How to turn your work into art with Seth Godin.


Write until you’re not afraid.

I’m back, after a break from writing. 

I had an inspirational conversation yesterday with Seth Godin (this is not the CallToAction - for you to click on to listen to that podcast, but if you do, you may see why it’s inspired me to start writing again). He told me some things, and one of them stuck…

Write until you are not afraid.

In thinking about why I stopped writing, it seemed to come about the time I went to a large conference in Colorado Springs in June. I may have met you there. While I was at this conference, I felt overloaded by questions, and pleas for help. I wasn’t used to this, and I questioned why I would put myself in a position where so many people that I’d never met would ask me for help. 

How did you do that? How do I do this?

It was overwhelming for me, I wasn’t equipped to handle so many questions. I questioned why I would want to continue to fuel this new line of enquiries when I was already over extended with my current projects.

The truth is I was afraid.

I was afraid of the unknown. I was afraid to be responsible for people changing the direction of their lives, because of what I was saying. What if things didn’t turn out? Wouldn’t it be my fault? What if I couldn’t answer so many questions? Of course, this was taking away from my hours to make revenues, revenues I needed to support my family and myself. 

Then Seth told me something that I can’t shake, one of many things actually. 

If you’re someone who generally cares, and someone that’s authentically generous, you’ll be taken care of (this is how I took it at least).

To me, nothing is more noble than being generous. It’s what I strive to be, so I want to be generous to the point of taking risks and taking from my time to create revenues. 

So, I’m back, and while I feign toughness, I’m unsure, a little less afraid but I’m forging ahead.

I’m back writing, and I am back to giving as much as I possibly can. I’m also on a quest to find my true calling. I don’t know what that quest is yet, but I know it’s out there and talking to guests like Seth on the Passion Project Podcast makes me want to cause a ruckus. What’s the sound of causing a ruckus? I’m not sure, but it sounds like fun. 

The free prize today is a 4oz bag of my natural sea salt. For anyone that wants it, for as long as you want it. I’m going to put this in my auto responder too, and I’m going to leave it open for you to reorder as much as you want. 

The coupon code to redeem is RUCKUS4Z. You WILL have to pay Amazon for shipping, I haven’t been able to figure out a way around that, but you could time your ordering with other things and a value over $35 to get free shipping.

In order to redeem your free sea salt, here are the steps.

1. Click on the link below…



 

2. Click Add to cart, when checking out put in the coupon code RUCKUS4Z

3. Enjoy!

It may not sound like much, but salt is not salt, and this really is the best salt I’ve ever tasted. It’s natural, unrefined pure goodness right from mother nature as it was intended to be. Hand harvested by local artisans, and packed with over 80+ essential minerals. It’s going to be wet, it’s going to be strong, and it’s going to turn you into a salt snob. It’s also something in my power to give. 

Going forward, I’m going to write more, and write until I am not afraid. 

Thanks Seth for bringing me back around, again.

Geordie

PS: If you’re so inclined once you receive your salt, and you feel like leaving us HONEST feedback on Amazon about what you thought, I’d love to hear it. You can leave us a review HERE.

Mr Planters Peanut made from old peanut shells laying around in our car and old surfboard wax. #yepwerebored

Mr Planters Peanut made from old peanut shells laying around in our car and old surfboard wax. #yepwerebored

Does your sales page include these elements?

Here are some great elements that every one of your sales pages should include.

Two brothers. #guerrero

Two brothers. #guerrero

Some where on the southern coast of Michoacan, Mexico. Saw maybe two cars drive by every hour. Wide open spaces.

Some where on the southern coast of Michoacan, Mexico. Saw maybe two cars drive by every hour. Wide open spaces.

#surfsup #lifestyle

#surfsup #lifestyle

My favourite photo of my wife.

My favourite photo of my wife.

Last few days with this view. I’ll miss it. #nofilter

Last few days with this view. I’ll miss it. #nofilter

TBBO 126: Geordie Wardman – How to Extract Your Online Business Idea from the Market - The Boomer Business Owner

This is a baby boomer podcast where I speak with Charlie Poznak about how to go from leaving a high paying corporate job, to being full time entrepreneur. Scary stuff when you have a family, mortgage and big bills leaving a corporate job, but I made that leap 8 years ago and haven’t looked back since. 

Making the leap for the right reasons is always a good idea.

12 Months After the Foundation: Lessons Learned

As they say, what a difference a year makes. Quite a few people have been asking me how my experience with the Foundation has gone, what I’m up to now, how is my SaaS business? Rather than go through and answer them all individually, I thought I’d take a deep dive into how the last 12 months have been since launching my Software as a Service business, and talk about the things I’ve learned in those 12 months.

Where I am at now. 

If you were to hear the numbers for my SaaS, you may think my business has flat lined for the last 12 months. I launched my product, WaveReview, in June of 2013 with a committed $3,500 per month in recurring revenues, and I’m now closing in on $4,000 per month in recurring revenues. 

But let’s take a closer look.

image

My product launched in June, 2013. There was a 2 or 3 month long beta period in which my customers could use the product for the collected amount of pre sale value (2.5 month average). So what happened to the revenues? They plummeted as I bumbled and fumbled around trying to learn how to run a SaaS business on my own, so I wanted to pass on some of the biggest and most hard won street knowledge I could to upcoming and current SaaS entrepreneurs. 

Lesson 1: Launch with credit card information either saved, or already built into the product.

This was HUGE for me. I launched without any credit cards saved, and I likely lost nearly ALL of my clients because of it, and subsequently my monthly recurring revenues. I had to chase each one of them down, and they always had an excuse about - well, I’m still deciding if I want to move forward, there’s this bug here, can you fix this, and then I’ll pay? yada, yada. This mistake likely cost me $15,000 in lost revenues and I basically had to rebuild all of my customers and revenues from scratch.

Take Away: Do NOT make this same mistake, check out swipebox.io or put your customers on paypal recurring, launch with Stripe or Braintree payments built into your MVP. 

Lesson 2: Your success as a SaaS should rely on your relationship with your customers, not your customers’ customers. 

WaveReview solves the core problem of how to get people to leave reviews. The problem is it’s a results based sales model which relies 100% on the whims of my customers’ customers. Something I have very little control over.  What does this mean? WaveReview asks my customers’ customers to leave reviews, so I’m actually trying to get their clients to do something, and I don’t have any relationship with these people. Oh how jealous I have been of my peers that had a metrics, reporting, or some other type of SaaS which simply provided information directly to their clients, and not one more hop down stream to people that I had no relationship with.

Take Away: If you are thinking of going into a SaaS where you need your clients’ clients to do something, think long and hard about this.  Of course, it can be done, but keep in mind how you will be able to effectively communicate with these people that you do not have a relationship with, and subsequently, have little influence over.

Lesson 3: Client Retention IS SaaS.

When I first launched WaveReview everything was great, for about 4 months. Then one by one my clients stopped using. Sure, I could sell my solution all day long, sales was not a problem. My monthly revenues remained flat for nearly 6 months, even though I was gaining 3 or 4 new clients per week. Why? Because my Customer Life Time retention was only 4 months, and so while I would add 3 or 4 new clients per week, 2 or 3 existing clients would leave.

To be completely frank, there were some dark months when I even questioned whether I had a viable business. Two things saved me and allowed me to push on. 1) I had a core group of 5 or 6 clients that used my product on a daily basis and loved it (there must be more) 2) The sales process was easy, the problem I was trying to solve was very real. 

I have partially solved this problem (I can still do better) by switching my focus from sales, to customer relationship and did Idea Extraction on all of my existing clients, and their clients (the people that were meant to be leaving reviews) to find out what was wrong. I still have clients dropping off but it’s 1 or 2 a month instead of 2 or 3 a week and I now have some clients that stay on 8 or 9 months and a core group that have remained since we launched.

Take Away: A core part of your day should be speaking to your customers and folding in features that are important to them, and make your tool become an ESSENTIAL part of their daily productivity, marketing, or business.  This will not ever go away.

Lesson 4: Remove the weak link, or biggest barrier of resistance to your application being used.

After 4 or 5 months, I was able to develop some rudimentary statistics which showed last client logins, who was using and when. It became apparent that if my users weren’t using my application, they wouldn’t have success, and would eventually drop off as a paying customer. In order to fix this problem, I needed to integrate with other applications that removed the human element (weak link) to manually upload data for the application to deliver its core features. I chose some applications that have a large user base, and started to think of integrations with other software companies instead of niches like plumbers, doctors, hotels and spas. My marketing is now to large companies like Amazon, Mindbody Online, Spabooker, Ultracart, etc. Now my users can sign up, complete a 5-10 minute long integration setup process, and never come back and still see immediate results on auto-pilot as I email them reports on a weekly basis that show those results. 

Take Away:  Take emotion out of your problem solving. Figure out where each weak point in your solution is, and plug those holes one by one. Speak to your clients to find these holes, and make it as easy as possible for your customers to tell you their problems.

Lesson 5: If you don’t measure, you can’t improve.

Everyone says this, but I can’t stress how important it is. Whether you manually track problems with your SaaS in a spreadsheet, use Google Analytics to track your conversions, measure Customer Lifetime Value in Kissmetrics (or a spread sheet), or monthly revenues in Stripe,  if you don’t measure, track and monitor key stats that you’re working on, you will not improve.

Take Away: Take your metrics deadly serious. 

Something else I learned?

I can’t public speak to save my life, or even speak in a group…what I’m going to do about it.

Had I the guts to simply walk up to Dane and say - “Hey Dane, I’ve got some quick tips to share on the last 12 months of running a SaaS, here they are… “ this is what I would have said on the share sessions.

The good news on all of this is that I have identified a large fear or flaw in how I am able to conduct business, and that’s the paralyzing fear of public speaking. Just as I have one by one found, solved and corrected problems in my SaaS, I’m now going to attack this fear of public speaking.

Hello Toast Masters… and maybe next year, I’ll give a post on how I was able to go from extreme stage fright to walking on stage like I’m walking up to chat with a good friend.

We’re back…#mexico

We’re back…#mexico

Moon set over Manzanillo bay. It’s good to be back in my second home. #Mexico

Moon set over Manzanillo bay. It’s good to be back in my second home. #Mexico