Learn why updating old posts works better than new content: Jaime Masters of Eventual Millionaire interviews Hugh Culver.
Eventual Millionaire interview: Jaime Masters and Hugh Culver June 2019 from Hugh Culver on Vimeo.
I’m glad to have my amazing friend, Hugh Culver, back on the show. Hugh co-founded the world’s most exclusive tour company and only private flights to the South Pole. He has run five businesses, including eco-tourism, construction, training and development, and whitewater rafting.
He is also an amazing keynote speaker and trainer which teaches entrepreneurs and business owners on how to think better, plan smarter, and act on what really matters. He has over 1,000 speeches (and counting) to big companies and brands. He is also a bestselling author of Give Me A Break: The Art Of Making Time Work For You. Currently, he established his new business, YourBlogWorks.com.
- How he visualized and built his new business, YourBlogWorks.com
- How to productize your business (So you aren’t reinventing the wheel every time)
- Tips and tricks in republishing old contents in your website
- How to maintain a big team with low cost
- Tools to use to systemize and productize your business
Jaime: Welcome to Eventual Millionaire. I am Jaime Masters. And today, we have back Hugh Culver. Of course, he’s an amazing keynote speaker. Had tons of businesses beforehand. His new business is YourBlogWorks.com. And I am so excited to chat with him today. Thanks so much for coming back on the show.
Hugh: Jaime, it’s great to be back. Thank you.
Jaime: One of my favorite things is seeing people that are friends of mine – because I call you a friend, by the way. Just so you know – seeing friends of mine start new things because you’re brilliant in so many other aspects. And then I get to see you do something new. So, tell me about what this new thing is so we can dive all into it.
Hugh: All right. So, here’s what happened. So, over five years ago, I was trying to build my own blog. And what I mean by that is build traffic to drive traffic to my speaking business which, at that time, was really central to my revenues. And I realized that I wasn’t getting growth in my traffic. So, I started to create a system that put my blog on social media. And here’s what happened, Jaime. I went to a city to present to a bunch of speakers to talk about the speaking business.
And at the end, really off the cuff, I said, “Okay. I’ve got this little form I’ve made up. Would you like me to put your blog on social media? This is how much it is per month.” And one-third of the room gave me their credit cards. So, I went, “Oh, my gosh. I’m onto something.” So, I created this system, and I built it out to where have 11 contractors. Now we have 13 contractors. And we take the client’s blog, and we create their social media posts from their blog. And then two months ago, we also added blog writing. So, that’s what YourBlogWorks does.
Jaime: Oh, that’s awesome. So, how do you change trajectories? Because I know you had a trajectory that you were going for. And then you just threw out this thing, and then you went the other way. How do you reposition what you’re doing? Or do you just do them both at the same time for a while? How did that go?
Hugh: Yeah. And it’s a good question because this is not exactly an Eric Reese pivot. This was quite a different – this is a step to the left. So, my business for many years has been in public speaking. Then I started working with speakers to help them grow their business. And then I realized what I really wanted, Jaime – and this is central to what I wanna talk to you about today. What I really wanted was I wanted steady income because I have lots of investments in real estate. And they provide me with steady income. And I like that. And what I noticed is that the businesses I kept creating were up and down, up and down. And that’s frustrating. Plus, I was constantly chasing new clients.
Well, I thought, “Well, if I’m gonna help people with their blog, why don’t I create a subscription business?” And what I mean by that is you get a package of services. And you pay a set fee every month. And it comes right out of your credit card. And that central idea to how I designed the business transformed everything because I realized I don’t really wanna be an agency. Quite frankly, I don’t wanna be talking to people about the same issue over and over again. I wanna solve their issue in a much better way.
And the way to solve it better is to create a system rather than me constantly being on the phone one after another talking to people. So, that’s been central. And it’s been hard because we constantly get asked for customization. “Oh, wait a minute. I’m launching a book. I’m putting on a conference. I’m doing an affiliate launch.” And we have to say, “No. We don’t do that. But what we do is going to be fundamental to your success because it’s gonna be consistent and it’s gonna be ongoing.”
Jaime: Okay. I have so many questions in regards to that because one of the main things when I get into a business, is I go, “How do we get predictable recurring revenue?” because it stresses people out when they have these ups and downs like crazy. So, when you plan on having a subscription model but then say you don’t wanna be an agency, it’s an interesting line that you’re going down. So, how do you do that? How did you make that line?
Hugh: Okay. So, I think of it like a continuum. We have seen, you and I, in the last decade, all sorts of SAS businesses get started. So, software as a solution. And in my field and in blogging, there are tons of fantastic software tools. I said, “Well, I don’t wanna be a software tool because I’m not a software designer. And I’m sure I could hire those people.” And in fact, I did try. But it’s just not me. And at the same time, at the other end of the spectrum is agency. And agency is another model I don’t want. I don’t wanna be on the road with my family answering phone calls about a client that didn’t get this happening.
So, I thought there must be a happy medium between software which is mechanical, very regimented, and everybody has – the customer has to fit the software or agency. And what I thought was, “Well, what if I did it all by humans?” So, it’s like human as a service. Is a HAS business. And I thought, “Well, what I’ll do is I’ll just use all sorts of little bits of software to manage it. But the actual service is done by humans.” And then what I needed to do was productize it which is a term that Brian Casel came up with which is so brilliant. He’s so good at this. “Well, productize it.”
Okay. Well, if I’m gonna be on a subscription business, we have to list it all out. That’s all. We have to create these standard operating procedures and say, “This is the deliverable.” When we put those two together – “Here’s what you’re gonna pay every month,” and, “Here’s your deliverables,” – now you’ve got something you can actually grow.
Jaime: I love this. Okay. So, I wanna dive deeper into how you productize. But beforehand, when I was reading your sheet, it was like, “How to go from $0.00 to $40,000 a month and how not to do it.” So, apparently, you screwed up a lot along the way. And I wanna know what that is because especially people starting right now and going, “Oh, I feel like I want this,” – it’s an interesting road to go down. So, tell me about the trajectory of how you did that.
Hugh: Sure. So, initially, the mistakes that I made were I actually did try to customize. And it just burnt me out completely. So, I was saying yes to everybody. And we were doing bizarre, bizarre work. So, for example, we were taking people that were complete academics and PhDs. And we’re taking their half-written articles. We’re trying to actually turn those into blog posts. But we didn’t understand what they were talking about. Or we’re taking people’s books, and we’re turning those into blogs which we do now. But we’d actually come up with a system to doing that. And so, I realized, “Wow. I burned myself out. And here I am. I’m back where I used to be which is chasing after contracts.”
So, what I realized was – and by the way, burning out my team as well. So, I realized, “Okay. I gotta come up with a list of what we deliver. And if there’s another opportunity, I’ll come up with a second list.” So, we came up with what we called lite, and we came up with pro. And we ran with that for four years. So, this is your lite deliverables. And this is your pro. And then rather than adding another and another and another option, we would just change lite and pro. So, we always had these two models. And if it didn’t work, then we would just change those two models. And so, whenever a client contacted us, we would say, “Well, which one do you want? Lite or pro?”
And they said, “Oh, no, no, no, no. I’m different. I am different. I need something that’s colored purple-blue with polka-dots.” And I’d say, “Well, that’s fantastic. But we may not be the best for you. So, you should go and try and hire yourself a virtual assistant.” And then when they tried that, they’d come back and say, “Well, that was terrible. Okay. I need…” So, it was learning how to stick to my knitting. And what happened, Jaime, was then their income started to grow. It was incredible because now, I can scale the business. See, now, I can meet with my team, and I can say, “How do we deliver this better? And how do we deliver it without wasted time and wasted cost?”
And so, the first three years was just a real struggle because I didn’t really understand this idea of productizing. But once I understood that it’s really no different than calling up a car repair place, and they give you your spring tune-up – well, they’ve already figured it all out. I just needed to put that into something that normally is done at an agency level.
Jaime: It’s so much easier said than done though, right? Because when you were in those three years, you’re like – and if people are willing to pay you money, especially at the agency, and everybody wants what they want, how did you actually get good at saying no? Like, “Oh, lost revenue. Oh, lost revenue,” right? It’s really annoying. That’s why people customize so much.
Hugh: So, one of the things that – okay. I think this’ll answer the question, partially. So, Jaime, one of the things we changed about three years ago was every meeting – we have a meeting every Tuesday. So, in fact, I’m having mine today because I was on the road yesterday. So, we have the meeting every Tuesday online with the core people in my little company. And then we start with the numbers. And that was a big game changer. So, we started with the numbers. And so, we figured out the key metrics that we wanna see. So, open rate on emails. And we wanna see how much traffic are our two blogs getting. But we also wanna see how many clients did we have? How many were lost this month or this week?
And then we wanna see how long have they been with us. And so, once I started looking at the numbers, I started to realize where I was wasting my time. So, we started to be able to identify, “Oh, my gosh. As much as we love them, these clients are completely using up all of our time.” And so, we dropped those clients. We would just say –
Jaime: How do you do that? Okay. How do you do that though?
Hugh: Yeah. I would just say, “Look, you’ve been a great client. But we’re probably not a great fit.” And at that point, they’d probably go, “Okay. Thanks,” because they don’t have a choice. We just say, “We’re not a good fit.” And so, the thing is that what I’m developing is a business that really doesn’t depend on any one client. And so, I can grow that business because it’s okay if I lose one or two clients if they’re not a good fit. What I want is clients that really love what we’re doing, that realize, “Wow, this is way better than me trying to go and do it on my own. And it’s actually a better service.”
And so, the challenge for me is to constantly keep creating really valuable deliverables because what I’m realizing is there’s a lot of things that we were doing the client doesn’t really care about. But what they want is they want – so, they wanna know – for example, they wanna know how is this working. So, they want some kind of a feedback. Every thirty days, they want us to check in to see, “Do you have anything we can add?” And then once a month, we give them a newsletter. And then, what we’ll do is about every 90 days is we’ll ask if there’s something we can do for you. And we’ll offer them something that is a value-add that costs them nothing.
So, we might, for example, go in and do an analysis on their website for free. And it takes us 15 minutes because we’re really good at that stuff. But for them, that’s mysterious. And it’s something they don’t understand. And so, we’ll say, “Look, can we do that for free?” And we’re not asking for anything. And so, now they start to realize, “Wow, we’ve become a partner in their business.” And it’s not costing them very much because it’s productized. And I think a lot of people can start thinking about their business, say, “Well, what am I doing that I’m one off it all the time, always one offing it? And how can I productize that and create a really valuable service that’s profitable?”
Jaime: How did you come up with that? Because especially for people – I work with a lot of agencies. And I love working with agencies because there’s a lot of very small tweaks that make huge impact differences. And so, when you’re looking at your lite and your pro, how do you determine what that is? And how do you determine what are the bonuses within all that? Because there’s probably a million things that you could be doing.
Hugh: Yeah. That’s true. There is. And so, what I wanted was to deliver the minimum effective dose. And so, the lite is the minimum effective dose. So, if a person is really busy, this will take care of your social media. This will get your blog announced to the world on your followers. And it’s gonna do all of that for less than $100.00. So, every month, for less than $100.00, you’re taken care of.
Jaime: Your lite is less than $100.00? Yeah. So, I remember your value was – it was almost as much to have a VA do all of this stuff anyway, even when we already had all of our systems.
Hugh: Totally. And so, a lot of people that are attracted to what we’re doing, they’ve been struggling because they’ve had their cousin doing it. Or they’ve gone overseas to some foreign country, a third-world country to get someone to do it. And that person goes away because it’s their cousin’s wedding, and they don’t tell you. So, we come to them. And I say, “Look, we all live right here in British Columbia. We’re all really sweet, nice Canadians.” And we’re not going anywhere. We speak English as a first language. We double-check all of our work. And it’s less than $100.00. They go, “Well, that’s unbelievable.” Why would I want to do that?
And now that we’ve added blog writing, we’re saying to them, “Look, just give us a rough draft. And for under $100.00, we’ll completely finish it, do all the SEO, publish it, and we’ll even send out the email.” They go, “That’s unbelievable.” So, that is the minimum effective dose. But then I can go to them. And I can say, “Well, look. You’ve been with us for 90 days. Why don’t we go and do a website analysis for you? Why don’t we go and do this for you?” and they love that because it doesn’t cost them anything. And now we start to show up as their friends and their partners.
What I don’t want them to do is to go online one day, find some other really cool thing, and leave us because, “Oh, I can just subscribe to some software and save myself $30.00 a month.” Well, that’s insane. So, what we’re saying to them is, “A lot of these things you should not be doing. You should not be doing them. You are the business owner. This is not how you should be spending your time.”
Jaime: A million times yes. So, tell me what the pro is because then I have so many other questions that I wanna ask about your team.
Hugh: Right. So, BlogWorks Pro is essentially twice as much social media. So, for example, we’d be on Facebook every day for you, LinkedIn every day, and four times a day on Twitter. And we’re taking that all – using our algorithm, we’re taking that all from blog posts that you’ve already written and also from curated content. So, we literally am – we’re going on the web. We’re researching other articles that relate to your business. We’re updating hashtags. We’re updating time of day. So, for less than $200.00 now, you’ve really got a partner in your business. So, what people are doing now is they’re combining that with blog writing.
So, we can actually – well, here’s one of the things that’s really cool, Jaime is we’ve actually started to really take on what we call re-loving old posts. So, one of the things I discovered – and this has been – a lot of people online have been talking about this for years. But one thing I discovered is that you can very quickly go in and identify – using keyword analysis and Google analysis, you can go in and identify blog posts that actually should be republished. And these blog posts are maybe 12 months old or 24 months old. And they are actually still attracting quite a lot of traffic. And they may even have ideally high time on site or a dwell time.
So, “Yeah. I’ve got this blog post that’s actually generating a lot of my traffic. People stayed on it for three or four or five minutes. But it’s old. And so, now, it doesn’t look as attractive because it’s dated 2017 or 2016.” So, we’ll go in. We have a 15-point refresh. And then we republish it. About half –
Jaime: So, wait. You actually republish it or you just on social republish it?
Hugh: Oh, no. We republish it. So, the trick is the permalink stays the same, not the URL. But you republish it with a new date. You put a little line at the top that says, “This blog post was originally published in August of 2016. And we have updated it. And we have republished it for your benefit or your enjoyment.” And now what happens is all that SEO link building that’s been going on for two years comes up to the front again. And you get a huge boost in traffic. So, we’re seeing over 200 percent better results with blogs doing that than continually adding new blogs.
Jaime: That’s really interesting, especially because when I think of YourBlogWorks, it seems more of the social side of things and more like, “Hey, let’s get more eyeballs on it that way.” But you’re saying you can refresh the SEO side of things, and it can make the work that you already did have more benefit.
Hugh: Totally. So, three of the writers on my team are specialists in writing blogs and articles and in doing what I just described. And so, we’ll go in with the client for free. We’ll do the analysis. And we’ll say, “Look, we’ve identified 12 blog posts that are hidden gems. These blog posts together are pulling in 43 percent of your site traffic. But you’ve completely ignored them because they’re old. And yet, they’re still pulling in traffic.”
And so, on my site, Jaime – so, when I did this analysis on my site, I discovered 67 percent of my blog posts are pulling in the majority of the traffic. Some of these blog posts are pulling in four or five hundred people a day. And yet, they’re two years old. So, now, one by one – we do it once a month. One by one, we go in and identify those blog posts, 15-point refresh, republish. And the traffic goes crazy.
Jaime: Because it’s just getting higher ranked in Google?
Hugh: Yeah, because Google already identifies it as a high-traffic blog post. So, now what you’re doing is you’re adding more juice because you send out an email announcing this as if it’s a new blog post. Now, the email traffic comes to it. The social media you’ve added to that – the social media traffic comes to it. But it’s already a successful blog post.
Jaime: Ah, that makes more sense. Okay. So, you’re refreshing it to your entire audience. And that’s why people are coming back. And you already know it works because it’s been working in the past before.
Hugh: Right. And they don’t remember that you published it two years ago. They have no idea.
Jaime: Does it matter if you republish it though? Does it make a difference instead of just pointing everybody to the old blog post as the same one?
Hugh: Well, what you want, Jaime, is you wanna have that new date on it. So, remember, when you get for organic search – so, when people search – for example, if they’re searching, “How to be a better leader,” or, “How to deal with family conflict,” and they’ll see that date, it’s much more attractive if that date is the current date. If that date’s within the last 12 years, they’re gonna get a lot more traffic.
So, what I’m discovering is – and I don’t know the percentage, Jaime. But I would suggest 90 percent of most people that have a website have no idea what’s going on behind the website. They have no idea. And so, what they do is they go to their designer. And they say, “I’ve done it for years. I need a refresh.” And so, then they go and spend $3 or $4 or $5 thousand. And they make a prettier website that still gets no traffic. And so, we’re constantly going in behind and looking at their analytics. And we’re saying to them, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have no traffic. You have no traffic. Nobody is going to this web –
Jaime: They’re like, “Thanks, Hugh. Appreciate you telling me. I know.”
Hugh: I know. It’s like 20 people a day are going to your website. And yet, you’re gonna go spend $5,000 more. You need to first of all – you need to figure out what’s wrong with your website. And the chances are pretty good – and here’s the thing, Jaime. You and I have been – we’ve been enamored with all sorts of social media trends. And it’s fantastic. It is fantastic to do an Instagram story, a Facebook live. These are really cool. But the reality is if you are in a content business – if you wanna become a thought leader, you need to – basically, I call it – the client wants to pick your brain first. They wanna see how do you think first. And I think the best way to do that is on your website.
And it’s with intellectual content. It’s sharing your best content. So, that can be video. It could be an infographic. It could be you taking your podcast and putting it on your website. But it has to be on your website. If you’ve got any videos on YouTube, put it on your website. And then what you have to do is do it on a regular basis. And when you’ve done that, you now need to make it really easy for people to share it. And what I see is people may have good content.
But they haven’t thought about, first of all, what keywords should be in there. And they haven’t made it easy for me to share it with anybody. So, it just sits there. And then they add more and more and more. And so, we have clients come to us. And they’re blogging every week. And they’ve never once looked at the results. And it’s a shame because this is great stuff. But it’s like having a fantastic restaurant in the middle of a desert.
Jaime: Right? So, it’s the 80/20 rule. But people are like, “Oh, I’m told blogging. I’m supposed to be blogging or podcasting or whatever. So, I just am a content machine.” But you’re not actually optimized what you’re doing at all, and you just keep running the rat race of, “I have more content.” But what you’re saying especially is you can just use a lot of the old stuff that you have also. And there’s a lot of ways to refresh. So, you were actually telling me beforehand that you’re willing to give away one of the website audits for people that are commenting, right?
Hugh: Right. I think it’d be really fun to help one of your listeners. And so, here’s what I’d like to give away, Jaime is to give me a vacation for four in Maui with myself and three of my friends –
Jaime: Now everyone’s disappointed now. “Man.”
Hugh: Door No. 2. So, what they should do is they should –are we doing a comment on the –
Jaime: Yes. We’ll do a comment on the site. Yes.
Hugh: All right. So, you’re gonna go to Eventual Millionaire. You’re gonna look at this podcast recording. And what I want you to tell me is why you want to make your blog more successful. So, why do you wanna make your blog more successful? Is this because you’re trying to build a book? So, the blog would be chapters of your book. That’s cool. Is it because you really want more people to know about this amazing business that you’ve got or this service that you have or this great online course? So, why do you want your blog to be more successful? Jaime and I are gonna choose someone randomly in the next 30 days. So, we’re gonna do this in the month of March when this is being recorded. And –
Jaime: Well, this goes live on April 22nd. So, it’ll be after. Yes. Thirty days after.
Hugh: So, after. So, we’ll give you two weeks to put the comment on. And then we’ll pick someone at random. And then what I’ll do is I’ll set up a call with you so I can actually go behind the scenes. And I can just help you to understand what’s going on behind your website.
Jaime: You can do all the magic, all the pieces and the ma – we were just gushing about website stuff. And I do this with my clients too. Most of the time – and if you’re listening to this, this is probably you. And don’t feel bad about it. But you probably have no idea what’s actually going on with your analytics most likely and conversions and all those things. And having somebody else give you a unsolidified or unopinionated opinion about it which will be hardcore important for your 80/20 rule even if you don’t sign up with him.
But you totally should, of course. But when we’re looking at the back end and actually looking at the data, the data doesn’t lie. So, if you think one of your podcasts is the best thing ever since sliced bread because it seems like everybody talks about that but yet, the numbers show completely different, really important to know as a business owner so you’re not spending your time on something that you don’t wanna do.
Hugh: Absolutely. So, Jaime, can I give people a little trick?
Jaime: Oh, yeah. Please.
Hugh: Okay. We’ll just give you a little quick little giveaway. And in fact, we’ve written a blog post about this. So, go to YourBlogWorks. And then search for analytics. You’ll see this blog post. So, I would suggest about 20 percent of the people that I talk to don’t even have Google Analytics installed in their website. And so, it’s really a shame because you’ve paid somebody to build this website. It’s really amazing how often this happens. And they have not actually put analytics into your website. It’s like, “Here’s your car. But I’m not gonna give you a dashboard,” right?
Jaime: I have to just say something because I work with six- and seven-figure business owners. And it is still the case. And I’m like, “Wait a minute. We don’t have analytics at all? Oh, my gosh.”
Hugh: It’s like, “Thanks for opening your bank account. But I’m sorry. We don’t give statements. I’m sorry. Can’t go online. So, just trust us.” And so, here’s a little trick. Go to your website. Right click. And you can usually find “View Source.” If you’re on a Mac, it’ll say “View Source.” Or if you’re on a PC, it’ll say “Inspect.” Then go and search for “U-A-hyphen.” And just hit search. So, go to your website. Literally, you’re on your homepage. Right click on a Mac. And you’ll see “View Source Code.” Jaime knows all this. She’s a pro at this. And then go “Find.” So, on a Mac, it’s gonna be Command-F or Control-F on a PC. And then type in “U-A-hyphen,” or the word “Analytics.” Hit return.
And what you should do when you scroll down is you should see highlighted a code. It’s a six-digit code with a hyphen and then another digit. That’s your Google Analytics. It should be there. And if it is not there – if you can’t find it anywhere highlighted, you’ve got a problem. And so, you need to go on our website, YourBlogWorks.com, search for “Analytics.” And we tell you how to install that. Now it’s not retroactive. But at least you can start to collect the data.
Jaime: That’s the thing that was such a pain about it. It’s like, “It’s not retroactive, people. So, go do it today. So, that way we have some sort of data for going forward.” I’m doing this new laser coaching show. And it’s funny. I’m going to people’s things going, “Give me your website analytics.” And I get blank stares. I was like, “Huh. I didn’t know that this was so common. This is really interesting.” And especially with a lot of offline businesses – so, some online people, yes. You definitely know this. Please look more into your analytics, people. That way, like we said, we’re not wasting any time.
Hugh: It’s very simple. And we wrote a blog post as well which explains how to get it sent to you once a month. So, you can set it up, so it automatically emails you the dashboard once a month. You really can’t be in business with a website nowadays unless you’re, at least once a month, looking at what that website is doing. It’s just become so critically important. Most clients or prospects are going to go to your website before they pick up the phone or email you. It’s just the way it is. They’re gonna go and check you out first. And if you don’t know what that traffic is doing or how much traffic you even have, it’s really crazy to be setting business goals in 2019 if you don’t know those numbers.
Jaime: And we’ll find that post on YourBlogWorks and link it so that way everyone can comment right on the post. So, that way they can get the actual analytic review which will be awesome. Oh, I have questions though. You’ve got this productized service which is awesome. Oh, you were gonna say something. Yes?
Hugh: Yeah. No.
Hugh: -- because I’ve got something I wanna share with your listeners.
Jaime: You’re so excited. I love it. A lot of people don’t listen on the video. You couldn’t see his face. But it was really funny in a wonderful way. So, the question though – when I’m looking at how many people you have on your team and your costs, your value is so high. $100.00 and $200.00 for the two types is extremely low. And most people nowadays, especially when you have a productized type business are like, “We wanna be high-end.” How can you keep your costs so low when you have a big team? And they all speak English as a – right? It’s crazy.
Hugh: Oh, we get together. Oh, we go for Thai food. Literally, all of them live within an hour’s drive of me. And this is my model is I wanna hire local people. So, if you live in Texas or Arizona or wherever you are, here’s the secret I’m gonna share with you. This is critical. There are very talented people out there who would love it if you gave them regular work. And in return, they do not need to get paid their regular rates. So, when I go to a writer, and I say, “I understand you normally charge this much an hour or this much an hour. I don’t pay that much. I pay a set fee. So, I pay per work. But what I’ll do is I’ll assign you eight clients or ten clients.” Some of my writers have 18 clients.
So, now, they’ve got this really nice regular income. And here’s what we do. This is the advice I’m gonna give your listeners is you remove client contact. And now, it becomes much more valuable for the employee or the contractor. If you remove client contact – so, my clients cannot contact any of my team except one other member and myself. So, all of those writers, they can work in their pajamas at 11:00 at night or 11:00 in the morning. They can work on weekends. They can fit it in around their kids. I know three of them have full-time jobs at bank –
Jaime: Really? Wow.
Hugh: Yeah. One works at a university. One was a bank. A number of our writers have university degrees in journalism or in English. And so, they can work around their schedule because I’ve removed all contact with the client. And so, when you create a right work environment, you can actually – and I’m not trying to say I don’t pay very well. Actually, we do pay very well. But we pay in a different way. We pay piecemeal. And the reason we do that is because first of all, I need to control my costs and also because I don’t wanna be monitoring this stuff. I don’t wanna be going, “Well, it took you three hours to write that? Oh, my gosh. You could have written that in 2.7 hours.”
So, I don’t wanna be dealing with that. But what I do wanna do is I wanna make it really, really wonderful for these contractors to do the work. So, we pay piecemeal for the ones that actually do the deliverables. Not for my main, core team. And then we remove the client contact. So, there are really, really talented people out there that would love to get a phone call or an email from some of you folks. And you just go in and say, “Look. I’ve got this idea. I wanna productize this service. And I need to put together this team. And here’s my idea.”
Jaime: See, that’s genius. Yeah. That’s huge, especially because you’re actually helping them with the hills and valleys of their own business. So, you’re giving them a service back either way.
Hugh: Totally. And then, Jaime, we just – we use good old Google Sheets and Docs. And we have this whole system. And when that writer is finished their work, they go in. They checkmark this. They put the date, so it’s all updated. Most of our work is being done using free software. We don’t –
Jaime: Okay. That’s what I was gonna ask about too because if you – you’re like, “I systemize. I systemize. I systemize.” Everybody is looking at the sexy stuff, Process Street and all these sexy things. And when I actually talk to people about their systems, they almost all go old-school or they have proprietary software. So, what are you using to systemize and productize this business?
Hugh: So, there’s three tools that we use all day long. So, the first one I mentioned is Google Sheets. So, we just create really simple checklists. So, for example, I mentioned that in January of this year, 2019, we’ve added blog writing. So, we will either take a finished article, or we will take a rough draft. Or we will write it from scratch. Or the fourth option is we will re-love an old blog post. So, we have prices for those. So, we created a new spreadsheet. This is a new checklist. So, each one of those clients has a new worksheet and one spreadsheet. And that’s where my writers go, so they understand what the contract is, what the deliverables – so, that’s No. 1 tool.
No. 2 tool is we use Zoom a lot because what I’ve discovered is it’s much better for me to jump on a call on Zoom with one of my team members and talk it through. And then maybe I record that call, or I record a quick little instructional call. And the third tool is Slack. So, we use Slack all day long. I’d resisted it at first. And then I listened to an interview with Stewart Butterfield. And I was really impressed. And by the way, he comes from where I live. So, he is a –
Jaime: So, you like him even more, right?
Hugh: Yeah, of course. And just to make fun of this interview, by the way, I think his name – actually, he was Christian – I think he was Christian Namaste Butterfield. And he actually changed it to Stewart. So, we use Slack all day long because that gets me out of email. And so, my team members all use Slack. And we go on Slack. So, Zoom, Slack, and Google Sheets, and we’ve got our whole business.
Jaime: So, wait. So, you don’t have a project management software?
Jaime: Really? Wow. Usually, the connector is the – you know what I mean?
Hugh: Yeah, Jaime. We may move to one. But I’ll tell you what. Here’s what I think is a real problem right now is that most entrepreneurs, especially sole entrepreneurs are wasting way too much time learning how to use fancy software that they’re not trained in. And it’s not returning any kind of an ROI. And so, at some point, yeah. Sure. We may move to some fancy software. And that’ll be wonderful. In the meantime, I’m trying to prove out our systems.
And I can’t prove our systems if I’m spending most of my time trying to understand a system. And this applies to your CRM as well. If you’re spending all your time going on YouTube to learn how to create a funnel with your emails, really? I have a client who said, “Oh, can you change my funnel? Because we’re updating his lead bang and blah, blah, blah.” And I went on there. And he had 14 people on his CRM. I thought, “You want me to log in and change something when you have 14 people? And two of those people actually work for the company that owns the C –” it’s great you got this fancy CRM. But you’re wasting your time.
Jaime: Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Get off the soapbox. But I so appreciate you saying that because you can have a $40,000 a month business and not necessarily use a whizbang type of software. Now, project management, I think that’s usually pretty core. But other than that, committing – I always say that committing 110 percent to whatever the software is that you’re using – and that’s what you’re doing. You’re like, “Zoom, Slack, and Google Sheets. We are committed.”
Hugh: And Jaime, I don’t think – I think I pay $40.00 a month for Zoom. Slack is free. And Google Sheets are free. And so, eventually, sure. We can move into – and don’t get me wrong. We use Infusionsoft. And we have all this other stuff. But the reality is that those software programs have cost me a lot of money, a lot of money in team time and calls for customer service. And I don’t think they’ve returned the results. And so, I would like to strip it down, make it really simple.
And I wanna prove that my business works and that it’s profitable. We have a spreadsheet which shows how much money we’re making every month and exactly all of our costs. I wanna prove the company is really valuable and working well. And then I’ll go look at some fancy software. But I don’t have time to be learning some fancy software right now. We’re having way too much fun.
Jaime: “We’re having way too much fun.” I so appreciate all that. I just switched from Infusionsoft because I couldn’t even send an email. And I’m a geek. And I was going in going, “I can’t. I don’t know how.” We had a full-time tech on our Infusionsoft. It was crazy. So, I agree with you a million times over, especially in the solidification of the actual business that actually makes you money. Really important to do first before we put any whizbang on top.
Hugh: So, I wanna give your listeners a message. And actually, you know what? We should talk about James Clear.
Jaime: Oh, I love James. Yes. Let’s talk about James.
Hugh: Yeah. He’s amazing. He’s very clever. So, here’s the message I want listeners to understand is that in our world of all sorts of crazy apps and amazing software and all sorts of funnels, the reality is that what your customers are hungry for is someone that they can trust who delivers the goods. And here’s James Clear. I’ve never talked to James. I think I will someday. But here James Clear came out of nowhere five years ago and just wrote a New York Times bestselling book. And you go to his website, and there’s nothing on there except really, really, really good content.
And what I want people to understand is that you can get enamored with all sorts of fancy bells and whistles and affiliate launches. And the reality is what your customers want is really, really good content. And some of these listeners on this podcast would do much better to get rid of all that stuff and just offer coaching. Just offer really, really good coaching. Go back to the basis. Get rid of that $800.00 a month you’re spending on all that software. Take one of Jaime’s courses. Learn how to run a business. And then coach. And once you develop that coaching, productize it and say, “Okay. Now with my coaching, here’s what you get. You get this, this, and this. And it’s this much price.”
And then once you productize that, say, “Well, now I have another service that you can get.” But I think that because online appears free, what happens is we get enamored with all these bells and whistles that go with it. And now we’re spending more money than we’re actually bringing in, and we don’t have anything that we can scale. And something as simple as good, old-fashioned coaching is scalable. It is scalable to a point. And then if you get really good, hire someone else to help you. So, that’s my message. And I think a blog is actually coming back. As much as it seems old-fashioned, people read blogs. And we have clients, myself included, where there is thousands of people every day going to that blog.
That’s pretty hard to replicate in any other way. Imagine having 1,000 people coming into a hotel room. And you get them for three or four or five minutes. That’s unbelievable. And you try and replicate that with all sorts of social media and all sorts of other stuff, sure, you’ll get little bits of it. But that blog is gonna be a magnet for bringing more people in. Plus, what it’s gonna do is it develops this trust and rapport.
And I think why James did so well with his book is that we were so familiar with his voice. So, because we’re so familiar with his voice, when he wrote a book, we went, “Well, I would like that as well.” It’s no different than Daniel Pink. We became familiar with this, so now we want more of that. Or Jonah Berger. Or any of these people. Or Kyle Newport. I love Kyle Newport’s writing. Why? Because I read his blog. So, don’t dismiss blogs because they seem unsexy or they – if that’s even a word. Unsexy?
Jaime: Oh, it definitely is. I use it all the time.
Hugh: I was unsexy yesterday. I was unsexy yesterday, I think. So, don’t dismiss a blog. It’s actually a great way for your clients to test drive your brain.
Jaime: Well, and I’ve known James for many, many years. And it seemed so simplistic where he just was getting better and better at his craft. He was getting better at writing and getting – and I’m like, “You don’t have a…” “Nope. Nope.” He’s just doing his thing. And it’s so amazing to see such an amazing launch from him just doing his genius for everybody to see. “Hey, I still have this amazing content.”
Hugh: Right. And here’s one thing. So, HubSpot did a study two years ago, Jaime. And they discovered that 90 percent of the leads coming off their blog were from old blog posts. So, if you look at someone like James Clear or Kyle Newport or any of the people that we’ve mentioned, they have an inventory now of older content that continues to bring them business. And so, putting in the time to really help your readers is going to be a really big investment long-term.
And those blog posts – if you’ve done your job right, those blog posts will continue to bring you – as a public speaker, I would say most of my speaking inquiries are coming from my blog. I will open the email. And at the bottom of the email, there is the email I sent about my blog. They read the blog. And then they emailed me the inquiry. So, don’t dismiss blogs because they appear old. They actually work better than most things online.
Jaime: Right, than the sexy new thing that you’re supposed to be hopping on and then realize it’ll be gone like Snapchat and all that stuff from beforehand. “We put all of our eggs in this basket. Oh, no.” Yeah. Blogging is not going anywhere. Thank goodness. It’s writing online, people. It’s not –
Hugh: And podcasts.
Jaime: Thank goodness. Yes. So, everybody, make sure you comment on this post. I know we have to start wrapping up in just a second. But comment on this post. So, that way we can pick an amazing winner so we can pick you up with Hugh. Hugh, you know my last question already. I prepped you before. You’re like, “I already know this one. I know your show, Jamie.” I’m like, “Whoa. Whoa. I know. You’re a returning and returning and returning person.” So, what is one action listeners can take this week to help move them forward towards their goal of a million?
Hugh: Okay. If you don’t write a comment, which is really foolish of you, on this recording, then what you should do is you should go to Google Analytics and just – you can pour yourself a big glass of wine or whatever you need to get through it. But you need to log in to Google Analytics which is super simple. Go to the search bar. Type “Analytics.” It’s gonna pop up. Enter with your Gmail address.
And set up the automatic email so at least once a month, you’re getting the numbers sent to you. You can’t drive a car without a dashboard. You can’t go and have a bank account without a bank statement. This is your statement. As a business owner, you need to do it – that’s a minimum is once a month. They’ll send you a PDF. And you can at least know the numbers.
Jaime: And you can set it and forget it, people. So, just do it once. It won’t take that long. Yes. Thank you so much, Hugh. Where can we find out more online? Give the website again, so that way we can check it all out.
Hugh: Sure. Thanks, Jamie. And this is great. Go to YourBlogWorks.com. It’s all explained there. There are great resources in the blog that you can look at. We’ve just also started to create a channel on YouTube. So, we’re just starting to get some how-to videos which’ll explain some of our favorite plug-ins, how to use Google Analytics, techniques like that. So, YourBlogWorks.com.
Jaime: Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on the show again and again. And I’m sure I’ll have you on again. So, I so appreciate you and all your information. Thanks, Hugh.
Hugh: Thanks, Jamie. My pleasure.