Trent: Everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast. As always, I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid and I’m here to help you discover what is working in the world of online businesses today by shining a light on the tools, the tactics, and the strategies in use by today’s leading entrepreneurs. On the show with me today is a past guest, a fellow by the name of Travis Marziani, who in his prior interview explained that that’s interview number 248 explain how he launched his first physical products brand and I’m going to let Travis introduce himself in just a moment, but first we have a message from today’s sponsor. This episode is brought to you by Cloudways. Is your website slow? Has your online business outgrown your current hosting provider? If it’s a yes for either of the questions, it’s time to move over to Cloudways. A managed hosting provider that is built for online businesses from a hassle free launch to smooth server operations Cloudways is your partner in scaling your eCommerce business to greater success. Go to Cloudways.com and use promo code bright ideas to sign up for a new cloud weighs account and get free $25 hosting credit. Travis, good to have you back. Thank you so much for coming.
Travis: Yup. Thanks for having me.
Trent: So for the folks who have not heard your previous interview, let’s start off with my question. Who are you and what do you do?
Travis: Yeah, so I create cool products, products that I’m passionate about, launch them as the Kickstarter, and then ultimately sell them on Amazon or Shopify. And I also teach other people how to do the same thing via my YouTube channel.
Trent: And you’ve had quite a bit of success on YouTube. I’ve watched your channel grow, grow relatively quickly, which is why I reached out to you again to see if you would like to come and do another interview. So we’re going to be talking about YouTube in detail today. So, Phyllis, and when did you get started on YouTube?
Travis: Yeah. So it’s funny when you say relatively quickly, it’s been three years and it’s just recently that I feel like I’ve seen a big, skyrocket of, views and subscribers. But for the first two, three years, it was very step-by-step. Like it was, it was slow and steady. And then all of a sudden I had one video that kind of blew up and I had some other videos around the same time that also kind of blew up.
Trent: Which video was the one that blew up?
Travis: Yeah, it was my one year. I mean, again, it was my one year video, but I had a few other videos that were like, I’ve had videos that are targeted more at search trying to get ranking. I had an ad-words tutorial video that did really well, but the video that I’d say blew up in the last four months got 300,000 views. Which for an Amazon FBA, like for an entrepreneur, entrepreneur, YouTube channel, that’s pretty good. But it was my one year video talking about my one year results selling on Amazon with my product.
Trent: And how long was that video?
Travis: It was about 13 minutes or so. Yeah. I mean I spent, I spent a lot of time trying to craft that video and trying to make it exactly like what people want to watch.
Trent: Yeah. And did the, when you look at your analytics, do the traffic come from recommended views or from search? I’m going to guess. Recommended.
Travis: It was, yeah. So there’s suggested views and then I forget what the other one is like where it shows up on the home dashboard. I’m, I’m blanking on the name right now, but it was all recommended or a lot of it was recommended. But funny enough I, in preparing for this interview, I looked in the last 30 days, most of my views did come from search. And really it’s been changing though. I think up until probably like six months ago, like 90% of them, like a huge percentage of my views came from search. And that’s because of my training and like SEO, I was always thinking, Oh, I want to rank for search. And then as I think you’re aware now, I decided, Oh no, that’s not where most views are. Like, I want to try to get more of the recommended and it’s a different model because one search or answering a question, you’re saying, okay, here’s an ad words tutorial.
Travis: People are searching ad words tutorial. No one gets in their suggested feed a 20 minute adverse tutorial and it’s like, Oh, I really want to watch that. But my one year video people were like, Oh, and I’ll talk more about this later if you want. But the, the video I structured the, it’s a very catchy title and thumbnail. It said $372,000 Amazon failure. And as me with a sad face and the point I remember that, okay. Yeah. And it’s, it’s not, it’s basically to catch people’s attention and let people know how I feel in the point of the video was, Hey, even though I made $120,000 profit in this last year, my first year of selling on Amazon, I felt like a failure because I could’ve done so much more. So it’s a gray line between what it’s clickbait and what’s not. But the truth is you’ve got to get people’s attention and get them to watch it.
Trent: Yup. And morbidly as it is people a relish to a certain degree in other people’s failure. And so that would have undoubtedly contributed to, Oh, he finally failed. Let’s watch. Ha ha.
Travis: Yeah. And I’ve since released videos where people will leave a comment, Oh, I thought you failed. Like why didn’t I? And they’re like sad that I didn’t fail. And I’m just like, well, no. But the whole point was, in my opinion, it’s to get people in with the negative emotion that you’re feeling. So when I have a problem with my business, I think to myself, Oh, this is a great opportunity for a YouTube video. And the point is like, wow, this really bad thing happened. But it turned out to be a really good thing, which is most of my biggest failures in life have turned into my biggest successes by far.
Trent: And that’s something that I think more would be entrepreneurs really need to understand. Is that your greatest lessons, your greatest break throughs? almost always follow a big failure. And, it’s a tough lesson and it’s tough at the time. But in hindsight, if you look back, that’s where all your good stuff comes from.
Travis: Yeah. And it’s, it’s, it’s crazy to me sometimes. Cause in the moment you’re like, how could this possibly be a good thing? I’ll tell you a very quick story. I, with YouTube actually for the first two years, I didn’t have any kind of ad advertising on my YouTube channel because when I was 12 years old, I, the screwing around with AdSense and I got banned for life from AdSense. So I’m like, okay, well I can’t advertise on my YouTube channel, but then YouTube may. And so I’d make money off affiliate commission and maybe like courses and things like that. So I needed links, I need links on my video. And then YouTube said, Oh, you can’t put links in your video unless you’re advertising on the video. And I freaked out. I’m like, my YouTube channel is dead. I’m, I’m out of luck. And, and then I realized that there’s actually a work around, even though I got banned when I was 12 years old, I was able to set up my AdSense under a business name, and last month I made $10,000 with ad revenue. And if I never would have went through that feeling of, Oh my God, my YouTube channels dead because of this, this new rule, I never would have gone through the struggle of figuring out how to actually put up ads and it’s like, Oh, I’ve made tens of thousands of dollars from this thing. That felt like a bad thing at the time.
Trent: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a very, very interesting and not surprising now. So what made you pick, I mean there’s a lot of social channels that we can choose from Instagram. Facebook are very popular. What made you decide to focus the bulk of your energy on YouTube versus the other channels?
Travis: There’s a, I think a few different answers to that. First off, as most marketers, I’ve tried everything and it’s just, that’s the YouTube is the thing that I had the most success with. I also think that I’m uniquely skilled at YouTube. How do I explain this? I’m not good at Instagram cause I don’t really care about taking the best photo. I’m not good at, you know, Facebook or whatever, those other things. But I think I really enjoy learning new things and I enjoy teaching. To me, teaching is part of the process, but I also enjoy the process of making a really beautiful video and it’s not maybe beautiful and other people’s eyes, but to me it’s, it’s something that’s, well it’s my art, like it’s something that I’m like, Oh, this is really well crafted and I enjoy talking again. Every time an issue arises in my business, I need to talk it out with someone and I’ve found it to be very therapeutic to say, okay, how am I going to turn this into a it? Like I recently had a 10 you know, $10,000 worth of product go bad. And I’m like, Aw man, I’m super disappointed. And then I thought, okay, what’s the lesson here? How can I turn this into a video? And that process. By the end of it I’m like, Oh, I don’t care so much about that. Who cares? It’s part of life.
Trent: How often are you publishing these days?
Travis: It’s once a week. I’m going to try to up it to two times a week. And my, my ultimate goal would be three times a week. But quality over quantity for sure. I mean the 80 20 rule is so true with YouTube videos. I’ve probably done 500 YouTube videos and I’d say five of them have contributed to 90% of my, my views and subscribers. So I don’t want to do, I don’t want to do more just to do more, but it’s also, it’s working right now YouTube is working for me and I’d rather spend a little bit more energy on that.
Trent: Yeah. So how do you come up with the ideas and the titles for your videos? And you’d mentioned, you know, when you have a problem, you look for the lesson in it. Is that generally, I mean, you gotta have a problem a week if you’re going to produce a video a week. So
Travis: Yeah! Mean that’s definitely one of the things. But then there’s other things. One of the big things I’d recommend for anybody out there is look at all the other people on YouTube in your niche and just see what is their top video. And if you look at everyone’s top video in your niche, just make your own version of that. Try to make it a better title, better, better thumbnail, all that kind of thing. That’s the easiest thing to do. But the other thing is, as much as I do spend time thinking about, okay, this is a failure that happened, how do I turn this into a lesson? I also think about what video, what I would do. I wish I would’ve watched three years ago, four years ago, five, you know, so on and so on. And I think, man, if there was one thing I could teach myself and that’s my, my best video has always come from that place where I, I actually look at the camera and I imagine my past self on that other side of the camera and say, I wish you knew this. Like I would, I would do anything to have known this five years ago. And so that’s part of it. But I mean it’s all those different things and at a certain point, to be honest with you, it’s just my brains constantly spinning with ideas. And I think with YouTube, if you can come up with a good title and a good thumbnail, the rest is pretty easy to be honest.
Trent: When you first started, was your brain constantly spinning with ideas or to have you found it’s a bit like a muscle. The more you’ve worked it out by, you know, making more videos, it’s actually gotten easier for you.
Travis: It’s, it’s 100% of muscle. I think in the early days I was focused more on search, so I would try to figure out, all right, well, what are people searching for? I’ll try to rank a video for search, but then over time it’s become, Oh, I see that. Like for instance, we’ve talked about people love watching other people’s failures and if you can make a video and turn it into a positive, like I don’t, I’m not a big fan of spreading negativity, but I need people, I need people to click on the video as well. So I think I’ve learned, it’s definitely a muscle, like I’ve worked on it over time. In the early days it was much more about trying to rank for search type stuff.
Trent: Okay. So I’m very curious about your video production process. So let’s say when I don’t, I want to walk through this in some detail. So let’s say you’ve got an idea. So give, give me, don’t talk to me about a video that maybe you haven’t published yet. What’s an idea for one that you’re planning on?
Travis: So this is a perfect one because I’m obsessed with this right now and it’s my two year video and I’m expect this video to do really well because my one year did video did well. And so one of the first things I do, if it’s a view that I’ve already made a similar video about, or even if I haven’t, I’ll look at my old videos and watch the audience retention. And that’s, that’s a muscle. Like I’ve watched maybe a hundred videos and I’ve watched, and you can see the audience retention for anyone listening that doesn’t know is you can see as people drop off at the video. So it starts at 100%, 100% of people are watching it, maybe a minute into the video. Only 80% of people are watching it. And you can see when you’re keeping people’s attention and when they stop watching. So what I did, the first step for me was somewhat obsessively look at my one year video and watch the audience retention and try to try to take a beginner’s mindset to it and look at it from like an outside perspective and see when does this get boring?
Travis: And, and the thing is, the audience retention shows me scientifically when other people think it gets boring. Cause as soon as someone gets bored, they click off. So I, yeah, I’d watch, I watched that video and I say, so for instance, with my one year video, I noticed that people loved, the first thing I did was talk about how like that I’m going to share my numbers and I shared my numbers right away and I shared my revenue, I shared all my Amazon FBA fees, like everything, and I even shared a what my product was, which on YouTube, a lot of people don’t share what product they’re selling on Amazon because most people are selling kind of easy things, generic, generic, easy things to knock off. And so that was right away I’m going to separate myself because I’m going to do something nobody else does.
Travis: And so all right, people love that. The next thing I did was talk about how, how I did it, which people didn’t care as much about I think. Mmm. Yeah. I think that I hadn’t built enough trust yet at that point. And then after I did how I did it, I talked about my biggest mistake, which I saw the audience retention spike up for. So people were skipping from my income report over to my biggest mistake. And I’m like, okay, so now in my two year video, I’m going to do my income report, then I’m going to do my biggest mistake and not only am I going to do my biggest mistake, I’m going to do every mistake I made and it’s going to be, you know, the 10 mistakes that I made on Amazon. And I think that’s what people, people want to see to some degree your failure.
Travis: But they also want to learn from it. So it’s like, okay, here’s the mistake I made this cost me $3,000. Don’t do this. Here’s another mistake I made. This cost me $7,000 don’t do this. And I’m going to do that. And then at this point, I’m hoping that people have already watched 15 minutes of my video and this video will probably longer than my one year video. They’ve already watched 15 minutes of my video. Now I’m going to say, okay, well even though I made $50,000 worth of mistakes, I still made $250,000 profit. And this is how I did it and it’s different and my strategy is a little bit different. And then it’s just for me, it’s how many, how much, how many nuggets, how much value can you give per minute. And if every 10 seconds I’m like, here’s another tip. Here’s another tip because YouTube is entertainment as much as it is information.
Travis: And a lot of creators do way too much information and no entertainment or way too much entertainment and there’s no information and I’m trying to find that happy medium. so yeah, I mean I can go, yeah, go ahead.
Trent: Well sorry, I wanted to ask a couple of followup questions. Do you operate from a script?
Travis: So I do different level of scripts depending on how important the video is. You almost always, the first five, six sentences are scripted somewhat. and then it will be bullet points and then the outro might be somewhat scripted as well. Cause to me the intro is the most important thing. Like you’re trying to hook people in to knowing that this is going to be a valuable video. But on this two year video, I might go a little bit more scripted because, because this is the 80 20 of my on like all right, let’s make sure and get this perfect.
Travis: And my one year video for instance, I even filmed it once and then I looked at it and I’m like, no, this is, this could be better. And then I refilled it again. So generally speaking I do bullet points and so I might say, all right, this is the order I want to talk about and kind of free flow talk. But if a video is really important, like right now with my two year video before this call actually I was going through, I was reading it and I’m like, nah, that’s, you can tell when when something’s dragging a little bit. And I’m like, I’m going to cut this out. And then reformulate like how do I make this so it’s just punch after punch after punch basically.
Trent: And when you’re standing in front of your camera and you’re filming, let’s assume that you’re going from a script or from bullet points. Do you, are you trying to get, say, let’s say you have a paragraph that’s one to three sentences long. Are you trying to get that paragraph in a single take or a UK? Are you okay doing a lot of jump cuts in your editing?
Travis: I’ve done both and honestly I don’t think it matters for, from what I’ve seen, I don’t think it matters as much is I used to think it does. as long as you can edit relatively well, people aren’t like, wait a minute, there’s jump cuts in there. I’ve seen some people have a lot of success with a ton of jump cuts and I’ve seen other people have success with just doing it in one take. For me personally, I don’t mind having some, some breaks. It’s almost impossible to have high quality, high value and not have some editing and from me.
Trent: Right. And do you, do you edit the videos yourself?
Travis: No, I, I’m, I used to a while ago and then I hired, I actually have, I hired a virtual assistant and I taught my virtual assistant from scratch. Like how to edit. Cause in the early days I’m like, all right, just line up the audio and the video files and cut the intro and outro. And then over time I would tell him, all right, we’ll add in some text here, blah, blah blah. And he, I’m like, go figure out how to do it. I don’t want to, I don’t want to even teach you how to do it. Like you can, you can figure this out yourself and you would just look up YouTube tutorials. And now he’s 10 times the video editor that I am and it’s a lot cheaper than my time.
Trent: So yeah. So you found someone who had almost no editing experience
Travis: and I don’t recommend that for everyone. I was, I mean I still am cheap, but I was very cheap and I already had a virtual assistant and I was like, you know what, I just need you. Like I said, I just need you to do the very basic stuff. And so I taught him the very basic stuff and yeah, over time he learned. And it also, it freed me up because in the past I would edit a video and I, by the time I was done editing, I was so sick of it. I didn’t even, I’d maybe half watch it once, where now he does all the editing. I’ll watch the video and I’ll say, no, change this, blah blah. I’ll just give him written out text on everything I want. He does another w I’ll do, I’ll go through three or four iterations for pretty much every video I release because I’ll watch it all the way through and I’ll notice sometimes big chunks. I’m like, you know what, this whole thing is repetitive, let’s cut it out. And that’s, I think that’s really important is cutting all the fat as much as you can.
Trent: So when you’re in front of the camera filming, do you just let the thing roll like in one huge big chunk and you salary. So you’re sending him one big massive file via Dropbox or whatever. And so how many minutes? So let’s say you’re shooting a eight to 10 minute video. How many minutes long do you think the file will be that you’re going to send to your editor?
Travis: Recently? For me, 30 minutes. And there are some videos that I do in one take or a very few takes, but it’s, it’s usually about 30 minutes cause sometimes I’ll, I’ll say something and I’m like, not that, that wasn’t right. Like let’s go back, let’s say it again. And sometimes I’ll take breaks in between. I’ve a lot of times, the first few minutes are just kind of me getting into that mindset of, all right, remember, visualize my past self in front of this camera and, and I’ve been trying to come with a lot more. It’s going to sound funny but like a lot more love and like looking at that person and being like, I love you and I really hope the best for you. And those are my videos that do the best. I think. it’s not always like that. I have some videos that maybe come off more salesy and I don’t like that as much. I’m trying not to do that. But that’s internet marketing. Like sometimes you have something you believe and it’s going to come off salesy.
Trent: So you’re letting the camera roll for an entire time. You’re not hitting stop-start. I’m assuming at certain points in the video you’re just literally talking to your editor saying, Hey for the thing I just said I want you to do this or I want you to do that. When you do say a piece of script correctly, how do you know like do you snap your fingers, clap your hands to give him a line spikes so that he knows that this is the piece to take for that section or how is that communicated?
Travis: Usually it’s just whatever. The last one I did like that’s there are like maybe like 1% of the time I say no, no, no. Like not the last one I did, but the one before that used that. But at this point once I feel like it’s good enough, I just go on to the next thing and I actually want to back up really quick cause in the early days I didn’t do it like this. I used to do it in one take take. And one of the tricks I would use is I would create PowerPoints and I’d have like a little clicker and I’d put my laptop under my camera and I’d go through the PowerPoint. I even, these aren’t my best videos, but I even would sync up the PowerPoint with my video so that it would make editing super simple. And I, cause you can do like a timing feature and it’s like, Oh, okay, it’s let’s, let’s sync up the audio video in the PowerPoint. And then a 12 minute video would take me 12 minutes to film. And it was just, just like that. But it’s not, I found it to be not as compelling to watch basically. Yep. Okay.
Trent: So when you are, how, how long does it take you, do you figure if from planning to scripting and bullet pointing to standing in front of the camera too, your work is done? How long does that take for one video?
Travis: So I’ll, so I guess it depends on, so sometimes I’ll have an idea. All, I’ll be mulling it over in my head for for weeks. And so it depends on what do you count his time working on it. Cause I was in the shower this morning and I was just spinning ideas on the video. but then it depends on how important the video is too. So I would say if I don’t think the videos that important, maybe five hours of total time if the more important I think it is. Yeah. I I it’s, it’s hard for me to even imagine my girlfriends sometimes sick of it because I’ll, before bed I’ll be talking about, Oh I have this idea and this idea, blah blah blah. And it’s a really tough one for me to answer. But I’d say minimum currently five to eight hours.
Travis: Cause then there’s also, after I’ve filmed it, I rewatch it. I’m thinking about the title and the thumbnail is a big thing. I think a lot of beginners don’t spend enough time on. I sometimes go through 50 iterations on thumbnails and it will be little things I’m like, all right, let’s change the color of this. Let’s move this down here, let’s blah blah blah. And then eventually I say that’s good enough. And one other little tip for this is I’ve recently started posting in my YouTube community and saying, Hey guys, what thumbnail do you like better? This one or this one? Because sometimes I have two thumbnails and I’m like, these are both great. And then I’ll post it in the community and 90% of the people will say thumbnail number two. And I’m like, okay, done. Like let’s just
Trent: finish that. Okay. So basically the better part of a day in preproduction and production and then even more time in editing and revisions?
Travis: Yeah, I would say so. And it’s funny to say it cause I, it doesn’t feel like that cause I really enjoy, I really enjoy making every part of the YouTube video. So it’s a, it doesn’t feel like it’s that much time, but when I break it
Trent: down I guess it is a decent amount of time. Yeah. And there is the reason right there while you why yours truly stopped producing YouTube videos. And now the only thing I published on my channel is recordings of my interviews because I simply don’t have that much time. Yeah, that’s fair enough. So where do you get your thumbnails from?
Travis: Oh, I, I mean, I have my VA make all of them and same kind of idea with the video editing. I will say, I’ll, I’ll take some pictures and I’ll say, let’s use this picture, cut me out and we’ll use X, Y, and Z background, put this kind of text. And then it’s just lots of iterations of saying, no, that doesn’t look good. And it’s a muscle just like anything else. In the early days, what I’d recommend, and this is probably not a popular opinion in the early days, I just recommend finding a good thumbnail from someone, some other creator, and copying it as much as you can. And then over time you build up that muscle and you see, Oh, this was, this is what makes a good thumbnail. Then you can see why did my thumbnail not do as well as some other thumbnail and all that kind of stuff.
Trent: Okay. So for one of the videos that you publish these days, what’s your average number of views per video?
Travis: You know it’s been, it’s probably close to two to 5,000 within the first week and that’s been with my, I have three virtual assistants with my virtual assistants. That was a, we set out, I think six months ago I was getting about 200 average on 100 to 200 average views within the first week and I said, all right, our goal is 2000 and we just hit this. I actually just, and I told them all, I’m going to give you one month’s worth of bonus if we can hit this number, basically 10 X in my channel and we did it. So yeah, about two to 5,000 but one interesting thing and if anyone out there knows the answer to this, I don’t know what exactly is going on, but I’d say let’s say a video of mine gets 5,000 views, 3000 of the views within the first week will come from external traffic, specifically Google search. But I can’t seem to figure out exactly where that’s coming from because I’ll, I will search for related keywords to my video and Amazon FBA and, and it’s not showing up anywhere. So it almost feels like an anomaly. I don’t know, something feels wrong with it. So I’d say about if I get a video that does 5,000 views, it’s about 3000 of those views are kind of junk views because the people coming from Google aren’t as involved. Like they’re not as their watch time isn’t as long as someone coming from the YouTube platform native like natively.
Trent: So in a 2000 view video, how many comments do you expect and how many subscribers do you expect and how much do you think that video would actually earn for you and commissions or new subscribers? I mean, I guess YouTube subscribers as well as, I’m, you’re probably trying to build an email list off your YouTube channel. I’m guessing. So how many emails? Drivers?
Travis: So here’s the thing, within the first week, if I get 2000 views on a video, I expect almost no new subscribers, almost no. new email subscribers, no. some, some money, from ad revenue. That’s not where I make the money. It’s four months later. If that video blows up, that’s where I make the money. That’s where I get the new subscribers. That’s where everything is. So every video I put out is I’d say 80% of the videos I put out is with the hope that it ends up catching fire and, and, and blown up because my current audience, they’re, they’re the ones that watch it within the first week. And something I’ve noticed, and I’m sure you’ve seen this too on YouTube, is it’s basically I get a big spike within the first week and then it flat lines and YouTube is kind of figuring out, Hey, what’s the click through rate? What’s the, like all the metrics they’re figuring out. And then I don’t know where, sometimes even a, I’ve had videos that a year later they just spike. And I don’t know exactly why it takes so long for the, you know, for everything to be figured out. But yeah. So.
Trent: Yeah, that happened to me. My one of the very first videos I made flatline for a year. I was targeting the phrase how to start a business with no money and I ended up ranking number one on YouTube for how to start a business well years and the video of Scott about 4.3 million views at this point in time. It’s of my 33,000 subscribers. I think about 22,000 of them came from that video and near as I can tell what caused it to go up and become number one eventually was a lot of thumbs up, a lot of comments and a lot of engagement because while yes, I was going after that title, I didn’t know anything about SEO back then. I didn’t do anything black hat, nothing. I just put it out there and then people kept walking and then just like the content, they just kept watching it and kept watching and kept watching kept and sharing it and it’s still to this day I get more comments on that video than any other video I produce. So one one video can have a pretty profound impact. That is for sure.
Travis: I would say I’ve looked at a lot of the other people in my niche and all their success for almost everyone comes down to one or two videos and then people watch that one video and then they watch another video and that that’s how they get there. They’re raving fans and yeah. So it’s all about having that one home run video on YouTube from what I can tell.
Trent: So with respect to promoting your videos, obviously you have your existing subscribers, some of them had clipped the click the bell, so they’re going to get a YouTube notification. what other activities are you doing to either initially and on an ongoing basis, if there’s anything to help to promote that video?
Travis: Not so right now all my focus has been on making the best content I can. Basically my thought on it is I’m trying to make a really good net and so what I’m doing is having a hundred videos that someone can come in and kind of in a positive way get lost in my YouTube channel where they’re just like, I’m going to watch one to another one. My goal is about mid next year to start maybe going on on, on podcasts and talking about the YouTube channel, talking about stuff like that, doing more. I’ve done some collaborations, doing more of those kinds of collaborations. But once I release a video, to me it’s onto the next video and it’s, it’s learning from the mistakes I made in that video and trying to figure out, okay, how can I do this better? And we’re coming, you know, it’s 2020 by the time this will be released, that will be 2020 and that’s a really big time in my niche because it’s how to start an Amazon business 2020 how to start an online store, 2000 like everything is 2020.
Travis: So this is a key time for me to just make as much in the best content as I can. And then the next phase will be more on the promotion stuff. I do spend a lot of energy trying to maintain the fans isn’t the right word. Their community that I have the people that watch my YouTube channel and I have a Facebook group. That’s one thing. And then I’ll add people on Facebook and I’ll try to message them and go back and forth with them. Same thing when people join my email list, I’ll try to engage them in a conversation. So it’s not just, I think a lot the mistakes that are made are people are internet marketers specifically. They want to get a hundred you don’t want to get a thousand people on their email list and they want to send them newsletters. Yeah, but what about having a real conversation with that person?
Travis: Why not send them a personal email saying, Hey, I saw you joined by the way, what other YouTube channels do you watch? Oh, that’s cool. Like what podcasts are you into? And kind of going some back and forth. so that’s something I’m going to be trying. That’s something I’ve been doing and I, it’s hard to track. So I do so many different things that it’s hard to know what works well. Obviously answering comments to anything you can do to develop some kind of relationship I think is very powerful and I’m trying to do more of that.
Trent: And so do you answer all of the comments yourself?
Travis: So what I do is I have my VA answer anything that’s kind of generic or something that, anything that she can answer. And then if it’s a little, and I, and I’ve given her certain things, like if people say, I get so many people like, Hey, I want to start an online business, help me. And I’m like, okay, well watch any of my freaking videos. So I just have her basically leave it. Like now she leaves a comment, says, Hey, you should check out this video. The people, some of the comments, people leave me. It’s, it’s, it’s hard to justify like answering them because, and then some, and then on the flip side, sometimes people ask way too specific questions and I just tell my VA, Hey, just tell him if they want a consultation session. It’s, you know, here’s a link to purchase a consultation session, which no one really does, but there is a happy middle ground, especially if people are posting nice things where they’re, and they’re talking a little bit about their story. Then it’s like, Oh, I want to try to connect with that person. But 90% of the comments on YouTube
Trent: junk, to be honest. Yeah, I get some, I get some zingers to T to say the least. I’m going to start selling on Amazon. How do I start?
Travis: Yeah, it’s just like
Trent: Well I have a blog and a podcast and a video channel and you could, you know, did you watch any of that stuff before you decided to ask for my free advice?
Travis: Yeah. And then there’s the other side of things, which I’m not always sure that I’m, I’m still deciding on the best way to handle where people will just tear, tear it apart. Like they’ll take a video where I meet I T I’m from a really genuine place. I’m really trying to help people know like, Oh, you’re just trying to scam us. And I’m like, no, you don’t have to. I’m not sell. I mean, sure, I do have a course, but you don’t have to buy that. Like that’s, you know, whatever. If you know, if you feel that way, I think that’s such a, that’s a whole other conversation. But it’s such a negative mindset going on on YouTube right now.
Trent: It is. And, and you know, that came up, in a mastermind session I was in on the weekend. And when people are that skeptical, that jaded, that negative, I just ignore them because there’s nothing there. They’re there. So they’ve been so burned or they’re just such a negative person to begin with. It wouldn’t matter what you’ve said. It wouldn’t matter if you said, Hey, I’m going to send you a hundred dollars bill in the mail. They’d still think you were lying.
Travis: You’re right. No, you’re totally right. It hurts me. And I was never extra, I was never the kind of person that would leave a negative comment on YouTube. But I did struggle for a long time with that feeling of all everyone’s trying to, you know, out to get me and I, Oh, even in this last year I struggled with that with my second product. I just, I felt like my manufacturer was trying to screw me over and it wasn’t until I realized, no, sometimes people are just incompetent. It’s not that they’re, that they’re purposely trying to screw me over. It’s just they messed it up and they don’t want to take the blame.
Trent: Yup. Yup. Okay. how about key metrics when you’re looking at your analytics, it sounds like you do paying fairly close attention to
Travis: them. When you, how often do you look? What are you looking for? What are the takeaways? So the answer to how often is too often I’ve, I’m actually, I have to, I’m sure like most entrepreneurs, it’s a, I’ve got to stop a little bit and recently it’s been really excited and cause the channel has been blowing up and every day is kind of a roller coaster. Ideally, I would look at it once a week, once a month because it’s not, it’s not something I needed to constantly be checking. But right now it’s maybe multiple times a day. The things I’m looking at, it’s just, especially right now, it’s actually on the downturn of the rollercoaster. It really spiked up hard and now awesome. Some of the views are starting to drop off just in the last few days. And I’m like trying to figure out why, but there’s nothing I, there’s nothing I can really do to figure out.
Travis: It’s a little bit of a black box. but the, the metrics I do look at our click through rate. That’s a really big one. And specifically click through rate by the different categories because you can look at the click through rate by search, the click through rate with suggested videos and browse features, I think they call it. That’s the home, the homepage features. Yeah. And so I try to see, cause some, I recently had a video that did not go over well even though I thought it was a really good video that had a click through rate of I think 15% my typical video has about 5% and so I’m like okay I did something right here. But then it, the video content itself, people apparently didn’t like 50% of the people loved it, 50% of the people hated it. And so that’s another important thing is the watch time.
Travis: And this video actually had a really high watch time and as well. But at a certain point I think people felt like they were, I don’t know, tricked, which was not my intention. And it also had a high dislike rate, which usually isn’t something I pay attention to because this is the first video I ever had that had a high dislike rate. But I’d say by far the most important things are click through rate in watch time. Another thing that’s a little bit harder to look at is, well, I mean you can look at it, is trying to figure out how many people at the end of year video watch another video. And you can see that if you promote it as an in screen. So at the end of your video you have the option to do an end screen or an info card. That’s interesting to me too because if someone watches one of my videos and one out of 10 people watch another one of my videos, that means I’m doing something right.
Travis: That means that people like me enough to say, Hey, let’s let’s give this guy another chance. And that’s actually the number one metric that YouTube cares about is session duration. A lot of people think it’s watching it, you know about that. And that’s one of the metrics they don’t give you. I wish they, I guess it would probably be complicated for them to give you. So I think with every video, how can I make someone watch five of my other videos at the end of this one? So my two year video for instance, I’m going to be talking about other videos throughout and maybe even I’m deciding on this, maybe even showing the thumbnail in my video saying, Hey, you know, should I check it? I don’t know how I’m going to exactly say it, but check it out. I have links down to all these things, but it’s a funnel like anything.
Trent: So with session time in mind. are you familiar with Brian Dean from Backlinko?
Travis: Yeah. Yeah. I watch one of his videos really helped me actually.
Trent: Have you seen his CQL strategy?
Travis: That’s, yup. That’s the video. That was the really good.
Trent: And so have you implemented the SQL strategy?
Travis: I did, yeah. Okay.
Trent: So for the audience, for the audience who doesn’t know what the hell we’re talking about, let me explain the SQL strategy and then talk about how you implemented it.
Travis: Sure. So the, the quick version, please fill in gaps. I have the SQL strategy is find a video that’s doing really well and try to make your own version of that video that is bigger, better averages, you know, stronger I guess. And so what I did is I noticed a lot of people were making one year videos and they were all the one year videos, like when your Amazon FBA results videos did really well. So what I decided is, okay, after someone watches Steve’s one year video, I want them to watch my one year video. So what I’m going to do is make a better title, a better thumbnail, and slightly a longer video. because watch time is something that’s so important. So if they had a 10 minute one year video, I’m going to make a 13 minute, one year video. But now one important thing is don’t make a video longer just to make it longer.
Travis: I see a lot of people do this where they just ramble on. No think about what are some other things, like in my two year video, I’m going to be doing, all right, well, I’m going to list every mistake I want, which I think is what people want. So in the past I just said, here’s my top mistake. We’re now, I’m like, here’s all the mistakes. By the way, this was the biggest one. so it’s that, that’s the short version is trying to get in suggested views for other videos that are doing really well.
Trent: Okay. Are there any other activities that you have had success with on YouTube that we haven’t yet talked about?
Travis: Man, I feel, I feel like we’ve talked about most of it. I think, the, the community thing, I’ll just reiterate again, that’s a recent thing for me. I’ve been also posting, if you’re unsure about titles, you can do a poll in your YouTube community and you can say, Hey, here are the two different titles. And so I’m thinking about click on whichever one you’d be more likely to click on if it was a video. And I think that’s one of the best ways to get real data before you launch your video. So other than that, I feel like we’ve covered most of the things.
Trent: Okay. And finally, my curiosity question. have you ever talked to him and being at YouTube?
Travis: I don’t know. actually I’ve been to vid summit and VidCon. And I think I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, yeah, I have talked to some people there but not, not too much in depth. No. Why, why do you ask? Actually,
Trent: well there was, so I was, I got locked out of my channel for a period of years and I wasn’t really doing much with it and, and when I realized, Hey, I really should, when I say I got locked out back when Google bought YouTube, there was a merging of usernames and so forth and somehow I created endless loop of not being able to recover a password. And I had moved from San Diego and my phone number changed so I didn’t have a way to recover it. So I was trying every way come Sunday to get an actual human being to interact with me so that I could regain access to my account and it never ever worked. Now what I did do, somebody suggested that one day and it was the simplest thing ever. I just phoned my old phone number, found out whoever owned it and it took me like a week cause he thought I was trying to scam him for something. And I’m like, dude, I just need you to give me the six digit code that YouTube has sending to you, like calm on. And finally he sent it to me, Erie gained access to my channel. Oh wow. Yeah.
Travis: That’s lucky that they, I don’t know. Did they always reassign numbers or is there a chance though?
Trent: Don’t it could have gone into the, you know, the, the ether and ed and never ever been used and I still wouldn’t have had access and that’s the channel with the 32,000 subscribers. And I, cause I had started a new channel and I built it up to about 2000 subscribers and I was thinking to myself, gosh, it would probably be really a good idea for me to put a lot of effort into getting this other channel back because I, that 4 million view video, it was to do with my own brand. I wanted to change some stuff in the description. I wanted to put some links in, but I couldn’t do any of that. and as luck would have it, not too long after I were getting regained access to the channel, that video, which had been ranked number one for years, started to slip and now it’s not even on the first page anymore.
Travis: That’s crazy. You know, actually there is one of the thing about YouTube I do want to say is because now it does take me, let’s say eight hours to make a video. But that’s because I’ve turned into a little bit of a perfectionist in the early days. It really, I’d filled 20 videos in a week and I would even use, like I said, the PowerPoint and some of my, some of my really big videos and some of my, still some of my biggest videos on my channel. I filmed in one go and they were, so I don’t think it needs to be a ton of work. The reason I’m doing this now is because I’ve seen that it can be successful and that I can make money from it. So I’m like, all right, let’s, let’s treat this like a business. We’re in the past. I was just like, Oh, this is a fun hobby kind of thing.
Trent: Yeah. And I will comment on those lightweight videos. So I filmed, I used to do whiteboard Friday and I would, I filmed dozens and dozens and dozens of these things where it was me. Basically I put some points on a whiteboard, I’d stand in front of it, I’d talk my way through the points. So there was no script needed. It was all in one take. It was super, super easy. But honestly, those views, those videos didn’t do Jack diddly to grow my, my audience loved them when I was at conferences and I had stopped doing them. People were coming up to me, Oh, come on and do more whiteboard Friday. I love those videos. But they did nothing for me for channel growth, absolutely nothing. And none of them were targeting any particular phrases. So there was no an SEO aspect to it whatsoever. So I had quit. I’ve quit YouTube a couple of times because I just seem to get, these are the all the other things that I can do with that day to day and a half of my time. I was just like, ah man, I dunno what I want to keep doing that. So YouTube has only worked moderately well for me. All right, let’s finish up with five quick facts, short questions and short answers. Favorite business book that you have ever read or are reading now?
Travis: I mean this is going to be a stereotypical answer. The four hour work week completely changed my life and I mean that was the book when I had a corporate job. I read that and I’m like, what am I doing? I was already thinking all these thoughts in my head and then all of a sudden I read this. I’m like, this is everything I want and everything I’ve been thinking, but it was kind of nice to see that mentor. I will add a book that I’m currently reading is opportunity by Eben pagan. I feel like you may have read that one as well. I saw that he was one of your dream guests. Oh really? It’s a great, that’s a great book. And the thing I like, they’re very different books. I think one, well for four hour work weeks, an amazing book, but opportunity is kind of like his entire life experience kind of condensed down into one book and talking about how to decide on how to find good opportunities, but also how to decide on which opportunity you should take.
Travis: Which was a conundrum that I went through recently where it’s all right, my main business performance, nut butter, my Amazon business is doing well and everyone’s telling me I should double down on this and blow it up. But I love YouTube, I’m having fun with it. And I decided ultimately, well this helps, this gets me more self actualized. Like this is more what I want to do longterm and to be fair, now that I’ve started to grow up my YouTube, I think in the next few months I’m going to say, okay, now I want to go back to focusing on performance, not butter. Put YouTube somewhat on autopilot. And for me, the two businesses there, they’re very connected because if my Amazon business fails, then people on YouTube are going to be like, Hey, what are you doing? Like teaching about Amazon?
Trent: But I have the same problem. I have a successful Amazon business that I don’t even work in, but it is the thing that I get to talk about. It is the thing that some of my credibility is associated with. And for that reason I, I keep making sure that business continues to succeed and to grow. thankfully under my wife, under her stewardship with our standard operating procedures. All right, well we’re way down a rabbit hole. Question number two, favorite online tool for growing your business?
Travis: You know, I’ve thought about this one a little bit. I feel like this is not going to be the right answer. I just said Amazon because I had struggled for so long. So right when I quit my corporate job seven years ago, I had my own website is a dance clothing company I talked about in the last episode. I think more so and I was trying to get everyone to come to our website purchase from us and it was so freaking hard and it took so much work. I think at our peak we were doing maybe $80,000 revenue a month and it’s a very niche market and it’s hard to convince people that come to your website. It’s hard to convince people to purchase. And then within two months of launching my Amazon business, it was doing 30,000 revenue of $10,000 profit per month. And to me that is a tool.
Travis: I think some people get too caught up in this idea of, Oh, I’m an Amazon seller. No, you’re a business owner that sells on Amazon. Some people are Amazon sellers. Like there they are selling the private label, like more generic products, but it’s one of the most, it’s $1 trillion tool basically that you get to use that it is hours of work per week. Yeah. This is another, I struggle with a lot of these questions, so I think there’s different types of work. There’s the sit down at the, like this computer right now that I’m sitting down at. I probably do, I’ve, I’ve been recently doing more like four hours a day sitting down actually working on things and that changes. But then if you start adding in, maybe later in the day, I’m laying down on my computer watching my, my YouTube videos. when I’m at the, this is a funny, this is a true story.
Travis: I was at the beach last year and I had the idea of just laying on the beach, the middle of, I think it was like a Tuesday afternoon, three o’clock in the afternoon. I just felt a little bit burnt out. I went laid on the beach, but my mind’s always racing and I was thinking, and I’ve had the idea of, Oh, I’ve got to do a one year video and Oh, I should change because my, my, my YouTube channel used to be general e-commerce. And since then I’ve niched it down to not only Amazon FBA, but the idea of a passion product. And that’s where the lightning bolt of a passion product came to me. It was well laying on the beach, which is basically don’t just sell generic things. Try to find something that you wish existed and create that. So is that work? I mean it’s not, but at the same time, that led to more money than yup. 50 hours of sitting on it, on my computer grinding. So 20 hours of actual in a, in a desk, like in a seat doing that and then a lot more just constantly thinking.
Trent: So you accidentally stumbled into what as I think the biggest takeaway, for many entrepreneurs who are already in business, not so much for those who haven’t started yet is the importance of making sure that you systematize your business to the point where you can go to the beach and lie there. For me, you know, if I’m driving long drives, with my wife because we’re business partners, those are some pretty fruitful discussions. Or when I’m, you know, on an airplane or I’m just kind of not, not sitting in front of my computer. I rarely get the big idea when I’m sitting in front of my computer, unless I’m talking to somebody else. And then that collaboration causes a big idea. But when you’re in the grind and the grind and the grind, you’re not going to get those game changing ideas. And so my advice to the listeners here, cause everybody knows me as the systems guy, if you don’t have the systems, if you and you don’t have the team and you haven’t delegated or you haven’t even hired a virtual assistant yet, you are literally never going to get those really big game changing ideas because you’re just going to be frantically paddling your boat every day just to try and make enough money to get through this.
Trent: And as a result, your income’s never really gonna rise to any great amount. And then you’re never going to get that freedom. And then you get to be in what I call entrepreneurial jail, which is you’re just a slave to your business. And that ox man, I mean, thankfully I don’t have that life anymore. And it sounds like you probably don’t either. and only then, you know, my income in the last couple of years has just skyrocketed way more money than I ever thought I would be making. And I’ve got more free time than I ever thought I would have. And I realized for people who are new, who are listening to like, Oh yeah, good for you, but ADA cause it’s their, their world is very, very different and we all start with rowing the boat like mad every day, which is why I’m saying this advice will fall on deaf ears for the newer folks. But if you’re already in a business and you’re making 60 70, $80,000 a year and you start, you haven’t started to delegate and hire yet, you are your own worst enemy.
Travis: Yeah, I, I’ll agree with that. And add on. One thing I found for myself from about two o’clock to five o’clock, I’m only capable of doing what I call minimum wage work. I’m not able of doing any. And so it’s like, okay, if from two to five o’clock I can instead just hire someone for, I mean in the Philippines, $3 an hour, but even in American for $10 an hour. Why, why would I do that? I’d rather go to the beach now. You’re right. Cause in the early days though, I wasn’t making that much money. So for me I’m like I can’t afford to, though I hired a virtual assistant pretty soon it was 100% the best thing I ever did. But now it’s, I used to do let’s say video editing from two to five o’clock cause that’s not, that’s pretty repetitive. But now it’s like alright I’ll go lay on the beach, I’ll pay my da three bucks an hour to do the video editing. That sounds like a great trade off.
Trent: Hell yeah, that it does. So family situation and I think you said girlfriend earlier, I don’t know if we were recording that or not. So I’m assuming girlfriend, no. Kids.
Travis: Yeah. Girlfriend, no kids. live now. She lives with me now. And I actually recently taught her about how to, she actually recently quit her job. I told her how to create a passion product and sell online. And it’s been really fun. Like that’s been one of the coolest things. It’s been really fun watching her grow and develop cause she’s not naturally an entrepreneur type person. She’s, I mean we’re very much Jen and yang, but it’s been really interesting teaching someone that’s not by nature an entrepreneur and seeing the ups and the downs. I’ll, I’ll leave it at that.
Trent: So is she the one that I’ve seen in a few of your videos? Yeah. Okay. And so did she quit her job now because she’s basically followed the recipe that you followed for performance, nut butter and she has a product or products that are earning enough that she’s now sustaining herself.
Travis: So yes. But I will put a caveat. she is not making an, she’s basically, she’s making, she still has, she’s coming some money out of pocket, so she’s got a runway. Basically her, her expenses aren’t a ton a month. I mean I, I pay most of the rent because I make most of the money. And she was making, I don’t know, let’s say two, $3,000 a month. I don’t remember the exact number. And what we realized is, well, if you spent, if you quit and for the next six months focused on this business, even though right now it’s only making $1,000 a month and your expenses are $1,500 a month, by the end of the six months, I guarantee you’ll be able to, to increase it and meet that $1,500 Oh hell yeah. Yeah. So I’m just like, let’s take a chance. And then worst case scenario, you spent let’s say $5,000 covering your expenses for those, those six months. Cause that’s the difference. You just learned way more and you will definitely, over time you’ll increase, you’ll increase your income. So it’s, I’m really excited. Like I don’t see a downside. Worst case scenario, she gets a job again. Like there’s so many, you know, she didn’t have, there’s so many jobs out there, you can get another job.
Trent: Yeah. And people pay. They don’t give a second thought to going and spending money to go to college. But the scenario, they just you that you just described for a lot of people, they just can’t imagine doing it. They can’t imagine unless they followed the structured roadmap that society has laid out for the non entrepreneurs, you know, rack up debt, go to college, apply for a job, get a mortgage, like the prison cell, that they never get the opportunity.
Travis: And it is scary. I mean I will just say like when I did it, I was, I, I needed to do it cause the, the other side of staying in the corporate world forever was jail and I didn’t want that. She’s had an easier time I think because she’s seen me go through the process and all that kind of stuff. But I understand why it’s scary. I’ll just, I’ll leave it at that, but it’s definitely worth doing. Last question. what do you wish your younger self knew? Yeah, so I thought a lot about this one as well. And I think the biggest thing, and this is how I’ve been recently signing off my YouTube videos, is enjoy the journey and it’s kind of cliche or whatever, but it really is, I don’t know how much you’ve read about or know about, like the hero’s journey, like the Joseph Campbell, all that kind of stuff.
Travis: I only somewhat recently found out about that and I’ve, I’ve mapped out my life since I quit my corporate job. I’m like, Holy cow, this is exactly the process. I went through the call to adventure, the refusal of the call, like entering the, all that kind of different things. And I’ve all, for most of my entrepreneurial career, I’ve said to myself, once I make this much amount of money, I’m going to enjoy life. I’m gonna finally, everything’s going to be great. That’s not the case. It doesn’t work that way at all. And now, recently I’ve, I’ve actually like two years ago or so, I hit that goal and I’m like, Oh, but I’m still, I still feel like there’s something missing and I wish all along and I’m still working on this. Like, this isn’t something I’m perfect. I wish all along I would have been a little bit more grateful for what I have and actually realize, Hey, this is really fun.
Travis: I think of it, it’s almost like when you’re watching a movie, you don’t think, Oh, that’s the bad part of the movie because they were not doing well. You’re like, well, that’s the exciting part. Like what’s going to happen? Like they hit rock bottom. It’s a failure. Are they going to come out of this? But when you’re experiencing it, a lot of times you’re like, Oh, it’s a failure. Everything’s gone to hell. And I wish someone would’ve sat me down and said, you’re going to look back on this and you’re going to smile. And you’d be like, wow, that such a crazy, interesting journey. So that’s the big thing.
Trent: There’s a video on YouTube by Denzel Washington called fail fall forward. I think it is. If you just Google fall forward and Denzel Washington, you’ll probably see it. It’s a motivational speech that he’s giving to a graduating class at a college. And it’s a really great watch. And anyone who’s still listening to a, to Travis and I have this conversation, I highly recommend you go and check that video out because one of the lessons is that you know you’ll never fail if you don’t ever take any risks, but you will also never succeed. You’ll just be average for your whole entire life and at the end of your life there’ll be the ghosts of these adventures and opportunities that you could have had if you had decided to step out of your comfort zone and there’ll be looking down on you with their arms crossed and there’ll be saying, how come you never gave me a chance?
Trent: You took the safe road all the time. You never took any risks, you were never very happy and you never gave me a chance. So you don’t want to die with any of those ghosts standing around your grave. You want to make sure that you gave them all a chance. And with that, Travis, we’ll wrap it up here. I thank you so much for coming on the show again. I very much appreciate it. Be sure to send me for people that want to get in touch with you. Maybe your LinkedIn profile and all included in the show notes so that they can get in touch with you if somebody wants to find a joint form, a joint venture or whatever it is they want to communicate with you for. And it’s been a pleasure to have you on the show.
Travis: And can I add really quick check out my YouTube channel by the time this video or by the time this podcast is live, I’m actually going to do an hour long in depth YouTube video talking about how I like every, all my different systems, like showing all the different processes. You can also check out my one year, my two year video. But guys, if you enjoyed this, please check out the YouTube channel.
Trent: All right, and we’ll have a link to that in the show notes as well. Thanks.