This week I’m joined by none other than Chris Ducker. Chris is a very successful guy. He has several businesses, has written two best selling books and runs the UK’s best - I’m saying that - conference for online business owners. In this episode Chris walks us through what his world looks like now, how we wrote Rise of the Youpreneur and tells me all about his upcoming conference ( Youpreneur Summit ) in November.
Links and mentions
Chris's Website http://bit.ly/youpreneursummit19
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Automatic Show Transcript
Hi there. Thanks for joining me for this episode of gravity, the digital marketing entrepreneurs podcast. I'm Bob gentle. And every week I'm joined by digital marketing business owners, creators, consultants and practitioners who share what makes their business work. Whether you run your own business, or you're just thinking of stepping out on your own for the first time, you're in the right place. If you're new to the podcast and welcome along, just take a second right now to subscribe to the show on your podcast player and that we won't miss new episodes when they come out. And you can dig into some older ones when you finish this one.
This week, I'm joined by none other than Chris Ducker. Chris is a very successful guy. He has several businesses has written two best selling books, and he runs the UK as best I'm calling it the best conference for online business owners. So welcome to log and let's meet Chris
This week, I'm delighted to welcome what I can say as a special guest, Chris Tucker to the podcast.
Chris is author of two books virtual freedom and rise of the printer, host of the printer FM podcast. And you printer summit, which happens in London in November. So Chris, I don't know if you know, but you are the unofficial godfather of the show. I think you could have mentioned in just about every other episode. So I'm really excited to have you here. Well, I I did not know this fact. Now. I'm, I feel extra special. So thank you for the love. I appreciate it. So Chris,
maybe for those who don't know you, I mean, I've given you a bit of an introduction to maybe just want to talk a little bit about
what you're up to now what your world looks like. Yeah, I mean, it looks different. You know, it's different to what it looked five years ago, and it's, you know,
even more different to what it looked five years ago before that. I mean, I think
You know, we are, we're ultimately evolving all the time. And that's one of the things that
you know, it's one of the things that interests me so much about doing what we do. And I mean, in a in a nutshell, I've been an entrepreneur for 15 years, looking back retrospectively, probably more like 25 years, you know, the full time entrepreneur for 15 years, have built, owned, operated, sold, bought, you know, a number of different businesses within that period of time. I still own and operate three different businesses right now. All of which combined around about 400 plus full time employees around the world. But I'm known predominantly from my work with people like yourself, you know, personal brand, entrepreneurs that are building businesses based around themselves, their personalities, their customers, and that sort of type of thing. And that's there. As the you printer universe, as I call it, only call out to myself because it sounds a little bit maybe
Possibly a little too Marvel for for anybody else. But for me, it's the up universe. That's it. Yeah. And I miss a lot of sense because it's their perspective of the observer that matters. You have several businesses, you mentioned 400 people or so, what's really interesting about that is from the observers perspective, Chris Ducker is very visible. And I love a lot of the things peripheral to that Virtual Staff Finder, other businesses that you've got the brands themselves with those businesses aren't particularly prominent. Is that something that you've intentionally cultivated?
Yes, it is. I mean, so, you know, we have the live to sell group, which is our call center facility over in the Philippines. It's b2b all the way. You know, it's not one of those businesses where we look to, you know, build opt in magnets to create great big long email lists and, and all that sort of type of thing. It's very much a b2b solution. We have virtual staff
Find out which is in the online space that's, you know, also b2b but more sort of all more aimed towards, you know, the solo printer, people just like your listeners, actually that would, you know, need a virtual assistant over in the Philippines to help them run, support and grow their business. And then obviously, you know, really is the broader spectrum of what we do online, therefore, obviously, is a lot more visible with the book and the events and the membership and everything that we do there. So it's, I mean, yes, it's intentional, that we don't talk about the other businesses as much because we want the focus quite frankly to be on you printer, but they are quite in a weird sort of way in tangled with each other. And particularly with Virtual Staff Finder. I think you will see that becoming a little bit more front and center as we continue to grow the printer brand going forward and
Virtual Staff Finder. I mean, you mentioned virtual freedom.
That was my first encounter with Chris Tucker and Chris Tucker, his universe, which came first Virtual Staff Finder or virtual freedom.
Good question. I mean, certainly in terms of dates, Virtual Staff Finder, you know, that was born from a blog comment of all things in August of 2010. So we're coming up on on nine solid years of that business now.
And then virtual freedom wasn't published until April 2014. So it was a few years after we'd been obviously, you know, running that business and building that business. But I mean, looking back on it, you know, it I think,
Virtual Staff Finder as a service as a company, would not have been born if it wasn't of, you know, if it hadn't been for me, kind of removing myself from our own business and and
growing my own team around me that, you know, that's creating virtual freedom for myself. So, you know, the funny thing is, when we were putting the book together initially that that wasn't even the title of the book, I think the title of the book now.
I'm, I'm getting old now, Bob, I think Hang on, let me try and record. Oh, that's right. Here we go. The title of the book was the freedom factor, which was just shocking. I say it out loud now, and it's a shocking title. And yeah, I just came across the publishing contract maybe six months ago, as I was getting ready to move back to the UK from the Philippines. We're packing a load of stuff up and there was a FedEx envelope. And I remember opening it up looking at the freedom factor, was it Oh, yeah, that's right. That was my book. But it turned out being virtual freedom in the end much better title. Yeah, much better title. Can you sir very lucky you didn't choose the other one.
So, your main focus now is on your printer, the Chris Tucker personal
And yeah, and working with personal brand entrepreneurs. And you've fairly recently I mean, it seems like a long time ago now but launched the rise of the printer book. What sort of impact has that had? And what's the reception been like? Now Roger, the printer is knocked me for six. I mean, to be honest with you, virtual freedom has also and continues to be very, very successful. I mean, we're well over 1005 star reviews on Amazon now. I think we hit four number one bestseller rankings when that book
came out. Initially, I don't know exactly how many copies we've sold, but it's got to be close to maybe 100 and something thousand, you know, copies of the book, but we rise to the you know, what, what was strange was that when we launched it, which was February 2018, officially we actually unveiled it at the inaugural up no summit in November 2017 when we had some copies that we gave away to all the attendees or the other
Book wasn't actually going to be, you know, released until a few months later. When we launched it, I knew see with virtual freedom, it was kind of any solo printer, any small business owner can buy this book and get some goodness from it. But with Rise of the entrepreneur, we were really nearing down into that personal brand, kind of niche. So you know, people like authors, speakers, coaches, consultants, solo printers, freelancers, that sort of thing. And so we didn't expect it to do as well out of the gate. But it did. And I think what the reason behind that was because quite frankly, of my own personal brand, and the network that I built, obviously, the friends that I had that were happy to talk about it and promote it upon launching. So it's kind of like, you know, this is the business card as to why you need to build a personal brand in today's world. And so I think it sort of surpassed itself a little bit in terms of who was actually written for
When you've got Forbes magazine, yeah, quoting you as the person that saying you are the entrepreneurs of the future and that sort of type of thing, I guess you kind of under something a little bit, and it's kind of surprised that so what it's done above and beyond everything else, it's just opened up doors for us. And I mean, you know, we've been very, very, very happy with with the, with the volume of sales of the book, and obviously, more importantly, the feedback from people like yourself who have picked it up and read it. Yeah, I think one thing that's really impressive in it, is there's not an awful lot of fluff. It's almost a manual, right? It's a very, very,
very actionable book much more than most, and that's from beginning to end, not just the first 20% I'm very happy to hear that. That's exactly. You know, that's exactly what we were going for. It's important to hear that because I think that there is a lot of fluff. There's a lot of crap out there. And I think when when you call your book The Definitive Guide to.dot.it better
Be otherwise you're going to get some flak, you know? Yeah. So yeah, we worked very hard. I mean, you know, my name is on the, on the covers the author of the book, but you know, there's a team effort behind everything we do it, you know, you've you've witnessed it yourself, you know, at the at the summit. So, yeah, we're very, very proud of it. I think I would like to dig into a couple of things in the book in a minute. But before I do that, I'd like to explore what the experience of writing that book was like, because anybody who's written a book, if I get to speak to them, I'm going to ask them about this, because I believe it is different for every person, but I remember seeing a picture you post on Instagram, with a hotel room covered and post it notes.
So tell me the story. How was that to write? Oh, good, Lord. I mean, you know, writing any book is hard. You know, if anybody says it's easy, they're lying through their teeth. And the big thing is, when you're done writing it, that's when the real work actually begins. Because now you want to market the thing. Now you got to get it into the hands.
Of the people that you wrote it for. For me, by far the hardest part of the writing process, when it comes to a book is the editing side of it. And I think that's when I posted that that image was when we were in that editing process. Because, you know, I think I don't know the exact word count now, but I think we're at about 54,000 words or something in terms of the final final manuscript of Rise of the entrepreneur. But when we submitted that far, that first manuscript to our editor, we're at 65,000 plus. So, you know, it doesn't sound like a lot of 13,000 words, there's not that much. I mean, and it's actually not actually I mean, I've heard some books get chopped down by 30 40%
on the on the first run. So we knew what we were writing, and we knew that the very large majority of what was in there was going to be exactly what people wanted and needed, but still, we had 12 to 13,000 words that we needed to cut down to make it more concise and to use your term. no fluff, right? We need
Any fluff at all, we wanted it to be a page turner, we didn't want anybody reading the book to actually pick it up and skip sections. We wanted them to feel like they were going to be missing out if they skipped a page or two, let alone an entire chapter. Right? So the editing process is without a doubt, the hardest book, The hardest part rather of writing a book. And then like I said, once it's written, and it's laid out, and it's printed, then the real work begins because you got to start marketing the thing. Yeah. But then to get into the book, over the course of this podcast, listeners will be quite used to certain themes coming up again and again. And one of those themes has been
tweaking your business model, so that you're not simply trading time for money all the time. And in your book, you talk about the starting five and the day, every personal brand entrepreneur, anybody that's looking to move away from hiding behind a logo, really should be addressing these five things that you can do.
That every business can conceivably do to generate a little bit of revenue above and beyond trading time for money, trying to maybe just unpack that a little bit for listeners. Yeah, so the starting five is, is a group of products slash services
that I put together to sort of help people understand that they can actually start monetizing, you know, their, their expertise, quite frankly, much easier and usually much sooner in the process, and they probably think it is. So it starts with really the lowest hanging fruit in that that general up in our ecosystem that I'm always going on about. So the first the first part is coaching and consulting. You know, this is the lowest hanging fruit for anybody that's got any level of experience in any particular niche or industry. So what you're fundamentally doing here is obviously trading time for money. Not the most scalable business model, but it is the best way to be able to get making money.
Right out of the gate, and obviously gives you the option, or the opportunity really more than anything else, to, you know,
speak with your target market and to find out what they really need on one. And if you see things are popping up over and over and over again, and those coaching or those consulting sessions that you do, which you are getting painful, then obviously those topics those subjects that do pop up over and over again, are perfect for, you know, another part of the ecosystem or the second five, which is online courses. So you know, you creating things like video courses, audio courses, ebooks, anything really that's digital that can be scalable and sold obviously over and over and over again. Another aspect is affiliate marketing, which a lot of people stay away from because they don't really know how to attack it. But in layman's terms, what it means is you have a link for a product or a service that you use or no well and you've then promote that product or service to
The people that are within your ecosystem within your community online, via email via your website, whatever the case may be even your podcast. And whenever anybody uses that link of yours, that affiliate link to buy one of those products or services, you get a kickback, you get a commission. So this isn't necessarily going to make you super rich, but what it will do is enable you to kind of, for one of a better term, make money when you sleep, right? So when you know you're on holiday, and an email goes out to you know, the 300 people that have signed up to your email list that week, you know, you know that 10% of that list is going to end up clicking on that link because the data is there to back it up. Therefore, when you sunning yourself on a beach in Spain somewhere, you'll be able to pick up an extra couple of thousand dollars that week or whatever it ends up being. So that's affiliate marketing, that's online courses that's coaching, consulting, and then the other two parts of the starting five on membership sites. And I think a lot of businesses are going towards membership style.
business models because obviously they're predictive, right? number one, and number two, they're recurring. So you know what money you're going to be coming, what's going to be coming into your business month on month, quarter on quarter a year on year and every business needs that sort of stability. So whether you're offering online services, that membership fee, maybe it's offline, maybe it's something that you're doing in person, whatever the case may be, that membership model is becoming more and more popular. And then finally, my favorite live events. So this is where you get the opportunity to bring your community, your followers, your subscribers, your listeners, whatever it is in person, on a regular basis, or maybe just once a year, whatever it might be. And, and you get them to interact with each other to learn together to network together. And obviously, you you charge them for the pleasure of doing so and people will be happy to invest their money in those kind of experiences because it's the in person side of doing business nowadays. Everybody's trying to avoid, they want to automate. They want to eliminate
They all want to delegate. But at the end of the day, people want to do business with other people, and therefore you bring them together. And they'll be happy to invest in whatever it is that you're offering at those events. I think the starting five, they're brilliant, brilliant building block. And I remember the first time I heard these it, it made so much sense. There was another thing that I was thinking, as you were talking that imposter syndrome is a big problem for a lot of people. And if you're looking at coaching or courses or membership sites and events, unless you're a psychopath, you're going to have a degree of insecurity around all of these. And I remember, again, I was at your printer summit last year, and I can't remember which speaker it was, it was either Jay de sel know or Alyssa Holmes was talking about. There are no new messengers, messages that are just new messengers. And their people may have said what you are saying people may do what you do.
They haven't experienced you doing it yet. And there are people and there are your people.
And until you actually put yourself out there and invest in your personal brand and build your own visibility, you can engage those people and those people can engage you. And there is an audience for everybody.
Yeah, for me, that was quite powerful. And once you understand that, you realize, actually, the starting five are accessible to anybody. So that for me was really, really helpful. In terms of personal branding, one of the things that you often say is the personal brand, the business of you will be the last business you ever start.
That for me, again, was a profound thing. And I'd be interested to stand if you have any good case studies of people where that's maybe been singularly true.
Well, I mean, okay, before I answer that, can I flip the script on you a little bit here? Why why why this
That or Why Does that ring true with you so much when you hear that, that that sentence of when you build the business of you, it's the last big business, pivot or business move you'll ever make sort of thing. I'm curious to know, Bob.
Well, I guess the listeners don't know that much about my own business. I have been running a creative agency digital agency of one kind or another, and it has pivoted frequently over the years. It's the same actual business. But I've always been
trading as a corporate entity, the Royal corporate, we sort of speak and the moment
I focused on the business on bob gentle,
I realized that my own passion, my own interest, my own mission really has to come to the front. And that mission can change over time, but the people will engage with me completely differently.
difficult thing to articulate.
But what I know is that it's not a business that I would ever, ever want to sell as my own interests change, right? The bit the business can change. A lot of people in the agency field they are trained to think of Built to Sell. I have no interest now in building to sell has been the illusion that I was chasing for a long time.
If it doesn't serve, serve my mission or my vocation, then I'll change it.
people will still know me, my audience will still be there, my audience will engage with it. And my audience will shift over time as my own mission changes. There you go. Right. It's it's a difficult thing for me to articulate. Well, yeah, but you've done it very well. Right there. Okay. So,
I mean, yeah, that's exactly the reason why I believe it's the last pivot you'll ever make, you know, regardless of what industry you're in, or what product or service or experience that you're you're you know you're selling
when you when you
build the business of view, it is uniquely built around you not necessarily reliant on you. That's another whole discussion, but it is ultimately built around you, and people's thoughts and feelings for you as a problem solver as a solution driven entrepreneur or, or somebody who has that solutions driven sort of mindset of helping people and furthering other people's lives, so that you can do likewise with yourself. And when you do that, genuinely speaking, I've seen it over and over and over again, and, you know, multiple industries. When you do that, not only do you build a very, very successful business, but you do so by doing things that you really enjoy doing, like you pointed out very clearly, as your interests change and pivot. You can change and pivot with what you do for the people around you. And it's a great business model. It's just that it's the only business model that
I want to grow now and I have no intention of, of selling what I do, either. And I mean in to answer to your question in regards to Are there any case studies I mean, there are literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them out there. You know, it's it's the mommy blogger who no longer identifies as a mommy blogger. She doesn't even identify as a mompreneur. She's now not calling herself that she's calling herself her name. She's working she's working on serving a certain select group of her initial blog readership and making very good money in the process by either you know running a Facebook ad campaigns for them or virtual assistant work for them or whatever the case may be. You know, there's a nice a homes for example, who you saw on stage last year that you know, summit she was in the dentist she spent the entire day you know slumped over patients looking into their mouths fixing
Teeth all day long. And now she's morphed and pivoted into training other dentists how to grow their business with digital marketing, because that's what she enjoys doing the most. It's the it's,
it's the dog trainer from New York who I worked with many, many years ago on figuring out the you know, you don't need to work with 15 customers a week to make X amount of money, just double your prices, work with half the amount of people make the same amount of money and spend five times as much time with your family and just be happier. So you know, there's a lot of different ways to kind of, you know, skin that cat, right for one of a better term, but the fact is that when you do make that move, it's very, very hard for you to a go out of business if you continue to, to work on on solving problems for people and be if you enjoy what you're doing and that and there are two things that should be right there at the top of everybody's lists as a youth runner. Yeah.
As a new printer, let's talk about your printer summit. I am excited about your printer summit. I really enjoyed it last time. Good. And me too. I'm excited to
prepare to to really enjoy it again in November. How? How are things coming together for the summit? Everything's coming together perfectly for the summit. We're very, very happy we are well ahead of where we should be on our ticket sales numbers, which is something that my wife continues to remind me of, whenever I say, I want to make more sales today. And she's like, you really don't need to it's going to happen tomorrow.
So do you have an SMS or when you're going to sell out? I would say I mean, look. So the first year we sold out at the end of July, and bear in mind the events in November, right? So,
four months early. Last year, we sold sold out literally a day before my birthday. My birthday is on the 12th of all this. So just a couple of weeks later, however, when we look at ourselves now
This year ticket wise, we are way, you know, way in front of where we where we were this time last year and the year before. So who knows? I don't know my my guts. mid July, rather mid June to late June, I would say the second half of June we we should be all sold out probably if you had to put me on the spot. I'm just curious. I need to make sure I get my affiliate link out there first. There you go. Yeah, I mean, I believe we've got I think there's something like 52 tickets left or something along those lines up numbers in my head for some reason. That's enough for everybody. It is absolutely. Both of my listeners can get a ticket.
And we will welcome them with open arms.
Do you want to maybe just tell us who's going to be speaking because it is an outstanding cast of speakers you've got? Yeah, I mean, the one thing that we focus on when we put together the lineup of speakers for the event every year, the one thing that we really, really focus in on is the
Not necessarily on, you know,
what they will be speaking on as a topic, but more importantly, what is the impact that they will have as an individual on stage with our attendees, because our speakers are not the type of speakers that turn up for their session, 20 minutes before they do to go on stage, get off stage, get on miked and then disappear. Our speakers spend time at the entire event, as you know. And so it's it's important that we invite the right people first and foremost. And then I start looking at things like topics and subjects and focuses and things like that. So everyone at the human aside is a personal friend of mine. I have spent time with these people. I've broken bread with these people I've laughed with these people are some of them I've even cried with literally physically and that's important for me to have that p2p relationship with the people that are
Introduce to my community obviously. So, this year for example, we've got, you know, our four big keynotes are Todd Herman, JJ virgin, Hal Elrod, and Phil Jones, all of which charge, you know, in excess of probably at least a minimum of 25 to $30,000 per keynote, when they're speaking on stage, big corporation events and things like that, which is huge for them to come to London and spend time with us for an entire weekend is amazing. We've got other guys like Jeff Goins lumen jello from Walt Disney World Radio, we have the Instagram experts who Zimmerman and several other speakers are going to be in town as well. So again, I want to I want to focus on the fact that it's not necessarily what they talk about this what they personally are going to bring to the event. And I just know, all them they're going to do an incredible job where I'm very blessed man, I'm really, really blessed to, to have a good selection of friends around the world that I can call on to come and inspire and help my
People? Yeah, well, I'm not in the business of blowing smoke. But last year, I was really impressed how that speakers were all absolutely aligned with the core theme of the event. I didn't get the impression anybody was selling anything, the particular agenda, it was all there to serve that audience. And the level of intimacy with the speakers was really surprising, actually. Well, they would look, I mean, the thing is that this isn't my first rodeo. I've been putting on events since 2011. And everybody knows that. Our events are very, very intimate in nature, whether it's, you know, 350 people in London or 50 people on an island in the Philippines or 10 people in a boardroom in New York, it doesn't matter. When you come to one of our events. They are very intimate, they do get very personal. And there's a certain level of instant trust, respect and support. That is, you know, like I said, instantly, put in place no matter where you are, no matter what you're doing. And you know, again,
The speakers know the type of people that I attract as well within our community. And I know that people like yourself who come along your quality, you know your quality individuals running real businesses, with real dreams and aspirations. And it's their role to not only obviously help you and teach you but obviously inspire you to continue to chase down your dreams. Well, Chris, I think I've probably taken about enough of your time, I know you probably need to go fairly soon. Before I go, obviously, I will put links in the show notes to the conference, you printer summit, and possibly even my first affiliate link, if I put a link to your book.
You should totally do that as well. There's a little cited as well for yourself and anybody tuning in. When you do use an Amazon affiliate link. Not only do you get the affiliate commission on that book, if somebody buys it, but you also get the affiliate commission on anything else.
That they buy on Amazon within a 24 hour period. So if you look at your Amazon affiliate associate reporting page, you'll see some very strange items being purchased after clicking through from your link. It's real, it really does happen. I it's one of my favorite things to do when I've got five minutes spare. It's just to go in and see what people are buying as well as my book and I've had everything from microwave ovens, two packs of you know, diapers, God knows what else and it's a whole bunch of stuff, but it's good fun.
Well, there's something for a Friday night.
Chris Tucker has been a fantastic guest. I'm really, really grateful for you to come, come along. If people want to connect with you, how would you like them to do that? Oh, look, I mean, I'm at Chris Ducker on all the social I particularly hang out on Instagram. That's my jam right there. Otherwise, you can just come along to you know, calm or Chris ducker.com whatever's best for them. Chris, thanks very much for your time. My pleasure, Bob.
interview was a real treat for me. Chris has been a huge help to me and my business. And if you're in the UK in November, then you really need to be an entrepreneur summit. I'll be there too. And if you are going messaged me, and maybe we can catch up. Honestly, if you listen to the show and you want to expand your reach online, I can't think of anywhere else you should be. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't already, then join our Facebook group. You can find a link from the website at Bob gentle com, or just search gravity, digital marketing and Facebook and you'll find us easily enough. If you did enjoy the show that I would love for you to review it on iTunes. It would mean a lot to me, and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob gentle thanks again to Chris for giving me his time this week, and to you for listening and see you next time.