I’ve received a TON of questions lately about my Clone My Business course. In an effort to save myself time and to help you, I’ve put together this Frequently Asked Questions post.
You don’t have to read the entire thing. Just look for the questions that apply to you.
How do you make money?
I started an online marketing agency called Social Rocketship back in 2010. It’s still going strong and it’s what puts food on the table for my family.
Why did you create a course teaching what you do?
It was kind of on accident. A buddy of mine was also living in Cozumel and wanted to make more money. I told him he should just “clone my business”. I gave him everything I had & he got started.
Long story short, he quit his job and went full time with his business just a two months later!
I realized I was onto something and wrote a book called Clone My Business: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Successful Online Marketing Company Just Like Mine – you can get a copy free here.
I decided to create a course when I realized that people like learning via video and audio.
I put my first course up on Udemy shortly thereafter.
What makes you qualified to teach a course like this?
Between the courses I have available online, I’ve taught over 7,000 students. I’ve helped a lot of those students go on to start their own businesses.
Proof in the pudding? Pretty much.
Also, I’m still living it. I still have my own marketing agency. In other words, I still walk the walk. Any income I’ve made from the courses has been a welcome bonus but my family’s livelihood is not based on it.
You can read more about that here: Family Rocketship Has NOT Made Me Rich
What’s the difference between the Udemy course and the course on your own website?
The Udemy course is kind of like the starter course. You can learn pretty much everything you need to there. It’s 1000% more than what I had when I got started.
Plus, it’s really cheap. Udemy is always messing with the prices and most people get it with coupons or whatever for like $10.
The course that I have on my own website is MUCH more complete with every single piece of info you need to get started. It also includes downloads and templates that you can use.
Also, I focus most of my attention there because my students have made an investment and I want to make sure they get the best I have to offer.
What’s the response been to your courses?
The response has been amazing. First, with Sam. He quit his freaking job! I mean, that’s pretty cool!
I’ve had a bunch of other students who’ve gone on to quit their own jobs as well. You can see more on the sales page of the course.
When I was featured on Nick Loper’s podcast (Episode 92: Building a Location Independent Business of Freedom and Travel — Even With a Family), the response was awesome! I got a ton of messages ever since then about how people have gone on to start their own businesses based on the info I provided.
That’s pretty cool too.
One time, I sent out an email talking about one student’s success (see pic below – as featured in my Facebook group for the course).
Then I got the following email:
At times, I’m almost overwhelmed at the response I get from students who’ve taken the course and have started their own businesses.
I’m extremely grateful to have played a part in helping them on their way.
What if I want to do this business but not make it my “career”?
That’s totally fine! Personally, my digital marketing agency isn’t my end all career. BUT, it’s freed me up to do a lot of cool stuff. With systems and a team, you can do the same.
I DO think it’s one of the easiest service-based businesses to start. I’m not even really that smart. I just did it.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably smarter than I am. Just do it!
Do I have to already know online marketing?
Nope! The course is designed to teach you how to create and run an online marketing agency. In other words, you’ll learn how to get other people to do the work for you.
Personally, I was doing a bit of online marketing already before I started my own business. BUT, most of what I now know about it, I learned on the fly AFTER I started my own business.
Do I have to know all about marketing to run my business?
There’s a careful balance between being the business owner and the business “doer”. Your two main jobs are to drive sales and build a great team to do the work for you.
That said, it’s also your business so you should know as much as you can about the industry. It will help you lead your team and improve your sales efforts.
I took the attached pic a while back to show the books that I read when I first got started in 2010. I poured myself into learning everything I could while ALSO making sales.
If you spent a solid week reading articles, watching videos, etc and you’ll know more than enough to get started.
If I were getting started today, I would spend a week at the following places:
And then just Google stuff like “how to rank a local business online” or “how to build a WordPress website” or whatever. Everything you need to know is already on Google and YouTube.
What if I’m not in the USA – can I still start an online marketing agency?
In my humble opinion, every business needs to be online. Even those in other countries. It’s the age of the internet. Don’t let the country you’re in hold you back.
If you can read this, you can start a digital marketing agency.
What if I’m not in the USA – can I still sell to US (or UK) clients?
One of my students, Haydee, is from El Salvador. I’ve been to El Salvador. Let’s just say it’s not the most business-friendly country. Yet, she’s built a thriving online marketing agency with (mainly) US clients all through networking online.
If Haydee can do it from El Salvador, you can too. No excuses.
What if I’m just starting out and don’t have any proof of my work (like, no clients)?
Option #1 – Treat Yourself As Your Own First Client
You should first treat yourself like your own client which means to create a nice website, get set up on all of the social media platforms, etc.
That way, whenever a prospect does their homework, they’ll be impressed with what you’ve already done for yourself. People make buying decisions by what they see online so you want to make sure your own marketing is top notch.
And you can always mention that you were your own first client and show the work you’ve done.
Option #2 – Get 1 or 2 Clients at a Deep Discount
I avoid recommending that you do work for free but you can offer some deep discounts for the first couple of clients. Make sure they know it’s a deal that they’re getting (in a non-cheesy way of course).
Let them know that you’re starting out and would love to include them in your portfolio in exchange for a great deal. It’s a win-win.
Option #3 – Show Samples of Other Work Online That You Can Do
If you’re looking to offer website design for example, you can buy up a bunch of themes and install the demo data and post those in your portfolio.
You want to make sure your prospect knows they are sample websites but it will give them a good idea of what you can do.
Option #4 – Ask the Client to Provide Sample Work That They Like
This is actually my favorite option. Instead of trying to show to them your stuff, have them do some homework by going out and finding samples of work they like. Then have them send that explaining why. Have them get very specific.
Chances are, the kind of work you can do will be better that what they send back to you!
Does this business model still work?
Does the internet still exist? Yes? Then businesses will always need to market online.
Even if I started from scratch today, I could grow the business all over again. In fact, there are even more advantages today.
There are no “saturated markets” if you’re a good business.
Someone will always come along that will be better, cheaper, more expensive, faster, smarter, etc. Think of how you can stand out, be excellent, and rake in the new business.
Do you have any students that fail?
It’s sad. I’ve tried my best to make my courses as step-by-step as possible and even then, people don’t do the work.
I can give 100 people the same info and get waaaay different results.
I can give you the best info possible but it’s up to you to actually do the work. I can’t sell for you. I can’t build a team for you. It’s a business for crying out loud – you’re going to have to do something!
Luckily, the course takes away any guess work. You always know what you have to do next.
How did you get your first sales?
Face-to-face sales. I started with people in my own personal network. I let everyone know what I was doing.
I networked hard for two years both in Seattle and in San Francisco and built a huge network. I built my business up enough in those 2 years to then be able to take off – which is why I moved to Cozumel.
I’m still a fan of face-to-face sales when the situation presents itself. Most of my new business now comes in via referrals from the network I built in the first two years.
Can I just email business owners online to get new clients?
Sure… if you want to be just like everyone else.
I know, my clients send me the emails they get from people trying to sell them online marketing services.
There are better ways to sell. If you want to email/spam people, you won’t get very far.
The exception is if your niche is very targeted and/or you’re leading with an insane amount of value. Check out the following email:
I am being very happy to meet your acquaintance.
I help you with SEO. Contact me at your shortest opportunity possible.
Some Place in India
If you were a business owner, would that get you going? Probably not.
And sadly, this isn’t an exaggeration from real emails that business owners aren flooded with.
If you email like that, good luck growing a real business.
If you insist on emailing, lead by giving a TON of value.
For example, instead of sending an email saying you can help with SEO (or whatever), send a 10 minute video showing them a key changes they could make to their website that would boost them in the search engines. Even go as far as to list the steps on how to do it. This is valuable.
If they’re your ideal client, they won’t have time to do it and they’ll reply back asking if you could do it – not always, but in many cases.
It takes a while to do stuff like this (videos, custom PDF reports, etc). That’s why there are very few people who do it.
The good news?
Very few people actually do it! That’s how you can stand out. It’s also showing them you really know your stuff. It’s also giving them something really useful.
Plus, even with custom videos/reports, you can still create templates to make it faster. Plus, you can eventually get one of your team members to do it all for you.
It doesn’t take long before you have a handful of clients.
How many times should I follow up before giving up?
There’s a saying that says, “The fortune is in the follow up”.
The key is to offer a lot upfront. Really give them something of value. If you’ve led with value, you should feel confident following up.
And then you should follow up like a madman. I’ve followed up with people and they finally say yes after my 5th, 6th, or 7th time of contacting them.
Should I “niche-down” to find more clients?
First, when I talk about choosing a niche, I mean looking at a general industry. Let’s say you focus on “medical services”. You could focus on dentists. Dentists are connected to oral surgeons. And oral surgeons are connected to endodontists and so on.
It’s all under the “medical services” niche/industry.
Also, it can happen organically. As you start networking, you’ll notice some people will simply respond better.
I first went after lawyers. But then I had all of these contractors that kept wanting to speak with me. So I shifted my focus and they quickly became a huge part of my client base.
Start networking. Start speaking with people however you can on and offline and you’ll quickly see groups that you’ll want to focus on. This is what I mean by “niching down”.
Should I offer one-time services or ongoing?
The key to growth is ongoing monthly services. This could be social media management, SEO, FB ads, etc.
One-off services like website builds are nice for revenue but unless you have a steady stream of new websites, it’s not a good way to grow.
Monthly recurring services like SEO, social media, etc is key to growth.
What kind of services should I offer?
This is really up to what kind of agency you want to have. No two online marketing agencies are the same.
Possible services include:
- Website design
- Website maintenance & security
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing
- Content creation/marketing
- Reputation management
- Facebook advertising
- and more
How do I price my services?
It all depends on three main things:
- What services you actually offer
- How much work is involved
- Who your target audience is
Once you’re clear on those three things, you can research online to see what others are doing. You can then decide to go under or over those prices.
Should I put my prices on my website?
As of right now, on my main website, all visitors see is a simple landing page. I do NOT share prices there.
I have set packages (that’s sent via PDF to the prospect) but there’s a sliding scale for the prices involved based on the client/industry/services to be performed.
My own prices can vary from say $500/mo to $2000/mo. Again, it depends on the work/services involved.
If you want to have set prices for everyone, then it’s OK to put them on the website. If you want to leave your services/prices “adaptable” then leave them off of your website.
How should I accept payment?
I personally got started with PayPal recurring payments. It’s been easy and I haven’t bothered to change to my bank or any other service. Now it would be too much of a hassle.
If I were starting from scratch, I would use a service like ChargeKeep. It’s super easy to use.
*Full disclaimer – I know the owner of ChargeKeep. This is why I recommend this service – because I know it’s good! I do NOT receive any commission though for recommending ChargeKeep – just the warm fuzzies for letting you know about a cool tool for your business. 🙂
Do you have a minimum term or contract with clients?
All recurring services are month-to-month. Basically, the client keeps paying each month because they want to keep paying.
I tell them this in my first conversation with them. It’s a great selling point.
What’s the best way to build a team?
I like to start with 1 person on a per-project basis. Then, as the work justifies it, hire them part-time. Then eventually, full time.
After that, I hire more people as needed.
BUT, I wouldn’t hire anyone until AFTER I’ve made a sale or two. So many people want to hire before they’ve even made a sale.
NOTHING happens until you’ve made a sale.
Don’t even do anything else until that happens.
Where’s the best place to find people to do the work for me?
I like the following:
Fiverr – good for little stuff
Upwork – good for finding your first per-project person
OnlineJobs.ph – great for finding new people to build your team
How can I tell who will be a good worker and who won’t?
For starters, places like Upwork allow you to filter based on reviews, skills, etc. You can find quality people there with some filtering.
Sometimes, you just have to take a chance. That’s why I like contracting new people on a per-project basis. Give them something easy and watch how fast (or long) it takes them. Also, watch how good they are and if they follow your instructions clearly.
Finding good people is key so you want to take your time with this. Also, you get what you pay for. If you go cheap, you’ll get crappy work. Pay a bit more, get quality work and people that you can count on for a while.
How do you share info between your clients and your contractors?
We keep most client info in a shared Dropbox file. Only they have access along with whatever team member I assign to them.
If there was one thing you wish you did differently when you started, what would it be?
I would have built a team faster. I waited an entire year to start building my team. It cost me precious time and gave me a ton of frustration.
The two most important jobs you have are:
- Drive sales
- Build a team to do the work for you
I suppose I could add “build a system” in there but that’s a one time thing. Your job is to grow your business. If you get bogged down doing the work, you will always stay small. If $50K/year working 40+ hours a week is good enough for you, fine. Don’t build a team.
If you want to work less than 10 hours a week and make more than $100K/year, then you need to build a team.
Keep selling. Keep building. Then wake up one day and realize you’re living your dream life.
It happened to me back in 2012 when I woke up one morning and realized I was living on a tropical island with my wife and kids.
It can happen for you as well.
If you have a question about creating your own digital marketing business that I didn’t answer here, consider joining the Facebook group I have set up for this exact purpose:
If you’re interested in taking the course, I recommend reading the sales page here:
If you want to watch a dorky video about the course, check this out: