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Selling Your Ideas as An Edupreneur with Robert Skrob

In this episode, we're going behind the scenes with my mentor, Robert Skrob. He is the guru of gurus. He is the trainer's trainer. He is the guy that is responsible for many people being in the edupreneur or info marketing business.

In this episode, we talk about how you can take your ideas, your advice, your knowledge or someone else's ideas, advice and knowledge and monetize that. We talk about what it is to create online education and be an edupreneur.

We talk about one of the great all-time quarterbacks at Florida State University. We talk about his first client and how he parlayed that into his empire. What was going through his mind, how he doubled down, taking the fee from that client but immediately reinvesting in all the things that went behind that first client and what he did to build his empire. We also sneak in a little retention.

For those of you in the biz and you're wondering, “How do I retain customers, keep them coming back, keep them happy and refer?” then you're going to love this show.

Dustin
Robert, a little birdie told me you did your first Boston Marathon?
Robert
I have. I never thought I would ever run a marathon. It never occurred to me that would even be a good idea. I just started running. After getting started, you get around these people who are also runners and they're like, “If you can run 5K, you can run 10K.” You go out and do that and then they're like, “If you can run 10K, the half marathon is easy enough,” and then it's like, “If you can run a half marathon, go run a full.” Soon enough, I found myself running the Boston Marathon. It's all peer pressure. The people around you determine who you become.
Dustin
You just picked up running.
Robert
I didn't want to be bald and fat. I figured I had to do something. I listened to this podcast called 5K101. You download it and you run when it says run and walk when it says walk. After eight weeks of this, you're able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. Believe me, the first minute that I had to run, I thought it was the longest minute of my entire life. I thought I was going to exhale a lung. It was hard. I’d never run a mile in my life. I’m 40 years old trying to get out there for the first time. It's been wonderful. Now we're moved off from marathons now to triathlons. I had to get in a pool and learn how to swim. I grew up in Florida, so we surfed but I never did strokes, the thing where you're trying to swim and breathe at the same time. I figured that out, got a bike and life is a blast. It’s one new thing after another.
Dustin
I am not a runner and based on what you've told me, this is a slippery slope. Maybe I’ll stay this way. If you put a ball in front of me like a tennis ball, a football or a soccer ball, I will chase that thing more than one would run. Take us to that moment in the Boston Marathon. Were there tens of thousands of people there?
Robert
There are 500,000 people along the route and there are more than 30,000 runners. The most magical moment is at the finish line. You make a left-hand turn and you can see the finish about 0.5 miles away. The crowd on both sides of the street is ten-people deep. They're screaming, cheering and ringing cowbells. You're going down a big city street, so the noise is deafening. While I wanted to get across that finish line as fast as I could, I also wanted that moment to last forever. It was an amazing experience having that crowd around. All along the route from the beginning to when you’re running into Boston, there are thousands of people all along the way ready to continue to cheer you on. I didn't have to do it by myself. I ran with my wife. It was a great experience that we were able to share together.
Dustin
There are not many sports, especially if you're not a professional where you can perform and have 500,000 people and ten-people deep. You must have felt like a rock star.
Robert
Most of what I do in terms of writing on my laptop, there's not a big crowd around going, “That was a great doozy. Nice headline.” To be able to have that experience where even though I was one of 30,000 other runners, it was still a magical event.
Dustin
I want to get into what I know is info marketing. What we call here around creating your own education business or some people call it being an edupreneur, selling your advice, selling your knowledge or teaching people and getting compensated for it. How did you enter this mysterious world of info-marketing?
Robert
The real key turning point was in 2004, I had learned from Dan Kennedy all about copywriting and had become successful at getting clients and growing my business. I even quadrupled my prices in my consulting business. In 2004,I figured out like, “I’m not going to increase my income again because I’m maxed out. I’m providing as many services as I can. There is only one me.” I was already stretched as thin as much as I could do. I had to find a way that I could duplicate myself where it wasn't dependent on me to work an hour in order to get paid for an hour. What the educational products business allows you to do is take what you know. I took what I was already doing as a consulting service, which was marketing for trade and professional associations, membership marketing. I took that and productized it.
Instead of me only being able to deliver it via consulting, I was able to do that. Some of the customers weren’t ready to hire me as a consultant, but they would readily invest $1,000 to buy my examples, to buy my method and to buy my templates. They were happy to have that and do it themselves and it worked well for them at $1,000 when they weren’t ready to pay several tens of thousands of dollars to have me do it all for them. It provided a great option for folks that weren't ever going to hire me as a consultant. It allowed me, instead of having to go out and be with clients to create, I was able to sell that product over and over again. Create it once and get paid over and over.
Dustin
I want to get definitely more into detail because I want to light people's world up here at WealthFit Nation into showing them what's possible. I want to go back. You're an entrepreneur. You were doing coaching before this education online, being an edupreneur. Did you grow up entrepreneurial? Did you have an influence from your parents? How did you enter this world of entrepreneurship?
Robert
I always figured I would own my own business. Neither of my parents graduated from high school, much less college. My mom had me when she was eighteen and my dad was eighteen as well. They were young. My dad worked at a tire store and eventually worked his way up to be a manager of the tire store and then eventually bought it. My mom worked in the business. Every evening, they would come home and talk about what was happening in the business. It was a nightly lecture of customer service, purchasing, cashflow, all the hopes, dreams and frustrations of small business. I couldn't think of anything else. I started working at a company that was this consulting company.
In 1994, I went to school to become a CPA because as a business owner’s kid, you either become a CPA or a lawyer. That's the richest people that the business owner knows. That's where I went is I became a CPA. I practiced accounting for about two and a half months. I figured out it wasn't for me. I took a job at this consulting company and I bought it five years later. It’s like, “Why am I going to invest all this time, energy and emotion into someone else's business? I’ll go create my own.” He’s like, “Instead of going and leaving, why don’t you buy this one?” He made a deal that I couldn't refuse and I bought him out. I had it in me since the dinner table when I was in middle school.
Dustin
I want to give a little love to our alma mater, Florida State. Did you enter Florida State knowing you were going to be an accountant and that you're going to get into numbers?
Robert
I went in. I wanted to be an accountant, CPA. That was my aspiration going to Florida State University. We won the national championship during that time, our first.
Dustin
Who was throwing the ball around? Do you remember the players?
Robert
We've got Charlie Ward, the Heisman Trophy winner. He certainly was a quarterback. His first couple of years was a little stressful because he was throwing all those interceptions. It wasn't until later that he got Heisman-worthy and then they eventually won that national championship.
Dustin
You had this upbringing of entrepreneurship. I know you have worked with a lot of folks that are getting started or are making that leap. What's your biggest advice if they don't have the parents that are baking it in from childhood? What's your big advice for folks that want to take that jump into entrepreneurship? Maybe leave that consulting firm that they work with or Corporate America and take this jump out into the big bold entrepreneurship ocean.
Robert
The biggest thing that I see is there are lots of problems that people have. As long as you are the solution to business’ problems, you're going to be successful. That's the key to entrepreneurship is to find a particular problem somebody has and deliver a solution. What a lot of people try to do is they try to deliver prevention. Prevention is way harder to sell and there's not a premium on it as much as the magic pill that's going to solve the problem. If you're going to teach somebody to help grow their business, it would be much better to position your business growth solution as a way of solving their problems of up and down cashflow, yo-yo business, seasonality, frustration, keeping up with all these different marketing methods, having your customers go and buy from your competitors and of seeing these big nationals being able to steal customers away or the fly by nights that are charging a lot less than you can.
Making your marketing system the solution to that is a lot more effective than trying to say, “We're going to help you grow your business.” It's intangible. Whereas if you're talking to their frustrations like, “Those big competitors, I hate them,” or whatever their chief frustrations are, that's the secret to making entrepreneurship work is to be focused on your customers’ problems and providing them with a solution. People want to buy cures. They do not want to buy prevention.
Dustin
I want to go back to that moment where you're grinding. You’re charging four times. You're happily grinding because you figure out you can make more money and more income. You realize that you can package your knowledge, what you're sharing over the phone or however you're sharing it with your coaching consulting business. Now you decide to make a product. What's that first product that you made?
Robert
We've got a lot easier remodels to launch a business with. It took me more than a year to launch my first business. I’d made one of the chief cardinal mistakes that I try to help everybody else avoid. I spent a year creating the product before I ever got around to trying to sell it. I was going into the office. I was running a business trying to grow it and I had full-time with clients. What I did is I would go in. At 6:00 AM I would get to work and then I would work from 6:00 to 8:00 on creating my information marketing product. I’d work at 8:00 the rest of the day on my consulting work. I did that for more than eight months and it wasn't happening fast enough.
What I started doing instead was devoting Fridays to what I call Me Days. I set aside all-day Friday to create my product and my business and then eventually my marketing. The biggest mistake though was creating the product before going out to sell it. The models that we have today are focused on being able to get that immediate feedback from your customers on what they want. Understanding the messages they want to hear in order to get them to buy before you create the product. You save yourself so much time, money, energy and grief by going out and outlining your concept and creating your model of what you're going to deliver and offering it to customers to buy. Customers are poor at giving you advice as to what they would buy. They're bad at predicting what they will purchase. Whereas if you put it in front of them and say, “I’m offering this for sale. This is its price. Would you like it?” That is the customer feedback that you need. When the product is sold and you've got customers waiting to get it and you can deposit these checks if only you would ship this product, it becomes way easier to find the time and motivation to get that product completed.
Dustin
Step one is awareness. People might not have known that. The second thing is the mindset. What do you say to that perfectionist that says, “Robert, if I put out a product into the world and it's not ready, people are going to put me on social media and they're going to bad mouth me.” What do you say to that person that is slow playing it a little too much?
Robert
There is a lot of fear about what people are going to say about you. I even know. I felt it considerably. I was young when I was launching all this. I was 27 years old, owning my business for the first time. I’m probably 30, 31 when I’m creating this information marketing business for the first time. It's like, “Who am I to come out with this product?” There are two parts of this. One is, “I’m not good enough. I’m going to keep improving and trying to be better.” Once you get beyond that it's like, “This is damn good. This result, that result,” then the next part of it is, “You're a little too big for your britches, aren't you? Who do you think you are that you’re so good?” It's easy to get yourself caught in this trap of either not feeling good enough or when you do feel good about yourself you get this, “Who do you think you are?”
The crucial thing to recognize is that's normal and use that instead to make the product better. By better, does it solve your customers’ problem that you promised to solve? If it solves that problem, you’re done. You can move on. It doesn't necessarily have to be the prettiest fonts. It doesn't necessarily have to be gorgeous-looking. Here's the key. Once you get in front of your customers, use the feedback you get to improve the product. Use that to help make what you deliver better. If you get feedback on social media, use that to improve the product and rebuild. There will always be people who don't understand what you're doing. They're coming from a different place. The product wasn't for them. They might pop off with questions or with comments. Focus on the believers, on the buyers. Serve them and ignore everybody else.
Dustin
Robert, you say being an edupreneur, an info marketer, whatever you label it is a lucrative business. What do you say to the person that says, “Robert, this is great. I would love to be in this business. I can see what you're saying but I’m not an expert?” How do I get into this business not having knowledge?
Robert
You don't have to look too far. Look at the publishing industry, how many books they publish in a year? Go on Amazon to see the how-to books section and you see these Prentice Hall or these different book publishers and they don't know the topic. What they did is they went out and found an author to write the book for them. There is a tremendous amount of value in bringing the experts together who do know. If this is a topic that you're wondering about, you have this problem and you would love to solve it, chances are there are probably others that would benefit from having that solution as well. Instead of feeling you've got to spout all the knowledge yourself and produce a perfect product out of your brain, consider if there are other outside experts that you could bring in that could deliver pieces of the product so that you don't have to come up with all the information yourself. It's like, “How am I going to get them to do it? Would they want a lot of money?”
Chances are those experts are trying to get their name in front of people who have that exact problem. They're proud that they've got a solution for it. When I have had folks invite experts, four out of five times they'll say yes. They like to be part of the product because they don't want to be left out. That expert doesn't want you to replace them with somebody else. Here is this product that’s all about solving this particular problem and they got left out of it. Even though you think, “Who am I? I’m just this little guy. I’m nobody, nothing. I’m going to go to this big expert who knows everything and invite them to participate,” and they're going to be like, “No,” like Zeus talking from the clouds, “How dare you pester me with your peasant minor little request.” These people are looking for media. They're looking for opportunities to tell people what they know, and they want to be part of your product.
Dustin
I want to make this real, Robert. You've been a mentor of mine. I’ve read the books. We've gone to conferences. I’ve learned directly from you. What the WealthFit Nation might not know about me is I did the same thing too. I had a lot of marketing knowledge, but I didn't have the mindset I have now. I didn't feel I could be of value to people. I took this concept that you said. Go find an author. Go find an expert. I’m sitting in a mastermind and there's this business credit guy there and he's like, “I can help you good business lines of credit.” I’m 23, 24 at the time and I said, “Let's do it.” He gets me $93,000 in business credit cards. I said, “This is powerful.” He was doing it as a service like you were being a consultant doing a service and I pitched him. I said, “What if we took this knowledge and put it into a course? How hard is it to do what you do?” After he’s like, “It’s hard,” he's trying to sell his value. I’m like, “It’s a process, a system that we could do. What if we could put that into a home study program and educate people on doing it?” I did that.
To your second point of, “I should find other people to add value to this course.” People that buy a business credit course might want to know about personal credit. I went out and found somebody. What was unique and exciting brings us all full circle is there was a guy named Than Merrill. I also knew that I was marketing to a lot of real estate investors trying to get their business off the ground. What better way than with credit cards. I said, “How about you do a thing on real estate?” This was right when he was getting started. He's an expert and he's like, “I’d love that,” and then he invited me to come to his bootcamp and talk about business credit. It's a great example I want to share with you. You don't have to consider yourself the expert. You can go find it just like I did. I wasn't. I knew how to talk a little and do some marketing and I found Mark. He was the guy that I did business credit with.
Robert
Look at what all that's become over the years. If you stand outside the door and go, “I’m not going to knock because nobody will let me in,” then you'll always be outside the door. Go knock on the door and see what happens. It could open you up to opportunities ten times better than you could possibly imagine happening. It all starts with a little bit of action and a little bit of courage.
Dustin
Other than whether you have the expertise or you find somebody with the expertise, I want people to understand what I believe is how incredibly easy it is to become an edupreneur, an info marketer. What does it take to get into this business?
Robert
One of the key things is to get started. There are systems, there are processes, and there are details that you're going to want to be able to have as you scale this business. One of the easiest ways to get started is to get started and create an outline for the program. What is the problem? Put a title on it. Create five steps to solve that problem and launch it as a webinar series. This allows you to have guests deliver some of the webinars or appear on some of the webinars. It allows you to be able to sell it now. Because it's scheduled in the future, you can start selling, getting information and you might learn, “They don't like this but they do like that.” You can go and change the webinar series before you even deliver it. Use the knowledge that you get by selling it. Beyond that, you get to start now. You create the webinar series, put a date on it. Six weeks from now, start selling it. That's all it takes.
As the six weeks come closer, you can create a module for the first one. You create a little training, anywhere between 45 and 75 minutes is pretty reasonable. You can create the next week's one next week. You don't have to do months’ worth of product creation. Since we came up with this back in 2005, 2006 that we started dialing this in is even before webinars as we're doing this on teleseminars. I’ve worked with hundreds of people that have launched their business this way. What you do is you take the recordings for the webinar series and now that becomes your product that you're able to sell over and over again.
If you introduce a coaching program during the webinar series, now that's in your product and the whole process of marketing and selling that gets you a list. It gets you customers and gets you in business. It's a beautiful way to launch this business. I know folks that have stood on stage and sold products and generated $75,000 or $90,000 in a speech and it was a product they created as a webinar series in order to launch their business. It's a useful and easy way of getting started. That's all you need. A webinar system, an idea and a PayPal account.
Dustin
That's how we launch business credit and all it took was getting on the webinar. We had to craft a presentation that got people excited. I remember my partner, Mark, did it at the time and $60,000 in sales. At that moment I’m like, “That's awesome,” but I also felt the pressure to deliver which is a good thing because without a deadline, things don't get done. When you take money from people and you tell them, “It's a six-week webinar and once a week, we’re going to show up,” it's not like you bait and switch them. You're letting them know they're going to be part of the process. People love that. I believe it makes the course better because we can sit here in a booth or in the office and try to figure out what people want. Engaging and interacting with people is the best way to get that info.
Robert
I do encourage you to take questions either at the end of the webinar or let them email you. Sometimes it’s a lot of work answering all these questions. If you get a bunch of questions back from one of your modules, that's a tip that probably you need to go back and tweak that. Make sure that you incorporated those answers as part of the actual webinar. You left something out or you didn't explain something well enough. By making it interactive, you're able to make it a better product than you could sitting in your hobbit hole trying to invent all with you and your laptop.
Dustin
Robert, how lucrative is this industry? We're not making income claims here. I want people to understand that money and profitability can be made at the smallest level. Getting started and having your first win all the way up to some of the clients that you work with at a high level.
Robert
You can create this business and if you're looking to make a nice side income, it could certainly generate $50,000 or $100,000 a year and comfortably. It can be a nice business that adds to what you're already doing. I have a client in the dental space and he's got four kids that are approaching college age. His real hustle is to be able to pay for college for the kids. He needs about $70,000 a year pre-tax in order to be able to have the money he needs to be able to put his kids through college. If that's one of your goals, certainly you can do that. Bill Bonner created a newsletter called International Living. It's all about how an American can live and retire around the world. That business spawned into a company called Agora that now has over 100 different publications and generating more than $1 billion of revenue. This business is anywhere between $50,000 to $1 billion. Depending on where you fall in that spectrum and what your goals are, certainly there's room for you there.
Dustin
You said newsletter. I want to make it clear this is a print newsletter.
Robert
It started as a print. The International Living is still delivered as a print newsletter although they also deliver it to most of their clients now electronically.
Dustin
What do you think the biggest stumbling blocks are? You work with a lot of people and help them get started. What prevents people from being a success at this?
Robert
The biggest mistake that I see is folks want to make their market as big as possible. They have these aspirations of the $1 billion marketing business, even if $1 million or the $10 million. That's great. I hope and I want to help you get there as quickly as possible. The fastest way to build a big business is to launch to the smallest possible target market. By launching your market small, you're going to be able to tailor your message in the beginning well. That means that customers are going to be able to pay more attention. For instance, you’re going to launch a product to bars. Say you're going to help them get customers or you're going to help solve some problem they have and trying to get employees to serve at night or what have you. You could start with bars all across the country and there are tens of thousands of those. That's a huge market. If instead, you focus, “Let’s dial it into just sports bars because they're open late at night,” that narrows it down quite a bit. That's an easier list. There's something similar about them. There's an entertainment quality there that happens in that bar that's consistent throughout.
Maybe if you're located in Ohio, I’d even encourage you to consider just marketing the sports bars in Ohio. You're talking about a few hundred, maybe a thousand or so. You can have a list of them. You know their name, their address. You can talk to them and you can tailor your marketing message to sports bars in Ohio and about their problems and about what they're seeing. Your marketing is going to be much more effective because you're able to fine-tune your message and it's going to be a lot cheaper. Instead of marketing to tens of thousands of people, it's just 1,000 or so. With my clients,I tell them all the time, “I’d rather you send ten things to 1,000 people than one to 10,000.” It allows you to be everywhere. They're like, “This person is everywhere. They must be the expert.” It allows you to be a lot more effective more quickly. It doesn't mean that six months or six years from now, you can't pivot to expand your market.
The thing is as you'll have people out of your target market that is knocking on your door to come and want you to do business with them anyway. Don't worry about scaling. Scaling will be there. When you focus your marketing on a small group, it's going to make you a whole lot more effective. What you're looking for are the people who want to make a change. This is a small piece of any market because there are these people that are looking for something. When you approach them, a lot of those are going to be right on it. The people they think they know everything, they think they have all the expert answers, you're not going to sell them in your first couple of months in launching your business.
What happens is those early adopters start working with you and using your product and they start telling others. Now you go from this oddball into the thing that's cool. You become the thing that's accepted. You become the thing that's been around forever. It only is going to happen with a smaller group. If you try to make your message too big, then the early adopters can't have that resonant impact that they can when you're marketing to a small group. The biggest mistake I see over and over again is they try in the beginning to make their market way too big. How can you make it smaller? How can you narrow it down so that you have a laser-focus on a small group that you're launching your business to?
Dustin
You’ve seen teleseminars and you've done direct mail and newspaper advertising when it was extremely affordable. You've seen a lot of different things. What's the future for this info publishing?
Robert
It's going to expand. Anybody's answer is as good as anybody else's. This whole concept of online reviews has replaced guidebooks for restaurants. I don't go and buy a guidebook, and they don't even sell them anymore, of the restaurants in New York City. Now you go to an online site and you look at some reviews. Those curated books of the past are going to come back. Folks in about five years are going to become tired of looking at reviews. Most of them are by competitors or they’re by the employees of the place anyway. They don't make any sense. Do I want to trust some anonymous yahoo about whether this restaurant is any good or not? Instead, they're going to go like, “You are a guru. I like and appreciate what you have to say about restaurants. I’m going to go to you and get your curated recommendations.”
That's where we were twenty years ago. We're in a cycle where customers love and appreciate the diversity of opinions and they want to see what everybody has to say. Anyone's opinion is as good as anyone else’s. We're going to see in a few years that tide change and curation is going to be valuable again. Instead of this hodgepodge of the mess that we have online, you're going to go back to see some folks coming forward with, “Here's curated information,” and it will be by niche and by interest. If you've got the skills of pulling together information and publishing it, you're going to be even more effective than you can be today because the trend is coming back to you.
Dustin
I’d be remiss if I didn't ask you about retention. Robert also is an expert on how to retain clients. I think back to your childhood, being at the table and your parents talking about customer service even though it's a much larger conversation than that. For the WealthFit Nation that has a business or has customers, this would be some good insight in terms of what are the secrets or what are the strategies for making a difference in retaining customers? It costs so much to get them. What are your strategies for keeping them around?
Robert
One is even to have any interest in retaining them at all. Too many business owners create these systems that are focused on getting new customers. I get it, that's the most fun part, this whole hunt and bringing back your catch. You get to ring a bell or you get to sign a document. You get to go to your spouse and say, "I got one today. I got 50 orders, isn't that great?” The whole process of engaging the customers you have is almost as exciting as dating your wife. While that could be the most important thing you do, to a lot of people having a girlfriend seems more exciting. Going back to the customer you have is 1,000 times easier because they've already purchased from you once. If you delivered what you promised, they trust you already. You've been able to identify them as somebody who has this problem and is willing to invest in the solution. This should be a huge red flag that this is the most important person you could be talking to. All the strangers you could be speaking to about what you offer and the problems you solve, the people who know you and buy from you have this problem and are willing to invest in it is the most important person you can be speaking to. That's the first key. I can't tell you how many people that trips up.
The second is the relationship changes over time. It's important that your communication change. Dustin, have you got somebody who recommended a restaurant to you? They said, “This is a great restaurant. You've got to try it.” You take Missy to this restaurant. You get dressed up and you've got a babysitter and you're going out. Whether or not you have a good time depends a lot on Missy's perception of how the restaurant is. You could have a great meal but that means nothing if she's in any way unhappy about this experience. Even if you had a great meal but the bathroom isn't complete, “That ruins it,” or the service isn't tiptop, “That doesn't work.” That first experience is all about building trust.
With your customers, that first couple of weeks when you're bringing them on is 100% about fulfilling the promises that you made in your sales process. The slightest little imperfection, you're out. Just like the slightest imperfection if you're bringing your spouse, you're not going to go back. It's also important to recognize it may not be just your customer that you have to please. They might have a spouse involved, employees involved or others and they are as important to get their praise as the customer who made the purchase. Have you gone to a restaurant enough where the servers and maybe even the owner know you and know what you want to order? In that experience, when they know who you are and know what you want to order, if the service is a little bit bad one day, does that matter?
Dustin
No, you let it go or I’d let it go.
Robert
If the food wasn't all that great, does that make that much of a difference if their bathroom was dirty? What is a bad experience about?
Dustin
The people and the way I feel the experience.
Robert
By recognizing you and knowing what you want when you walk in, they've helped make you feel important. If you and Missy go to the same place every week for two months and they don't start recognizing you, it’s like, “Wait a minute.” The relationship has to move forward because of the expectations. Simply providing great service, great food and making sure the bathrooms are not good enough anymore. It's not what you appreciate or even want. It's making you feel important because you're a regular customer and you're part of this community that you're supporting. They have to engage you at this higher level in order to keep you around. This is a lot easier. The service doesn't have to be quite right all the time. If you have a restaurant and it's all regulars, that's the easiest place to be. That’s the business you want rather than have to perform at 100% every single night for every single customer. For your business, transition the relationship from where it's complete focus on delivery into helping them feel important. That they’re part of a community, that they're part of a mission of doing something bigger than simply trading money for a product or of trading money for service or information.
Have you gone to a restaurant so much where that not only do you know the owners and they know you but that you also know all the other regulars in that restaurant? If the service isn't quite right, you'll go behind the bar and pour somebody a drink. You're not even going for the restaurant. You're going to see your buddies and friends. You're thinking about it all week. You’re looking forward to being able to go because you want to see the people you go there to see. That third level is about community. Making that transition from where you're building trust to where you're helping them feel important to the community is the key to long-term retention. The simply trading money for the product will only get you so far. The relationship has to grow.
If you go on a date and the first date, there's always some basic questions, “What do you do? What's your family like? Where are you from?” If you then go on a third or fourth date and ask those same questions, that's not going to work. You can't operate your business with your long-term customers by having that same conversation.“ Buy this. Do this. We've got this offer.” It's got to be, “Dustin, I recognize that you're doing well and that you're growing. If you'd like to grow faster, we have this other product that a lot of our other members have enjoyed. If you would be interested in it, I’d be happy to give you some more information about it.” That recognizes you for where you are and offering them another opportunity, not selling them like there's some brand-new person off the street that you've never seen before. You've got a relationship. Act like it.
Dustin
It's almost relieving in a way that I don't have to be on 100% if I can move them to the second or third level. I want to move into rapid fire. I want to ask you first. What's been your most worthwhile investment?
Robert
In 2000, I got a bonus for doing some copywriting. I’d bought a couple of Dan Kennedy books and a couple of products. I used that in order to create a marketing piece that got me a $7,500 bonus from the client. I used that to buy what was then called the MOTHER-LODE that Dan Kennedy offered for $4,900. It was all of the products that Dan sold. I had started it but that was the master's level in copywriting and master's level in entrepreneurship. That's where I learned about this whole other idea of packaging what you know and selling these products. I had done some of that before, but I never understood it as a business model until I saw it from his perspective. He had been doing that for decades. It’s buying that MOTHER-LODE and investing in my own education rather than us going on a big vacation, a trip or buying jewelry which all would have been effective at other goals. I invested in my education and then spent the next seven years going back through that training until I was able to help internalize it. That was by far the best thing I ever could have done.
Dustin
Outside of education, what is your guilty spending splurge when you want to do something nice for yourself?
Robert
I love high-end dark chocolate.
Dustin
What brands? I’m unfamiliar.
Robert
Askinosie is a go-to brand that you can get. Rogue Chocolate, they don't necessarily have chocolate all the time. It’s a missionary work through entrepreneurship. The bean farmers that supply Hershey's, all that and the big chocolate bar companies, they provide chocolate and those companies try to make it all taste the same. Every bar they produce is exactly the same. They've got to sell their beans at commodity prices and so these guys are broke. It's tough being a cocoa farmer. Whereas what Rogue Chocolate does is you can invest in shares of what the chocolate will produce and it's the most expensive way you could buy chocolate. For $250, you can have a share and they'll send you bars of chocolate for every three months for I forget how long. What they'll do is they're trying to get $60,000 to buy the equipment to turn those beans in Nicaragua, Africa or India into high-end dark chocolate bars.
It's the most expensive way you could buy chocolate but you're also turning a farmer who would otherwise be sold at commodity prices and barely getting by into being a premium player. When the chocolate arrives, my family has gotten used to this now. We sit around and we do little taste tests. We get a little piece of it and then it's like, “This is Columbia.” What's the difference between Columbia and Sumatra and the difference between Nicaragua and Colombia? You get to where you can start telling the difference between Columbian chocolate, African chocolate and Asian chocolate. Being able to discern what's going on. It's an amazing experience. It's insane what you can spend on chocolate.
Dustin
You've built systems. You run. You work with billion-dollar companies. I am curious about your routines. Have any secret routines or rituals that you do?
Robert
don't know how secret it is but certainly, every morning first thing I do is Morning Pages. It's out of the book, The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. It's a journaling process but I write three pages off the top of my head. What that allows me to do is that mix, that swirl that goes on in your head. You’re able to get it out of your head, onto the paper and then you're clear. I’ll meditate in the morning, usually about fifteen minutes. Nothing fancy, just focusing on my breath and trying to take that clearing of the mind to the next level. There's some exercise, either run, swim.
Back in the day, I would be at my desk by 5:00. I found that being able to do my Morning Pages, do my meditation and do my exercise before I try to work, I’m happier. Before I could do it, it was all about discipline and being, “I’m going to be focused.” I was making it happen and it was more about the performance, pushing and the drive. It happens now and it doesn't feel like it even takes any effort. I’m at a higher level than I ever was because I can dial in and focus a lot better. I’m not distracted during the day. Even in the mornings if I do have writing ideas, I do them in my journal with my Morning Pages. I’m still able to capture the great ideas but it's not about ideas or trying to get work done. It's trying to get that swirl out of my head, flush it so that then I’ve got 100% attention throughout the day.
Dustin
Robert, thank you big time for being on the show. If folks want to keep up with you about retention, you have a course with us here at WealthFit. If folks want to keep up with you in other areas of your expertise, where can they find you?
Robert
Certainly, the WealthFit course is certainly something that you should check out. If you've got any interest at all at becoming an education entrepreneur, that's a fabulous place to start. It outlines the model that we talked about before in a lot more detail and helps you create that into ongoing continuity revenue. In terms of me, if you want to look for me on that it’s RobertSkrob.com.
Dustin
Thanks for being on the show.
Robert
It's my honor. Thank you so much for having me. Love to be part of the team. Thank you.

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