We had the distinct honor of partnering with Ryan Moran’s Freedom Fastlane Live event for the second year in a row and I wanted to touch on some takeaways I personally got from the speakers as well as some big news and announcements we made.
First, the event…
I didn’t get the chance to listen to each speaker as we were doing a lot of strategizing and networking of our own. I heard from everyone I talked to that they ALL did a wonderful job, but I did want to at least share what I got out of the sessions I did have the pleasure of attending.
Day 1: Awesome Mindset Stuff & A Valuable Traditional Marketing Lesson
The first speaker I was able to really sit down and focus on was Tom Bilyeu of Quest Nutrition. His story is awesome as he told us that his motivating force was the nutrition and weight challenges his family has faced all his life. The guy actually used to make protein bars himself, putting in twelve and fourteen hour days at his own production facility.
Here’s an interesting tidbit too (especially for those of you who use our blast services, or are thinking of doing so); Quest nutrition gave away a TON of protein bars for free. And back then, it wasn’t even with the benefit of ranking on any search engine, but just for brand recognition. So that just goes to show you that promotions are a tried and true marketing method for businesses in every niche at every level.
What Tom taught me was that I must have grit. Entrepreneurs aren’t always born, but what you do with your life, the skills that you learn, those are all choices we make. I don’t have to naturally be an entrepreneur. I just have to choose to be great at something.
I also learned that if I want true success, I need to strive to be the best. As the captain of the ship that is my company, I need to commit to acquiring the skills necessary to bring it to the top of my niche. That was truly inspiring.
After that awesome speech I was able to watch a discussion by the “investor panel” which was comprised of super successful investors (mostly in real estate). The discussion was rather broad, but there were some tiny but powerful nuggets offered by all. My favorite was J Massey. He has some interesting views on investments, but overall he is extremely practical and makes the idea of investing in all sorts of assets seem reasonably simple.
Basically, you should think short term AND long term. Single family homes are the easiest and most profitable short term cash producing asset. However, you should diversify into hard assets and be willing to experiment some too (J buys Bitcoin as well). Web properties and businesses are also avenues you can consider when looking to invest. Find a unique idea with a rabid following and if it is executable, it may be a valid business to put your money into.
Day 2: More Mindset Stuff & The Value of Digital Real Estate
We had a team meeting that morning so we got to the event rather late. I was able to catch the last part of Mike Dillard’s genius webinar funnel system and that made a lot of the whole event worth it. Copying a funnel by anyone as successful as Mike, or even them being willing to share the funnel in the first place, is kind of awesome. So I put this on top of my to-do list. Make a webinar, create a landing page for the webinar, run targeted Facebook ads to the landing page for the webinar. In the webinar sell my brand’s products. Real simple.
Directly after Mike were some more gold nuggets by the Courtrights. They essentially invest in property much like many others we had heard before. However, their properties are digital. They join partnerships with people in the ownership of online real estate. The web property generates income and both the investor and the Courtrights, whose job it is to maintain and monetize the property, enjoy the spoils.
Aside from learning this sort of thing even exists, which was valuable in and of itself, I also learned a couple of cool nuggets about how to get back links by borrowing from the popularity of bigger and more trending websites and individuals. Essentially we were told to take a lot of pictures at the F2L2 event with all the famous people. Then post those pictures on our sites, and then share the links to those pictures on social media. Pretty solid strategy.
After lunch we got to enjoy the amazing intensity that is Jesse Itzler. By far one of the most interesting people I’ve ever heard, the Dos Equis guy has NOTHING on Jesse. This dude has done a LOT of really cool stuff, and his business acumen is second to none. It is all too much to type here so you can look him up but I can say the message I got from him was extremely similar to the one I got from Tom (and I started sensing a theme). The message was that I need to have grit.
This really got me thinking; why was I hearing this word, that I never hear in my daily life, from not one but TWO of the most successful individuals around today? Why do I need grit? Because, listening to Jesse’s story, he didn’t really dwell too much on the hard times. He didn’t really mention much about hitting such a huge wall that it looked like it could all go away. So what was all this stuff about grit?
I think these guys just wanted to keep the message positive, but what I extrapolated from reading between the lines is that they, just like probably everyone else, hit some REALLY hard times in their businesses. And grit is what got them through it.
This hopeful message is what I plan to focus on. That everyone hits serious setbacks. And the only real “skill” required to make it to the other side is some resilience.
Day 3: What’s Working Now
Another late start to the day, I totally missed the hilarity of JP Sears (and this makes me kinda sad), but when we did get there we were able to see the Zero to 100 Million panel. This was the board of advisers on Mike Dillard’s newest project, comprised of entrepreneurs who have achieved 100 million in their own companies many times over.
They spoke of what it takes to scale a business that far and the message was consistent with a lot of what I had heard echoed by other entrepreneurs. In a nutshell, build a brand that people love, market well and surround yourself with competent people that excel in areas you don’t.
After the Zero to 100 Million panel, there was a fireside chat with our fearless leader Joe Junfola. He was pressed with the question of “what is working now?” in regards to ranking on Amazon.
This segment was short but we outlined that algorithm changes have been subtle and our course corrections in steering our clients down the right path have largely gone unnoticed. The unsexy truth, however, is that the algorithm still responds to the same stimulus; velocity and conversion rate. We are learning of many other smaller, less impactful variables, but the major ones remain. Their percentage of importance shifts over time, but this doesn’t discount the effectiveness of deep discount promotions targeting specific keywords.
The Big Announcement
After the chat about what is working in promotions and ranking, Joe dropped the bomb about our future plans on the crowd. We are opening a whole new set of tools and services to the world and becoming SixLeaf.
This does not mean ZonBlast goes away. Instead, ZonBlast becomes one of the services offered under the SixLeaf umbrella. An ambitious project that has been underway for several months, SixLeaf is poised to provide a number of solutions that are aimed at benefiting ecommerce entrepreneurs in general, but definitely Amazon sellers specifically.
The first thing I want to reveal about SixLeaf is our more defined mission. We are very much clear on what we want to do, and what we aim for is to turn your brand into a household name. THAT is our mission. Whether you wish to create a legacy for your family or you just want an asset to sell, a brand that becomes recognized in households across the country will deliver just that.
To accomplish this bold goal we are going to be providing a number of new tools to help entrepreneurs make better decisions for their businesses. These tools will range from help automating sponsored product ad management to assistance in creating demographic segments and identifying buyer profiles for marketing off of Amazon. We will also be providing critical business analytics, but not like anything you’ve seen before.
Analytics is a big business now, but all services have accomplished so far is aggregating hard to find data. While this is valuable, there is so much more that can be done here. We plan to do just that. Our goal is to overlay your financials with crucial information and suggestions that allow you to actually GROW your business.
We also plan to take listing and keyword optimization to a new level. We’ll automate much of it to make the process go smoother and quicker and get even more accurate with the data so you are sure to get the absolute best results.
We even want to help you build your OWN audience so you can transcend Amazon or any other marketplace. Speaking of other marketplaces, we are working to offer services that will help you establish a presence on sites like eBay and Walmart.com too.
All in all, the goal is to take your business to the next level. How we are able to accomplish that is because each of us at ZonBlast/SixLeaf have struggled to do the same with our own businesses. We take pride in the fact that we are still in the day to day of running brands, so we are on the ground just like you.
So stay tuned for updates on the shift that will be taking place Q1 2017. I hope you enjoyed this F2L2 wrap up.