Late last year I traveled to London to attend the first annual Youpreneur summit put on by Chris Ducker and his Youpreneur team.
I've been to many large technical conferences in my career and spoken at some of them but this was my first conference experience in the online business space.
The Youpreneur Summit was fantastic. The summit was a two-day event plus I opted in for a platinum ticket which included a third day, with a much smaller group for masterminding and more direct access to Chris.
In this episode you'll learn:
- Don't compare somebody else's 10,000th step to your 100th!
- The power of visualization
- How to build a brand ecosystem
- How to make sales with live webinars
- The benefits of recurring revenue
- The power of in-person masterminds
- How online business owners can really help people
- Check out next year's Youpreneur summit
- See if any of the seven things I learned at the summit can help you!
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Transcript DownloadDownload a PDF of the Transcript
Hey everybody, Dave Ziembicki here. Welcome to StrongStart.fm. My mission is to help you systemize, automate and outsource all aspects of your online business so you can focus on strategic money making activities and the work you enjoy. Last week I travelled to London to attend the first annual, Youpreneur Summit put on by Chris Ducker and his Youpreneur team. If you’re not familiar with Chris or Youpreneur, it’s basically his online business and membership community. They’re all about helping you build a business around your personal brand, whether you’re a consultant, coach, blogger, podcaster, anybody in the content creation space.
I’m a big fan of Chris and the Youpreneur community. I’ve been a member of it for about two years or so. Pretty much, you know, from right from when he launched it and it’s really grown in to a really interesting set of resources and a lot of really great people. You know, that was one of the fun parts about the conference was meeting a lot of these folks that I have interacted with in the communities and on some other online events. But meeting everybody in person and, you know, brainstorming on different ideas about our businesses was a lot of fun and a great learning experience.
I mean, I have been to many large technical conferences in my career and spoken at some of them. But, this was my first conference in the online business space and to put it simply the Youpreneur Summit was fantastic. The summit was a two-day event plus I also opted to go for what they call a “platinum ticket”, which was including a third day with a much smaller group where the focus was masterminding and more direct interaction with Chris. The event kicked off with a John Lee Dumas keynote and then ended with a very emotional and inspiring closing keynote by Pat Flynn. In between were other amazing speakers.
Now, mixed in with the speaker sessions were time slots from masterminding with other attendees. So, if you’re not familiar with the masterminding concept, what it was all about was we basically sat in tables of eight people or so. And then, both days each person got a 15 minute time slot for what they call a hot seat, which is where the person would describe their business and a particular challenge that they were having or question that they want an advice on and then the table would help them brainstorm solutions and different options. So, it was really cool because it was a mix of, you know, traditional presentations by speakers but then also this group collaboration, which I’ll talk a little bit more about more further in to the episode.
So in the three days I learned far more than I expected and what I wanted to do was go through a couple of those lessons learned on this episode. So, what we’ll talk about are the seven things that I learned at the Youpreneur Summit. First up, is a lesson from Chris, which is, don’t compare somebody else’s ten thousandth step to your 100th step. So, when you see speakers at conferences like these where they got six, seven, and in some cases eight figure businesses, you can fall into the trap of thinking that you need the large teams, the expensive tools, or the big financial resources that those folks have in order to be successful.
Or, you can fall into the trap of thinking that, “Wow, yeah, there success was, you know, immediate, sort of, they’re an overnight success,” or something like that. But, we all need to remember is that it, you know, typically takes between three and ten years to be a truly successful in building a sustainable online business. You know, Pat Flynn talked about nearly giving up on Smart Passive Income in 2012 when he hit a plateau. The key is realizing where you are, the resources you have, and then prioritizing what you can do now to move your business forward.
The next lesson came from Carrie Green the Founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, who spoke about the power of visualizing your goals. The visualization is a technique that many professional athletes and others at the top of their profession use in order to improve their performance and results. Carrie used the personal example of visualizing what it would be like to win a prestigious entrepreneurship award that she was going after a couple of years ago. So, the award required, you know, an application process, interviews, a bunch of different things, and the winner of the award, you know, obviously won some notoriety and some press and things like that.
There is also a helicopter ride with the, you know, the founder of that award presenting body and a bunch of other things that were going to be contingent on, or provided to whoever won that award. So, in order to go after it, which, you know, she admitted at that time she was very unlikely to win, she did a variety of visualization exercises to help her prepare for competing for the award, and then, what would it be like to win it. So, what she was doing was preparing her mind for that case where she would win that award. Now, visualization might sound a little bit fluffy but there are scientific studies that backup the power that this technique can have.
So, another thing that she talked about in her presentation was an experiment where they took a group of basketball players and they split them into three groups. The first group they said, “For a week, do nothing, related to basketball other than whatever your normal routine is.” The second group they said, “Okay you’re going to go practice free throw shooting for the entire week. You know, a couple of hours a day, more practice shooting free throws than you would do in your normal routine.” Then, the third group they said, “You’re going to spend the same amount of time but instead of being in the gym practicing the free throws you’re going to visualize practicing and shooting free throws,” and the results were really interesting.
Because at the end of the experiment at the end of that week two groups, the groups that actually practiced and the groups that visualized, improved their performance dramatically. And, the really important take away was that there was only a one percent difference in the improvement between those who actually practiced and those who visualized. So, just the act of visualizing had an actual tangible effect in the real world. They became better at it even though they didn’t actually physically practiced it. So I thought that was really interesting data on visualization, I am a believer in that back from my days of doing some racing, car racing, in school – in high school and college and the few other things and I also used this myself to this day.
So, what I’m doing is pairing the first lesson with this one on visualization. So I what mean by that is, you know, when I went to these conferences, I saw those really successful business owners. So, instead of getting into that trap of thinking that I have to match them, I’m using it to drive my visualization goals. So, what I mean by that is I am now visualizing actually being a speaker at next to Youpreneur Summit. So, I want to drive enough result in my business and growth this year to be a case study for Chris and some of the things that he is teaching and the benefits of that coaching experience.
So, that’s one thing I’m visualizing is being up on stage and being a speaker, and this is something that I’ve done before especially in my career at Microsoft. So, you know, 12 years ago when I started at Microsoft I was a complete unknown. You know, I would go to our conferences there as one out of 10,000 attendees. You know, just another person walking down the hallway. But, I visualized what it would be like to be a speaker at those conferences, a leader, you know, someone else that other people we’re coming up to at the networking events and the parties afterwards asking them for their advice, and after a couple of years and a lot of work, you know, I earned all of those through that hard work and definitely through that visualization.
The next lesson was the power of building what Chris Ducker calls a Brand Ecosystem. So, Chris spent some time talking about this concept of Brand Ecosystem, which is the totality of all your channels, platforms, content, products, and services. All of the speakers that were there that have been successful have created ecosystems around their brands, which include all of the above items, organized into funnels that lead their audiences through a sales and development progression. Many of them start out with great free content then they move into, you know, webinars or entry-level products and services then on into whatever their core offering is, and then finally most of them also have some kind of higher end coaching, consulting, or masterminding type of program that they offer as well.
It was all about building up that ecosystem of services and this is exactly the progression that I’m setting up in the next couple of months in my online business. So it was interesting to see it, you know, modeled out in a way that Chris talked about and he showed the diagram basically of what his whole ecosystem looks like and how the podcast and the blog and the free content lead into the Youpreneur community, and then once you’re inside the Youpreneur community, there are other things like the summit or like some higher end mastermind programs that he has that you can graduate into as well.
The next lesson was from John Lee Dumas from, Entrepreneur On Fire, and he kicked off the summit with his keynote on the importance of sales funnels, and within his sales funnels, the element driving the majority of his financial success has been live webinars and in fact, he has a saying which is, “Sales happen on live webinars.” So with his extremely popular podcast, John has thousands of people that want to learn how to podcast. So, his funnel takes them from his free podcast into a live webinar training about podcasting and then eventually in to his Podcaster’s Paradise paid membership program.
I think he said he has delivered that webinar over a hundred times. So, he is a big proponent of live with occasional automation thrown into it and at this point he said he is running that live training webinar two times every month as one of the main elements of his sales funnel. So, this solidified, in my mind, my own plan for using training webinars as the transition point in my funnels from my free content like this podcast and then into my paid programs like, The StrongStart Accelerate Program. So that live training, that live webinar aspect of it is going to be a key element of my sales funnels. So, that was one big takeaway there that’s going to change my approach a little bit.
The next lesson was the benefit of recurring revenue from my friend, Mike Morrison of The Membership Guys and The Member Site Academy. Mike talked about the power of recurring revenue in online business models. Now, while he is obviously a guru of membership sites, he didn’t just talked about memberships, but he talked about subscriptions, SaaS services, productize services, licensing, agreements, and more. Basically, he covered all of the different types of models for earning recurring revenue in your business.
Now, the Recurring revenue model could either be your primary revenue generator like in my case, you know, where I’m setting up to launch a membership site. Or it can help you smooth out a more typical, you know, launch-based business where you only may launch a course or a program a couple of times throughout the year. The benefit of that recurring revenue is that it generally is consistent over time. So, instead of launching and, you know, making $50,000 and then making zero for the next three months until you launch again, if you can build in the recurring revenue models where, maybe, do those launch scenarios you make $50K but then every month you make $10K from, you know, other recurring revenue models. It really helps even out the flow of your revenue and your cash flow and can make growing your business a lot easier than in some cases where, you know, if you happen to have a failed launch, you just lost a huge percentage of your income for that year.
So, it was interesting because, you know, Mike talked about the recurring revenue models and, you know, still a lot of people come back to thinking about membership sites and one thing that I definitely detected from some of the people that I talked to there was some fatigue around the quantity of membership sites and the pitches that people are getting on membership sites across the board in the online business space. So, that was concerning to me, obviously, because that is what I’ve been, you know, preparing to launch here for the last couple of months and building a lot of content around.
So, we’ll talk about that a little bit later in this episode because it was a huge, huge, benefit of going to this conference. Getting exposure to 300 people that are basically in my target audience, you know, personal brand entrepreneurs, Youpreneurs, solo entrepreneurs, whatever you want to call it, folks building a business around their expertise or their content is the target market for the products and services that I’ve been building. So, on the first day when I was hearing some of that feedback about membership models, it was definitely concerning. But then over the course of the next couple of the days the people that I talked too really helped me shape and shift my ideas into something that’s going to resonate a lot more than, you know, what I was talking about going into the conference. So, huge benefit there that we’ll talk a little bit more at the end of this episode.
So that leads in to the next benefit which is the power of in person masterminding and this was really the biggest lesson that I learned at the summit. You know, we hear people talk all the time about masterminding and I knew that it would helpful but, wow, as I just started to mention it was really helpful. You know, and then as I said especially because the entire set of the attendees is exactly the market that I’m developing solutions for, it was good to be able to talk through all the stuff that I’m thinking about and get ideas and get that direct feedback. So, through the course of the three days, I had almost two hours of time with groups of eight people where I was in the hot seat, you know, basically talking about my business, my plans, and getting their direct feedback.
The thing that I learned, which was at the response to my ideas varied widely depending on where people were in the development of their online business. So the absolute beginners weren’t really going to be ready for my offerings and the folks that were already at, you know, six or seven figures had already built teams and systems so might not need the things that I’m currently working on. So, initially I was a little bit depressed at that because I thought, “Oh, I’ve got this huge market space of everybody building an online business around their expertise.”
But, in the end it actually is really helping me niche down to content creators and businesses that are basically in that one to three year business range where they’ve been building their content for a little while, they’re trying to get ready to monetize it, but they’re at this point where they need to grow their team from just being one person to maybe a virtual assistant or bringing in a VA and a designer or bringing in a VA and editor something like that. So, when I was talking to folks that were in that business stage, they were basically ready to take out their wallets and join my services right away. Because like, “Wow, this is exactly what I need to be able to scale from an individual up to being able to get more accomplished.”
Really valuable experience in helping me niche down a little bit more, you know, which is obviously always the advice that you hear people give and then also in the end help motivate me. So, to be honest, at the end of day one I was like, “Oh, yeah,” I was a little bit disappointed as maybe I have to rethink more things than I thought. But by the end of the third day having progressed through literally changing my messaging and positioning on the fly each time I got in the hot seat it really helped me narrow up the focus and it was just again a huge, huge, benefit and the perfect timing for where I am in the development of my solutions.
Then, the final lesson from the Youpreneur Summit is what I’m calling, that this stuff really helps people and what I mean by that is, you know, sometimes we get maybe two engrossed in ourselves in terms of building businesses and hitting six figures, and financial freedom and all of these internal goals that sometimes we forget about, you know, the whole purpose for doing this, which is to build businesses that help other people and, you know, there’s no better example of that than Pat Flynn. You know, obviously he spent the years and years and years providing free, valuable content to his audience and he was the closing keynote at the Youpreneur Summit and he got a massive standing ovation after his keynote.
Because, he talked about how he almost gave up on Smart Passive Income in 2012 and he was within days of pulling the plug when he got a note from one of his listeners that his listener had been seriously injured 18 months ago and that during his entire recovery he had been inspired by Pat to persevere, recover, and build his own online business. So Pat was within days of pulling the plug on this, he got this note from this listener that and he had no idea that this had been going on for the last year and a half. That person hadn’t reached out to him, he didn’t know who he was, it just happened to be one person in his audience. At the very end of the keynote Pat pointed to a person in the live audience there with us and said that it was the guy and that this was the first time he had met him in person was at that event.
So, there were tears all around and it just really hit home that this stuff of online business, coaching and mentoring all can be truly impactful in peoples’ lives and in a very positive way. So, in the end that person who had been seriously injured he, you know, recovered physically through a ton of, you know, therapy and so forth. He did launch his own online business, he is now successful, you know, having been inspired too and trained by Pat and all the materials that he put out. So it just really was this awesome end-to-end story of, you know, mere giving up, you know, by somebody that most people in this realm look up to Pat Flynn. So it’s like even the, you know, the great Pat was, you know, close to giving up at some stage in his development.
But then, showing the power that we have in these online businesses and with podcasts and blogs and things like that to change peoples’ lives. In the end that’s the number one reason why I’m moving in to this space. You know, I’ve done consulting and I’ve helped companies and government agencies and like this huge entities improve over, you know, the 20 years that I’ve been in professional life. But one of the reason I’m moving in to online business is I want to help individuals succeed and build their own businesses and, you know, get to the levels of success that some of us have been able to enjoy when we have a great career.
So, you know, again there is the logical side of the summit benefits and learning a bunch of strategies and tactics and techniques and there is also the emotional and inspirational side of seeing the success and the happiness that a lot of these speakers have and then especially the impact that their having on the audience and helping people. So, in the end a huge set of benefits from the conference, the value of going in to the event was far higher than I expected. And then, it was capped off by the third day. So, again, I talked about the platinum ticket, you know, costed extra — I forget? You know, it was a thousand dollars or something like that more so, you know, a decent investment. But the third day was a smaller group of attendees where the entire day was just that masterminding that I was talking about.
So, on the third day I think it was, I’d say — let’s see. About 60 of us instead of the full 300 at the full conference. So, again tables of eight people, in these cases we got 30 minute time slots to talk about our businesses and our challenges and since it was a smaller group, Chris Ducker was able to also be at each of the tables periodically throughout the day. So, we got, you know, more direct access to him during the coaching sessions and then afterwards there was nice events like cruise along the River Thames in London for some sightseeing and then a final closing dinner with Chris.
I drew the lucky straw, I actually got to sit right next to Chris. So I had the chance to chat with him a little bit more one-on-one and get to know him a little bit better as a person. So, that third day was well worth the benefits. Like I said the first two were a little bit rough for my concept, but again through continually evolving that message on the third day with that extra focus time I was able to, you know, get that messaging and positioning down to a point where everybody at the table was like, “Yes, if you’re doing it that way these are services we be interested in, we think that’s really going to be a successful idea,” and a lot of, you know, tips and tactics for for getting that stuff setup.
So, all in all a great event and I’m definitely looking forward to going again next year and again I’m already visualizing trying to earn a speaker slot or a success story slot in that summit as one of my goals and motivators for next year. So, with that I want to thank you for joining me today, if you’ve been enjoying the content here on StrongStart.fm it would help us out greatly if you can give us a quick positive review over in iTunes. My goal is to help as many people as possible reach their goals so we need to spread the word and also like to encourage you to join my StrongStart Accelerate Program.
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