Our guest in this episode is Kyle Weiger — the founder of two successful membership sites ReflexionYoga.com & Kyle Weiger.com. Kyle has truly been through the wringer as an entrepreneur and shares from his experience what it actually takes to build a successful business online.
Kyle starts off by telling the story of what happened after he quit his job in 2012 to start an online yoga business. We go on to explore many of the personal and professional lessons he’s learned along the way in his journey to entrepreneurial success. This episode is packed full of practical tips and strategies that you can use to grow your business. We hope you enjoy!
Do you have any thoughts, insights, or questions about starting a membership site? Join our discussion and add a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!
“I’m sitting there and I opened up Stripe. And, I had looked in there and I had had $199,900 and some change in sales. I looked at it and looked at it again and was like, oh man! I’m one sale away from $200,000! I just kind of took a deep breath and I was like man… this is it. This is the feeling I want. This is what the other side feels like. The opposite of crying in an empty yoga studio… whether or not you’re going to be living in your car next month… To being on a beach in Australia living more of a digital nomad life and actually hitting REAL financial goals… it can happen, man!”
That’s Kyle Weiger sharing the story of how he went from having only $200 to his name to earning over $200,000 selling his course on handstand training – all in under a year’s time!
Kyle has truly been through the wringer as an entrepreneur and knows from experience what it takes to build a successful business online. He’s the founder of two membership sites in the Yoga & Fitness space – ReflexionYoga.com and KyleWeiger.com. And, he’s working on launching a THIRD membership site soon.
In today’s episode, Kyle shares strategies on designing an effective marketing funnel, the hilarious reaction he got from his boss when he told him he wanted to quit his job to start an online yoga business and he generously shares the strategies he uses on Facebook to generate extremely qualified leads and presents them in a step-by-step way so anyone can implement them.
We’ve got a really fun episode packed full of practical tips and strategies that you can use to grow your business. So, let’s get to it!
I’m your host, Eric Turnnessen and this is the Subscription Entrepreneur podcast.
Eric: Hey Kyle, welcome to the show.
Kyle: Hi Eric, thank you very much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Eric: Yeah of course. It’s interesting to reflect because we have actually known each other since 2013 when you first started Reflection Yoga. This is actually the first time we’re having a real time conversation outside of email.
Kyle: Yeah that’s kind of crazy to think about. That very first website where I got introduced to MemberMouse, you and now here we are five years later talking about building businesses.
Eric: Yeah exactly. So much has unfolded for you in that period of time. You started with that one site and now you have three. We are definitely going to talk about that today, but to start off I hear you just took a trip to Australia.
Kyle: Yeah, I did. Have you ever been?
Eric: I have not been to Australia.
Kyle: Will put it on the list for sure. I was down there thanks to the recent success I had had with my online work. I had been invited to some pretty cool places and I was on tour in Australia for about a month running handstand workshops. The first one in Melbs, then Brissy and Sydney and then back to Melbs for a 30 day, I don’t know what you want to call it – a handstand tour for lack of a better term.
Eric: Nice. While you were there, how was it traveling around and running your business is?
Kyle: It was really cool. I’ve been on the road quite a bit this year. I had an opportunity to go to Europe for a while, the East Coast of the United States and random cities around the US. But, Australia was the first time where I was like okay – I’ve got this backpack with my laptop in it and a suitcase full of stretchy pants.
Kyle: Then I get to every new city and I go – okay where’s my coffee shop with the Wi-Fi and where can I get a decent meal plus a glass of wine? In Australia, I was just be-bopping around and I realize, I don’t have to go to the same desk every day to make money or be productive. It was a true digital nomad type of thing.
Eric: No this is interesting to me because on the surface you are a yoga guy. What was the transition where you were doing yoga and you then started an online business, then took off from there? How did that happen?
Kyle: Eric, I did it totally backwards. You know how most people will do a craft for a while and then they make courses? The very first yoga class I taught was recorded for Reflection Yoga.
Kyle: Yeah. I thought I’m going to do an online business instead of teaching in studios. I ended up doing both. So, I filmed Reflection Yoga in an apartment where I decided to forego a living room. You’ve seen the site obviously so, that was inside my apartment. That was a mini studio. I decided I’ve been doing yoga for a long time and I thought I’m going to become a teacher during that teacher training. I was working in the Tech space in sales and marketing for a startup, a little video-based company in Denver. I thought – yeah, I’m just going to film videos and put them on the Internet and then I’ll be A millionaire because that’s how the internet works. Little did I know that it’s slightly more complex than that.
Eric: Yeah, we can end this right now. Uh, thanks for listening everybody. You heard it from Kyle, that’s how it works.
Kyle: The podcast is over guys.
Eric: Yeah. All you do is set up a site and millions of dollars start rolling in.
Kyle: It’s just magic.
Eric: So clearly that didn’t happen. You have two more sites I’m guessing you figured something out in your journey with Reflection Yoga that you then felt you could replicate. What were the things that helped Reflection Yoga get off the ground and get you to the point where you are now?
Kyle: One part is pure grit and determination. Some things there’s no way around it but through it. The other piece that’s responsible for Reflection Yoga success was actually interviewed on your show not too long ago. His name is Ali Jafarian. Ali is just a brilliant dude that I got connected with in Denver at that company that I referenced – where I was working in 2012. Up until then, I was trying, with an emphasis on “trying,” to run my own site. Then I decided to partner with Ali and invite him into the business. Then, he brought in a whole new tool set and he wiped the slate of my software stack that I was using because it was rudimentary and basic mind, which I have compared to someone like Ali. I can operate my site somewhat but there were no sales, there was no organization and I couldn’t see what was actually happening. If a sale came in I would wonder where that came from? There was no way to track it. So, we got a better tool kit and a better skillset between Ali and myself. Now we build several things together, which is fun.
Eric: How were you controlling access to your courses prior to using MemberMouse?
Kyle: There wasn’t. I had a membership software that I don’t even think it’s still around anymore, then hooked up to an old payment processor and you either just had “on” or “off.” There was one membership or you’re not and that was it. With MemberMouse there’s obviously tiers and bundles. I can hit “Grant Access,” and I can see their last transaction, their usage history and everything about what my members are doing.
Eric: Yes. You also mentioned something that I also have experienced myself which is, that the only way through it is …
Kyle: The only way around it, is through it.
Eric: Yeah exactly. What were some of those major things in the last four years with Reflection Yoga – and particularly in the beginning, which I feel like is the hardest time to get that ball rolling – what were some of those things that popped up that needed to be gone through? And in your mind were pretty major going through them, but in the end learning some great lessons?
Kyle: Yeah well, the two that come to mind. One is internal and one is more external. So internally, you have to be comfortable with struggle and discomfort and late nights and not having an answer and sitting there with a problem that needs a solution and you don’t have the solution, so you have to be willing to figure it out. The other one that I learned very early on was if I get a customer support email, even if I get back to them with the answer that they want or an answer that’s less than ideal, getting back to them in a timely manner garners more respect than anything else. If I get it on my phone and I’m unavailable I say, “hey I see your message but I can’t respond fully right now because I’m on the road. As soon as I get to my laptop I’m going to open up your account and take a look.” That 20 seconds that it took to write that email means I get to keep that customer for life. Being good to your members is a big one.
Eric: Now, you mentioned you were working a desk job. Did you cut bait and just go full boat with Reflection Yoga when you started it? Or, did you do Reflection Yoga for a while and then at a certain point you were able to quit?
Kyle: Let’s see. It sort of went like this: I was nearing the end of my yoga teacher training and at that time I commissioned a friend of mine to draw up a logo and some basic stuff. There came a day where I walked into my CEO’s office and I had what I thought I needed. I had a loan from the bank of Grandma, who is a really reliable investor – small to get you started. It’s so funny because she asked how much money I would need to get off the ground and I said, “oh I’ll be profitable.” I gave her the timeline of three months. I thought I’m going to have this up and running. The thing that was going through my mind was, how hard could this be? I walked into my CEO’s office in September of 2012. I said, “hey man, you’ve been a great boss, but I’m going to go start an online yoga business.” He said, “you are absolutely insane if you think leaving this” – because I was making good software money – you’re insane if you think this is going to work!” I said, “you may be right, but I’m 30 years old and I’m still working for other people. I need my own thing, my own passion.” He was right. I was insane to think that it was going to take off the moment I launched. We recorded 80 hours’ worth of yoga video content. That was our beginning batch. We launched in December of 2012. Then very soon after that you and I met early 2013 via Ali.
Eric: What was the major thing that Ali and you worked on to turn things around?
Kyle: We started looking at customer acquisition cost. Where can we find customers? Number one, where are they coming from? Having a partner like him to push you. We would hold each other accountable. That was huge on the day-to-day. I run into it sometimes. I have my list of stuff that I want to do and if something looks more attractive, I will go do that even though it’s less important. Ali would keep on me. He would say we need to add this feature in, this feature, and I need videos for this type of yoga program. So hell, I got it better get on making more content. He, of course, is a total work or so he would go and build more features. How do make our members last longer? That’s a huge focus. Once you get them, congratulations, but now it’s not over. You have to continue to provide value.
Eric: You guys did that with content?
Kyle: It was a choose-your-own-adventure yoga site. In the beginning, we would have all these videos up there and then some search criteria that you could choose from. Then we started getting a little more focused. What if we made a yoga for beginners only program? Like seven video set for if you’ve never done yoga before – let’s give you these videos to get you started. Or, what if we had a yoga for fat-loss or belly toning? We started getting into yoga for blank. Then we found the people that wanted those type of videos were incredibly loyal to those types of videos. If you’re online and you’ve never done yoga before, even if you start searching, you have no frame of reference the search tool is almost irrelevant.
Eric: How were you doing customer acquisition? What were you focusing on with your channel?
Kyle: We were doing a little bit of Facebook advertising and then I was shamelessly – my entire regular personal Facebook feed was a “please buy my product” page. It’s all it was. Everything was, “hey guys I just made this, go check it out.” I was pretty extroverted in terms of marketing. I don’t mind getting my feet on the street and going to events and handing out business cards and all that stuff. Now, I do things much more efficiently with kyleweiger.com and there’s a much better turnout – numbers wise. In the early days you just kind of try everything. I thought, “if I get booked at this one yoga event, if I teach this one class I can get a hundred new members” – and I was over shot it of course. It never quite shakes out like that.
Eric: It seems like one of your valuable tools is unbridled optimism and enthusiasm, and probably a little bit of ignorance thrown in there.
Kyle: Yeah you have to have it. If I were smart enough to know what the numbers were going to be, I don’t know if I would’ve started it in the first place.
Eric: I have said the same thing many times. It can be very overwhelming to look at the full picture and see it and be like, “wow this is what I really have to do?” You look at what you’re doing today, you’re juggling three online businesses now. If you looked at that in 2013 when you started this journey, you would have just been like, “it’s just more comfortable sitting behind this desk and having a guaranteed paycheck.”
Kyle: Oh totally. If you look at what I use kyleweiger.com. We’ve spent something like $83,000 or $85,000 this year’s this year on Facebook advertising. Now, if you were to tell me, “Kyle to start this website you’re going to need a few thousand hours of your time packed into a thousand hours of daylight, you’re also going to need to pay to have your site built and you’re going to have to film and record your content – and by the way, we’re going to need $85,000 to advertise on Facebook.” I would have been like, “nevermind give me that bi-weekly paycheck and I’ll sit on back.” I think it’s a less skillful position to take. When you want to look at it and just say, “what’s the next winnable gap?” I’m not going to worry about $85,000 to spend on Facebook. What do I need to do in the next week to move my site forward?
Eric: You operate on a week-by-week basis at this point?
Kyle: With execution of things that are coming down the pipe – features that we’re adding to this site, I look at what is the next biggest thing I need to focus on? What is the next top priority? However, I do have a long-term vision of product line. I know there’s seasonality in my business after this first year now. January 1st is a big day for me in the fitness world, people are online. When it gets to be the dog days of summer late August, people are necessarily buying handstand courses all the time. I got to balance my day-to-day work with these are targeted strategic things that I have to get done, or Ali he has to get done, versus big picture I’m starting to see it. I don’t think you can be binary one way or the other, you know?
Eric: How did you approach kyleweiger.com differently with the experience behind you from Reflection Yoga?
Kyle: Yeah good question. Reflection Yoga is a true subscription model. It is $9 a month or $89 a year. It auto renews and it’s more of a library type feel. Kyleweiger.com is a site where there’s almost no yoga on there. It’s devoted strictly to the handstand – the pose of handstand because handstand is more of a skill wear yoga is more of a practice. I approach it from a course mentality. It’s not a library where you can login and have a yoga practice and then the next day you can do another class that works on your hamstrings. This is a course and I have a systematic way to get you into a handstand – if it’s something that you want to achieve in your fitness goals. Yoga, CrossFit, gymnastics, some form of dance even use a handstand in there so, I have a much broader market than just yoga people with kyleweiger.com.
Eric: Which is interesting because seemingly it’s much more of a niche idea. You’re doing one thing whereas Reflection Yoga you have many different courses, many different postures, many different walkthroughs and experiences. An Ill guided logic would say well if you’re selling less variety than that may mean that you don’t have as much as a market. But that’s not what you’re experiencing, right?
Kyle: No, not at all. I checked my email list, I think we are hovering right around 8,300 people, on my list. That means there’s at least 8,300 people that have an interest. We have core sales of at least a little over 1,800 courses sold so far. I’m realizing that the market is much bigger than what I thought. In the beginning, I was thinking how many people can I really sell this to like, it’s a handstand. It’s not a course on yoga or the real estate market where there’s a bajillion people in real estate. I thought there couldn’t be that many, but as it turns out – there are. It’s interesting to know that my initial hypothesis was pretty far off, but in a good way.
Eric: What do you mean by that?
Kyle: I thought if I could get a thousand people to buy this course, I would be pretty happy. I’ve almost double that and the numbers are still out there to support that this is a never-ending market because of the rise of the yoga market growing at what it is, 5% per year. The last number I read was 22 million people in America practice yoga. We’re not even talking about CrossFit or gymnastics, just the practice of yoga. That’s a very handstand heavy a group. If you mix CrossFit into that, general fitness, calisthenics and athletics the market is way bigger. Fitness is on the rise so, I’m going to be getting new customers constantly.
Eric: What is your strategy for how to capture – it would seem that your site itself and the funnels within your site you haven’t pretty dialed, based on what you’ve learned from Reflection Yoga. You have a sales page, you have a good way to – well actually let me not assume this. Let’s talk about that first. How are you, when you receive someone landing on your site, what are the top three things that you’re doing strategically with your content – sales process to help guide them through not only making the sale but, after they’ve made the sale, to stick with it.
Kyle: Let’s start with the front end – how do I get them. I have run a series of advertisements over the course of the last 11 months on Facebook trying different copy and different imagery. Video always works the best for me when it’s a handstand because they want to see you kick up into a handstand. That will catch your eye visually. When I started advertising I was very much using the fomo model, the fear of missing out. “If you’re not doing these four moves then you’re missing out on why you haven’t gotten your handstand yet.” What I found is that marketing trends are starting to shift whereas yes, I’m still in the keeper of the information, and that role. I’m the coach. What I’m finding resonates most is the hero’s journey. The ad that’s doing the highest performing for me is the one that I’m running right now. It’s more of when I was 28 and I saw someone kick up into a handstand in a yoga class and I remember thinking I’ll never be able to ever do that – then I practice for a couple years. I got really good and now I’m going to teach you how to do it. It’s an adult teaching adult. It’s not this guru mentality which is way too prevalent in the yoga world. Where it’s like, “I am a guru.” It’s like – come on get off your cloud.
Eric: Adult teaching adult, but also in that story you say you’ve been where the person watching is now.
Kyle: Exactly. I’ve learned as an adult. It’s not like I was born into a gymnastics type of family. I didn’t even start gymnastics until I turned 30. For all you people listening out there who think I couldn’t do it because I didn’t do it as a child – it doesn’t matter. Does it help? Probably, if you do anything with enough frequency over a longer duration of time, you’ll be more proficient at it. So, the front end, I get them to click on the advertising, they land on the sales page that has a video that is very testimonial heavy because I have a lot of students and I just plugged them into this video. Then it explains the course. My sales mechanism, if you want to call it that I suppose, I treat handstand like a courtship process. I want handstand to be my girlfriend. I can’t just go for the gold right away. You have to court the handstand. My whole sales thing is we are going to teach you move from just flirting into falling in love with your handstand through a progressive practice. By the way, my Facebook ads go straight to the sales page because that’s converting for me. I have other ones that go to a more traditional funnel. You know it’s funny because I see the guru syndrome is prevalent big time in the marketing world, huge. “I’ve got the next big secret and this thing and that.” Man, a good old-fashioned funnel, it doesn’t need that much tweaking. Give them a free product, let them try it, give them more value, give them more value and then ask for a little bit of money for the next product and then upsell, upsell.
Eric: Can you dig into that a little bit?
Kyle: My funnel goes as follows: I have a video that’s 14 minutes long so, if you want to learn some gymnastics-based handstand moves that you probably won’t see in the yoga room come and get this free video and check it out. I then get their email address and I send them a free video. I follow digitalmarketer.com – I don’t know if you follow those guys, they’re good for my particular brand. They have an email sequence that tends to work. So mine is, I give them a free video. In the first video I set up that they’re going to want to keep opening my emails. I say, “hey I hate to let the cat out of the bag, but I have another surprise for you tomorrow. Make sure to check your inbox.” I tease it a little bit. My favorite line in there, it’s an old line, but it works all the time. I get a kick out of it. “Be sure to keep checking your inbox for my emails because the next few days are going to feel like Christmas.” I just like that line. The next day I say, “hey surprise, remember yesterday I said I was going to send you a free video. I’m a man of my word, so here you go.” It’s a video on hand placement and some more technical training. Day three, another email – value for three straight days. There are a number of different ways they could go. They either get pitched over to my tripwire offer on day four, which is a $1 video. It’s called the 30-minute handstand makeover. It’s super simple and it’s a dollar. It’s the least amount of money you could charge anybody for anything. The sales copy for that is pretty simple and it’s kind of cheesy, but I’m kind of a dorky guy. It’s like, “you know people say you can’t give away anything for a dollar anymore, but I totally disagree and at the end of this video I’ll tell you why.” Then boom they go onto the sales page. The important part there that I explain to people wanting to market, is you have to break the psychological barrier of them giving you money for something. That’s a big deal – that’s an intimate transaction. It’s money that I’ve worked for and I’ve earned through some capacity. I’m giving it to you in exchange for a product that you say is worth it. How do I know? So, I give them the opportunity to enter at low risk. Once they’re in for the dollar thing, now they’re in MemberMouse. Now they’re a member of my site and they’re part of a community. That’s where I hit them with more value, more free videos and more talking head videos, some training videos and then upsell to the $175 core product – my six weeks to handstand course. I court them in a way too, much in the same way I pitch the whole courtship of a handstand. I say, “come in, it’s free, a first date, no pressure.” Maybe we met on Tinder or whatever and go get coffee. Then the next one is like, let’s go sit down and have a meal – a little more formal. The third engagement is like we’re dating now. You just gave me $175 in exchange for this huge 6-week behemoth course – we’re a thing. You and me are together on this.
Eric: What are you doing to get those people upgraded from $1 to $175, in terms of if you’re leveraging MemberMouse for tools for that, or even if you’re not?
Kyle: No MemberMouse tools that I know of. Again, I go back to emails. I’ll send them an email – an ActiveCampaign. Once they buy the $1 video, that starts a whole new automation sequence. Then hopefully I get them onto the page for the 6 weeks course. If they click on the link in the email and then wait 30 minutes – is my condition – then after 30 minutes if they don’t have a tag inside of ActiveCampaign that says ‘6 Weeks to Handstand’ meaning they didn’t buy. Then they enter a new sequence. Same thing if they get to the checkout page and then in 30 minutes they’re not a member, I have a cart abandonment sequence that they go through. All of it is done through ActiveCampaign.
Eric: One thing I see people do, which is more about engaging people if they’re actually on your site, is you can use the Member Decision SmartTag to identify this person. It’s basically a way to dynamically show content on a page based on somebody’s purchase history. You can show whatever you think is going to be valuable to them, but you can do it dynamically using those tags. I really appreciate you going into that in so much detail because it’s simple and super effective. Yes, there is always a psychological barrier to giving money. People will always have objections and the way you’re handling that is by without reservation saying look I’m going to give you all this free stuff and I’m going to show you what I can do, where my value is and I’m going to teach you stuff. Whether or not you stick around, I’m going to teach you something. You do that consistently and then give them a low-risk way to make a commitment and of course once they’ve taken an action on your site, psychologically, that’s an important step.
Eric: And of course, then you can promote your course more. Even when you talk about it, it sounds like a really gentle approach. You’re not trying to go for the gold right away.
Kyle: It is gentle, true. The thing with having an email address is that you now have the opportunity to form a relationship. I think we’ve all been on email list’s where it’s a highly aggressive relationship and you unsubscribe from that.
Eric: Yeah you click ‘unsubscribe.’
Kyle: You’re going back in the ‘friend zone’ if we’re using dating terminology. If I have your email address, I don’t need to beat down your door. If you think I have value and you like that first video, you’re either going to get the dollar thing or you’re going to buy the course. I talk about this a lot. I’m on Instagram of course, because you have to be in the fitness world. By orders of magnitude, I would much rather have someone’s email address than have a follower on Instagram. If you make a post on Instagram it’s like, “oh this is also cool, thanks for the information, but it’s for the public, you didn’t make this for me.”
Eric: Email is much more intimate.
Kyle: When I hit your inbox and I’m like, “hey Eric guess what, good news, I got that eat free video that I promised you, here it is.” It’s a subtle subconscious feeling of like, “thanks man, I appreciate that.”
Eric: You mentioned earlier the hero’s journey marketing. I didn’t quite get the relationship between, maybe I’m just not familiar enough with the hero’s journey, but how do you make those connections. You’ve talked a little bit about doing Facebook advertising to get people there, you have an email marketing funnel, a sales page, where does the hero’s journey come in for you?
Kyle: The hero’s journey is more the – I started as an adult and I couldn’t even kick up and hold a handstand. I started and you can do it too. I think it’s more of the ethos that really supersedes all of my copy. It’s the down-and-out journey of, you can do this, the root to rise sort of success. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a story I tell, I mean I do in my advertising and in that one example I already gave you, but it’s more or less an ethos that I try to let permeate all of my copy and imagery. Anything that’s on video I try to be as motivational as I can. I think positive, at least in my industry, positive reinforcement will always garner way better results and better click-through rates, better conversions, than the old school smarmy marketing of what you see a lot in the weight-loss industry where they just poke and prod. They sell on pain and I would rather sell on motivation, but that’s who I am.
Eric: And that’s how you approach your Facebook advertising strategy then?
Kyle: Totally. I’ve had coaches say, “you suck you are terrible, buy my program and I’ll fix you.” I’m like, “no thanks! I don’t want to be berated or belittled because I can’t do something.” I’d rather have somebody who says, you have a little ways to go and I will help you get there kind of attitude.
Eric: It sounds like through your marketing you’re taking a very personal approach to it. Yes, you are teaching online, but you are doing something that I personally admire when people do in marketing which is, forget about marketing. Why are you thinking about this arcane, static thing? Marketing is about building a relationship and how you communicate. It starts with you and how you want to communicate and how you want to lead people. Therefore, if you look within yourself, you find all the answers there and you don’t need to go to sites and books, and of course that can help sometimes. I’m not writing that off, but It sounds like something you’ve been doing very well – is bringing your personality to it. What you want to say and how you want to stay it. Who cares if it’s cheesy or whatever. That’s what you want to do and so you do it.
Kyle: You know what’s funny is I have people who will tag me in posts and they will quote things that I’ve said in my videos. I have the word “easy” tattooed on my left hand, on my knuckles. It’s kind of my word and I’m sort of known for it because I like things to be easy like, be cool, be calm, be easy. People will hit me up on a post and they will say, “I just got done practicing Kyle Weiger’s 6 Week to Handstand course #easy.” I think that’s cute. If I had a ghostwriter doing all my email campaigns, that word wouldn’t be in there, that wouldn’t be my sign off because it would sound like someone else. Then there would be an incongruence between who Kyle is as a brand, a teacher and a coach versus what they see online. You hit the nail on the head. Marketing is not about making a sale. Marketing is about getting them to trust you as a source of either knowledge or information.
Eric: Not even getting them to trust you, just being trustworthy by being yourself.
Kyle: Good point.
Eric: People can smell it a mile away these days. We have all been so bombarded for years by online marketing. We know the difference between authenticity and someone – because of course, for all those people who are truly authentic, there is a marketing team that’s copying that person’s authenticity. People are more tuned into it these days. You can do it, you can fake it, but the thing is it’s a lot more fun if you’re just being yourself because then you actually create those personal connections too. People post stuff on Twitter, like you just said and appreciate your program. To me that’s a lot more valuable when you’ve heard that you’ve helped somebody, than the money they’ve paid you.
Kyle: Exactly. I have the ability to travel for work a lot because there’s yoga studios or CrossFit facilities all over the place. They’re like, “you’re the handstand guy. Will you come in and run some workshops?” And, I do, but you never know who is your customer. You never ever know. I’ve had it happen on several occasions where I’ll be running the workshop and I’ll meet some nice person and I’ll ask them for their name. They’ll say, “Julie.” Then and I’ll ask them how did you hear about this weekend’s workshop. She’ll say, “I’m do your 6-week program and I’m on your mailing list. You emailed me about it.” And I’m like wow. You never really understand your reach. Then I meet Julie and now she’s a person with a face and she’s a student. She has a smile and she laughs. I don’t look at her and say, “there’s a $175.” It’s different. I touch somebody. I reached out and changed their life or hopefully made them feel like they were strong.
Eric: Yes, like you said, you don’t understand your customer except once you do understand your customer. Which, you can do once they become a customer and if you’re paying attention to communicating and learning about them. I think that you do a specific thing with Facebook where you actually take – going on this point how valuable it is to know your customer – you do something where you export members from your site and feed them back into Facebook. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Kyle: Yeah totally. This is something that I’m sure other people do. I’m kind of a street marketer, self-taught. Ali always refers to my skills as street skills because I never went to school for it. Let me preface this, with Facebook has an ability to create what they call a ‘look alike audience.’ For all my marketing friends out there. you know exactly what this is. This is where you can take a small subset of people, load a list of these people into Facebook and Facebook will go find more people that look alike to these people. Makes sense. What I do is I use the export function on MemberMouse and I will export my list. Then I will segment that list into countries. For a look alike audience to be valid you need a minimum of 100 people that exist in that country, in your sample set. In the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK I have lookalike audiences because I have at least a hundred in each one of those countries. I put that in and because of the info that MemberMouse gives me, first name, last name, email address, and geographical location – that for me has been the single most valuable tool for my Facebook advertising. Anyone can write good copy, anyone can come up with good imagery or effective imagery and videos, who do you aim it at? That’s the million-dollar question. If it’s aimed at the wrong people – if I took my same advertisement and aimed it at the Pilates community rather than yoga, they wouldn’t care. I wouldn’t be sitting here with you today. You have to aim it at the right people. MemberMouse gives me that ability to export the most valuable information, which is the information I use to go find people that look just like the people that already bought my course. I can then throw my ad together. The ad is actually the easy part, now that I’ve been doing this more. The targeting is where all the money.
Eric: You think about it in real life, approaching people. If you’re approaching someone who is not interested in what you are about to talk to them about, you could talk for 30 minutes and have nothing happen, but if they are the type of person and you go up to them and say, “hey you want to learn how to do the handstand?” They will say “yes.” You just need to put it in front of them because they’re the right person.
Kyle: Which is why I mentioned earlier that I point my Facebook campaigns at my lookalike audiences, or I put my lookalike audiences straight to the sales page. These are the kind of people that if I built my lookalike audience out of my buyers, these are the people that want to learn handstand, right? So why would I send them through a funnel when they’re going to see the handstand course and think finally there’s a handstand course, awesome!
Eric: So, your offer then is a straight-up offer?
Kyle: Yes, it goes straight to the sales page. Like any good sales page, there are no buttons other than the buy button. There’s nothing to click on. I got a video that auto-plays on features benefits, money-back guarantee, pricing buildup, discount rate, coupon code and all the basics.
Eric: This is great too because you’re validating very strongly something our guest last week talked about, Dan Caron. He was talking about how it’s super important to determine what your channel is and where your customers are coming from. The more you can understand about where they’re coming from, the more you tailor the landing page specifically to talk to that person. That’s where you’re going to have the success. Between the combination of understanding your channel and talking directly to that channel on your landing page, which is exactly what you’re doing.
Kyle: Here’s one thing I use that’s helps. This is a MemberMouse thing, but you guys have the ability to create infinite coupon codes. I use like four. I will designate a coupon code that says like 6WTHS175FB, 6 Weeks to Handstands – that FB means it’s Facebook. I will point the Facebook traffic to the landing page with that coupon code on it and then I simply clone the page and if I want to run an Instagram campaign, I will make a coupon code that says 6WT175IG. At the end of the week I’ll see how many people bought from on Facebook or how many people bought from Instagram this week? I do that all right on MemberMouse on the browse transactions feature. I can look up how many coupon codes were used. It’s so easy. I just used the coding to determine where my customers are coming from. Facebook has its own internal analytics for that type of thing …
Eric: You’re doing that with coupon codes, or affiliate tracking?
Kyle: Coupon codes.
Eric: Okay. You know you can do that with affiliate tracking and MemberMouse too. If you do use affiliate tracking then you power the Lifetime Customer Value Report in MemberMouse.
Kyle: Right. I’ll have to switch that over, that’s a good idea. You guys have a great – just being able to see what my average customers are worth and all that stuff, it’s super valuable.
Eric: That’s what the Lifetime Customer Value Report was built for essentially. It’s great to see things at an aggregate, but like you said, if you can see it broken down by – and it’s two tiers so you can do Facebook and then you can do sub-ads on Facebook. You basically will be able to know, here’s or all the customers we got from Facebook and here’s their Lifetime Customer Value, but you can also see it broken down by your ads. You can see which ads are producing the most value as well. I would be really curious, obviously I don’t want to change what’s working for you – I’m not saying to do that because obviously it’s working, but I just want to let you know that it’s there.
Kyle: Well it goes to show you that you guys have a tool that every entrepreneur that’s out there is going to use in a totally different way. I just saw the coupon codes and that resonated with me. I will check out the affiliate thing though. That thing has tons of upside compared to what I’m doing now.
Eric: So, you’re doing a new site now? Bnbmillionaire.com. What’s that about?
Kyle: Well the short version is there’s a group of guys that get together and do a lease arbitrage, I guess you would call it. They rent out B&B’s from the actual owner, they don’t buy them, they lease them and they’re more or less the middleman and they run all the Airbnb short-term rentals that come out of there. As it turns out, this is not an uncommon thing and a lot of investors are getting into the Airbnb game. The team that I’m with happens to be some of the best in the business and they want to make an online course on how to do this. They have all the real estate brains, I have zero of that; however, they approached me and said, “tell me what you do on Facebook to sell your handstand course?” So, I gave them the run-through of how I build ads and all that. They asked me if I’d like to do that for them and they offered me part of the business. I went and did some research and looked at the market and thought oh yeah this is prime. We’re almost done with the course. I went to Australia obviously for a while and so we had a little bit of a hold, but we are about 80% done with the actual content. Same strategy for me. Build up a good sales page, use ActiveCampaign for my email funnel, get MemberMouse installed, get Stripe hooked up. There’s a formula to building smooth membership sites. You can substitute in whatever course or topic or content that you want. For me, the pattern seems to be the same on most of them.
Eric: Right. When you first started and you were working your desk job, of course you wouldn’t have seen that three years from then my site would be successful and I’d be doing these things, but would you have also of seen that you would have started three businesses? That’s something unique in of itself, doing more than one thing.
Kyle: I never would have guessed. I think this is where my career is probably headed. People that reach out and me and ask me for advice on their website or how do you build an email funnel and all that. When I first started Reflection five or six years ago, at that time I thought I’m going to be a yoga teacher for the rest of my life. You never are any one thing forever. You go through phases. When I was younger I didn’t really see that. Now I’ve learned not to predict things. I can tell you this, I will probably always be interested in business.
Eric: Can you really say that?
Kyle: True. What if I hit a point where I want to move to Sayulita, Mexico and be a bartender and play my guitar on the beach until I die?
Eric: What you can say right now is that you are really interested in business.
Kyle: Right now, it’s a hot topic for me. Handstanding is a really hot topic for me. Where I’m going is a sort of business coaching realm. I want to make a course to show people how I did exactly what I did. There’s kind of an interesting story behind it because we talked about Australia at the beginning – do you mind if I tell it?
Eric: Yeah for sure.
Kyle: People always ask me, “how did you get from not having a website to having a very successful website?” I moved out to California for a job. It was a software gig and it ended up not happening. I was in a rough spot financially. I put all my money and all my resources – I even put money I didn’t have into this. I remember I was on the verge of living in my car. I was launching this handstand course and this thing better work because I don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent next month. My money from the yoga studio I was working at just wasn’t enough. The math just wasn’t there. There was on night I just cried in the studio. I had $200 and I said I’m going to spend this on an Instagram campaign to drive people to my free video. And, I did. And, people started coming in, and coming in. My free video is doing well. All of a sudden some of those people bought my next video. Then, some of those people bought the course.
Eric: Can I ask you a question? About that moment where you were in your yoga studio, all those things coming up, you only had $200, what do you think it was that really allowed you to make that choice?
Kyle: I worked so hard on the product and I believed it. I believed this is what I’m supposed to do. I had already recorded the course, I had built the website and I had been on many many phone calls with Ali about features, tweaks, this and that. I had spent blood, sweat and tears, and I mean literally blood, sweat and tears. I would not go this far – it’s like running 26 miles in a marathon and then not finishing the .2 – you wouldn’t do that.
Eric: You didn’t know at that point it was only .2 left? I think it’s more than that.
Kyle: Very true. I think the thing that pushed me through was that I believed in it. I worked so hard on it. I lost relationships over it because I was staying up and working on this thing and my friendships had taken a hit. Overall, who I was, I just had to see it through. There’s just no way I’m not going to do this.
Eric: That’s a very similar thing to what I went through in the first three or four years of MemberMouse. To this day I look back, the only thing that got me through all those ups and downs and barriers was some vision and belief that it was going to work out even though I had no idea how.
Kyle: Right, and you have to be willing to risk everything. If you’re not – and I think you mentioned something that is a very similar to ethos tp me when I talk to fitness professionals. I spend most of my time talking them out of it. It’s going to take this, this and this and you have to be willing to do all this work. Most of them say, “okay I’m not really willing to do all of that.” Maybe it’s not the smartest approach for me to take, but it’s the most realistic.
Eric: I think it’s the best approach to take from the perspective of experience because you’re not sugar-coating things for people. You’re doing it with positivity rather than pain. You’re not trying to help people make decisions based on a manipulated emotion.
Kyle: Totally. If you’re going to be all marketing smarmy about it – “you too can be a millionaire online if you follow these six steps.” No, it’s more than six steps. It’s an infinite number of steps and it never stops.
Eric: I think the important thing about approaching it that way, is if you can help somebody know that something is not right for them, then they can find the thing that is. There is something right for everyone. Alignment is the key.
Kyle: It’s funny because you look at your to-do list whether that’s written down paper style or use a tool like you know Wunderlist or a project management thing. The list is never totally done. I think though Eric you do have to stop and smell the roses. You have to celebrate your achievements every now and then – not in a bragging way, but man I am so grateful for the life that I have. If you don’t stop to give gratitude to the things you have then I think that you just get into a cycle of work, work, work. Then you never get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I had a little bit of a moment when I was in Australia. I told you I almost started living in my car and that was not even a year ago. This is the beginning of December of last year in 2017. I had made a trip back to Denver to see a friend and he had to pay for dinner that night because I just didn’t have any money. He is my best friend and he’s also an online entrepreneur – he’s a different guy than Ali, but he motivated me more than ever. That was also a good driver for spending my last $200 on an Instagram campaign to hopefully get some email addresses to hopefully sell. There was a huge struggle and then a month ago, fast-forward the tape for those of you listening out there who want to hear – this is my hero’s journey. Being kind of down and out and then a month ago I was in Australia on a handstand tour, and I told you I find my coffeeshops and I happen to find one that was overlooking Bondi Beach, which is an epic world-famous beach. I was sitting there and I opened up Stripe, which is my payment processor as you all know, and I looked in there and I had had $199,900 and some change in sales, year-to-date, in gross revenue. I looked at it and I looked at it again and I thought, “I’m one sale away from $200,000.” I was sitting there and acting like I didn’t care, like I was going about my business, but really, I was hitting refresh, refresh, refresh – once a minute on the minute. Finally, I took a deep breath and sat. Then about 15 minutes went by and thanks to MemberMouse again, I get these nice little push notifications every time sale happens. It came in and my push notifications say Boom! Someone bought your course. It’s a nice benefit of customizing the headline in the email, right? It came in, I just took a deep breath and thought man this is it. This is the feeling that I want. This is what the other side feels like. The opposite of crying in an empty yoga studio. Whether or not you’re going to be living in your car or not next month to living on a beach in Australia as a digital nomad and hitting real financial goals. It can happen. I filmed my whole thing on an iPhone by the way. You don’t need fancy equipment. What you need is already what we touched on, you need grit, determination and the willingness to work hard. If you have those things, those are the traits that make you free. Those are the traits that bring abundance into your life. It has nothing to do whether or not you are a skilled handstander or labor or musician, but if you’re willing to stick it out, and ride the chaos and maintain some sense of normalcy during that, then to get to the other side is a very, very good feeling.
Eric: Congratulations on getting to that point. It’s certainly an amazing accomplishment. Also, like you said, an amazing accomplishment to actually recognize that you got there. We can all sometimes be too busy to know when we’ve gotten to a point where we can be satisfied and content with where we are and be thankful. I’m glad you had that experience.
Kyle: It was a good time to say I’m literally on the other side of the world looking at the Pacific Ocean, staring at my laptop, and a milestone just occurred. One practice I do a lot is gratitude journaling. I preach it constantly. I run workshops on it sometimes about how you have to sit down and give thanks and be in that state because that state by the way, attracts more of that state. The universal law of ‘like attracts like.’ People who are always talking about how much they struggle are always going to struggle. Imagine if you were in the early days of MemberMouse – your product is once again by orders of magnitude way more complex than mine – what if you had just said, “it’s always going to be late nights and I’m never going to break this thing open I’m never going to bust through?” You’d probably still be there. You’d probably still be in that mindset. Once you change your mindset to something a little more positive it gets easier from then on out.
Eric: You know it’s interesting to me looking back on the journey is that I realized that all the key points that happened to where my mindset actually changed, I wasn’t even actually responsible for the change of mindset.
Eric: Oh yeah. There was all sorts of synchronicities and things that happened that ended up in resulting my mind being changed, but I actually didn’t change it myself. I think if you think about it logically it’s not even possible for us to change our own mindset which, gets back to the value of your gratitude journaling. Who are you putting gratitude in? It’s not in yourself, you’re putting into something beyond you.
Kyle: That’s a good point. It’s hard to change your mind, all other things remaining the same, if there was not outside influence very little about you would change.
Eric: Right. You would always be trying to change it according to who you are which, naturally you can’t approach something in a different way than you’ve done it before because it’s just outside of what you know. Outside of your reality. True change is what I’m talking about. Something that on the surface looks different but, really at a subtle level is really the same as it was before.
Kyle: Very much so. I think the old adage of you become the average of the five people you hang out the most. If you look at my inner circle of friends and businesspeople and peers now are way different than when I first started Reflection Yoga. Back then I just wanted to be popular. Now I want to be successful in the business world. So, you surround yourself with people like Ali Jafarian or the people in your world that are going to make you better. That’s something I preach in the handstand course. I can teach anyone to do a handstand. If you have two arms, I can teach you to do a handstand, but Handstand doesn’t make you a better person. You use it as a teaching tool. I really don’t care about building better handstanders, but what I do care about is building better people.
Eric: That’s super important. I would disagree with you slightly that teaching somebody to do a handstand can make them better people because that’s what yoga is. Yoga isn’t about the physical postures, it’s about the subtle things that are going on at that those postures help you come in contact with. It does actually change things at a more subtle level when people can do that. It changes psychology, it changes physical aspects about the body.
Kyle: Totally. Your point definitely then leads into a whole separate discussion, but mainly intention. Why are you doing this? Whatever your practice is – hell it can be running or anything. If you stop thinking a ton about the outside and you go inward, which is very much the yoga practice and you focus on what you’re doing. How you do anything is how you do everything. Yoga reveals that, running and even weight lifting. If you give up when it gets hard, that’s probably comes up other places too. Any kind of physical practice will reveal a lot about who you are or what you’re made up of. There’s a good – to your point two minutes ago, change. You got taught something by yoga. You got taught something by handstand or whatever it is.
Eric: Awesome. You mentioned the thing that you were interested in and you may be interested in going into is business coaching and teaching – helping people accomplish the things that you’ve accomplished in online business. I guess I’ll ask you the question that a lot of people come up to you and ask, what is a tip that you can share with the people listening who may be starting businesses, struggling through the early stages of a business, that can help them to accomplish their goals.
Kyle: Tip number one, never ever take focus off of what your customer wants. It’s easy to make a website or try to build an online business that’s like, “hey look at me, my name is Kyle and I’m a handstand coach. I’m so great.” The bad approach. You should always be with the mindset that I’m here to serve you. I’m here to help you. What in my wheelhouse of skill sets do my customers want? Then give them that, over, over and over again. If you keep delivering value the customers and members will come. That’s just how that works. It’s a very me-centric site, which I see a lot of. It’s pretty photos and not much value, the customers don’t stick around. I can go get a pretty photo anywhere. Instagram does that. The other tip would be, pick a thing. Just pick your thing. I picked handstand and that’s a super niche market. As niche as you can get. I only do one post, but I teach it a lot. If you’re in the fitness world or the yoga world or really this applies to anything. Take the broad umbrella of yoga, for example, there’s so many different ways you can go with that. There’s yoga for senior citizens, yoga for kids. Dial it down even one more layer and get super focused on what it is you do best or what it is you want to do and do that one thing. If you want to expand from there, then great. Don’t try to be all things to all people. It’s going to be too much. If you’re in the fitness world, what are you doing? Helping people put on muscle, get lean, lose fat, jump higher, run faster, what? Pick a thing. Pick a super specific thing and get known for being ‘the guy’ at that thing. It’s funny because I’m a guy in the handstand world. There’s a lot of people that are interested in handstanding. I’m just one of the coaches. However, I feel like a lot of people in the fitness world could use a little bit of help on the marketing side. It’s just not their background and they probably have great practices, but it’s just not their strong suit. That’s where the business coaching aspect would come in for me. I did it and I’m fairly adept at it, at least I think, which is all you need in marketing. Then I want to teach you how to do it too.
Eric: Is that course at a place where we could say to people, if they are interested in learning more about this here’s a place you could go.
Kyle: No, I have nothing built for it. Right now, I have a Notes tab open. I have a document with an outline, which is where 6 Weeks to Handstands started. That’s where Handstand Elite started, so I thought if I’m going to build another course, might as well follow my same thing. This one will be a little bit more of a behemoth. We’re not just covering what a good website looks like, or how to plug-in MemberMouse, or accept payments through Stripe, we’re talking marketing. It’s going to be a full-on University style thing. In fact, I have to meet with Ali here to figure out how to build it and then I am going to go make the content. Then, put it out there and see if any of the fitness community would also like to get on the whole train of taking their business online.
Eric: Great. Well, Kyle thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. I really enjoyed this conversation. There’s ton of great information. Can you leave us with a place if people want to learn more about what you do, the handstands, the yoga? Where’s a good place that they can go to find out?
Kyle: My site is very simple it’s kyleweiger.com. On there you’ll find all the good stuff. I have a Blog with a handful of free videos on there and you can get a free video sent to you, right there from the homepage. I have my events tab, which I travel quite a bit for workshops. If I’m coming to a city near you, that’s the juice for me so please come out to a workshop. Let’s hang out and do some handstands. Kyleweiger.com and I don’t have any fancy names on social media. My Instagram name is just @KyleWeiger and also with Twitter. I’m pretty easy to find. I think I’m the only Kyle Weiger in the United States.
Eric: Okay great. We’ll put the URL in the show notes so people can find that easily. But again, thank you so much for taking the time to join us. I really appreciate it.
Kyle: Thank you so much Eric. I hope to do this again next year and maybe have some other cool story for ya.
Eric: Yeah. That would be great.
Kyle: Have a good one.
Many thanks to Kyle for coming on the show today. I hope you enjoyed this episode and found value in his stories, strategies, and insights. To learn more about Kyle and see what he’s up to, be sure to check out ReflexionYoga.com and KyleWeiger.com. You can also find him on Instagram or Twitter at @kyleweiger.
For the complete show notes, a transcript of today’s episode, and a list of Kyle’s recommended resources, please visit SubscriptionEntrepreneur.com/110. And be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher for more interviews with successful entrepreneurs.
In our next episode, we’ll be speaking with Clair Whitmer. She’s the head of content and digital strategy for Maker Media. A year ago they launched their online membership program. With her, we discuss the lessons they’ve learned over the past year running this program including strategies for being in alignment with your customers, nuances around selling print and digital subscriptions, and creating “how to” content that people actually want to pay for. Stay tuned and thanks for listening!