For 10 years, James Wedmore taught entrepreneurs and online business owners how to leverage the power of online video and YouTube marketing to reach more people, share their message and convert more customers. In 2016, James made a massive shift to focus on a big gap missing in the marketplace: the mindset needed for entrepreneurship. He launched a totally woo-woo podcast, the Mind Your Business Podcast and his signature program, Business By Design. Today he helps coaches, experts, content creators, and authors not only to craft better marketing messages but also how to ditch the “hustle” mentality and create success from the inside out.
James and his program, Business By Design were instrumental in me launching and growing The Ambitious Bookkeeper programs to what they are today. If you like my teaching style, I think you’ll love his, too!
Listen to this episode to learn:
Listen to The Mind Your Business Podcast with James>>
Tune into Jame’s FREE series: Rise of the Digital CEO Starting June 2, 2022 >> https://www.jameswedmoretraining.com/a/2147513259/zPShVuzt
Business By Design>>>
For more info about James, check out his website: https://www.jameswedmoretraining.com/
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[00:00:00] Welcome and thank you for tuning into this week's podcast here on the ambitious bookkeeper podcast. I'm Serena your host. And today I have a special guest. It is James Wedmore, who is one of my online mentors. If you've listened to previous episodes that I've done on creating courses, his name definitely came up. So today I actually have him on the podcast.
[00:00:24] To talk all things about how to become a digital CEO and what that is, how to bring more value to your clients. You know, I love asking entrepreneurs exactly what they value for you to be able to take that back and give to your clients. How to get started offering digital products like courses or group programs, if that's something that you want to pursue, but even if it isn't, I really want you to listen to this episode and also head on over to his podcast, which is the Mind Your Business Podcast to get more of the Wedmore. Woo.
[00:00:59] So I'm going to intro James, and then we will cut right to the interview. For 10 years, James Wedmore taught entrepreneurs and online business owners, how to leverage the power of online video and YouTube marketing to teach more people, share their message and convert more customers. In 2016. James made a massive shift to focus on a big gap missing in the marketplace, the mindset needed for entrepreneurship. So he launched a totally woo woo podcast, which I just mentioned the Mind Your Business Podcast and his signature program business by design, which I have taken and gone through.
[00:01:37] Today he helps coaches, experts, content, creators, authors not only to craft better marketing messages, but also how to ditch the hustle mentality and create success from the inside out. James and his program Business By Design were instrumental in me launching and growing the Ambitious Bookkeeper programs to what they are today so if you like my teaching style i know you'll love his too so let's get to it
[00:02:30] Serena: All right, James, welcome to the ambitious bookkeeper podcast. I am super thrilled to have you today. I'm a little bit nervous.
[00:02:39] James: Oh? The host is nervous. oh, I'm supposed to be the nervous one. I'm supposed to be nervous.
[00:02:47] Serena: Well, you've done this so many times but I'm very humbled and honored to have you on this podcast and to be able to introduce you to my audience. So why don't you go ahead and give everyone the cliff notes of who you are and how you started in this online world we know.
[00:03:00] James: Sorry, going on off to a great start. In fact I took my accounting 1 0 1 class in college, and I remember just being like, Nope, just like drop the glass. I was like, I dunno why, but it's not, it's not for me. But I have been running a business for the online for the past 15 years and that business has all I've, I've had several businesses, but they've all followed the same model. There's been one common denominator and that is the model of digital products of online education. E-learning whatever you want to call it. It doesn't matter.
[00:03:33] And that's what I've been doing for 15 years. It started in a very different place. I would actually went to college. I went to film school, one of the top 10 film schools in the country fun fact. And instead of going into the film industry, I kind of got my start and my break by teaching video. I was making videos for clients. I was starting as my own service and I was getting paid to make videos.
[00:03:55] And then you know, that entrepreneurial bug that bites us, you know, and you're just always like, what's next, what's next? And that's really what makes an entrepreneur, you know, is the difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur, which we have to be both. But the key difference is that if a business owner starts a business and you fast forward 20 years, it's the same business. The entrepreneur is always evolving, the business evolves.
[00:04:25] And so I went from that service of making videos for clients to teaching videos, to clients and built a million dollar a year business off of $97 products courses on the, on the internet. This is back, oh my gosh, 12 years ago. Teaching people how to make videos, make videos on their iPhone, how to use YouTube. And and the list goes on and on.
[00:04:47] And I did that for a really long time. Still loved doing that, but people started asking me, how the heck are you doing this? In fact, I had this a friend slash client, you know, like a peer in the industry. I was living in my hometown in Laguna beach, California at the time.
[00:04:59] And she asked, can I come stay out in Laguna? Cause I had like a little casita second place on the, on the property. I said, sure. And after a week of staying there, she finally like kind of breaks down and he's like, okay, you just got to tell me like, what the hell are you doing? Was like, I see you, you surf half the day. And I think maybe you're working for an hour or something and your business is way bigger than mine. What the heck are you doing? And I started getting a lot of those questions where it wasn't just like how to do this, but how to do it the right way so that you're not the bottleneck in your business so that it's actually working so that it's profitable and it's not like, you know, burning you out. Working 12 hour days.
[00:05:40] And that's when I started teaching it. And that's what I've been doing for, for a long time today is, is helping other entrepreneurs transition into creating digital products, whether it's the online course. You know, we've heard a lot of people about online courses, maybe as a membership group coaching. That model is the most profitable business model that you can tap into online because it allows you to make something once, you know, you create that product once. And then for years, you can get into the hands of thousands without physical, you know, fixed costs, physical, you know, inventory or anything like that.
[00:06:13] It transcends time because if you are a CPA or bookkeeper, it's still dependent on some level to your time, which means there's only so many clients you can take. There's only so much money you can make because there's only so many hours in a day. And it's the first way that I saw you can transcend the limitations of time, which means your revenue, your income potentiality is, is really limitless. And we've been able to take this business to eight figures. So I get so passionate about talking about all of this from every different angle and hopefully we can get into a lot of things today.
[00:06:44] How'd I do. Was that it was that an okay.
[00:06:46] Serena: That's great. That was great.
[00:06:48] James: Made sense?
[00:06:49] Serena: So you said that the people in the online industry were starting to ask you how you're doing this, or were they other course creators as well?
[00:06:57] James: Both I had both, I'll always both. I've had people that were at it for a long time, because the thing is, is it really is. I mean, like it's like the greatest model and it's so simple, but it's not easy.
[00:07:09] Serena: No it's not.
[00:07:10] James: There's a difference between simple and easy. And I really want people to get that simplicity means. It can be very clear, you know, here's an example of simplicity: raise your prices. Now, if I asked anyone, listening to your raise your rates, that's a very simple thing to do. What are you talking? No, no, no. It's very simple, but I'll lose all my clients. Right.
[00:07:34] It becomes hard because all our stuff comes up. Right. What if they cancel? What if they, oh my gosh. I'm so offended. How dare you raise your, you know, yeah. That's what makes it hard. And what makes it hard is it's like all our stuff that comes up. And so obviously we have a lot of rewiring and reworking to do in that department, but it's still simple.
[00:07:53] And this type of business can be boiled down to two things that we're always doing. And this is what I been doing for a very long time. Attract your audience. That's what we're doing. You're attracting your audience. You're attracting your people. You have done a phenomenal job of doing that. You do that partly through this podcast, new people are stumbling and finding you. And now they're in your audience, they're in your audience and we need to do that. And you don't need a ton of people to do anyone. Who's telling you, you need like millions of people are dead wrong. Cause these influencers that have like 2 million followers on Instagram, like can barely sell t-shirts for 10 bucks. Right. So it doesn't need to be much.
[00:08:29] And then the second piece is to sell them that are your audience, what they already want. And when you're doing these two things, it's so simple, not always easy but simple. So yeah, I had a lot of people that were, yeah, I've heard of this and I'm trying to do it, but it's not working. And then I had people.
[00:08:43] I'll give you a great example of this that hadn't even heard of this, realize this until they met me one example sadly she passed away and this was so sad and tragic, but about, I think like eight years ago, my yoga teacher. And she just knew I was kind of a weird guy. You know what I mean? Like if you do yoga oh yeah. Like hippy yoga coming up, but I'm like driving up in the brand new fancy Tesla, but I'm in like balmy board shorts, you know, it's like, I can't figure, is he a trust fund baby or something? And so she got like intrigued a little curious and she found me on the internets and she pulled me aside one day.
[00:09:21] And she said, I kind of want to, I want to do what you do. And I'm so weird because I kinda like tried to convince her not to do it. I was like, look, it's not easy. You're going to have to show up. You're going to have to put yourself out there. And I'm like, are you sure you want to do this as if you want to do it, I'll show you how to do it. And I gave her a lot of tips and stuff and I'm like half convinced. She's not, she's not going to do this.
[00:09:47] And then I hear from her six months, seven months later, something like that. And she's built this massive following on. Like uh, hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of views. And she turned it into a membership and she's getting all these people are tuning in live to her digital yoga classes and she's killing it. Wow. And I was like, oh my gosh, Leslie, this is incredible. And you know, it's so awesome.
[00:10:12] So I've had a lot of, you know, both sides of that. And you know, the, the phrase like you can't teach an old dog new tricks. And so I've had a lot of people. In fact, I just, I just did an interview with a successful student and she had to unlearn a lot of what she thought she knew she was going through business by design. And she's like, I've noticed already, I don't need to know that's not right. I know this. And she did like three launches and then just tank tank tank, and she find how to get to eat some humble pie and say, I need to just trust and listen. And that's when things started taking off.
[00:10:42] Whereas there's other people that don't know what they don't know. And so they start so. And they like learn the right way, the right time, the first time around. And that's always better, but I like to brag about myself and say that I have struggled more than anyone I know for a longer than anyone I know. And it was really rough. Like it was really, really tough for me four and a half years. I had to move back in with my parents, you know, when you're like in your mid to late twenties and you're a single dude, like that's, that's pretty embarrassing. Like you gotta your tail between your legs and you're coming back to live with mom and dad and they're paying for everything, you know? And I, of course, I'm, you know, talking to friends and like, oh, you know, my roommates, you know, you believe in my roommates as mom and dad and and really struggled for a long time, like really, really did I got, I got addicted to Adderall. Because I was selling this 3d go, go, go, go, go, go, go. You got to work harder. Hustle, hustle, hustle. So I was popping 20 milligrams of Adderall every day, not eating, barely sleeping, doing the 14 hours in front of the computer. And three or four years went by and I literally had nothing to show for it. And at one point my mom comes to me because she had to keep bailing me out. She had to keep giving me more money because I was doing this full time with nothing. Like, I think year three or four might. My income for the year was $18,000, like four years in like, you can't live off of $18,000 in Laguna beach, but even as a business, because all businesses have expenses and we're not talking about like your paycheck, we're talking about total gross revenue.
[00:12:21] And she finally like sat me down and it was so heartbreaking for me because she said it in such a like emotional, desperate way. Which is like, like you could tell, like a mother who loves her son and believes in her son, and she knew that this was going to work. She believed in me, but she's like, please hurry up and be successful because I can't keep doing this. I can't. And that was like so hard. And that was a really tough time for me. It was four and a half years of it before it took off. And I look back on that time in my life. And I'm so grateful for all of it because when I coach with clients and I work with clients, they bring me their scenario, their situation, their problem. And I have a Rolodex of memories and experiences of where that's, where I was. I remember when that happened to me, and this is how I got through it. And the end of the day, because you take yourself with you, wherever you go. It's so easy to take for granted your skills, your wisdom, your gifts, and what you know. And unfortunately when you take it for granted. You don't put a fricking price tag on it and you don't value it.
[00:13:32] And today, as I look at where I am, the value is in 15 years of in the trenches, the doings, and knowing what other people don't know and being able to say, Hey, watch out. There's a pitfall, right ahead. Hey, watch out. You know, there's a landmine right there, stuff around it. And thank you. You just saved me a ton of time, money and headache, and all of us have that. We just take it for granted.
[00:13:54] And if I'm thinking about the CPA, if I'm thinking about the bookkeeper, they probably are notorious for taking for granted what they know because the rest of the world, the normal people in society are completely-- especially entrepreneurs, because I know entrepreneurs very well-- are completely intimidated, overwhelmed, and uncomfortable by what you have come to create as your expertise, gifts, and zone of genius in the world.
[00:14:23] Numbers money, expenses, taxes, finances, budgeting is like the most important thing in the world of business and like the kiss of death to the entrepreneur. And when you start to see and realize that what entrepreneurs need, and everyone does not just entrepreneurs, I'm just speaking to entrepreneurs and what I needed, because that was my next battle. Once I started making money, I went, I dealt with my next journey, which is like, oh, how do you actually keep it? Oh, what's this thing called profit and wait, taxes? And I had to dig myself out of those holes. I had to learn how to manage money and all that stuff.
[00:15:04] And that's what so many entrepreneurs are missing. And I don't know why there aren't enough people right now that are assisting the entrepreneur in the realm of how to have better financial IQ and business acumen about how to manage finances, how to manage their business, how to read their numbers, because you know, people just think it's just marketing and it's not that's one component, but it ain't the only one.
[00:15:31] And so I always look at, like, I always tell my entrepreneurial clients and students and say, look, if money is like water and your business or your bank account as a bucket, what the struggling entrepreneur does, is they keep filling the bucket full of water money, even if there's holes in it. And they think that more money, more sales, more water is going to fix and clog the hole in the bucket, but it won't. And until you clog those holes, you're just gonna. Using money to solve a profit problem or an expense problem. And, and until we learn these things, then we just keep throwing money at a problem and it just keeps digging into a deeper and deeper hole. And there's not enough people out there really explaining that, you know, because spinners, it's all about just like, I'll be on social media and you have a business. No, you don't. And and there's so much more to that.
[00:16:22] So that's an example, you know what I mean of like, we, we just take for granted what we know, what comes easy to us. That's why we take it for granted, but it doesn't come easy to everybody. These are the things I had to learn. I sadly had to learn them the hard way, which is through painful life experiences.
[00:16:38] Serena: Yeah. That's one reason I really love, even though my podcast is for bookkeepers and accountants, I hardly have, I hardly have other guests that are also accountants. I love having other business owners because I get to pick the brains and like hand feed information to these bookkeepers to help them realize how valuable their services are and how they can communicate with entrepreneurs. So on that topic kind of shifting, what would you say is one of the, whether this is something that your bookkeeper does or your finance person, or that you think that would add a lot of value, what is something that has kind of like changed your business in that regard?
[00:17:19] James: So good. Well, I got really fortunate because I hired a CFO consultant and that's who I really use as my financial guide. And don't let my bookkeeper ever say this, you know, because the problem with most bookkeepers is and like CPAs. They are historians, and so they are looking to the past. And what is the entrepreneur? They're visionary. What's a visionary? Looking to the future. And so they speak two different languages.
[00:17:49] And so I hired a CFO consultant who was the CFO of free credit report.com. And when it was a fledgling startup, they took that to like a good jillion dollar sold it. He cashed out with a huge payday and he has just opened my eyes to so much. But what he's been able to do is interpret the past, you know, like a lot of like where our expenses are allocated and then use that to pivot in our plans for the future.
[00:18:20] Like, he's just come to example, this is like you know, you should be spending more on marketing. Your marketing budget should be, you have so much more room to expand your marketing. And you should be doubling down on, on these paid advertising platforms. You know, really what the revenue size and the profit margin. You, you could have another team member in here easily. And to have that guidance of we're looking to what you've done as a way to evaluate performance and drive future changes and pivots and future performance is invaluable. It's like your coach on the field. It's like, okay, here's a timeout real quick, okay, you're doing this right. This is great. But if you don't change this and this it's going to be a problem.
[00:19:04] And we ran into, unfortunately, a lot of problems where CPAs weren't doing that with us, because they just looked at the past. And my business is very different than the average business. Just like yours probably is today, too. Here's an example of that. 60% of our entire annual revenue comes in a four day period and that's in June. And any CPAs giving me advice on the health of my business from January's P and L's is going to have a very distorted limited view and perspective of the health of the business and how that drives future behaviors and decisions.
[00:19:43] And so we had to already train and set up myself and everyone on the financial team to read and interpret our financials differently. In fact, I had to train myself to only look at my quarterly P and L is not monthly because we run a 90 day revenue cycles. And, you know, so it was just, it was very different, but to have someone who could get on board with that and use it to help drive the future of the business was everything for us.
[00:20:12] And on obviously like, because it's a, this was his first business that was digital products. So he was kind of like flabbergasted, like the CFO was, he was just like, holy cow, like your numbers are what?
[00:20:25] Serena: How do you have such good profit margins?
[00:20:28] James: Oh yeah, yeah. And then it was a lot of time. It was like, you ha I have no notes, you know? And that's, that's just, that's so invaluable in and of itself is to just say like, you're doing it right, kid. You're doing good. Was, was huge. That was huge because you know, it is easy when you're, you know, to get inside the entrepreneurial brain, to just focus on making the sale, making the sale, generate, grow in the business, grow in the business. Right. But it's like, again, growing the business is like putting water in a bucket, but if the buckets full of holes, it really doesn't matter how much water you're putting in the bucket just comes out the bottom.
[00:21:02] Serena: Yeah, well, that's really great. Cause I have two things, a lot of people asking me, like how do we step into that higher level role of not just being a bookkeeper? How do I set myself apart and add more value? So that's one thing that I work with people on is being more like advisory and how to meet with your clients and how to explain the financial statements and just have the strategic discussions with them.
[00:21:25] James: Strategies is the short answer. I mean, and an evaluation of the current performance and then melding that into a here's. So here's the strategy moving forward. It's what any coach would do. If a coach was a tennis coach was watching their star player serve and they're watching it and they record it and they slow it down. They're looking at they're evaluating the past, serve yeah. And then they're going to that player and they're saying, okay, change your wrist movement a little bit here. Put your feet more in this and you know minor tweaks and adjustments is unbelievably valuable for someone, especially like the higher they go. Right? Because even just those little minor tweaks can be the difference of like hundreds of thousands of dollars.
[00:22:11] Serena: Yeah, absolutely. Also I have to say like, are we wearing matching shirts?
[00:22:17] James: Are we?
[00:22:17] Serena: I don't know. Is it like blue and green, blue and green tie?
[00:22:22] James: It's green and dark green. Okay. Mine's like Navy blue and green. I got the memo.
[00:22:30] Serena: Matching shirts aside. Okay. So the other thing I've been getting approached a lot and you mentioned this earlier with people in your industry and your yoga teacher was like, tell me how you're doing, what you're doing. So I've been doing this online course slash mentoring coaching type thing since probably the beginning of 2020, like I joined BBD in the summer of 2020 good old quarantine.
[00:22:59] James: The COVID business.
[00:23:00] Serena: But I had actually started doing this before COVID hit. So now I'm starting to get the questions from people that have been kind of watching me this entire time and are at that more advanced place in their business, wanting to add another revenue stream, scale without necessarily hiring, or wanting to scale without hiring. We could talk about that. Because if you want to go big, you kind of--
[00:23:25] James: It's the only way I know how to do anything, you know, and that's the thing is like, I understand a lot of people are like, you know, just be nice to make a couple thousand dollars on the side and you can do that. I don't know how to do that. I really don't know how to do that. It's like, I just, my attitude, it's just my personality. It's like, if I'm going to do something, if I choose to do something. Then, I'm going to give it all I got.
[00:23:43] Serena: Yeah me too.
[00:23:44] James: That's me, but it doesn't mean it isn't possible to yeah. You want a couple thousand on the side or that's fine. That's wonderful. But yeah.
[00:23:50] Serena: Yeah. So that is one of the reasons why, obviously I brought you on the podcast because I have been learning from you in your programs on launching digital courses, messaging online, all the things, and what better way to share with people then to actually bring my mentor in and share his wisdom.
[00:24:15] So. With that, I'm looking at my questions and I'm wondering where it should go next. okay. here's a good one. So a couple episodes back on your podcast, the Mind, Your Business Podcast, you interviewed a couple who actually is in our industry of bookkeeping and Candice and Jonathan. And--
[00:24:32] James: You know, them personally?
[00:24:33] Serena: I don't, but it was very interesting. It's funny that I don't, because it's like, it feels like a small world, but they're more on YouTube and I don't really do YouTube.
[00:24:41] James: So can I interrupt for a second? I'm funny before you finish your question, that episode is from 2020, and she reached out to me because we'd become good friends and she goes, Hey, so I don't want to be awkward or weird, but did I do something because you never aired my episode. And I was like, oh my gosh, what happened? And it was like lost in like the wrong folder on Dropbox. And we were like, we found it and we uploaded it. So that episode is two years old and then she sent me a voice chat. I saved it and she's crying. And she goes, I listened to that episode and I got how far I've come, even since then. Like that episode was like sharing all their growth and their wins. Now it's two years later and she's like, I've grown so much even since then. I'm like, well, I guess I gotta get you back on. But anyways, that was my story. All right. I know.
[00:25:37] Serena: That's all right. It's kind of funny that I, I don't, well, I don't know. I haven't looked at their YouTube channel, but I'm not like I don't do a lot of YouTube stuff. It's not really my thing, but what I want, I'm definitely going to link that episode in the show notes but, what I hear a lot of-- cause I get this objection when, when I'm trying to get people to leave corporate and start a bookkeeping or accounting business was it's like there's already so many people doing it. Why should I? And so I'm afraid of that objection happening as well with why should I create a digital course when there's so many other successful people doing it? Candice and her husband work with entrepreneurs with their course. I work with other bookkeepers and accountants. There's various ways you can do it. So what do you say to that?
[00:26:22] James: I say, you know, if people are already following their dreams, you definitely should not. And I think we need to take our dreams. We need to throw them in the trash. Let them go. No, I'm just kidding. -- But I mean, that's kind of what we're saying, right? Someone else followed their dreams, so I can't follow mine. And so what am I supposed to do? Should I go tell all those people to stop so that you can start? And sadly, it's-- look those questions we have to rec we have to, if I can go deep with your peeps, we have to begin to recognize that those starts are not really your own. Those questions are not really your own. They're coming from a part of you that uses fear, masked as logic to keep you safe. As long as there is this voice in your head saying, don't bother doing this because someone else already is then guess what? You won't do it because that's a pretty logical reason because it's, it's already been done.
[00:27:22] It's kinda like there's someone you're attracted to. You're like, oh, I really liked that person. Oh, but why ask them out? They're already dating somebody. But that that's, that would make sense. Yeah. Maybe they're already with someone, but that's not how this works. Do you have any millions and millions of people are out there in the marketplace and one person is supposed to serve all of them.
[00:27:42] Yeah. What, you know, there's this great quote that I love and it says it's not only the effect of, I don't know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. And when you step out to create a digital product, what you're really doing first is creating a personal brand and you look at it like celebrities, you know, we've got all these celebrities, you know, we've got all these fun things happening in the world. We've got this like Johnny Depp case and all these slaps hurt around the world. And people have their opinions there. It's like some of these people just like, they love him so much. It doesn't matter what they do. They can do no wrong. And he's like, wow, they have these. And then there's some people that hate him before they hate him even more after.
[00:28:20] And the point is, is that you have, and can create this personal brand. You know, being an entrepreneur for a long time, I've gotten into a lot of different investment opportunities, I built a side business. I'm getting into real estate as well, and I will still say unequivocally, the best investment I've ever made in my entire business career is the investment into my personal brand. And I don't say that with any shred of doubt, because that's 15 years of building relationship with people online that if I decided to create a physical product tomorrow or, or offer something else, there are people that will come with me.
[00:28:57] Elon Musk is a great example, love him or hate him. It doesn't matter that guy touches something and boom, people follow it, invest in it, join it because it's attached to him and we all have that opportunity. So why am I saying this? Because yes, someone might have a product that you want to go create. But they aren't you and I'm not trying to be all Hallmarky and motivation. A you're a snowflake. No, one's quite like you. Well, that's true. Okay. That is true. But I started doing surveys to my buyers years ago. Really smart thing to do. Right. And I asked them a very simple question. Hey, why'd you buy? Why did you buy my YouTube course? Why'd you buy my online business program? And you know what they told me, I thought they were going to tell me things like, oh, because I'm really struggling. And I really want to learn this. And because I really want to use YouTube to grow my business. No, every single time the answer was because there's something about your teaching style or there's something about your energy or I just really resonate with you. Isn't that interesting?
[00:30:01] The reason why people will buy your stuff. Isn't because of your stuff. It's because of you and no one can be you. That's not hallmark. That's not motivational. That's not. Wishy-washy, that's just a fact. No one has the lived experience that you have. No one is coming from it the way you come from it, no one speaks the way you speak. No one has the style that you have. No one has the full lived experience . that you and you alone get to bring to the table. So instead of saying, why should I create this program that someone else might already have? You can flip it and say, because no one can be quite like me, who out there is ready to learn from someone like me. And that's what it's about. Really?
[00:30:45] Yeah. And I agree. Look, I'll just prove this to you right now. There's going to be two types of people on this podcast. People that are leaning in and resonating and people that are leaning out. I don't know who you're not even here, so they've already gone. Right. And then there might be like a third one. That's like, I mean like, oh, I'm really, I really interested in the topic, but I don't like this guy, you know, it's all style. I'll keep listening. My ears are bleeding at this point, but I'll try to, you know, grin and bear it to the end and I can't let that affect me. So why are you letting it affect you? I'm not everyone's cup of tea. I'm also not the only option out there. You think I'm the only one out there doing what I do? No, but what I realized is the more I just lean into to me, you know, I put blinders on and I just, I don't, I don't focus on quote, unquote competitors. I just do me and I teach the thing that I want to teach. I help what, from where I know I can help, I give my 110% every single time. Everything else kind of tends to take care of. And I don't know if that's the answer people want to hear, but it's the fact is the, it's the truth. And this is from 15 years of working with thousands of people on how to do this in every niche. So I don't know. Does, does that make sense?
[00:31:56] Serena: That makes complete sense. That's, that's kind of what got me over the hurdle of just going and creating the thing, because I was like, well, you know, I'm helping people in the fricking Facebook comments anyways. I may as well just create something and sell it.
[00:32:09] James: And get paid you deserve to get paid. Absolutely. I love the line from the Batman movie that the Christopher Nolan one where the joker says something to like, if you're good at it, never, never give it away for free, you know? Amen to that.
[00:32:24] Serena: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So if someone is listening and they're like, okay, I kind of do. One a pursue this digital course or digital product type of business where, or how do they get started if they're completely new to it. And they're just doing bookkeeping or taxes or whatever right now.
[00:32:42] James: Yeah. So the first, the here's how to get started. The answer is we need to get paid as quickly as possible. And so instead of doing this thing that a lot of people do, which is they're nervous to sell, they're nervous to put themselves out there. Oh my gosh, because now it's very confronting before it was a service that I got trained and certified in and I'm doing that service, but now it's like people are coming to learn from me and all the emotions and the feeling feels will start to come up for a lot of people. Right. It's sort of flare up and we get into imposter syndrome and self sabotage and all that stuff. And we procrastinate and we hesitate and we distract and delay and all that stuff.
[00:33:22] And so you got to hack yourself through that, and say, I gotta get to profitability as soon as possible because you know, people always said, the proof is in the pudding. I'm still waiting for this pudding. The proof is in the profit and the quicker we can get someone to pay us for this the better. And so to tailor this specific to your listeners, my best suggestion and advice is you start with the lowest hanging fruit, make it as simple and easy for you as possible, which means past clients, current clients, anyone that's already in your circle. And even if it means I'm going to offer a one-on-one consulting to them like baby steps, you can go crazy. You can go big like you and I do, you know, like, boom, let's do a big launch. Let's let's offer a program, let's get a bunch of people in and you can do that.
[00:34:12] But a big aspect of confidence is rooted in competence. And another big aspect of confidence is rooted in our relationship with the future. So when you step into this world, you might know anything and everything about bookkeeping, finances, and that whole world, but there's a part of you. That's going to start to get real nervous because you're stepping into a whole unknown world. And even though you could have 30 years of experience behind you, you're going to start to feel like I'm a newbie, even though you're an expert. And so when it's a lot of unknown for a lot of people, they get really freaked out.
[00:34:51] So start hack yourself, hack the fear and start with the simple thing. Like, are there clients you have right now that you could pick up and close as consulting clients? My CFO and my CFO consultant to review my numbers to give me strategy, to get help me to coach me, to teach me, see James, you got to look at this and Hey James, you're not thinking about this. And w was so, and still is he's still, he still works with me so incredibly valuable. And you don't think you have clients that would be open to that right now, or you want to go, you want to step? He's like, no, James, I want to go a little bigger than that. Okay, great. Create a group program, get your first five or 10 people in. And this is what we call, I have a term for it in our program called monetize before you make it. And I love this because you basically make an offer for a paid group program that you're going to deliver live.
[00:35:53] So you'd be sitting there and you'd reach out whether it's through. Any group of people that you have, maybe it's past current clients, maybe it's people that are already like in your world and your circle, you start reaching out. And the thing is, is when you start, you gotta be scrappy. You know what I mean? Like, it's not like you just like put a post on your website and flocks of people are going to suddenly throw money at you. No. This takes time, you're building something, but you already have people that know you and have a relationship with you.
[00:36:21] Everyone listening, if you are a CPA bookkeeper, or you're in that world. I know without a doubt for a fact that there are people that already perceive you as an expert, this person knows what they're talking about. They know more than me about this. That is such a benefit. That's like 99% of us. When a lot of people struggle with the digital product thing and trying to sell it. They don't, they're like I'm doing all the right things, James. Yeah. But people don't see you as an expert. And this is proven. This is fact it's called the law of preeminence. People do not buy coaching, consulting advice or information from someone that their brain has not already decided. You are an expert.
[00:37:03] You don't buy knowledge from someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. So the fact that you have the certifications, you have the career, you have the years of experience, you have the clients you're already the expert. And that is such a leg up on so many people out there who are trying to make this work, but they can't. And there are people out there in your circle already, who perceive you as the expert who see you as that authority. And they will want to work more with you.
[00:37:34] So the monetize before you make it is where you make an offer to them to say, Hey, we're going to work together for X amount of weeks every week. We're going to go on a live call. I'm going to teach you something and we're going to train you on something we're going to do Q and a. And we're going to take you through this whole process and give you a simple, it really can be as simple as that again, not easy. Simple. And even to the point that my little sister did this, she just came out here. She's visiting me. So she just got in like an hour ago, and this is so funny because she bought BBD last year, 2021. And she's watched me for at the time, 14 years do this. And it was always watching on the sidelines, you know, like, wow, maybe I want to do this. And better was always wishing, wanting. And it wasn't of course, until I, she said, I want to do it. I want to get an inside business by design. I made her pay for it. Of course.
[00:38:21] Oh gosh. Right. What an awful big brother. But here's the funny thing. I got to tell this story, because this is really funny. So she bought it. People were like, oh my gosh, you made your own family by your program. You won't even give it to her. And like, people were like really just judging MC Judgerson about it. And I said, hell yeah, I made her pay for it. And then, you know what she calls. And she wants to give me such a hard time. Right? Cause I'm so good at giving her a hard time and she's just, she's got nothing on me. Let me tell you, she got nothing on me and she's like, I finally got you, James. I go, what she goes, I just bought, I don't have any email from you. No information on how to access the program. Is this the type of customer support that you have? I thought you were running a professional business here. What's the deal. And I'm like, okay, hold on. I stopped everything I was doing. I'm like, I'm going to figure this out.
[00:39:13] You know why she didn't get access to the program? I gave it to her four years ago. I already gave it to her. And the way the system works is that if you already have it and then you get it again, it doesn't send you the same email twice because you already have it. And she never opened it once I gave it to her four years ago, she didn't even watch the welcome video. And of course, when people pay, they pay attention. When there's skin in the game, people. Don't value free. Even if we're sharing some really great stuff here, most people listening don't place that much value on it, sadly, because we're just in this like belief system that if it's free, it can't be valuable. People just give crap away for free. Right.
[00:39:56] So anyways, long story short, she joined the program and she did the monetize before you make it. She did her beta. Once she had no list, she had no website. She, she had no business idea before BBD and she spent about six weeks, for her she wanted to use Instagram and she's just started posting stuff on Instagram about her topic.
[00:40:13] Now her topic is all in the weird stuff. It's woo woo, spiritual, probably right up your audience's alley. Right. And she's talking about--
[00:40:19] Serena: Actually yeah.
[00:40:20] James: That's good, good. She's talking about intuition and energy and stuff like that manifesting. Right? And so she starts sharing some information. And then all of a sudden she says next week and she starts teasing them. I'm going to be opening the doors to a program. And I'm going to be taking a small group of people through, I think it was six or eight weeks of live training on how to do XYZ. And if you're interested, you know, get ready, let me know, blah, blah, blah, blah, boom. And then she said, boom, okay, today's the day that you can come and join my program, but I'm only letting a few people in.
[00:40:49] She told me, she goes, James, this is so funny. She's like, if I got one that was a win, she charged 111 bucks easy. So if I got one, I'd be happy. But my goal is three. Well, she got nine and then a week and a half later, and then two weeks later, two additional people reached out to her and said, I've heard nothing but amazing, great things from your program, from the other people going through it.
[00:41:17] Can I join? She got 11 people. Wow. And then it's really cool. She had no list. She had no what, she had none of that stuff. And she got her 11 people in and she sent me this tax. I'd have to find this. And she said to me, and he was like, it's beautiful. I was like, kind of sad at the same time. But because she's married, she has two of the most amazing kiddos in the world. And she said, this is the happiest I've ever been in my entire life. And I'm the happiest because I feel like I finally found my purpose. Like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and this is it. This is it right here. This is it. I can feel it. And that's so awesome because that's what my purpose is, is like helping people--
[00:41:57] Serena: Find their purpose.
[00:41:58] James: Well, profit from their purpose like, you can find your purpose and then like hide in your room and sit on the couch all day and binge on Netflix. Like I know what my purpose is supposed to be, but I'm not making any money. And I want people to, to make money and a lot of money doing what they love. That to me, I love money, not like in a greedy, unhealthy, toxic way, but when we have and can work and harness the power of money and we could have a whole conversation about that, because that would be really interesting with bookkeepers. And you handle it the right way. It's not like it makes you happy. No, but it gives you access to so much more, you know what I mean? Like you're out of survival when you're in survival mode in your life, it's feast or famine. You can't focus on your happiness. You know, that's the thing is like, oh, money doesn't make you happy. No, of course not. But it's really hard for someone to maintain a level of happiness. If they're about to lose their home or their car, or they can't pay their bills. And that's really hard and that's really scary for someone. And when you can transcend that and be in control of your financial destiny, when you can create and cause money on demand, that changes everything for the quality of your life, your emotional state, you're not in stress, you know, fight or flight mode. And I was for a really long time. And and that changed everything. I went down that route, you know, thinking it would make me worthy and good enough and happy, and it didn't. And I fell into a whole like crazy depression, but on the other end of that, you know, it comes from within, but we still live in this 3d reality of circumstances and whatnot.
[00:43:32] So anyway, so she did her second launch and she doubled sales again and she know what, and I gave her such a hard time. She didn't even follow the business by design process. I said, Jill, what was your launch strategy? I was like, what do you mean? I just did the same thing I did before. I said, what? No. Now you got to put, plug the launch process in, right?
[00:43:53] And she's like you do. She never went back to business by design to go. Cause it's happens in stages. Right? First you got to do the founding members, beta launch monetize before you make it. Then when that hits, you got to come back and you got to build a bigger launch. And then when you come back, you do that again, you add the traffic, you're out of the runway, you add all these pieces to it and she'd never come back to it. And she's still so screwing it up. She still doubled, doubled her numbers and she's like, I'm having a blast. So hopefully her third launch I'll be able to report back and she'll have made even more. But That's how I that's how I would say you get started. I know it was like long-winded answers to right now. I can't do short, but hopefully that can start to make sense. And I can unpack that more if you want it's up to you where you want to go.
[00:44:32] Serena: That that makes total sense. I did the monetize before you make it. I think I technically did that before even joining your program. So I didn't use necessarily your method, but I did a launch and I only had like an email list of a hundred people that I launched to. And I was a total weenie about it and only launched really to my email list into my Instagram. And I wasn't like, I didn't do a big, crazy flashy thing, but I still got like six people in to that first cohort
[00:44:59] James: May I ask what the price was, how much were you selling it then?
[00:45:02] Serena: Way lower than it is.
[00:45:06] James: That's the point it's supposed to, like, this is. Like I said, if you go to Kickstarter, it's the same thing as Kickstarter, you go to Kickstarter, go have fun on Kickstarter. And there are companies there that will say, listen, we're making fancy water bottle things, and we're going to sell these in stores for 40 bucks, but you can get yours now for 20. And of course, it's going to take us six months to get it to you. And we're going to use the money to fund the capital we need to get the manufacturing and get the product created. And so it's going to take time, but you're going to get it at a discount.
[00:45:39] That's what the founding members launch is. Hey, this is the first time I'm doing this. And so as a founding member, you get a big discount. But when I go out into the world and this is all done and complete, it's going to sell for a lot more. So that's the opportunity, that's the benefit. And that's amazing. And that's how we start. That's the answer right there.
[00:45:57] Serena: Yeah, absolutely. Because then it validates what you're doing. Make sure that people actually want it before you just waste a bunch of time creating something that people don't want. And I--
[00:46:08] James: That would be the worst I've been there and I've done that. You don't trust us. You don't want to do it happened a lot.
[00:46:13] Serena: So so yeah, monetize before you make it and you can get that whole strategy inside BBD.
[00:46:18] James: Step by step. Yeah. That was like a big thing for me is like, you know, I can, I can teach you guys all this stuff. And my head's full of years and years of knowledge and all that stuff. But what I found was just through my own struggles, what, something that was missing that I didn't know it was missing. And it was actually ironically because my CPA called me and this was January of, I want to say 2013, 2014. And she said, I have good news and I have bad news. And I'm an optimistic guy, you know? So I said, well, give me the good news first. And she said, well, you just made more money in a non launching, like promotional month ever. So it was actually February and she was talking about January. So it was like February 5th or something like that. And she's talking about January and I'd made $70,000 in one month of January. And I was ecstatic because I wasn't launching anything that was just like, you know, stuff coming in through various channels with very little work, so stoked.
[00:47:25] But then I had the bad news. I said, well, so what's the, what could possibly be the bad news? And she said, well, you made 70,000, but your expenses were 72. And I, I dropped to the, I had a panic attack. Like I had tunnel vision and I like, my heart was just like beating out of my chest. And I was freaking out because what I was reacting to, wasn't what she said, but what I told myself over and over again, the moment that happened. Which is, this is the beginning of the end. This is it. I hope you had fun. I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, but it's over now and it's just going to be months before you're just taking yourself down.
[00:48:13] And I thought back to this earlier time, when I told you I had struggled for all those years, like 2007, 8, 9, 10, and every day I would go to Subway as I think it was like every other day, I'd go to Subway, Subway sandwiches, you know, remember, remember Subway and I would get the, what was it? $5. Footlongs that way I could spend the five bucks and get a full-blown. I got, I got two meals. And I remember reflecting back on that and having this thought of envying the sandwich artist, because that person had two things that I didn't have. Number one, they could clock in and they could clock out.
[00:48:54] And Lord knows as, as an entrepreneur, especially when we're just getting started. It's all consuming. Physically, you might clock out, but mentally let's be honest. So many of us, we take it all to bed. It's there in the morning when we wake up, it's all consuming, especially when it's not working.
[00:49:08] And number two, this person was making more money than me. Yeah. The sandwich artist, artists, we've got to, got to quit at the end of the day and call it a quit call quits and still make more money than me. And I was like, how am I envying the sandwich artist? And I reflected back on when I was like, I don't know what I'm going to do.
[00:49:30] And something I've learned today, again and again and again and again, which is, this is pure truth. I mean, this is this isn't James's opinion. This is fact. Pain is a blessing. And the problems that we face in our life occur for us for our own growth.
[00:49:58] And today it's easy because I know that so I can move through it and learn it faster. But the pain is a blessing, because pain is the only time we pay attention. That's why there's pain in the body to draw your attention, to say, Hey, something's wrong here. You're not you. Don't a lot of us, not all of us, but a lot of us don't recognize our body or our sensations or how we feel in our body until something's wrong. And then that's when we do something about it and the same goes with our business, no matter what, if you just stay with your CPA bookkeeping business, or you starting on any business. And I had some problems that I was not looking at, that I, that had to change.
[00:50:40] Serena: Some holes in the bucket?
[00:50:42] James: Some big holes in the bucket. And here's what they were. I was too much an entrepreneur. Did you have you watched this we Worked show on Hulu yet. No, you guys, you guys all gotta watch it. It's Adam Newman I think his name is he's. The founder of WeWork you're familiar with. They were great. They were never profitable. They, they ended up having more real estate in, in Manhattan, New York city and any other company ever. They were called a unicorn company. They were the second, most valued, highest valued private company, like in the history of companies. And they were total train wreck disaster.
[00:51:20] And the entrepreneur Adam is that stereotypical entrepreneur cranked up times a thousand, very untrained. What's the word just, just are unleashed, you know, like he was buying water parks and schools and-- just like the most ridiculous stuff. Right. And then, and then just spending. I mean, I think they were going through $110 million a week just burning. Right. And just didn't know how to run a business. And it was all about vision and fluffy words. And I think entrepreneurs all could see a little bit of themselves in that. And that was me to a degree. And if I didn't want to deal with it, if it was a problem in my business, I didn't want to deal with it. You know what I did, I threw money at it. Someone else go fix it, someone else go do it.
[00:52:05] And that caught up with me to the point that I was losing money. And I was hiring these overpriced freelancers to do these things and I was working harder. So I was like, wait a second, let me get this straight. I am paying people to do things in my business and then I'm working even harder now, because then I got to go fix their mistakes and redo it. And then they're actually making more, I mean, this is a true story. They were making more money in my business then I was by far. I'm like they're walking home with $4,500 a month and I'm negative. They're making more money than me out of my own darn business. Something's got to change. And here's what changed. And this changed everything for me, truly.
[00:52:49] I play with Legos now that my nephew Ewen is like six. He can, he can do Legos, so we do Legos together and I was playing with Legos and I was building a red VW bus because I had one at the time. So I was like, oh yeah, I'm going to have like the little model of the little bus. And I started building it. And long story short, I finished building it and I'm like, look at me, look how awesome I am. The, the bus I built is identical to the picture on the box. Look how awesome I am. And I was like, how come my team can't freaking do that. How come they can't do the thing that I want them to do? I mean, I built Legos. I'm not a Lego engineer, I'm not an architect, I'm not a contractor. And I built this thing, 3d model perfectly. And then it was like, oh yeah, that's because there's this amazing step by step Lego--
[00:53:47] And then I just like, before I even finished the sentence, like the light bulbs hit and I realized is the only reason I could build that had nothing to do with my skills. Yeah. I had to have commitment and discipline to get in focus and get to the finish line of the project. But I had the process, I had the manual and I just had that as a one, like a one tought that can like change everything. And I said, what if, what if my business had that? What if, what if I had the Lego instruction manuals in my business?
[00:54:19] So I stopped everything. I sat down and I spent, it took two weeks to do the first one. Step by step by I'm talking like open up your landing page software, press this button, click here, go there, add this, do this, blah, blah, blah. It took two weeks to do one. And then I went to a website called online jobs, pH and I hired a brand new virtual assistant out of the Philippines for like, cause the, the, the Filipino peso is compared to the U S dollar is U S dollar carries a lot more weight. Let's just say that. So it's like four or $5 an hour. Unbelievable. I hand the process, no training. I said nothing, barely an interview. And I said, can you follow instructions? Do you have a laptop? You have good internet? Great. I just want you to follow this step-by-step and let me know when you're done. And what I had given her was a process or an instruction manual that I created on how to, how to do a webinar. There's a lot of moving pieces. It was like 64. I think if I counted it all, it was a lot of moving pieces and it was taking me two days to do it like two full days to do it.
[00:55:24] So I hand it to her. Sure enough. Two days later, I get it back. Landing page works perfectly button opt-in goes to a thank you page as into the email, but email comes up, adds them to go to webinar. The reminder that this, the double bubble, blah, blah, blah, all done. And I realized I took two days of work down to two minutes of an email and it just changed everything.
[00:55:48] So I let everyone go. All these people that said, I know how to do it if you pay me enough money, I'll figure it out myself. And I said, no, I'm going to create the structure on how to do this. And I'm going to hire the people and they're going to follow my Lego instruction manuals. And that's what I did. And it's pretty crazy to hear this, but we took the business at the time was about a million, 1.2 million. And within a couple of years hit over 10 million in revenue and was working less than ever before.
[00:56:21] And it led to a very simple, simple thing, which is that the more structure you have in your business, the more freedom you get back in your life. Also the more profit, but the more structure, the more freedom. Absolutely because you become the bottleneck. Right? And so that's what business by design became. I did all this before I had business, but, and I was teaching my YouTube stuff and my video stuff, and that was the business. And then I realized if this transformed everything in my own business, I think other people need to see this too.
[00:56:50] And so we took all these execution guides, we took all these step-by-step processes and we put it in a program where people can grab themselves and just follow the steps. Like if you're building your own Legos or, and this is the way of course, I always encourage it, handed off to that virtual assistant and say here, take it and build it.
[00:57:07] And that's when we noticed, like, everything was changing for our students and clients, because they weren't just getting. The content, the knowledge, the consulting, they were getting the way to do it. Yeah. And there is such a gap that still exists with most people between knowing and doing, and doing and getting results. Because everyone here listening, you're listening because you want some result that you don't have. And we all know that what's required for that. Is that the doing, and we don't know what to do. We don't do it. And if we don't do it the right way or do it at all, we never get the results. So I wanted to give people the knowing how to do it, what to do it, and a way, an environment, a process where it's actually possible to finally freaking do it.
[00:57:57] So that was, that was basically like the, the inception and the origin of, of BBD. Yeah, hopefully that makes sense.
[00:58:04] Serena: Yeah. I've heard these stories before, but my audience probably hasn't. They're still, they're still really awesome to hear every time. Okay. So where are we at time? We are pretty much at time, so I don't want to take you away from your sister visiting.
[00:58:19] And so with that, thank you so much for coming on my podcast, super honored and sharing all of this with my audience. Where is the best place for them to connect with you or what you have going on?
[00:58:33] James: I got a couple of places. First of all, since you're already listening to a podcast, if you like podcasts, I do invite you to come over and check out an episode or two of mine. It's called The Mind Your Business Podcast and really what the conversation I have over there is for any entrepreneur. And it's always a conversation that's like less than. You know, here's just what to do, but, but more of like how to be and overcoming all the things that we deal with as entrepreneurs, whether it's like, you know, productivity or self-sabotage imposter syndrome or just like the psychology of pricing and scaling and how to be a better leader and a better manager and a high performing entrepreneur. And I love having all those conversations because I think that's just like, at the core of it would always jazzes me up is like how to unleash higher levels of performance and business and entrepreneurship is the game and the environment to do that. You know, sky's the limit.
[00:59:25] And then if you are listening and you want to learn how to create, to launch, to, to scale a business around a digital product? Whether it's your first one or your next one, maybe you're still not sure what that topic should be. Or maybe you put something out ther but it's like not selling we're doing a three part live training workshop. This June, June 2nd, it's called The Rise of the Digital CEO. And I do this once a year, every year.
[00:59:57] And the shortest simplest version of what you're going to experience when you go through this is I just show you the whole business that we built. I show you what we do at every step, how we do it, how we're able to generate you know, 10, $11 million a year selling digital products. And it's a pretty mindblowing process because a lot of the things that happened behind the scenes, like people don't really notice a recognize. And on top of that is a very holistic plan.
[01:00:26] So you're gonna get a lot of people that talk about like, oh, you just need to be on Instagram or you just need to do this one thing. Or if you just have this or do this. Then you'll be successful. And that really works. That's like saying, you know, the secret to an apple pie is just to have great apples. It was like, yeah, but you need all the other ingredients as well to get the end result.
[01:00:43] And so we just give you the whole recipe and it's a, it's a good time. It's really fun. We do it live. We have an in-person studio audience. So I have guest entrepreneurs in the studio that you get to learn. And I coach them alongside the, the whole training. And you get to see them in various different niches and different types of products at different stages in their business as they're going and growing as well. So that's called The Rise of the Digital CEO, because no matter what business you're in. There is a role that your business needs for you to fill the highest value role that's sitting there waiting for you. And that's the role of the CEO, the Digital CEO, because the role that you fill determines the results that you receive, and if you want better results, well, we've got to elevate to a better role. So yeah, that's kicking off June 2nd.
[01:01:28] Serena: Awesome. Exciting. Yay. All right. Well, thank you so much. I will link all of this in the show notes and again, I will talk to you soon.
[01:01:39] James: Awesome. Thanks Cirina and thanks everyone for listening.
[01:01:43] Serena: All right, bye.