What are you trying to chase down right now in your business? This is a question my guest on this week’s episode asks himself constantly. And he’s here to share some wisdom that will help you chase your it down faster and better.
In this 50-minute episode, Chris Ducker and I discuss:
- His speaking role at Digital Commerce Summit
- Two steps to building a successful membership business that are often overlooked
- How Chris’ desire to help people has driven his success
- The touching story of how his book changed one reader’s life by giving him more time to spend with his young daughter
- Why Chris’ philosophy of “marketing like a magnet” has worked for him, and can work for you too
- His definition of digital entrepreneurship (and how he’s lived it)
- Why “Chase it down” is the buzz phrase permeating his mind and his organization
- The importance of pursuing quantifiable metrics
- Why building a personal brand offers important flexibility and freedom
And so much more, including our patented six rapid-fire questions at the end.
Listen to The Digital Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
- Digital Commerce Summit Speakers Page
- Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck
- Chris Ducker
- Jerod Morris
How to Market Like a Magnet and Build Your Personal Brand
Jerod Morris: Hey, Jerod Morris here. If you know anything about Rainmaker Digital and Copyblogger, you may know that we produce incredible live events. Well, some would say that we produce incredible live events as an excuse to throw great parties, but that’s another story. We’ve got another one coming up this October in Denver. It’s called Digital Commerce Summit, and it is entirely focused on giving you the smartest ways to create and sell digital products and services. You can find out more and get a killer early bird price on your tickets at Rainmaker.FM/Summit.
We’ll be talking about Digital Commerce Summit in more detail as it gets closer. For now, I’d like to let a few attendees from our past events speak for us.
Attendee 1: For me, it’s just hearing from the experts. This is my first industry event. It’s awesome to learn new stuff and also get confirmation that we’re not doing it completely wrong where I work.
Attendee 2: The best part of the conference for me is being able to mingle with people and realize that you have connections with everyone here. It feels like LinkedIn live. I also love the parties after each day, being able to talk to speakers, talk to other people who are here for the first time, people who have been here before.
Attendee 3: I think the best part of the conference for me is understanding how I can service my customers a little more easily. Seeing all the different facets and components of various enterprises then helps me pick the best tools.
Jerod Morris: Hey, we agree — one of the biggest reasons we host a conference every year is so that we can learn how to service our customers, people like you, more easily. Here are just a few more words from folks who have come to our past live events.
Attendee 4: It’s really fun. I think it’s a great mix of beginner information and advanced information. I’m really learning a lot and having a lot of fun.
Attendee 5: The conference is great, especially being a single-track conference where you don’t get distracted by, “Which session should I go to?” and, “Am I missing something?”
Attendee 6: The training and everything, the speakers have been awesome, but I think the coolest aspect for me has been connecting with both people who are putting it on and then the other attendees.
Jerod Morris: That’s it for now. There’s a lot more to come on Digital Commerce Summit. I really hope to see you there in October. Again, to get all the details and the very best deal on tickets, head over to Rainmaker.FM/Summit.
Welcome back to The Digital Entrepreneur. I am your host Jerod Morris, the VP of marketing for Rainmaker Digital, and this is episode No. 24. On this week’s episode, I am joined by a friend, a mentor, and a guy whose work ethic is second to none, even though he only works six hours a week these days and takes Fridays off.
He burst onto the scene by teaching other entrepreneurs how to leverage the power of virtual assistants to build a more efficient and effective business, and he hasn’t stopped helping entrepreneurs since — both as a constant creator of useful content and as a leader by example.
Today, he runs the highly successful entrepreneurial community Youpreneur, and he hosts the Youpreneur podcast on Rainmaker.FM as well. He is a coach, author, expert, speaker, blogger, podcaster, and he is here to share some important wisdom with you that he has learned along the way throughout his entrepreneurial journey. He is Chris Ducker.
Chris will be joining me on stage this October, actually, at Digital Commerce Summit in Denver, Colorado. As I have told you in the last few episodes, as you surely know by now, the conference will be held on October 13th and 14th, and all of us at Rainmaker Digital really hope that you will join us at what we are planning on being and really hope is a one-of-a-kind event.
Why Digital Commerce Summit Will Take Your Digital Business to the Next Level
Jerod Morris: Here’s what we hope will make this event one of a kind.
First, it’s not like a lot of the other cattle-call conferences that you may have been to, where every 90 minutes you have to make a difficult decision about what presentation you want to go to. At Digital Commerce Summit, you are treated to a single track of speakers, curated personally by Brian Clark, that follow a step-by-step progression to take you from point A to point B with your digital product and services.
We really want to help you take the next step, that’s the goal. There’s a bias for action at this conference. We don’t want you leaving Denver in the same place with your business that you showed up. The event is about action, and you’re going to be buzzing with ideas and an itch to execute by the time it’s over and you’re traveling home. That is our goal.
Second, in terms of what will make this event unique and one of a kind, is what other conference is held at a famous theater, and treats you to a special music performance by the band Cake? Well, you’re going to get both at Digital Commerce Summit, and this combination of fun and education is what makes it a great place to network and why it is the premiere live educational and networking event for entrepreneurs who create and sell digital products and services.
But here’s the deal. The early bird price goes away next week. This episode is coming out on Thursday, July 21st. That’s when this episode is coming out. The early bird price goes away next week on Thursday, July 28th. You really don’t want to hesitate to get your ticket because you’re only going to end up spending more.
Here’s something even better. Since I am going to be speaking and since Chris is going to be a speaker at the event, I can actually give you the special speaker link, which allows you to get an even better deal than the one that is being offered publicly. This deal with the special speaker link that I’m about to give you also expires with the early bird price on July 28th.
Here’s the link. Make sure that you remember it or write it down. It’s Rainmaker.FM/Summit-Speakers, and that link, of course, will be in the show notes as well. Go there, make sure that you book your ticket before the early bird price goes away. With that link, you get a price that’s even better than the early bird price, so make sure that you go there – Rainmaker.FM/Summit-Speakers.
All righty. Well, let’s get to this weeks discussion. Here we go. Enjoy some wit, wisdom, and lots of energy — and lots of great stories, too, as you would expect — from the one and only Chris Ducker.
Mr. Ducker, welcome to The Digital Entrepreneur. You and I last saw each other in February, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again in October in Denver.
Chris Ducker: Yes, yes, it’s going to be good. Thanks for having me back on the show, man.
Jerod Morris: Oh for sure, for sure. It’s a pleasure having you here, excited to talk with you about all this stuff today. This will be good.
Chris Ducker: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: So speaking of Denver, your talk at Digital Commerce Summit is titled The Six Steps to Building a Successful Membership Business, which you have clearly done with Youpreneur. Don’t give away any of your big secrets here, but what’s maybe one important step to building a successful membership business that people often overlook, in your experience?
Two Steps to Building a Successful Membership Business That Are Often Overlooked
Chris Ducker: I think ultimately it really comes down to should you even do it in the first place. I think that’s the main reason why the majority of membership sites fail — the people that are starting them shouldn’t actually be starting them. For example, you shouldn’t launch a membership site if you want to make money quickly. You shouldn’t launch it if you want it to be a passive business. You shouldn’t launch a membership site if you’re not thinking long term, if you’re not committed to the community, and so on, and so on, and so on.
I think that’s the big issue right there. A lot of people don’t think enough about it. They think, “Oh it’s a new shiny object. Let’s jump on the bandwagon, and see how much money we can make.” I think that connected to the lack of validating of your idea in the first place is probably the biggest reason why memberships fail.
Before we launched Youpreneur, one of the big things that I did in terms of validation — and we’re talking about this time last year actually — I was hardcore on Periscope as you might remember.
Jerod Morris: Yes.
Chris Ducker: Obviously, Periscope has changed a little bit, and Facebook Live has come into the game very much so. So Periscope is not as popular as it was. I still feel like they’re going to be doing a good job in being part of the leading focus in live streaming, but it’s not the big kahuna it was this time last year.
What I was doing this time last year was pretty much Monday through to Friday, I was on Periscope for about 15 to 20 minutes every day, conversing with my audience on there, and I was validating everything for Youpreneur before we went into hardcore launch mode, which was beginning in September.
We were a couple of months ahead of time. We were validating everything from just the concept, with whether or not we’re going to make it more community-focused or whether we’re going to make it more deliverable of content-focused. We were validating everything from the headlines that we were going to use on the landing page, the subtitles, the benefit points — you name it. There are things that I was saying on Periscope, which I thought were going to be brilliant on a landing page, that just fell horribly flat. We removed them from our landing page script completely.
But there were certain things that really stood out, and the one big one was, whenever I said anything that remotely resembled the sentence of, “The entrepreneurial community where nobody gets left behind,” everybody went crazy on the comments and on the hearts. That right there is the tagline right at the top of the landing page.
We were validating the idea for Youpreneur.com a long time before we were actually launching it, and we were doing it with a live audience. You were getting that live feedback. I think, yes, a horribly long answer to a very simple question — make sure you’re validating your idea. But before you even go there, make sure that a membership site is even for you to begin with because it might not be. That’s fine, but you’ve got to be honest with yourself and then maybe move in a slightly different direction.
Jerod Morris: No, that’s a great answer. I’m really glad that you mentioned what you did about validating. I think that is overlooked, and I think it’s amazing a lot of times what you find out that surprises you. It’s like you said. Stuff that you thought was going to be a home run and it falls flat, and something that you maybe didn’t think was going to be that great and everybody is responding to it.
It’s one thing to validate it and get the feedback, and it’s another thing to kind of be able to put your ego aside and, if it’s not the idea that you loved in the first place but something else, to be humble enough to say, “Hey, this is what the audience wants. Let me give it to them.”
Chris Ducker: Yeah, absolutely. That’s why I always say it’s so important for you to listen to your audience. Your audience will ultimately guide how your business builds and grows, but if you’re ignoring them, particularly on an important decision, such as a new product or service offering, then you’re destined for doom.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, you are for sure. Chris, I’ve always believed that the number one benefit of digital entrepreneurship is freedom. I have a feeling that you agree with this, especially considering the books that you’ve written, how you got your start. The freedom to choose your projects, the freedom to chart your course, and ultimately, the freedom to change your life and your family’s life for the better.
I’m really interested to know what benefit of digital entrepreneurship do you appreciate the most?
How Chris’ Desire to Help People Has Driven His Success
Chris Ducker: Well, I think it’s being able to ultimately touch as many people as I can and trying to help as many people as I can. As I’ve grown my career as an entrepreneur in the last 12, 13 years or so … remember I’m a brick-and-mortar guy. I still own brick and mortar. I have over 450 people working for me right now in a facility probably 20 minutes drive from my home, but I’m only there once or twice a month. I’m a very old-school, brick-and-mortar-type entrepreneur that happened to get involved in the digital space in late 2009, early 2010 when I started blogging, podcasting, and all the rest of it.
When I started, I didn’t really know why I was doing what I was doing. It was a bit of a strange journey for me. But I knew that I was enjoying it, and I knew that I was enjoying being able to get in touch with people, work with people, help people, inspire people, and all the rest of it. For me, I think the biggest benefit is being able to build an audience, a community, and ultimately, a client base from literally every corner of the globe.
I truly am blessed to have a community from all around the world. Yes, 50 percent of it’s in America, but when you look at the map, that’s an obvious reason why. But when I hear from people that are based all over Europe, all over Asia, Australia, the UK, Canada, and all these other places — even Africa and places like that — not everybody is going to end up spending money with me. I get it. But if I can still help and inspire them, then I’m a happy camper.
I think that’s probably the biggest benefit for me is being able to genuinely garner that kind of worldwide audience. I love it. It just inspires me greatly.
Jerod Morris: Why do you think you’ve been able to do that? A lot of people have had that goal, to build that kind of audience, and you’ve been so successful doing it and building a global audience. Clearly, your gratitude and your appreciation for the audience comes through in everything you do. What do you think it’s been about you that has allowed you to build an audience so successfully?
Why Chris’ Philosophy of ‘Marketing Like a Magnet’ Has Worked for Him, and Can Work for You Too
Chris Ducker: Well, I think a couple things. Number one, I’m me all the time. You know me. We’re buddies. We’ve hung out. What you’re hearing on the podcast right now is me in real life as well — maybe minus a few F bombs here and there. No, honestly what you see is what you get with me.
I’m of the mindset where … and the term I like to use is ‘I market like a magnet’ — I like to attract the best, and repel the rest. If I can attract the right people towards me, my vibe, and what I’m all about, then I know that I’m going to be ultimately creating the right kind of tribe for myself. I think that’s the first thing, genuinely just being me all the time. What you see is what you get.
The second thing is that I’ve never focused on one particular market. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but I think a lot of people let themselves down a little bit in terms of their growth potential, where they focus entirely, say, on a US market or a UK market. I’m of the old adage where money is good all around the world. I don’t need to be prejudice towards one particular location, country, or one particular area of the world. I’ll take anybody’s money. You know what I mean?
Jerod Morris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chris Ducker: I think a lot of people actually do genuinely let themselves down in this regards, where they’re focusing on one particular area. Now look, if that’s okay with them, if they’re totally all right with that, and they’re going after that for a very clear reason, then that’s all good. I’m not here to moan about it, but I do believe that a lot of people could be A) making a lot more money and B) providing a lot more help and support for people around the world if they were to maybe open up their horizons a little bit and not focus on smaller geographical locations.
I’ve never done that, and I believe that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been able to grow the global brand that I’ve got. That and the fact that I travel genuinely all around the world for speaking I think has also helped me as well.
Jerod Morris: Now when you say, “In terms of the market,” you’re talking about geography, right? It’s like with Youpreneur. You’re clearly targeting entrepreneurs, so you will target specific markets in terms of interest or worldview, that kind of thing.
Chris Ducker: Oh yeah.
Jerod Morris: But you’re talking specifically just about geography, not pinning yourself down to one place.
Chris Ducker: Correct, absolutely. Yes.
Jerod Morris: So I’d love for you to tell me about a milestone or a moment in your career as a digital entrepreneur that you are the most proud of. What story comes to your mind first when I ask that?
The Touching Story of How His Book Changed One Reader’s Life by Giving Him More Time to Spend with His Young Daughter
Chris Ducker: Most proud of, God there’s a lot.
Jerod Morris: Good.
Chris Ducker: Yeah. I think that one of the biggest moments … and it had nothing to do with money or anything like that. I think one of the biggest things for me, I was doing a book signing in New York a couple years ago. I was getting to the end of the session. It had been going on for a couple of hours. I was getting a little tired, but I was still trying to bring the energy to everybody that came up with a copy of the book to sign.
This middle-aged gentlemen came up, and he said to me, “I want you to know that this book has changed my life.” You know what? As an author, you get genuinely repetitive comments like that quite regularly. Now, I don’t take it lightly. Don’t get me wrong. Those words are incredibly impactful.
I don’t know why I did this and why this guy. Usually I’ll just say, “Oh thanks very much. I really appreciate you picking up the book,” sort of thing. With this guy, there was something about him, and I said to him, “Why? How did it change your life?” There was just something in me that just needed to know.
He then went ahead with a minute and a half or so, and I’m paraphrasing brutally here. Basically, he had lost his wife the year before to cancer. He had a four-year-old daughter and was working nine to six. His daughter was getting picked up by child carers, dropped off at a play group and kindergarten or whatever. He would get back at eight o’clock at night. She’s already had her dinner from the carer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
He was making good money, but he was never with his daughter. And he really wanted to be with this daughter after her losing her mother. He basically started a side hustle, and he picked up my book and hired his first VA to help him with the marketing at that. Within inside of eight to nine months or so, he was making enough money on the side to quit his full-time job and to go full-time working at home, so he could be there with his daughter all the time.
As he was telling me this story, I felt my eyes welling up with tears. I just blinked, and they rolled down my face — which, in turn, made him start crying. My wife was standing by, and you’ve met her as well, and she started crying. It just turned into one big cry fest.
I always think of that one moment actually. I remember the guy’s name. His name was Brad. I remember the look on his face when he told me that story. When you have that kind of impact, oh man, no amount of money can put … I mean, that little girl has her dad now. She doesn’t have her mom, but she has her dad every single morning, every single afternoon when she comes back from school, every single night — and that’s incredible.
That’s impact that’s not measurable with any dollar sign, euro sign, or pound sign next to it. I love that stuff.
Jerod Morris: Well, it goes back to the benefit that you mentioned earlier, that your love of digital entrepreneurship is being able to help people. You took something that you were an expert in, working smarter not harder, helping people add efficiencies to their days, and by teaching that to someone else, totally changed his life. That’s an amazing story.
His Definition of Digital Entrepreneurship (and How He’s Lived It)
Chris Ducker: That’s the very definition of digital entrepreneurship, isn’t it? Taking what we have as an expertise, and everybody’s an expert in something, I believe anyway. Obviously, in varying degrees of expert level. But that’s the very definition of what it is to be a digital entrepreneur in my mind. Taking what you know, putting it into a format — whether it be a course, a blog, a podcast, a video, or whatever it is — and giving it out to the world, or selling it to the world where you then go ahead and move the needle for somebody else. I love that stuff.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, okay so let me flip that around now. Tell me about the most humbling moment in your career as a digital entrepreneur and what you learned from it.
Why Chris Finds Speaking Humbling
Chris Ducker: Hmm, humbling moment. Well, these are good questions, man. You’re good now. This is it. You know your job, my man.
Jerod Morris: Thank you.
Chris Ducker: Well, I think that could be humbling as well, that story could be humbling.
Jerod Morris: In a sense, yeah it is.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, I don’t know. I always feel incredibly humbled when I’m invited to speak at events. That’s not digital. That’s live. That’s in person. I think because, obviously, of the work that we do online, and the stuff that we put out there — there’s a nice technical word, ‘stuff’ that we put out there — for people to consume and learn from. I’m blessed to be in a position where I’m getting invites to speak at events, like the event coming up in October in Denver.
I think when I’m in front of a crowd of a few hundred people, or even a larger crowd … I think the largest crowd I’ve spoken in front of is about 900 people or so. When you’re in front of a crowd of people like that, of any size, that’s humbling. You’ve got their attention, or at least you want to have their attention. You don’t want them on their phone unless they’re taking notes because you’re fantastic.
I think that’s pretty humbling. Also, when you’re done with the talk and you see a little bit of a line forming, and people want to come say, “Hi,” just want to say, “Thanks,” or they want to ask you a question, that’s humbling. I like all that. For me, that’s one of the reasons why I talk live. That’s one of the reasons why I travel so much is to be able to meet people, converse, shake hands, get out a few hugs, and all that sort of stuff, you know?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, totally. I agree with you completely. Let’s fast forward to now, and let’s talk a little bit about your business now and what you’re doing now. What is the one word that you would use to sum up the status of your business as it stands today?
Why ‘Chase It Down’ Is the Buzz Phrase Permeating Chris’ Mind and His Organization
Chris Ducker: I don’t know whether I could have one word, but I mean one phrase that we’re using a lot internally — and I also use it externally as well with my tribe and people that follow me online — that is ‘chase it down. I say it all the time. We’re actually in the process of getting T-shirts designed.
Jerod Morris: Nice. Chase it down T-shirts? I like it.
Chris Ducker: Chase it down T-shirts. I’ll have one with me hopefully in October for you, brother.
Jerod Morris: Excellent.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, that, for me, is what it’s all about right now. I’ve been active online for six and a half years. I’ve been incredibly blessed and honored to build the personal brand that I’ve got to get a bestselling book out of it, to launch Youpreneur, and everything else that we do. Now it’s about chasing it down. ‘It,’ by the way, in that sentence is different for everyone, obviously.
Whatever it is that you’re wanting to achieve, whatever level of success that you want to aspire to, that’s the it. You’ve got to chase it down. It ain’t going to fall in your lap, plain and simple. There’s no luck in business. I’m a big believer of that. You make your own luck. I am on that chase it down mission right now with my team, with my community, with my subscribers, with every one that I come into contact with on a day-to-day basis. It’s all about chasing it down.
Jerod Morris: What’s one of the specific ‘its’ that’s at the top of your priority list now? Something specific, and what are you doing to get there, to chase it down?
Chris Ducker: Yeah, so our number one focus right now is to get to 1,000 mastermind community members for Youpreneur by the end of this year. We’re about halfway there now, and what we’re doing right now, actually, is we’re completely rebuilding our automation funnel. We are planning out and launching, probably in about three weeks from now, maybe even less than that actually, a scarcity launch before we put the price up on September 1.
We are also putting in place a number of different live webinars that I’m going to be doing, on a number of different topics as well. The crossover between our two shows here, it’s quite adamant. Everyone can see it. The perfect client, customer, or member for Youpreneur is that digital entrepreneur, is an author, speaker, coach, consultant, expert, blogger, podcaster. Whoever, it doesn’t matter — what I call a ‘personal brand entrepreneur.’
We’re going to be teaming up with a lot of individual communities and groups that focus on, say, providing info for authors, providing info for speakers, providing info for consultants, coaches, and all these sort of types of things. Seventy percent of the webinar will ultimately be the same, but there’s going to be a lot of personalization and customization for each one. That’s where we’re looking to try and bring in those additional 500 members.
Jerod Morris: I like how you’ve got specific numbers there. Have you found that’s been really useful for you? I mean in terms of being able to chase it down, to really know what it is down to a level of specificity like you want 1,000 people. How important is that for you?
The Importance of Pursuing Quantifiable Metrics
Chris Ducker: I’m a sales and marketing guy. I have been since I was 17 years old. Through the very big majority of my 20s, I had no salary. I worked 100 percent on commission. That takes some balls for anybody, and I was just in a position where I’m a good sales guy, plain and simple. We’re talking when I was still back in London. I was working at the publishing company. I actually said, no to a basic salary, even with two children in tow, because I wanted the higher rate of commission because I had confidence in myself to make the sales I needed to. I’m a very, very target-orientated entrepreneur to this day because of that beginning in sales and marketing world.
Everything we do, everything is broken down, by the way, per month. August, we want to have 200 people sign up to Youpreneur based on that scarcity launch that we’re putting in place. Then there’s 75 people in September, and so on, and so on, and so on. We’re very, very number-focused. I have a saying that the numbers never lie. The numbers never lie. If you ignore the numbers, you do so at your own economic peril. They will tell you exactly what you need to do, how you want to change things.
As digital entrepreneurs, we do it anyway. We should be looking at our analytics, our autoresponder, our open rates, click-through rates, and all these things. If you’re not looking at those things, you’re letting yourself down, and you’re letting your audience down. Sometimes, it only takes very small tweaks to boost all those numbers up, and more people end up getting touched and inspired by what you’re all about. You help more people. You support more people, and so on, and so on, and so on.
Yeah, very, very number-orientated, extremely target-focused as well.
Jerod Morris: You talk about this goal you have of getting to 1,000, and you can just tell the enthusiasm and the confidence in your voice, and you’ve clearly got a plan. I’m curious, though, what’s maybe your biggest challenge right now? What is something you see as a hurdle to getting there, and how are you trying to overcome that or preempt that from keeping you from your goals?
Why Chris’ Biggest Current Challenge Is Fighting for Audience Attention
Chris Ducker: Yeah, I think that’s a really good question. I think that it’s because there’s a lot of other membership sites out there. The old adage of, “Well, there’s a lot of competitors on the horizon,” or whatever. For us, there are a lot of competitors. There are. What we do is exactly what I preach, and that is I focus on selling the benefits and the features around what Youpreneur is. That is an authority community based around me and my brand, my expertise, and the way that I coach people to build successful businesses.
That’s our number one thorn in the side right now is the fact that there are a crap-ton of entrepreneur-focused communities online right now. The way that we get over that, or hope to get over that, and have been getting over that to a certain degree, is by ultimately putting me front and center for the community at this current moment in time.
The ultimate goal for Youpreneur is actually to have a team of experts inside of there that can help people across the board — everything from content creation and marketing, down to sales, down to conversions, and you name it. Ultimately, right now, the focus is on what I can do for you as a member of the community. It’s working well, but yeah, that’s the biggest issue, man. There are a lot of membership communities right now for the entrepreneur out there. You are fighting. You’re fighting for the eyeballs. You’re fighting for the Buy Now clicks, but I’m okay. I can handle the old scrap.
Jerod Morris: Well, and the thing is, I mean that’s something that a lot of people are facing now. As more and more people go online, there’s going to be more competition out there. How do you go about really trying to position yourself? When you are in a crowded market, what are some of your strategies for making sure that you do stand out?
How to Stand Out in a Crowded Market
Chris Ducker: Like I said, number one, you be you all the time. Gary Vaynerchuk calls it ‘do you.’ I believe, particularly because of the focus of Youpreneur being a community for personal brand entrepreneurs, if I’m not being me, if I’m not building that business around my personal brand, that’s not the best postage stamp for that. You know what I mean? I kind of feel like I have to lead the way for my members by doing it myself. If I put something in the community — a piece of content, for example — and then I don’t follow my own advice, I’m an idiot. You probably shouldn’t be listening to me.
Honestly, I truly believe one of the ways to get out of that, stand out from the crowd is just ‘do you,’ as Gary says, is to be yourself all of the time. Please don’t talk about stuff that you don’t know anything about. That’s the one thing I see a lot of people doing now. What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to kind of broaden their horizons a little bit. They’re trying to go after a certain part of the market or the Internet that they see a lot of money attached to, and they’re talking about stuff they don’t know about.
If they’re good at talking, they will be able to convince a certain number of people. But let me tell you something. Sooner or later, they’re going to fall flat on their face, and they’re going to look ridiculous. People are going to ask for refunds, and their reputation’s going to be scarred online. Don’t talk about stuff that you know nothing about. If you don’t know anything about something and you want to cover it inside of your community, then bring somebody else in to do a workshop, a webinar, or something for you. Don’t try to be the jack-of-all-trades, and just be yourself. That’s what I’m doing.
Jerod Morris: Are there any red flags that you would tell people to look out for, to know if they’re listening to a Charlatan, or someone who actually knows what they’re talking about?
Chris Ducker: Well, whenever I see anybody online that’s standing in front of a Ferrari … look, not that many people have Ferrari’s. How many people do you know that own a Ferrari? I literally know nobody that owns a Ferrari. Nobody. When you see things like that, or if you see guys on yachts, walking around a huge mansion, all this sort of type, for me, it’s just cheesy. For me, it doesn’t do anything for me at all.
I guess there are some people that want to have that dream life and everything. For instance, Tony Robbins stepping off of his private jet on the tarmac somewhere on the way to do another live seminar in front of 3,000 people, that’s believable because you know it’s Tony Robbins. If it’s some guy you’ve never heard of before doing the similar thing, you’ve got to question it. You just have to.
It’s things like visual red flags like that, and then also actually listen to what they’re saying. If all they’re doing is skating on the surface, the chances are there’s no real substance there. When you talk about building a successful business, don’t say that, “I made $15 million last year, and it was awesome. I can teach you … ” No, tell me how you made the $15 mil, and then I’ll listen to you a little bit more, that kind of thing.
Jerod Morris: Did you just slip into an American accent right there?
Chris Ducker: Yeah. Was it any good?
Jerod Morris: It was pretty good, yeah. I like that.
Chris Ducker: Oh dear me.
Jerod Morris: Earlier I asked you what was the one word you would use to sum up the status of your business as it stands today, and you used the phrase ‘chase it down.” If we talk again in a year, and I’m assuming that we will talk again in a year, what would you want that one word or phrase to be than? You can’t use ‘chased it down’ because that would be cheesy.
Why Building a Personal Brand Offers Important Flexibility and Freedom
Chris Ducker: ‘Still chasing it down.’ I don’t know.
Jerod Morris: Maybe you could. You can always be chasing something down. You can just be onto the next thing I suppose.
Chris Ducker: You can. I think that also one of the reasons why I focused in … and I remember, it was the middle of 2012, I had just had back surgery, and I was thinking about what I was doing online. We were building the businesses and everything at the same time, and I figured you know what? The blog at the time was Virtual Business Lifestyle. I don’t know whether you remember it or not. We had the blog and, we had the podcast under the same brand name, the same domain, the whole lot.
But it was never, “Are you reading Virtual Business Lifestyle, or do you listen to the Virtual Business Lifestyle podcast?” It was always, “Are you reading Chris Ducker’s blog, or are you listening to Chris Ducker’s podcast?” I had started to develop this personal brand for myself quite out of, I guess, just pure luck to a certain degree, or maybe it was a mistake. I don’t know.
Once I had decided, following the surgery, that I was going to zoom in on my personal brand, one of the reasons why I was so excited about it was that I knew that, if people were following me for me and what I personally could bring them because they liked me and my vibe, that ultimately I could pivot without any major loss at any point in my career going forward.
For example, in 2013 going into 2014, I was talking a lot about virtual stuff, how to delegate, build virtual teams, and things like that, and I still talk about it now. But I really zoomed in on that because Virtual Freedom was coming out in April of 2014. Now, since the book, and because I knew Youpreneur was going to be launched late 2015, I started talking more about the personal brand side of the business and all the rest of it. I’ve been able to pivot, and I think that word itself is a great word — being able to pivot. We’re not always going to want to talk about the same thing forever.
Jerod Morris: Right.
Chris Ducker: It got to the point, actually, with the whole VA thing that, if I got asked a question, “Where’s the best place to find a virtual assistant?” again, I was literally going to pull out whatever hair I had left because it was so boring to talk about virtual assistants for the 300th time that year. I think we have to pivot. We have to move forward. We’ve got to change our visions and our goals. Yes, still chase it down, but ultimately it’s okay to pivot.
I think that word right there is a nice word to focus on and not shoe box yourself or pigeon hole yourself too much into one particular focus. Brian Clark is the perfect example of someone who’s pivoted. Some pivots have been huge pivots, massive, life-changing pivots, but he’s been able to do it one time after another because of the overall quality of what he is known for and what his team is known for. He’s been able to do it without any major loss of business. In fact, if anything, it’s just got better and better and better. I like the idea of pivoting.
Jerod Morris: I’m curious. The way that you have built your business and built it around a personal brand, I wonder if that has ever created a dilemma for you as a coach. What I mean by that is, there are a lot of people who want to be digital entrepreneurs but maybe don’t have the charisma you have or just the comfort-ability being out front, being the face, having their name being out front, and would maybe be more comfortable being associated with a topic than it being associated with them. How do you coach those folks who have seen you do it this way, but maybe don’t have the same comfort level with doing it the way that you’ve done it?
Why Sometimes You Need to Say No More Often Than Yes
Chris Ducker: Yeah, generally speaking, that kind of thing is very, very hard to change. I have tried with many coaching clients. Even within Youpreneur, we see some people join, and they’re not comfortable being front and center — and they’re very vocal about that inside of the community. Some people want to learn how to get out of their shell and be more front and center, but some people genuinely do not. I’m at the point in my career as a coach now that I don’t want to work with those people because it’s like trying to run up a 65-degree hill. It’s going to kill you.
I genuinely now will steer away from those kind of people. We kind of know. We know whether or not we want to do something or not. But it’s a tough one, and I think that, particularly as we get older, we kind of make these choices where sometimes you’ve got to say no more often than yes. If you think about it, whenever you say yes, you’re saying no to something else immediately, at exactly the same time.
If I say yes to coaching someone who is like that and isn’t too sure about whether they want to be out in front, and possibly I probably won’t be able to change that mindset, I’m saying no at exactly the same time to working with somebody that does want to genuinely be out in front and that I know I can help achieve some great success.
It’s a tough one, I tend to steer away from that kind of situation nowadays.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. Well, and it allows you to have the maximum impact when you’re not spending so much time trying to change someone’s mindset that may not change. It makes a lot of sense.
Chris Ducker: Yeah.
Jerod Morris: Are you ready for some rapid-fire questions?
Chris Ducker: Oh god, go on then. Some of these questions have been rapid fire. You know the old adage of, “This guy knows his job.” You know your job. No doubt about it.
The One Book Chris Would Insist You Read
Jerod Morris: Thank you, so let’s start out with this one. If you could have every person who will ever work with, or for you read one book not written by you — you can’t choose your own — what would it be? What would the book be?
Chris Ducker: Oh dude. Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Jerod Morris: Hmm, that’s a good one.
Chris Ducker: That was the book for me. Late 2009, I picked that book up and just loved it. I fell in love with the whole personal brand business idea right there and then. It would be Crush It!.
Chris’ Ideal 30-Minute Skype to Discuss His Business
Jerod Morris: Yeah, good one. Makes sense, too. If you could have a 30-minute Skype call to discuss your business with anyone tomorrow, who would it be?
Chris Ducker: Sir Richard Branson.
Jerod Morris: What would you ask him? What would be your first question?
Chris Ducker: How the hell are you so energetic at 66?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, no kidding.
Chris Ducker: But you know what? Maybe the answer is just there plain in front of you — just stay active I think in general. We can all get a little lazy, myself included at times. I would deep dive with Sir Richard on the subject of teams, people, and building businesses with great teams. That would probably be my focus with him. The guy’s just incredible. He’s easily my number one influencer when it comes to entrepreneurship in general.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, and such a great example of doing new things and finding new challenges to keep you fresh, to keep you energetic and motivated.
Chris Ducker: That’s his ‘screw it, let’s do it’ mantra right there. He’s just tried so many different things, and some of them have failed horribly. Obviously, the successes that he’s had wouldn’t have come about if he hadn’t followed that mantra.
Jerod Morris: What is the proper way to address him? Would you say, “Sir Richard … ,” as your question? Is that the proper way to … ?
Chris Ducker: If I was introduced to him for the first time, I would call him Sir Richard as a fellow Brit for sure. I guess it’s ingrained in us, too. It’s like if you meet the queen, it’s Your Majesty. You would never call the queen Elizabeth or Liz. You just wouldn’t do it.
Jerod Morris: “Hey, Liz.”
Chris Ducker: Yeah. It’s funny. For instance, Sir Elton John, I wouldn’t probably call him Sir Elton. I’d probably just call him Elton. He’s a rock star. You know what I mean? Whereas with somebody like Sir Richard, I would definitely call him Sir Richard. But knowing people that have spent time with him, he squashes that immediately and says, “Please, just call me Richard.”
Jerod Morris: That’s good.
Chris Ducker: But I think I’d show him the respect out of the gate and drop the sir in there.
Jerod Morris: Very nice. Okay good. Just in case I ever run into that situation I’ll be prepared now, which is good.
Chris Ducker: Yeah.
The One Email Newsletter Chris Can’t Do Without
Jerod Morris: What is the one email newsletter that you can’t do without?
Chris Ducker: Oh. Ah, Ramit Sethi.
Jerod Morris: Hmm.
Chris Ducker: God, he’s so good.
Jerod Morris: He is good.
Chris Ducker: If you’re not on his list and you’re a digital entrepreneur, you need to get on his list. That guy knows his job. He writes some of the best copy I’ve ever come across in my life. By the way, if you ever get the opportunity to be an affiliate for Ramit Sethi, say yes. It’s not an open invite to pitch his stuff. You need to be invited by him. I very luckily was invited by him a couple of years ago, and I continue to promote his stuff as and when I see the match there for my own community.
I remember he was coming onto the show, onto my podcast, and we were talking about a launch. I was going to be behind the launch. He came on the show, and before he came on the show, I spoke with Pat Flynn, who is a close friend of mine, and Ramit had been on Pat’s show a couple of times. I said to Pat, “What’s the deal with Ramit?” I had met Ramit, I’ve hung out with him, but I’ve never had him on the show, like “What’s the deal?”
He said, “Dude,” and Pat begins every sentence with the word ‘dude.’
Jerod Morris: Dude.
Chris Ducker: He’s from California. That’s just his vibe. “Dude, just ask your question, and shut the hell up until he’s done talking.”
Jerod Morris: Great advice.
Chris Ducker: “Then ask your next question and shut the hell up and let him talk again.” The guy is just incredible. He’s an incredible digital entrepreneur himself. Everybody should be on that guys mailing list just to learn from him.
Jerod Morris: He was on a recent episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, too, that was really good. In fact, I think it wasn’t like a proper interview, but Tim Ferriss took clips of a course that he taught. I learned some great negotiating skills from it. I actually negotiated by cable bill down using a tip that I learned on that episode. It was great.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, you and thousands of other people have followed that tip, and they’re always raving about that cable bill tip, the telephone tip, or whatever.
The Keynote That Had the Biggest Influence on Chris as a Digital Entrepreneur
Jerod Morris: Right, it’s good. What non-book piece of art had the biggest influence on you as a digital entrepreneur?
Chris Ducker: Piece of art, can live keynotes be a piece of art? I guess they’re a piece of art, aren’t they?
Jerod Morris: Absolutely, yes they are. No question.
Chris Ducker: I saw Jay Baer live. I believe it was the closing keynote at the National Speaker’s Association conference in Philadelphia about, good god, three, four years ago. I’ve known Jay for maybe five years or so, but I’ve never actually seen him speak live before. Jay was up on stage doing a keynote in regards to … bear in mind, this is the perfect lead into Youpreneur for me, all those years back, where he was talking about becoming your own media channel, your own media station, or media company.
Obviously, the room is full of thousands of professional speakers and coaches at the NSA. He just blew me away. Not only was his content bang on for the audience itself — and that in itself is a lesson where a lot of keynote speakers will do the same keynote over and over again in front of many different types of audiences — but the way he tailored it to this audience with the examples, with the takeaways, with the insights, you knew that he had done his research and his work, and had practiced.
It was just the way he delivered it as a keynote speaker. And as someone who, at that point, was starting to do more and more breakout sessions, concurrent sessions, I’d yet to keynote a big conference. I sat back and was kind of in awe of Jay and the way that he projected his message in front of thousands of people. Very, very big event, the annual conference for the National Speakers Association.
That night I actually had dinner with Jay. I said to him, “Dude, you just blew me away. You’re my hero. You’re my speaker hero.” Yeah. Jay Baer on stage. If you get the chance, go see him. He’s incredible.
Chris’ Biggest Productivity Hack for Doing Meaningful Work
Jerod Morris: Yeah, agreed. What productivity hack has had the biggest impact on your ability to get more meaningful work done?
Chris Ducker: Hmm, good one. I think there are two things that I do. Can I overachieve quickly?
Jerod Morris: Absolutely, I would expect nothing less.
Chris Ducker: All right, so I think the first thing is that I get my creative work done first thing. I’m up early. I get to work usually around 8:00 am, and by 10:00 am usually I’m done with my creative work. What does that mean? It means writing a blog post, recording a workshop for Youpreneur members, maybe recording a video, or doing a podcast interview.
Whatever the case may be, it’s creative. I do that first thing before I look at my email, before I look at Twitter, before I go into the community and converse with members there. It’s creative work first. That’s the first thing. That, in itself, is meaningful work at the end of the day.
Jerod Morris: Oh yeah. It’s the most meaningful work.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, the other thing that I do when it comes to email … and email is the bane of every digital entrepreneur’s life, let’s face it. For me, the big thing that I do is actually follow a three-click rule with a three-sentence rule combined. If anybody’s ever received an email from me, at the end of my email signature you’ll see, “Why is this email three sentences or less? Click here to find out.” There’s a little link that you can click.
If you’re too lazy to send me an email and figure this one out for yourselves, anyone tuning in, you can just go to ChrisDucker.com/ThreeRule, and you’ll see exactly what the deal is. Ultimately, what I do is, when I open an email, I do one of three things. I either delete it, I either reply or forward it, or I archive it. I do it there and then and never open an email twice, ever.
Jerod Morris: Hmm.
Chris Ducker: I reply to it the moment I read it, or I forward it, or I delete it, or I archive it. That’s the reason why I get to inbox zero basically every single day.
Jerod Morris: Hmm, when you archive it, do you have a way of categorizing special emails that maybe you didn’t want to reply to, but there’s a nugget in there that you don’t want to forget?
Chris Ducker: Yeah, I’ve got probably 25 or so labels inside of Gmail that I use. That’s the way we do that.
How to Get in Touch with Chris
Jerod Morris: Got you. My final question, and this one is an easy one. The pressure is now off. What is the single best way for someone inspired by today’s discussion to get in touch with you?
Chris Ducker: That is really easy. That’s a good one. Everything I do is linked to at ChrisDucker.com. That’s what I’m all about.
Jerod Morris: Very nice. Mr. Ducker, this was a pleasure. I appreciate you being here.
Chris Ducker: The pleasures all mine.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I look forward to seeing you in Denver coming up this year, in just a few months.
Chris Ducker: It’s going to be a blast. Man, I’ll tell you what, you guys are putting on a great show by the looks of it. I cannot wait. I’ve never been to a Copyblogger, Rainmaker, Brian Clark event before, but I am incredibly excited to be at the event in October.
For me, it actually honestly has nothing to do with things like the venue, the show, the great band you’ve got playing, or anything like that. It’s just the fact that because I know it’s done by you guys, I know it’s going to be awesome. I just can’t wait to be there with you guys. It’s going to be the highlight of my speaking year. There’s no doubt about it.
Jerod Morris: Yeah. Well, thank you. You’re speaking on the first day, as am I. Let’s set the bar high.
Chris Ducker: I was going to say, are you going before me or after me?
Jerod Morris: I think I’m before you.
Chris Ducker: So I’m screwed. I’m totally screwed.
Jerod Morris: No, no, you’re going to show them how it’s done. We’ve got to set the bar high for everybody who’s speaking on day two. We got to really put the pressure on them.
Chris Ducker: Yeah, I want to see Jeff Walker walk out shaking, literally shaking, coming on the stage.
Jerod Morris: That would be awesome. Well, Chris, thank you. Give my best to Erc.
Chris Ducker: I shall.
Jerod Morris: And we will talk soon.
Chris Ducker: All right, my brother. Thanks for having me.
Jerod Morris: Yep, thank you.
All righty. Well, my thanks to Chris Ducker for joining me here on this episode of The Digital Entrepreneur, and my thanks to you for listening all the way through. I hope you enjoyed that conversation. I definitely enjoyed it. I feel much better now knowing that, if I run into Richard Branson throughout any of my travels, I will know to address him as Sir Richard at first, and then he will probably say, “No, no, no, that’s okay,” which is cool.
All the links for stuff that we talked about, those will be in the show notes, so you can go check those out at Rainmaker.FM.
One more reminder in terms of the event, the link is Rainmaker.FM/Summit-Speakers. Again, the early bird price goes up next Thursday. That’s Thursday, July 28th. Make sure that you go to that link. Get the best price possible. Book your ticket. Join us in Denver because you’re going to want to be there.
It’s going to help take you, again, from point A to point B with your digital business, with your digital product, your digital service. Whatever it is, we want to help you take that next step. Digital Commerce Summit is the place to do it. You’ll get the education. You’ll get the networking. You’ll get the motivation that you need. That is why you should go. I really hope to see you there. Rainmaker.FM/Summit-Speakers.
All righty. I will talk to you next week on another brand-new episode of The Digital Entrepreneur. Take care.