I’m really happy to have Neville Medhora on the podcast in this episode. Neville is someone who I met at FinCon by random chance. He bought his conference tickets last minute and he just happened to walk in just as I was heading out with friends.
Anyways, we started talking and I found out that he’s been killing it online selling various info products on his blog at NevBlog.com. In fact, he’s never had a full time job and he’s been making a living off of the Internet ever since college.
In today’s episode, Neville will teach us the secrets on how he’s able sell his products so effectively.
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You Will Learn
- How Neville makes a living online
- Why Neville decided to forgo getting a full time job to go out on his own after college
- How Neville hustled his butt off as a teenager and paid for his college education through his side business.
- How Neville discovered the power of copywriting through his store newsletter
- How Neville stumbled upon his first info product by accident
- Why the way your website looks doesn’t matter
- What it’s important to validate your idea before you start your business
- Crazy experiments Neville has done to make money
- Why most people are doing their email marketing incorrectly
- Neville’s advice on how to make your first sale online
Neville Recommends The Following Books
- The Boron Letters
- Advertising Secrets of the Written Word: The Ultimate Resource on How to Write Powerful Advertising Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters and Mail Order Entrepreneurs
- Ogilvy on Advertising
Neville’s Sites That Were Referenced In The Podcast
- The Bottled Water Project
- How The House Of Rave Works Blog Post
- Neville’s Newsletter
But before we begin I just wanted to give a quick thank you shout out to my buddy Rob Berger who blogs at doughroller.net and he also runs a podcast, which is really awesome by the way, at doughroller.net/itunes.
Now Rob was actually one of the people who helped me nail down the audio quality and audio post processing for this podcast and for that I am very thankful.
Now on to the show!
Welcome to the MyWifeQuitHerJob podcast where we’ll 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 MyWifeQuitHerJob podcast. Today we have Neville Medhora on the show. Now I met Neville at FinCon last year and it was kind of a random encounter actually. We had just gotten out of an information session and everyone else was actually heading back up to their room except for Neville and I. So we started talking for a bit and that’s when I discovered that he was actually one of the guys behind AppSumo and that he pretty much makes a living selling info products online.
Now Neville seems to be living quite a life… lifestyle in Austin and he basically just lives off of his info products and his blog income. He runs the popular blog NevBlog.com and he sells various info courses that mainly focus on copywriting.
But what actually makes him stand out in my mind is he’s got a tonic character and a toner personality. And in fact by the end of the conference, I kind of gave him the nickname “outspoken Indian guy” and that’s kind of what I refer to him as.
Anyways go check out his blog and you’ll see what I mean. Neville really knows his stuff, especially in the realm of online marketing and copywriting. So welcome to the show, Neville. How are you doing man?
Neville: Hey man, how is it going? I’m glad we’re the only two losers like not going up to our rooms. We had…
Steve: Oh yeah. Yeah, I think everyone else was taking a nap if I recall. So…
Neville: Yeah, that’s what you have Red Bull for. [laughs]
Steve: So can you give us just a quick background story for those people that don’t know who you are and tell us how you make a living.
Neville: Yeah, well ever since like high school, I kind of had that little like entrepreneurial bug. And like I’m Indian, so I was supposed to be a doctor or something, right, and I had a chance to shadow ten doctors over the course of two years in high school. And I realized like that was not for me.
In fact I was voted most likely in the class to not become a doctor and going to computers. Because every time like at the hospitals, they have a problem with their internet – you know back then like internet was more finicky – I’d be like, “Oh, I know how to fix that”. And they’re like, “Aren’t you like the medical intern or something…” “Oh, yeah…”
And so from there I would do a lot of like dump crap on the internet like I would… I would download pictures of cars and Photoshop the backgrounds black, and it’d look really cool for background wallpapers, and then post those online. And then like all of a sudden, to Neville’s cool car archive, all these people were coming.
And I started a bunch of like stupid little things like that and then I was, “You know what I can probably make money with this”. Like a lot of like family friends would be like, “Oh, can you make me a website, we’ll pay you for it.” So I was like… I took a couple of those gigs and that’s when I realized like, “Oh, I can actually make money with these like random skills I have from the internet and what not.”
So I started a little company called House of Rave. That was my first company and it’s actually existed for a long time. HouseOfRave.com. Someone else owns it now and does a horrible job running it. It looks terrible.
But it paid… it paid for my college. It allowed me to graduate from college with like enough money in the bank to live for a couple of years and not have to work. And so, that was kind of nice. Do you want me to go into like how I started out?
Steve: Yeah so… Let’s… Let’s talk about House of Rave because it’s really interesting. You were in high school, right?
Neville: I’ve never been to a rave in my life, like ever.
Steve: Never been to a rave in your life and did you even know how to take… how did you figure all that stuff out?
Neville: It’s… You know here’s the funny thing, a lot of people think it’s just like because I’m smart or something. No, I’m an idiot. I just googled like it’s… I just googled it like I [??], that’s… That’s the thing.
And… And there’s so many more ways to take credit cards now but back then you had to have like an account and… So I had to cosign a bank account with my dad to open it. And then I opened a merchant account.
And then… And then I got a drop shipper, I found someone who’s already selling his rave products and I told him hey, I have this website, House Of Rave, I had already built like a sample of it. And I’m like I want to sell stuff that you send it out. And you know I get a cut or whatever.
And they sent me over an agreement and I was 17 years old. They never even bothered to ask how old I was which is great because it would have been illegal. And so then yeah, I was in business. Like… It was just like I stumbled into it, just like keep pushing through. Yeah.
Steve: How did you pick rave products? I never got that story.
Neville: Yeah, so here’s… here’s exactly what I did and it sounds really dumb. Now I know a lot more about how to validate an idea but here’s what I did.
I took a piece of paper and in my 11th grade tiny male handwriting I wrote a list of 300 products down. And I just basically looked around a room. I was like fans, mirrors, picture frames, furniture, hardwood flooring, like just random things like that, right.
And I just like wrote down every possible product I can imagine and I literally wrote down three giant columns with about 300 products and then I went through each one. Now I was like okay, couches. I was like I’m an11th grade, I don’t know about couches. Couches are expensive. I have no money, so I can’t sell couches. And so I crossed that off the list.
It was actually one of my brother’s ideas for the rave company, it was just one in three hundred. And after I started narrowing them down, I would… I would Google or AltaVista at the time the sites selling rave stuff and they all looked so crappy. And I was like, I could make a better looking website like that. I’m like that was my… that was my validation that I could do a better job.
And so I did. I went out and made a better looking website than everyone else which now I realize doesn’t matter but still I did that. And fortunately I found a supplier and within the first month I made my first order and that’s just how that started.
Steve: So you mentioned that that’s how you did things back then. So if you would do that all over again, how would you change your research?
Neville: Oh man… So… So we… I mean we’ve talked classes and stuff on validating right. And so one… I probably wouldn’t do drop shipping for rave stuff because you could find stuff on Amazon dot… now.
Neville: So that stuff’s a little harder. However if I were going to sell products or import products or something like that, what I would first do is I would make a one page, a little landing page.
And so for example I know how to use WordPress pretty well and so if I wanted to be a WordPress designer, instead of like making… buying like wordpressdesigner.com and like making a whole web page and making a portfolio and all that crap, what I would do is make a one page ad and I would probably put this on Craigslist and just say “I make WordPress… I make WordPress sites in front of your face. $20 an hour. Call Neville 7133001146”
And I would put that ad on Craigslist or up on a webpage and tell everyone I knew about it or go to like WordPress forums and say, “Hey, need WordPress help? Blah, blah, blah…” Or I would go to a WordPress… join a WordPress Facebook, I can post there as I need it. Anything like that.
And then if I got bites, like if people paid me to hire me to do my… to do their WordPress stuff, that means I’m doing something right.
If I get a lot of people going like, “Oh, yeah that’s cool. That’s a great idea. Blah, blah, blah… Oh but you know I don’t have the money for it right now, blah, blah.” That means “no”. So that’s called the quick validation. That like you validate by people actually pay you money for that service or product.
That’s what I would do first.
Steve: Ok, so what if you want to sell a physical product, how would you approach it differently? Same way?
Neville: Exact same way! If I was going to sell an app, I’d do the same way. If I was going to sell a service, same way. If I was going to do a product, I’d do it the same way. Yeah.
Steve: Ok. And then once you gather this information, let’s say you get a lot of increase, then you would actually flesh out the site and sell it online?
Neville: Yes. Yeah. So basically if I started getting money and it was… it was almost kind of rolling in, like oh okay, that’s something interesting.
So, so I have a friend who runs a 500 person company now.
Neville: And when he first started in entrepreneurship, like he used to be clueless also, and he had his ideas for Republican and Democrat sandals. So you know how? Like people wear those yellow Livestrong bands?
Neville: And then some people wear the blue ones to indicate that they’re Democratic and red if they’re Republican. Like I didn’t know that was a thing, but apparently it is. So he thought, sandals with like… they’re like the little fun things or actually the color of your Republican or Democratic party. He thought this was a brilliant idea. And it sounds stupid now but like he thought this is a great idea.
So he had the mold made and he was like… he was consulting with the factory in China to order five thousand of them and he had to borrow money from his family to get them shipped over and stuff.
And he got the idea like wait, before I like blow my family’s money, let me see if people even want these damn things. He’s spent so much time on this.
So he went to this forum where people were telling him that like yeah this is a good idea, you know. He got all that like good idea feedback but no one ever bought.
So then he put a PayPal button for ten bucks to buy the sandals. He tried everything for a month. He posted on forums, he talked to people about it, blah, blah, blah. He got two orders. That’s it. Twenty bucks. And he wasn’t even making a profit on these. So he /
Steve: Yeah you know, that’s… that’s totally true you know. I tell the people in my class never place a bulk order overseas unless you’ve actually tested it. You don’t even have to have the items in hand. Just try to sell them and if you can’t get them, you know you can just buy them from a competitor and ship them.
Neville: Yeah, could you imagine what would have happened if he… if he did that? Like he would have spent thousands and thousands of dollars of borrowed family money and not been able to move it. And he’d be stuck with like five thousand pairs of red and blue sandals. I mean it would… it would be ridiculous.
And so fortunately he was just like, “Okay, clearly no one gives a thing about this product. I should move on.” And that’s what he did. That’s how you validate a product.
Steve: Nice. Nice. So just curious, from my knowledge, did you ever get a job out of college or you’ve been doing this since college?
Neville: No, I’ve never really had a job. Yeah.
Steve: That’s amazing. I wonder what your parents would have said about that. Did they give you a hard time?
Neville: My parents are pretty cool. I mean they… they weren’t obviously excited, two Indian parents are not excited when you say you’re not going to get a job out of college. Right.
Neville: You’re either expected to do some further education, law school MBA, something like that. Or get like a good job to get an experience.
So my mum and dad really wanted me to get experience in the corporate world first for a few years and then do this. But I was like, “Well I’m already kind of like on a roll. I’ve got enough money saved up, I can live by my own. So let me try it for a year or two. And obviously it wasn’t their number one option but they never liked pushed back too hard on me.
So I did that and then when they realized I was actually making like more money than my peers that had jobs…
Neville: …they were like “okay maybe you know… maybe he knows what he’s doing.”
Because I always thought for myself that with my current skills and my current education, I think the maximum amount of money I could get from a normal job, not knowing what I know now, would be about 75 000 a year.
Neville: Yeah, that’s about 3 500 a month after tax. And I always thought like if I can make more than that, then I’m golden. Like that’s… This is a better option. And I’ll have more fun and I don’t have to go into an office every single day in my life.
Steve: So just like a frame of reference, how did you do last year, in 2013?
Neville: 2013 was a weird year because one, I didn’t really do much. I was just kind like a coasting year. So I did obviously over $ 100 000. But the previous years I did really well. That was… I was making doctor money, yeah.
Steve: Okay. Nice. So multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars basically.
Neville: Easy. Easy, yeah.
Steve: Ok. We don’t have to go in the detail but I just want to give a… you know kind of a frame of reference for the amount of income that we’re talking about. So…
Neville: 2013, I made sure I didn’t have any deadlines ever. And you know what that did, it made me lazy as hell. Because when I…
You say like implement deadlines for myself, I tell someone over at AppSumo, I’d be like, “Hey, you know I’m going to put this product out on October 27th.” He’d be like, “All right, we got it March for October 27th, it’s going to go out to 500 000 people.” And… And that would put pressure on my ass. And whenever I got rid of that, it totally backfired against me.
Steve: You know, so for the last year, then you’re just kind of coasting on the products you’d already had on the market?
Neville: I’d still make money every month. It was like why did I even have to work?
Steve: Yeah, that’s a great lifestyle, man!
Neville: No, it’s… it’s one of those funny things. There was… A few years ago, me and Noah took this trip over… Noah is the founder of Face… he was like number 30th of Facebook, he founded AppSumo also.
We took a trip together in New York and we’re sitting in like this fancy smashy coffee shop and… and we just did really well that month and those previous months, right. And I had made like 50 grand that month or something just in pro… profit from like what I’d done before. And it’s just… you can’t even spend that kind of money.
And… And we’re sitting in a coffee shop at 2 PM on a Tuesday. I looked at him and I was just like, “You know what? This is it. This is what everyone dreams of.” Like we’re both like 29 years old, we’re making a ton of money. We’re… We both live in Austin but we rented a cool condo in New York. Like this is the dream that everyone wants.
And that… that satisfaction lasts for about a minute. And then you’re just like “Huh, it’s time to get back to work”.
Neville: That’s just how… It’s like… It’s… It… You can coast and everyone thinks like, “Oh, but that’d awesome.” But like in reality, you still want to do work.
Steve: Yeah, you know that’s how I feel right now which is why I’m kind of doing this podcast even though if I still handle… I’m juggling all these other things. I don’t want to get bored. That’s… That’s my greatest fear. So…
Neville: What’s the point?
Steve: Yeah you know… So Neville, you know what I like about your blog is that you walk the talking. You actually go out and try a lot of these things on your own.
So if you want to just give us some crazy stories about some of the crazy experiments that you’ve done to make money, to get up to this point that would be great. I think the audience would be… would love to hear about that.
Neville: I… Some of my favorite stuffs is the stuff I’ve done with homeless people and this is… this can go both ways with people. Some people get really offended, some people are amazed.
So, one of the things was I used to past where I used to live, there… there was always this one intersection with all these homeless and I go to India all the time and see real, like excruciatingly bad poverty. And so whenever I see the homeless people here, I’m always like, “That’s just like an untapped labor force.” And… And like that… that opinion is really unpopular with people, right? They’re just like “Oh, there’s mental illness, you know. You come from a good background, they don’t.”
Fair enough. But I was just… I was thinking, can you teach these people to be like entrepreneurial, maybe no one has ever taken them by the hand and shown them. And so I thought, well you know there’s a guy standing on a hot corner in Texas, on a hundred degree day, what if they sold like bottled water or something.
And so I came up with this thing called “The Bottled Water Experiment” where I wanted to get me and a bum to sell bottled water on the side of the road. And I did not know how this was going to go. I was a little embarrassed to do it because I was like man, what if my friends see me, like I’ll look like a bum, and all that kind of stuff.
Anyhow, I lugged over in my car over 20 lbs. of ice and 120 lbs. of water… sorry, sorry, not 100, just one pack of water. We had a 24 pack of bottled water and me and a bum sold it all out in less than 30 minutes for $1 a bottle.
Steve: This is on the street corner?
Neville: On the street corner.
Steve: You’re crazy.
Neville: Like it wasn’t even at a busy time of the day and it’s just like… and it wasn’t even a hot day. And it was a cloudy day.
And so everything was against us but we sold the stuff like hot cakes. And… And the guy was so thrilled they made money so quick and he was just like, “Oh, it’s more than I make like you know bumming for it.”
And so we did it like ten times together. And… And si I got this bum to become like a water entrepreneur quite a bit.
And then it turns out he got a drug problem with the jail but other than that, it was successful.
Steve: So you actually kept it up for a while after you guys stopped?
Neville: The problem was lugging… for someone without a car, it’s very difficult to get 120 lbs. of ice and 120 lbs. of water in a cooler up to a certain place. The logistics of it are very, very hard when you actually try it.
And people are always like, “Well, why didn’t you just take a cab and blah, blah, blah…” It’s like “Dude, okay, you try it yourself first and then come back and tell me.” It’s very, very difficult.
So we could continue doing it forever but the point of that was on my blog a lot of people used to say like, “Oh, the only people that can get rich are the people with money. You have to have money to make money.” And I was like, “No, you don’t!” So I bought a $5 thing of water and sold it for $24 and I was just like “There you go, that’s reseed money. Now repeat!”
Steve: Nice, that’s… that’s a great story.
Neville: Yeah. And I saw the financial blogs of the time were always like, “Well, I’m going to do a money experiment. I’m going to sell my TV on EBay.” It’s like, that’s not an experiment, that’s selling your stuff on EBay.
Go out there and do stuff. And that’s what I used to do. That’s why people liked it.
Steve: I get a lot of excuses like that too and they’re just excuses, right. You don’t have enough time to do stuff. You don’t have enough money to do stuff.
Neville: I live in this area, I can’t do that, blah, blah, blah. There’s al… There’s always excuses. Yeah.
Steve: So how do you go from selling water and rave products to some of your info products?
Neville: It’s kind of like everything else. It’s just kind of a mistake, like people think there’s a grand master plan to it. Like I’m sure even your blog and everything was just kind of like almost a fluke sometimes you know, like you start something and it just takes off.
And so what happened was with House of Rave stuff, people kept asking me questions about like: Dude, you have this business that spits off a couple of grand a month and you barely do anything for it. Like, how do you do that?
And I’d be like, “Well, I just drop ship.” They’re like, “You don’t even carry inventory?” I was like, “I’ve never even touched any of my products before.” And so people were fascinated by that.
So I wrote a series called “How House of Rave works”. And if you type in “How House of Rave works” on Google, you’ll find a free series. And this is a six part blog posting and explains from start to finish how I did it.
But then people wanted more info. They’re like, “No, I need more, how do I exactly find a supplier? How do I do this?”
And so I told people this in my marketing community and they’re like, “We need to make an info product about that.”
And so I kind of begrudgingly made it and you know just took a month and did it. And then I sold it for $37. I have no idea why, that’s just some random number I thought was fair. And low and behold, I got like 30 and something orders on that first day.
So 37 times 30, it was like a grand or something I made in a day, right. And I was like “Wow, I made a thousand dollars from my blog in one day! Like that’s pretty impressive.”
Steve: So where did you promote this? Only on your blog?
Neville: With literally a blog post with a PayPal button at the end. That’s it. Like there was… there was no pictures of it, I didn’t show the backend, I didn’t show what the videos looked like. I didn’t make a video intro.
I literally just told everyone like: “Hey, everyone’s been asking me about House of Rave, blah, blah, blah. Here’s what I’m going to show you and here’s what it’s going to go through.” And split bullets points of what it is. And then it’s like “If you wanted to buy it, here’s a PayPal button. Buy it!” And that’s what I did. And it sold all those copies.
And still to this day, somehow people find that blog post and order it. And you want to find how to get away with it Steve? People are like, “Oh I heard you make like a fulfillment system and blah, blah, blah…” And I used like Gumroad and you know all these other things you can do.
But all I did was whenever I get an order, it comes to your PayPal… If you get sent money on PayPal, it comes to your email inbox. So it will say like, “Steve Chou ordered House of Rave Behind-The-Scenes for $37,” I literally would copy and paste the logins in that email to the people.
So it would say “Download instantly” but in reality it was just like me waiting by the computer.
Neville: It was. And I just waited there all night just kind of like fulfilling orders. That’s how ghetto it was. And people never complained about it. It’s ama… Still to this day, I got two orders from it yesterday from that random blog post I don’t even know how. So I made a total of $73 or something like that from something I did in 2011 that doesn’t even have a system associated with it. I mean it’s kind of ridiculous how you can make money like that.
Steve: You know I run to this all the time with the people I interact with just on the blog. People are all concerned about setting all these complex systems and getting everything in place when they haven’t even tested the product or anything yet.
So oftentimes, you know from what I’m hearing from you, is you just get something out there and try to sell it first before worrying about all the infrastructure.
Neville: Yeah. Because there’s a lot of people that do it the opposite. They spend all this time getting all the stuff in place and hiring a developer and all that kind of crap. And they try to sell it. And then they realize, yeah, no one gives a sh… no one cares about your netting program because you have no audience members. And… And you’re not hitting the right nerve.
See, mine was pre-validated. People were asking me every single day via comments and by emails about House of Rave. How do… And they asked the same questions over.
How do you find a supplier? How do you know the supplier’s legit? What kind of deal did you get with the supplier? How do you start… What… What platform did you use to put your ecommerce thing up? How did you convince the supplier to let you get a good deal? You know what is your deal? How many orders did you make a day? How much money do you make per month from House of Rave?
Those were the same damn questions I got over and over. So I literally made a video about each question.
How do you find a supplier? I saw down with my Canon Elf, you know like a $200 camera from Walmart, put it on a stack of books and started recording in my apartment.
And then for like “How do you find a supplier?” I was just like “Well, there’s this method on Google, I just looked… searched for people that are already selling it.” So I took Cam Tage or Screencasts of me just like going through Google and looking for rave products.
And each video was only like three to seven minutes long, like they didn’t need to be that long. And so the whole course, the total runtime was like two hours of video max you know, like nothing more than that.
I was like I have about a two-hour time span for attention, I assume other people do too, I won’t make it longer than that. And then I sold it, like it was… it was that simple. Like I was so ignorant to what could go wrong that I just did everything right.
Steve: Yeah, that’s… that’s hilarious. So, how do you transition to copywriting after that?
Neville: It’s just kind of like one of those things, like I studied marketing and I would read J. Abraham and I’d read all these different books. And I read a book about David Ogilvy and then my friends would tell me about copywriting.
So one of my friends was like a good copywriter. He’d be like “It’s crazy, like I can send out an email and make tons of sales. But if someone else sends out the same email newsletter in a different format, it won’t make any sales.”
And I was having that problem with House of Rave.
At the time I had 7 500 previous customers. Every single email address on this list had spent money with me already, right. Right. This is like a money list. And I would send out this newsletter and no one would buy a damn thing. People loved clicking on it because the pictures were pretty and I would… I would take all the pictures myself and put these big buttons on it.
People clicked on it but no one bought anything. And I was just like, I guess this is how email marketing works, like you send out an email and no one buys anything. Then I started studying The Gary Halbert Letters particularly the Boron Letters chapters 1 to 25.
Gary Halbert Letters, Boron Letters, chapters 1 to 25, print them out and read them. They’re amazing and they’re free! It’s… It’s like the best educational copy in marketing you’ll ever, ever get.
And so I started reading that. I started reading Joe Sugarman’s book, “Advertising Secrets of the Written Word.” I read David Ogilvy’s books, watched everything I could find on YouTube about all those guys. And then I wrote, with the help of a friend, like a professionally written, copy written sales pitch for these finger lights which were our bestseller at the House of Rave at the time.
And I’d run a sale on them before but they didn’t really sell that well. But then I realized like when people would call and ask about these finger lights was, I’d find just ravers you know going to a party and doing drugs would… would use these. But no, that was not the case.
The people buying them were party planners, wedding planners, plumbers so they can see stuff under a sink by putting the little finger under to light, people give them to their autistic children to calm them down – that was really interesting, I never thought about that. People give them to their children to keep on their finger in case they see a monster under their beds so they can check for monsters under their bed.
I mean it was like the most bizarre thing. Like everyone was buying these for the weirdest reasons. And so I wrote that in the email and I also wrote that I was like overloaded in stock with these things which was true, and I was going to sell them for a crazy ass price. Within two hours of sending off that email, I got 120 orders.
To give you a frame of reference, I was making only 10 orders per day on average and I just got 12 extra within two hours. Like I was out of the product in like an hour, I had to refund a lot of that money. But I made a tremendous amount of money that day and a tremendous amount of orders and people were like begging to get this… to get this deal.
And I was like, okay the only difference was the copy. And so that’s when I was like okay… something clicked in my head, I was like if you write something in a different way, you can get people to buy it, if it’s a good product in the first place, you can’t sell shit.
Steve: Wait, so how did you find out what people wanted or what they were using these finger lights for?
Neville: That was just over the course of the years just selling that kind of stuff, how people would email you know being like, “Are these okay for children?” I’d be like, “Yeah why are you… what about your children using it for?” I was just asking questions. And over the years I just kind of collected a mental list of like what people were using that for.
And I would tell people stories, like I even told my copywriter friend who helped me, he was like, “What do people use these for?” I was like, “Dude, you won’t believe this, like autistic… autistic children get calmed down when they put them on and wave them in front of their face. Plumbers use them.” Like I had a plumbing company buy them for all their plumbers. Party planners buy tremendous amounts of them. And he’s like, “Well, it seems like you’re gearing these just towards ravers. Do ravers buy them?” I’m like, “No, ravers are 16 have no money, they don’t buy sh…”
Neville: Yeah. So he’s like, “Yeah, so gear this towards a different audience and show people what they can use it for.” So even if they don’t really need them right now, they’ll be like, “Wow, I could totally use this.” Even when they get this email they weren’t planning on buying finger lights, they may have a kid and they may be… their kid may have like a fear of monsters under his bed and this might be a way to get the kid to go to sleep better if he has a little flashlight on his finger.
Steve: So your before… walk me through what your before email looked like so I just get an idea.
Neville: Yeah, let’s see, where’s… where can you find that? There’s… There’s a blog post on NevBlog. You search in “NevBlog House Of Rave quick sell experiment”. If you Google that, you’ll find it.
Steve: Okay, I’ll go ahead and link that up in the show notes but yeah it’ll be interesting to see the before and the after and just you know correlate the dramatic difference.
Neville: There’s full pictures of the entire things. So what… what I’ll try to quickly explain it.
The… The before was like basic… you know you get an email newsletter from like you know Blahblahblah Store and you know from Bose… not Bose, it’s actually good… You get from like Rick Stone or something, they just have links to a bunch of products, you know?
Neville: I… Buy, buy, buy this crap, buy this crap, you know. That’s kind of what it was. It was… It would be like finger lights, there’d be a big picture and then there’d be a Buy Now button. And it’d be like these are great for putting on your fingers and like that’s all it said. And then there’d be like this disco balls, like “Spruce up your next party with a disco ball. Buy now!” That’s all it would be.
And so basically I was shoving a spam email in your face and be like “Buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, buy”.
Instead, the after product was like, “Hey I got to tell you about these finger light things, you may think these are just for 16 year old ravers doing drugs. But let me tell you the real uses that I have seen with these. And then I’d go into the whole plumber thing, the autistic kids thing, the monsters under the bed thing, all things like wedding planners using them, all that kind of stuff. MTV bought some to like make this Alien show or something like that.
And so, then when people saw how many uses they had and that this is a useful product, more so than just like you know a little dance toy that you could take on a campout or anything like that, that’s when people were like, “Oh, I’ll spend $1,98 on a piece to buy them” you know and that’s when people bought.
And then I also made it like a scientific to where I’d create scarcity. I’m like, “We’ve never run a price this low and a promotion as big for these finger lights. So I don’t know how long these are going to last. There’s only 500 of them and to give you an example we sell 50 of them every day on average. So with this special price, our product is going to sell a lot more. So you need to get them now and it’s first come, first served.”
And that was true, the first orders got them and the rest all had to be cancelled.
So I did that and that sense of urgency also helped people. And you know that’s like part of copywriting you know. If you have urgency in the thing, people are more likely to buy.
Steve: You know, what’s funny about all this is I’m actually on the newsletters for a lot of the big buck stores you know, just so I can see how they do and get ideas. And almost all of them pretty much just list their products with links and Buy Now. Occasionally some, they promote sales and a little bit of scarcity here and there. But they don’t really tell stories around their products. So why do you think that those guys just aren’t doing what you’re talking about?
Neville: Oh exactly why… And David Ogilvy in “Ogilvy on Advertising” talks about it perfectly. Or you could just google David Ogilvy and watch some videos of him.
The big companies, they go with agencies, design agencies, advertising agencies and the people they employ are all designers. They’re designers, graphic designers, they want pretty pictures. They did all the stuff that I thought was good and.. .and you know they’re not… they’re not idiots or anything. They just have never studied the scientific way to sell.
And so, they’ll put pictures and they’ll be like, “Oh only 0.005% of people are buying that’s normal. If we can get 0.0001% of people that buy, we double our sales. That’s good.” But they never tried like specific sales. For example the big… the biggest box… or not box retail but retail I like is a Bose, B.O.S.E., you know the sound company?
Steve: Yeah. Uh-uh, yeah.
Neville: Like tons of Bose stuff, and they have really good emails. They don’t look like traditional newsletter style email which automatically is seen with spam. They actually talk about the product and why you can use it, and how you can use it, and how it connects your phones so easily. And they actually give you a whole like proper sales pitch.
So like, I was actually interested. Like I try to listen to podcasts in the shower all the time but like I couldn’t hear my phone in the shower, like… like the shower was too loud. And so I was like, “I could use a speaker but I’ve tried like the Jambox and crap and they suck.”
And then like I got an email from the Bose company and it was just like, “This is perfect for this, it links up immediately with your phone, blah, blah, blah.” I was like, “Oh, I’ll give that a try.” And there’s just like a whole like explanation of why you should buy this. Not just like “Hey, buy, buy, buy!”
Like you know they just don’t stick a picture of the speaker out there and say “Buy!” They give you reasons and justifications and uses for you to buy.
That’s… That’s what I teach in the copywriting stuff. There’s like formulas you can follow that will automatically make you have a better sales page than anyone else. It’s… It’s so easy sometimes.
Steve: That’s interesting, I… I’m just curious why these… these stores with such a big budget don’t just hire copywriters for their emails because you know like… like you said, they’re horrible.
Neville: You get a copywriter that works at an agency and they write, you know it’s… it’s some girl that gets paid $35 000 a year to sit there and write copy. And she… she’s never studied direct response. And agencies go based off of who wins the most awards for their email, who does the most creative pictures and stuff like that.
So the agencies go based off awards because that’s what they want, because that gets them more clients. Whereas direct response marketers such as like you and me, we’re more direct response, we just want the damn result. We don’t care how it looks. My emails are ugly man, they’re ugly but you know what? People read them and they don’t get distracted and they sell really well.
Steve: That is really great advice. Yeah, I’ve… I’ve actually read your blog quite a bit and I watched some of your videos. You’re… You’re personality really comes through and you just get to the midst of things and apparently it’s doing really well for you.
Neville: Yeah it’s… and like this is what I teach, like this is what at KopywritingKourse.com, you go there and sign in for the newsletter, within the first three newsletters I guarantee your mind will be blown by some of the stuff I teach you. That’s awesome.
Steve: Yeah, I definitely have to link those up in the show notes. So what do you plan on doing? I know you have a couple of different copywriting courses right now. So how do they… how do they differentiate it right now?
Neville: Hu, plug times, I’m gonna get…
Steve: Do it, do it! You got me intrigued.
Neville: I’ll… I’ll tell you the free stuff too that you can do.
Neville: I would suggest to start… If you don’t want to spend any money…
Neville: I’m going to give you the free stuff first, so kind of shooting myself in the foot, but it’s… Google the Gary Halbert Letters, Boron… Boron Letters, chapter 1 and then print out chapters 1 to 25.
Everyone I know who read the Boron Letters and prints them out usually ends up going someplace and making a lot of money, like that is just the… the plain truth I have seen. The people that are like, “Oh, I’ll just skim it online, blah, blah, blah”, like those people, they don’t do anything. They’re screwed up, they don’t do anything.
So like I have a big stack of them sitting by my bed to this day and I still reference them. That’s the great free way to start.
The other free way to start is go to KopywritingKourse.com… K, like Kopywriting with a “K” and course, the “K”, and sign up for a free newsletter, you’ll get everything free, it’s awesome.
The next way, and this what companies force their employees to watch and they… all the employees say like it’s the best thing they’ve ever watched.
The KopywritingKourse.com, you can actually buy the copywriting course, it’s just like $69, it’s crazy cheap. And it’s a set of videos specifically designed to make teach you copies. And it’s super, super quick. It’s less than two hours.
I suggest you have a glass of alcohol or tea or something like that and watch it. By the end, everything you write will convert higher, I guarantee. Full money back guarantee on that.
And the cool thing is what I didn’t realize when I made that, you’ll be interested in this, I thought it was going to be for like startups and stuff like that, the people who benefitted them most were sales people. Because sales people cold call all the time and they’re like “Buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff”, that’s all they do. But then when I show them, “Hey, hey, use this brain hat to think about this differently.”
As soon as they watch that first video, it changes their whole business. I’ve had people be like, “Dude, I made three times as much money this year because of one video from your KopywritingKourse.” I was like, “Well, that’s a damn good $69 well spent.”
And then the other thing is the Kopywriting Checklist, copywriting with “K” and then Checklist, you can buy that at AppSumo, that’s ten bucks, super damn cheap! Ten or fifteen, I forget. Ten I think. And… And if you don’t want to learn copywriting but you just need to write something real quick, all you do is follow the seven steps in that, it’s like ten pages long. It’s super…It’s super short. You follow the steps and you’ll pretty much have a scientifically proven like sales letter or email, or whatever you’re trying to write. It’s… That’s the easiest way to write copy.
Steve: Okay, nice. I’ll definitely link all those things up in the show notes. And I’m just curious too myself, what’s in this mysterious NevBox that you sell on your site?
Neville: Like you can’t see me right now but behind me I have 200 extra boxes I’m making. So the NevBox was this product I made, it was inspired by the Gary Halbert Letters. I would sit in bed till six in the morning reading these things because I was so fascinated. And it’s like there’s something about turning the page on these letters and like marking them up with notes and writing it out, that like… I was just like I get so much more value out of sitting down and reading something than just simply reading it on an email or my phone while taking a dump in the morning. You know? I’m not… [Inaudible]… only scrolling and going through it.
And so I was like I want to send out a physical box or a letter. And so it’s a box carefully packaged and it’s… over the course of three days, you open different envelopes. And there’s also some random objects in it that tie into a story.
So I can’t tell you everything of what’s in it but I can tell you this: people loved them. It was… It was one of the easiest sales I’ve ever had to do. And they sold out really quick. And so I’m making more because people keep trying to buy them.
The… Some… One of… There’s one person sent me money for a NevBox. I was like, “I don’t have any for sale.” And they’re like, “I want to preorder it.” And I was just like, “I don’t know when I’m going to have more of these.” “I don’t care, I want the first one.”
Steve: Wow, ok that’s amazing.
Neville: That’s product validation I ever heard one, right. People are like, “You don’t have any? I’m still sending you money for it.”
Steve: So these are just people that read your blog, right?
Neville: Yeah, like…
Neville: …I didn’t promote it anywhere else. They were just people that read my blog.
Steve: So, let me ask you this. So do you have… let… let’s say… You know I get a lot of people on my blog asking how they can make extra money online. So if you were to… If one of these people were to ask you today, what sort of advice would you give them if they wanted to sell something of their own and make some money online?
Neville: Well I… I really strongly believe like the biggest reason a lot of these people fail is they… they ignore this part cardinal rule. And I say it’s cardinal rule, you don’t have to ignore it, if you’re really good, you can get away with this.
But it’s like build a community before you sell a product, right. It’s like… It’s like you make… For example you started your blog and I don’t think you started with a product, right? Like that was a way…
Steve: No. Yeah, I didn’t have a product.
Neville: We’re just putting good stuff out to the world to track your own stuff, to help other people. Like you wanted to build the network and then you started like talking in like Mr. Money Moustache and this person. And then you go all kind of became friends and it was more like a passion hobby of yours.
And then, once you had people following you, you had this inbuilt audience that you can sell something to, right?
Neville: If I just started out of the blue, like how to start a news business or something like that, it would have been a much tougher sell. I would have had to like go on people’s podcasts and advertise. I would have to like buy advertising, go on Facebook, start a fan page, do all those sort of stuff that a lot of people don’t understand how to do correctly before I could have sold something.
And so, I like to tell people that just at least start a blog and start participating in that community. However the easiest way is take whatever skills you know and start selling them right away. People are like “Oh, that’s not scalable.” Who cares? Like start out… You have to start somewhere.
And so what I would do, like for example if I had just started becoming like a internet person, want to make a couple of extra bucks online, I would post on Craigslist in my local area that I know how to do Photoshop, I know how to do WordPress, I know how to do this, I know how to use WishList and install it on a WordPress site, I can make your webpage. I would start doing all those things first to start building some momentum, to start making money right away at least, you know.
Steve: Okay. Okay and let’s assume if you… if you didn’t have a blog and you didn’t have a built-in audience like you do today, that’s what you would have started with your copywriting and that sort of thing?
Neville: So the copywriting stuff like obviously I have some experience in it now and so there’s momentum. So I’m just like, oh I’m going to put my shingle out as a copywriter and see what happens. It’s like well no one knows you, you know, right way. You got to do something… So let me… Can I just tell you a story about someone who’s just done it really recently?
Neville: I… I got started, so a lot of people would be like, “Oh, but you know you started like whatever, I don’t have that.” There’s a dude named Bryan Harris and he has that site called Videofruit.com, okay. He just made the site like recently, it’s not… it’s not an old site or anything.
He worked the job and then just came to our AppSumo like you know “How you make your first thousand dollars course”. And it turns out he’s really good at video and so what he did was he made this site called Videofruit and there you could buy… buy videos from him. No one bought it of course because no one knew who the hell he was or what he does.
So what he did was, he’s like… He emailed me and said, “Neville, can I make you a free like connected video? Check this out.” And he showed me another one that he made for someone else. I was like, “Dude this is awesome, it was like professional great stuff. It’s like… It’s like their audio background but then the text lies in and it looks super professional, there would be like Dolby after effects or something, what it was like they make movies in.
And so he took a film clip from one of my videos, an audio clip and then put the text over it and I put that on my blog page and then I wrote a blog post about that guy. I was just like, “Dude, this guy’s awesome. Check out what he did. Videofruit.com, Bryan Harris.”
And he got some clicks from there. And from that, he got like three people being like, “Hey, how much do you charge for videos, I want to buy one of your videos.” So instantly, he’s making money because he did free work for someone who has a list and a following already, okay?
He’s not doing free work for the guy down the street who has nothing. And then he contacted like Ramit Sethi, he contacted Noah Kagan. Noah Kagan wrote about Brian. And then Brian would post all this like “Helpful stuff” within the Entrepreneur Facebook group. And all those entrepreneurs would be like, “Holy crap, you make good videos. I’m trying to build a website, can I buy your services?”
All of a sudden, this guy’s pulling in six grand in billing in one month. And then he started a blog about how to do video stuff. And then he realized people don’t just want video, they want marketing stuff. So then he would be like how… he would… he did sneaky stuff like… he’d feel like “How Neville Medhora’s book is smart and dumb at the same time”. He wrote some posts like that.
And he took the end of my eBook and showed how I put my other services at the end. And then he took the end of Ramit Sethi’s eBook and showed how he didn’t do it and he’s like: Here’s how Ramit could have improved it. Here’s how Neville could have improved it. Here’s how Gary Vaynerchuk could have improved your stuff.
So he just started putting out good content and sure enough people started slowing signing up to him. Like you know 2-3 people a day. Before you know it, the guy has a thousand followers. Now whenever he’d release a product, he’ll get 30 sales on a pretty expensive product.
And he did all that in a very short amount of time. But he hustled to play there and built a community first before just saying, “Hey buy this stuff” you know.
Steve: Yeah, you know that’s an important point. A lot of the people on my blog, actually they come to me looking for that magic bullet. But really a lot of time, it just comes out in a hustle and leg work.
Neville: Yeah. Well you know, yeah AppSumo… And AppSumo has like 700 or 1 000 people or so signed up. So like I told you before, like I just sold like a little copywriting checklist I made and I sold like 2 000 copies in very few short days. And that was with the power of AppSumo.
So a lot of people come to us every day saying like, “Can you just sell our stuff”. And we’re like, “You haven’t even sold it yourself, like we don’t even know if people like it. So we’re not going to sell it on a big audience when you haven’t even done it small time.”
So the suggestion is: Start small time, start building your audience.
And you know some people, they just don’t have what it takes, like I’m sure you’ve seen some blogs out there that you’re just like, “Man, this is just not interesting stuff” you know. Like this…
Neville: … is not interesting. So those people should need to try it to see if they’ve got what it takes like this Bryan Harris kid, he totally had what it takes. I’ve seen other people, they get very sh… advice that’s been out there a million times, just like whatever. They have nothing unique to offer. And so it’s just like they don’t build a following, so no one’s going to buy their product either, you know.
Neville: So I mean build a community. If you can’t build a community, you can’t build you know a product and sell it successfully. You could but you have to be good and most of those people just starting off are not good.
Steve: That is great advice. So hey Nev, you know we’ve… we’ve been talking for quite a while now and so I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Can you just give… give our listeners you know an email or something where they can reach you in case they have questions? And where can they find you online?
Neville: Yeah. Online, you can google me, “Neville Medhora” or just go to nevblog.com. Also KopywritingKourse.com with “K’s” is the place you can sign up, even if you sign up at nevblog, it’s the same list. And then email@example.com. So NEVMED. @gmail.com if you want to contact me and then I’m @NevMed on Twitter.
Steve: Okay. And before we go, you know, are there any online services that you kind of recommend to do some of this experimentation that you’ve been talking about?
Neville: Which experimentation?
Steve: You know where you just throw up a page, a landing page and you just get some leads to see if your stuff is going to sell.
Neville: Yeah, there is a couple. I try to make them myself, like I suck at web design but I power my way through it. I use FrontPage 2003 which doesn’t even exist. Like people tell… hear about that, they’re like, “Does that exist?” I’m like, “No, it does not.”
Or I use like Google Drive or just like Google Docs and then I design something and just like save it as html. That’s how ghetto I am.
So I think you could use leadpages.net…
Neville: Launchrock.com I believe is one of them. And there’s a couple other pages. If you just type in like “free landing page” on Google, you’ll find a couple of those services.
Steve: Okay, it sounds good. Hey well, thanks a lot for your time, Neville. And it was really great talking to you as usual.
Neville: Dude, you too. Good connecting again.
Steve: Yeah. All right man, thanks.
Neville: Yeah man.
Steve: Every time I talk to Neville, this guy really cracks me up. What I really like about him is that he always speaks his mind and he does not BS at all. He’s also a doer rather than a talker if you couldn’t tell from that episode.
Be sure to check out the show notes for this episode where you’ll find the sites and links mentioned by Neville. And also if you have a minute, it would really help if you could subscribe and leave a review for this podcast on iTunes.
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Thanks for listening.
Thanks for listening to the MyWifeQuitHerJob podcast where we are giving the courage people need to start their own online business! For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mywifequitherjob.com