How I Built a Six-Figure Recurring Revenue Business
Part 4 of Troy’s 5-Series Podcast- How He Went From Unemployable University Dropout to Building a Successful Online Business With Recurring Revenue
So just a quick recap in case you’ve missed the previous podcasts…
- Barely scraped through high school
- Dropped out of an arts degree in first year
- Had a meltdown at age 26 and was highly unemployable
- Fell into IT contracting and became a voiceover artist
- Discovered the web
- Built websites for clients
- Built a WordPress plug-in
- Almost lost focus and had another meltdown
- Took the plunge to focus on my plug-in business full time
- Produced one mother of a keynote presentation for a speaking gig at a conference
No Competition This Week
If you’ve been following along so far, you’ll have a pretty solid blueprint for building your own online business with recurring revenue.
What happened next was unexpected, but it makes perfect sense in hindsight.
Opportunity Plus Preparation Equals Luck
The video of the “101 Ways …” presentation got shared around a lot on the Internet. I’m not going to use the “V” word – but it got shared quite a bit and resulted in over 10,000 views of the video and some earlier presentations I’d done on YouTube, Slideshare and Vimeo. I made ZERO effort to promote this content, apart from uploading it and writing a relevant description.
This traction motivated me to try something. In the spirit of the Lean Startup, I decided to test whether or not our existing email list of around 9,000 would pay for business coaching from us.
The quickest way to do this was to build a sales page using Unbounce to sell tickets to a webinar. I plugged the sales page into EventBrite to manage the ticket sales and GoTo Webinar to manage the webinar registrations. We priced the webinar at $197 and made early-bird tickets available for $97. I told Brian that if we sold 10 tickets, I’d refund them and pretend it never happened. If we sold more than 10, I’d turn up and run the webinar. I was secretly hoping for 30 sales.
We sold out of our 50 early-bird tickets within 24 hours and then released Round 2 tickets for $127 and finally Round 3 tickets for $197. We made a sale of $11,500 in 48 hours, and we had ourselves a webinar to build.
At this stage I had not prepared one slide.
We ran the two and a half hour webinar (which was epic, by the way) and I taught 84 people everything I knew about running a WordPress agency. I surveyed all 84 registrants after the webinar to ask them what they wanted next, and 55 responded with some very common desires and pain points.
After sifting through the responses, I had a Skype call with about five or six of our customers and asked them point blank to help me design the business coaching programme, from features and frequency to content and pricing. They were willing to talk to me for free.
I also asked them to tell me whether they would buy it if I came back in two weeks’ time with what they asked for. They all said yes.
So I went away to a friend’s farm for a few days and made some sales videos and a welcome video and built a membership website.
Two weeks later, we had a new product. We opened the doors to our business accelerator programme WP Elevation for 4 days only, and 55 people joined at $97 per month.
I started a podcast pretty quickly after we launched WP Elevation and began reaching out to influencers in the WordPress space, interviewing them about their success and their struggles. The great thing about a podcast, or any other form of content that involves a guest, is that they will usually share it with their audience, which brings fresh eyes to your website. It’s the quickest way to expand your reach.
If you don’t have the skills or courage to start a podcast, then send questionnaires and publish the answers on your blog.
The podcast attracted traffic, which in turn attracted signups for our free e-books, which in turn resulted in more and more people joining our programme.
In the meantime, I was asked to present the “101 Ways …” keynote at WordCamp Phoenix via video link up and the following year flew to Chicago to present it in person at WordCamp. My video link up on Phoenix was discovered by a guy named Rich Thurman, who tweeted to me afterwards to talk about marketing automation (he’s an Infusionsoft Certified Partner).
Long story short, Rich introduced me to Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer, who asked me to speak at his Traffic and Conversion Summit conference in Australia in 2015. At that conference, I was spotted by the guys from The Entourage, who asked me to speak at four events for them in Australia and New Zealand. I also met Greg Cassar, who asked me to speak at his Digital Marketing Summit in Sydney.
I accepted all of these invitations. In the course of speaking at these events, I have met some of the most inspirational entrepreneurs and continue to nurture meaningful relationships with them.
These entrepreneurs include Tammy May, who started My Budget; Glenn Martin, the inventor of the Martin Jetpack; Michelle Bridges, host of TV show The Biggest Loser and founder of the 12 Week Body Transformation programme among many other ventures; Andrew Morello, winner of the first Australian Apprentice TV Show and Head of Business at Yellow Brick Road; and Jack Delosa, founder of The Entourage, Australia’s largest educator and community of entrepreneurs.
All of this podcasting and presenting and speaking with others is collaborative content where two or more publishers of information share each other with their respective audiences – a trend that has been adopted quite heavily in the music industry over the last couple of years.
All of these things combined, along with my stubborn determination, extreme unemployability, and the processes and team we have built have now put me in the luxurious position where I am earning more than I have ever earned before. I don’t have a boss and I can pick and choose exactly what I want to do and when.
I work extremely hard. I can start whenever I want and knock off whenever I want. I can take as many holidays as I like. But the truth is, I work more hours than I have ever worked in any job because I love what I do. The feedback and testimonials we get from customers every day makes it all worthwhile, and is what gets me out of bed every morning.
In the final podcast, I’m going to reveal more than 35 tactical things you can start doing right now as well as over 20 influential people I know whom you can continue your learning with.
You can reach out and ask Troy any questions about his journey on @troydean