Omar Zenhom is someone who I met at a private mastermind meeting led by John Corcoran. And I’m really glad that we met because the guy is super cool and he’s great at what he does.
Omar runs the popular site The 100 Dollar MBA at 100MBA.net where he teaches a class on how to start your own business.
He also runs a top 25 business podcast called the $100 MBA and most recently he launched a SaaS business called Webinar Ninja which leverages google hangouts to run webinars seamlessly
What You’ll Learn
- Why Omar dropped out of business school
- How Omar’s podcast generates revenue and his business plan for the podcast.
- How Omar grew his podcast to such a large size in a short period of time
- Omar’s tips for building up a podcast audience
- How Omar draws traffic to your website
- Which social media platforms yield the best results
- The motivation behind creating Webinar Ninja
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Now if you enjoy this podcast please leave me a review on iTunes, and if you want to learn how to start your own online business, be sure to sign up for my free six-day mini course, where I show you how my wife and I managed to make over 100k in profit in our first year of business. Go to www.mywifequitherjob.com, sign up right on the front page, and I’ll send you the free mini course right away via email.
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Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle, so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host Steve Chou.
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today I’m really happy to have Omar Zenhom on the show. Now Omar is someone who I met at a private mastermind meeting led by John Crochrane. And I’m really glad that I met Omar because the guy’s super cool and he’s great at what he does. The only thing I don’t like about him is that talking to him gives me a neck ache because he’s like 6’5” or something like that. Just talking to him—I’m not that tall. Anyway Omar runs a popular site, the $100MBA at 100mba.net where he teaches a class on how to start your own business. His class cost 100 bucks just like the title says. He also runs a top 25 business podcast called $100MBA, and most recently he launched a SaaS business called Webinar Ninja which leverages Google hangouts to run webinars seamlessly. Now there’s actually a lot to talk about today, so welcome to the show Omar. How are you doing today man?
Omar: I’m doing well. It’s great to be here Steve, and thanks for that awesome intro.
Steve: Yeah, no problem. So give us a quick background story, because I knew you kind of dropped out of a very prestigious business school. So I was just kind of curious what the back story behind that was.
Omar: Yeah I went to Wharton for a semester and it’s funny because a lot of people that go to Wharton go directly after their undergrad. But I have a long career in education so I went to school. I studied English as my major. I was an English teacher in the name, little manager for over twelve years. In that time I also got my masters in education. That was my career. That’s what I did. I taught high school and I taught at the university level. Then for the last six years of my career I was a head of department, like a chair of a department as well as a teacher trainer. This is—that was my life. That’s what I did and that was my job.
When I transitioned into becoming a full time entrepreneur, because while I was in education, I was in a lot of side hustling and starting businesses online, and seeing if I can make a buck on this thing. I did that for about ten years while I was in education. It was very new back then and there was not a lot going on, WordPress was still not out and a lot of stuff.
Steve: Just for context, what year was this?
Omar: I started around 2001, 2002.
Omar: And then when I made that jump in 2012 to fulltime entrepreneurship, I had this kind of feeling like, okay I must start my own business in order for me to be taken seriously. I need to have an MBA. I told myself the story and I decided to apply to Wharton business school, I got accepted and I attended for a semester, but towards the end of my first semester my professor pulled me aside and asked me, “What are you doing here? You don’t fit the mold here, you are not trying to get a job at Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, and you’ve had a career and– at the time I already had a business online, I had businesses before. So I told him I’m getting my MBA because I want to be a great entrepreneur. And he told me that you don’t get an MBA to be a great entrepreneur, you get it to get a middle management job or something.
Steve: Ha! Interesting, the prof told you that.
Omar: Yeah. And he had ten year at the time, so he doesn’t really care, so he was kind of giving me his honest opinion, like “You don’t need to be here. You don’t need to be dropping $150,000. You can—business schools don’t have a monopoly on business education. You can learn things through books and experiences and you are already learning things through your own experiences.” And he just told me what I needed to hear. To be honest with you, I just—it was a self esteem thing, like I just felt like, “I need to get my MBA if I’m going to have my own business. How am I going to teach business or talk about business if I am somebody that doesn’t have MBA myself?” So he kind of gave me that internal confidence to give myself permission to just go full fledge, and use my time and resources on growing my business rather than trying to get my MBA.
Now it’s kind of like the genesis of the idea of $100MBA, where we wanted to offer an alternative business education. An alternative to I want to learn business skills, I want to learn how to start a business, but I don’t necessarily want to go back to school. I just want to be an entrepreneur. I want to learn about finance, sales, marketing, all that stuff, but I don’t really need a piece of paper or the permission to say that I know business.”
Plus our background in education, my partner in life and partner in business Nicole, both of us come from an education background. This is what I know, I know—this is like it’s like breathing to me teaching and learning and putting a curriculum together and lessons together. So we wanted to take that experience along with my business experience and create this alternative education.
Steve: And this is just like a random question that has popped to my head, what is your feeling on just like skipping undergrad all together and start a business?
Omar: I don’t think it’s for everybody, but I do think it’s an option somebody– people should consider. I think that– traditionally people say, “You should go to college,” and I’m the kind of person that always likes to question things, especially like these made up rules in our head like “why?” Sometimes these rules are valid. But it’s good to know why you are doing something. The answer could be like, “Yes I need to go to college because one two three.” That’s a valid answer, go ahead, go to college. But if you do things just because you are going through the motions, or because you are trying to fill the expectations of other people, you are really going down a path of your life that’s going to be really miserable, because you are really doing things for the wrong reasons.
You really want to do things not only for the right reasons, but things that will support the values that you have, and what you want out of life. So I do think you should consider going and also consider not going and see what you want to do. If you are trying to be an entrepreneur, there are things you can learn through traditional education. In the US for example, I’m leaning towards no because it’s quite expensive, but if you are in the UK or Australia, Nicole’s from Australia, my partner and they pretty much get a free ride. So it makes sense to get some sort of education socially if you are not going to go into debt.
Steve: Yeah, as an Asian parent, my kids are going to go to college, but my school actually had a really good entrepreneurship program. Anyway, let’s switch gears a little bit. I know you got a ton of projects on your plate right now. I mean, you’ve got your course; you’ve got your podcast which is daily by the way for all of these listeners. I only do once a week. I can’t even imagine doing daily, and you have this SaaS business. So first question, how do you kind of juggle all your time between all those different things?
Omar: Calendar. Yeah, I guess, let me just be clear, I don’t do this alone. My partner, Nicole and I we do most of it, and we do most of the management. But we realized very quickly that if we want to go where we want to go, we can’t do this alone, we have to grow our team, we have to have the right people in place to take care of things that do take a lot of time. But there are core things that I do that are part of my regular schedule, my weekly schedule, and I put compartments. So I have days where I record the podcasts, where I batch, I have days where I work on content. There’s days when I work with our development team for Webinar Ninja, our SaaS product. I have this stuff on the calendar. I make sure I stick to it. We try to make sure we have time for relaxation as well, but…
Steve: Let me rephrase that question a little bit actually. I mean, I’ve got multiple businesses as well, and I can’t help but feel like if I just focused on one of them, I could just make one of them much larger than the combined total of the other businesses. Do you feel any of that?
Omar: So I kind of don’t see them as two different businesses, because I feel like I’m serving the same audience. With $100MBA, they are learning how to build the business, how to start a business, and once they get to that point, they are going to want how to take it to the next level, how to get more sales, how to get more leads. I feel with Webinar Ninja we are able to serve them at that point with not only the server, but the training of how to run webinars properly.
Steve: Okay and let’s talk about one of your assets for a little bit here, I’m assuming that your podcast is probably your main legend I guess for all of your businesses. Is that pretty accurate?
Steve: And your podcast has really caught fire in the entrepreneurship community at least, and I always consistently notice it in like the top 25 or even the top 10 or the top 5 in the business category. So how did you— what was your strategy for creating a popular podcast?
Omar: It’s probably the most recurrent question I get asked.
Steve: Okay, that means you’ve got some good answers.
Omar: I’m going to start with simple a answer and then go into some details. The simple answer is it’s the same thing that anybody does with any kind of production. If I was a recording artist, and I was going to want to have a bestselling album of all time, or if I wanted to create the next Breaking Bad, or if I wanted to create the best feature film ever, people that set up to do things like that, they see things bigger than it actually is. I think a lot of people don’t know that before we start the $100MBA show we had our failed podcast. It didn’t do well. And we learned a lot of hard lessons, and one of the biggest lessons was we were just putting a podcast together for the sake of putting out a podcast. We really weren’t looking at it as a show, as a production.
If you look at the top players in podcasting like Marc Maron or Serial or Here is The Thing, all these huge names, they don’t just say, “Hey let’s [inaudible] [0:12:35] a podcast together over the weekend and put it out there and its content.” They see it as a production. They say—they really think about what do they– how are they going to serve this audience, how are they going to edit this perfectly so it sounds great? It’s a huge, huge production. They see it as just like they are producing a show because it is a show. You are producing a piece of chronicle entertainment. It could be educational, but at the end of the day, you are performing for the actual audience. And I just didn’t see that at the start. I just saw the, “Oh it’s just like a blog or something and I can grow.”
But there are so many big players in the podcasting world and the game is so—the bar has been raised so high now that you have to go in thinking bigger. You can’t think like I’m just going to put out a podcast and it’s just going to go bonkers for no reason. I’m very self critical with all our work. I do this because, like I said, I question things a lot. One of the things I questioned when I started $100MBA shows, why everything? You hear a lot of podcast that have the same thing, they have the same kind of intro, same feel, same format, same thing, and a lot of reasons why it happens is because people don’t question things. They just say, “Well that’s what other shows do, and that’s what pros do so, I’ll do it.” But if you look at some of the top podcast, their show is very much different. If I look at Marc Maron’s podcast, it’s a very, very different type of show. There’s no bumper, there’s some music. The guy has a monologue at the start and then he goes to the interview. It’s a different format from for example like John Dumas’s format.
If you just take a look at like StartUp, it’s a documentary style type of show. You look at Serial, it’s more of a journalistic type of show. The way they blend in interviews and snippets and they interview people. They just don’t say, you don’t hear Sarah kind of dictating every question. It’s seen as a narrative and they insert the sound bite when it’s appropriate. These things take a lot of thought and a lot of planning, and it takes some time. When I realized that I said, “Okay, if I want to compete with these shows, I need to do everything I can to do what they do. I don’t have a huge team, I don’t have a production studio, or stuff, but I can plan for a show like they do.
When we started on $100MBA show we decided to take two months off everything else in our business. We didn’t launch any products, we didn’t take any more clients. All we did is on $100MBA show before we launched. We bashed our episodes, we rerecorded the first 10 episodes like a dozen times, because we would you have some of our colleagues and friends listen to them, give us a critical feedback. You know we changed things up, we changed the way I sound and feel natural, and we just rethought everything. We questioned everything and I think the biggest thing is that we used our strengths, and like I said I’m from an educational background, and that’s what I know, that’s my strength. It doesn’t make sense for me to have an interview show, and that’s our podcast as an interview show and it just didn’t make sense.
Omar: Nichole is a New York Film Academy graduate, and a lot of her training had to do with editing and she loved the production side, so she dedicated herself to be the producer of the show and editing the show, and a lot of the ratings and reviews that we get on iTunes has a lot to do with the production quality of the show, and that’s all Nicole.
Omar: You know so and people, the podcast is just like music you get goose bumps, it feels good. I don’t know what it is, but that’s cool, I like it. You know you just can’t put your finger on it, and that’s production quality. You know we focused on that with teachers, I decided let’s do a lesson based podcast. Let’s do a short form 10 minutes, it’s just straight to the meat, and it’s just a lesson on a particular aspect of business. And it just kind of broke the mold of what you’re typically expecting in a business podcast.
Steve: A couple of questions here, first like what went into your decision to go everyday as opposed to a lesser frequency?
Omar: Because the short form we knew that it was going to be about 10 minutes, and we felt like if we could give somebody 10 minutes, everybody can spare 10 minutes, and 10 minutes a day we thought would be something that would be useful. Somebody can listen to this in their commute; they’re walking their dog or doing the dishes, whatever it is they can fit it in. It’s kind of like a little bit of motivation, it’s a little bit of insight, it’s something for them, and the lessons are concise, but they’re are meaty. It gives them something to do today like just get this thing done, and then let’s move on tomorrow. They just want to have like building blocks. Originally we worked five days a week, and then after 30 episodes we got a lot of demand, and we got a lot of questions in, so we decided to dedicate Saturday and Sunday episodes to questions.
Steve: Yeah and not only that it seems like you know all the content it’s just you talking for the most part right? And to consistently put stuff out like that, do you kind of derive your content based on your experiences, or is it some it out of a book, like how do you gather consistent content that you can go every day?
Omar: I think it’s one, just experiences I’ve had in my past. I you know when we laid out $100MBA I still do this because it’s a grown curriculum. I create a long form curriculum. So we have like a production schedule on a sheet where every episode’s title is listed in bullet points of what that episode is all about. And each episode builds upon each other, so the first 100 episodes is much lower level than you know episodes in the 300 zone, so…
Steve: Okay, so it’s meant to be consumed in order?
Omar: I mean you can take them one off depending on where you are in your business. You know if you’ve just never even thought about starting a business in your life before you start in episode one.
Omar: Through experiences and through growing as an entrepreneur, I am always jotting down notes and jotting down things in the sheet as I find my own challenges growing as an entrepreneur. I know that other people would experience the same thing, or if I went through something this week, maybe it’s a lesson I want to break down, or maybe an aspect of it. Yeah, so we’re building upon previous lessons, and there is a method to what we’re doing, and our whole goal is that if you can listen to these shows on a daily basis, you can see yourself grow as an entrepreneur as we’re growing.
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Steve: You mentioned a production quality and just content as one of your assets, but I consider a podcast just like blogging right? Even if you have the best content in the world, if no one can find it then that’s no not good either. I was just curious in the very beginning whether there were some special things that you did to just get the podcast out there in front of as many people as possible?
Omar: One of the best ways to get an advantage on people is to do things people are not willing to do. One of the things I did was, I– you know before the launch you know we planned it about two months ago, I would reach out to different blogs that I thought had audiences that would be interested in $100MBA show to guest blog for them. Traditionally people you know they email for example Darren Rowse, and they say, hey Darren I would love to guest blog on your site on ProBlogger or digital photography school. This is who I am, this is my website, let me know, right? Like to me that’s just, you’re asking for a no, that’s a no right there.
Because why would Darren give you a chance, not that Darren is not a nice guy, he’s a lovely guy, he’s great, right? But you know this is his baby, his life work, why would he trust you with it, right? So what I did is I would email Darren, and I actually emailed Darren for digital photography school and I said, hey Darren I love your site. I actually read a lot of your posts when it deals with the business of photography, and I noticed that there’s no articles dealing with this. I researched this topic, this is what I do. I looked at all your comments when it comes to this, and your subscribers are really looking for this. I wrote out a 2500 word blog post with pictures and images and everything, it’s attached to this email. I would love to guest post if this is something that interests you let me know.
All he’s got to do is open it up and read the email and read the post and say, this is killer, I want it on my thing, and then when he replies to me I say to him, you know and he says hey we would love to publish. I said great I only have one copy of it. I want you to publish it on August 11 which was our launch day for the $100MBA show. And I did this with about eight other blogs, and they all launched on the same day, and I did the same thing with guest appearances under the podcast for 10 podcasts. On the day of the launch we were technically on 18 different sites you know, and the reason why I mentioned you know you do things that people are not willing to do that takes a lot of work, a lot of time to write eight different blog posts that long, that detailed, to do all the research, to do it knowing that you may not be accepted, and I didn’t get accepted to a lot of you know a lot of publications, and I had to just keep that…
Steve: What did you do with those posts?
Omar: I reworded them, and I published them on our own site, so I didn’t you know throw them in the garbage or anything like that. The same thing with podcast, I looked at all the top podcast I wanted to be on. A lot of them said no, a lot of them ignored my email, but some said yes. You know [inaudible 0:22:59] they were okay with it to publish it on that day, and we were good to go. That took a lot of time besides the fact of producing an actual podcast you know.
Omar: Yeah, that was kind of one of the things that when I did that helped us launch properly and get some exposure.
Steve: When you first launched then did you immediately like hit the number one spot because of all this stuff, like did you have an email list at the time?
Omar: Our first couple of weeks in new note worthy, we weren’t number one, we were like four, five, maybe words like two in careers or like subcategory. But the last five weeks of new note worthy, we were number one every single week, which I didn’t see personally before you know being number one in new note worthy for five consecutive weeks. We launched the same time that StartUp did, we launched the same time Tim Ferriss did, so we had some heavy hitters with us, so it wasn’t easy to gain that spot, but we were fortunate enough to have some success at the start.
Steve: Did you kind of have any of your own audience at the time, did you have like a big email list at the time when you launched, or did you kind of entirely rely on the people that you’d contacted?
Omar: No, I didn’t have a huge audience at the time, and I know this is going to sound lame, but I really believe the reason why we did so well is because it’s a good show. I really believe that it’s different, people have never had of a show like this before, it’s just– it’s kind of hard not to like. We purposely kind of constructed a show in that way, and obviously the efforts to launch and get exposure, and take advantage of the new note worthy helped us a lot, but if you don’t have an exceptional show, any kind of exposure really is not going to help.
I mean there’s shows I could tell you right now on iTunes they have celebrities on them, that have a huge audience, and they have less ratings than you know a show that has a very low audience. You know they have like 10 ratings or something and they’re not doing very well. You can– because the show is not great, you know the show is not exceptional, the audio quality is not great. Whatever it is, the point is that you have to have a good show at the end of the day.
Steve: So speaking of ratings, did you do anything to generate ratings to encourage them?
Omar: Well we have an ongoing thing going on $100MBA show. Nothing in particular at the launch, but every week we have a way of free ride to the $100MBA training and community, so we give away a life time membership to the $100MBA. It’s just our way to thank people who give us a rating and review on iTunes, so we just randomly go through a random picker and choose a rating and review, and we give it away.
That encourages people to like participate. A lot of people like they want to give a review, but they are kind of on the fence, oh I might win something so I might as well do that. It’s also a away to kind of give back, and also just show people that hey we appreciate the fact that you took the time to figure out how to give us an iTunes ratings and review and things like that, so that’s one thing that we did.
Steve: Okay. One thing I also noticed there’s one point where you had like this super large icon in iTunes, and I was just curious it’s just like a completely different graphic. How did you get to the top of the podcast in iTunes? Does that make sense; do you know what I am talking about?
Omar: You mean the home banner?
Steve: The home banner yes.
Omar: Well, in December of 2014 this last December we won best of iTunes, and when we did that you know we got an email from Apple telling us you know congratulations you won best of iTunes along with shows like Serial and Hardcore History and StartUp. We were like thank you very much and one of the packs of winning best of iTunes is that they kind of keep a look out on your show, and if they see something special, or something good you can reach out to them and say you know like I am doing something if you want to consider it. You kind of, they’ve kind of like certified you as like this is a legit show that we think is adding value to the podcasting world. You know they might surprise you and put up a banner, and they want to showcase the shows they believe are good.
Steve: Did you have to apply to this best of iTunes thing, or was it just completely out of the blue.
Omar: No you don’t apply; it’s an editorial team that selects the best shows of the year.
Steve: I see, and did you have a lot of…?
Omar: It’s like going on Oscars on podcasting or something.
Steve: Yeah did you have to, did you have a lot of listeners at the time, is it based on listeners, downloads or is it…?
Omar: It’s based on a few factors, it’s based on one, obviously your downloads, your subscriptions, the amount of ratings and review you have. They read every single review like to make sure that these are actual legit people that are you know not your mum. They look at your actual website, the way that you’ve show cased your business and your brand you know, and if they want to be associated with that type of business. If it’s you know it doesn’t look scamy, but they also look at you know if you look at the shows I do, and they also look at how has this podcast contributed to podcasting in general. Have they added something to the genre, have they added something to their market and have they done something for podcasting, like for example Serial has gotten people to listen to podcasts you know.
Omar: You know they recognize their success and obviously their download numbers are off the charts. You know but Marc Maron for example he’s got the president of the United States so like he gets recognized a lot for that, so they kind of reward people for doing something different. For us in our case it was bringing something new to the business genre, doing lessons and doing something that’s a little bit different that they’ve never seen before so…
Steve: Yeah sounds like one of the key takeaways here, it’s like, it’s just like blogging right? Blogging is getting a lot more saturated, and so is podcasting, and you just really got to stand up in some way or form, instead of just putting together some sort of me too podcast, right?
Omar: That is a good way to put it, yeah.
Steve: Let’s talk a little bit about monetization, so you do take sponsors for your podcast, is that correct?
Steve: And it’s a 10 minute show right, and so how long are these sponsors, and how many do you take per episode?
Omar: So typically a podcast is about 30 or 40 minutes. There’s two pre roles and two mid roles and sometimes a post role. Given that our show is only 10 to 15 minutes long, we only have a 30 seconds pre role and 60 seconds mid role. It’s only like two ads, and they are pretty short.
Steve: And how do you solicit these sponsors, or do they come to you?
Omar: They, I never actually started the podcast thinking about sponsors, or thinking that happen, but we got contacted, our first sponsor was 99 designs. They just contacted us, they saw the success of the show on iTunes, and they just said hey we’d like to take a look at your numbers, and you know possibly sponsor your show. We only take on sponsors that are congruent with our audience, so I don’t do ads for dog food or things like that, because– even though I’ve been approached, but you know…
Steve: Have you really for dog?
Omar: Lots of different things you know that really have nothing to do with our market, or what we’re trying to do. We try to you know if I am going to put an ad in there or I am going to put a sponsor read, I want to do something that one I believe and I adore, so I have used. The sponsors are usually pretty helpful with that, and allowing you to use your product and things like that. So yeah, it’s kind of — it’s a little bit rigorous process, but we are very selective about it, because we do only have those limited spots. Yeah, so that’s kind of the story with sponsors.
Steve: Do you use any market places or anything like that to solicit sponsors?
Omar: Yes, so we Midroll for many of our sponsors, Midroll are kind of our agent that helps us secure sponsors, they have good relationship with sponsors, yeah.
Steve: And what is the going rate for sponsorships?
Omar: It depends, if you are running your own sponsorship they give you whatever you want. I mean I have a blog post that you can link to if you want, and it has a PDF that people can download. It’s actually our sponsorship guide that we give our sponsors if they are interested in our prices, and what you can do. You want to obviously showcase what you can offer your sponsor as well as give them a pay structure. If you go with somebody like Midroll that’s something that you negotiate with them, and you are actually not allowed to disclose because you are under contract.
But when it comes to regular sponsorship, I mean the going rate if you go for yourself for a pre-role which is about 30 seconds, it’s about 18 [inaudible] [00:31:16] which is $18 per a thousand downloads. And for a Midroll it’s around I believe $25 per [inaudible] [00:31:24] so yeah, depending on how many mid roles and pre-roles you have. And usually sponsors will only kind of take a look at you; it’s worth their time if you are making a minimum of 5,000 or 6,000 an episode. Because it’s just — for them they want to be able to use your marketing dollars in an effective way.
Steve: No that totally makes sense. Let’s talk about some of the other things in your podcast, and it sounds like you use your podcast to do a lot of legend [ph] to your actual website and your email list, right?
Omar: Yeah, I mean you can hold legend, I mean for me my whole purpose of the podcast is I want to build trust with my audience. I want to be able to win their hearts and make them understand that I have their best interest in mind. And when they do visit our website I try to get them on board to something free, I don’t even — even though my products are only $100 at the $100MBA. But rather consume things for free and get away and tell 10 other people about the $100MBA, then for me to try to milk a dollar out of everybody.
Steve: Let me just rephrase that question, and so in terms of your actual website like do you do anything special that generate traffic there, is it mainly podcast people finding it there, is it SEO?
Omar: We’ve published a new blog article once a week for the last two years. So I mean — I mean I guess when it comes to SEO that’s — the only SEO I do is write as much valuable content.
Steve: Yeah, you don’t do any paid advertising it all, is that correct?
Omar: No, I don’t do any advertising, most of our SEO just comes from our articles and hopefully people enjoy them, they share them. I just try to focus on getting as much valuable content as possible. We have a lot of free stuff on our site as well, like we have free courses, we have free guides, free info-graphics they can download. I want it to be a place where people could just feel like this person wants to support me; these people are good to me. And when they are ready to buy, they are not going to shop around, they are going to be like okay, I’m going to go to the $100MBA, because these people have nurtured me for so long, the lowest price that kicks in.
Steve: What I was kind of getting at was you have a 10 minute podcast, and by taking on a couple of sponsors it’s kind of diverting their attention to these other services, right? I was just wondering if you had considered not taking any sponsors and just being in full control over your own message and steering people over to your site or your brand. Does that make sense, do you see where I’m getting at?
Omar: Yeah, and by the way we rarely ever — I don’t think I have ever promoted the $100MBA program, or anything like that, they go buy $100MBA on our show ever. But we get a lot of conversion off the podcast. The first email they get; we ask them how did you hear about us? And I would probably say 75% to 80% of our new members come from the podcast. If you are good like you are going to be found out, like everybody who listens to the Serial went to the Serial website so they could see what Adnan Syed looks like. Everybody like if you are good enough you see good superb ad, they are going to check out the site. You are going to go check out Squarespace if you saw the dude and all of that stuff, in last Squarespace ad.
So I don’t really believe in like you have to directly market to people, if people want what you are selling, if they like what you do, they are going to find you out. The other thing is that we do have sponsors that show up because it cost money to run this show. Like it’s a production, we have a lot of — we have employees that we pay, we have other things that go about. And as well as in order for us to create this free content constantly on the site, we also have to pay for that as well.
So yeah, and I try to keep the sponsorship as congruent as possible. I cannot have that and decide to promote my own products, but I personally think that if I was a listener I would rather listen to a variety of different things that can help me out, rather than the same thing. Okay, Omar because I don’t sell many things like, so it’s like every — and it’s daily so like every day they are going to be hearing about the same products.
Steve: So that’s kind of like a segue, how does Webinar Ninja in your SaaS business kind of fit into all of these, because to me at least it seems a little bit — a lot different than what you have with $100MBA.
Omar: Well, my whole goal and everything that we do is to serve our audience which is new business builders, online business builders, people that are — have gotten started. And that’s really what the $100MBA really focuses on. But there’s a point where people get to the point where they are like okay, I have started a business, I’m making money now and I have made my first dollar, but I need to take it to the next level. And I want to be able to serve those people because those people are our people; they get to that level once they’ve kind of gone through our program, and they’ve listened to the show for a bit. And that’s where Webinar Ninja comes in, webinar ninja is a solution, it’s a platform, it’s a software, but it’s also training on how to run effective webinars.
And I’m — I really believe in webinars, because for me it’s the ultimate like teaching tool online, and that’s my background teaching, and I think that it’s a great way to educate people, it’s a great way to convey value and build trust with people. And I wanted to be a part of that, especially the fact that webinars in general and the internet marketing world kind of have a bad name. And they have like kind of scamy connotation, where you feel like you are being sold too constantly, and all that stuff.
And we wanted to clean up that webinar world with Webinar Ninja and that’s something that we’ve been trying to do, and have been doing with our members, with Webinar Ninja. So that’s kind of how it fit in, it’s kind of the next level of serving our audience in that way and I’m really…
Steve: Oh sorry, go on.
Omar: No it’s just I’m really enjoying the process of not challenging myself with a software business, because a software is just completely different than a course based business.
Steve: Yeah, totally. So when people are asking for Webinar Ninja, and the reason why I ask this is because there’s a lot of established players in this market. Like GoToMeeting, AnyMeeting, and actually a whole bunch of others. So I was just kind of wondering what your motivation was for developing it.
Omar: So it’s for that exact reason, we were not really happy with what was available. We were running webinars at the $100MBA community. We were doing webinars for our community, and I was using some of those solutions that are out there. And they were just not cutting it; they just were not serving my needs. And I created something that was very hatch patched in PHV; it was WordPress plug-in at the time. And it was just meant to run our webinars, and I got the help of a coder to clean it up for me because my PHV sales were not as good as I want them. It was just kind of like a one off freelance kind of thing, and we started using it for our webinars. And then a lot of our attendees started asking, hey what are you using for your webinar?
And I said, “Oh this is just something that we put together ourselves in house.” And they are like, “Well, I would like to buy it.” Like can you sell us this to me, and we just never thought about actually selling the software. So we started considering it, we did the beta test where we had about 150 users, and it was a WordPress plug-in at the time. And then it sold out in two days, and we just kind of closed the doors because we didn’t have the customer support team in place to serve more customers.
And then we had another circle and it was a WorPress plug-in where we got another 100 members. And we started learning from them, finding out what they want, fixing the problem. Then we realized that if we want to take it to where we want take it, we really can’t do it as a WordPress plug-in, because as WordPress plug-ins really don’t have as many facilities, that you are restricted by the host, you are restricted by other plug-ins. It’s still on WordPress, it’s not like a SaaS product, or a web based program.
At that time we decided to transition into a web based program and we went into development for about five months. And when we released Webinar Ninja on April 30th and we opened the doors, and again we sold out in like 24 hours. So we knew that there was a demand in the market, and we knew that we were filling a huge need. A lot of people coming from all the other users saying they weren’t happy with it, and they were very happy to come to us, so…
Steve: Can we talk a little bit about some of the features that you have that some of — maybe like GoToMeeting does not for example.
Omar: Well, first of all GoToMeeting is $500 a month. So if you don’t have $500 [inaudible 00:39:46].
Steve: I don’t think it’s that much if you just want to have 100 people, I think it’s like $100 a month, right?
Omar: That’s true, but I mean if you are selling products, if you are doing webinars that like in order for you to really — like and this is something that you learn in the training in the Webinar Ninja is that in order for you to really capitalize on sales and be able to capitalize on something like facebook ads, you are going to want more than 100 people on your webinar. You are going to want hundreds, 300, 400, 500, somebody like — somebody that we interviewed on the podcast, the Webinar Ninja podcast, John Dumas he gets like 600 to 700 on his podcast, on his — I’m sorry on his webinars. And he is able to make 30, 40 sales on a thousand dollar product. So that’s kind of what you want to look at to make it worth your while on Facebook ads. If you are not going to do Facebook ads you still want a number of people.
So other than that, there’s a whole bunch of things like for example GoToMeeting doesn’t record your webinars, it doesn’t do evergreen webinars where you want to have like recorded webinars. There’s a whole — the functionality of it, people have to install the software on the computer, it’s not web based, their channel is clunky, it doesn’t work on Mac as efficiently as it should. And to be at their defense it’s a good product, but it’s not meant for the small business owner, it’s meant for enterprise. And it’s for people that want to save $10,000 and not go to Japan for that business meeting. That’s really what it was meant for.
And Citrix is a great company and things like that, but we decided to offer things that are more catered to our audience, which is small business owners that one on one create a thriving audience through great content, because you can run a webinar just like you’ll do for a podcast or a blog, and just teach and do open Q&A, and build your email list because people have to register for it. Or you can give demos and you can give workshops and then sell your products or your services afterwards. You can also use it for masterminds; you can do it a paid program that you want to do live.
One of our users Michael Port, he runs his royal public speaking live program, which is an online program, it’s all webinar based, they use Webinar Ninja for that, and that’s one way you can do it as well. So there’s other uses other than just like a teleconference. So we took those needs and decided to create something that’s a little bit original. One other things that really differentiate us is we wanted to make sure that your registration pages, all your pages on your webinar like your thank you page, or actual webinar page, or replay pages, looked like your brand that have your brand or your college logos, and it’s on a template.
A lot of people that use template based opt-in pages or [inaudible 00:42:26] pages it just looks like a page that everybody sees on the internet. So we actually call the live editor, which completely allows you to change every single color, every single fun, every single text media, and allows you to customize all your branding, your logos, everything on your page, and very easily and intuitively so you don’t spend hours on creating your webinars.
Steve: And this is hosted on your site then right? This is hosted…
Omar: It’s hosted on our server.
Omar: Yeah, and everybody gets kind of a unique URL, so you can have like Steve.webinarninja.com. So you have a branded kind of URL when you promote your webinars. As well as making it super easier that’s kind of our goal to make it easy to create an effective webinar. And we include everything when it comes to email notifications; in fact we include marketing as well. So not only can you send reminders, but if you want to send an email, a campaign to people that did attend or people that did not attend, or people that attended your webinar, you can send them a separate email completely and filter people out. And you don’t really actually need, an email marketing service if you didn’t want to, if you didn’t want to use MailChimp or Infusionsoft or something like that.
Steve: Interesting, so you handle those as well, all the — okay.
Omar: As well as we do some really innovative stuff with our chats, because we are educators and we want to make sure that things are very interactive. So our chat has a very clean interface, people can hop on their mic or their camera if they like, you can do that for 10 people by simply just requesting the stage, we call it share the stage. And as an admin you can grant them access.
We also do things like you can block somebody if they are causing problems, so a lot of people they don’t know what to do with a webinar where people are just hating, and you don’t know how to kick them off. So we have a way that it can allow do that if you have to do that unfortunately if that does happen, where you have somebody who is just being a nuisance.
Steve: So the background of all of these is Google hangouts, is that right?
Omar: The video portion of it is all Google hangouts, correct.
Steve: Okay, cool, Omar you know we’ve been chatting for a while and I wish we had some more time to go into a lot greater depth in some of these things, but unfortunately our time is up. So if anyone out there is interested in starting a podcast or using Webinar Ninja, where can they find you, what if they just want to learn how to become again MBA for only 100 bucks where can they find you?
Omar: Sure, anything $100MBA related you can go 100mba.net, there is the podcast information, there are free courses, free guides, things like that. If you want to learn more about Webinar Ninja, you can go to webinarninja.co. We also have a free course there called ‘plan and launch your first webinar,’ it’s a seven day course. So if you want to take a dive in that you can go check that out.
Steve: Awesome Omar, well, thanks a lot for taking the time to come on the show.
Omar: Well, thanks, Steve I appreciate it.
Steve: Yeah, happy to have you.
Hope you enjoyed that episode. What I like about Omar is that his success can be directly attributed to his execution, his planning, and his overall thought process. And by taking the time to carefully construct a podcast that was clearly differentiated from the rest he managed to create an award winning show. For more information about this episode go to mywifequitherjob.com/episode88, and if you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave me a review. It’s by far the best way to support the show and please tell your friends because the greatest compliment that you can give me is to write a referral to someone else, either in person or to share it on the web.
Now if you are interested in starting your own online business, be sure to sign up for my free six day mini course where I show you how my wife and I managed to make over 100K in profit in our first year of business. Go to mywifequitherjob.com, sign up right there on the front page, and I’ll send you the email course immediately.
Once again I also want to thank HostGator for sponsoring this episode. HostGator is one of the best web hosts out there that I recommend if you want to start a blog. And in fact I hosted mywifequitherjob.com on there in the very beginning and loved it. You can get 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email. You can install WordPress in just a single click, there’s an easy to use website builder, design services and the best part is that I’m offering a 30% discount for all podcast listeners. So please go to HostGator.com/mywifequit to redeem the discount, and once again that’s HostGator.com/mywifequit.
I also want to thank Bigcommerce for sponsoring this episode. Bigcommerce is one of the best shopping carts that I recommend if you want to start your own online store without having to worry about anything technical. So everything from design, to sourcing, to payment processing, is all built in, so all you got to do is populate it with the products that you want to sell, and you can literally start your store in matter of hours. So simply go to Bigcommerce.com/mywifequitherjob, sign up and you’ll instantly receive one month free. Once again the URL is Bigcommerce.com/mywifequitherjob, thanks for listening.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit Her Job podcast, where we’re giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com.