind the marketer, so I can see bookshelf of knowledge behind you. So at some point, I’d like to dig into that with you.
Can you just share with our audience sort of how you’re doing first of all, and where are you recording from today?
So I’m doing great. Yeah. I mean, right now, it’s like 2:00 in the afternoon and I’m recording from San Diego, California in the US. And yeah, I mean, things are going good right now. Love talking about marketing and nerding out about this kind of stuff, so that always puts me in a good mood.
Amazing. Okay. So today, you are going to share your tips on how to sell online products through content and affiliate marketing. We’ll definitely dive into something that you guys like to do a lot, which is repurposing content as well, and I think that whole, I mean that’s major; like we could go on for hours about that. So I’m going to have to do my best to try and consolidate.
Before we go into the tech stuff, let’s talk about; just, I’m curious whatever happened to your childhood dream of becoming a jet pilot or becoming an NBA player and a professional basketball player; you gave up pursuing any of those.
The jet pilot was like a real young kid thing, right? So I wanted to be; when I was like 7 or 8 years old, I used to go and watch, we have air shows here where you can go and watch the military jets fly around, and those are really popular one called the Blue Angels here.
I don’t know how familiar people are outside of the US with the Blue Angels, but it’s like an aerial acrobatic jet show. My parents used to take me there; San Diego is a big military town. So I used to see the jets flying around San Diego all the time, and when I was a little kid, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be up in one of those jets.
But as I got older; well, first of all, it’s not great to be tall in flight jets, and I’m pretty tall. I’m 6’3. So that sort of kind of rules me out in the first place. But second of all, I was never really that inclined to be in the military, I guess. You know, that wasn’t really something that I had much of a calling to do. I just wanted to fly jets, and apparently, they don’t let you just fly jets if you’re not in the military, so that didn’t really stick.
The basketball thing, I did try to pursue. I played basketball when I was in the elementary school and the middle school. And then, I played basketball in high school, and then about halfway through high school, I kind of got into skateboarding and video games and other stuff. And just kind of stopped practising basketball as much and that kind of fell away a bit.
I feel you. Like, same old story. Like, I played basketball for high school, and then, no dreams of getting into NBA; I don’t think. Well now, there are Aussies in there, but there weren’t when I was in school. And also, I’m not as tall as you; I’m 6’1. And getting into Counter-Strike kind of took me away from the game.
That’s what I did in high school, too. I was obsessed with Counter-Strike and I think StarCraft were my two games.
Yes. Love it. So okay. Well, now you also; I’ve seen photos of you and you’ve got, is it your daughter on Facebook? Tell me, what’s the best part for you about being a daddy?
Oh, I mean, I have 2 kids now. I have a daughter; my daughter is 7 and my son is 5. And right now, as I’m saying, I actually hear my kids fighting in the background, so that’s the not-so-great part. But I love just seeing them experience new things for the first time. Like, that is just the best feeling in the world when you go on a trip or something, and you show them some awe-inspiring scenery, and they’re just as in awe by it as you are.
My favourite thing lately is my kids both got really into Legos, so we’ll go and build cool stuff together with Legos, and that’s been really fun. And my son; he’s really into doing puzzles, and I’m kind of a nerd for puzzles, just jigsaw puzzles.
And so, him and I will build puzzles together, and it’s just fun to find these common hobbies that you can do with your kids in your free time. Yeah, I mean, that’s really what I love doing these days.
That’s amazing and I love that parallel between doing puzzles and business, so marketing. Like, it’s about finding all the pieces and how do I fit?
Yeah. And a big key to it is just patience as well. Like, as you’re doing puzzles, you want it to go faster and you could kind of see how everything goes together, but you don’t exactly know how to make them all fit together yet. I mean, there’s a lot of great parallels there.
But I think the one thing that it almost becomes kind of meditative and helps me with the focus; the focus and the impatience and that kind of thing doing puzzles. You know; you can only go with the piece that you can go, so…
Absolutely. And I loved that you mentioned the word focus because we started off before we jumped on the call about your thing for the year and that is focus. And tell us about when it comes to this topic of selling online products, right? And whether you’re doing content marketing, affiliate marketing; all of these things; how important is focus and how easy can; like, there’s so much you can do.
And I get this all the time. It’s like, “Oh my gosh. Am I doing a podcast? Am I doing guest posting? Am I doing Facebook ads, Google ads? How do you sort of narrow down like these are like four or five or three things of what you’re going to do in 2020?
Yeah. Well, it kind of feels like our business; so we’ve been doing this stuff since; I mean, I started an online business in 2005 doing sort of freelance web design. Joe and I partnered together in 2007. I quit my job in 2009. Joe and I started our first podcast in 2010. So we’ve been doing this for; what is that? 15 years now.
And over the last 15 years, it’s just been this constant expansion and then contraction. Like, we find new ideas, and we add stuff to the business, and we add stuff to the business, we add stuff to the business. At the end of the year, we always go, “Men, we’re doing too much.”
And then, we sort of contract to bring it all back, and then we start bringing things out of the business. And it seems to be this process that we just kind of do every year, and to say that it won’t happen again; that’s really hard to say. I have a feeling what will end up happening is we’ll probably get this focus and we’ll add more stuff. And then, we’ll sort of contract a bit and bring some stuff, cut some stuff out.
But the way we really have figured it out is I’m a data nerd. I just love digging into the stats. So for me, what we did at the end of December 2019, beginning of January 2020, we sort of did a big audit on all of our numbers. We looked at, “Where are we spending all of our time?” We literally kept logs; I wish I had one on my desk; I don’t have it any more. But we literally kept logs of minute-by-minute; like what we are doing throughout the day.
It was actually in 30-minute blocks. In each 30 minutes, we break down what we did in the last 30 minutes, and we did that exercise for like 6 weeks to figure out what we were spending all of our time on.
And then, we also looked at all the data. We looked at all of the numbers and tried to figure out where all of our revenue was coming from. Was it coming from our affiliate marketing efforts? If it was, which products was generating the most amount of revenue? Was it coming from our course sales?
We had some agency stuff we were doing for a little bit. We have sponsorships that we do with our podcast. We have our newsletter. You know, there’s a lot of stuff that we’re doing, so we were just looking at the numbers and figuring out, “Okay, where is the money coming in from?”
And the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule; it holds true. We found out that 80% of our income was coming from 20% of the time, of the effort that we were putting in. And where all that income was coming from for us was the affiliate marketing stuff, but where we were spending all of our time was managing customers who bought our courses, and managing agency clients, and all of the back and forth involved with all those kinds of things is where all of our time was being spent.
But our money was coming from all of this affiliate marketing stuff that we kind of setup once, but it do its thing. And then, we’ll add another piece of content in and let it do its thing. So that was really how we came to the conclusion of, “Let’s just hone in.”
So the podcast stays because we just love it; we just love talking to people, we love learning, we love exploring new ideas, we love the networking aspect of it, getting to know other people. So that stuck for those reasons, and then the affiliate marketing stuff stuck because of just our ability to dig into the data and figure out what’s working and where our time is going.
Yeah. I really like that and becoming a data-driven organization is kind of; like we’ve been going through that journey with Bean Ninjas as well. We’re heading into our fifth year now, and especially in marketing because it can get really; when you start out, it’s really easy to just, “Let’s try this for 300 bucks or $300,000 here,” and you’re doing all these things.
And if you don’t have; and that’s the biggest complain, I’m sure you hear, like, “What’s the ROI? Like, if I do LinkedIn live in the next four months, what’s the ROI?” Well, if you don’t have the data to back up, it’s very hard to determine what’s working and what’s not working. So I’m glad you mentioned that.
Yeah. And just to sort of speak into that a little bit; when it comes to things like Facebook lives, and LinkedIn videos, and posting on Instagram, and all that kind of stuff, some of that stuff is very, very difficult to quantify. It’s very difficult just to go, “Okay, by doing this, I’m getting these results.”
And so, I think with a lot of that kind of stuff, you just got to have, you just need to look at the sort of aggregate results of all of it together. You know, if we’re going and posting on Instagram daily with new videos, how are our podcast numbers growing? How are our newsletter subscribers growing? You got to look for correlations versus direct response data.
So a lot of the social media stuff, that’s all we’re really doing is we’re just trying to find correlations. When we’re more active in our Facebook group, how does it impact our newsletter sales? How does it impact affiliate revenue? How does it impact our podcast growth? All of that kind of stuff.
So a lot of what we’re doing in the kind of like doing things that don’t scale is we’re just looking for correlations. And if we can find correlations of wow, this seems to be moving the needle, then we’ll kind of lean into it, do more of it, and see if it moves the needle more to kind of prove our theories. So it’s kind of a very scientific method, data-based approach even with the things that don’t scale.
Yeah. I’m hearing that. So can you take us behind the scenes for the data geeks listening to this? So like, what are you using for a dashboard? Do you have some like out of the box tools or you did a drawing thing? Are you using Google dashboard? Like, what are you actually doing to actually get that data from different channels that you’re out there and putting it all together and having sort of a place to look at and go, “Okay, let’s make some decisions around this based on what we’ve seen.”
Yes. So our biggest, the tool that we use the most is actually a tool called Improvely. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but we use Improvely to sort of track the attribution of what’s working. So it’ll give you basically a special link for when you’re running a Facebook ad or Google ad or any of those kind of things.
Or even when we mail our list, we use UTM codes in our emails inside of the URLs that we’re using, and then Improvely will track the effectiveness of those URLs regardless of where you sent it from, and it also give you the attribution data of, “Okay, this person clicked on your Google ad. And then after they clicked on your Google ad, they say your Facebook ad, and they clicked your Facebook ad, and then they bought.” I can see that whole customer journey inside of Improvely.
So we’ve been using that to kind of get the more direct response data. And then, when it comes to the more correlation kind of data about the Facebook groups, and the Instagram, and all that kind of stuff, most of that data; we’re just making our own spreadsheets. Like, once a month or so, I’ll go and see, “Okay, how is our Instagram growth look? How much have we posted? What sort of social metrics are on this post? Okay, can I find the correlation between the growth in Instagram stuff and the growth in our download numbers on our podcast?”
And I’m just trying to look at the data and see if I could find correlations. I wish there was a better tool or a better answer for how to figure that out, but quite honestly, I just live in Google sheets.
Yeah, yeah; that’s pretty common. And I mean, there are much more expensive products that’s out there, but I think, do what works. And I like that, you can go back to; use simple, like UTM tags on things like that. That’s what we’re doing as well.
Alright. Cool. So you mentioned podcast. So let’s talk about where are you at? And I remember reading a while ago, you were 100,000 downloads. Are you still there? Are you climbing? Where are you at?
So right now, we get about 50,000 downloads a month, and I think our overall download numbers since we’ve started; I think we’re approaching a half a million downloads total. We’re hoping to; if we keep on pace, we shouldn’t have an issue passing a million downloads this year. But that’s kind of where we’re at right now is our average month is about 50,000 downloads.
Amazing. And that’s been going for how long?
So this specific show where Joe and I are co-hosting it, we started this one in January of 2017; so we just passed the three-year threshold last month.
Alright. Cool. So for those listening right now and going, “How did you do that? How did you go from zero?” Right? Just launch on iTunes or Apple Podcast to getting in the first 10,000 downloads or first thousand downloads. Like, what have you learned over the years in terms of growing listenership, getting the subscribers? But also, like, what’s the goal for you guys with the podcast? I mean, it’s not just about, “We just want a million downloads.” Like, I assume that’s not just the metric.
It’s actually feeling a lot of things that’s happening, like you say, with your products and opportunities.
Yeah. So the first part of that question; how we grow the podcast? Let me first qualify with a fact or disclaim with a fact that we did have a bit of an audience before we launched this podcast. So we did have a mailing list that was in the tens of thousands of subscribers. So when we launched this podcast, we were able to go to our mailing list and say, “Hey, here’s the new show,” and kind of jump it up the rankings pretty quickly.
Saying that, when we started with our first podcast back in 2010, we didn’t have that. Nobody knew who we were. We didn’t have a list. We had nothing; nothing really to; no way to grow it. So the number one recommendation that I give people to try to grow a show is to just go get on other people’s shows.
So when you start your own podcast, the absolute best way to grow your podcast is to be on another podcast because people that are tuning in on those podcasts, well, we know they like podcasts. And if you entertain them, and you educate them, and they like what you had to say on that podcast, there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to jump over and check out a couple of your episodes, and then ideally, subscribe.
So that is the absolute number one way to grow a podcast is just get on as many podcasts as you can. Don’t worry about the size of the podcast. Like, one question I’ve never asked, and nobody’s really even ever asked us is, “How big is your podcast? How many downloads do you get?”
I don’t even care. It doesn’t matter to me. I love talking to people. I love sharing information. And even if the podcast right now only gets a hundred downloads a month, who’s to say that a year from now, it won’t be a huge podcast who’s getting a hundred thousand downloads a month, and you’re right in there in that feed, and people will still be discovering you. So it doesn’t matter to me how big a podcast is. Just get on more of them. So that’s kind of my number one tip.
Number two would be to; this is sort of more for a show that has guests; but ask your guests to share. Bring on guests that have audiences and get them to share. And in the beginning, you may only be able to get people on that have smaller audiences; maybe they’ve got a social media following of a thousand people or something. That’s a start; that’s going to get you your first download.
So bring people on that you can interview, and then ask the people that you interview to share the interview with their audience, and that’s another way to kind of get things kick started. Then over time, you get bigger and bigger and bigger guests who have bigger and bigger audiences, and that sort of sharing element of it gets easier and easier. So that’s number two.
And then, other than like those kinds of things; sharing on social media, emailing your list if you’ve got it, leveraging the audience that you already have if you’ve got it, and going and being on other podcasts, we do some like growth hockey kind of stuff; like we’ll buy advertising to our podcast, we’ll buy Facebook ads to the podcast, and Google ads to the podcast.
You can actually buy advertising in some of the podcast player apps. So there’s apps like Overcast and Castro, and another one is Podcast Republic, and there’s a handful of them. You can actually go straight to the app creator and ask them if there is some way to promote your podcast within their platform, and most of them have some sort of paid method to promote your podcast and get more awareness on it inside of their app. So we do a lot of things like that.
Do you record the audio for that or do they do that for you?
It’s not audio. So the apps will have like a little like image ad.
So Overcast for example, when you open that up to listen to a podcast, let’s say you click on a podcast that’s like a business podcast. Let’s say, you’re listening to the Hustle and Flowchart Podcast on Overcast. Well, while you’re on Overcast, at the very bottom like maybe 1/5 of the screen, there’ll be actually a little banner with like a little one-sentence piece of ad copy. So you can write less than a tweet. It’s maybe like a hundred characters, and then it automatically pools in the image from your podcast. And so, you have to write about a hundred characters of copy, and that’s about it.
Challenge right there about the copywriting skills. Really cool. Okay. So I’m going to go from; that’s the distribution channel, so we’re talking about podcasts. Let’s go back to the start of this topic, which is okay, you’ve got an online product, right? So I know you guys have a couple of courses; Perpetual Audience Growth, you’ve got The Affiliate Promotion Engine. You’re also selling other people’s products as affiliates for them.
So someone’s listening to this and they’re going, “Okay, I’m just about to launch an online course or maybe I’ve already launched it. How do I use content to drive sales for that particular product, Matt?”
Yeah. So a lot of the courses that we actually sell right now were actually phasing out. We were talking about the whole focus element, so a lot of these courses, we’re actually not going to be selling for too much longer. They’re still available, but a lot of those are going to go away.
But the way that we sell those courses and affiliate offers through content; well, there’s multiple ways we do it. So first and foremost is the podcast; the podcast is our content marketing strategy. So we will bring on product creators, and we’ll interview the product creators about their product, and then will use that as a piece of content to promote as an affiliate. We’ll talk about their product and mention a link on the show. And then, in the show notes of the episode, we’ll put a link over to that affiliate link.
So we’ll do that kind of thing; we do the same thing with our courses. Joe and I do what we call therapy session episodes. A therapy session episode just means we don’t have a guest; it’s just me Joe chatting together about whatever is on our mind in the moment. And a lot of times in that, we’ll talk about some of the courses that we have available and sort of direct people to go grab our courses. So that’s how the sort of Affiliate Promotion Engine and some of those kinds of things come into play.
Other than that, we like to write blog posts, too. We’ll do written blog posts about some of the products. We’ll write product reviews, we’ll write tutorials on how to use various products, we’ll write comparisons between two products that are very similar. So really, that’s what we’re doing with our content marketing is the podcast, the written content that usually includes some affiliate links.
Now, we’re actually starting to get in the video stuff. Funny enough; doing it for as long as we have, we’ve never really put a focus on making video stuff in our business. So we’ve actually started doing the interviews on camera now for our podcast; so we have video footage. We’re actually starting up a brand new YouTube channel that we’re actually going to take seriously instead of it just being a dumping ground for our videos that nobody’s paying attention to.
And so, we’re actually going to get more and more into video marketing, and the same concepts apply. We’re going to have tutorials, and reviews, and case studies, and things like that in video form, which ideally will encourage people to purchase the products through our links.
Are you working with some specialist in video marketing or how are you sort of getting that strategy together?
Yes. So as far as like the content of the videos, we’re not really working with a specialist; we’ve just kind of accumulated the information and ideas and tips from people just from being on our podcast. I mean, we have had probably 15 YouTube experts on the podcast over the years, so we’ve just sort of soaked up the knowledge about what should go into the videos from those people.
As far as the actual posting strategy, and the frequency, and the sort of like targeting, and keywords that you use, and descriptions and titles, and all that kind of stuff, we do actually have some people that we’re working with. Their names are actually Aaron Biblow and Triston; he’s going to kill me, I forgot his last name.
But we actually did a podcast episode with these guys. They taught us their YouTube strategy. And after they taught us their YouTube strategy, one of the guys actually came out to San Diego and was here for like two months straight. And so, we actually went and met with him for lunch two or three times and he mapped out an entire YouTube strategy for us.
Love how that works. I’m looking forward to seeing these videos that you guys are going to be throwing up soon. Now, like I said earlier, you guys are masters at repurposing content. So can you just take us through for the listeners here who are producing; let’s start with podcast because that’s like your number one sort of thing that you’re doing.
How do you repurpose the content? So you record it, you publish it, and then, what do you do?
Yeah. So with our podcast, we do something very unique. I’m not sure; I know of only one other podcast who are doing this right now and they were actually a client of ours when we were doing this for them as an agency.
So we actually repurpose our podcast into a printed newsletter. So every single episode that we record, we actually have a note taker who works for us, who listens to the whole episode, and she actually just takes notes on the whole thing. And it’s not like show notes that you see on a podcast page that kind of tease out what you’re going to hear in the podcast.
These are everything we talked about; any sort of tactics that they broke down, we break them down in the notes. Any sort of tools or resources they mention, broken out in the notes; their backstory, all of it. It’s all in the notes, so anybody can kind of get this recap of everything we talked about in that episode.
And then, all those notes, they go into this newsletter that go out on a monthly basis to all of our monthly subscribers, and it’s actually a physical print newsletter. You can actually open it, and flip through it, and highlight it, and write in the margins, and all that kind of stuff.
So that’s the first thing that we do to repurpose it, and that’s actually one of our larger income streams in our business is the subscription revenue that comes from that newsletter. Now, the way we actually promote that newsletter is when you’re listening to an episode of our podcast, we actually have a call-to-action that says, “Hey, we’re taking notes on this episode. You can get those notes for free by going to this URL.”
And we’ll tell them what URL to go get them. We also have like a text number that you can text in to get the notes as well. But we’ll give them a call-to-action to go and get the notes for this episode for free, but the notes for each episode are only available for free for 2 weeks. And then, they get locked down into the members’ area, where only the monthly members get access, and then you have to be a monthly member of this newsletter and of our subscription membership to get the new notes after two weeks.
So they’re free for 2 weeks, and then they get locked into the vault, and then you get them in the mail, and you can access them from inside the members’ area. So that’s kind of the revenue stream of the podcast. It’s probably the largest revenue stream from directly related to the podcast.
And then beyond that, we have a second podcast called Hustle and Flowshorts, which is a daily show. So our podcasts interviews are usually about an hour minimum; sometimes are upwards of two hours. And so, we created the Hustle and Flowshorts to just take little nuggets of wisdom. They’re like 10 to 15 minutes total and break them out into a daily show.
So we actually have somebody on our team; his name is Jacob. He listens to all of these episodes and finds really interesting clips to pull out. Pulls out little 7 to 15-minute clips, and then adds a little 2-minute intro to them, and he basically hosts the second podcast that we do. So that’s another way that we’re repurposing this podcast content.
On top of that, we make like headliner videos. I’m sure you’re familiar with headliner where you take the video clips, and if you don’t have a video, it’ll put a static image, but you have a little like waveform animation over the image. And we’ll take little clips; they’re usually the same clips that we’re using for Hustle and Flowshorts; we’ll make a little of video out of them and we’ll share those on Instagram, and we’ll share them on LinkedIn.
We’ve tested sharing them on Facebook but they don’t really get much traction on Facebook, but we’ll try to spread those little content pieces around. And it will also give our podcast guests access to that content. So the little meme images in the headliner video animations, we give links to our guests so our guests could share those on their wall and further promote our podcast. So those are a handful of probably the highest leverage repurposing things that we do.
Do you overlay that with PPC campaigns to kind of boost some of that content? Or how do you; what’s your take?
Yeah. So the headliner videos, those style of videos, I will put them on Facebook. And then, I will advertise those videos to people that are in our ecosystem. So basically, I have a; this is kind of into the weeds here a little bit, but I have an ad target inside of Facebook of anybody who’s interacted with us in the last 30 days.
So if you’ve commented on our Facebook post, watched one of our videos passed 25%, visited one of our websites, purchased anything from us, interacted on our Instagram page; there’s a whole bunch of criteria that all falls into this; this person’s interacted with us in the last 30 days.
And so, that’s a retargeting audience that we create. And then, all of these assets that we’re creating on the back of our podcast, we’ll create Facebook ads, and then we’ll show those ads to anybody who’s in that audience.
So once somebody’s listened to our podcast once, or went to our Facebook page once, or watched one of our online videos just once, now, all of a sudden, on Facebook, you’re kind of seeing us everywhere.
Yup. That’s the whole, “These guys are everywhere strategy.” Love it. Yeah. And it’s working really well. I mean, it’s funny because I’ll be reading a blog post, and I’m seeing your podcast showing up and I’m going, “What the? Okay. They’re doing their jobs.”
Yup. And we’ll do it with Google display network ads and stuff like that, too. That’s probably what you’re seeing on other people’s blogs.
Now, we’re going to quickly, we’re going to talk a little bit Affiliate Promotion. So you’ve got your products that you want to sell, whether that’s your newsletter or you’ve got these courses; I know they’re fading away. But when you’re doing them, how do you then go to other potential partners and how do you get them to share some of your stuff around?
And like, what’s the arrangement? Is it a profit share? Is it just purely because we love each other and we want to share like good content? How do you make that work or what are some ideas that our listeners can sort of action on?
Yeah. So with our products specifically, we’ve never actually made a drive to get affiliates to promote it. We do have some affiliates promoting it, but I think all of the affiliates that are promoting it sort of approached us and asked us if they could. And so, we opened up affiliates stuff for them.
We had a handful of friends that are local here in San Diego that they asked us if they can promote, so we opened up the affiliate program for them. But it hasn’t been a focus of ours to bring on affiliates for our own products. However, we do promote a lot of other people’s products. So I do know from the perspective of being somebody who is in affiliate; what kind of things people are looking for?
What’s your criteria? How did you determine these are the products that we want to put out to our audience and these just won’t fly? I’m sure a lot of people might pitch you and say, “I’ve got this cool software, I’ve got this whatever.” And how do you determine, well, yes or no?
Yeah. So with what we’re doing, we really only promote maybe 6 or 7 affiliate products at any given time. We’re not trying to just spread ourselves very thin with a ton of products; we want to go deep on a handful of products that we really can get behind.
So criteria number one is we’ve got to use it ourselves in our own business. If we’re not using it, then we’re not going to be able to talk intelligently of it, we’re not going to be able to answer people’s questions, we’re not going to be able to tell you what we like about it, what we don’t like about it. So we’ve got to use it ourselves. That’s key number one.
Number two; this rule, we break fairly often, but we’d like to see it above a certain price threshold. You know, we want to make at least maybe $75 minimum commissions on it. Anything below that, it starts to get really difficult to do any sort of advertising campaigns behind it, and it just becomes less worth our time because we could put our focus on the ones that are going to pay us a lot higher dollar amount.
So just the opportunity cost of the lower-priced products make it difficult. But we do break that rule from time to time if we have a really good relationship with somebody. For example, we promote a tool called Designrr a lot. Love it. We use it in our business a lot. We promote it because we’re actually really good personal friends with the creator of it. He lives here in San Diego. We meet him for lunch once every two months. So that’s part of the reason we’re actually promoting that even though it sort of falls below our threshold of what we’d be willing to promote.
Other than that, it’s just really got to be a tool we use, it’s got to have a minimum threshold of price, and we’ve got to be able to create some depth behind the content. I mean, there’s a handful of products out there that are just kind of like little features that there’s not a whole lot you can talk about. And it does this one thing, it does this one thing well, and what else can we say about it?
So we like products that are multidimensional, that have a lot of features and functions and a lot of things that we can talk about around it. But other than that, it’s really a relationship game, it’s really people approach us, if we get to know them and we like them, and we enjoy the product that they offer, there’s a good chance that we’ll work something out and promote them.
But for the most part, it’s really all about just the networking and the getting-to-know people, which circles all the way back around to why do we do this podcast, which I don’t think I ever actually answered when you asked that. But the reason, the main reason we started the podcast and the reason that we’re so passionate about it now is this sort of automated networking element of it. You just get to meet new people constantly.
Yeah. I can’t say enough about that. Like I think, it’s like this; like you’re in San Diego, I’m in Sydney. Like, how often are we going to get a chance to hang out? And so, it’s really powerful in that way, and if you really consider it and think who you want to connect with, it’s not like I want to bring everyone on to the podcast. It’s just like, who do I want to learn from and who can get value from what I’m sharing as well. So it’s really about collaboration effort and realizing that.
Okay, we’re going to a question that we’d like to ask a lot of our guests is like what’s your go-to process or practice, or maybe a tool for being productive and effectively managing your time and energy?
Yeah. I mean, I’ve got a handful of tools for that. So there’s a tool called OmniFocus that I use a lot. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with Getting Things Done by David Allen, but that sort of process of unloading your brain of everything that you think you might have to do into one tool, and then once a week, going through and looking at all of this stuff that you unloaded, and then prioritizing it to like, “Let’s do it this week. Let’s do it next week. Let’s do it the following week.”
But I follow the GTD philosophy from David Allen, and OmniFocus is a tool for Mac. I don’t know if it’s on PC or not, but it’s a tool for Mac that basically is designed to do the GTD for practice. So I use that like crazy; all of my recurring tasks on a daily basis, they pop up in that.
There’s a little list of here’s what you need to do today, and I have some things that are recurring, some things that I just kind of brain dump a week earlier, but I moved it to due date to get done. And that’s really my sort of like task management, ‘Here’s what I need to do today.’
Other than that, I think we use a Google sheet that I turn into a calendar. I actually posted about it on Facebook today; I think you even comment on it. So we use Google sheets for a lot of that kind of stuff. That Google sheet actually shows what podcast came out today, any videos we’ve released today, what email we’ll be mailing to our lists today, what we’re posting on social media today. And it’s all on just like a big calendar that shows everything that needs to get done this month.
And the reason we do it that way is it allows us to get out in front of stuff. So we know, three weeks from now, we have a promotion around ThriveCart that we’re going to be doing, and it’s already on our calendar. We can already see it. We already know what videos are going to need to make for that. And so, we’re going to make those videos tomorrow even though that promotion isn’t happening for 2 weeks because next week, I’m going to be in Florida, and the following week, I need those videos ready because the promotion has started.
So that calendar gives us the ability to look ahead at what promotions we’re going to do as an affiliate, what promotions we’re going to do for our podcast; any sort of promotions that we’re going to do, we’re always about six weeks ahead of what we’re going to be focused on so that there’s no surprises. And if there’s travel or things come up, we’re ahead of it. It’s queued up, it’s scheduled. We’re ready to go, we don’t have to think about it.
And that also gives us a lot of freedom, too. If we want to go and take a week away from the computer and not do anything in our business, I could spend the week prior making sure all of our assets are ready for what’s coming up next week on our content promotional calendar.
Yeah. I really like your focus on assets and really just going, “Okay. What’s the thing that we’re going to promote that’s going to generate the revenue? What’s the assets that needs to be built for that? And then let’s build it and let’s map it out and do that.”
And I like that you simplify it down to it just needs to be Google sheet; you don’t need to have complicated software to do all this. Now, you and Joe live in different cities, am I right?
No. Joe actually lives about five minutes from me.
Oh, wow. Okay. So you’re working from home and he does that, too, so in a way you are still a remote company. Like, you’re not sitting in an office together?
Right. Correct. Yeah.
Yup. So how do you maintain; how do you keep the communication lines open as things come up?
So we’re in Slack all day. I got a second monitor over to the side over here, and on my second monitor, I actually have Slack open, and I have OmniFocus open, so I can see here’s the things I need to get done today, and here’s the communication with the team.
So the team is me, Joe, we have an operations manager, Shannon, we have our head of our podcast, Jacob; he’s the one who does all the audio editing and does a lot of the show notes and all of the stuff of the podcast. Then we have 2 note-takers, Sue and Keith. And then, we have a bookkeeper.
So all of these people live in Slack. So pretty much, any sort of communication that needs to happen with the team is all over here in Slack all day long. I usually have my notifications turned off so it’s not all day long. But once or twice a day, I’ll go, “Okay. Is there anything that I need to be; anything they need me for?” And I’ll just kind of look over at my Slack screen and see if there’s anything that needs to happen.
And then, Joe and I are kind of throwing ideas back and forth to each other in Slack all day long. Like, I’ll build a new landing page and I’ll send him a link. I’ll be like, “Hey, what’s your feedback on this?” And he’ll go and make a video in ScreenFlow or something, and he’ll send me the video and be like, “Hey, give me your feedback on this.”
So we’re kind of sending stuff back and forth to each other all day long. But for the most part, that promotional calendar that I showed you, and Joe also uses OmniFocus; so we kind of both know what we need to be doing every day. It’s not super necessary for us to be communicating constantly.
Really, our only communications are every Monday, Joe and I have a pretty long call, oftentimes going 4 hours long where we’re kind of planning out the week. What assets do we need to build this week? What videos did we make? What content do we need to write? What emails need to happen?
We’re kind of just discussing all of that stuff; we’re discussing bigger pictures stuff, we’re discussing opportunities that are on our plate. Probably doing a little bit of BS-ing that has not anything to do with business. But we spend a long time every Monday in this really, really in-depth conversations, and then every Tuesday, we have a one hour team meeting where we kind of get the team on the same page of everything that we talked about the prior day.
And other than that, we don’t really need to stay in touch. We kind of have our marching orders and we just do what we got to do.
Are you using anything like an Asana or anything like that for the team?
Our operations manager does. She uses Podio, I believe. But Joe and I aren’t in Podio. So she works with our other team members inside of Podio, but she’s actually flat-out asked us to just stay out of that because she wants us to be kind of focused on the high-level, bigger picture stuff. She doesn’t want us to be in the weeds of the day-to-day, what needs to happen from all these other team members.
So we do have a project management system. I couldn’t even tell you how it’s laid out. Shannon built it all, Shannon runs it, Shannon trained the team on how to use it, and Joe and I, we just hear from Shannon once a week about how things are going.
Beautiful. I love it. I love the management structure and how you’ve got that team working. I mean, I’m sure it took you some time to build that, but once you’ve got it clicking, it’s amazing.
So you mentioned bookkeeping, and being that we are now a bookkeeping company, I have to ask you financial questions now. So, what tool are you using for your bookkeeping or your accounting?
So, for Evergreen Profits, we’re actually still on QuickBooks Online for that. But Joe and I actually each have our own individual businesses as well. So like, the structure of our business is there’s Evergreen Profits. And then, Evergreen Profit pays my business and Joe’s business, and it kind of like trickles down that way.
So for my business, personally, I’m using Xero, and I think Joe is using QuickBooks Online. So Evergreen Profits is QuickBooks Online, my business, which is Mach 4 LLC, which is the initials of me, my wife and both my kids; Matt, Alana, Cora, Hollis; M-A-C-H.
So Mach 4 is my business and that’s all on Xero. And after using Xero from QuickBooks, I wouldn’t go back. I love Xero.
I’m going to use that. Don’t tell Joe, but you’re my favourite now. What does financial freedom mean to you, and I really want your perspective because you guys focus on generating income, which to some degree is passive. So what does financial freedom; financial independence mean to you?
That’s a good question. So financial freedom, financial independence to me, really, when I think of that, I just think of feeling completely secure. Like, any sort of expenses that might pop up, I know I’ve got it covered. I’ve got six months to a year of leeway in my bank account, so if a water pipe bursts in my house, I know I’ve got the money to cover it. All of my bills are covered and I can do what I want for me.
And for me, it’s not really as much as I think most people claim that they actually need. I think when you actually reverse engineer the numbers of how much you need to be financially free, it’s really nowhere near where most people think they need it to be. I think for Joe and I; if we’re making $10,000 a month, we’re financially free.
Luckily, we’ve gotten to the point where we were able to generate more than that and we invest it back into the business. But for me, it’s just I want to be able to make sure all the bills are paid, I’ve got a nice runway for if anything pops up unexpectedly, and I’ve got the money available to me to go on trips and to get whatever I need on a day-to-day basis. That’s really all I’m striving for when it comes to finances.
Yeah. Great answer. And I agree with that. Did you grow up in a family where you always spoke about money all the time? Or was that more, I didn’t. Like for me, my parents were just culturally was like, “Don’t talk about money with your kids.” So, I don’t know, for you, how did you learn your financial literacy skills and bringing numbers and this sort of things?
Yeah. So I grew up in sort of an entrepreneurial family. My parents actually owned a business when I was in high school. So our family kind of had a rugs to riches, to rags again, story. So when I was growing up, when I was a kid, we lived in a very, very small house in one of the less affluent parts of San Diego.
I think everybody thinks of San Diego, and they think, okay, everybody that lives in San Diego is wealthy and it’s like really, really expensive to live there. And it is, but there’s some parts of San Diego that you probably don’t really want to go at night if you don’t really know your way around. And we grew up in kind of one of those towns; we grew up in a very small house in not a very expensive neighbourhood, and my parents didn’t have a lot of money when I was young.
When I was in high school, the company that they both worked for; they both worked for the same company when I was a kid. The company actually went out of business and went under. And so, they had to figure out quickly, “Okay. Crap. What are we going to do? How are we going to pay the bills?”
And so, they started their own business; they started a shutter company. And so, this was like my freshman year in high school, so I don’t know; 14 or 15 or somewhere around there. And so, I actually came in and started working for their company when I was still in high school. That was my first job was working at their company after school.
And so, I actually started to learn the business and that kind of thing at a fairly early age, in my early teens. And over time, by the time I was like 20, I was the operations manager of that company, and I also did all of the bookkeeping, and I did all of the financial management, and all of the payroll, and all of that kind of stuff; that was the role that fell on me.
And so, that’s when I actually got really, really proficient with spreadsheets and all of that kind of stuff. That business, unfortunately, eventually, when the economy took a turn in 2008, people stopped buying houses, which means they stopped buying shutters. And then, that company took a dive and eventually went under as well. And then our family had struggle again, and I left that company, and before it went under, and I started my own business.
So there’s a lot of various elements and storyline there that have shaped how I think about finances and how I think about business. But growing up, there was, I think my parents leveraged a lot of debt, and I think some of those bad habits stuck with me afterwards. And I got myself into some debt trouble that I had to get myself unburied from. But it’s an interesting story. It’s actually something I haven’t reflected on, really, at all, until you just brought it up.
Thank you for sharing. Like, I think this is the kind of conversation where we want to open up with entrepreneurs because obviously, we focus on financial literacy and actually, we’ve got a Xero bookkeeping course, specifically designed for business owners.
So they can actually go through it and learn how to do their bookkeeping. It will give someone to do it, but to really get an idea of okay, what did the numbers mean, and where’s the cash flow coming in this month, where’s it going, and if I want to buy something or go to an event in San Diego in six months’ time, can I afford it? Can I hire that team and buy this sort of things?
And I feel you’ve been through a roller coaster and I can tell you’re like; your family and yourself, and being up and down. So you definitely had a roller coaster journey with entrepreneurship, with your family’s businesses, and then yourself.
And so, I guess, what’s your like; how do you stay sane when you’ve got, obviously, you got kids to take care of, your wife, you got other things going on? So how do you make sure that; what do you do to ride through those waves when the waves are inevitable?
Yeah. So I mean, I have a handful of sort of daily practices that I keep up with that helped. I wish I could say one of those daily practices was that I meditate every day. I try; I try to meditate, but I definitely fall out of the routine from time to time.
But I love meditation. I think medication is one of the most powerful things that you can do to just sort of calm your mind because if you can spend 20 minutes a day in meditation, then when you have the sort of really hectic moments, when things are kind of freaking out, it’s just kind of feels easier to stay calm.
And I can’t really explain it; I don’t know the science behind it. I don’t claim that there’s a science behind it, I just know that in high-stress situations, meditation helps you just kind of stay a little bit more even. So that’s kind of one of them.
Number two is I’m a big journal. In fact, that chair right there, that was actually my wife’s nursing chair for when she was nursing our kids. I moved it to my office; now it’s my journaling chair. The journal is literally sitting on the thing right there.
So I journal every single day. I kind of unload my thoughts. I mentioned Getting Things Done is sort of a process where you know there’s a lot you need to do, just dump it all. Unload your brain, all of it, whether you think you’re going to do it or not, just unload it all. You can always delete it out of your whatever you’re getting things done system is later.
Well, I do the same thing with journaling. Any sort of like weird thoughts I have about the business or family or relationships or arguments I’ve been in, or anything that’s going on in my life, I journal about it. And just sort of unloading it from your brain helps calm the mind around those topics. So that’s number two.
And then, number three is earlier you were making a good point about how I’d kind of seen the ups and the downs of what business looks like, and I think the realization that the downs are never as bad as you think they’re going to be, and the ups are never as great as you think they’re going to be, so just be happy in wherever you are.
That is such a huge key to business and to life is to just focus on being happy and being fulfilled no matter what state you’re in, financially, or emotionally, or in business; it doesn’t matter. Try to figure out how to enjoy whatever it is you’re doing while you’re doing it because that milestone that you’re shooting for, it’s probably not going to bring as much pleasure when you get to it as you believed.
And that worst-case scenario, “Oh man. I blew all my money on Facebook ads and lost it all.” Well, that worst-case scenario is probably not as bad as you think it’s going to be either, right? You have communities to lean on; that is really what debt exists for. I’m not recommending you go get into debt, but it is there for a reason. It is the safety net if necessary, right?
But just kind of thinking about what is the worst-case scenario, what is the best-case scenario? And then realizing that either extreme is probably not what you think it’s going to be, and just enjoying the process and enjoying the moment. That’s a huge key.
And I think that’s also a big piece of the sort of shift that Joe and I made over this year is we kind of analyze what stuff do we do on a daily basis that we actually enjoy doing, and how do we do more of that? Because at the end of the day, the goals that we’re shooting in for, they’re always going to be a moving goalpost, right?
If I’m shooting for a million dollars a month in our business, and we finally get to a million dollars a month in our business, well, next month, we’re shooting for 1.2 million, right? There’s always a moving goal post and you never seem to enjoy the getting to the goal; the reward is never as good. So the key for me, and I think the key for Joe is figuring out how do I enjoy the journey even if I never make it to the outcome?
That’s a great point and very powerful because I know that’s a much of western way of thinking. Like, “Let’s look at the goals and how do we get there?” And then, they get caught up in getting there. And my own story was my mother passed away when she was 55; she had cancer, and never got there. Like, she never got to the goal, which was really about me.
It was more about me having kids so she could be a grandmother. But that was my realization at a very early age was like we want to be able to get to that like the one million dollar valuation. But what we do have right now is I’ve got my kids here, I’ve got a family that love me, and friends here that I can hang out with and know me. I’ve got a vacation or something I’m doing that brings me joy.
And I loved that when you opened up, you were talking about your kids and what you loved about being a father; so it’s the little moments that you share with them. And it is one way to bring yourself back to presence, it’s for your children or for your animals, or whatever it may be. Or just going on a beach, right? Whatever it is for you. Love it, man.
So we’re going to wrap up now. Just one final question. On that bookshelf behind you, or maybe not on that bookshelf, but what’s a book that’s really made an impact in your life?
You know it’s funny because we ask a similar question on our show, but I actually have never really put a ton of thought into it myself. I have some cliché books that I can mention. So the two books that got me into entrepreneurship, the ones that lead me down the path back in ‘07-ish was when I read these two books were The 4-Hour WorkWeek and Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Now, I know on our podcast, those books have probably been mentioned about 30% of the people who come on our show mentioned those two books. So I want to try to give something that maybe people haven’t heard of as much. And the book that comes to mind that really, really landed well with me was a book called Straight Line Leadership by; I can’t even pronounce the name.
But it’s called Straight Line Leadership and it’s sort of a mental framework for running a business. So if you think of like stoic philosophy, like this type of stuff that Ryan Holiday puts out off school is the way and ego is the enemy, and books like that, it’s kind of similar concepts. But the book is more focused on business and being a good leader.
And that book has had a huge, huge impact on me. It’s just a whole bunch of reframes of things that happened in your life and your business, and these reframes really make some of that struggles feel like less of struggles.
Alright. So the book, okay, the author is Dusan Djukich, I think. We’ll link to that in the show notes, but thanks for the recommendation. I’m all about how do we develop internally as leaders because at the end of that, how you lead determines what kind of results you’d get.
And a lot of us listening to this will sort of resonate with that idea of where we kind of control what we can control, and everything else will happen.
Look, Matt, it’s been just a very insightful conversation. It’s been amazing to have you here. Thanks for joining us. Is there any final parting words for our audience? And is there anything that we can share with our audience? I know you guys got a ton of resources, but is there anything that you’d like them to be aware of?
Yeah. I actually set up a special link over at hustleandflowchart.com/bean. And what I put on that link is actually what we call our Evergreen Traffic Playbook. So what that Playbook is it’s a book that’s for sale right now on Amazon, but if you go to that link, you can get a free digital copy of it.
And basically, on our podcast, we’ve interviewed like about 300 people now. And out of those 300 people, about 50 of them have been people that are traffic ninjas, right? They’re people that just have amazing traffic strategies; Justin Brooke and Mike Rhodes; trying to blank on a lot of things.
Yeah. Tons and tons of people that have shared amazing traffic strategies for us, so what that is is a lot of recaps of the traffic strategies that those people have shared with us. We talked about podcasting, we talked about how we grew our podcast. And then, that course that you mentioned, our PAG traffic course, there is a breakdown of that strategy as well.
So we teach our traffic strategy, we teach how we grew our podcast, and then, we sort of curated all of the various traffic strategies that our various guests have shared on our show. And that’s all available on that book, and we put that at hustleandflowchart.com/bean.
Love it. We’ll definitely link to that in the show notes. Go grab that guys. Ton of value Matt has dropped today. I want to do a quick shout out to James Schramko and the Superfast Business Podcast; it’s how I actually discovered you guys. And I know he’s been on your podcast a couple of times.
So one day, we’ll probably see you in Sydney, hopefully.
Right. I think he actually invited us to speak at Superfast Business.
There you go.
So we’ll probably be out there. I’ve never been there.
Love it. Alright. Well, I’m looking forward to seeing you guys when you are in Aus. Thanks for your time, mate, and all the best for 2020, and narrowing down on your focus.
Yeah. Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.
Contact Matt Wolfe:
- Evergreen Profits
- Hustle and Flowchart Podcast
- Perpetual Audience Growth<
- The Affiliate Promotion Engine
- Evergreen Traffic Playbook
References and Links Mentioned:
- Books & Podcasts