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How I Made 6000 Dollars In A Week With Two Emails

 

Whilst I was on vacation I read this intriguing and inspiring post by Benny Hsu:

My $4759 Weekend And 11 Lessons To Help You

What I really like about this post is that Benny is just a regular guy like you or me – he’s not some bullshit guru trying to sell some bullshit system with a sales page that promises you’ll be making a 6 Figure income in just a few weeks with only a few hours work.

(Note – Benny went on to have his App featured as the App Of The Week in the App Store – and that catapulted him to greater success.  Read Life As App Of The Week for the full story!)

I wanted to write a similar post at a similar time in the hope that this might give inspiration to others in the way Benny did.  But I had to delay writing the post as I was on vacation!

So How Did I Make $6K In A Week With Two Emails?

You’re probably thinking that I came up with a new product or service and did some kind of launch, right?

Now I do create new products semi-regularly – or relaunch courses each year – that’s not what happened in this instance.

What happened was that I decided that I was going to increase the price of an existing product from $97 to $127.

And I set a date for the price rise to take effect – August 15th – and then a week before that I sent a simple email out to my list telling them about it.

In that week I had 63 people subscribe to that product before the price rise happened.

So 63 people x $97 =   $6111 – minus Paypal’s commission is roughly $6000.

The Actual Email(s)

So you can see the actual email and realize that I’m not a copywriting genius, here’s the first email:

Hey everyone

For most of this year I’ve received 3 or 4 emails per week asking to join the waiting list for my Interactive Bass Lessons.

Not only has the program been full all year, but so has the waiting list.  So I’ve had to email back and explain this.  And I’ve hated doing it – and been wondering how to overcome this.

Now I’ve come up with a way.

Starting August 26th, I will include a column in my Membership Ezine that creates a non-interactive version of the original program.  The program gives the bass guitar beginner the instruction needed to create a simple but solid technique – and then develop that technique via a series of sequentially harder song tutorials.  (Truly, it’s learn songs, not scales).

The lessons will contain PDF and Video Instruction, and backing tracks to play along to where appropriate.  And these lessons will be permanently available to Annual Subscribers to my Membership Ezine.

At the moment, the annual membership is just $97.  So within a year’s time you’ll have the equivalent of 45-50 lessons at your fingertips.  As well as the content of the membership Ezine.  So that’s a lot of bang for your buck.

HOWEVER – the price of the membership ezine is going up to $127 on Monday, August 15th.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

The second email was literally a copy of this email 24 hours prior to the price increase with a note appended to the top saying there was 24 hours left before the price rise.

The Important Lessons To Share

1)   Having A List

You’ve heard it so often that it’s become a cliché: the money is in the list.

Or variants of it: the money is not in the list; it’s in the relationship with the list.

Or it’s not the list, it’s not the relationship with the list, but the money is in the behaviour of the list.

Whatever variant you subscribe to, there’s no getting away from the fact that building a list is one of the activities that every online business should be doing.

And treat your list well – sure you’ll get some unsubscribes as you go, but don’t blast your list with offer after offer.  Your list is a pool of potential clients – look after them by sending quality information and the investment in time that takes will be repaid down the line.

2)   Creating Your Own Products/Services

Affiliate Marketing seems to be the default revenue model for most people in online business.  And I’ve nothing against Affiliate Marketing in principle – but look at the figures.  For every person creating their own products there are thousands (if not more) looking to generate revenue from affiliate marketing.

Creating your own quality products makes you more of a player in your market area – and makes you one of the few and not one of the many.

Now it’s entirely possible to make money from just affiliate sales – my buddy Steve Scott is walking proof of that.  As is Pat Flynn over at Smart Passive Income. (In fact, Pat makes an excellent income from affiliate sales – see my earlier post on 6 Lessons From SPI).

But creating your own products gives you much more flexibility – and much more leverage in your online business.

3)   Strategies That Work Will Work More Than Once

This isn’t the first time that I’ve used this strategy.

In August 2010 I did exactly the same thing – moving from a price point of $73 to $97.  In 2010 I had 16 new subscribers at that $73 price point – so around $1100.

Now that’s not a huge amount of money, but every little helps.  And when I repeated this strategy in 2011 my basic ‘seed’ list had doubled in size.

You can bet I’ll be repeating this strategy in 2012 – if my list keeps growing at the rate that it currently is, it will have doubled again.  Maybe I’ll get 100 new subscribers in August 2012!

(One thing to note – and this may have affected the conversion rate too – if you go back and re-read the email I sent out again you’ll see that although the subscription cost has gone up, the perceived value of the subscription has gone up as well).

The original idea to announce the price rise was given to me by my mentor Sean D’Souza – and he wrote an article about it too:

Why It’s Silly Not To Announce A Price Rise

4)   ‘Overnight Success’ Is Preceded by A Period Of Hard Work

If you read Benny’s post that I linked to at the top of this post, you’ll notice that there was a period of work involved before he even got his App approved and got it into the App Store.

This applies even to people who do affiliate sales – they need time to build a list before they can send that ‘killer’ email that generates $10k or $20k or whatever.

Do the work right though, and then you can leverage it multiple times.  Again this is another reason to create your own products.

5)   Have A Product Sequence

What’s even more important to my bass guitar business than the revenues generated, is the future revenues that will be generated from those 63 subscribers.

  • (i)  A significant percentage of them will resubscribe next year, and maybe the year after (currently this percentage rate is around 85%).
  • (ii) A percentage of these new subscribers will buy a higher priced course (currently this percentage rate is around 40%)
  • (iii) A percentage of these new subscribers will buy more than one higher priced course (currently this percentage is around 15%).

Again, this is another advantage of creating your own products.  It’s much harder (but not impossible) to create a product sequence if you are an affiliate seller.

6) The Importance Of A Mentor

I’ve written about mentors before on One Spoon, and why I think they are so vital.

For the last two years or so my mentor has been Sean D’Souza.  The majority of the online business strategies that I use for my bass guitar website (and this site too) are either things I learned directly from him, or things I learned from him that I adapted to suit my circumstances.

The money I’ve spent working with Sean has already been recouped several times over.  And that factor will continue to rise exponentially as my business grows.  That money was the best investment I ever made for my online business.

7)   This Is Business 101 – Not Guru Bull Shit 10,001

Online Business isn’t much different than offline business – make sure you understand sound business principles.  And more importantly, apply them to your online endeavours.

Summary

If you haven’t already, go read Benny’s initial post – and his follow up post too.  They are very inspiring.  So far, I think he’s made about $20k in a few weeks….it will be interesting to see how his App continues to generate revenue for him now it’s no longer App of the week.

Hopefully my post is equally inspiring – I’m no guru, I’m just a regular guy.  If I can do it – so can you.  The secret ingredient you need is something that most of the so-called ‘Gurus’ don’t talk about:

Hard Work Over Time.

Your Shout

Have you got any similar stories to share – that act as inspiration for folks starting out on their journey? If so, share in the comments below.

If you’ve got any questions about Benny’s success, hop over and leave a comment for him.  If you’ve got questions for me – leave me a comment below!

 

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Interesting stuff, Paul. So, what makes your product worth 127 bones? Even 97? That’s interesting to me. I suspect it has some very incredible information. I mean.. right? Looking forward to your response ;)

    • Paul Wolfe September 5, 2011, 9:02 pm

      Hey ryan

      Well, I like to think so ;)

      The fee is an annual subscription to a weekly magazine.

      The weekly magazine is between 45 to 55 pages long. (Yep, every week of the year).
      Additionally there is a tutorial High Def video that goes with every issue – usually these are 20 minutes long.

      And now there is also a new column that has a video element to it as well.

      That sound like it’s worth it?

      Paul

      • Ryan Critchett@Computer repair Lehigh Valley September 5, 2011, 10:22 pm

        Paul,

        Thanks for replying. So, what kinds of things are in it? Helping people earn income online?

        I’d have to own the material, and actually comply with what you’re saying to determine it’s worth. As long as you think it’s worth it!

        • Ryan Critchett@Computer repair Lehigh Valley September 5, 2011, 10:26 pm

          Ohh… right, interactive bass lessons. That’s pretty creative man.

          • Paul Wolfe September 6, 2011, 6:32 am

            Yep.

            It’s for Bass Guitar.

            Each magazine has 5 or 6 components.

            1. A transcription of a bass line.
            2. A ‘beginners’ transcription – so a bass line suitable for beginners. Plus there’s a video component too.
            3. Tutorial Column 1 – Currently this is a column scheduled to run for a year – and is how to play bass for beginners. There’s also a video component to this column too.
            4. Tutorial Column 2 – How To Analyze Bass Lines
            5. Book/DVD Review – This is a detailed book review – normally these run to 4 or 5 pages – and not only review what the book is about, but look at what lessons bass players can take to their practice space, and how they can do it.
            6. Additionally I include ‘guest’ articles from Members.

      • Eugene @ Internet Success September 6, 2011, 6:05 pm

        I was going to comment on the great insights you provide in this post Paul. And you always provide GREAT insights…I know first hand :).

        But now I’m shifting focus to the weekly magazine. 45-55 pages weekly! You’re a machine!

        • Paul Wolfe September 6, 2011, 6:52 pm

          Eugene

          Thks for stopping by as always. There are some weeks that putting that magazine together drives me mad – there’s also 40 minutes of video or so every week that goes with the magazine. And tomorrow I have to create the free MONTHLY magazine that goes to the larger pool of subscribers – that’s only 10 to 15 pages though, so not so much of an issue!

          (And I’m mad – I’m thinking of creating another magazine……)

          Paul

          • Eugene @ Internet Success September 6, 2011, 7:02 pm

            My god man! We need to get you to a doctor! :)

            I think I got you figured out Paul, you have some sort of device that slows down time for you so you can create all that content, right?

            • Paul Wolfe September 7, 2011, 9:19 pm

              Hey Eugene!

              I like the idea of the time device – that would solve a LOT of my problems (LOL). Great suggestion. That would be a good product for you to be working on – I’m guessing you could make a LOT of money!

              Paul

  • Steve@Affiliate marketing Emails September 5, 2011, 10:17 pm

    Paul,

    Nice to have you back from vacation. I hope you had a great time man!

    This is really a great lesson. Really in so many ways. first of all it shows the power of scarcity. Not the phoney type only utilized to con people but a realistic way to get the fence sitters to take a chance.

    What this email (and I assume Bennys, and mine that have made significant amount of money in the past) really show is the result of quality.

    You do not send these out every few weeks. -They are a rare thing.- They work ONLY because you continuously provide great free (or mostly free) content. You have given people the proof. They know this 97$ bucks will be well worth it.

    To throw an answer at Ryan. While I am not a bass player and never will be (I wouldn’t know a fret from a bridge) There is a certain amount of arbitrariness to any pricing structure. You say “what makes it worth 127$” I say what makes it NOT worth 527$.

    After all how much would it cost to have someone show up and tutor you on the bass every week.

    A heck of a lot.

    When you show an incredible and deep amount of free content and then offer a paid version (hopefully) the paid version is something that would blow back your hair.

    Which I am sure a 45 page weekly training (with video) certainly would constitute.

    Lol, I think I had more to say. But I did a left turn tangent there and forgot where I was going.

    Damn this senility.

    Anyhow, love your points Paul. Congrats on your success and some serious good advice for people here!

    -Steve

    • Paul Wolfe September 6, 2011, 6:41 am

      Hey Steve

      Some good points – it’s definitely not a tactic you can use every week. But after reading Benny’s post I wanted to post this in the hope that it would inspire some people the way Benny has.

      Because this stuff is doable – and maybe I should have made another point that the bull shit gurus gloss over, that quality really counts if you want to have success.

      You talk about it on your site as well as in your comment – and quality is absolutely crucial if you’re going to have success. It makes clients value what they buy – and makes them buy again.

      I like your line: what makes it NOT worth $275. Because that would still only be approx $5 a week – and the amount of work that goes into the weekly magazine, and the amount of content there, would still make it worthwhile. But at the moment the subscription is ‘not worth $275′ because it’s been priced at $97 for a year. And the perception of my list of its value wouldn’t allow for a jump to $275. (Pricing psychology is a subject I’m just getting into – lots of fun!).

      Thanks for stopping by – will email you later, gotta couple of things to run by you.

      Paul

  • Benny September 5, 2011, 11:43 pm

    That’s fantastic Paul! Great lessons you shared. You definitely have built up trust with your list!

    Thanks for mentioning my post. It was definitely an unexpected surprise to be featured twice by the App store. App of the Week was equivalent to winning the app store lottery. That was the best endorsement money can’t buy.

    I knew after App of the Week sales would go down. I just didn’t realize how much. Before I was making the majority of sales in the US market, which is the biggest one. However after App of the Week, US sales have gone down but now international sales are going up. For some reason I had a big boost in Germany, Mexico and the UK.

    Now I’m working on adding new features as requested by the users.

    Again, thanks for mentioning me and congrats on your sales! That truly shows hard work, a great product and building a relationship over with your list pays off.

    • Paul Wolfe September 6, 2011, 6:43 am

      Hey Benny

      No problem! I loved your post(s) – they showed that normal guys like you and me CAN generate revenue online. It’s not just the superstars like Pat that can do it – that’s what was important about your posts and what I tried to pass on in my post too.

      And hard work, relationship building and creating a great product will ALWAYS pay off. In any market area.

      Have a great day.

      Paul

  • adan September 6, 2011, 12:15 am

    no questions, yet ;-) but am working my way through your modules for a successful ebook

    it’ll be my own product, and i’ve taken a hint (or cue really) from your studies, thus a new tab that announces a new future product is up on my site, as of today; feels kinda nice ;-) thanks!

    it’ll be a bit before the ebook is ready, but that’s ok

    thanks so much, sincerely,

    adan

    • Paul Wolfe September 6, 2011, 6:48 am

      Hey Adan

      Now that I’m back from vacation I need to finish those modules. Especially with the stuff coming up on my calendar for Mid October! (More soon on that….)

      Creating your own product is a great step forward – and pre-announcing it on your website is also a good step! If you have a list you should email them too – this does two things. (1) It alerts them that something is coming down the pipe. And (2) you can ask for questions and feedback on the topic in question – which might lead to content generating ideas.

      Another piece of advice I’d like to give you – be thinking about the eBook (or product or service) AFTER this ebook. One product is rarely enough to give you the results I’m assuming you want – you need multiple products. (Not only do multiple products give you more revenue, they also confer more ‘expertise’ on you in the eyes of your audience).

      HTH.

      Paul

  • Fred@Business Coach September 7, 2011, 10:14 am

    Thanks for sharing this Paul. Very interesting.

    Some day I will have to check out your interactive bass lessons. I played the upright bass and electric bass from 4th grade until 12th grade. My church band keeps asking me to play bass for them, but it has been sooooooooooo long.

    • Paul Wolfe September 7, 2011, 9:21 pm

      Heya Fred

      Thanks for stopping by.

      If you were taught right (from 4th to 12th grade) it will be like riding a bike because the neural pathways will still be intact, if a bit ‘rusty.’ A bit of work will get them firing again! Praise music isn’t something I hear a lot of – is that the kind fo thing they play at your church? – but there are some awesome bass players in that field. (Like, really incredible!).

      If you ever feel like dusting off the bass, give me a shout! (But don’t take too much dust off, that’s where the funk is!)

      Paul

  • Ankesh Kothari@SuccessNexus.com September 7, 2011, 12:19 pm

    Thanks Paul.

    Would love to read a post by you that talks about how you manage your newsletter. How do you keep your subscribers happy. What kind of information do you send them.

    Also, what was the response rate like? 63 sales don’t help a lot without knowing what percentage of people go from subscribers to annual members.

    • Paul Wolfe September 7, 2011, 9:22 pm

      Ankesh

      Some good questions. I’m not sure about making a post about this – I’ve got some reasons. Drop me an email though with questions and I’ll answer them as frankly as possible,

      Paul

  • Adrienne September 8, 2011, 5:56 pm

    Benny is a great guy Paul and I’m so thrilled that his app took off like it did. He worked really hard getting that together and if people read his post, they’ll see it took roughly eight months and a hefty investment. But, he made that back over and over again and I have no doubt it will continue to climb.

    You are so right Paul. By having a list of people who trust you they are more apt to purchase from you again because you don’t throw junk at them constantly. That I have learned myself and appreciate with others. Coming up with your own product is definitely the way to go because it will set you out from the pack.

    Congrats on that my friend, I know that’s always a great feeling to make that kind of money in such a short time. You are very deserving of it too! Hope you had a good time on vacation. Welcome home!

  • Ming Jong Tey@Millionaire Mind September 14, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Hey Paul,

    Very inspired. Indeed, I can’t agree more on “creating your own product” and build a list :) By having a product, we can leverage on it. We can choose to promote ourselves or recruit affiliate to promote for us.

    Need to be more productive to create great quality product!

    Cheers,
    Ming

    • Paul Wolfe September 15, 2011, 2:27 pm

      Hey Ming

      Creating your own products is the secret IMO to really controlling your ‘destiny.’ Pat Flynn does really well using the affiliate model. As does my buddy Steve Scott. But it’s never been a route I’m tempted to walk down….I’d much rather create my own stuff. You have sooooo much more flexibility.

      Paul

  • Jeff - Ebook Writing Secrets September 15, 2011, 6:01 pm

    Paul – its great to see that you offer an online magazine as your format. So many people think they MUST write an ebook or self-publish a book to get their knowledge into other people’s hands.

    We have a few membership sites that work extremely well as the best method of helping our audience, presenting the information (combination of written, audio and video content) and allowing us to place the proper value on the information so we can do this to make a pretty nice living.

    Ever thought about a membership site format where you use a content management system instead of the magazine format? Although I agree, being a wannabe musician myself, we are used to reading/learning from magazines.

    Jeff

    • Paul Wolfe September 15, 2011, 6:05 pm

      Jeff

      Thanks for the comment.

      I’ve been experiementing recently – one of the ‘columns’ in the magazine appears as a column in the magazine, and then has its own dedicated page on a separated website. That page is a combination of text, music graphics, and examples played in video format. That makes that particular column come alive a little bit more.

      When I started the magazine, I don’t think I could have done that.

      And the magazine format was a natural upgrade from the free ezine I’d been offering previously.

      Paul

  • Daniel Lim September 27, 2011, 8:21 am

    Hey Paul!

    I got over here from Benny’s blog and I can’t believe how I’ve found so many inspiring stories over the past few weeks.

    I’ve always been super inspired by all these stories. First being inspired when I purchased the book the fourhourworkweek. Having visited so many websites with successful muses, and now your blog. But I always find myself stuck and not being able to do anything because I don’t have any capital to make use of.

    Do you have any advice for a undergraduate student like me? I’m currently getting by with minimal savings from the allowance I have. That barely covers food and transport. I’m wondering whether I should find a job outside of school, and study at the same time, or only wait till I graduate in 2 years so that I can find a job, and work for a period of time before I get enough money to start a business?

    I’m glad I found your blog, the first post has already inspired me, and I can’t wait to read the rest. Thanks Paul! Looking forward to your reply.

    • Paul Wolfe September 28, 2011, 7:51 am

      Daniel

      Interesting comment.

      Firstly starting an online business is cheaper now than it’s ever been. All you need is a computer/laptop and a broadband connection (or access to same for a certain amount of time on a regular basis) and your own hosted domain. You can get those for around $5 to $9 a month….and then you’re good to go.

      My honest advice would be to start the process now. In broad strokes the steps you’d need to do would be:

      1) Research your chosen market area (or find a market area if you haven’t already got one). Important Points: will you be able to generate revenue from your market area? Can you think of products that you can create to add to this marketplace?

      2) Once you’ve chosen that market area, get your website up. Use Wordpress as your content management system and get going. Start creating pillar articles to attract search engine traffic, get links, etc etc. Important Points: start building a list from day 1. Have something on your website that tells people – even if indirectly – that at some stage soon you will be putting up something for sale.

      3) Set a ‘trigger’ point. Say 50 subscribers. Or an Alexa rank of 1 million. SOmething. When you reach it….announce your first product, set a publication date and start working towards it.

      4) Release first product. Expect a handful of buyers. Don’t be deterred. Set the next trigger point…and move forwards.

      5) Repeat until successful!

      Now this assumes that you’re going to create your own products – many people start off the generating revenue side of business with affiliate marketing. Personally that’s not my bag….I’m a big believer in the fact that if you can blog, you can create your own eBooks and other products. If you’re more interested in the affiliate side of things then head over to http://www.stevescottsite.com and buy Steve’s Affiliate Marketing product. It’s pretty cheap and pretty comprehensive…for affiliate marketing it’s as good as anything out there – even the higher cost BS from the so called ‘gurus.’

      Hope that helps.

      Paul

      • Daniel Lim October 1, 2011, 10:25 am

        Dear Paul,

        Thank you for your advice!

        I was caught up with exams the past week hence I apologize for this delayed reply.

        I’m currently looking to go in the direction of releasing my own product. Instead of doing affiliate marketing. I’m currently struggling with getting people to visit my site, something which I havent figured out properly as of yet.

        I currently have a surge in traffic every time I organically post my new article to my facebook wall. However, I don’t want this to be my main traffic generating portal because my friends and all are going to get really irritated with my constant posts and updates. Especially when it is my own content that I’m promoting.

        I’ve a question with regards to your advice, when you mentioned “Important Points: start building a list from day 1. Have something on your website that tells people – even if indirectly – that at some stage soon you will be putting up something for sale.” Do you mean that I should build an email list and start getting people to subscribe to a newsletter of some sort? Or are you referring to another kind of list?

        I shall set a goal for myself, to hit a steady stream of traffic within the next two months. Hopefully things will start picking up. Thank you for the advice once again, Paul. :)

  • Darren @ Bodyweight Workouts September 28, 2011, 12:38 am

    Nice strategy Paul. It may seem like common sense but I’m sure a lot of people don’t advertise a price increase. Maybe more businesses should start doing this to get people to buy before they raise the price.

    • Paul Wolfe September 28, 2011, 8:08 am

      It’s win-win.

      Allows those sitting on the fence to make a decision and feel like they’ve saved some money. And stops the same group of people from complaining afterwards that the price has gone up and pissing them off! I just didn’t anticipate the number of people who would subscribe prior to the price increase! (But that’s a pleasant surprise!)

  • Duy@Polar Express Train Set October 6, 2011, 10:27 am

    Hi Paul, I appreciate you sharing your experience :)

    And yes, you’re right about the power of the mailing list. It’s one of the oldest form of long term marketing strategy. It works very well offline, and the same will go with the online world.

    I tried building my list before in my chosen niche but I failed short. I guess it was because of offering the wrong thing. And basically, I was not interested in the niche that much. But I gained experiences anyway. Although I think I couldn’t apply all of your lessons here in the near future but I know it should be the part to follow.

    This is my very first comment on your blog, and I really like it.

    Have a nice day man!

    Duy.

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