#39 What Happens When Timbo Runs Out Of Questions?


In the last episode of Freedom Ocean James asked Timbo what will happen to the show when he runs out of questions. Listen in as Timbo tackles the answer head on.

PLUS James just pulled an all-nighter (well to 4.30AM anyway) and was found back in his spaceship at 8.000AM. Most unusual for a man that loves the freedom ocean. Listen in and you’ll hear:

  • Why he worked so long and hard.
  • All about the importance of the life-time value of a customer.
  • Why you should create multiple email lists.
  • Insights in to the launch of his new private membership group.


Internet Marketing Products & Resources

Become a Member of Jame’s new private Membership group.
Join the discussion on the Freedom Ocean Facebook.
Wealthification – James’s recent product launch – and what we refer to in this episode.

Have you seen the Freedom Ocean Internet Marketing Products page? Everything we recommend lives here.




Tim: Welcome back listeners to another episode of Australia’s favorite Internet marketing podcast. I am one of your hosts Tim Reid and right over there in the blue corner is…

James: James Schramko, you normally say my name for me.

Tim: I do, I do. You normally catch me out, mate. So I thought I’d catch you out this time. How are you?

James: I am good. I am a little bit tired actually. I pulled an all-nighter, which is a bit rare these days. But I went to bed at 4:30 AM and woke up at 8 AM, which I do occasionally only for special occasions.

Tim: Wow! What was the special occasion? Clearly launching a membership site, I am guessing.

James: Yeah. On Tuesdays I have my mastermind calls, which is effectively my only three appointments every week unless you can be rounded up for a Freedom Ocean podcast episode. And after that, I decided I’d announce to my email lists the new membership, but that’s where the challenge is. I actually have 160 different segmented AWeber email lists, which is a story unto itself and it took me a little while just to go through and to grade them and to match them up with various gift certificates. So it just took a little bit of time to calculate and then to I guess edit and send. But it’s really worth doing that for the 4 or 5 hours that it takes to be strategic about it. It’s definitely worthwhile.

Tim: I am guessing that’s the kind of work you’d love, James.

James: I don’t love it. It’s actually – it’s sort of like the rocket science part of the job. But it’s the part that very few people understand and it’s the part that almost nobody does. I think most people just have one list and they just blast it instead. That’s the actual word, “blast”, which we’d ban of course.

Tim: Yeah.

James: What we want to do is want to inform, we want to notify, we want to alert or announce things.

Tim: So tell me just so I understand what you were doing there is, how many AWeber lists did you say you had, 167.

James: It’s over 160. Yeah.

Tim: 160. That’s a question in itself, but so what you were doing was basically creating tailored messages. So for list X or list F or whatever you want to call it, you said, as someone who’s previously purchased Traffic Grab or something so you could actually really hit them between the eyes with their message. Is that what you were doing?

James: Gosh Tim, hit them between the eyes sounds a little bit cold.

Tim: Brutal?

James: No. What I wanted to do was to enter the correct conversation where we left off last time so yes. You said the same thing but in a different way than I would put it.

Tim: Yeah, more brutally.

James: Well, I segment my list, so yes. And the other thing I do is I reward my most loyal customers because I work to the lifetime value model. So that the people who have purchased the most things from me get the most generous gift certificate when I offer a new product and then the people who have purchased nothing from me will still get a gift certificate but it won’t be as valuable as the ones who have invested in me before because I just want to maintain that customer, I want them to move into the next phase with me and go on the next journey.

Tim: Having 160 plus AWeber lists. Is that something that has happened organically and got out of control at some point and you wish you had kind of grabbed it by the proverbial at some point or are you happy to have 160 plus lists?

James: No. It’s not out of control. It’s actually very much in control. And it is definitely organic. It’s when you create a new product line it makes sense to segment them off. Now, I don’t think AWeber is a very smart system. It’s more like Outlook for email versus Gmail is what I would rather have labels instead of folders. I’d rather have Office Autopilot, or dare I say, one day I’d probably go back to Infusionsoft, which evidently is getting much easier to use because I’d rather be able to label customers and have one database but just have different labels and then to intelligently select the relevant label or patent for those customers.

Tim: Yeah, OK.

James: That’s the next dimension from where I am at.

Tim: Yeah, yeah. We’ll talk about the launch of FastWebFormula very shortly. Mate, what I was going to say at the start was, I said we were Australia’s favorite Internet marketing podcast. As we go to air, I just did a quick check on iTunes and episode 37 of Freedom Ocean is the number one marketing podcast in the country at the moment.

James: Well done, us. You know what? I think that was actually a really good episode.

Tim: You did like it, didn’t you?

James: I gave it a few herbs. The ninjas, they went and had a lot of fun with the YouTube video. That I don’t know if people have seen that, but they’ve dressed me up nicely there. They’ve really given me some character. I don’t tell them what to do. They’re left to their own devices and I think they’re just quietly taking the piss out of me and you.

Tim: Exactly. I am glad you realized that, James. I am glad you know that they have a little giggle behind your back in good humor.

James: They’re very funny. They have the most wicked sense of humor. I love them to death and they put their videos out with a lot of love. I don’t edit them or I am not too worried about what they do and out they go and we put them up. So I actually posted that one up on the wall because I think that was a really cool episode.

Tim: Absolutely. Now listen, mate, we should get stuck into talking about FastWebFormula.

James: Didn’t you want to talk about your role in this show?

Tim: I thought you would forget that question from the last episode.

James: Well, it’s just that I get asked all the time. Because if you cast your mind way back to it, it must have been a year and a half ago maybe, a year and a bit when you said, “Hey, let’s do a podcast.” It was an easy premise then. You ask the questions, I’ll answer them. But then now people are starting to ask, “Well surely Tim’s learnt enough now to be successful online or are you just a bad teacher, James?” I know I am not a bad teacher because my students usually will double their business in 3 to 6 months, that’s the most common result we get. I know we had some occasional discussions outside of recording about your various business iterations. So I am going to leave it over to you to fill in the gap.

Tim: I guess the sort of question is, “What happens when Tim runs out of questions?” and surely he must be getting close. Well, I am not. I am not close to running out of questions. I guess when I do these episodes with you there are two things that happen. One is I think, what questions have I got for James at this episode, and the other thing is I just put the hat of the listener on and we get enough feedback through Facebook, we reply it, people reply to emails that we send out, you just need to go to the comments that appear on the show notes for each show notes and you get a sense of what people are asking. So, and that’s never going to finish. And I’ve always got those two hats on. From my point of view, I don’t really see the show is necessarily finishing. I just see it maybe, my hope, my personal hope, is that one day the premise of the show changes because right now the premise is, as we say on the website, “James makes a million dollars from Internet marketing and Tim’s got a million questions.” I’d love that the premise of the show to change when I have found more freedom in my working life. I was going to answer that question on the last episode. I was going to jump in and just literally answer it by saying, “The show finishes when I’ve made a million dollars on using Internet marketing techniques.”

James: That’s a cool one.

Tim: Well, it is. But it’s actually – bring it on, of course, that would be a wonderful outcome and my intention is for that to happen. But, what I can honestly say, hand on hat, is that the real difference that I would like to see in my working life is to create more freedom. I’ve already got a good amount of freedom. I can choose when to go to work and when not to go to work. I can’t choose whether to work or not but I have time freedom. But I still have a lot to do. I have clients. I have work. I have a need to generate business, in my business. I have to do the same as anyone else who’s running a business. But the premise, I would like to think that it changes when I can start talking more authoritatively about the notion of freedom because that’s what the show is called, we need to remember that. It’s called Freedom Ocean for a reason. It wasn’t called Making a Million Dollars from Internet Marketing.

James: Yeah. I think a lot of people focus too much on the money. It’s definitely, for me, it’s about freedom because I feel I am actually getting really good at that. And I heard, it was our mate Joe Polish actually, talking about Richard Branson. He said, “Richard Branson’s never cooked, never cleaned, never washed up,” because if you want to be a billionaire you can’t do anything, everyone else has to do all the stuff.

Tim: Yep.

James: So, that’s quite an interesting take on it, but as we mentioned earlier I’ve only really got three appointments each week and that’s just with. That’s where I effectively sell my time on the front end but the by-products that that creates are phenomenal. I get to be inside 35 businesses every week in my brain and play with those puzzles and I get training modules and product ideas from working with other people because I find myself making just as many notes as they do when I am answering their questions into my Evernote. And my Evernote for that group has turned into products like Wealthification; it’s turned into live events. I could turn out products for the next decade just on my notes, I think. And it’s great to stay sharp and focused. So that’s optional. And the information part of my business is highly leveraged because it, aside from the coaching stuff, when you’re selling electrons, you can sell as many as you want, you don’t really run out of capacity. It’s very cheap to host things on Amazon S3. And then on the services side of the business, well I do have a small army running that but it does run without me to a large extent. So, it’s human automated. It’s a big machine which once you set it up right, you can actually leave it for a little while and it still takes over, which is terrific.

Tim: The other part, too, for me, is that once you answer all the questions, and you and I both answer listener questions, is that I am not out there. I don’t hang out from these shows racing to take action, as much as listeners might think I am or wish I was. I’ve got these businesses to run, my own offline businesses. And, there is that blockage still. We talked about, one of our listeners actually left a note on Facebook asking us to talk about blockages to actually grabbing this stuff by the throat and really, really having a red hot go with it. And, there are blockages for me to taking action. If I’d gone and taken action on everything you’ve said in the 38 shows to date, 38 episodes to date, the premise would be a lot closer to the premise changing, but there’s a bit if a way to go, mate. And even an interview I did this morning on my other show, I was talking to this very successful guy who once again said it’s all about action. It’s a consistent theme. When I interview successful business owners from all walks of life and from all industries, a common theme is that they take action.

James: It’s only part of the story though that, if that’s all the message is and it’s bullshit because if you take the wrong action, it’s, you might as well take no action. You’re walking further from that water hole in the desert – you’re still going to die. So, you have to do the right thing. So there’s two parts to that, doing and the right thing.

Tim: And knowing what you’re doing.

James: That’s why I think some of our listeners have achieved more success off our podcasts than people who’d take…

Tim: Me!

James: $2,000. I wasn’t going to say “you”, I was going to be fined, people who’d take $2,000 courses because they’re more motivated and they’re taking the right action for them at the right time and then they’re just rolling up their sleeves and doing it. We could talk about motivation. I read a good book recently that covers some of these concepts quite well because I always thought it was quite hard to motivate people. But I’ve been given a better framework for that now which they use to motivate alcoholic people who turn up to the emergency ward to actually take medication. It was in a book called “Instant Influence”.

Tim: OK.

James: Yeah. And it starts with the, it’s the concept of all the sending stuff that I’ve been aware of for years, from the spin selling time, and the Zig Ziglar “What’s in it for me?” sort of motivation. But, if you can get the customer or the person to acknowledge that they need to change and if they can acknowledge that, if they would be better off and if they’re ready for it and if they can even identify what the future outcome might look like and what the action steps are to get there then people can motivate themselves. So it’s a series of 6 questions that helps them to get to that state. So, I highly recommend that book for anyone who’s suffering motivation or anyone who wants to influence other people to move from one state to another, which is pretty much everyone who sells, everyone in marketing and everyone in business and even spouses, partners, parents with kids, they should all understand how to, some of the tools and frameworks that can help people move.

Tim: Instant Influence, right. Well, Instant Influence in getting motivated, mate. You’ve launched FastWebFormula 3 in the last 24 hours, which is pretty exciting for you because it’s your own dedicated online, well, what would you call it, Internet – it’s a forum. It’s an Internet marketing coaching forum and community and it’s all yours. So, want to tell us a bit about that?

James: Well, I think you did a pretty good job. It’s a community, or as Seth Godin would call it, a tribe. It’s people who have come together for a specific cause, that I guess… I am the leader of this tribe in the sense that I’ve put it together and I am helping a lot of people move their businesses forward. It’s Internet marketing, more to Internet business because I think that’s what I offer that’s different to almost every other Internet marketing expert. A lot of them talk about tactics and there’s no shortage of tactics but really where people suffer the most is they’re applying the wrong tactics to the wrong strategies. So I am helping people a little bit more with the strategic approach, a little bit more of that business backbone, making sure people have privacy in terms of used pages and that they’re pursuing the right model and that they’ve considered all their possible pitfalls and that they choose a strategy that compliments what they’ve already got, that gives them 2 or 3 streams of income rather than just being single source dependent or platform dependent or payment process dependent, which I see so many times. Especially the big guys, the big gurus, you often hear about them bleating about how the world owes them a favor and everything’s caved in because they got caught out and someone robbed them. But it’s really because they just suck with strategy. That’s all.

So, I basically put my last 5 workshop training recordings into this community, which just to put that in perspective that is 5 times 3 days’ worth of recording. Oso that’s 15 days’ worth of recordings. There’s something along the lines of 60 DVDs’ worth in there. So, I don’t expect people to watch them all. I don’t think they should. But within there are just absolute jewels. I mean there’s a session with you and I about podcasting. So if someone wasn’t in there, if they wanted to pull out the podcasting tactic, they could go straight for the podcasting information using the search tool. If someone wants to learn about copywriting, they would go and watch Alexei Neocleous and they would go and watch John Carlton. So, they could go and basically dig out the two copywriter modules from all of those and just hit them right on their head. So, I am offering the support of them being able to ask questions and me being able to answer them. That should sound a little bit familiar, and all my best training modules to point them to. So if they ask me a question, I’ll say, “You know what? You should watch this and then ask the next question.”

So, it’s really a way for me to support my information products. I put them into one place. Yea, I own it. So, this essential hub strategy, this is where all my front-end products will now point. I made a terrible strategic error for a few years where I was pointing my products to a different community which I didn’t fully own. So I was actually just diluting my customer lists and diluting my profit unnecessarily. Oso, I’ve rectified that error. And now, I’ll be able to support this community with traffic myself. The members that are already piling into there are very familiar to me. I know almost every single one of them because they’re customers of my products and services. And I can see it being an extremely strong community, a very positive community, and I will also moderate it to make sure that we get the right type of discussions and the right type of people in there. And so, it’s very much a safe place for intermediates and advanced. I’ve been able to bring it to the market for a little bit less than my first iteration because I’ve learned…

Tim: Before you touch on price, I think –

James: I am not going to mention the price yet but I am just going to say why. The reason why is because I own it, I am able to, I don’t split the profits, which is my biggest problem with partnerships from a financial perspective. And the other thing is that I believe that it’s really going to reinforce this lifetime model. It’s difficult when someone has to leave because they can’t quite afford something. So I’ve created a sustainable environment where I believe that anyone implementing a fraction of what’s in there would be able to, at the very minimum, justify their ongoing investment. So that’s the strategy there.

Tim: And I think the key selling point here, which you kind of touched on, but let’s be really clear here, this is a community, a live community forum that you are in every single day.

James: Every day, yeah.

Tim: Every single weekday, moderating and actually answering the questions.

James: It’s like, I mean, 7 days a week, not weekdays.

Tim: I thought you said weekdays. Well, 7 days a week. So this is, don’t underestimate these listeners because right here, I am looking, there might be 9 days of live events plus Traffic Grab, plus Business Internet Formula, plus your underground profit system. I am looking at the structure of the forum right now. But, boy, to me, they are all secondary to being able to get in there knowing that you can post a question, have it answered by James and/or colleagues of your, other people who have been on your stage who are going to be in there and just other members who are qualified to answer questions.

James: Well, here’s the interesting thing, Timbo. I am not giving free memberships to colleagues this time. I made that decision because I really think people should pay to play. The experts do just fine with their signature links and they’re actually paying to join. So, some of the people who have shared the stage with me at my own events have paid to come in there and just like you would pay to come in there, right? I am not going to give you free access like the old one because you get so much benefit from contributing value when people follow your link that you put in the signature file and just the business that comes from a dedicated community like that would more than pay for most people’s memberships. So that’s an interesting dynamic, but they are willingly coming in. In fact, some of them are even sponsoring their team to come in on a separate membership because they feel it’s that valuable.

Tim: I think when you pay for something you value it more, it’s pretty simple.

James: Yes, I agree.

Tim: Tell me, mate, I am really interested in, you and I have spoken about this before, and in the last forum that you were previously an owner of, there were quite a number of categories. What do you call them? Threads? You’ve got it down to, let me have a look here, 1, 3, there are about 10 threads. And each thread outside of general discussion and how-to is a thread based around product. And, I am interested to know why you’ve gone that way.

James: Well, you know, I’ve learned a lot in 3 and a half years and over 10,000 posts. I mean I’ve been doing this every day for that long. So what happened was, you can try and organize things the way you think it should work and that was my original approach was to put things by topic. But what happens is, people would just go to the general section and start posting away and I got sick of moving the threads in the old thing and in the end I just gave up. It was going to be a full-time job. So in the new one, I am like, “Damn it!” I am just going to have the general section and they can post everything there because the search tool is the key to using a forum, in any forum. Search tool is the power button that finds you things by key phrase, just like Google and YouTube and iTunes. So, using the search ting, you could eliminate the need to try and put everything in it so in separate filing cabinet. And the training section where I’ve got how-tos, I am just adding how-to after how-to after how-to, which again will come up via the search and there’ll be live webinars at least once a month, just content, not pitching stuff, just pure content. People can actually interactively ask questions live or put up site reviews or we cover a specific theme that week. I might talk to you about coming in and answering the listener questions about podcasting which you’d do t get famous and to drag customers across to Small Business Big Marketing and I would do because it adds value to my members and they stick around for another month. So that’s the theory. And of course, each product is in its own thread so that people can view that as a library and they can go and cherry-pick the modules that they want to see. So, they’re all easy to find and marked out. And over time, my intention is to develop little checklists that would fast check someone through whatever topic they’re interested in and put that in the how-to. So I might put how to podcast and I’ll put a link to our session from FastWebFormula 3 and then I’d put a link to the interview that I did with Dan the podcast guy.

Tim: Dan Lyons.

James: Yep. And then I’d put a link to an up and coming interview that I am doing with another podcaster. So, I’ll basically collate and combine by topic but I’ll put them as checklists instead.

Tim: If you do a fourth interview with a podcaster, I’ll officially say that you’re sleeping around. But right now you’re safe.

James: Well, I don’t feel like I am an expert at this podcasting thing yet.

Tim: Why have you pulled out – I notice one of the other categories that isn’t one of your product names is WordPress. Why have you pulled out WordPress?

James: Because it’s just the platform we all use and it gets a little more technical.

Tim: And there’s loads of questions around it.

James: Yeah. I just observed over the last three years, it’s just a common theme that comes up over and over and over again, and I have a couple of web development teams now, I have a lot of sites, thousands of sites in WordPress, I know a lot of WordPress experts, I think it deserves its own section, and I want to really reinforce to people that they shouldn’t be building these things unless they absolutely have some magical passion for it. You really should be treating it like a work horse, and ideally get someone else to build it and maintain it. You be the marker in this strategy. So that’s why I wanted to pull it out of the general section. Now, it may get dissolved or moved back. I could migrate all the threads one day. So that’s how it looks today. And I know that the community will actually drive the way the content is used and the topics that we discuss because you can never predict, it’s a very reactive environment and if you look back to my old job, you’ll see that I have a high level experience in reactive environments where the customers are just pouring in every day and you have to react. And that’s I guess where I built my skill set and that’s probably why I am suited to running a community, but it’s the sort of thing that I guess is not really discussed very often. You can’t just come in and have a pre-dedicated plan on how it’s all going to work and expect it to flow that way. And if you’re too constructed with your forum or your community, you actually miss a lot of the things that make it special.

Tim: It’s interesting, we’ve had discussions about forums before but I’ve recently started a group on LinkedIn for Small Business Big Marketing. And just watching the dynamics of how that’s, we’re not started, I thought, I have to be in there answering questions all the time. But very quickly there’s been 5 or 6 people who are regular listeners to the show that have put their hand up without asking but just taking the lead on not only posting questions but contributing to other people’s questions every day.

James: Yeah. It’s be great until LinkedIn decide they don’t allow business discussion forums or so.

Tim: I know, I know. But it was a test for me.

James: If it’s a test, it takes time and energy and could end in tears.

Tim: Hey mate, how much…

James: Sorry. Can you say that again, buddy?

Tim: I said how much is FastWebFormula going to cost someone to join?

James: Well, for the normal paying public from the first of May, it’s $198 for 60 days’ access and then $67 per month recurring until such time as they decide they no longer get the value from it, which hopefully is never.

Tim: Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s right. And for people to join, how do they go about it?

James: They should go to our Freedom Ocean site and click on the banner.

Tim: And you will be taken straight there.

James: You might not. You might be taken to a page with a special coupon for Freedom Ocean listeners.

Tim: Well, exactly right. Exactly right.

James: Yeah. You wouldn’t want to presume too much. But you’d have to go and find out, I guess.

Tim: It’s be a good idea, too. Mate, you must be excited about that. It’s early days. You’re into the second day of it and no doubt you’ll be letting us know how things are progressing over the coming episodes.

James: I don’t even have to wait that long. I can tell you that. It’s been live for about 14 hours now. And I’ve already reached my first milestone. So, we have a solid membership community already. It’s a winner.

Tim: Brilliant! Brilliant! T was always going to be.

James: Well, you’d never want to presume. But evidently, people can see the value. I mean, all of the courses alone just to put this in perspective, to attend any one of those live events, the least that someone would have invested was probably around $995 or something and in some cases up to $3,000 or $4,000 for the very bespoke one. The Business Internet Formula was a $4,000 workshop. And I had someone comment just during the week, “Man, 95% of that stuff is still relevant today. How did you know that it was still going to be relevant?” And I answer, “Because all the business fundamentals haven’t changed.” So, the same things that I was talking about in that workshop, is still current now. So that’s cool. It’s good information but I think it’s an absolute steal. Even just FastWebFormula 3 was for sale for $399 just for the recordings, digital recordings. So it’s basically half price for that plus the other four, plus Traffic Grab, plus I’ll answer your questions for 60 days, and you can download everything too. It’s all downloadable and PDF and MP3, the works. And you get everything on Day One. There’s no drip-fed, crap hole or you must do this bit first and wait 7 months for that so we can string you along. It’s all there, Day One. My bet is, if people get involved in the community and they start getting their questions answered, they’ll see good value in being a community member.

Tim: We’re about at the 30-minute mark. So we’re going to wrap it up here. Suffice to say that bring on the listener questions because if you register at Freedom Ocean.com, you will receive an email from us every time we put an episode out and you will get a transcript, a free transcript of every episode that you can scribble all over. But most importantly you can reply to any email that you get from James or I. We see them all and we’ll respond to them all. And if you’ve got a question around Internet marketing or your online business, then we’d love to hear it. We’ll read it on air, and we’ll answer it. So James, thanks mate for some more IM gold. Until next time! We’ll see you out in the ocean.

James: Thanks Timbo!

Tim: See you, mate.


  1. G’day Tim and James.
    This has been another interesting conversation. I like the chat about ‘Freedom’ and where you go. The podcast died towards the end but may be my laptop. For me the podcast is about purpose and relevance not money. money is a side issue. Freedom to persue one’s purpose and learn how to be relevant is most important, the money will come from that.
    Since listening to your podcasts I have learned some basic truths, two of which I mentioned. Your 40th Podcast is a kind of ‘coming of age’ at 40. The direction should stay the same with more emphasis on following the purpose. Since I started to do this my success rate has been soaring not in a great monetary way but in a personal way. I am building a large presence and people are emailing me to join them in what they do.
    Very exiting stuff and I am sailing my ocean with sails set fully open to catch the winds of growth.

  2. Another awesome podcast guys.

    James – what were some of the key moments that stood out for you in the 4 years from learning how to build a website on your couch at home after work, to the day you walked out of the job permanently, to where you are today (both personally and professionally). It’s been awesome to hear the technical/business principles at play, but it would be great to hear about some of the personal milestones / breakthroughs as well.


  3. Topic suggestion: To JV or not to JV ?

    JS classic quotes:
    “Most partnerships are sinking ships”
    “The best time to end a bad relationship is before it begins”

    I’m sure there are some positives too?

    • JV’s work well where there are different strengths brought to the table and the sum of the whole is greater than 1+ 1

Speak Your Mind