Our total online audience is in the hundreds of thousands and growing rapidly. I’ve had several high profile industry colleagues make the observation that they’ve never seen such fierce long term loyalty in any online business audience like we have in ours.
Our Facebook group launched and quickly passed the 10,000 member mark while still adding dozens of new members daily. Clearly we are on to something.
We get daily email and emotional posts in our forums and on Facebook from people thanking us and our community for helping them out in some way with their online business. We have stacks and stacks of such letters and we dearly value each one of them. When we held our last live event, tickets went up for sale and sold out the same day because the people in our community can’t wait to hang out together again.
How did we get here?
There are several common sense answers to that question – things like working hard, serving your audience, earning trust every day, only promoting stuff that really works, being generous to a fault, over delivering, acting with integrity, being in it for the long haul, slow and steady growth etc. Those concepts should all make sense instinctively to all of us with ANY ambitions in business.
But here’s a “not so obvious” detail that has played a huge role in our success.
I’ve observed that very few online leaders pay proper attention to this “secret” factor – but it’s been key in my growth and success. It comes from a Biblical lesson found in Proverbs 15:22. That passage says, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.”
You may not realize it, but for the last few years I’ve had an “advisory board” that I’ve granted virtual “veto power” over all of my projects, promotions, content and biz decisions. The people on this “board” also come up with great ideas and partner with me on numerous projects.
In other words, my business never has been, nor will it ever become “The ‘Jim’ Show”.
You may have noticed that I only occasionally endorse any third party services or tools in my newsletter. There’s good reason for this. It certainly ISN’T because there’s a lack of people TRYING to get the attention of our audience. We are bombarded daily with new books, courses, tools etc. – dozens weekly try to “get on our stage” and they are willing to pay us a lot of money for the privilege! Before I’ll even consider endorsing a new course or tool to my audience though I insist that my review team go through it, review it, try to break it, test it out etc.
Most of what we test out and review just isn’t good enough and it gets VETOED by my team before I even see it.
That’s just one example of how I take a team approach to leadership. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on me to make great decisions on behalf of our audience, but I have plenty of sharp advisors who help me make solid choices.
In case you are wondering where these great advisors come from – they are the handpicked “best of the best” students who took our courses, read my books, and then did great things online with what they had learned. That’s the “litmus” test for access into leadership around here. If you succeed using one or more of our courses AND you also have a caring attitude toward helping others succeed, then you are a good potential candidate for leadership around here. Right now we have about 70 people total supporting or leading in some way in our community to varying degrees.
To wrap things up – the “big hidden secret” to leading well online is to NOT put your own opinions and ideas ahead of the best interests of your audience ever. The best way I’ve found to make sure I avoid that mistake is to give several trusted leaders in my audience VETO power over new ideas, projects, products or partnership I’m considering. I also encourage them to float me great ideas (and reward them handsomely for the winning ideas).
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.”
It was November 2013…a large Orlando hotel conference room was packed with friendly faces. My best customers, students and partners had come from around the world at my invitation for a jam packed weekend of learning and growing together. There was no denying I was visibly nervous and you could tell I had barely slept the night before. In fact, I had never done anything like what I was about to do. Over 350 friendly faces were watching me step into a role I wasn’t yet convinced I was ready for.
Surely there must have been some doubt in the room as we started the event. Would it all be worth it?
I can count on one hand the times I’ve been more nervous in my life. I’ve been on stage in front of audiences before, but never anything quite like my first CES event where every person in the crowd was there because I had asked them to come see what my team and I had planned. Each attendee had decided to spend their money, get on an airplane or drive long distances, leave their families and routines in order to be there.
No pressure, right?
Let’s skip to the end of the story:
You can ask literally ANYONE who was there. It was powerful.
In order to get the true sentiments of those who attended we anonymously asked (via poll) all who attended a couple simple questions.
We asked “Should we do this again?” and, “Would you come back?”
The responses poured in – virtually 100% “YES”.
We listened -and we got a bigger room for our September 2014 CES event. Tickets sold out in under a day months in advance of the event. I didn’t even send the invite to my full mailing list before it was sold out. I’m still in shock.
None of us should be surprised at the power of face to face gatherings though – it’s actually a biblical concept.
I’ve learned recently that ancient Jewish wisdom has a concept that explains the value of live (face to face) interaction as opposed to the alternatives of written, phone calls or even live video chat. I learned of this concept from my favorite Jewish author Rabbi Daniel Lapin. In the Hebrew language, the word for “face” and the word for “inside” are the same word. The significance of these overlapping words is simply this:
You can’t tell what’s really going on inside someone until you see them in person – or face to face. With over 50 facial muscles, we communicate incredible amounts of information very quickly when meeting others. This helps us truly decide who we can and can’t trust, who we want to get to know better and who to avoid.
You can’t duplicate this with a phone call, an email or even an online chat.
Here are just some of the things I saw happen in front of my eyes at CES 2013 that NEVER would have happened otherwise:
And that’s not even listing the incredible content, ideas and strategies that were shared openly by all the entire time – with NO big pitches for products to purchase.
The September 2014 event is sold out, so this isn’t a ploy to sell you a ticket (although you can get the next best thing which is full access to all of CES via online live stream. It’s on sale until Aug 1st here):
Instead, I want to reinforce the fact that there’s no replacing face to face – even in our age of virtual meetings, email and live streaming. If you aren’t “getting out” and physically surrounding yourself with real people who encourage and inspire you, then you are missing out on some of the greatest energy boosting opportunities you’ll ever experience. Come see the faces of my partners, students and readers if you get a chance. You’ll see we are on a mission and we want you to join us.
Alternate title 1: Marketing while still being able to look at yourself in the mirror…it’s not too late
Alternate title 2: Why the good guy are winning more often online
Mark my words -
I predict that the era of mega Internet Marketing Launches is coming to a close. They will eventually die an ugly and slow death because WE the consumers will demand it and literally FRY those who go against the wave of angry victims that nearly all big launches create.
What’s an IM Launch? If you don’t know what an IM Launch is I’ll sum it up for you. The same list of 15-20 “gurus” all cooperate to launch high price tag product after product to hopeful online entrepreneurs. The “gurus” take turns propping up each others big launches while giving away massive prizes to each other for the most affiliate sales. Endorsements flow like water from one “guru” to the next for each big launch without even so much as reading a summary of what the product contains. Email sales copy is “copy/pasted” and there’s a BUY NOW before it’s all over edge to each “launch”.
While there will always be suckers willing to pay $X,XXX for each sharply packaged digital course, here’s what’s going to change very soon:
The ever growing list of SMART CONSUMERS in the IM niche (I hope this includes you) are going to start using their ever increasing online influence to tell their ever growing loyal audiences to STAY AWAY from the shiny objects. And the growing trend is that consumers are NAMING NAMES and ending the careers of those deserving of termination.
I’ve developed some standards that I think we need for the entire industry as consumers and as creators of “online business growth” content:
1) If the training is digitally delivered, make it affordable. If it’s SOOO great, you’ll have plenty of people who want one-on-one coaching to grow the biz and that coaching (if it’s good) can be worth more money later to your top students. This is good marketing, good business, and starts things off on the right foot with nervous students.
2) No bright shiny objects allowed (cut the graphics crap, cut the false scarcity, the exotic backgrounds etc.) As buyers we don’t care – or at least we SHOULDN’T! If you DO actually buy into flashy presentation and care what car your “guru” drives shame on you. YOU are the sucker and you will soon be waving good-bye to what little cash you have left.
3) Start small, grow slow, & make sure it’s not going to be saturated before you start sharing it with us. In other words, no more big launches on unproven and unreliable concepts. PROVE it first by rolling it out to people who trust you…we’ll buy later once you have REAL testimonials from real people and can prove that you are onto something worthy of mass attention. I’m blessed that I’ve come up with THREE such concepts in my ten years of doing this business. I don’t trust ANYONE who comes up with a new concept every few months!
4) Recruit your early successful students to present their ideas to the rest of us as their businesses grow. Let the content GROW as new creative ideas and people come on board. Commit long term to things you believe in and produce results.
5) Hire successful students to monitor the MANDATORY INCLUDED discussion forums and let everyone hang out and learn there.
6) With rare exception, there should be no time limits on refunds for online courses. If the course is SOOO great it should still be working six months from now. We should still be seeing new success stories then as well and the content should still be getting updates for relevance.
7) End guru worship. Showing off the stuff you have does not impress the kind of customer that you’ll need if you want to build a real business.
8) Your “expert testimonials” are crap. Show us real people giving their FIRST EVER real testimonial. Those are the ones that matter.
Am I forgetting anything?
How can YOU help make this a reality? STOP BUYING STUFF THAT YOU KNOW IS GARBAGE.
Lesson for my “expert” colleagues: If you aim your marketing at idiots you’ll soon have an audience of the same.
I’d love to read your comments on this one! Use the comment button above and add your thoughts.
There’s a secret that a few of us have figured out and you need to know the big secret as well. Some who read this post will think I’m nuts, but I’m O.K. with that.
I’m making a great living selling a bunch of products and services every week and helping thousands of people around the world succeed as well. The odds are, anyone who calls me crazy is also stuck scratching their heads in amazement at my success while they endure a job they hate.
I’ll take my life over the “haters” any day – thank you very much.
The “Big Secret”
My 13 year old came home from a youth event recently and he had a long verbal list of complaints about the evening. It was typical stuff for a teenage brain, but it helped me connect some business dots in my own head as I let him rattle off his list of reasons why things hadn’t gone well that night.
After he was done and just before I went into “consoling dad mode”, I asked one simple question that I think annoyed him a bit, but it made my point.
I asked, “If you think back through the entire story you just told me what did nearly every sentence have in common?“
Without even hearing his story I’ll bet you can figure it out right?
If not, you’ll figure it out in a minute.
First, let’s make a list of all the stuff that virtually none of your customers, prospects, readers, fans, clients, video viewers, Facebook and twitter friends or online followers actually care about:
99.9% of them don’t truly care…
…get the point?
So what do they care about?
They are actually asking themselves some simple questions that read something like this:
“Can this person/product/service HELP ME get from where I am now to where I want to be, and how painful will the journey be?”
“Can I learn to trust this person/product/service? …because I don’t yet.”
“What is the cost of skipping all this for now and coming back to it later?”
“Exactly how will my life be better if I do this? Worse if I don’t?”
“What can I expect if I do/don’t ‘pull the trigger’?”
“Does this person/product/service actually CARE or are they just trying to get my money?”
“What is the unbiased reputation of this person/product/service?”
To be a success online means leading. To LEAD an online audience means helping your readers/followers/prospects answer the above questions in your favor.
That’s the big secret.
Stated more plainly – success doesn’t come to those who place themselves at the center of the situation. It’s NOT about you – and if you make it about YOU, you will almost certainly fail.
Further evidence of this simple yet powerful “secret” can be found in two best sellers: The Holy Bible, & “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie <-affiliate link
The rest of the story:
The next week when dropping my son off at the same weekly event I reminded him, “It’s not about you – remember our talk.”
He had a FANTASTIC evening.
In late 2012 I passed the ten year anniversary of being “self employed”.
In recognition of a decade of failures and successes I’ve written my latest book. It’s a short book (only 29 pages), but I think you’ll enjoy it. The title is self explanatory.
It’s only available for sale on Amazon. Use this link to order
What you get when you order:
When your purchase the book you also get access to the high quality audio I made reading the book with my new high powered microphone! It’s one hour of my BEST ideas that you can take with you and listen to anywhere.
Is this book for you? Let the feed back from others help you decide.
Below you’ll find some of the feedback that was sent to me by the earliest readers of this short book as well as comments left here on my blog. Please leave your comments here as well once you’ve checked it out!
I hope this note gets directly to you somehow.
This was a Great little book, so much information in so little space!
As always, a true pleasure to deal with someone as competent and
straightforward as you.
I have been personally getting back on track lately.
I lost my job on the 31st of Jan of this year and have been prioritizing our
families life ever since.
Not losing my goal of being and staying on course with our amazon, ebay and
other revenue streams.
We have moved 98% of our product to FBA and I find I have a LOT more time to
do the things you outline in your book here.
I am able to be home with the kids (4) and (6) little girls every day.
The revenue from our ventures is slowly building and like the great big
wheel turning, is picking up speed all the time.
You are a great teacher and have so many great ideas.
I have learned so much from you in just a few short months.
Loved, loved, loved your take on life lessons. I found them inspirational and succinct… Looking forward to reading it again and again – keep up the great work.
Just read “Ten Years, Ten Lessons” and I must say it was very compelling. I’m a bit older than you (49) and all but one of my three daughters is out on their own. I have always provided for my family and have been married to the love of my life for almost 25 years but…I have also been on the 40, 50, 60 hour a week JOB cycle the entire time. I felt myself reflecting on this after reading this and I do have regrets about not being around enough for my family. One business trip after another, weeks on the road etc have taking their toll over the years. I am going to send a copy of this to each of my girls (with your permission) in the hopes that they will gain some insight about what it means to really be successful. Thank you for being a truly authentic beaming light of hope Jim.
Read your new book. It’s fantastic! I love that it’s short and to the point with great insights from your experiences in business.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s uplifting and informative, I think you will do well with it on Amazon. I recently purchased your course ‘The Proven Amazon Course’. Hope to be following in your footsteps soon. I like and appreciate your philosophy in your business but more importantly how it seems to come across in your life. Thanks for sending your latest book.
As always, great info!
What I like about you is that you’re like a filter of great ideas. I receive a lot of emails from internet marketers and some send out emails like 2 or 3 times a week, I used to read a lot of them, but now days i just don’t have time, except when it’s from you, i always read them, you’re the only one I took the time to put in my safe email list, to make sure I get your email. Sometimes you might go a week without sending an email but when you do, it’s always valuable information and I make sure to read them.
I remember back in college in 2002, I had little money, when you had the silent sales machine book, I bought it and it was unique, and started reading your newsletter, I started making some money and saw how you grew, and then the mysilentteam.com came out, also with great info, and then the proven ebay course. So you only had products that you knew people were going to be successful and value, and that’s why whenever you have something new, I always bought it, because I knew it was going to work. And I’ve never seen that with anybody else. So it all boils down to trust. And I trust you, in everything you do and say.
(reply from Jim: Thanks Julian – it looks like we go WAAAAY back! We STILL have the “Silent Sales Machine” book! It’s been updated 7 times since then! Get it here for only $5
I have just read your Ten Years & Ten Lessons, having been sent your way by a friend. The timing was just so perfect, and it was such an interesting read, as I am making changes to my business to provide information, on a subject I was so cautious about sharing before.
I realized that I had created a job for myself, and actually admitted to family recently that I enjoyed making my product much like a factory worker on a conveyor belt. It was only after I said it out loud, that it became clear that I was completely restricting my life and income to that of a factory worker, and not the creative success I though I was. I am in the process of changing this, and with this change I know that my business can only grow bigger and make me a lot richer than I am now!
I am so glad I discovered your website today- it has most definitely inspired me!
Jim, I’m just starting and while I know a lot of what’s in here, there are still great insights re personal and business life.
The small successes one resonated b/c I got a huge fee from one client based on one article I wrote two years ago (before I started my business). Its allowing me to hire some contract assitants while I get started.
I also admire your attention to family. It’s too important to ignore yet and too easy to bypass.
The Amazon approach seems sound too. It seems best to get a handle on what to sell and have someone else(partner) do it. I already do the contract assistants rather than hire employees. (Can’t afford that anyway!)
And there is no advantage in a large building.
Also, I’m older and a little ornery so I find saying NO a lot easier than most people.
All good stuff.
Thank you! P.S. Re writing long pieces Vs short.
St. Blaise Pascal once apologized to a friend for writing him a long letter.
“I didn’t have time,” he said, “to write a short one.
The Daley Post
I read your “ten short lessons” and found it not just an interesting read, it quickly and succinctly gives “legs” to the concept that time is truly precious. You accurately and convincingly use examples to make your point. Organizing your limited time in such a way as to unburden it with low priority activity is key to unleashing one’s creative energy on the things that give meaning to life… and by example you offer hope to others that they too, with a little concentrated effort, can change their circumstances and make dreams come true.
You did a terrific job in just a few words-
I read your new book last night and what really stood out to me was the need to produce information products and share. more. information.
I tend to lean more towards the conservative side and I think that has been holding me back. Thanks for the gentle reminder that I need to give, give, give to receive.
Have a fantastic weekend!
Jim, just a note to say I really loved what you articulated in the enclosed book, the comments and lessons learned align extremely well with what I have found and am learning with my own business. I have circulated your book on all my social media and my website!
Dear Mr. Cockrum, Just a quick note to thank you for the report you sent me. That along with so much of what you do has been such a help and inspiration to me. I wish you the best, Janna V
Great advice and wisdom from someone who has done it and has the ability to
transfer his knowledge and experience to newcomers. You have always impressed
me as a straight shooter and a successful entrepreneur.
I’m just starting out, but it is clear to me that authenticity is THE big rock if you want to make it online. And, you are a master at demonstrating that authenticity is the name of the game.