ET12- Making Money Helping Others Build Powerful Passive Income
Drew Burks and His Profit Sharing Sales Funnel Building Business
There is a famous quote by sales guru Zig Ziglar that says:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
That pretty well sums up how Drew Burks business works. His company JustFunnelIt.com works with other businesses who have great products to offer but no idea how to get those products out into the world via online marketing. Drew and his partners figure out how to make that happen and when they are successful, then and only then do they get a cut of the profits.
It works out well for everyone and gives the businesses a pretty risk free proposition for growing their business. For Drew, the more people he can help the better he does. It sounded to me like the classic definition of win-win.
Drew also spent some time sharing with me the path he took to get to the business he’s got which also sounded kind of like mine. Early success fueled the desire and ambition to be entrepreneurial but also led to complacency and some hubris which was a tough lesson to learn. Consulting saved the day but no true entrepreneur wants to indefinitely trade time for money and so he moved onto his new business from the consulting model.
It was an interesting conversation and we both followed similar paths to ultimately get where we are and the lessons learned along the way proved to be an invaluable part of the process. Luckily for you, they can be had here for the cost of 30 minutes of your time and zero dollars- far less than either he or I paid for the same thing!
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Matt: Today’s episode, I’m being joined by Drew Burks, who is not only a friend but a client as well. His company Just Funnel It. Drew, thanks very much for taking the time to join me today. Why don’t we just jump right in, kind of give us the back story where you came from, your background and how you got to have the business that you have today?
Drew: Cool. Hey! Good to be here so thanks for having me. I first got started in – I’ll spill the whole back story – I got started in internet marketing last May 2008 and early 2009. Right at that time, my wife found out we’re gonna have our first child. I wanted a business who would’ve let me work when I want to and where I wanted to. I had this delusion that I’ll be able to continue traveling before I have any kids. I don’t get to travel anymore but I get to work where I want to, in terms of home or someone else’s office or coffee shop. That’s why I pursued internet marketing. It’s been like every business, Matt. You own your business so it’s been filled with excitement as a startup and the headaches and the growing pains and the challenges of making decisions and then looking back and realizing they weren’t the best decisions that you could’ve made at that time. But, I’m happy to be here and it’s been since late ’08 and early ’09 and now we have a business with 7 full-time employees and looking to hire a few more in 2016.
Matt: So how did you first get started in internet marketing? Were you doing affiliate stuff or you’re trying to draw eyeballs and do advertising or e-commerce? There are a million models. What did you kinda pick to start with and how did it evolved to where you at now?
Drew: It’s a great question. Honest answer is I probably tried a little bit of all of those. But I would say my first area, real interest was affiliate marketing. Primarily because I think so many people starting out, I didn’t have a product to sell. I didn’t have a website. In fact, I didn’t know how to build a website. WordPress is just starting to become mainstream at that point. I tried affiliate marketing and had a lot of headaches back then you couldn’t like do paid ad or structural ending page. I started running to a brick wall after brick wall. And then, it was in ’09 when I created a membership site. I co-founded a membership site for real estate agents. That was really where I started get a taste of whatever would be possible, what kind of success is possible. We created a website. It was geared around teaching real estate agents, how to use WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It was good because my back story pre-’08 was I was a real estate broker for about 9 years. I knew a business very well. I had a platform in that space. I could go do public speaking. I had a built-in audience that trusted me already. I was able to make some sales and get some memberships in that website. I did that for about a year and then I decided that I wanted to expand the real-estate market. One lesson I’ll tell you at this point in retrospect or hindsight being 20/20, I think I made a really bad move at that part. I had a great audience, a great trust factors – real estate agents and brokers and people in that space who trusted me and I completely turned my back on that space and said “I’m gonna create a product for different audience.” That cost me a couple years and momentum. It cost me some trust factor in that space. It would be difficult for me to go back to that space. I think my lesson to people is if you have an audience, even if you’re not interested in selling product to that audience, don’t just turn your back on them. Find a way to provide value at an arm length distance in case you decide you want to come back or wait till someone comes to you with an opportunity to monetize that space. It’s nice to have it and not need it than to wish you had it when you gave it up.
Matt: As an entrepreneur, you’re always kinda looking at the next opportunity and you’re considering progress in terms of what new things you can launch and start in new markets you could jump into. A lot of times, it is hard to kind of stick with what you know and what you’ve got because in your mind, that sort of boring. You’ve been there and done that. But you’re right. If you already got a foundation, it’s much easier to build on a foundation than it is to break new ground.
Drew: Absolutely. That’s one regret I have. Any opportunity I get to, I share that with people, I’d let them know. Because it is what it is. As an entrepreneur, you kinda get bored. You like this fast pace of startup and change. I think it is an easy mistake to make. If I had it to do over, I would make a different decision there. But, it is what it is. As time passed, I’ve been able to overcome that now but it was painful for a while.
Matt: Yeah. No doubt. It’s always hard in a hindsight when you realize what you could’ve built or what you could’ve done but at the same time, I think there’s a lesson there. You struggled for a while with affiliate marketing and online marketing in general until you got into something where you already had some experience, you already had an audience and industry knowledge. I think, that’s true for a lot of people. If you can spin off, if you want to be into online marketing but spin off in something in the direction you already know rather than completely try to start something that you have no knowledge or no experience with, you’re gonna have much more likely to find success sooner than if you’re completely starting from scratch and learning the whole thing.
Drew: Absolutely. What I did after I turned my back on them, I just had this delusion that I could just pick a new audience and succeed. There’s no shortage of people selling you programs online, telling you that you can do that which you know, they do that because it helps sell their product. My next step in doing that was I focused on one tool which was Infusion Soft which is what I use for all of my automation. I started consulting. I fell into a trap. I started trading my time for money. It does have some good sides. I was able to start making revenue right away. I didn’t have to create any products or websites. I just traded my time for money, my expertise for money. I did that from 2010 to 2014. I was really often on trading my time. From 2012 to ’14, I was almost full time exclusively trading time for money. In April, my oldest child, we did have a second child, my oldest child said “Hey! I really miss it when you work from home all the time. Can you stop going into these client’s offices?” At that point, I made a conscious decision and get back to 100% online marketing. That was really the turning point for my business. I was able to stop trading time and immediately go back to online marketing but I was able to execute some things that I have learned during consulting. I was consulting for clients who had a team of people. I was able to start recognizing “It’s working for this client, not working for this client.” I was able just to recognize a few common things between people who are making good money. By good money, most of my clients were doing multiple six figures a month vs. those who are just barely getting by. There’s people who has less than six figures a year. One time, I made that shift. I was able to then build the team that I have now and walk away from that kind of consulting mode and positioned ourselves in more of a – we’re not really – it’s a mindset. We can’t consider ourselves to be like a partner to our clients. Again, we are not partners but we come in that mindset. We built a team so we can do everything for people. We can build out all their webpages and set up all their automation and run all their traffic. We only get compensated by a very small fee and a percentage of revenue.
Matt: That’s sounds like a pretty good proposition if you could come to somebody and say “We can set everything up for you and were really only gonna get paid, at least the bulk of our compensation is only gonna come when we had mutual success. If this bombs, you’re not gonna owe us a whole lot but if it really takes off, then were gonna share in the revenue and share the success.”
Drew: Right. Even to that point, I would say that what I’ve learned is that the systems always work. I think that my very first mentor told me back in 2008, I kept on saying “What kind of product should I create?” that’s why I started affiliate marketing. I didn’t have a product. But I knew that you have to have a product to sell. Somewhere on the line there has to be a product. My mentor would always tell me that product doesn’t really matter that much. Don’t put so much emphasis on it. I didn’t really fully understand that but now I can look back and when we talk to prospects, we explain as “The systems work. You need these systems. You need some pages. You need a funnel or an automation like once people go to your website and they opt in for your newsletter or your free report and buy some. You have to have a system that’s automated on a back end to free you out of that tiny trap. You have to have traffic. You have to have people come into your site. Those things always work once you have a system. What you could change is you can change the product and the offering. That’s what my mentor is trying to get through to me. Product doesn’t really matter. You have a product and let’s say it’s wrapped in blue wrapping paper and sells for $397 and you might not sell anything. It doesn’t mean the system didn’t work because people are visiting your site. They opt in. they’re just not buying it. Maybe you just have to wrap that product in red paper and price a hundred dollars less. Then, you might make your six figures a month in revenue. That’s what we position the people. You have to have the traffic. You have to have the funnel, the front-end, the webpage, and automation. You need all those things. In that way, once you find the right offering, you package it in the right way. Then, your revenue is not an issue. You could make as much revenue as you could spend money on ads.
Matt: That’s interesting. I think that applies probably in a lot of cases like infomercials. There’s a new infomercial product out all the time constantly. But the infomercials themselves are more or less the same. They do the demonstration. It’s a whist band thing and it’s cool. Everybody is excited on the infomercials. There’s a number and there’s on order and if you order now. If follows a very predictable pattern, a very predictable template from beginning to end. But the product, one day it’s this. The next day it’s that. The next day it’s the next thing but the system for selling it stays more or less the same. So what you guys have is an online system for selling or process to set up to sell things through an online channel but the process is pretty well established. It’s what product you’re presenting that changes depending on your client or depending on how well it’s selling but the system itself is pretty well established.
Matt: So, you’re challenge now is to find clients or to partner with people who have products that you think you can do a good job of selling. And then, do you help them also tweak their offering to improve the sales?
Drew: We do. We run everyone to our process. We kinda continually find [inaudible 0:17:13.4]. We build the systems. The systems are the machines or the funnel, whatever people are gonna call it. We build that and webpages. We build all the automation. We set up and run all the traffic and then for 60 days, we support that. Help them optimize and help them tweak their product offerings. Help them do what people call “AB Testings” so they can test 2 offerings or 2 webpages. We help them really get that as optimize as it can be within 60 days. For very selected projects or products or clients, very selected ones if they qualify, if they meet certain minimum conversions that we’re looking, we enjoy working with them and on the flip side they have to enjoy working with us, then we could go into – we’re not about it in terms of partnership, we’ll continue to manage and support that so they can create more products and that’s certainly go to the revenue sharing. At the end of the 60 days, I would tell you 85% of the people just don’t qualify. Maybe their products aren’t converting at the level we need them to convey out to be worthy of our type of partnership. But we haven’t found any shortage of people that need the systems. In fact, everyday there’s tenths of thousands of people online trying to do this themselves and most people, myself included, want to spend our wheels for a few years before we just throw in the towel and say “Okay. I’m not gonna figure it out. I need to hire someone or I need to partner someone or I need to do something to get to the next level.” That’s why we found a really plentiful group of people to speak with. Every day we do Skype calls like we screen share. We actually get on and we share our screens so we can look at everything we our doing. We point out all the stuff that they could be doing differently and actually it leaves them like “Here are the things you should go do.” I’m not one of those people who just say “It all sounds good. I’m not gonna be able to do that. How do I hire you guys to do that?”
Matt: So it starts out as almost a consultation and then some people would just take you up on you providing your service, your system and just taking over the process rather than saying “Now that somebody’s carefully pointed out what I needed to do, than you very much. I’m gonna go do it on my own.”
Drew: Right. We actually encourage them to do that option, go do it on their own. But I would say, the overwhelming majority of those people would just say “I’ve been doing it for x amount of time. I haven’t figured it out. I’m not gonna be able to do that. How can you guys do it for me?
Matt: What kind of products or what kinds of offerings are we talking about here specifically? Are these people with coaching programs or info products or does it work for virtually everything? Do you do e-commerce or physical products or what’s the range of things that you would work with?
Drew: Our preference is digital products, information products, most always coaching products, training programs. And we just like it because there’s no time involved. There’s no inventory involved. There’s no capital expense involved to buy product and resell it. There’s no human involvement until I create something. We do have 2 e-commerce projects that we own now that were testing just to see what kind of success we can have in that area. But typically, its information because its quick and easy.
Matt: Well, there’s a lot of things to like about and particularly the margins. Selling traditional unit of an info product to zero cost. That’s always fun.
Drew: Yeah. That’s a 100% margin which is nice.
Matt: Where do you guys go from here? You mentioned you’ve built a team of handful people, 7 people, you’re adding to the team. Is it just a matter now of costing the net wider and wider to pull in more clients and do more and add more pieces to the systems?
Drew: We have 9 projects right now. Our goal is to end the year with 12. And then, next year our goal will be 48 new projects. Basically, 4 per month. We know that we can handle that very comfortably. We may decide in the first quarter that “Hey! This is going like as expected or better.” We might scale in terms of hiring more people. If we do that, were actually gonna get a modern office here in Della Hoya area and set people in there so we can micro manage if we will. Right now, we have team members from northern California to San Diego. We have one in Australia and one in Canada. We’ll make that decision if we want to that rub. We can comfortably complete this year and have 48 by the end of next year. Majority of those will probably implementations only. And then out of that, I would expect that we’ll probably finish with 10-12 what we call “partnerships” although they’re not legally. We are not involved in this people’s business. Were just partners in the revenue share.
Matt: Marketing partner.
Drew: Yeah. Exactly. Co-marketing partner.
Matt: Well, that sounds like quite q journey from struggling to figure out a way to be able to stay home so you can be home with your family and not having any idea what you’re doing to get into the point where now you’re coaching people through the process, working through the process for them and being able to share the revenue that they’re generating as a partner. That’s a pretty impressive journey on a fairly short amount of time.
Drew: Well, you know, it’s like people say it was my 6 year overnight success. Right?
Matt: Yeah. Not too many legitimate overnight successes in this world. As you pointed out, there’s always mistakes. There’s always things you wished you’ve done differently. If you were coaching yourself now or you’re starting over from scratch, you’re your own mentor, so to speak, what would you coach yourself to do or do differently? Or how would you start today vs. how you started in 2008?
Drew: That’s a great question. I think the number 1 thing I would tell myself is pick the one thing that you really enjoy doing or the one thing that you really want to be good at. One of our client partners, she says “it’s like your area of joy and genius.” Just pick out one area and then build a team around you. And then, by building a team, its important everyone’s pretty outsource and hire someone you know from the Philippines for $3 a day. I tried all that. What I found is if you really want to be successful, you have to build a team of people around you that like you they have the aspiration and the entrepreneurial drive so you don’t have to micromanage them. Build a team so that you have one person on your team to fulfill each role. I was trying as – when I started out in ’08, ’09 and 2010, I was trying to be webpage designer, automation expert and a copywriter and figure out Facebook ads. That’s why I see so many people going wrong right now. People and all these Facebook groups and they are buying products from Google. Let’s just say they are coach. Their business is coaching people yet they are so distracted buying a course on how to do Facebook ads because they think if they learned that, they’ll have more coaching clients. What they don’t realize is the cost of that not only the cost of product which is typically a thousand bucks for most coaching products, the cost of that plus the cost of time you’d actually learned how to do it and then the cost of that time because they weren’t building a coaching business at that time because they were busy learning Facebook ads. And that, I think that wasn’t helpful to me because one time I gave in to that. I just surrendered and I said “I’m not interested on those things. I’m never gonna be good at them. I’m gonna pick this and I’m gonna just build team around this.” So, we have a Facebook per 2 Facebook ad people. We have a web designer that worked for us in membership. We have a web designer that just build our quick frontal pages. We have a copy person. That’s all she does, just copying. That’s where we saw immediate growth. That was really that “Overnight success” where we are all trading time for money and doing okay that are always having to find the next client to having these opportunities to we have now where knowing on our teams, worrying about how they’re gonna pay their bills.
Matt: Right. Which is kind of a level of success that I think just about everybody can look to achieve. Forget the Ferraris and the million dollar mansion and all that. Just a financial security is a level of success in entrepreneurship that just about everybody who is starting from scratch would like to get to. And then once you’re there, you can sort of look further to see what else you want to achieve. But financial security is a huge milestone in your entrepreneurial journey.
Drew: Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. For me, it’s not about Lamborghinis or Ferraris and all that stuff. For me, I can stay home and be with my 2 kids. I don’t have to worry about “Can we go out and go to Chucky Cheese this weekend?” for me, that’s some level of success that really just feeling fulfilled and happy and what drives me to do more of it. Now at this point, I call the luxuries that I may or may not get one day, that’s all icing on the cake. For a while, that was what drove me. And I think that’s part of why I didn’t get success.
Matt: Yeah. I think focusing on what you can do well and where you can add value and help other people, I think that’s what extends to bring the success. Worrying about dollars and cents is sort of a false path to go down. It’s not likely to lead you to where you’re hoping to get to.
Matt: So, just to go back kinda the one point you’d made earlier in terms of creating time for money and being a consultant, obviously that’s probably not the place that most people aspire to end up but would you say that, well you did say that that was really a helpful stepping stone and I think that’s probably a place where a lot of people can start right? Its learning to master one thing, consulting, and that gives you sort of stepping stone to then being able to build on that? Would you agree with that statement? Would that be a good place for people to start?
Drew: I agree. I think that’s probably the best way to start because one, it gives you control of time. Typically, you set your own consulting time for most parts. It gives you a little control of time and then that will give you the freedom. It’s give you a little control. You’re not stuck in a cubicle. You’re not working 9-5. You have some freedom. It gives you the ability to get paid while you learn, get paid while you learn your skill. What I would say to people is it becomes a trap when you go into that without an extra strategy. There’s so many people who just go into that and then before they know it, that’s all they know and they have no idea on how to get out on that. I could just say “Go into it simply because it’s what you want of course.” For me, I wish I would’ve end with that “Okay, I’m gonna do this for 12 months or 6 months or 24 months or whatever. And here’s how I’m gonna axe it. here’s what I’m gonna go to when I axed it.” that would be a very wise move I think for people to have because otherwise, before you know it 10 years later and you’re still doing it.
Matt: Yeah. I think that’s a trap. Well, I don’t know if it’s fair to call it a trap. I think some people enjoy that. They don’t particularly aspire to have any more complications in their lives. They just go from consulting gig to consulting gig and taking out what they want to. When I started Cap Forge, that was something that was very much on my mind to do it myself long enough to get a good hand on and then come up with a process and procedures to being able to hand it off to other people but then being able to step up and out of the day to day and bring employees on who can do a fantastic job, following the procedures that I laid out but not having a 100% depended on my time to deliver all products and services. I think a lot of consulting can build the same way. You can either transition out of it completely or you can transition out of it in the sense that you now bring on help employees to be able to do some of the work, some of the burden off so you can continue to grow the business.
Drew: It’s only a trap if you don’t intend to do it. In that case, that’s all you want and that’s your plan. Yeah. It’s not a trap. For me, it was just a trap because I knew I didn’t want to trade time but that’s what I found myself doing.
Matt: Right. To your point, having an extra strategy is what’s gonna transition that from a stepping stone or making a stepping stone rather than an end goal for itself. Well, awesome!. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today. A lot of cool information. For people who are interested in more, learning of what you’re doing and how they may be able to set something up with you, what’s a good way for them to get in touch with you? Where can they find you online?
Drew: The best way to find me is through a website called justfunnelit.com. Where you post a podcast, there might be a name and an email but best way to get me is justfunnelit.com and Skype any point. I’m on Skype nonstop.
Matt: Awesome. Well, thanks again. I will put those links on the show notes so people can get a hold of you. I appreciate your time in chatting with me today and sharing your story.
Drew: Alright. Cool! Thanks for having me, Matt! I appreciate that.