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My Newest Continuity Course

In this article I’m going to talk about my newest continuity course. For details on what came before see last weeks article.

I wanted to create a new continuity income source for myself. I looked at the income coming in from my websites and product sales and figured this would be one of the best things to do to increase my income, as well as make it more stable.

Looking back I analyzed what had worked and what didn’t.

#1 – Continuity to Create Products

Previously I used continuity to create new products that I continued to sell one-off after that time. One of my strengths is in being prolific. It is this that has helped me become as successful as I am. While other people build one or a few things and then keep working at traffic and conversions that’s not my strongest suit.

#2 – Physical and Digital Versions

Both a physical and digital offering. I wanted to have some physical form because I knew about half of my customers would as well. Figuring out how to do this became part of the challenge. I knew it would be a little tougher to set this all up but it would allow me to please more people. Those in other countries wouldn’t have to pay big shipping charges, but those that didn’t mind could easily get their hands one something physical. As mentioned before seeing something arrive in the mail is better for keeping members long term.

#3 – Wide Net on What to Cover

Every previous continuity I did was too focused on one topic. I wanted to create something that I could do for all of the foreseeable future. Thus it needed to be broad. What I wanted was something where I could cover any training information, any health topic, and mental training. Thus the purpose was to get better but there would be many paths to get there. This would be the most fun for me as I wouldn’t be pigeon-holed and it would allow me to experiment more openly.

#4 – Primary Focus

Besides running out of what to cover I didn’t have any runaway successes in my memberships. Nothing got enough members to the point where I could focus almost solely on that. Thus for this I wanted to reverse it, and create something that would be the primary thing I would sell and try to get people into. As you’ll see in the survey I sent out I was even looking at pulling out all the stops to make this the one and only thing I did.

The Survey that Started It All

The vision of what I wanted to create was starting to take form. This was back in July this year, mostly during the NLP Master Practitioner Course I was attending. The idea may started there after doing a powerful drill.

I knew I wanted to create something that covered all the different things I did in training, health and the mental side. I also new I wanted to create a big continuity that was actually worth doing.

I though about taking ALL of my courses and giving access to them all for my members. As excited as I was about the idea I knew that I am not necessarily my customer. I sent out a survey (using Survey Monkey) to my list with several questions all about this.

To do this I wanted a fair price for it. This would literally be $1000’s worth of my old stuff, with new course coming out regularly too. In looking at what people said they’d be willing to pay it didn’t look like it would work out. The numbers just didn’t fit.

So I went back to the drawing board…

Logistics the Program

I scrapped that idea about giving them everything but still knew that I was onto something. I came up with the idea of writing a newsletter each month, that would really be closer to a book each month. This was something I could easily sell in both physical and digital form.

Along with this would be videos (and probably audios at some point as well). Creating DVD’s would be a little trickier and then jack up the cost of the program to deliver for those who wanted the physical option. In the end I decided only the book would be physical and in either case people would download the videos.

Part of this stems from my personal preferences. I watch videos on my computer regardless of whether it’s a DVD or a download. But I like to read a book physically.

So with this program there would be no membership site. If you bought the digital program you received an email with your download. If you got the physical, the book would show up at your door. Within the book is a page linking to a password protected webpage where you can grab your downloads.

To me this handled want I wanted to offer and made it low hassle for me. I have the newsletter (actually a book) printed up through Createspace. This is on demand and I have them ship it directly to customers.

No membership site, no complicated order fulfillment, but I still get to offer a physical and digital version.

Members would get most of my new courses all through this. But the old stuff would still be for sale as is. And I would then re-package the new courses and sell them standalone as well.

So I get to create lots of new stuff and I would be paid upfront for it by my members. They’d end up paying less than I’d release the programs for to the general public (plus get stuff I didn’t release to the general public) so it was win-win.

Content of the Program

I decided on the name Strength Health Mind Power Inner Circle. I put this and a couple of other ideas into the survey and this one came out as the winner. In addition to sounding pretty cool, in a few words it tells what this membership is about.

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Some people didn’t like the term inner circle as in some ways it has been over-played by marketers. But to me this is really what it was. Inside you get to see what I’m experimenting with. It is being on the inside, because I don‘t share everything (especially the more “out there“ stuff I do) to everyone. You kind of need training to understand some of the stuff I do. And as a member you get it.

To start it off with I knew I needed to give people a foundation. This foundation would set them up to understand all the more advanced stuff I covered in the following months, and serve to indoctrinate them towards how and why I do the things I do.

Thus I decided to put together “My System” which would serve as this foundation. I would lay out all the guiding principles here. This will later serve as the bonus that everyone gets when they sign up. Thus it was a new product that would serve as the quick start for people coming on board.

In the end its about a 50 page book along with almost 3 hours of video. Lots of value for a low price.

In Part 3 of this series I’m going to share with you all about the launch.

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Continuity and Memberships

What is the best form of income? Continuity income, where you sell one time and continue to get paid over and over again.

This thread is throughout all business and selling of products. The reason I got started online was I saw the value in assets from reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I didn’t feel I was ready for real estate. I played with stocks but didn’t accomplish very much. But I got started with my online business. I created a book out of the public domain. This single book took lots of effort in the beginning. But even now 6 years later it is still selling. Do the work to create an asset then the asset sells over and over again.

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But there is still something tricky about that. In order for it to sell you need to bring in new customers. That means getting traffic and converting them. This was discussed in a recent article about building a steady income online.

Even if you have the asset ready to sell it doesn’t mean it keeps selling.

But when you have a membership or other form of continuity you make the sale one time and that customer continues to pay you month after month (or year after year).

One sale = regular stable income

Yes, you have people drop out and come in, but you can figure out your numbers and everything grows from there. You’ll find some people stay in forever, while others drop out immediately.

This article is going to explore my past attempts at building continuity income and lessons I learned from them.

If you listen to the “gurus” who teach about memberships they make it seem so easy. Yet unless you have a large following and a solid topic to build continuity around it can be more work than its worth.

And these days it is getting harder. Years ago an interview delivered every month by CD worked for many people. While these may still be around its much harder to do just this. Why? Because there are tons of free quality podcasts available. If you’re going to do interviews it must be differentiate in a way to make people willing to pay for it.

Models of Continuity

Before we dive into what I’ve done in the past let’s look at different forms of continuity that can be done through an online business.

Today, many memberships are digitally based meaning there is no physical good shipped. But by actually shipping something out, which is something most of your competitors wouldn’t do because of the costs and hassle of it, you can set yourself apart. It is easier for someone to forget about a online membership, but hard to ignore something arriving in the mail each month.

Of course if you produce something digitally there is a physical counterpart. Thus a newsletter described below could be in PDF form or printed on paper.

Newsletter – The written word. Like a book but shorter. Can include pictures and be formatted in many different ways.

CD – As already mentioned interviews can be great, and you can also record yourself.

DVD – Video is both highly valued and easily produced. In my area of fitness it is essential to show the exercises so this is often the best medium to do it in.

Membership Site – This is something that is really only digital. It is a place online for members to login (usually password protected) where they can get there monthly content, sometimes interact with other members, and anything else you make available on the site.

Coaching – Coaching in any form can often be put on a continuity model rather than selling your coaching services by the hour. This can be done in a group coaching format, or one on one as I offer here on this site.

Physical Products – It doesn’t just have to be information products. Many goods can be sold in this manner too like supplements or hard goods like socks and razors. It could be an X of the month club or autoship program.

Services – There are many online services that require you to pay month after month like hosting, shopping carts or email services. This may be one of the best options, although I haven’t done it yet. With a service a person needs to continue to pay in order to use it. The big thing here will be supporting what you offer.

There are more but any one of these or combination can make a good continuity program.

My Several Early Attempts at Continuity

Acrobat Accelerator

The first membership I created was a physical newsletter and DVD program called Acrobat Accelerator. (This was the first of many bad names when reduced to initial. Publicly I always had to refer to this one with the full name as I didn’t want to use AA members.)

It ran for a little over a year when I ran out of stuff I could teach since it was all based on hand balancing and acrobatics.

What was great about this was I sold it, including a year up front, which resulted in my first $5000 month, which I didn’t match for quite some time after that. If you have people that love your stuff you can get paid up front long before you create it.

The second thing that was useful in this is that I re-used portions of the video I created for the upgraded version of my Hand Balancing Mastery Course (which has since been discontinued) and I’m just selling individual books that made it up.

Advanced Bodyweight Training Monthly

Some time after I had discontinued Acrobat Accelerator I created a new program called Advanced Bodyweight Training. In this program not only did I have several members but I used it to create products that I sold and still sell to this day like the Advanced Bodyweight Training Course and Master Muscle Control program. Members got it cheaper than the regular price and having to create something each month forced me to create more.

This was a DVD or downloadable video program. About this time was when I started offering both physical and digital options on most of my products. Just doing the video was much easier than having a newsletter as well.

This was broader than just acrobatics so I ran this program for over a year and a half, but then I eventually ran out of stuff to teach once again.

Think and Grow Strong

My foray into mental training for strength and athletics started with a continuity program. I knew there was a lot to teach and a monthly program was the best way for me to approach it. From the beginning I planned a year of content and knew that once it was done I would package it into a big program, the Think and Grow Strong Master Course, which I just recently discontinued.

This was a DVD and newsletter once again, available in physical and digital form.

Super Human Training

Super Human Training is in partnership with Bud Jeffries and is still currently running. It is solely an online membership site. Although its gone through several models it’s currently setup to deliver tons of downloads up front, with new monthly content, including videos and group coaching calls each month.

There’s never been a huge number of members but enough to keep it going. Its also been a good place to get higher paying one on one coaching members. We’ve also used it successfully as a bonus to people that sign up for our workshops.

(Here’s another acronym name problem. SHT is just one vowel off from being something we do not want to call out members.)

Superman Herbs Autoship

With the supplements an autoship program is great. Give people 10% off and they can get their supplements every month without having to buy more. When we started Superman Herbs we offered autoship. We had several people on it, but had some problems with how shipping was setup up. Back then we decided to scrap it, but in the future we’ll likely bring it back.

There’s not need to create anything new, you just continue to ship out products as you would. Except that now you know you have a certain amount of orders coming in regularly without having to re-sell to your old customers or get new ones.

Lessons Learned

Because I’ve conditioned my customers, or just found the ones that want it, many people like the physical goods. This is great to offer as you can get a higher price for them. This can be a hassle when you don’t have a big volume with which to hire a company to do it for you. I was having my newsletters printed up at Kinko’s (now Fedex Office) and burning DVD’s myself. Since I wouldn’t know how many new members would show up, I’d often end up with excess newsletters sitting on my shelves.

In my new model that I’m going to share next time I have figured out a fairly low cost print on demand method that is no hassle.

Digital is great in that a lot less work is involved. Although memberships can be complicated it doesn’t have to be. Using Optimize Press to build the site, and Wishlist to setup membership it can be fairly easy. This paid theme and plugin don’t even cost much. There’s much more robust membership options but they cost a whole lot more.

Depending on what you’re doing you may not need that. Even with downloads you can just email out to your members instead of having a password protected site.

If you’re looking for a big pay day create a membership and sell a year upfront. This can bring in lots of cash immediately. I’ve even seen people sell lifetime membership. Just be prepared to do the work later on. Most likely the people that opt for the monthly option will keep enough cash coming in on a regular basis that its worth doing month in and out, on top of those who bought yearly.

It is important that you do something that you can continue to create content about. I like doing new things and not just re-hashing the old (though that can certainly work). Whatever you’re teaching on (if doing information) make sure there will be enough to continue doing it in the long run.

Alternatively you can do something for just a year and set that up to automatically run, like I did with Think and Grow Strong, or package it up into a big valuable course.

Lastly, if you’re going to do a membership I would strive to make it your primary focus. Creating content each month can be a drag if you don’t have enough members to make it worth doing. Sure, it can be re-purposed, but to make a membership work great I would make it the primary thing you sell and put most of your focus there.

In the next article I’m going to share my newest foray into a membership, the new things I’m doing with this one, and how the launch went. Stay tuned…

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How to Build a Steady and Reliable Online Income

I got some great questions that came in after my latest article. Thanks to Jon Haas of www.WarriorFitness.org for sending this one in.

“How do you get to the point where the stream of income is steady and reliable? For instance, I have had my online business going for over 2 years now, yet my monthly income has never exceeded $500 per month. Usually it is much less. I have several products of my own that I sell as well as being an affiliate for you, Bud, and Eric. The really frustrating thing is that last month I sold 2-3 ebooks per day and had my best month ever and this month I have not sold 1 damn thing. Any help would be hugely appreciated!!!”

I understand your frustration. This is something I battled with early on myself.

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There can be a time when you have a breakthru month and you think it will always continue like that, then the next month you may make half of what you did before, or even less.

I remember with my first product launch I brought in about $1200 in that first month. This was a lot of money to me at the time and I was very happy with it. A couple months later I only sold two or three copies of it and made less than $200. This wasn’t enough to even cover my expenses.

Since then I’ve learned many things to grow my income in a consistent manner.

Steady and Reliable Income

The first question to ask yourself is what is steady and reliable? What would you like to earn in this manner?

When I set business and income goals I like to look at a few different things.

Gross Income

This is the big number and the one I have focused on the most in the past. I’m still seeking to bring this one up and I will always have a goal for it. The problem is just like was mentioned, if you have one great month, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll do the same thing or even close to it the next time.

Net Income

This is actually the more important number yet until recently I didn’t give it much thought. If you made $50000 in one month you’d probably think that was great. But what if you spent $60000 to make it? That would be a negative cash flow and a bad situation. If you expenses continue to grow when your income does you will not be building true wealth, thus looking at net income, or profit, is very useful.

Automatic or Auto-Pilot Income

Most of my income coming in is from new promotions. This means a new product launch or a special promo with an affiliate. These are great as they can bring in lots of income. But it is different from auto-pilot income.

When you create a product you’ve created an asset that should continue to bring in money month after month. But how steady and reliable this is will depend on a number of factors.

Are there ways to make sure that income is coming in regularly every month? Yes there are and we’ll get back to this topic in a moment. For now let’s talk about offers.

Offers, the Key to Income

If you want to increase your income the key is to make more offers. When you offer something the person you’re offering it to can say one of two things. Yes or no. Yes means cash in your pocket. If they say no then you get nothing.

But if you don’t make an offer what will the other person say? Nothing. It’s an automatic NO!

Thus is you want to increase your income you need to make more offers.

What is an offer? It can be anything but there are some things that make it work better.

Just having a sales letter on your website doesn’t mean anyone is going to it. What is the best way to control traffic, where they go, what they see, and thus what they can buy?

The Mighty Email List

Are you growing your email list? This is still the best way to make offers (except perhaps direct mail, but that requires more resources to do).

As your email list grows you should realize this means you have more people you can make more offers to.

A friend of mine who started his online business less than a year ago has rocket launched himself upwards. How did he do it? There was a whole lot that went into it, but one of the main things is he emails out every single day and there is an offer in almost all of those emails.

What that means is a fairly reliable income from doing lots of work. His email list has grown. His customer list has grown. And with it his income has grown.

There will be some correlation with the size of your email list and your income. These can be very different numbers for different people. A good email list of 5000 can easily beat out a poor email list of 100000. There’s lots of factors at play, but in general the more the better. Thus if you grow your list that should mean you will grow your income.

Control vs. No Control

How in control of the offer process are you? When it comes to email you have lots of control. You decide what to write about and what to offer. This may be a new product of your own. It could be a discount or sale. And it can be an affiliate offer. All of these can be great offers.

What is out of your control? People coming to your site from the search engines or reading a guest article your wrote elsewhere. If you have big enough numbers you will have reliable traffic from these sources but if you don’t, it is exactly that, unreliable.

What else is within your control? Paid advertising can be if you set it up right. Once you have your conversions and traffic sources down this can be very tightly control and you will know if you spend X dollars you get back XX dollars.

Jon, I’d look at what you did last month that worked so well. Was it all up to chance? If that’s the case then sometimes you have good luck and sometimes you won’t. But if there was something you specifically did that worked well then replicate that success.

Two Methods of Reliable Income…

To sum it up there are two main things.

1) Seek greater control

If you can reliably control the number of eyes that see your offers then you will have more reliable income.

You have lots of control with an email list and what offers you put out to it. If you want reliable income the email list will lead to it. In addition you need to have a regular format or schedule of making offers so that it is reliable.

Setting up sales funnels and advertising is another method. Both of these go hand in hand, because the advertising should be growing your email list.

2) Setup autopilot income

All of the above is good but it still means regular work. If you’re email out every day on new offers that will take some time. So what can be done to automate the process? Build systems that do the work for you.

Note that some systems are more autopilot then others.

Autoresponders

Do you have an email sequence and offer that works? Put those messages into your autoresponder and let them work for you over and over again. That means every new person that joins your email list gets to see your best promotions. If you do this right it is a money machine.

This can be put into action in several ways. It doesn’t even have to be your autoresponder if you have a good affiliate willing to promote you in this manner over and over again.

Continuity

The membership model or other form of continuity is probably the best method of making a reliable income. With people signed up to be billed every month you know exactly what is coming in month to month from this service.

But I’m not going to lie to you and say its easy. I’ve had several continuity programs over the years. If you don’t do it right it can be lots of work without a big payoff. But I’m about to launch a new program and I’ll update you on how that goes in the near future.

Another method is offer someone else’s continuity if they offer your recurring commissions for it. This can be low effort and big payoff!

Amazon

Although there is no continuity built into Amazon and you don’t have much control yourself, with Amazon you’re playing with such big numbers that things tend to even out especially if you have more than one thing listed. Thus the 100% autopilot income I pull from Amazon is fairly consistent.

On my website I’ve updated you how things are going over time. I’ll do a new article on the topic coming up soon with new updates and changes to how it works.

You can find out all about how I do it in my Amazon course here.

There’s certainly more but this is more than enough to set you on the path. This was quite the comprehensive post going over lots of potential and real ways to build a steady and reliable income from your online business. If you have questions on the specifics be sure to ask in the comments below.

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