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How Steve Chou Grew My Wife Quit Her Job To 7+ Figures/Year While Working 20 Hours A Week

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How Steve Chou Grew My Wife Quit Her Job To 7+ Figures/Year While Working 20 Hours A Week

Looking to up your marketing game?

Look no further than Steve Chou, the online entrepreneur behind My Wife Quit Her Job and other successful brands.

He’s an expert in email marketing, YouTube, and really online branding and marketing in general.

In today’s podcast episode, Steve shares his entrepreneurial journey and offers valuable insights and tips on:

  • Lead generation
  • Nurturing effective email lists
  • Using YouTube to grow a subscriber base
  • SMS marketing
  • Repurposing content to become an authority
  • Mastering multiple marketing channels
  • And a whole lot more…

Steve’s been making 6-7 figures a year from his online businesses since he started in 2007, and over the years, he’s done it all.

One of Steve’s secrets to success is focusing on one thing at a time. By dedicating a year to mastering a platform and creating systems before moving on, he can outsource and streamline his workflow effectively.

His recent mastery of YouTube has helped him grow his channel to 200k subscribers in just a few years.

And here he shares tips on the most important elements to focus on, how to repurpose content for the platform, keep viewers engaged, and even use ChatGPT to help.

Steve also offers lots of email marketing tips, including building an email list before having something to sell and using it for feedback.

Plus, he covers how he leverages SMS marketing to drive action, with higher open and click-through rates than emails.

He encourages cross-pollination of contacts across platforms and uses SMS marketing differently for e-commerce and content.

And he’s also just released a book with HarperCollins titled The Family First Entrepreneur, where he details how to follow in his footsteps and achieve financial freedom without sacrificing the quality time that matters most.

You could say that Steve’s success comes down to his focus on building relationships, providing value to his audience, and staying consistent across multiple channels. But really it’s more than that since he does it all at such a high level.

So if you’re ready to get some first-rate, actionable advice to help take your business to the next level, tune in to this episode and take lots of notes!

Topics Steve Chou Covers

  • How he got into online business
  • His 3-pronged approach to growing his eCommerce store
  • Targeting repeat customers
  • His business portfolio
  • How he grows his brand across multiple channels
  • SMS marketing
  • His email marketing strategy
  • ‘Build the list before you sell’
  • Tips to make affiliate earnings from email
  • How to build on YouTube
  • How YouTube helps his business
  • YouTube tips
  • How he’s using chatbots in his business
  • How he optimizes his time and efforts
  • Publishing his first book with traditional publishing
  • The importance of taking a profit-first approach
  • And a whole lot more…

This Episode is Sponsored by Search Intelligence & Nichesites.com

Watch The Interview

Transcription

Jared: Welcome back to the Niche Pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman, and today we’re joined by Steve Chou with my Wife Quit her job.com. Welcome Steve. 

Steve: Happy to be here. Jared, thank you so much. 

Jared: This is gonna be a fun one. We, um, we have, we, there’s so many things we could be talking about today is you and I were getting ready for today’s episode.

I kind of had to, I felt like I was at a restaurant and I was picking from an like a, a buffet menu. We could talk about your e-commerce, we could talk about a lot of the things you’re working on with my wife, quit her job. You have a book coming out. We’re gonna focus on my wife Quitter job, but, but before we get into the details there, give us some backstory on who you are and all the things that you have going on at this point and, and maybe what led you here.

Steve: I’ll give you the 62nd version. So, I first got started as an entrepreneur by selling handkerchiefs online. And the only reason that got started was because we live in the Silicon Valley where it’s really expensive and you pretty much need two incomes. And so when my wife became pregnant with our first child, she’s like, I wanna quit.

And I flipped out and, you know, cuz of the money reasons, you know, you, you want your kids to have a good house in a good school district. So we just kind of brainstormed different ideas. And we came up with selling handkerchiefs. And that’s a long story in itself. My wife cries a lot. And we came up with Hanks because when we got married, she wanted handkerchiefs, couldn’t find any in the us.

We ended up importing a bunch from China and listed those on eBay and they sold like hotcakes. But we started that store, it ended up making six figures in profit in our first year, which replaced my wife’s salary. Mm-hmm. And uh, you know, we, we continue to run that store today. But that led to a bunch of my friends emailing me and talking to me, Hey, how did you guys do that?

Cuz I want to quit my job. So I decided to document all that stuff on a blog over at my wife quitter job.com. And what ended up happening is my friends never read it, neither did my mom, but random people started doing it and they were interested in what we were doing. And so the blog started taking off.

That ended up leading to a podcast, which led to a training class, which led to a YouTube channel, which led to an annual e-commerce event. And then now a book for this year. 

Jared: Wow. Wow. When did you, so give us a timeline on when Yes. That process started. 

Steve: E-Commerce Store was in 2007. Blog started in 2009 podcasts.

Sorry. The course came next. The course was in 2011, 2014 was the podcast. YouTube channel was three years ago, and then the conference started in 2016. 

Jared: Wow. Wow. This is, um, you know, we’ve been talking a lot on here about building a brand versus just a website or building out, um, all of the channels rather than maybe just one channel.

You, you were a pioneer in that. I mean, you were doing channel building and brand building before it was even, I, I use air quotes here, but even a thing. 

Steve: Well, you know, there’s been different crazes over the years, right? I think both Spencer and I, we kind of hopped on the blogging craze and then eventually that led to this podcasting craze and then YouTube.

Uh, I’m actually, I joined Twitter. You know, LA two years ago, and that actually generates a lot of traffic now too. Not traffic, but email subs. Mm-hmm. So, yeah, there’s the, I, I think my mantra is pretty much to try to be everywhere and just kind of focus on what sticks and what works. Mm-hmm. 

Jared: So there’s so many things like I teased at the beginning that we could get into and, um, we could do a whole episode on how you grew your e-commerce platform.

Uh, we’ll save that maybe for another time, cuz I do want to talk mostly about how you built my wife quitter job. But maybe if you could just give us a little context into how that e-commerce store is doing. It’s been around, I mean, by my math, what are we approaching? 20 years now? We’re getting closer. Uh, 

Steve: 2007.

So 16 years. Yeah. 16 years. Well, okay. I, I don’t wanna talk too much about the store, but I’ll give you my three-prong. Yeah. Okay. So one is seo. So we just write, so we sell wedding handkerchiefs to the wedding industry. So we put out blog posts, uh, mainly crafts and other DIY things that brides can do. Or sometimes we do more search, uh, more purchase intent posts, like best wedding gifts and that sort of thing.

And we rank those posts. I think we actually rank number one right now for wedding gifts for the bride. Mm-hmm. People come in, we guide them to our store, and then they make purchases. Uh, the second prong is advertising. We run Google ads, we run Facebook ads. Uh, we kind of dabbled in TikTok a little bit also.

And then the third prong is repeat business, which is the big key for us. Um, email, SMS just brings people back to buy more and more. And we also isolate our biggest customers. So we literally go through our list and we say, who has bought a large amount of linens and who has bought often? And what we’ve found is that if someone’s gonna buy like 14 dozen napkins, they’re not a normal person.

Chances are they’re an event or a wedding planner. So we get in touch with them, we say, Hey, here’s a coupon code. Uh, here’s a dedicated rep. If you ever wanna make an order, we’ll make sure it gets to the event on time. And so we get these people who buy from us every year and every year, 36% of our revenues repeat business.

That’s all in the bag. And so it creates a nice base for solid business in the e-commerce. 

Jared: I think it’s something to highlight, uh, when you first hear repeat business in the wedding industry, you think, Hmm, well, why would a bride need not one set of handkerchiefs, but multiple sets of handkerchiefs? And I think that it’s, it’s re re obviously once you explained it that, hey, we’re, we’re working with the people who’ve put on the events.

And there’s a lot of those different types of people. That makes a lot of sense. But it also is a good reminder for everybody listening that, you know, um, you might be running a business where you think people only make a one time purchase and yet 30, you said 36% of your business comes from the fact that you dug deep, figured out that there are people that are buying multiple times and then you started targeting them independently.

Steve: I mean, just to be clear, only 12% of our businesses repeat, but it’s 36% of our revenue. Well, 12% of, of the customers, yeah. 36% of revenue. Right. Plus the divorce rate’s pretty high too, Jared, just to be frank. So, yeah, well, you 

Jared: know, I mean, I don’t want to, I don’t wanna date myself too much, but I was actually, my first career was a wedding photographer and right around the time period when you started this business, so we probably crossed paths at some point.

I was, we might have, it 

Steve: was a year. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, it’s not a huge fraction of repeat customers, but the fact that we target the large ones makes it actually a significant revenue source. 

Jared: Well, and that’s, that’s smart. You know, I mean, cuz you know, obviously you’ve tapped into a larger source of, of revenue without having to go after a larger group of client base.

Steve: Yeah. Oh, and there’s also, you never know what’s gonna happen. It turns out there’s like a group of people who collect handkerchiefs and they’re over the age of 55. We found that accidentally by running Facebook ads. So we have those collectors too random, right? Yeah. You never 

Jared: would think. Yeah. Yeah.

That’s uh, That, that, that’s gonna go on my list of, uh, random niches to talk about on another podcast episode. Um, well great. So maybe just put in context as we transition, like what does the, my wife quit her job brand, uh, how does that compare in terms of like maybe size or time you spend or, uh, revenue or something to your e-commerce platform?

Um, like, because I’m trying to make this transition here. Where do you spend your time? What makes up the bulk of, of, of the family, you know, kind of revenue and, and, and where you guys put your efforts? Yeah. 

Steve: Yeah. So I work about 20 hours a week and my wife does the day-to-day operations for the e-commerce store.

So I’m in charge of marketing for the store. Now, in terms of revenue, they’re all about roughly the same, I would say seven figures in revenue. However, my wife quit her job, it’s almost 90 something percent profit. Right. Whereas the margins for the e-commerce store are around 30%, I would say. Right? Uh, we sell on both Amazon and our store.

Uh, we also just recently bought our warehouse cuz where I live, like the rents are ridiculously high. They were getting increased by 30% every year. We finally said, screw it, we’re just gonna buy our own warehouse. And now actually our, our margins are probably even higher now. 

Jared: That is great. Several seven figure businesses and working 20 hours a week.

Let’s get into the details about Sure. How you built up some of these businesses. So my wife quit her job.com. We talked about when the E-com site went live and the brand and that was in 2007. Um, when did the website my quit my wife? I gotta get that out better. My wife quit her job.com. When did that go 

Steve: live?

That went live in 2009. And just to be absolutely clear, we didn’t, I didn’t make any money for three years on that. Um, it was kind of a slog as most content businesses are, and at the time when I started, I actually didn’t know what I was doing. Contrast that to the e-commerce store, which made six figures in profit in the, in the first year.

Mm-hmm. What’s the beauty about blogging and content though, is that it starts out slow, but then once it shoots up, it really shoots up. Um, so my wife quit her job. I just put myself on a schedule. I was only just writing one blog post per week, and I just chugged like that. I basically made a part of my routine.

I was like, okay, today is my day to write the blog post. And I just talked about all these different topics on e-commerce and it, it started getting search traffic after a while. 

Jared: Were you working full-time at that time? Because you talked about how I was your wife left her job. Obviously that’s the whole theme here, but you were still working a job.

Steve: That’s correct. I was an engineering director of microprocessor design until 2016. That’s enough. And the blog was my retirement plan. 

Jared: Really? Wow. Okay. So all this is happening. While you’re working a full-time job. All right. Um, initially what was the target for the website? Um, and, and you know, when you were blogging, were you going about it with an SEO strategy?

Were you going about it? I was not with content strategy or I was gonna say, so many of the times we interview people who they start their website off with, uh, an approach that was totally wrong and then they kind of have a moment where they realize it and then they go back and they adjust their strategy.

Steve: Yeah. In the beginning, so this is why I even started blogging. There’s this guy named Steve Pavlina, and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him, but he’s one of the early bloggers in the personal development space. He wrote this blog post called How to Make Your First Love Dollar, and he was saying that he was getting $4,000 a day on AdSense.

And I read his blog and I was thinking to myself, Hey, I can do that too. I just need to write articles. And so I just wrote about everything that I was working on with the store. And then over time I started learning more about seo. That’s incidentally probably when Spencer and I first met, cuz I was interested in his tool.

I was using Market Samurai. I’m gonna date myself here. Oh, I remember. And then I moved, you remember that tool? And then I started using Long Tail Pro. Yep. And once I started using Long Tail Pro, things started taking off because I was much more deliberate with what, what I was targeting. And so I think year two I started making some money.

Year three, I hit six figures and it was all pretty much on the backs of SEO and email marketing. 

Jared: Email marketing, which we’re gonna get into. I want to, I mean, you have a fantastic email marketing strategy out of the gate though, in those first couple years, was it mostly absence? It was driving the revenue?

Were you also doing affiliate plays? 

Steve: Uh, it’s mainly affiliate in Aen. And again, I didn’t make significant money until year three, just to be clear. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Jared: Um, well let’s talk about. When things changed and some of the steps you’ve gone through over the last, you know, uh, five or 10 years now to grow this brand out.

Maybe give us some numbers on where things are at so people can kind of get context. Because like you said at the outset, um, there’s a lot of, uh, SEO traffic or organic search traffic. You’ve got, um, uh, email marketing and you’ve got an email list. You’ve got social channels, uh, like YouTube and, and the, like, you’ve got, um, a podcast like, give us some framework for what it’s at right now.

Steve: Yeah. So, uh, what do you want to know specifically? 

Jared: Um, well, I’m, I’m thinking we’re gonna get an email marketing, how many Okay. You know, email subscribers. Do you have, we’re gonna talk YouTube maybe what are some good metrics that you’re, that you’re, that you’re at on your YouTube channel? Those kinds of 

Steve: things.

Yeah, sure. Okay. So the email list is at a hundred k. The blog gets around 300,000 visits per month, and it’s very focused on the e-commerce and business space. Mm-hmm. Kind of similar to niche pursuits in a way. Uh, although I, I’d say mine’s a little bit more focused on e-commerce niche pursuits. Pursues a whole bunch of different areas.

Uh, YouTube channel just crossed 200 K subscribers and, uh, what else do the podcast is a top 25 show in the marketing space on Apple podcasts. And these are just all things I’ve been doing over the years. Yeah. 

Jared: And what I, I, I, and from my research for this, for this interview, I, I, I knew some of those numbers and I really wanted people to hear, you know, a lot of us go about brand building, right?

And we do all the things, but we aren’t necessarily doing all the things well yet. And I think something that I’ve picked up on is that you’re doing all the things and you seem to be doing each of them pretty darn well. 200,000 subs on YouTube. Not easy. You’ve gotta be producing good content and you’ve gotta be committed to it and so forth and so on.

So, I just, I, it’s really compelling. I, I can’t wait to, to ask you 

Steve: a bunch of, I’m happy to share my entire process. Uh, I only do one thing a year. That’s how I operate because I have kids and I try to spend all my afternoons with them. Uh, so last year, or sorry, two years ago was the year of YouTube. This past year is the year of the book.

Uh, previous years, it was like the year of Facebook or the year of ads. I only pretty much do one thing and focus on it for the entire year before I move on to something else. And by then I’ve established a routine that I can actually maintain the things that I’ve done in the past. That’s just kind of how I operate.

Wow. 

Jared: That is, um, that’s a gold nugget right there. So you spend a whole year just focusing on learning the, that’s a channel, optimizing the channel, growing the channel, and then you move on, not as a, not as, not as if you don’t do it anymore, but you’ve kind of optimized the process at that point to where you have the bandwidth to move on to something 

Steve: else.

Yeah. And let’s just talk about YouTube since you’ve mentioned that. When I went out all out on YouTube, I joined a bunch of mastermind groups. I hired a YouTube consultant to help me out, and oftentimes I’ll do that, just hire someone to help me jumpstart. They’re not doing the work for me, they’re just kind of advising me.

Kind of on the side. And I learned so much about YouTube and there were so many things I was doing wrong in the, in the beginning. And we can touch upon that if you want. I don’t know how many people in the audience are trying to start a YouTube channel. Quite a 

Jared: few. Quite a few, I imagine. Okay. Let’s, um, let’s let, let me just go down my list here.

Let’s talk, um, let’s talk about your email marketing strategy. And, you know, when I went to my wife quitter job.com, I, I see popups, I see lead gen pieces. Like what’s working for you? What consistently is the driver of, of that e of the, um, email marketing 

Steve: strategy? Yeah, I mean, the first things first, you need to have a decent lead magnet.

And so I sell a course on e-commerce, so it makes sense to have my lead magnet provide like a teaser for that. Uh, the way I operate with the lead magnet and the free minicourse, which is what I offer, is I make sure that Minicourse is as good as other people’s paid classes. So I have video, I have text, so I.

What you gotta understand is some people enjoy reading, some people prefer to watch a video. So in that autoresponder sequence, I always include both. Mm-hmm. Because some people don’t wanna watch a video and as soon as they sign up for that six day mini course, I try to grab their, uh, phone number as well, because I found that phone numbers we can, I do webinars once a month.

I found that phone numbers are the best, or text messages are the best way to get people to do something because the open rate is like 90 plus percent and the click the rate is always in the double digits. I would say between 10 and 20% whenever I send. Mm-hmm. Contrast that to email. Email, you can get away sending more often.

So I’ll just walk you through the flow. So six day mini courses, a popup you sign up for that immediately goes to another page that says, Hey, would you like a free bonus lesson on how to sell an Amazon? If so, enter in your number and I would say 40% of those people gimme their number for that extra bonus lesson.

And I’m a big believer in cross-pollinating as many of my contacts as possible. So I’ll try to get them on Instagram, on Twitter email and sms because you never know where they’re gonna be looking at any one time if you want them to do something. 

Jared: What, um, you talked about having a really compelling lead gen offer.

How did you land on that? Did you do a bunch of trial and error and testing? I mean, is it the fact that it’s a mini course that does so well, or, um, I mean, just any tips cuz I think a lot of people will throw something up and then not really work as hard to optimize it and are probably missing out in a lot of valuable emails that could be coming by just increasing that percent of opt-in.

Steve: Right? Yeah. Well, here’s just my philosophy on email marketing in general. People aren’t gonna be ready to buy your stuff right away, but you want to just keep your brand top of mind so that when they are ready to buy, they’re gonna buy. So with that email sequence, it actually started out as an e-book. Uh, where I was just sending that out and I found that eBooks aren’t good because people just download it.

Some of ’em never even read it, and that’s that. So a better strategy is to break up that ebook into multiple lessons. And so in your first email you’ll say, Hey, there’s 10 lessons. And it’s clearly indicated in the subject line, like, this is video number one, or lesson number one, lesson number two, lesson number three.

That way they’re anticipating the next email and they’re looking forward to it, which increases your open rate, which increases your deliverability. The other thing that I encourage people to do in the first email is, Hey, you can hit reply to any email and ask me a question and I will answer it. And again, once they hit respond, that increases the deliverability of your emails, right?

So you wanna try to make it interactive. 

Jared: Chicken or the egg. Question here, did you have your paid course before you launched your email list? Your email process? Or did you kind of work your way into that after launching 

Steve: paid course? Came later. Uh, what’s funny was I was very hesitant to start an email list in the beginning cuz I didn’t have anything to sell.

And, uh, my buddy Ramit Sethi, uh, from I Will Teach You To Be Rich, I helped him promote his first, one of his early programs, earn one K. And he and I wrote a blog post and I ended up selling a bunch. And he was like, why don’t you just send it to your email list? And I was like, what’s that? And I was reluctant to pay because I didn’t have anything to sell, but he pushed me towards doing that and that turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

So you gotta build the list before you have something to sell, which makes some the thing that you sell much easier. Plus, uh, you need to get feedback from your audience on what they want. And the easiest way to do that is through email. 

Jared: Talk to the affiliate marketer out there that is sitting on a website or some form of content, and they are unsure what to create from it.

They’re unsure how to create a course, a product and offering because they don’t, you know, like they’re an affiliate marketer or they’re a marketer that doesn’t really base themselves on selling something. They base themselves on providing information. 

Steve: Sure. Uh, so my number one tip for getting affiliate revenue with an email list is to create a video tutorial.

This is exactly how I operate. I’ll create a tutorial that demonstrates how to use a tool, and the first part of that video is I’ll tell ’em to go to my website, to my resource page, click on this link, sign up for this, and then follow alongside. That works really well. And then you don’t have to start out with a course because the course is pretty intimidating.

Mm-hmm. Um, I started out just giving Lee’s mini tutorials for the tools that I use for my store, and then people started asking for a course, and even then I was pretty intimidated. Do it. So my advice is, if you want to do a course, launch the course with very little content and then produce it as you go.

Mm-hmm. So I actually launched my class with zero content. I was very upfront. I went on a webinar and I said, Hey, I’m thinking about doing this class and it has no content, but if you sign up, I promise I will create content on a regular basis according to your feedback. And I got 35 signups, and I think I was charging 300 bucks at the time.

And once I got those 35 signups, I was like, okay, well I, I guess I gotta create this thing now. 

Jared: That’s a great way to do it. That’s, uh, a simple agile approach. And um, you know, I think. That if there’s anything to take from all of this, it’s that the email list is very valuable to your brand, I would assume 

Steve: is very valuable for, for my wife, quit, it’s probably 80% of the revenue comes from the email.

Yeah, right. Because you have to be able to guide someone to somewhere. Otherwise, you know, I, I guess you have SEO traffic that works too, going to a blog post. But oftentimes it’s the demonstrations that, that actually land the 

Jared: conversions. Well, the proofs in the pudding. I mean, you know, if, um, if you were up here and saying, Hey, 50% of my revenue comes from SEO driven content and 50% comes from email, that’s, that’s different.

But when you’re saying 80% of your revenue comes from your email process, it’s just such a compelling reason for people to, um, to use email as a.

Steve: Absolutely. I mean, it’s important to build a brand too because once again, what is a brand really, it’s just getting them back to your website and getting to know you and ha getting exposure to yourself. Most of the time if you do a search and you land on an article, you’re one and done unless you can actually grab their information.

Jared: You touched on it earlier and I want ask about it cause we haven’t talked about it much in the podcast, and that’s SMS marketing or text messaging. Um mm-hmm. Any, any tips for that? I think a lot of people are gun shy, right? Because it’s not only another thing to learn, but I mean, like you talked about like there’s something sacred or sensitive at the very least about texting someone, right?

Like it’s, everybody gets emails, everybody, but we um, we, we tend to hold that text message in at a higher pedestal. What tips do you have for people who want to start utilizing that in their marketing channel? 

Steve: Okay, so I handle text differently for both my e-commerce store and content. Uh, do you want to talk about the content side first?

Sure. Yeah, that’d be great. Okay. Yeah. Okay. So in content, it’s kind of unusual for you to receive a text message to go read a blog post, right, right. So I tend to reserve the broadcast for texts for my wife Quitter job when I have something to show them. So if I’m doing a webinar or if I’m giving a free presentation or something like that, that’s generally the only time I send texts.

Usually maybe once, maybe at most, twice a month. And it’s usually only for something special. I don’t send out content that way. Okay. That makes sense. Uh, for e-commerce, I blast once a week and I have, I just try to find some reason to send them something, whether new products have come in or whatnot. And it always leads to sales, 

Jared: really, man.

I bet. We, um, Spencer and I were on a podcast a couple weeks ago now together where we shared a st uh, a story about a brand that had added SM. To their abandoned cart sequence. It was an e-comm brand, and, um, it raised sales by over 200%, I believe the story was, and it was just, just from one text. It was a pretty phenomenal story.

Steve: Yeah. I mean, on the e-comm side, you send an email first usually, and if they don’t open that email, then you send the text. So it’s, that’s why it’s nice to have both. I, I 

Jared: like the idea of, um, not sending content VM sms, but sending more, um, offers and, um, you know, like event type stuff. What if, um, like what if you don’t have a lot of events or what if you don’t have a lot of those types of offers?

Um, would you steer clear of sms or would you try to start using SMS with some other channel with some other offers? You know, even if it’s just 

Steve: content related. All right, so the beauty of SMS is that you don’t have to pay to store your contacts. You only pay to send at least the provider I use. It’s about a penny of person.

So it’s not like email. It’s a different paradigm you pay to send, which is nice, which means you should start gathering it right now, even if you don’t have the intention of using it. But to answer your second question, there’s always some sort of offer. You can send an affiliate offer, for example, like I, I don’t know about you guys, but I have tons of affiliates.

Mm-hmm. And they’re always sending promotions and whatnot. And if it’s a compelling one that matches your audience, it makes sense to send that out because there’s probably gonna be some sort of sense of urgency because that offer probably won’t last that long. 

Jared: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, final question for you on sms, and I think as we’re all pretty familiar with email marketing, and there’s a cadence, right?

Like, you don’t want to go dark for six months because people forget about you, and there’s a, the process of staying in touch with your list. A lot of people recommend sending weekly or sending twice a week with sms. What types of, um, what types of contact. Protocol. Have you observed, I mean, do you want to send people a text right away when they get and they opt into that, that that SMS offer?

Do you, is there a gap where if you take too long to send them stuff in between, they’ll fall off? I’m just curious about what the response is when it comes to sending sms. 

Steve: Yeah, so the first way, the first thing I just want to cover is, uh, in order to get the SMS number, I always use a two taped opt-in, which basically means they click on the link, the phone automatically opens the messaging app with the message prepopulated, you hit send, and then you actually get a, a text immediately back because you have to do opt-in.

There’s laws against just, you know, basically sending the random numbers. And yes, there needs to be some sort of cadence. You can’t wait like a year and then just send ’em a text. So on my wife Quitter job, I try to send at least once or twice a month. For e-commerce, I send at least once a week. Yeah, sometimes twice a week.

But yes, it is similar to email in that respect. All 

Jared: right, man, you have got my head spinning on sms. Can I ask who you’re using? Um, for 

Steve: sms? Yes. Yeah, I’m using Postscript. Uh, postscript is designed for e-commerce. Okay. But they have a good API and I, I just happened to be an engineer, so I rejiggered it for my wife, quit her job cuz I was just very familiar with the platform already.

Good. Okay. Sounds like you’re happy with them. I am. And it’s a, it’s just a penny a person. So, and that’s the other reason you don’t want to just like, I’m very deliberate when I’d send an SMS because I want it to make sure that it leads to revenue. Mm-hmm. Whereas with email, it doesn’t matter as much. You can send out content and whatnot cuz you get unlimited sends essentially.

Good. Okay. 

Jared: Yeah, like I said, boy, my head is banging on sms. Um, so many good opportunities for people to take advantage of that. Let’s, uh, if it’s all right, let’s transition and talk about YouTube. Uh, that’s a Sure. It’s a topic we talk about a lot here. Uh, a lot of people who, who listen to this podcast, uh, probably maybe focused on building a website first and foremost, although, you know, it spreads the gamut in terms of side hustles and, and the ways people are, are, are making money online.

But certainly what, building a website’s a very common first place. And nowadays, YouTube is a really great place to go and, um, also add your time. Right? Um, maybe how did you decide to start YouTube and, and what are some of the things that, that you do on YouTube, uh, to kick us off on that 

Steve: conversation? So first off, I would just say that YouTube is probably the best way to start today.

I don’t know if I would start with a blog. I, I would definitely have a, a website as a home base to gather emails and whatnot, but I think YouTube is where it’s at, especially with all this AI stuff going on. Like, this is the year of spam, right? People are pumping out blog posts and this, but you know, video is a little harder to copy and it’s the best way to expose your personality and your brand to the world.

Audio and video, right? Mm-hmm. Blogging is probably the worst. Um, I start in the heyday. You do need a, a home base, you know, for yourself, right? So it is important to have that. Um, I would say the most important part of YouTube is the title and thumbnail and the one thing that I learned that kind of pushed me over the edge, this is like the final thing I learned was at the end of the video, just give one option for them to watch a video next.

Okay. I try to keep everyone on the YouTube platform. When I first got started, I wasn’t doing that. I was trying to guide people to my email signup form, and that’s why my channel early on wasn’t growing that much. But now what I do is I’m very deliberate. I say, Hey, now that you’ve watched this video on Amazon, make sure you watch this video here to find products to profitable products to sell online.

And that way they stay on my channel for a very long time, cuz it’s all about watch time with YouTube. So really the solution for YouTube really is to, one, get them to click on the video. Two, get them to watch it to the end, and then three to watch your next video. If you can do all three of those things, you’re gonna get 

a good channel.

Jared: Well man, you just laid it out for me. Let me start with the first one, getting people to watch your video. What type of content are you creating and what type of tips do you have for what type of content works or better? And what type of content maybe doesn’t work very well on 

Steve: YouTube? Yeah, I mean, everyone has a different style, so it’s really hard to answer that question.

I can only talk about my style. Um, when I first started YouTube, one of my biggest hurdles was the content part, right? Because YouTube is, it’s a lot more work than a blog post and whatnot, and you have to have the camera set up and everything. So the first thing that I did, and I always like to create a system where I can just start producing content forever, effortlessly.

That’s how I operate. So I started out by taking my blog posts and kind of repurposing them into YouTube content. So I’ll take a blog post on how to sell or whatever, and I’ll make it much more concise for video, throw it up on teleprompter, and then just record the video that way. Um, it helps to just have a setup.

I have a setup in my office now where I just hit record, sit down and just pump it out. So today I can pump out a video in about 20 minutes. Then I throw it over to my video editor and she edits it. And then we talk about the titles and the, and the thumbnails. Um, sorry, what was the original 

Jared: question?

Yeah, just what, what, while you answered that, what you’re doing on YouTube, so how you’re creating your content, you’re taking a blog post, you’re, you’re making it, um, shorter, simpler, I, I imagine basically, and then reading it from a teleprompter and then editing it, coming up with a, a good title. And then, um, how do you find what topics work better than others?

Or are you just kind of recording a lot of videos and some really do well and some, you know, don’t do as well? 

Steve: Yeah, so I started out, and this I was later told was an incorrect strategy. I started out just seo cause that’s all I knew at the time, going for keywords and that sort of thing. But turns out the majority of YouTube traffic comes from suggested videos and that’s why that tip on the end of the video, pointing them to the next one is, was, was so key.

Um, here’s how YouTube works. Like once you have a video that pops. Then you should make more of that video. Uh, so for example, like whenever I make a video on Alibaba, it always does well and I didn’t wanna be pigeonholed to be like the Alibaba guy, so I started branching out to different things. But it, it really just depends on you, on what your goals are.

Like I know that I could make a channel on the backs of just that one specific topic, which is kind of what YouTube forces you to do in a, or pushes you to do in a way. Right? But I’ve chosen to have a variety cause I wanna have a little bit of fun with it. But whenever my esteem is low or whenever I haven’t, haven’t had a hit in a while, I’ll go back to that topic that I know will do well.

So I mean, if you, if you’re a goal is to just grow your YouTube channel, once you have that video that pops just make more of that topic and that’s what works. 

Jared: It’s funny because SEO seems to be kind of moving more and more of that direction, right? Like the big buzzword in SEO’s, topical authority. Um, and uh, while.

Perhaps the, the way you go about building topical authority in SEO is a little bit more methodical maybe. Um, it, it, it still seems to really resonate with people, um, that build topical authority on a website. You just have to do that on, on YouTube. Now, in seo, we have to pay attention to all these things, like, you know, being concerned with making sure every page matches a unique search intent.

And we don’t cross topics too much so that we have pages that compete for each itself. My understanding of YouTube, it’s a little bit more liberal. Uh, you don’t have to worry quite as much about that. When you say go all in on a topic, like maybe play a scenario out or kind of walk through it a bit so people understand just how deep they, they should go into that.

Well, 

Steve: so YouTube is a lot more liberal. So when I write a blog post, I just answer the question. No story is nothing cuz Google just wants the answer. Yeah. Which unfortunately has the side effect of removing all the fun parts of writing for me. And so that’s why I started con, I started hiring writers for that.

Right, because it’s no fun. YouTube, you’re trying to entertain someone. So those stories are actually important. Now to answer the second part of your question, which was finding topics. So I have one like, oh, like one of my videos hit over 1.2 million views. It’s called Alibaba Alternatives. And so I just started filling in all the different, you know, topics related to Alibaba in videos.

Like whenever I need a hit, um, I don’t know if you guys use AI PRM for chat. G P T, no I don’t. It’s, oh, it’s basically a Chrome plugin on top of chat G P T where you can actually type in a keyword and it’ll create a topical authority map of all the different subjects that you should cover in order, if you wanna rank for that on your blog.

Well, that tool actually works for YouTube too. Like if you have something that’s a hit on a specific topic, you can have chat G P T using A I P R M, generate a list of topics for videos. You can even take that one step further and have it script the video for you. 

Jared: Fascinating. Wow. So you can really get a almost a topical map for the different topics on YouTube that need to be covered as it relates to the the higher level topic.

The second thing you mentioned was, um, keeping people on your video to the end, which, um, in my YouTube experience is not as easy as it sounds and correct. It’s not. It’s, you know, I mean it’s, uh, why are we surprised? Right? But like, it’s not uncommon to get watch, you know? Uh, and and just to be clear, they measure it in percent watched, right?

So, correct. You know, the stats you’ll see heavily, um, promoted in YouTube’s analytics is the percent of the video that was watched. And that must be obviously an aggregate. But I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, I’d say difficult broadly speaking to get that over 50%, right? Like that’s a pretty good if it is 70% of the people to watch it all the way through.

So what have you learned in terms of how to get people to stay all the way through? Is there a lot of variance there? I’d just love to get your tips cuz like I said, it’s not easy to. 

Steve: I’ll tell you the low energy way of doing it, which is what I do, uh, when I film my video, it’s literally just me sitting in a chair in front of my bookshelf.

All my videos are like that. So to keep things interesting, you need to switch the camera angles up like every three to four seconds. So really it’s just like a zoom, a pan, um, annotations in the video, uh, a little bit of B-roll. Like you just take some time to just film yourself doing different things and just have your editor splice those in.

I would say every five seconds the camera should shift. So that’s number one. Another way you can do it, and this just depends on your script, is you leave an open loop and you always leave people hanging, right? Like, you’ll say something like, Hey, this next tip is gonna blow your mind. Like if, if it’s like a list post or something like that, uh, or you know, whenever you introduce the next tip, you want to tease it a little bit or in the beginning saying, Hey, this last tip, you know, make sure you watch to the end because this last tip’s gonna be really helpful.

Mm-hmm. All those little things help. So it’s a combination of just video editing as well as scripting in such a way that keeps people curious about what’s gonna happen next. A lot 

Jared: of people when it comes to YouTube will just, um, get the topic and then kind of press record and then start talking about it.

And so the benefit there is obviously it, um, it conveys a very natural conversational approach and people can really feel the, uh, the efficacy and the brand there that you’re communicating and stuff. The downside though, is it’s kind of hard to be, uh, these things you talk about, it’s kind of hard to, to tease the next topic and you use a teleprompter.

Um, how do you use a teleprompter? Because clearly then you have a script and you’re able to actually communicate, uh, the types of things that keep people engaged. How do you use a teleprompter but still be personable and natural? Like, you know that, that sounds like you’re playing both sides really well.

Steve: The key is to not put everything word for word on there. Right. If you include an outline or bullet points and then fill in the blanks, that works well. Hmm. At least for me, I, I think everyone, like, I know some people who can read from the teleprompter really well. Yeah. It just really depends on how good you are at it.

Yeah. I prefer 

bullet 

Jared: points. That’s a good point. Yeah. I think that there’s obviously, once you find your way with it, maybe 20, 30, 40, 50 videos in. But certainly for people starting that, uh, those first few videos are quite the hurdle. If you’re not used to being on camera, 

Steve: I mean, let’s face it, your first videos are gonna be bad.

Uh, like I, I still have some of my earlier videos and I, I mean, I leave ’em up there since they still get traffic. But like, I, I’m always shaking my head. It’s just something you refine over time. It, it’s like blogging, like my first blog post, which I’ve eliminated now for SEO reasons. I read them now and, and they were horrible.

You just get better over time. That’s a good point. 

Jared: That’s a good point. Um, so the third thing you brought upon YouTube was the ending and keeping people engaged in the platform. I, I, I wanna talk about a couple things there. Fir first off, Why is it more effective for your brand overall, for your, your, your revenue, for your, all, all those components to not send people to where you can track ’em, monetize them, email list, you know, I mean, is is, is it literally a trade off or do you end up capturing them at some point in the future if you kind of send them onto other 

videos?

Steve: So what I do now is in the middle of the video I say, Hey, by the way, if you’re enjoying this lesson, make sure you sign up for my free six, six day mini course below. Just something subtle like that. And people, and, and then I include the link in both the description at the top as well as the comment that I pin to the top.

Because on mobile you see the comments, you don’t really see the description. Yeah. Mm-hmm. And then, uh, at the end, I just try to keep ’em on YouTube. So it’s, they’re, they’re trade-offs, but in general, it’s much more beneficial for you to have a video that pops because people will just start Googling you, or they’ll read the description to get in contact with you than it is to get just like onesie, twosie email addresses.

Right. 

Jared: Yeah. It’s, um, it’s, it’s true that, you know, from what I’ve worked with, with brands on YouTube, there’s a much more difficult connection fr uh, from YouTube to their brands and the revenue and the, the type of, the type of business they get from it. How do you assign value when it comes to YouTube to your business?

You talked earlier about how 80, I think you said 80% of my notes here. Yeah. 80%, uh, of revenue you can kind of attribute to email. Mm-hmm. But where does YouTube play into the strategy and, and, and kind of why are you spending as much time 

Steve: on it? YouTube is my number two driver of email subs. Wow. It’s also the number two driver of affiliate revenue because of that method I mentioned earlier where I have people literally click on my affiliate link and follow along with the tutorial.

So, uh, it’s a, it’s a big deal. And because YouTube has such a good discovery engine, It’s, it’s better than, you know, Google search in a way because it’s less crowded, I would say. Mm-hmm. I think that’s probably the biggest advantage, cuz it’s, it’s a bigger hurdle to start recording videos, so that’s why I think YouTube’s a better opportunity than blogging today.

Jared: Yeah, yeah. Well, I was gonna circle back to that. You said YouTube’s a bigger opportunity than, than blogging. Um, any other tips on, uh, on YouTube in general and, and maybe speak to the person who hasn’t started a YouTube channel, but they’re sitting on a goldmine of content, right? So whether it’s content they’ve written in blog format, whether it’s content they’ve produced elsewhere, um, and, and like any other tips for people who want to get off the ground with YouTube?

Steve: Okay, so for me, and I, I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it was all about friction, right? If you can get a little mini studio set up where all you gotta do is turn on the camera, sit back and have the teleprompter, That’s going to allow you to do video. Uh, in the past when I failed, it’s because I had it, it would take me like 20, 30 minutes to set up the lights and all that stuff.

And by then I was just too tired to even do anything. I know. Um, the other thing that I do is I set aside a day to script and I never script and film on the same day. I write the script and that way when I’m actually ready to record, it’s the recording part is the easy part and everything’s ready to go.

Jared: When it comes to the videos of yours that have popped, right, that have, we use all these terms, right? They’ve popped, they’ve gone viral, but basically there’s certain videos of yours that because of the way the algorithm works, they pick up ahead of steam and get so many more views. Uh, maybe immediately, maybe over the course of time.

Have you picked up any insights on what causes videos to do that versus go flat?

Steve: I think the, the most important part is the beginning. Like your first 30 seconds, you gotta hook ’em. Mm-hmm. And if you don’t do a good job of hooking ’em, the video’s probably not gonna pop. But I, I struggle with answering this question because sometimes I have a video where people watch over 50%, but it doesn’t pop.

Right. Whereas I have, sometimes I have videos that people only watch 25%, but those get like millions of views. And then I have videos that start out really poorly, but then over time, they, they shoot up. Mm-hmm. So if, if I had all the answers, I think I’d be doing a lot better than I am. The only tip I know that works is once you have a topic that YouTube likes, if you keep pressing that topic, you’ll do well.

Yeah. 

Jared: Yeah. I, uh, I was hoping you had some secret bullet that I was unaware of, but it does sound to some degree, like, um, publish a good chunk of videos, uh, as a good recipe. Probably the best recipe to trying to, to, to get some to go, to go take off. 

Steve: Uh, it’s a numbers game really. I mean, yeah. There’s been videos where I spent a lot of time on it and I thought, were gonna be good.

That didn’t do well. And then, then there’s some videos I record as an afterthought that do really well. I, I think maybe I don’t do this enough, but sometimes it helps just really examine your videos very closely and try to figure it out, you know, what’s going on by with analysis. But I don’t know. I, I wish there was a, a definite pattern, but I, I don’t really have any answers there.

Just watch time and keeping people on your channel really. 

Jared: Well, I think you’ve definitely shared a ton of valuable tips for how to get people engaged and I mean, at the end of the day, like, you’re right, some just take off, some don’t. We’ve been seeing that forever though. That’s how, to some degree, that’s how Google works, right?

Like you can have, um, and, and Blogging’s very interesting because you can get such a formulaic process down that it really is fascinating when one blog post. Takes off and the other one doesn’t because you’re like, I literally wrote it the exact same way. Yeah. Why did one do so well? And Yeah, but we’re used to that in blogging and certainly with early on in the Facebook algorithms, sometimes uh, certain posts would go viral.

So I, I think you’re, you’re kind of echoing a long-standing sentiment and um, uh, publishing good content on YouTube is a numbers game, like you said here. Here’s 

Steve: one thing I will say. You don’t want to make videos on disparate topics because once you build a subscriber base for something that they like YouTube, you know, for your future videos, they spread that video based on the, the behavior of your existing subscribers.

Lemme just give you an example. I have a buddy who, who used to talk about investing on his YouTube channel during the pandemic. All of his content was about stimulus checks because that was what was popular and he was getting tons of views for that. But he built up this subscriber base of stimulus check people who didn’t have money, so that when he went back to his investing content, It basically killed his channel.

All those stimulus check people. So you never want to veer too much. Like you, you want to have like a, a type of subscriber in mind and then maintain that subscriber base and make sure you’re putting out videos of that subscriber base likes, cuz you can in fact kill your channel. 

Jared: Wow. That’s, uh, that’s, that’s a, that’s a real, that’s a really good example.

Stay in your lane, I suppose would be the way, the right way to say it. Good way to summarize it. Um, okay, so, uh, a couple things that, I mean, and just to kind of bring us back, so we’ve been talking for a while and I love your tips on email marketing. I love your tips on YouTube. Um, what other unique things are you, are you, are you kind of doing to help engage your audience?

Now? I, I, I will tease you. If you can get into it, you, I know you’re using chat bots to some degree to help automate some of the lead generation, and I personally am fascinated by that. So I thought I’d work that question in, maybe that would be one of the things you’d wanna talk about in terms of, uh, some of the tips for, for also how you’re kind of accelerating some of this lead gen.

Steve: Yeah. So I would say that I’m using chatbots more in e-commerce land than I am for my wife Quitter job. So I’ll just touch upon the e-commerce real quick. Uh, the, the two questions that we always get in e-commerce land are, when is it gonna ship and where is my order? So we use a chat bot for that because they don’t have to enter in anything.

They click on a button. The email address associated with their Facebook account automatically queries our system, which returns back their order information. That’s why we use that. And then in general, just live chat is, is a pretty good interface for people shopping. Mm-hmm. For my wife quitter job, the I, I use something similar.

Like if they want to ask a question, like I steer them over to my six day mini course. And I have keywords in there that help guide them to whatever topic they’re looking at. But the primary way for my wife Quitter job that I use is for I I, I run ads, messenger ads. And the reason I like Messenger ads for my specific niche, and this really only applies to me because Facebook classifies my site as a get-rich quick site.

So it’s really hard to get my ads approved. I don’t know if you guys have that same problem, but I found that when I combine that with Messenger, then I can get my ads approved and it’s much easier to get an email address because it’s already pre-populated in the Facebook system. So I’ll ask them in the chat bot, Hey, were you looking for my free six day mini course?

They type in, yes. And then the next question will be, Hey, please click on your email below and we’ll sign you up. And so they just have to tap it on their phone, no typing required. And so those ads work really well for us. 

Jared: You’re using ads to drive traffic, you’re helping to fulfill that with chatbots and these sorts of things.

You’re doing YouTube, you’re doing, um, uh, uh, email marketing. You’ve got a blog. You’ve got, you’ve got two brands. You work 20 hours a week and you, you know, are really good at focusing on one specific thing. Maybe I can start to bring us to a close here by how do you do all this stuff in that amount of time?

And certainly I’m talking to that, that person out there that’s feeling overwhelmed by the thought of having to go and start a YouTube channel because they already have too much going on as it is to try to keep up with everything. Like you seem to be able to accomplish a lot. And I’d love to hear from you how you, how you.

Steve: Yeah, so as I mentioned before, I really only focus on one thing and I generally for, for like a year at least. And I don’t move on from that one thing until I have a system for it. Sometimes that system means outsourcing it to somebody. Sometimes that system is a piece of code that I write, right? But I don’t move on until I know I can just kind of maintain it pretty easily in the background without a lot of my time.

Um, I think hiring my VA for all the content stuff was magical cuz she edits my podcast, my videos, my short form videos every, she even answers my emails sometimes, right? But I started out doing all that stuff myself. I was editing my own videos, I was editing my own podcast and then I just put together, I use Loom a lot.

I dunno if you guys use Loom, but I just record tutorials of exactly what I’m doing and then that way I can pass it on to someone if I’m tired of doing that. So I got tired of editing YouTube videos really quick. Because it takes forever. So I just put together an SOP of how I do it. Turned it over to my va.

It took a couple of iterations cuz she had to learn the tool and whatnot. But now it’s a well-oiled machine. It’s the same thing how I do everything. Um, Twitter, I ended up outsourcing it to somebody. Uh, what else have I done? Podcast editing. I’ve outsourced. Um, ads I still haven’t outsourced yet because ads I feel like I’m spending money and I want to, and, and ads change all the time.

So anything that’s kind of mission critical, I, I tend to still do myself. And just one general philosophy is I like to do things where I do it once and I get long-term gains. So this is why you won’t find me doing a lot of social media posting because my friends who do Instagram. They’re posting like seven times a day.

Uh, my friend who makes a lot of money off of Facebook has to post 21 times a day. And guess what? When they stop posting the traffic stops, right? Whereas you can put out one blog post. I’ve had a blog post I wrote 10 years ago that still generates traffic. I have YouTube videos that I generate three years ago that still generate a lot of views.

So I tend to focus on the things where I can have the most long-term leverage. 

Jared: Makes a lot of sense. It’s the, I suppose, the classic outsourcing argument, but you, you really, I love how deep you go on it before you hand it over to someone. You know, certainly the depth of how you are deep diving YouTube or deep diving a topic and then creating systems around it.

I mean, that’s a depth that probably a lot of people maybe aren’t going to. And then your success as a result of it is, is probably closely tied to that depth. 

Steve: I mean, the problem with outsourcing when you know nothing, Is you could be getting screwed. Let’s, let’s just take SEO as an example since we talked about that.

I mean, some people just hire an SEO consultant without knowing anything, and more often than not, they’re, they’ll screw up your SEO on your blog unless you can call them on it. I think the same philosophy holds true with almost everything in business. 

Jared: You, um, you know, to transition there into how you, how you create content.

Are you connecting all of the dots with your content? For example, because you’re in so many channels, do you conceptualize an article and write it and then move that into a YouTube video and move that onto your email list and so forth and so on? Are you kind of almost repurposing content or are they separate buckets?

Separate channels, separate line items of how you guys think and create 

Steve: everything is repurposed. So if you go to my blog and you look, I mainly have two topics that I co, two broad topics that I cover selling on your own e-commerce store and selling on Amazon and everything is nicely categorized. And I just try to fill in each of those categories to attain topical authority.

Same thing I do for YouTube, right? I only talk about e-commerce, whether it be Amazon or it’s, it’s the same content, really just kind of rewritten slightly. And then that content gets broken down into short form videos for like TikTok, um, YouTube shorts as well as Instagram reels. Otherwise, you know, to produce that much content, I would need more a large team, which personally I don’t like hiring people.

Um, maybe it’s cuz when, when I was an engineering director, I had a lot of people and you know, people can be flaky whereas machines are not. And so if I can replace something with a piece of code, Or I can find something or, or I can document something really well so that if someone decides to leave, I can just get someone else to just kind of pick up where they left off.

That’s generally my philosophy. Like, I hate large teams and you know, we make tons of money as is, and we don’t spend that much money as a family. So it really just depends on what you want to do. Like if you wanna start the next billion dollar company or a hundred million dollar company, you, you gotta hire.

But if all you want to do is make a couple million bucks a year, two or 3 million bucks a year, you can easily do that by yourself with like one or two employees. Mm-hmm. 

Jared: Ah, well you’ve cracked the nut on that one. I’ll tell you that you’ve done a great job at building out systems so you don’t have to have a ton of people, but you’re able to get so much accomplished.

It’s amazing. I mean, I, I, we, we didn’t even talk about the SEO side of things and not because it wouldn’t have been great to touch on, but I just think that the things you’re doing as they relate to the big revenue drivers generating emails, Using your content to generate email subscribers from a variety of channels and then putting them through and into your course is such a great model for everyone to kind of hear how you, how you built it out.

Thank you for sharing all those 

Steve: details. The best part about having the class is that all the tools that you use, people are just gonna sign up through your affiliates too. So it’s, it’s like a win-win to have a class. Also. 

Jared: Now this year you shifted your efforts, I think you said YouTube was last year.

Now this year you wrote a book and I’m fascinated to hear about what you did with the book, especially after we just got done with all the content repurposing. I, I’m interested to hear the concept for the book and how you end up focusing this year on, on the book. 

Steve: So the book has been three years in the making.

Oh boy. Okay. And the first thing I did was I actually hired someone to help me with it cuz I, I was sitting on like 800 blog posts. Mm-hmm. And so I, I have a friend who’s a bestselling author, his name is Jeff GOs. He helped me with the book. Um, Putting together a proposal. I’m not sure if your audience is interested in this stuff, but I found the book industry fascinating cuz I had no idea how it works.

Yeah, judge, 

Jared: please. I, it’s a fascinating topic. 

Steve: Okay. So first you can decide whether you wanna self-publish or whether you want a traditional published book because like my mom only respects me if, if I do something the traditional way, I decide to shop around and get a big five publisher. So Harper Collins is publishing my book.

In order to do, in order to get in advance for your book, you have to put together a proposal. Uh, a proposal is basically based on your audience, how many books you can sell, what the topic is and that sort of thing. And then you hire an agent and the agent actually takes your proposal and shops it around to all the publishers.

And then they all kind of bid on an, in like an auction style format for the rights of the book. And then you get a book deal. Mm-hmm. Then you gotta write the book, which ironically is probably the easiest part. And then the last part, which is the phase I’m in now, is the promotion part. And one thing, if, if your audience is interested in writing or marketing a traditionally published book, it’s really hard to sell books.

Mm-hmm. Uh, because people think of books, they’re like, oh God, I gotta read this thing. It’s gonna take me two or three hours and, and whatnot. And so to market a book properly, you actually market the bonuses and then kind of include the book in there because people want immediate benefits. And quite frankly, these people these days are, are less inclined to read.

Jared: Yeah, I can imagine. Yeah. Well, we, we see that with blogs versus videos and, you know, like people are just, uh, consuming content very differently than maybe 10, 20 years ago. What’s the book, um, you know, about, I mean, is it, is it based on a lot of the stuff from your, your, uh, your My Wife Quitter job blog? Or is it, is it about other things you’ve been, you’ve been doing over 

Steve: time?

Yeah, so the book is called The Family First Entrepreneur, how to Achieve Financial Freedom Without Sacrificing What Matters Most. Ah, and it’s a collection of philosophies. Uh, so the book is in two parts. The first part is if you haven’t started your side hustle already, I just help you find a way to create your side hustle.

It can be e-commerce, it can be content. It really just kind of depends on your personality. And the second half of the book is about efficiency, kind of the stuff that we talked about here. How can you accomplish all these things in the least amount of time as possible so that you can focus on the things that you, that you love and hang out with the people that you love.

Mm-hmm. Right. And we kind of touched upon a lot of these things, like I believe in robots, not humans, uh, profit First, which is something we didn’t really talk about, but uh, like if you look on YouTube, you’ll see all these people like saying, Hey, I made 2 million on this, 2 million on that. And Jared, we’ve both interviewed a lot of entrepreneurs and we.

People always talk about revenue and not profit because profit is not sexy. The revenue number is what’s sexy and what brings in the views. But after being a member of mastermind groups and, and talking to a lot of entrepreneurs, they aren’t as profitable as you think. And more importantly, they strive for that revenue number.

But a lot of them are miserable, they’re stressed out and uh, they don’t see their family much. And that’s not the reason why 90% of the people get into business in the first place like I got in, so I can hang out with family. I’m sure most people feel the same way. And you don’t need to make like a hundred million to be happy.

That’s what the book is about. 

Jared: Well, you’re certainly living testament to being able to make money, not work, uh, a ton of hours and be very, very efficient with your time. So, um, I, I, I think I’ll have to, to, to pick up the book and, and 

Steve: give it a read. And don’t get me wrong, you know, it’s tough. You know, as entrepreneurs, we have egos, right?

I would love to create the next a hundred million dollar business. Right? Yeah. But part of it is just knowing what you want and what your priorities are and then filling that. So the way I fill my ego bucket is I do these projects that last a year, right? I go in deep and try to learn something really well, and that keeps me interested.

And I don’t even look at revenue anymore cuz you know it when you look at revenue just by itself. That one, like you hit your revenue goal and then you move the goal post like the next year, and then it’s like a never ending cycle. And then, you know, I, things weren’t really good with my wife during that period also, so I just kind of learned my lesson over time.

Jared: That’s also probably part of the reason a lot of people wanna run from say a corporate job, is because, um, every time you hit your revenue number, man, that goal post moves just gotta hit a harder number next time. 

Steve: Exactly. Exactly. And that’s unfortunately a trap that a lot of entrepreneurs face. And one thing I’ve also noticed is that most entrepreneurs that you hear about online, they’re just like single dudes that, that have no responsibilities.

You know what I mean? But a lot of people, their lives aren’t like that. So, um, if you can, you know, push down your ego a little bit and just realize how much you need to live or be happy, whatever that number is, you hit that. Spend time doing what you love and find things that you’re interested in that you can go really deep on and you can be happy.

Where can 

people, 

Jared: um, where can people follow along with the, is the book out? I should ask, is the book out yet? Cuz you’re in the promotion stage. Is it done? Is it ready? Can people get it? 

Steve: The book comes out in May, May 16th, but the bonuses that I’m offering are available now if you pre-order. So one of the bonuses is a three day course on how to start a print on demand business.

The reason I start with print on demand, because I call it a gateway drug, it’s not gonna make you life-changing money, but it costs literally zero to start. And you can make some money this way, kind of dip your toes in the water and then, you know, that’ll lead to something else. The second bonus is a two day course on how to get started making money with content.

And I cover blogging, YouTube, and podcasting, which are the three things that I do. Mm-hmm. And then I’m also going on the road for book parties as well. Very nice. Um, and oh, one other thing is starting in April, I’m literally giving a live webinar every single week about a certain topic. And the book is your ticket book’s, your ticket 

Jared: ticket in.

So where can we both go 

Steve: get the pre-order? You can go to the family first entrepreneur.com. There’s instructions in there. You basically pre-order the book at wherever you want. Most of you guys are probably gonna shop on Amazon, and then there’s a form that you fill out where you just upload your receipt and then you’ll get your bonuses right away.

Yes. Okay. Okay. 

Jared: Very good. And, uh, for people who are listening, um, after the pre-release hits, um, is that something they’ll still be able to take advantage of or 

Steve: if you they’ll still be able to get all the bonuses? Absolutely. That’s not going away. As you know, 

Jared: sometimes these, uh, these, these podcast episodes, people keep listening to ’em for years and years, so people can keep getting those bonuses, even if they listen to it after the pre-release is, uh, is over.

Well, good. Um, man, Steve, that, uh, that hour flew by, I have to say. We are over an hour now and, um, we didn’t get to talk about podcasting. We didn’t get to talk about seo, but we learned a ton about email marketing and YouTube and, um, I, I really thankful you joined us to share all those great tips. Yeah.

Thanks for having me, Jared. My appreciate it. My pleasure, my pleasure. Well, perhaps a part two will be in order, but we’ll let that, uh, we’ll, we’ll come, we’ll circle back on that to talk about some of those other topics. But in the meantime, thanks so much for joining us. We’ll talk again soon.



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How to Build Trust and Transparency With Your Customers While Taking Their Data

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How to Build Trust and Transparency With Your Customers While Taking Their Data

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Innovation starts with identifying the outcomes customers want to achieve — which is why most companies rely on modern tools and technologies to acquire vast amounts of customer information for creating personalized customer experiences.

You need your customers to share their details, including preferences, to ensure you create a seamless, engaging and personalized customer journey. However, this need is at odds with the growing concerns surrounding customer privacy. Now, more than ever, customers are growing increasingly protective of their personal data.

According to a survey conducted by Gartner, consumers are less comfortable with brands collecting other types of data, including browsing history. Only 27% of respondents feel comfortable sharing information pertaining to their employment, financial data and personal health.

Users know the risks associated with their personal information fueled by various privacy breaches, data thefts and increasing regulatory scrutiny. Hence, businesses striving to innovate and meet customer demands must navigate the complexities of privacy protection since customers trust brands that value their privacy security.

On the other hand, the stringent privacy regulations, including the GDPR and CCPA, are even more concerning. These regulations demand businesses to collect, store, and manage customer data securely. Failing to adhere may entitle the business to pay hefty fines and even reputational damages.

In a nutshell, if a business wishes to jump on the innovation bandwagon, it can’t ignore the inherent privacy risks, especially when collecting vast amounts of customer data. Let’s unpack why businesses must be more vigilant about customer data security and privacy when innovating and learn how to navigate this complex landscape.

Related: Why Your Company Needs to Rethink Its Purpose to Acquire Loyal Customers — And Drive More Sales.

Why you need to innovate with privacy on top of mind

Delivering seamless user experiences is vital, but ignoring privacy security wouldn’t please your users. Stats reveal that users worldwide are more concerned about their privacy than ever and wish to do more to protect it.

On the other hand, when we see things from an organization’s perspective, they have a typical mindset of invoking technology’s true potential to innovate for improving user experiences. However, ignoring privacy and security could be the worst strategy in today’s business landscape, especially when your customers know the importance of their privacy.

No matter how unreasonable it may seem to prioritize privacy in today’s world, where data-driven decisions dominate, embracing privacy protection can eventually open up new avenues for growth and innovation.

Users are more likely to engage with digital platforms and applications when they trust that their privacy is respected and their personal data is secure. They love to share personal information, along with their preferences and participate in innovative initiatives.

Consequently, a deeper understanding of user preferences and needs helps businesses develop effective and targeted innovations.

Why ignoring privacy regulations will spell trouble for your business

The relationship between innovation and privacy is quite evident. As organizations navigate their technological advancement journey, privacy regulations guide them toward a sustainable future where innovation does not affect or compromise users’ fundamental rights.

Whether it’s CCPA or GDPR, every regulation guards privacy rights and protects organizations from legal obligations. Furthermore, organizations that cater to customers across the globe shouldn’t ignore the importance of adhering to various data privacy regulations, as failing to do so may entitle them to pay hefty fines.

What’s worrisome is that if your organization’s reputation is tarnished for not adhering to global privacy compliances, your potential customers won’t trust you and will inch toward your competitors with all the necessary compliances in place.

And regarding innovation, you can freely collect essential information about users, and they won’t mind if you adhere to the latest data privacy and security regulations.

Strategies for privacy-driven innovation

1. Prioritizing a privacy-first mindset

Organizations that don’t prioritize privacy at every stage of their product development and innovation initiatives will not be able to win customer trust.

Hence, it’s essential to lay the foundation of your product by equally emphasizing privacy along with other aspects, including user experience, usability, compliance and marketing. Collaborating development, security, user experience and marketing teams to emphasize privacy security is perhaps the need of the hour for every business striving for success.

2. Prioritize transparency tactics — communicate clearly, win trust

If you establish clear communication with your customers regarding data collection, usage and protection, you can quickly win customer trust and loyalty. Most customers are reluctant to share their personal information just because they aren’t sure why an organization is demanding it in the first place.

Once they’re comfortable sharing essential information, you can use this data to drive meaningful innovation, such as offering personalized recommendations, suggesting products/services based on their preferences, and more.

3. Tap the potential of technology

Embracing cutting-edge privacy-enhancing tools and technologies can help you navigate your innovation journey seamlessly. Using robust privacy management tools, identity management platforms and multi-factor authentication can eventually help build lasting customer trust and loyalty.

Furthermore, using cloud platforms to scale rapidly would further enhance user experience without compromising security.

4. Optimize data collection

A data-minimization approach in which organizations collect only essential data and maximize its value helps deliver impactful results. Admit it: No innovation is possible without knowing what your customers want and their pain points. Effectively analyzing essential data can help boost targeted innovation efforts, ensuring impactful outcomes.

5. Skyrocket innovation with powerful partnerships

Last but not least, collaborating with privacy experts, regulatory bodies, and industry peers to exchange knowledge and best practices can accelerate your innovation efforts. Businesses can embark on an innovation journey flawlessly through collective support and expertise.

Related: This Unique Marketing Strategy Is Winning in 2024 — Here’s Why (and How You Can Implement It Successfully)

Navigating the nexus of innovation and privacy

While navigating the innovation landscape, organizations shouldn’t overlook the undeniable nexus between innovation and privacy. Hence, ignoring privacy while pursuing innovation could hamper customer trust and lead to legal obligations.

Emphasizing a privacy-first mindset, coupled with transparent communication and technological advancement, are undoubtedly pivotal strategies for unlocking the true potential of innovation while safeguarding customer privacy.

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How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

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How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Email marketing is booming: last year, 52% of marketers said their campaign’s return on investment (ROI) doubled, while 5.7% of marketers experienced an ROI four times larger compared to 2022, a Statista report shows.

How can you create similar results for your business this year?

The effectiveness of email marketing comes down to a few key factors:

  • Knowing your audience and its pain points and desires.
  • Creating emails that respond to those specific needs.
  • Getting your emails in the inbox, where your subscribers can interact with them.

As the CEO of a B2B email marketing company, I often hear from customers about their top challenges. A big one? Creating emails that really engage and drive results. Getting the content, length and audience targeting just right is tough.

Related: How to Get People to Open – And Read – Your Emails

Most of your prospects prefer shorter emails

If you’re struggling to make your emails more engaging, here’s an aspect you may be overlooking: just make them shorter. Recent data from a ZeroBounce report shows that 66% of consumers prefer short emails, and only 6% favor longer ones.

But keep this caveat in mind: For 28% of people, email length becomes irrelevant if the content is well-tailored to their needs and interests.

It’s no surprise that people prefer shorter marketing emails. When inboxes are clogged with messages, why would you opt for a long message instead of a quick note? Concise and direct emails respect your prospects’ time and have a higher chance of getting their attention. But while most people prefer brevity, the quality and relevance of your emails are what truly capture and retain interest.

The message is clear for the 28% who don’t mind the length: When an email resonates well with their needs or interests, they’re willing to invest more time, regardless of word count. This segment of your audience is receptive to more in-depth content that speaks directly to their challenges.

How to determine the right email length

So, how do you strike the right balance between brevity and substance? The key is to start with understanding your audience. Segment your email list based on behaviors, preferences and past interactions. This segmentation allows you to tailor your messages more precisely. Also, you probably send different types of emails. That aspect alone should guide your approach:

  • Newsletters can be longer and cover several pieces of information in more depth.
  • Drip campaigns can consist of a series of emails that gently push your prospects closer to a purchase. Those emails can be short — sometimes, a few lines followed by a call-to-action (CTA) is enough.
  • Targeted campaigns, such as a discount or free offer, can have an engaging image paired with a couple of sentences and a catchy CTA button.

If you’re still unsure whether your email is too long, here are a few tips to save you time and make things easier.

Start with a clear goal

Every email should have a clear purpose. Whether it’s to inform, increase engagement or drive sales, your goal will dictate the necessary length. Don’t add fluff just to extend an email; keep it as long as necessary to fulfill its purpose.

Choose simplicity and clarity

Use simple language and clear CTAs. Marketing emails rarely benefit from any metaphors. Your email should guide readers smoothly from the opening line to the desired action without unnecessary detours.

Personalize to the last detail

Use what you know about your customers to tailor your emails. When marketing emails feel personal, people care more about the message and less about the length.

Test and adjust to what your audience likes

Studies can point you in the right direction in terms of consumer preferences, but only you can determine what your audience responds to the most. Before sending your next email, consider A/B testing different lengths. Then, analyze your metrics to see what performed best.

Improve your layout

Sometimes, the way information is presented can affect how we perceive the length of an email. Breaking text with relevant images or using bullet points can make longer emails appear more digestible and engaging.

Related: 4 Things You Can Automate in Your Email Marketing That Will Save You Time and Drive Sales

Ask your subscribers

Asking for opinions shows you care about serving your audience better, so why not include a poll in your next newsletter? Allow your subscribers to tell you how long they’d like your emails to be. Nothing beats direct customer feedback in helping you create more effective campaigns.

Bonus tips to increase email engagement

Here are a few extra tips to help your next emails get more clicks:

  • Try to keep your subject lines between 30 and 50 characters. Not only will your subscribers process them faster, but keeping your subject lines short ensures they display well on all devices.
  • Check your email list health to avoid bounces and the likelihood of landing in the spam folder.
  • Assess your spam complaint rate – it should be under 0.1% to comply with Yahoo and Google’s new email-sending rules.

Also, remember your goal is to connect with your audience genuinely, no matter how many words it takes to get there. If your email ends up longer than you’d planned but addresses a topic many of your subscribers care about, don’t worry. Engaging content can often justify a longer read.

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Get $60 off This Portable VPN Travel Router

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Get $60 off This Portable VPN Travel Router

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More than 50% of ransomware attacks targeted companies with fewer than 100 employees (according to StrongDM), so it’s important for businesses to use powerful VPN services. The problem is that the monthly fees can add up. Now, however, you can get robust portable VPN protection with a Deeper Connect Air Portable VPN Travel Router.

This physical device provides encrypted browsing and is completely decentralized. So, while you have the advantage of using more than 150,000 servers, no data is stored on any of them. It has a compact design and weighs just under an ounce, so you can take it anywhere. Once you buy it, it’s yours for a lifetime, with no annual or monthly fees.

The plug-and-play setup is effortless; no configuration is required. You can connect up to five devices simultaneously, with each able to enjoy unlimited streaming of favorite content around the world. The VPN blocks ads and unlocks geographical restrictions. There are also parental controls to keep your children safe online with a single click, as well as enterprise-level cybersecurity features, including military-grade encryption for maximum protection.

Unlike many VPN solutions, the Deeper Connect VPN travel router doesn’t slow down your internet speed. Its 300 Mbps connection and more than 80,000 worldwide nodes allow you to seamlessly stream anything you like at lightning-fast speeds, no matter where you are. Better yet, it has intelligent software that will switch nodes depending on your internet usage, utilizing multiple nodes simultaneously to support different applications.

It works as Web 3.0 infrastructure and for Blockchain mining. It’s the ultimate all-in-one internet security solution.

Get a Deeper Connect Air Portable VPN Travel Router for just $159 using coupon code: CONNECT, a 27% discount off the regular $219 retail price.

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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