007 4 essential pillars to a passive income business with Graham Cochrane
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Paige: Hey ladies. Welcome to episode number seven. Today I'm so excited to introduce you to Graham Cochrane. I heard Graham speak at the Creative at Heart Conference a little while back and at the conference he shared the four pillars of creating passive income. I have to say he absolutely nailed it. My business is 99% passive income these days, so I know for a fact that everything he said in his talk was absolutely spot on.
Paige: After I heard Graham speak I knew I had to have him on the podcast to share those same four pillars of passive income with you. So, if you're ready to separate your hours and dollars and build a business that doesn't take over your life, passive income is the answer. So listen closely to what Graham has to say because he really is an expert on this topic. He and his wife have built multiple million dollar businesses all with passive income.
Paige: Quickly before we get into today's episode there's something I want you to hear first. So you know you want to run an online business, which allows you a lifestyle of complete freedom, but you're struck figuring out which online business idea would actually work for you. Not to worry, my online business matchmaker training is just for you. Think of the training like a cocktail. We're going to mix together the passions and talents that you already have. You're dreamy ideal customer and successfully proven online business revenue models. Get immediate access to the totally free 30 minute video training and accompanied workbook at PaigeBrunton.com/matchmaker. Again, that's PaigeBrunton.com/matchmaker.
Paige: Welcome Graham to the show. I'm so excited to have you here.
Graham: Yeah, I'm pumped to be here Paige, thanks for having me on.
Paige: Absolutely. So, I'm so excited for listeners to get to hear all of your insights today because you know your stuff when it comes to passive income and online income. So, this wasn't always your life, however. You had normal jobs in the past. Can you walk us down memory lane and tell us how did you get started in the online business world?
+ full transcript
Graham: Yeah, I had no idea this was a thing. Let's see, basically it was the recession. I say it was the recession in '09 that forced me into it. My wife and I moved to Florida to help a buddy start a church. So we all kind of left our jobs, left our homes, and adventured down to Florida and we're looking for new jobs, that was really challenging in 2009 in Florida. The whole world was freaking out.
Graham: So finding a job was amazing and then four months, five months later the company I started working for ran out of money as a company so they had to close their doors so they had to let me go. There we were, new city, new baby, our first baby was born, brand new mortgage and bills to pay and my wife was home with our baby and I was freaking out. So I did what anybody who has any kind of skill, or any kind of freelance experience would do, which is you just try to ramp up your freelance work. I had already been recording musicians and recording bands for years. That was my skill set was helping make records for people.
Graham: I was calling every ... You know when you really need business you call everybody and I'm very available right now.
Graham: I was calling everybody and getting as much work as I could and that helped. I was willing to do any kind of the work. So even my friends who already had gigs I would call them up and say, "Hey, is there anything you want to outsource of your gigs that you don't like doing, I'll do." That's a great little bonus tip if you need to quickly get some freelance work is you can hijack other people's clients by being an outsource person for the dirty work.
Graham: So, in that world of freak out, we went on food stamps for 18 months. It was the lowest point of my professional life and really my psychological life because I felt like a complete failure. I was four years out of college and always held a job since I was 14, I was like, "What am I doing here?" It was in that zone and in between whatever gigs I did get that I thought, "How can I ramp this up?" I don't know how to ramp it up but I figure if I just sit here and don't do anything no ones going to hear about me. So what's another way people could hear about me.
Graham: This is kind of where my origins of how I still believe about passive income works best comes from this how can I get people to know I exist. So I started putting out content. I started to blog. I started to make YouTube videos about what I was doing with these bands. What I was doing in the studio thinking that it might just get me in front of some people and that maybe they would hear about, see what I'm doing, see that I'm credible and maybe they'd want to hire me to help them out with their projects or help finish their projects.
Graham: What ended up happening is that it became more of a resource that people wanted to know more about, they wanted more videos and more articles. They're like, "Teach me more about this." So I had plenty of free time because I had no job. It was like in between gigs, I was like, "Sure I'll make more videos." I don't know why, I don't know how to make money off of this, but I can help some people. I kept thinking it would get the word out, get the word out. So, that was my only strategy was get stuff online so at least I have a chance of being seen. That turned into the genesis of what's called The Recording Revolution, which is the main business I've been running since 2009 and it's been a whirlwind of learning, oh there is a model for turning what you know and what you're good at, especially if you're a service.
Graham: I know your story goes from service based to sort of passive income. There's a model to even shift over if you already have a business to online and it's just been a fun journey ever since. Paige: Yeah. So good. I'm so excited for you. Yeah, that sounds like a wild ride but I'm really happy for you that you got through some tough times, so good job.
Paige: All right, so I was listening to your brand new podcast. I was at the gym today running and I was listening to it. It's really good. I loved your definition that you had of passive income. You talked about a fixed amount of work and disproportionate income. Can you explain what that means. So what is your definition of passive income?
Graham: Right, so passive income is a hot button topic. Literally somebody just before this call Insta messaged me, DM'd me a clip of Gary V. dropping a million F bombs on any ... He's like, "If I hear another f-ing person talk about passive income I'm going to punch their face off." And he's like, "There's no such thing." He's making fun of the concept of passive income. Part of that, and I love Gary V., I've bought a few of his books. Part of that is his branding, his position, any content creator has to take a stand.
Graham: So he's a hustle hard kind of guy. I'm like the opposite of that. Although Gary V. and I have very similar views in a lot of ways, but we brand very differently, so he's going to tell you to just work, work, work, and so he's going to make fun of people that say passive income. As he should, that's his position. That's very strategic marketing. But passive income is very real because passive income simply means, automatic income might be a better term, but it's income that comes in without you actually doing anything.
Graham: So that could be royalties from a book you wrote. That could be royalties from a song you wrote or a movie that you're in that's still playing on the Hallmark channel. That could be a business that you own, a brick and mortar business that you own that you have strategically worked yourself out of from being day to day ops and just being a true owner that has other people running it and the income comes in. That is by definition passive income, where you're not trading your time for dollars in a direct proportion.
Graham: So I always say it's the best kind of income because it's income based off of work you do once, or a fixed amount of work that if you're smart over time you can widdle down, widdle down, down, down, down, which is what I try to do every year is work less while generating the same or more income and that way you get these disproportionate results for the work you do, which I think is the best type of reward. You work smarter not harder.
Paige: Absolutely. Yeah, when I thought about when I moved from services over to products I kind of saw it as like, I removed the number of hours I was working from the number of dollars I could be making. That's kind of how I think about it. So, yup.
Graham: Yeah, perfect. That's good.
Paige: Good, okay, we're going to get into the four components of passive income. Before we do, there's a mistake that a lot of people make when they want to create passive income and that's skipping straight to the last pillar. Creating their product. I was listening to your podcast you talk about this, can you explain what most people do and what tends to happen if they go straight to creating a product.
Graham: Right, so the product is what we all want to make, we want to sell them, and we want to make money and also even if we don't sell them we like building these products and courses and memberships, it feels really good because that's the tangible thing. The problem with building the product first or thinking about the product first is that you have no idea A, if it's what people want. That's the number one mistake is that business owners build products online or offline, service based or product based, they build products and services that they think people want without actually finding out if that's what people want.
Graham: So the only way to virtually guarantee what you have to offer will sell is to make sure that you're in tune with what people actually want to buy and then go build those things. So, you never want to just start building a product because you don't know if it's what people want. You might have a guess and that's a good way to start. A better way to start is even to be your target market, that's what I did. I was a musician, am a musician, knew the pain points that my target market had. So it was very easy for me to get inside their head because I am them. That's an easy way to short cut it. You still want to test some ideas. So that's why you can't start with a product.
Graham: Two, you have no one to sell it to. That's one reason why Facebook ads are so huge right now for newbies. One of those new people starting a passive income business or online business or even service based business, they're all like, "How do I get the Facebook ads to work.?" It jut is a classic clue or red flag that they think I've got the product, now all I need is people to sell it to, hence shouldn't a Facebook ad give me that.
Graham: That skips the first other three components, which we'll walk through, but you need someone to sell it to and not just fresh eyeballs you need a curated, engaged, perfectly targeted group of people that's the right fit for what you have to offer. You don't even have to sell that hard because you're already speaking their language. They already love what you're doing. So when you have a product eventually, they're more likely to buy.
Paige: Yup, absolutely. They're familiar with you, that's worth something in and of itself. Facebook ads is just a random ad and you're like, "Who is this person?"
Graham: No, familiarly is so huge. There's a good friend of mine that I just met a month or two ago. I'm beginning to know this guy named Rob out of Texas, he's brilliant. His whole thing is Facebook ads, But one of the things that he says though is one reason why Facebook ads are stupid for a lot of people is because they're using them the way TV commercials are run. It's like it interrupts an experience. Whereas what I like to do doesn't interrupt anyone's experience, it's actually what they're looking for. So they find me in a much different brain space because they're almost looking for me.
Graham: But what he said if you're going to run ads, forget the conversion ads, focus on familiar branding ads where it's just you're showing up, this is who I am, I'm a leader in my field. They're getting to know you. You're not actually trying to convert them to anything it's just they become familiar with you. You're paying for that familiarity is one way to do it. Then when you do run an ad for converting them into something, it's more likely to convert. So anyways, you mentioned familiarity and that's a huge reason why most ads don't work, and a huge reason why what I like to do works a lot better because by the time I'm pitching them something, they're very familiar with me.
Paige: Yes, absolutely. Okay good. So, yes, your process, your four steps that you have absolutely nail it on the head. So, can we get into what people should correctly do if they want to build passive income online. What is the first step that they need to take?
Graham: So, the first pillar is content and that's the most important pillar.
Graham: So of all the ones that doesn't go away, content doesn't go away. You can build your product, your product line and not have to keep building products. Eventually you might have to update a product, but I don't build a ton of products. My best seller for The Recording Revolution is a course that I created in 2011 and I've been selling it since. I just updated it in 2019. So eight years later. That one little courses alone is a million dollar product, just by itself. It wasn't even shot in HD. You build it once and you can sell it forever. The products you can build once, the other two components we'll talk about you can kind of get in place for the most part and leave them be, but it's the content that never goes away. That's why it's not 100% hands off.
Graham: Nothing is really 100% hands off unless you have income producing assets like real estate or stocks, but that's not what we're talking about today, we're talking about a business. You're going to be involved but when we say it's ongoing to some degree, this is the part that's ongoing to some degree which is the content. It's the most important because this could be blog articles, this could be YouTube videos, this could be podcasts like this, this could be Facebook live. There's some people that are building their online business just on Facebook lives. It could be Instagram, although it's a little trickier because it's hard to curate a ton of content on that platform because it disappears.
Graham: But the idea is the free stuff that you put out into the world, that is genuinely valuable, that is genuinely life changing, and I use that word very intentionally. That sounds very big, but it should change somebody's life in some small way. Hopefully this podcast episode, it's one episode, but you're curating some content, we're having a conversation that if this is all they listen to, it's free and it's one episode, but it could change their life even if they took one little baby step of action. That's what I mean is don't create really light teaser content that's fluff or it's just another listicle of 10 ways to do the same thing that everyone else's 10 ways to do the same thing is.
Graham: Create something just slightly unique but truly valuable. The reason this is the most important pillar is this is like your advertising. It's for free. It is your marketing. It's your brand building. It's what gets people to hear about you because it goes out in to the world and Google finds it, YouTube finds it, and people discover you through your content.
Paige: Yup, exactly. Yup, perfect. All right good. So, I'm going to ask you more questions related to all these steps, but I'd love to go into what pillar two is next. So can you tell us what that step is? Graham: Yes, pillar two is your lead magnet. This is the free thing that you offer in exchange for their email address. So people call it a content upgrade or the freebie or the opt in or whatever you want to call it. I call it a lead magnet because they find you, let's say someone finds your blog article, your podcast, your YouTube video, hopefully it's good, so they've consumed it and they're like, "Oh my gosh, this Paige girl is awesome. This podcast is amazing. I learned so much in that episode."
Graham: The problem is you don't want them to leave and go on and do something else. Or they stumble across your website and they're like, "Oh this looks great." The problem is you don't want them to leave because they're going to leave and they're busy. I'm buys like you're busy. Even if they liked it, they'll forget to come back. There's so much other content out there in the world, they could never find they're way back, that's a possibility.
Graham: So, we want to take advantage of the fact that they found us. We're fortunate enough they even found us. Praise the Lord, they found us. It's like, what are we going to do now. Are we going to sell them a product? No. No, because they may not be ready to buy. So what's more important than making the sale that they might not convert on? It's gaining that relationship so that we can continue to interact with them in the future and the best way to do that is by email.
Graham: So you need their email address and want their email address and we want to give them something at the end of the content or at the beginning or both, that's relevant to what they've been learning, relevant to your topic, that will take them even deeper, super irresistible, could be a simple PDF, it could be a cheat sheet, it could be a video, could be a workshop they could watch, could be a hidden podcast episode they can download and listen to. Something that the topic or the promise is so irresistible the fact that it's free, they don't even have to think twice about it. So can vague, we want it to be specific and amazing and they give you their email address in exchange for it.
Paige: Amazing, yup, perfect. Good. And then pillar number three, what happens next?
Graham: This is where the automation starts to happen. This is where you have an email, funnel, or an autoresponder or an email sequence, something with a piece of software like Mailchimp or ConvertKit, where they get the freebie that you offered them, now their email address is in your list, in your system, and you've pre-written a few emails. It could be one, two, three, it could be 30, doesn't really matter. These emails then immediately go out over the next few days, and they're kind of like an onboarding welcoming them to this private community. Like, "Hey look, you're cool because you signed up for my email list. You downloaded my free thing." You're going to give them some more value, some stuff that's not on your site, that's not public so they feel like, "Dude, I'm really glad I joined her list. This persons got a lot to give."
Graham: Then it transitions naturally into pitching your digital product, again, which is the fourth pillar, the one that everyone skips to. So it becomes your automatic sales team that naturally puts an offer in front of them that probably is really interesting to them.
Paige: Yup, absolutely. Good. And then number four, I guess we've kind of gotten there but can you explain what that is.
Graham: Yeah, so your digital product is number four. That could be an online course that teaches them something amazing, gets them an amazing transformation. It could be a membership site. It could be coaching. It could be one-on-one coaching that they apply, or it could be group coaching, or it could be a workshop that you're running. Anything that's digital. My wife has a few digital products, she sells stock photography, both individual images-
Paige: Amazing stock photos. Yeah.
Graham: I'm pretty biased, they are amazing. If you live in my house, if you have your phone out and you're taking a picture of something and Shay's behind you, you can sense that she's judging what I'm framing in the photo and I know there's a better way.
Paige: Sorry, sorry.
Graham: Yeah, no, that's okay, I'm used to it. I know that I am a prop in her life as well. All of us are props to people. But yeah, so she has digital photos or even a membership site of digital photos. So those are all good examples if you have an app or a piece of software. Those are all digital products, digital service. If you sign up for Asana or Mailchimp. All of these are digital products that don't need to be shipped, packaged, or serviced, they are unlimited quantity. So as long as you got something digital that can be automatically sold, that's your fourth pillar.
Graham: When you have those four working together, that's where you can start to get a little more hands off and work less and the revenue can scale up.
Paige: Yes, absolutely. So good. Yup. Those four pillars are, I know you've made over a million dollars in your business, I've made hundreds of thousands in my business and that is exactly what we are both doing. So, it absolutely works. Really, it's that simple. It's four steps.
Graham: Well and it's important, yeah, it's when you break it down. I like breaking things down because I love to nerd out over certain things but I'm not really that technical or complex of a person. So if I want to understand something I want to understand what's underneath everything. Because your business let's say looks a little bit different then my business. Maybe it looks different from someone else who's got an Etsy shop selling digital prints. But really we're all doing the same thing. What are the four things, or I don't know how may there were, but when you start to peel back the curtain there's really four elements that every passive income style business needs.
Graham: It's those four things. Content, a lead magnet to capture their email address. I always think about clothing retailers. You go to Banana Republic's website-
Paige: 10% off.
Graham: ... what pops up?
Paige: 10% off.
Graham: 10% off. 10% off your first order if you give me your email address. That's their lead magnet to get you on their list so then now they send the emails out saying, "Oh we have a sale." They can tell what you purchased, oh we happen to have a shirt that you like, you like v-necks Graham, look there are more v-necks are on sale.
Paige: Oh good.
Graham: Exactly. The only problem with a retailer like that is that it's a physical product so there's way more overhead for storage and shipping. So it's really the same four components underneath all of these businesses and when you break it down, that takes a lot of the complexity out of it. You're like all right, am I making content, do I have a lead magnet, do I have an email funnel, even if it's three emails, and do I have a digital product. Then it takes a lot of the pressure off, I think.
Paige: Absolutely. Yeah, I think we all see it so clearly and so simply. I think for people, for listeners, it'd be interesting if you go to other people's websites you can start to realize all of these businesses are doing this. Every single one of them. Every successful online business is doing exactly these four things.
Graham: Yeah, it's kind of a fun game to go look, oh there's a lead magnet.
Paige: Yup, yup.
Graham: There's their funnel.
Paige: Yup and then you opt in, you see their emails, you're like, "Oh interesting." Yup, good.
Paige: All right, so let's move back. We're going to go back to pillar one. I have some questions related to each of these things. So, related to content. A lot of people hate the idea of creating content. They say, "I don't have time to blog, or creating a podcast and hearing my voice would be just a nightmare, and I'll do anything, any marketing strategy but I just don't want to create content." We both know that content is king and it's vital for an online business. So can you share some tough love with these people. Why is content necessary and what can they expect to happen if they don't create content?
Graham: Okay, so there's a guy that I know and he and his wife are super talented photographers, and they're super sweet people, and they're trying to transition out of a service based business into passive income style business. They have multiple kids, they're tired of doing what they've been doing and they want some time back. They want time, that's why you start a passive income business. Yeah you could make more money, but really it's time. That's what they want, right.
Graham: So, they launched a product. It didn't launch very well according to him and he reached out to me. I hadn't talked to him in about a year or so. He's like, "Hey man, I don't know why I'm reaching out to you but I know you do this stuff and I'm just kind of bummed, I need some encouragement." I said, "Hey man, let's jump on the phone, let's talk, tell me how your launch went and give me some of the stats." I quickly learned that he basically built a product, he went straight to pillar four and has no audience, no content, and then just got a Facebook ad person expert to run some ad campaigns and they're running it to their webinar and pitching a data trip wire product, buying their thing.
Graham: They spent more in the ads then they made in their sales of their courses, which is very common, very frustrating, and he's really discouraged. So I'm trying to help him out. In our conversation, there's a point to this, I said, "Hey man, have you considered making some content? Have you considered putting out videos? You and your wife are super smart and super great on camera. You would kill it on YouTube, just show how you ... " Graham: They're trying to target moms who want to take better pictures of their kids. Show the lenses, show how to get the ISO right. Make it really accessible to these moms that are overwhelmed by all these buttons on their stupid camera. Just make videos, make one or two a week and pump it out. I was explaining all this and he just was getting overwhelmed and he said exactly what you said, "I don't have time to do this." I was like, "Bro, you don't have time not to do this." There's no other way this works. You can't put your business in the hands of Mark Zuckerberg. He wants you to and that's-
Paige: He's doing a pretty good job.
Graham: He is doing a great job. Mark and company are very, very smart and very, very wealthy and they deserve to be because they've created the ... They've curated the audience. I always tell people, with an audience anything's possible. Without an audience, nothing is possible.
Graham: If you don't have an audience of people that you can click of a button send an offer to that's relevant to them and they could potentially buy it, you have nothing. You can't bank on Facebook. You can't bank on Instagram. You need to have your own curated audience which are people who are on your email list.
Graham: So if you're saying you don't have time to make content or you don't feel like you'd be good at content, you have no business if you don't have content. So I would challenge you to reframe your thinking and say forget building anything, forget the marketing. People get excited about email funnels, some people don't, but a lot of people are like, "I want to write some cool funnels or get better at copy, or I want to have a good social media strategy." All of that is secondary to your content. You have to be known for something online. You have to be a resource that's trusted online. You have to be found online.
Graham: So, let's break it down, make it real simple. You don't have to do a video if you hate video. If the idea of cameras and lighting and if you think that you're going to look awkward, if the camera goes on and you get nervous, then don't do video. Do a podcast. Podcasts are the easiest content to pump out. You don't need any cameras. I know love podcasts because they don't have to put on their makeup, how simple is that.
Paige: Yup. That was one of my deciding factors.
Graham: That's a great deciding factor. You get to decide. There's no right or wrong format for content. You don't have to do what everyone's doing. Do what you like to do. If you like to write, if you don't want to listen to your voice, if you want to be able to create your content while you're on a plane or at a coffee shop, blogging is great because then there's no sound, you could be anywhere and you could be working on your blog post.
Graham: I like blog posts also because you can edit them and refine them so you say exactly what you want to say. So if that's you, then write. If you're like my wife Shay, she's a really good writer, a really good communicator, but she's slow at writing. It takes her forever to write a blog post. She just can't do it. She's like forget it.
Graham: But I actually stopped writing articles because I prefer video, because I feel like I got a deeper connection and then I even launched a podcast that's also being videotaped. I'm a little best of both worlds, because I like talking and sharing and I can just hit the mic and go. But you get to decide what kind of format you like. Graham: Some people, this is interesting, have told me they prefer Facebook live or Insta live or YouTube live as opposed to regular video, because they can't edit it. So it almost takes the pressure off of having to be perfect, it's a lot more forgiving of a format. No one expects it to be perfect and you think you'd be more nervous because it's live, and these people are actually like, "You know what, I'm actually less nervous because I'm like whatever, it's live and I just go."
Graham: If you're listening, decide what format is a better fit for your skill set, your season of life, and what you have accessible to you. If you don't have a nice space to film, then don't film. If you don't have a microphone, then just write. If you don't have either of those then get on your phone and go live on Insta stories. Whatever you want to do, pick one format and then realize that you're going to get better and faster over time.
Graham: When you start putting out content is when you start to actually even clarify your message. This is so important. Whatever you think you know, whenever you think you want to share and teach, it's only going to get clarified when you actually start to create. My dad has this, I think it's in his email signature and I don't know what it is in Latin. He has this Latin phrase in his email signature that says to write is to think. The idea is that when you actually create the content it does clarify your thoughts as a content creator and an educator. Until you blog, until you make videos, you're not actually going to refine your messaging and positing as well as you could. You can't just scheme it up and then present it. You have to go ugly early and get it out there.
Graham: Go back and watch my first videos on YouTube, 2009, 2010, they're awful, so, so awful. But that's how you start and it still can be that valuable to people when you get it going. So commit to content, one platform, and hey, all you need is 30 minutes a day. 30 minutes a day which is three hours a week, if you don't work on Sundays, which you shouldn't be right, because God said six days a week is enough. 30 minutes a day, three hours a week, if you batch it in three hours on evening that's great. If you just do it a few minutes before you go to work or after your kids go to bed, that's fine. 30 minutes a day is all you need to pump out one good piece of content a week and get it out to your people.
Paige: Absolutely. Nailed it. Okay good. Now, of course when we start we're going to probably suck at whatever piece of content. I also my first YouTube video is painful to look back at but I'm happy with how far I've come. So, but I remember we need good content, like valuable content. Can you talk about what separates valuable content from not so valuable content.
Graham: Yeah, so we're in content overload now. 2019, there's so much content. I heard recently it said at a keynote that we've moved from the optimism of the internet and all the content like, "This is amazing, anything you want to learn is online." To overwhelmed, like, "Which content do I really pay attention to." This person says that Keto is good. This person says that Keto is bad for you. It's like what do I do. Now it's turned to opposition. Now we're almost pushing against all the content because it's just killing our brains and our lives are hectic, so it's actually not helpful anymore. So we went from optimism, to overwhelmed, to opposition. So how do you create content in this landscape where we're just sort of like, there's too much stuff out there.
Graham: The way you do it is you have to have a clear voice with a clear message that has strong opinions that is controversial at times because it alienates some people but speaks directly to others. It isn't for everyone. It's bold and it's promise and bold in its views. And it's genuinely aimed at, like we said earlier, helping someone change their life just a little bit.
Graham: So for example, what a lot of people thought was, "Oh, you just got to put content out there with keywords in it so that when someone Google's something they find my article and then they can opt in and buy my thing." They might even follow the pillars but what they're doing is the bare minimum so they'll make an article. I make fun of listicles, like 10 ways to do this. There's nothing wrong with lists because there's some people doing lists really, really well, but you can tell the good ones from the bad ones, but it's kind of a lazy way to create content because you're just saying, "Okay, let me just list seven ways to lose weight without dieting."
Graham: So you just list seven ways and if you know it's vague bad content when you read it or listen to it and you're like, "I pretty much have heard that before and it's not compelling." Or it's safe or it doesn't challenge your thinking or it doesn't alienate somebody. I would rather a piece of content that sort of shakes presuppositions to their core and says like, "This is wrong. I think this is a bad way to do something. This is a better way to do something, let's call something out."
Graham: If I were a health and fitness person, so Keto's really trendy right now. Everyone's on a Ketogenic diet. Let's say I personally believe that Keto wasn't healthy. It would be a really good move for me to say Keto is an awful way to eat and have a whole article on that. Wow, okay, because A, the people that eat Keto might read it because they'll be angry and they want to leave an angry comment, which would be lovely. Angry comments are great because any comments are great because it's user generated content that can be found by Google and Google searches that are actually helping me get found.
Graham: So, it gets angry people to pay attention, like what's he going to say. I'm on Keto, I like Keto. So it gets the angry people, like they're curious. And then the people who haven't really bought into Keto either are going to be like, "Oh my gosh someone's actually saying what I think I believe too. I want to hear somebody step out and say what I've already believed." We love it when someone has a bold ... We mentioned Gary V. That's what he does so well.
Paige: He's bold. Yup.
Graham: Super bold. There's a reason why he has a following. He'll call out things. He'll stand for things. He'll make fun of his own audience. He'll tell them that they're making up a bunch of excuses. He's got this bold personality. You don't have to be a Gary V. You don't have to drop F bombs. The principle underneath that is what do you stand for. What do you stand against. If you don't stand for anything or against anything you probably aren't ready to make content because you don't really know who you are or what you're trying to do.
Graham: You want to be passionate about what you're talking about. So I'm passionate about online business as a concept because it's changed my life and it's changed other people's lives. Then I'm passionate about the way I approach online business. I don't believe in hustling. I don't believe in working very much. I don't believe in throwing all your money in Facebook ads and praying that Mark Zuckerberg will send you customers.
Graham: I do believe in email marketing. I'm not a huge social media guy. I will make fun of social media at times. I'll make of fun of Facebook ads. Because it gets people to pay attention. What, what do you mean you don't believe that you need social media. It's all intentional because it makes my content interesting and worth paying attention to. Even if you disagree with me which is totally fine by the way, but you want to polarize and you genuinely want the right people to be truly helped at the end of that piece of content.
Graham: That doesn't mean it needs to be long. Doesn't mean it needs to be highly technical with lots of graphs and studies and data. It can be. That's not my style. But it does need to get people to go, huh. Whereas a 10 ways to lose weight without ... That's fine, but can we do something more interesting than that.
Paige: Absolutely. Good. What would you say to the people who say, "Well if I give it all away for free and free content, why would anyone ever buy my thing?"
Graham: Dude, literally I just put out an episode today on my podcast-
Graham: ... on that topic.
Paige: Okay, good. All right.
Graham: So I literally, it took me a while to answer it. I'll give you a short answer for it, you can listen to it on the show, but two reasons. One, the more content you put out, the more people you'll attract. So, if you want more of an audience, you need to put out as much content as possible. I had a guy tell me one time back in 2011 I started this experiment, I'll put out a video every day for the month of May. 31 days, that's 31 videos. They're five minute little tips. Each one was one tip and technique you could do to enhance your music in this one niche.
Graham: So I had to come up with 31 tips, which is hard. Then I had to film all 31 little videos and then drip them out. I couldn't keep up that pace forever, but I was like let me see what happens if I do this for a month. I had a guy in the group I was a part of tell me, "Graham you're going to give too much content away. That's two and a half hours of training that you should bundle into a course. You're really, really stupid because now who's going to buy your course."
Graham: Well, he was wrong. I found out later that A, the month I did that, my web traffic doubled from one month to the next. And it stayed up forever. Then I did it again six months later and it doubled again. Then I did it again a year and a half later and it doubled again. Okay, why? Because the more content you put out, there's more stuff for YouTube and Google to crawl. More stuff for people to share on social ... oh my gosh he's got his amazing episode you got to listen to this podcast.
Graham: The more of you that's out there the more you can attract people, it's just math. It's simple, simple math. So if you want a bigger audience, commit to putting out as much content as you can fit into your schedule. Then two, the problem is people say, "Well, if I give away a ton of content and if I'm giving away my best stuff," because that's literally what my episode was called, give away your best stuff for free. "If I give away my best stuff what do I have left to sell? Why is anybody going to buy my course?"
Graham: That comes from a little insecurity but also a misunderstanding of what your products are supposed to be. So your online courses and memberships are not supposed to just be information. Because go back to what we just said, there's plenty of free information. Almost anything that I'm selling in my courses you could learn for free. You could listen to this episode right now. You could get on YouTube right now. Not even learn from me, you can learn from other people.
Graham: The university of Google is open and it's free and plenty of people have recreated themselves with all the free information. Information is a commodity. We can't just sell information because why would anybody buy information. We have to move past that and realize that our courses are about transformation. Our memberships are about transformation. So, the difference between a course and a free piece of content is you can watch a million of my videos but they're all isolated, random ideas. A tip, a trick, a tactic, and it's your job in this overwhelming world of YouTube and Google to curate and align and then apply all of these random ideas.
Graham: A course, if it's well structured or if a good membership is well structured, should take people from point A to point B with a step by step hand holding blue print kind of thing. It's just like the difference between watching some fitness videos to learn how to exercise and lose weight on YouTube and then buying maybe that person's 90 day course that has a meal plan. Eat this day one, eat this day two, and a workout routine that you know what to do every day and it changes for 90 days. So you're not guessing. It's like, show up and do what I tell you once a day, every day and in 90 days I'll get you from this to this.
Graham: That's one thing people pay for. There's four things people pay for. One of them is that step by step hand holding. Your courses can be way more than random information. It's curated, it's all in one place, and it's got a lot of the missing pieces that people can't connect when it's all free.
Graham: Two, people aren't just buying information, this is probably the most important, they're buying access to you. Your courses and memberships should have at some level some access. So in my courses for example, you can watch a video and leave a comment below that video and since it's a smaller group of people then the whole bajillion people on YouTube leaving comments, I'll see your comment and I'm in there's every week like a good teacher answering questions. It's like having open office hours or something. I'm answering questions related to the video and helping coach you along.
Graham: Or if it's a membership site, you can have live Q&A's and you can have your sort of private community, where you're in there answering specific questions. So that access to you as the content creator is worth a lot, because they don't have good access to you. Like this podcast, there's not good access to you Paige right now. We can leave a review and email you, but they can't interact with you right now.
Graham: So, access, community as we just talked about. When you have a paid community as part of your course or membership, that is a very valuable to your students because now this is a group of people that have paid money, we're like minded, we're serious, we can help each other way better than the trolls on YouTube or people leaving mean comments on a blog.
Graham: Then the best thing about your paid courses and memberships is they're just intensive. You can go way deeper in three or four hours with somebody then you can in five to ten minutes, or even 45 minutes on a podcast. I liken it to let's say you have your favorite author, speaker, influencer, someone who you respect, just put someone like that in your mind. Let's say they have a TED talk. You've watch their 18 minute TED talk a million times and it's brilliant and you're like, dude this is life changing stuff.
Graham: That's valuable right. A good 18 minute TED talk from your favorite thought leader or expert. But wouldn't it be more valuable to you to meet with that thought leader once a week every week for two years over lunch.
Graham: Yup. Not just so you get access, that's one. You get that instant feedback but you get intensive how many hours, how many conversations, how much stuff would you have been able to go through in those intensive moments over time. That's like what your paid membership ... that's a membership site. That's what a course is. It's intensive. It's not just a one off, what a great idea, I'm going to apply that idea. It's a deeper let's dive into this. That's what people pay for because there's so much information out there they need someone to curate a step by step plan, give them feedback, hold their hand, go deep with them, and bring them into a curated paid community of people that are going to support each other as well. That's worth a lot.
Paige: Yup, absolutely. Good. That's perfect. I think you answered that one. No ones going to question that one anymore. All right, so, moving onto opt in gift. Some people do it where they'll create a new opt in gift or lead magnet for every single piece of content they create. So, I think about Amy Porterfield's Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I don't know if she's doing it anymore, but for a while she was creating a new opt in gift for every podcast. Then there's some other people who will create a new opt in gift for say products. So the opt in gift relates to the product they eventually want to sell. Which of those two options are you more in favor of?
Graham: So I'm on favor of a third option, which is have one primary opt in that makes sense for everybody who's your target market. That's, in my mind the most important thing. Also, again I'm a fan of doing less work. So it makes life easier. What does this look like? So, we'll get to this in the email part, the funnel. I think every online business would benefit from just simplifying and streamlining.
Graham: So I have one funnel, just one funnel. There's no segmenting there's none of that, it's just one simple funnel that my target market would get value out of. So, I just need one primary good opt in gift or lead magnet that the right person, who will eventually buy any of my products, would find valuable. It takes a while to think about what that main one would be, but that's the one that you want to highlight 90% of the time at the end of every podcast or article or YouTube video.
Graham: I think about it from my website, when I'm designing a website or coaching my students, I want that to be the headline on the website. Is that lead magnet. It's the most important thing on your website is to get capture email address, that's the most important thing. So I think about what ... Because again, if you have a bunch of different lead magnets, you can't change your website every day, or every week with a different headline, you could but that's silly.
Graham: So what's one headline, one thing you could always offer on your website that everybody would want. That's what I want my main lead magnet to be. Then, if you come up with new ideas, like let's say you're doing a piece of content that's super niche and you have a great idea, like wouldn't it be cool if I had a cheat sheet or a guide jut for this. Then go ahead and make one for that as well and have it dump into your same funnel. But in my mind, I don't mind having a few of those from time to time, but I still have the one primary one that I feature 90-95% of the time.
Paige: Good, okay, interesting. I really like that. Simple, I like that, that's great. Then when it comes to moving onto emails, why is it important to get an email over someone following you on social media? Everyone loves Instagram these days, but I'm also in the same boat as you, so I want to hear from you.
Graham: I love Instagram too. I don't hate Instagram. It's just I want you to be as successful as possible. What's going to make you successful in your business is an email list. Period. So a couple reasons why. One, the data says that in the most recent report I have is 2017 maybe. But email marketing, direct email marketing accounted for more online sales than any other platform, social media, organic search, anything. So direct email marketing. And that makes sense, you get an email from Banana Republic saying their stuffs on sale you're more likely to buy. That triggers a buy and a purchase more than you seeing it on social.
Graham: So, the stats say that you'll sell more through email marketing than any other channel, plus it just makes sense. If you are more interested in followers on Instagram you're building your business on someone else's playground. You're building it on Mark Zuckerberg's playground. Facebook owns Instagram so Instagram, Facebook, same thing. If they change the algorithm, which we know they do, then your people don't see you anymore. The most recent [inaudible 00:46:09] that I heard I think Jasmine Star was talking about this, 4% of your Instagram followers see your posts in the feed. 4%. That's awful.
Graham: On Facebook a few years ago, I have 120,000 followers on Facebook let's say. At the time I had 100,000 and they all saw my posts anytime I posted anything. Free video, article, anything. Then when they changed the algorithm and introduced the idea of boosting posts, all that did was Mark Zuckerberg found a way to make more money which was not allowing your followers to see your stuff unless you pay. So reducing it from 100% organic reach, that wasn't a thing. Organic reach. It was all 100% reach because they chose to follow you.
Graham: He's like, let's make it so that only a small percentage actually see your stuff and then if you want everyone who's already chosen to follow you to see your stuff you have to boost a post. This is not new news, but it made my web traffic drop in half overnight. Now, if I'm lucky 13% of my Facebook followers see what I post. If I'm lucky. I don't want to build my business on that. They could change it again.
Graham: What if they change it so only 1% see it. So many people are building their business on someone else's platform, very dangerous. You don't own that platform. You don't own those relationships. Instagram is popular right now. But you know what was super popular awhile ago was Snapchat. Until Instagram finally got better and everyone moved back over to Instagram. So, you don't want to build your life on one platform because the algorithms change. It could go away in popularity. Or there's somebody that their whole business is based on Facebook and Facebook just closed down their page for no reason. And they could do whatever they want.
Graham: They've gone back and forth with legal, there's no reason, they just closed down their page. So all of her business stuff gone. So, email addresses are things that you actually own. When somebody offers you their email address in exchange for something valuable, they're giving you the right to have their email address in your list to then send them messages.
Graham: Now the good thing is is they can one click unsubscribe at any point. So, there's no pressure on you or them, they can do whatever they want to do. Most people don't unsubscribe and most people don't change their email address. I've got people with AOL emails addresses.
Paige: Hotmail, yeah.
Graham: Yeah, Hotmail AOL. So people don't change their email that often. There's no middle man. If I have a cool idea, even if it's a free workshop I want to give to my list, I can send out an email that goes directly to their inbox. Whereas if I post on Instagram I have to hope that more than 4% see it, which is awful, and then I have to hope that they don't even change the algorithm further. I have to hope that they're still on Instagram. They haven't unfollowed me somehow on Instagram. There's just so many variables, whereas email I can go directly to them and show up in their inbox. You own that relationship.
Graham: It's like renting your house versus owning your house. You have more control when you own your house versus having a landlord who can kick you out at any moment. They look similar, you both have a place to live, but where's the control. As a business owner you want to have control because there's so much you can't control, you might as well control what you can. So the email list is so valuable. That's why I could stop posting to social, the internet could fall apart in terms of YouTube, Google not showing my stuff high ranking, but I can still sell to my list at one click of a button and make money if I need to.
Paige: Absolutely. Absolutely. I took an entire year off social media last year, my business did multiple six figures. So, yeah.
Graham: Good for you.
Graham: Awesome. That's like a seventh love language of mine is quitting social media.
Paige: Yes, absolutely. Okay. So when it comes to those emails that we're sending people, what should be going into the auto responder? Are we saying buy my product, buy my product, buy my product. Or what is the actual content that goes into those emails?
Graham: Yeah, lot of ways to do this but all of them are very similar in the sense that you've given them value in the free content that they found. Podcast, YouTube, blog article. Then you've given them more free value in your lead magnet, the offer that you give them to opt in. The guide, the cheat sheet, the workshop. So now they've gotten at least two pieces of amazing free content. Then what you do is you over deliver one more time. It's very easy so that the next day they get another email or that day they get an email saying, "Hey thank you so much for joining and here's the link to your free gift. I'm going to send you some amazing free tips on this specific topic."
Graham: Again, I'll be relevant to your type of content, your lead magnet, and your target audiences. So you send them a couple of emails that add even more value. Stuff that they can't get anywhere else that you're not posting publicly. So they feel like, dude there's some behind the curtain stuff that she's got. It can just be one or two emails. Or it could just be one additional guide and then in the next couple days you just transition into a pitch for your product.
Graham: So here's something that was interesting to me when I got started doing this, and I started to research what are people doing with their email funnels years ago, the mantra was, you need to spend a long time building this relationship. You got to send them free stuff like two, three weeks before you ever mention a product. Don't shove stuff down their throat.
Graham: I was like, "Oh okay that makes sense." In 2014, I started to toy with my funnel and move my pitch earlier and then I toyed with it again two years ago, moved it even earlier and sales have only gone up, everytime I move it earlier in my funnel. I've realized why. There's two reasons. One, going back to the overwhelm, there's just so much content out there that people don't have time to build a relationship with you. In fact, I think they're building the relationship with you online with your free content.
Graham: They're listening to your podcast right now. They're watching a video of mine, and they're sort of on the sidelines taking a gander at what we're doing and seeing if we have value to offer. So they already have somewhat of a relationship. By the time that they opt in, they're more than likely ready to go deeper with us. Even if they found us that day, if the article we gave them was good, or the video was good and then the lead magnets good, they're like, oh my gosh. Which leads to the second reason why people are ready to buy sooner.
Graham: These people are the most likely to buy because they just found you, they're the most interested in you right now today.
Paige: They have a problem right now.
Graham: Yes. Yes. They found you because they were looking for content and you showed up because you're smart and you have content. Then, you offer them so much value that they opted in. Then the fact that they hear about a product of yours that solves their pain point even deeper in a deeper way, they may not have the money to buy it, but they for sure if you've done your work, they want it either way.
Graham: Everybody should want your product even if they don't end up buying it. That's a good place to be that everybody wants it, but even if they can't afford it, or they're not ready, they're like, "Dude, that's so good. I do want that." I saw sales go up everytime I moved that pitch sooner.
Graham: So, specifics I used to pitch on day 14, then I moved it to day three. So, in 2014 a wrote a whole new funnel from scratch and it was like all right, they opt in, the next day I call that ... Day zero is the day they opted in. Day one I send an amazing tip in an email like how to do this one thing. Again, super valuable, they can read that one email and go make some improvement.
Graham: Day two I send them another tip. Awesome piece of content in their inbox. Then day three I give them a half of a tip that's a little bit lighter, but it's still teaching them something and it transitions into a pitch for, "Hey, by the way, I've got a whole course on this topic that goes boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Step by stop. Here's a cool testimonial, check it out."
Graham: So they're pitched a product on day three. Then day four you pitch the same product, maybe share a testimonial. Day five, pitch the product one more time. That formula of teach, teach, pitch, pitch, pitch over five days works so well, it's so natural, so easy, and it's within those first few days that they're getting pitched I saw sales go up tremendously.
Graham: I did it one month to the next and between that and a little bit of better sales copy on my sales page, I saw sales increase 44% and stay that way. Then two years ago I took it a step further, and I offered a webinar. So as soon as they opted in I gave them a chance to join a webinar right then and there if they wanted to. Which it's like taking the extra content but giving it them right now. At the end of that webinar pitch a bundle of a product and sales went through the roof again. Because it's the same formula just even more compressed IN a time frame.
Graham: The whole point is, just add a little bit of extra value once they've opted in and have it lead into your most popular or your only digital product within the first three days at least and you're more likely to sell.
Paige: Yeah, amazing, so good. When it comes to digital products, what are some examples of digital products that you've seen people selling? What is a digital product? What are some things we could sell?
Graham: So they're going to be courses. Those are classic. My business is built around courses, primarily that they try to take you from one point to another point. So they're just kind of like a start and an end. So for example it could be, like I have a course on how to start an online business, a passive income style business. So you go from, I have no idea what my business should be, to it up and running and now I know what to do every day or every week to keep it running and make money automatically.
Graham: I have in my other business on the music side, it's like how to record your music. So what to buy. How to record your stuff and your band and make it sound really good. So the goal is to record a really good sounding song and it has a start and an end point. So the courses are great because they have a clear promise. I love online courses.
Graham: Plus you can build them once and if you have the content piece going funneling people into your funnel, through your opt in and your email funnel, it's almost like recurring revenue because your content is sending people into your funnel every day without you working. It's recurring even though it's a one off purchase.
Graham: A membership site is another way to do it too. I love these because again, if they join, they're going to get charged every month to continue to be a part of your community. So, there's a nice recurring element that can stabilize your business and if you've done a good job making it so valuable that retention is really high, you don't even need a ton of people in it to have a nice base of income. The only problem with membership sites is they require ongoing work to service the members. You have to have either new content or new access. There's a lot of ways to do membership. Some require more work than others.
Graham: I have two right now. One requires fresh new content every month, one requires no content of mine but it's more of a community that they're paying to be a part of and has one live a call every month that's required of me. But it's a lower priced membership. So there's different styles, but that's a good digital product.
Graham: Then you could also have coaching. There's people that do this really, really well. So, their pitch to spot in your coaching group or an application for one on one coaching. Again, that's digital in a sense that you don't have a to [inaudible 00:57:32] with packaging but if you have a group coaching program you're already going the call once a month. Add a few more people into it, you can cap it or not cap it. It depends on what you want to do, but that would be another example of a digital product.
Paige: Then, your wife does a digital product is photos, she does stock photos.
Graham: Exactly, yeah, that was something we didn't even know was a thing.
Graham: She was creating imagery for brands, really big brands and then she had a customer that was like, "Hey, I can't afford you, or an old client, I can't afford you for my business, but could you still shoot a beautiful image like you're doing but leave some space in the middle so I can insert my product." That was when she was like, "Oh my gosh, style stock photography for business owners." That wasn't even a thing at the time. She basically kind of started this industry without realizing it, because she saw a need and realized oh I could sell that without having to do client work.
Graham: It was a way for her to reduce her client work. So absolutely, if it's digital in nature, and you don't need to be there to make the sale, that works.
Paige: Yup, absolutely. If you're on Creative Market there's things, like you can buy fonts, you can buy, I don't know you can buy website templates, that's a thing, that's a definite digital product. Marketing templates, processes, PDF's, there's a bajillion things you could, I don't know, package up your knowledge and do.
Graham: Absolutely. I just bought, what was it, a light room preset for my phone to make my images look better on my iPhone. So, it was like $47 and I got a bunch of light room presets. It's like that's a digital product. So, anything like that. Yeah, website templates are great. Brand kits where it's like here's everything you could, logos, that you could tweak or anything like that.
Paige: Yup, good, awesome. They've got lots of ideas now. Okay. So, what are some of the lies that people tend to believe about generating passive income? What are the things that people are like, "Oh when I make passive income this is going to be my life." What are some of the things that people expect which aren't actually true?
Graham: Well I think some people think that they never have to work again. That's not necessarily true in the way that we're talking about today. It only works well if you commit to feeding the beast which is the content. It's like an engine that will run for you as long as you feed it.
Graham: So the lie would be that yeah, once you build it, and I've heard this, it's like forget content, that's why Facebook ads are so popular. Okay I can just feed it money and then money will buy the ads and that'll send people, I won't have to do any work. It's kind of a lie because even the ads require maintenance. They don't work after a while or once you get an ad that does work it doesn't scale. So you spend $5 and you make $500. You're like, "Great I'm just going to spend a million bucks because I'll make 500 million bucks," and it doesn't scale as well once you get to bigger numbers.
Graham: So then you have to figure out why and then Facebook changes their algorithm for ads. So the ad requires either you or you paying somebody someone has to monitor it so again, you can outsource as much as you can but it's really had to get it down to no work if you're talking about this type of business. Plus, you're the brand. People are listening to you and they're learning from you. So you are the value piece. So if you go away it's not as valuable anymore.
Graham: Now, flexibility work itself out of that because there's not really a face on it as much. She's even gotten other people to be contributors to create photographs for her membership. So it's not all her images, but people like you and me we're the face of our brands, so it's a little harder to have that potency if we disappear. I think that's one lie that you could just chilax and make money doing absolutely nothing.
Graham: The other lie though is some people think that it's not possible. They think that, and again we talked about Gary V. They think that we're propagating a lie to draw people in. It's just to play off of people's emotions and fears and they're sick of their nine to five. That's the furthest thing from what we're tying to do, or what I'm trying to do, is I'm trying to free people. I have seen the promise land, I'm trying to take people there.
Paige: Same here, same here. I was like, "I did this for myself, I don't need to keep it to myself. Come on. I'll show you."
Graham: Absolutely. Absolutely. So it is very possible otherwise I wouldn't be talking about it. I tell people I started this business teaching people online business, not because I need to make more money, I'm really blessed that I already have a passive income business over here that's making money like right now while we talk. Which is great, I don't have to do any work today for that business because it's working for me. I built it and it's doing its thing so that you and I can talk and we can share this information for free.
Graham: So I don't even need to make money off of this business to live. Which I think takes a lot of the pressure off of me to feel guilty but even if this was my only business, I don't feel guilty because this is very possible for people. The thing is though, is that the lie is that it's not possible for me. Or it's too late. Or everyone's already doing it, or it's already been talked about in my niche. I've already seen people cross over from my niche to a online passive income. No. That's all a lie. All they are is excuses.
Graham: If you want to do this, you are the only person stopping you from doing this. There is plenty of room for everybody to do this for a couple of reasons. One, there are, I don't know what the numbers are but another couple of billion people coming online with high speed internet in the next two years, which is people that haven't been online yet. So they're fresh. So there's fresh people coming online.
Paige: Fresh meat.
Graham: There's fresh meat. Two, because there's so much content and the overwhelmed that we talked about and the opposition, people are looking for a new face. A new voice. A new message. It's like the radio used to just be your rock station, your country station, your hip hop station, your classic. Now you can listen to whatever play list you want. That means there's more room for crazier bands and weird artists and people to come on because we're all curating our own, for better or for worse, our own feed of people we want to be influenced by.
Graham: So there's room for you to be your own unique version and voice in that space. Are we the first people to come out here and talk about passive income and online business?
Graham: That was a question I had, is why am I doing this? Does the world need Graham to talk about this? Depending on how you define that, you could say no. There's plenty of people who are already talking about this and they're covered. But then the more I thought about it and prayed about it I was like, "No the world does need me," and that sounds arrogant but there's no me out there talking about it.
Graham: With my unique story, my unique personality, my strong opinions, my spin on it might help somebody who maybe wasn't helped by Amy Porterfield or Pat Flynn. They might just not connect with those personalities. So there's room for me. There's room for you. There's room for all of us in whatever space there is to get out there and do it. I think people are surprised when they get out there and start to create content and they follow these strategies and they make money. They're like, "I can't believe this is actually working," and it really, really does work. So, that's a huge lie that I hear people say all the time.
Paige: Yes I think that's such a good one. Such a good one. I completely agree. We are really talking about a very similar topic the both of us. But I love that your examples in your podcast, you're talking about if you want to go pick up your kids from school and I'm like if you want to hop on a plane and go to wherever. So our examples and sort of the type of people that we're targeting and the type of people who will identify with us, will be slightly different. Even though we're actually talking pretty similarly about the same topic.
Graham: That's a huge point because it's not always about again the information. It's about connecting with another person and who do you learn well from. Again, there could be 13 people could teach you nutrition and weight loss but if you don't like the personality of someone who yells at you or says, "Come on you can do it." Maybe that's not your style, but some people that is exactly the style that gets them motivated.
Graham: So there's plenty of room for unique voices to finally make the light bulb connect. That takes the pressure off you needing to be liked by everybody. Let me tell you something, not everyone likes you. I know your mom said that you're amazing but not everybody likes you. And they shouldn't all like you. If you're doing your job right, they should instantly know whether they like you or not.
Paige: Absolutely. Good. So can you explain to us what does life look like as someone who earns passive income? I remember at the conference I was at, your wife was talking about how she works two days a week. I think you take Fridays off. What do your lives actually look like? What are you doing and how are you working?
Graham: Somebody asked me that on Instagram last week. They said, "You say you take Fridays off, what do you do on Fridays?" It depends. Probably have to run some errands, I don't know.
Paige: Yeah, grocery shop.
Graham: My life is not that glamorous. So, here's what it looks like in this season. So, Shay my wife works two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I work Monday through Thursday about five hours a day. That's on both of these business. So on two businesses. Most of that is the new one, because I'm starting from scratch, building my products from scratch, getting some content out there.
Graham: So The Recording Revolution, my main one, I also have a team for that now so I've automated so much, I've eliminated so much. I do less. I'm always trying to figure out what's the least I can do and have it still run. The minimum effective dose that Tim Ferris talks about. So, I eliminated a lot, automated a lot, and then have a couple of contractors that work for me in certain areas to keep certain things running.
Graham: So man hours for me that takes five hours a week for my main business, which has been the best I've gotten it down to. So the other three days I'm pretty much working on the new one and it's a lot of fun stuff. So, I literally wake up between five and six depending on if I hit snooze or not. I read my Bible and pray. I make my kids' lunch. I take them to school Monday and Wednesdays. Shay takes them to school Tuesdays and Thursdays. I pick them up from school. Then I go to the gym and then I work from basically about nine to two-ish. Those are my five hours.
Graham: Then I pick up my kids from school or go to Costco or whatever I need to do if I'm not picking them up from school that day. But it's basically nine to two is when I'm in the office generally Monday through Thursday. But then all of us are home by 3:30 or 4:00 every day. So the kids are doing homework or we're hanging out or they're playing out on their scooter in the driveway or in the street and Shay and I are talking or I'm cleaning up the dishes because I didn't do it last night, and we're getting dinner ready. It's just normal family stuff but the hours are nice because I'm home before 4:00 and we're home all night. We're home every night for dinner.
Graham: Then Fridays are generally like, I can run errands, I can meet a friend for coffee. I can go for a bike ride. Sometimes I'm in the office down here with Shay, she's working sometimes on a Friday morning if she ran out of time on a Thursday and her day was cut short. She's finishing up some stuff. So I'll come in here and I don't know what I'll do, it's been different every single Friday.
Graham: We used to do family fun Fridays when my kids weren't in school. So we'd all hang out and go to the beach or something. Then Saturdays and Sundays are family time as well. So, it's really not that glamorous. It's more about the principal of I don't like working, just here's the tendency right, you find something you love to do and we talked, even at Creative at Heart where we met, I talked to a lot of people there. When you start to get to know them you realize they're exhausted.
Graham: Maybe you were this way, where you at one point were working so much. Why? Because you love it. Because you believe in what you're doing. That's where again Gary V. seems to be the sub topic of this conversation. That's where Gary Vandershaaf comes in. He works so hard for two reasons. One he loves it. And B he's trying to take over the world. You need to work hard to take over the world.
Graham: I don't want to take over the world. I want to be a present and involved husband and father, and I want to have my health, and I want to enjoy my life. Now, I struggle with this, I'm not perfect at this. I have a million things I want to do in business. A million ideas, but I try to work as little as possible just as a framework for me to work around so that I'm forcing myself to prioritize life and people above work.
Graham: So that's what's led to me working as little as possible and figuring out the how is because the why, because I want to work as little as possible so that I'm freed up to take trips. Like last summer my wife and I and the kids we went to France for a month. I went for six weeks. They all came over for a month, and we just stayed in Airbnbs around the South of France and we drank Rose and my kids got bored. It was great. They hated it but it was like our bucket list thing. Let's see if we can do this.
Paige: Hate life in France.
Graham: They're such brats right. They're like, "Can't we just go home, play with our friends and our stuff." As soon as we were done with the trip they're like, "Dad, tell me we're not going to do this next year." I was like, you know how expensive it was to-
Graham: I know. Exactly. But that one was a bucket list thing. I spent six weeks in Europe and got to visit friends in London and got to do a cycling tour round the Tour de France and it's France and it's Spain and it was amazing, but it was only because I've operated and created a business that allows me to not really be there if I need to. If I walk away for six weeks, that means when I come back there's some stuff I need to clean up and I had to do a little bit of prep. It wasn't completely hands off or pretty, but it was pretty much like I check in for an hour or two a week while I was in France with a crappy internet and it was fine.
Graham: So, that's life for me. Again, that's what this is all about is not just money. Okay so there's three reasons why we have an online business. One is money. I think that's the one people start off thinking about maybe. I would love to make more money. There's a lot of good we can do with money. We've paid off debt, we give a ton away to our church and to Compassion International and to just random people. We've been able to fund adoptions, buy people cars, crazy stuff, it's so fun. So money is great. It's very useful.
Graham: But two, a lot of us just want freedom. We're tired. We're burned out. We want to be with our family, our kids. Or we want to just go to the gym or I like long lunches. I like being able to grab coffee with somebody. Or I just like to sit by myself and read a book whenever I want to or go to the movies in the middle of the day. I love that kind of stuff. Freedom or being able to take a vacation. Just a good vacation.
Graham: But then three, there's an even deeper reason, and this is the reason why I'm doing this online business is because I want to make a dent in the world. I have something to share and I could keep it to myself, and my family and I are very secure and we're fine. Or what if I shared it with other people and maybe it changes their lives a little bit. Maybe we could start a wave and a generation of entrepreneurs who change the world literally through entrepreneurship by creating products and services that actually help people and then by using our proceeds and profits to actually fund a non profits that can't make money.
Graham: The world starts to spin in a beautiful positive direction if we all focus ... I think entrepreneurship is the hope of the future for our society. It's not the government, it's not even the non profits who are doing the hard work, they need money. All they're good at is asking for money. Fundraising, which is a good skill, but where do they get the money? From wealthy people-
Graham: Yeah. So why can't we create that wealth so we can give it. There's a lot of good that can happen when you build your business. If you're listening and you're like, "Man maybe I shouldn't do this or I don't know if I can do this," you almost have an obligation to do it because it can really change someone in this world because you know stuff, you've got skills, you have talents that if you keep to yourself that's one way to view life but I think you can be more fruitful and have more impact and more joy if you share it. So that's I think the biggest driving factor of having an online business.
Paige: So great, I believe in those things so deeply. All right, for anyone who's just getting started in the online business world, they maybe don't have family or friends who are really supportive or understand what the heck they're doing, can you offer some words of encouragement maybe to your old Graham self who was just getting started?
Graham: Yes. Oh man, I've been there at those Christmas parties and holidays when they're like, "What are you doing again, Graham. Have you gotten a job yet?" That's how it started. Have you gotten a job yet.
Graham: "No, I haven't." "Are you applying for jobs?" "No, I'm not applying for jobs." "What are you doing?" "I'm blogging about audio recording." Then you just get those blank stares. Don't tell them about the specifics. Don't mention email marketing, don't mention passive income. All of those are words that just turn people off and they're confused.
Graham: So, just tell them that you're building a business, okay that's safe, and you're doing it through content online. You're teaching and sharing and helping people. That's the best way to figure it out and this is good branding and positioning for you. Who do you help and what do you help them do? Very simple. So, if it were me, Graham back in the day, I would've said, "Graham, just tell people at Christmas and on airplanes or wherever you meet people, tell them I help musician make better sounding recordings." "Oh cool how do you do that?" "Well, I have a website that I teach musicians how to make better sounding recording."
Graham: Very simple. Don't defend it, just tell people what you do and then if they have more questions they can ask you. The ones that are genuinely interested, "Well how do you make money doing that?" Oh that's a fair question. And you can explain whatever your monetization model is because maybe for you it's sponsorship through advertisement or maybe for you it's online courses and even like a class, it's like a university class but online.
Graham: So there's ways to explain it better. I used to quickly defend what I was doing and try to explain it. Because I was really insecure because I didn't think it was going to work. So, don't be insecure, if you are insecure just focus on who you help and what you help them do. That's what you're working on.
Paige: Amazing. So good. Where can everyone find you online? Where can they follow you and support you?
Graham: Yeah, I'm on Instagram @TheGrahamCochrane. Same thing on Facebook. Then GrahamCochrane.com. The podcast is the Graham Show.
Paige: This was so wonderful. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this.
Graham: Yeah, thanks for having me on Paige.
Paige: Thanks so much for hanging out with us for this episode of the Online Business Besties Podcast. If you love the show, be sure to leave a rating and review where ever you listen to podcasts. And of course, check out the show notes for this episode and all past episodes at PaigeBrunton.com.
hang out with today’s guest: Graham cochrane
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