Episode 129: Eben Pagan on Hot Topics, the Secret Billion $ Industry and the Kiss Test

Listen Now
RSS: Subscribe
RSS: iTunes

Eben Pagan is proof that the urban legend of a young guy making millions on the Internet is true.

Eben is both a urban and a true legend, having co-created, with a small group of pioneers, the information product marketing industry. And industry it is. By Eben's estimates, information product marketing is a $ dollar business.

Find out the secret to making $25 million a year, what the best ideas are for information products, how the business has evolved in the last 8 years and his advice for breaking into the JV world.

Eben shares his path to his end game - what he's doing, what he's thinking about the world and his place in it.

Myth is more individual and expresses life much more precisely than does science.  -- Carl Jung


Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host Susan Bratton, and on today’s show you’re going to get to meet Eben Pagan. Eben is the founder of a company called Hot Topic Media, and we’ve got some hot topics for you today. You’re going to learn how he built his media empire over the last eight years in the world of information product marketing and how he’s evolving that to help other people in our industry find their true potential. It’s truly the story of a metamorphosis and we’re going to talk to Eben about that right now. So lets get going. Welcome Eben.

Eben Pagan: Thanks Susan. It’s great to be here.

Susan Bratton: Of course it is. Would it be any other way than great?

Eben Pagan: Well you’re making me sound pretty fancy there, so hopefully I can live up to your expectations and your introduction.

Susan Bratton: I’m sure you can surpass it and we’re going to do that. So the first thing that I want to do is a level-set on Hot Topic. You started out in about 2001, eight years ago in your own house working for yourself. You’ve got 80 or more full-time employees. It’s a virtual business delivering 25 million dollars a year in revenue in the world of information product marketing. So first, before we define even what information… I guess what we should do is define what information product marketing is first and then tell us about what I see is kind of two parts to your business. It looks to me like you have a dating advice side of the business and a business success side of your business. So tell us the story of that a little bit.

Eben Pagan: Yeah, so to answer your first question, information products are taking information or knowledge and essentially packaging it up as a product or service. I think of books as information products. Seminars are information products. And nowadays we have things like teleclasses and members areas and membership websites and webinars and coaching, etcetera, etcetera. As we move more into the knowledge and information age people need more knowledge and information to improve the results they get and the quality of their life and their success, and so information products and what you might think of as information services allow us to do that. And it’s huge business; I mean it’s growing very, very rapidly all over the world. Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” decades ago and only now are we starting to, you know, really feel what that means. I saw a study recently that said that almost three quarters of us here in America, where we’re doing this interview right now, are knowledge workers, meaning that the majority of the work we do is with our mind, not with our hands. And so I think it’s a great opportunity to do well by doing good, help people to improve their lives and get better results, and also have a good business model.

Susan Bratton: You know, there’s a really good book, it’s called Revolutionary Wealth by Alvin Toffler. Do you know Alvin Toffler?

Eben Pagan: Yup, I know the book.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, he I think does a really good job of talking about that knowledge worker from a global socioeconomic perspective. So if you haven’t read it and you just know it, there are some gems in there. I interviewed him probably about two months ago. It was really an honor ‘cause he’s 81 years old and, you know, it impacted my life when he wrote Future Shock in the 70’s and I loved having an interview with him.

Eben Pagan: Yeah, he’s fantastic. He and his wife are amazing.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, Heidi. And so now tell us about Hot Topic.

Eben Pagan: So my business, as you mentioned, I started about eight, actually about eight and a half years ago sitting in my bedroom. I had done some work in the real estate and mortgage industry, and I learned that in that world you don’t just go into business and have people show up and start giving you money, so I had to figure out how to market and sell. And as I was learning marketing and sales I realized that to me marketing sales were much more interesting than the actual business. And then I had a good friend who had written a book and actually wound up publishing it online and selling it as an e-book, and he would kind of call me up and make fun of me because I was quote/unquote, “doing real work”, you know, in the real world and he was selling this e-book online and doing very well for himself.

Susan Bratton: Who was that?

Eben Pagan: My buddy Dean Jackson.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Eben Pagan: And so I said okay, you know, finally I gave in, I said, “Alright, lets do this”, and I had spent a few years in my own life working on my own life. I felt like a social loser frankly and decided to do something about it, so I started reading books and going to seminars and listening to audio programs about relationships and dating, and I just found that most of it wasn’t that good. And so in my, you know, my own experience I started meeting people and watching them and experimenting with things and finding what did work, and it seemed like a natural fit to write a book of dating advice, so that’s what I did. And it was not very fancy; I mean I wrote the whole book in about three weeks. I just locked myself in my bedroom and hammered it out. The book was full of typos and, you know, all kinds of little problems when I started selling it. But that’s one nice thing about the information product world is that, you know, if you’ve got the goods, if you’re actually helping people to do stuff, that’s what’s more important is the quality of the information. You’re not creating an information product to get an A or to win a prize, you’re creating an information product to help another human being get a result that they want to get. And right from the beginning it took off. I just started using simple pay-per-click marketing, and I mean back in those days I didn’t have a landing page, I didn’t have any of this fancy stuff that we have now. It was like pay-per-click marketing that went to a one page website and you click on an order button and you buy the book and kind of that’s it, and I had to teach myself HTML and how to build websites and how to do all these things. It was a little confusing at first, but, you know, nowadays of course we have all these great tools and amazing technology that anyone can access. It’s much easier to start than when I got started. But anyway, it took off. The Dating Advice For Men did well so we launched The Dating Advice For Women, and then we started teaching relationship advice, which also went on to do very well. And then a couple of years ago we launched a couple of businesses to teach business as well, and we teach business growth, we teach marketing, time management. We also have a whole course to teach people how to publish their own information products online and kind of do what we did and grew organically. You mentioned that we’re, I think you mentioned that we’re virtual, right, so we have 80 full time employees and we’ve never had an office. I liked working from home and it struck me that everybody else would as well, so we found very kind of free thinking people who liked the flexibility of working from home and that’s worked for us. So there you go. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Susan Bratton: Well what do you think is the secret to your success?

Eben Pagan: Well it’s a combination of things. If you’re going to succeed in information products I think first of all you’ve got to realize that we’re living in a very inundated society right now. Our recent Jack Trout, who wrote the book Positioning, in that book they said “We live in the world’s first over communicated society”, and they wrote that in 1980, right. So when you think about the reality that we were already over communicated before we had cell phones and text messages and email and all this overwhelm, it creates this insight that you can’t just be more noise anymore. You can’t just think, “Well I’m going to, you know, write a little pamphlet and a million people are going to buy it.” So what you have to do is you have to find a place where there’s a huge need, where there’s a lot of emotional fear, frustration, anxiety or there’s a lot of desire and want and aspiration. And when we teach how to publish information products, one of the things that I do is I teach people to find niches where there’s a huge need, prospects are already out looking for solutions - so you don’t have to try to talk them into wanting what you have, they’re already looking for it - and where there are a few or no perceived options for them. So when I started, because I knew a thing or two about marketing, I went into an area where these conditions were met. When I wrote a book of dating advice I knew that there were lots of men that were very frustrated with their results in the dating world and they didn’t know where to turn. I knew that they were looking for solutions because you could just look in the pay-per-click search engine and see how many people were searching on different terms like “How to get a girlfriend” and “How to get a date”, and so forth. And I also knew that there weren’t many perceived options out there because I went to the bookstore and looked myself for a couple of years and, you know, there were a couple of books on the shelf and I said, “This is a great niche idea.” Another thing that we did that I think is a little counterintuitive for most experts and people that want to publish information products is we narrowed our niche down. What most people would do that are starting to teach relationship, dating, that kind of thing, what they would do was say, “Well we’re going to teach everyone. We’re going to teach all ages, all races, all sexes, all, you know, all denominations, all religions, we’re going to teach everybody how to have high quality relationships.” And what I say is how can you chop off 80 percent of your market and then how can you chop off 80 percent of your market again so that you focus on just on, you know, one little area. And as an example we didn’t teach relationship advice, we taught dating advice, just the beginning of the process, because there are a million books on relationships and there are seminars and that’s a whole well established niche, but dating advice at this time eight and a half years ago was not. And the next thing that I did was I said, “You know what, I’m only going to teach men dating advice.” So first we carved off probably 80 or 90 percent by just teaching dating advice – or chopped off or carved off 10 or 20 percent to focus on – and then we chopped off 50 percent by only focusing on men. And I think that if you follow that path of finding a huge emotional need where there’s an audience that is desperately looking for solutions that doesn’t fell like they have options and then you narrow your niche, you really target in on your niche, you offer really good stuff, I think you’ll have a much higher probability of success, and I think that’s what we did.

Susan Bratton: Since you started producing your information products how has marketing them evolved. I mean you talked about having to learn HTML and not having the tools that you had, but you probably, you could buy pay-per-click and afford it. Can you, you know, can you buy pay-per-click now? What was the landscape like then and what is it like now?

Eben Pagan: Yeah, so that’s the really fun thing about the internet is everything changes so fast and what is perplexing to me Susan is that most people are really intimidated by fast change. They don’t want anything to change, they want it to all be stable and, you know, they want to know exactly what’s going to happen and “Oh, pay-per-click is getting more expensive, and everything, you know, the sky is going to fall.” Well almost all great successes that have ever happened have happened because there was some change and a person went “Oh, look at that. Things have changed and the folks working on this before haven’t taken advantage of this and filled that niche and so I can.” So things are changing, but it’s creating all these opportunities, many of which I’m probably not even aware of at this point because there’s so many out there. But, you know, we started with pay-per-click, we still do pay-per-click to this day, it’s still a very viable way to build a great successful business. What’s changing about it is that, you know, when I started I could get on a search engine that most people have never heard of called Find What and another one called Sprinks, and I could buy clicks for a penny to a couple of cents apiece on all kinds of different terms, and now you can’t really do that the same way anymore because we’ve got, you know, Google’s the big player. Google wasn’t even really around when I got started and Google now dominates the whole market and they’ve got things like quality score and they measure relevance, which is good in the big picture because it helps everyone, but it makes it a little bit more challenging because now you have to think more about what you’re offering because there’s more competition. But again, things have changed and that opens up even more opportunities. So those that are creating higher quality content and training and materials and those that are building websites that are really just packed with high quality value are winning out because not only are they getting pay-per-click and still getting good prices on pay-per-click, but they also now are getting high rankings in search engines and getting lots of free traffic. Another thing that’s evolving that I’ve been observing is as things become more complex and as we have more channels of communication with other human beings we have to start thinking about being more integrated. So when I started it was, you know, advertise on this search engine, someone clicks, they go to my website and either buy or they don’t. And it was very like black or white, like you’re either coming or you’re not and either you’re buying or not. And over time we started to evolve, we’re the first ones that I know of that used a landing page that, you know, we call an Opt In page, where unless someone opts in they really can’t come inside your website. And everyone thought I was crazy for doing that because 80 percent of the that visited my website didn’t opt in, so they never got to see inside of it. But the 20 percent who did opt in, they got on our list and we were able to communicate with them several times a week sometimes for years and send them high quality, high value content and training, and it wound up totally changing our whole model. So that’s one way that things have gotten a little more complex, but also a little more integrated in a way. And what’s happening now is all of the different channels are being connected up to each other and there will be channels that will be coming in the future as well. The model that I use in my head – just to give you almost like a little cheat sheet here – is I think of my customers as human beings, like regular people, people that I would probably enjoy talking to if I was standing in line at Starbucks, and people who are smart and who get it. And I don’t create an advertisement or marketing piece or a website for the masses; I created it for one human being and then I, you know, I almost imagine having a dialogue with it as I write it. So as we evolve and become more integrated I ask myself questions like “If this was a friend of mine how would I go about communicating with them? Like, what would be the process? Like, what would be the process that I would use? Lets say that I was going to sell them some of my business advice. Lets say that I didn’t even create the business advice, I just had a friend that created it and I really liked it and I wanted to tell one of my friends about it; what would I do? Would I send him an email? Would I call him up on the phone? Would I tell him about it on Face Book? What would be the exact sequence that I would go through that would be natural? How would I be wording this process? What would my tone be like? Would it be, you know, very serious? Would I send him a picture with a logo? Would I give an endorsement of the product? Like, how would the whole ting work, and then I started designing my marketing from there because I think more and more and more we want to feel like we’re dealing with real humans that we can relate to and not with big nameless faceless corporations.

Susan Bratton: Yeah. It’s funny, I was thinking about how on this show we talk about authenticity and social influence changing the way we’re interacting with customers and prospects. You started out eight years ago under a pseudonym, David DeAngelo, and you kind of made your name in that Double Your Dating world as a different person. You’ve now started to invent the Eben Pagan that we’re coming to know. You’ve kind of come out of that world. How are you imbuing authenticity and how are you interacting with customers and prospects with your information products now?

Eben Pagan: Yeah, that’s a, it’s an interesting question, ‘cause authenticity, that word is becoming very important and the concept is becoming very important everywhere. I mean transparency, people feeling like “You know what, if you can show me who you are, then I’ll, you know, consider doing business with you”, these kinds of ideas. They didn’t, they didn’t exist like this before. There were, you know, large bodies and so forth that were in power and they didn’t let that, you know, go easily and either had to kind of buy what they were selling or not buy at all and, you know, the democratization of everything, right, and kind of the decentralization of everything is making it so that all of us are saying, “You know what, now, you know, I’m going to choose who I want to do business with because hey if, you know, you don’t want to help me there’s 20 other competitors over here that do”, so it’s like all these different market forces and so forth are coming to bear, while at the same time we as human beings are evolving to the next level psychologically and we’re realizing that we deceive ourselves continuously, we’re playing all of these social games and these psychological games and these political games trying to position ourselves. And as we become aware of those processes that are happening we’re all saying, “You know what, I don’t want to live a lie. I don’t want to live in a bunch of deception and kind of make up this dream world that I live in and then try to protect all the lies that I told”, so we’re maturing as individuals and as a society in some ways, we’re, we also seem to be kind of getting less mature in other ways, but that’s kind of a different topic for a different day. And so as marketing matures and as we mature everything’s going to change, right. I have several friends that are just killer marketers, and their whole marketing campaigns are essentially based on bringing people in behind the scenes in their life and just showing them everything that’s going on, right. I did an interview with one of my friends last year, maybe 18 months ago or something. I was doing a product launch, and I asked him to do an interview with me live on the phone the night before we launched the product. And this is one of those people that I’m mentioned, his name is Frank Kern. And we get on the phone to do the interview, and he starts pouring himself some booze, and he says, “I’m pouring myself a glass of Absinthe right now.” And I said, “What are you doing?” You know, I’m doing like this serious product launch here, and he’s, you know, he says, “Well, you know, just having a drink here”, and he starts asking me questions, and he asked me all kinds of deep personal questions about my past and, you know, back when I was poor when I was Junger. We delved into all this stuff and he just said, “You know what, I think people want to know who you really are and what’s really going on”, and I’m fine talking about whatever anybody wants to talk about – I mean there’s nothing that’s off limits with me – but my mindset was “Nah, you know what, they just want to hear about the product and what’s in it for them.” Well it turned out that it was a huge hit, everybody loved it, it’s still talked about and, you know, it’s kind of legendary to this day, it was the Absinthe The Interview kind of thing, and people really appreciated it. So the more we can like learn about the other human being, the more we can disclose about our self and do it in a way that creates and builds trust for all of us, I think the better. You also touched on my pen name David DeAngelo, which I started with, and frankly when I got started I would’ve been glad to use my real name; I just have a weird name. You know, my name is Eben Pagan. And as I looked at that as a marketer I said, “Nah, it’s just kind of, I don’t know. It doesn’t sound like a regular person that I can relate to.” And so I created a name, and I actually used psychological and marketing principles that I used to create the name David DeAngelo - and it was a name that has nice rhythm and it has alliteration, it’s easy to remember and it was available on the internet and what have you, and it sounds kind of like a regular guy name, and so I just started using that name. I’ve said in my dating seminars, I’ve mentioned that, you know, my name’s Eben and I’ve never hid it or anything. In fact for years on our website, it used to say at the bottom of the website that David DeAngelo’s my pen name. As I started teaching business a couple of years ago – maybe two and a half years ago or so – I was seriously considering just keeping David DeAngelo so that everyone didn’t get confused, you know, they didn’t know the difference. But I did a couple of live training programs that were just small and a bunch of my friends came and everybody, you know, knew me as Eben in my kind of social world, and in a strange kind of way Susan, my real name just stuck. And so I was kind of forced to keep using it.

Susan Bratton: Well I love that story. I didn’t realize the etymology of your name, so that was good. And we’re going to take a break to thank my sponsors, and when we come back we’re going to talk about JV launches, have Eben introduce you to a whole world that’s happening that you may not even know about. We’re going to talk about Carl Jung, the kiss test and giving away your best ideas first. So I’ve got a lot more I want to talk to you about Eben, so lets get to the break and come back and we’ll get there.

Susan Bratton: We’re back. I’m your host Susan Bratton. You’re getting to know Eben Pagan, the founder of Hot Topic Media. And Eben when we left, we had mentioned Carl Jung a little bit earlier in the conversation, and I wanted to talk to you about that. You recently Twittered a little – what is it - just a little statement, a little phrase that Carl Jung had said, and you wrote “Miss is more individual and expresses life much more precisely than does science.” And I wanted to know why that spoke to you.

Eben Pagan: You know, what comes to mind, there’s a great book by Robert and Michele  Root-Bernstein called Sparks of Genius. And in there they teach a whole series of creative thinking tools. And one of the tools that they talk about is abstracting. And they have an example in there, I think it was for the abstracting section. And they talk about this, this series of illustrations that this artist created and they’re medical illustrations. And what this particular person did is they went and they examined several different parts of the anatomy under the microscope and, you know, with different types of stains and different angles and so forth, and they looked at like 50 examples from 50 different specimens, and then they went and created a drawing or a painting of kind of an average of all of them. And to this day this artist’s paintings and illustrations are still used to teach in med school and they’re still used by doctors because they’re more accurate than any individual case might be. Does that make sense to you?

Susan Bratton: Yeah, of course. It’s kind of the mean of what the breadth of human life might look like.

Eben Pagan: Exactly. And mythology does that in a way, but for our experience as humans. And sometimes you can be going through a challenge in your life and you can read a little story or a myth that relates to what you’ve got going on and somehow everything just clicks and it makes more sense in the world, you know. If you go through a process in your life where your ego gets a little bit out of hand and you have a fall and then you read the story of Icarus and you learn about hubris, it just makes sense in a way and you go, “Oh, yeah, you know. I guess I was like, you know, Icarus father and I thought ‘Oh my son should be the one, you know, to be able to fly’, and in that hubris or in that arrogance I destroyed myself.” So mythology is, you know, it’s just kind of a generalized human experience that somehow tends to bring meaning and insight into many of the different things that we experience day to day.

Susan Bratton: You know Jung was a big believer in the power of archetypes. That was a big part of his thought about the unconscious and looking into our own conscious and trying to uncover some of the archetypes in our own behavior. But I was also recently in New York and I went to the Rubin Museum, which is, I didn’t even know about this museum. A friend of mine, Chris Popenoe, suggested that we go there when we were getting together. And I got to see Carl Jung’s new, the Red Book – have you ever heard of his Red Book?

Eben Pagan: I have not.

Susan Bratton: Okay, so it’s a book that Carl Jung was like a personal private journal of his. And he was fascinated by Mandalas, I’ll tell you that, and he collected some exquisite Mandalas, primarily Tibetan. But he also was a beautiful artist and illustrator, and he had this big red leather book, and he would write down all of the things that he was thinking about. You know, he kind of went crazy there for a few years of his life when he was kind of tripping on his unconscious realities, and he would put a lot of his thoughts down into this thing called the Red Book. He would draw these beautiful pictures and illustrate – it was all in German of course, but in this beautiful calligraphy, and the family had kept that book private ever since he died. No one had ever really seen it; only a few people had ever been privy to it. And recently the family allowed it to come out for the first time, and one of the big publishing houses –Norton – reproduced the Red Book, so you can actually see all of his amazing illustrations. It’s something that I think you might like. It’s probably at, you know, the Rubin Museum website has it, it’s been written up in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It’s like a big the, this Red Book, and you can buy a copy of it now on Amazon, it’s available for about a hundred bucks.

Eben Pagan: Hmm, sounds like right up my alley.

Susan Bratton: I think you’d enjoy looking at his work and looking at the way he expressed the collective unconscious in his drawings. I think it would speak to you, just knowing a bit about you. So check that out. What’s your end game? You’re definitely metamorphasizing yourself right now. You’re evolving. You’ve moved from the dating and relationship information product world to teaching people what you know. You’ve got Ignition, you’ve got Altitude, The Guru Mastermind program, a new one you have called Wake Up Productive. In each one of these you’re teaching people what you know and almost becoming their motivator. So where are you going with all of this?

Eben Pagan: Well I look at each of these areas that I’m figuring out as pieces of a bigger puzzle that paradoxically I don’t even know what the bigger puzzle is, but the more of the pieces that I figure out the more becomes clearly into view. I was making a joke with a friend of mine earlier today, which is that, you know, to me every time I do some marketing I experience an ethical dilemma. It’s like every marketing piece or sales piece that I create, because I’m always asking myself “Am I selling too hard here? Am I pitching this too much? Am I not pushing hard enough? Is it not going to be motivating enough that they’re going to buy?” In fact going through sales and marketing education when I was younger, it was a massive challenge for me because I don’t like to offend people, I don’t like to upset people, I just want everyone to be happy kind of as they are. But then as I started learning about direct marketing and sales I realized most people are very apathetic; they’re very bored, they’re very distrusting, they have been ripped off a lot of times, and that in order to get them to take action sometimes, you know, the choices either say nothing and they won’t take action or really put on the persuasion very, very, very hard so that they will. And so it’s, you know, I guess I’ll just kind of put that over here and say that’s like exhibit one as part of the answer. And then the next thing is, over the last few years especially as I’ve been meeting more and more dynamic thinkers and becoming more interested in some of the significant issues that we’re facing in the world, I’ve realized there are a lot more challenges that we face on this planet than most people realize, ‘kay. Most people think “Well, you know what, we’ve got to deal with global warming, but, you know, the government will figure that out. Yeah, we’ll get some new thing that will, you know, we’ll screw on the tailpipe of our car and everything will be fine”, but they don’t realize that it’s much, much more complex and more serious than that. We’re dealing with things like – and I’m sure you’re familiar with a lot of these – but we’re losing our topsoil at an alarming rate, we’re losing fresh water at an alarming rate, there’s plastic that’s accumulating in the oceans at an alarming rate, we’re killing off species on the planet at something like a thousand times is one estimate, the rate that they would normally be dying at. And there are just, you know, there are probably about ten other things like this that every one of them is a big deal, but they’re all connected, they’re all interrelated to each other, and it’s a big dynamic system and it’s not going to be simple or easy to solve and no one knows right now exactly what to do, and there are a lot of experts that are working on it and because I like big complex challenges and I enjoy kind of helping people, it’s come on my radar in a way. So there’s like that one and, you know, getting educated as much as I can about some of these issues. And so over here we’ve got this business knowledge and we’ve got some of this marketing and promotion knowledge and we’ve got some technology knowledge and then, you know, we’ve got this knowledge of some of the challenges that we’re facing and these relationships, and it, you know, again as I say it, I think you can maybe see what I’m starting to see, which is, you know, I think that I’ll ultimately be able to take all of this experience from various areas of my life and I just look at them as little training experiences, I don’t really take any of them that seriously. I mean even my businesses, each of them, I don’t think of them that, I don’t take them that seriously. I mean I like that they succeed and I put everything I have into them, but I know that all that knowledge and all of that kind of power is going to be used ultimately in some bigger sense, and I think that where I’m going is to try to contribute to the world and help it solve some of these problems.

Susan Bratton: So you’re really still on the path to getting the experience integrated to do something big, but you’re looking for what that might be.

Eben Pagan: Exactly.

Susan Bratton: That makes a lot of sense. I see you doing that. That’s my experience of you as well; bringing a lot of that stuff out into the consciousness of a lot of the people who follow you, ‘cause that is one of the things that you have going for you, is you have a really big following of people who absolutely adore you. And there could be nothing more powerful in the world than that as an opportunity for change.

Eben Pagan: Yeah. It’s funny ‘cause people have been saying that to me a lot lately, and the irony is for me that I, I’m not seeking fame. You know, I’ve been contacted by, you know, many of the largest media companies, the most famous media personalities, etcetera, to do interviews and things like that, and it’s just not what I’m after, you know. I, sometimes I’ll do an interview like this or I’ll be a guest speaker at other programs if I think that it’ll contribute in some way and it’ll really help. And so advice that I would have for anyone that is trying to start an information product business or become really successful in marketing right now is to put aside their own fame motive or power motive or kind of success motive a little bit and see if you can really get into the motive of helping the other person or the group of other people and put everything that you can into that, and the following and the fame and all of that, that’ll be a byproduct and, you know, sure sometimes it’s fun to, you know, get recognition and whatever, but I think if you want to have a much higher probability of having that happen, just help a lot of people

Susan Bratton: Yeah, right. Exactly. Put your focus on others. And speaking of that, I’d like you to help my listeners right because a lot of us don’t really understand clearly this world of the JV launch, and that’s endemic to the information product world. And just to be conscious of everyone’s time, will you do it in a way that is super terse and pithy?

Eben Pagan: Yup, got it. Well here’s what’s happening: my friend Jeff Walker has invented this formula or this approach or this system that he calls the product launch formula, and what’s going on right now is lots of individuals sitting at home at their computers who work at all different types of niches are realizing, you know, the big companies, they, they don’t really want us to compete with them and they don’t want to make it easy for us as small business owners, so they’re all organizing. And it might be a niche of people in the fitness industry or people in the internet marketing industry or people selling, you know, guitar lessons online or whatever, and they’re organizing and, you know, each of them has a little list, you know. One of them did some pay-per-click marketing and has a list of three thousand people, and another one does good SEO and they’ve got 15 thousands people, and in the internet marketing community there’ll be somebody that’s got 50 thousand people on their list and someone that’s got 200 thousand people and someone that’s got 300, and they all organize and they promote each others products, but they do it in a coordinated way. So as an example we just finished a launch last we where we launched a program called Ignition and it was for teaching people how to start a business online. And what we did is we went out to all of our partners, all of those that we thought would have a list that would be a good match for this product, and we gave away some free training and we had some great, you know, free offers and things up front for folks. And the, all of our affiliate partners, or JV’s as they’re being called, they all mailed their lists and said, “Hey, Eben’s doing something cool over here. You should go check it out”, and we got a ton of traffic and then we got a lot of customers as a result. But then what’s happening is this week someone else is doing a product launch – or couple of them actually – and we are promoting their product launches because they have great products and everyone’s product is slightly different, everyone naturally kind of niches out a little bit. And also there’s a little bit of an ethic that’s created when you’re in a social business group, you don’t just rip other people’s stuff off, like maybe would’ve happened in the past because these are your friends and you’re each promoting each others stuff, so you take a little bit more time to be considerate and say “Okay well, you do a program on getting traffic and just sold it. I’m going to do one on getting traffic, but I’m going to put this spin on it because this is what I’m good at, and this way your customers who bought your program would also like mine, and mine who buy my product will also like yours”, and that evolves very nicely. Hundreds reportedly – and this is kind of back in the Invoke envelope calculations, but I can see it myself, so I believe it – hundreds of millions of dollars a year worth of products are now being sold using methods like this, and it’s exploding. And so the old way was you’ve got competition and the new way is your competition is now your best friend because it’s all of you banding together to help each other succeed where the big guys in business who perceive you as competitors would really try to lock you out. And it’s like peer to peer or peer to peer business, you know, or social business in a way. It’s a new, it’s like a whole new paradigm that’s emerging. It’s very powerful.

Susan Bratton: And if someone wants to get connected into that what’s your advice for them to meet those people and get into that world?

Eben Pagan: I actually recommend that they organize their own. Whatever your niche is, okay, just have a party and invite a bunch of people to it. We did this last year with all the internet marketers that are in our kind of business niche. I just made it up; I said, “You know what, I’m going to have a get together.” In fact my friend Jeff Walker, who I mentioned to you, figured this whole product launch thing out. I was talking to him about it and I mentioned to him that when I’m at live seminars I always meet the most interesting people when we’re hanging out in the Green Room, and he goes, “Maybe you should call this The Green Room”, and I said, “Uh, good idea.” So it’s called The Green Room, and I just emailed all the internet marketers and said, “Hey, I’m getting all the internet marketers that do info products on internet marketing together, all the top folks, and you’re invited.” And we got the top hundred of them and they all came. And we, you know, we didn’t have an agenda, we didn’t try to pitch anything; I just got everyone together and introduced them to each other knowing that that’s good positioning for me, you know, even if I’m not directly selling because now I have better relationships, I get to meet and introduce people to each other. That’s what I think you should do is organize your niche. Have some type of a social business gathering, even if it’s for a day somewhere, and get everyone together, talk to them about this and organize everyone.

Susan Bratton: Nice! Good advice. Just start there. Alright, we have to end this, but I want to end it with your idea that you give away your best idea first, and I’m asking you to give away the one from Double Your Dating, which was your kiss test. How do you do it?

Eben Pagan: Yeah, this comes from a concept that I call move the free line, which is essentially the idea that, you know, nowadays you can get anything for free online, so if you want to attract a lot of customers create something that’s high value that’s your very best stuff and give it away. And when we do product launches we usually give away hours and hours of video training, hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of stuff. And what we figured out when we were doing Double Your Dating back in the day was that men really wanted to know a couple of things – you know, they wanted to know how to start a conversation with an attractive woman, they wanted to know how to get a date, and one of the big ones was they wanted to know how to tell if a woman is ready to be kissed. And the kiss test – and you can of course go see this for yourself at doubleyourdating.com, you know, and like see the, lets just say the good stuff – but the simple answer to the kiss test is instead of reaching over and kissing her, reach over and touch her hair and tell her, you know, give her a compliment on her hair – you know, say that her hair looks nice or looks soft or looks shiny – and if she smiles and responds well and doesn’t pull away then that’s a good sign that she’s physically comfortable around you, she, you know, feels some level of trust, and then, you know, then you can go from there. Look at her lips, and if she looks at your lips then you can give her a kiss and, you know, you’re probably okay.

Susan Bratton: And how’s that working for you?

Eben Pagan: Well, you know, I’ve been working a lot lately, and I don’t really know. I haven’t executed the kiss test in a long time, so…

Susan Bratton: Awww.

Eben Pagan: I don’t know if it works in today’s current dating environment, but I’m pretty sure it does.

Susan Bratton: It sounds like it would. I would love it if someone did that to me. I think I’ll ask someone to. Eben, I’ve really enjoyed having you on the show. I wish we could go deeper into every single thing we talked about. We just scratched the surface in such a light way and there’s so much more there, but it’s, we don’t have all the time in the world and that’s always the constraint, isn’t it?

Eben Pagan: It sure seems to be.

Susan Bratton: I know. Well thank you so much for coming on Dishy Mix. I’m sure that everyone’s going to go to Double Your Dating and take that kiss test and check out Hot Topic and all of the things that you do, and I will make sure that I list them all on your profile page, your Dishy Mix page, so everyone can find all your things and go learn more about the great stuff that you have going on, and we’re looking forward to watching your journey of experience and contribution.

Eben Pagan: Thanks Susan.

Susan Bratton: Thank you Eben. I’m your host, Susan Bratton. I hope you had a great time getting to know Eben Pagan and I hope you have a great day and you’ll tune in next week as well. Bye-bye.