#70 Smart Product Strategies


In this latest Freedom Ocean episode, Tim and James talk products – what sells, how best to market them, and the elements that make up an effective online sales funnel.


Show highlights:

– Timbo’s trip to Italy
– The demands and rewards of running a community
– Is selling single products worth the effort?
– What happens when James gives stuff away
– You have to have an offer
– What makes an effective products page
– The step-by-step path to checkout
– The power of accessibility
– Content creation made easy
– Getting free surfing lessons
– What’s stopping you from following your dream?



You must have an offer. [Click To Tweet]
The best sales are undetectable. [Click To Tweet]
Are you accessible? [Click To Tweet]
Remove the fear. [Click To Tweet]


Internet Marketing Products & Resources

Here you’ll find Tim and James have some things to help your business become more powerful.





Tim:               Welcome back, listeners, to Episode 70 of your favorite online marketing podcast. I’m Timbo Reid, right there Jimmy James Schramko. How are you, my friend?

James:         Going well, thanks Timbo. I don’t know if you can hear a helicopter, but it’s all happening down here at Manly today.

Tim:              Ah, they’d be spying. They’d be just trying to find their way through a crack in the curtains, to see what’s on that MacBook screen.

James:            I looked out the other day and there was a hang glider, like just off my balcony.

Tim:                 That’s weird. That’s a little bit weird.

James:            I was like, what are you doing here? It could have gone bad. Anyway, you’re back from Italy?

Tim:                 I am, bonsoir. No, no, no. I did that. I hung my head out of our apartment in Florence and yelled out, “Bonsoir!” I meant to say “Buon giorno.” I just never got the language right over there, mate. Yeah, I know.

James:            If they think you’re English, they’re not likely to speak too much English. They’re not that into speaking English, I’ve found.

Tim:                 Can I be racist? I’m going to be.

James:            Well, no, just observe what you observe, that’s all. It’s not racist.

Tim:                 What I observed is, they’re not into Americans. And I got taken as an American a number of times. One guy in a cafe bumped right past me because… he was quite rude to me, he thought I was American. And we got into a conversation. I explained I was Australian, and he ended up coming up at the end of the night and apologizing.

James:            Well, here’s something interesting. This is a fact. I was looking through my great grandfather’s diaries, and he was off the south coast of Africa, and it was about 1910 or 18-something, like the end of 1800’s. And he was talking about how it appears that Americans are not well received in other countries but they also seem oblivious to that fact.

Tim:                 (Laughs)

James:            In other words, he’s telling us that all the other people on the boat were having a bit of a go at them, and they couldn’t even tell that everyone was having a go at them.

Tim:                 Right.

James:            So I don’t think this is a new phenomenon.

Tim:                 OK, and hello to all you American listeners. We love you.

James:            Hello to all you Americans, we love you. Like out of a large population, there’s always going to be a couple of good ones and a couple of bad ones, right?

Tim:               Yeah, correct.

James:          But Australians have a great reputation overseas. Mostly, but not always. There was this guy when I was in Italy, he was really loud, and he was like, screaming at the bar, “Yeah, love, send me over another beer.” In the end I just said, “Listen dad, can you just calm down?”

Tim:               Oh, well, look, we are generally well-accepted, but let’s not go there. My time in Italy was excellent. Just before we hit record, we were talking about our forums, and I loved being able to run my forum from over there, as you have done and as you continue to do. And that was really rewarding. It was lovely because for me, James, it was… it didn’t remind me, because I hadn’t done it before, but here I was, over the other side of the world, I was in touch with my community, I had actually got my sh** together, and had episodes of the Small Business Big Marketing show going out every Tuesday despite the fact that I was away, so that was happening. I was logging into the forum every day for 30 minutes to an hour, and that was nice. It was like it wasn’t work, you know? That, to me, was important, because I didn’t want to be going, “Oh sh**, I could be, you know, walking around the Coliseum but I’ve got to check the forum.” I can do both.

James:            You know, you’re really tapping into the leverage of the business, and I think if you go back a year ago, we’re talking about how I was sort of puttering away at that time of the year, and you were like completely off, but not doing anything, which meant you had a bit of catchy-uppy to do.

Tim:                 Yeah, yeah.

James:            But now you’ve been maintaining, but not really dragging too much energy off the flywheel of life.

Tim:                 Wow. Too much energy… Just write that down, folks. “The flywheel of life.” Now it was the energy, and there was no kind of feeling of uggghhh, got to do that. I loved it, and I think that’s the beauty of building a community like that. I was actually on a webinar, I was talking on a webinar this morning, and I talked about forums. And funnily, you know, funnily enough, forums have been around since the Internet have been around, you know?

James:            I think chat boards were around like when that movie, War Games, came out, before the Internet.

Tim:                 Well, one of the very early things that you could do online, and I was even saying on the webinar this morning, though, I still think it’s an opportunity that many small business owners don’t even consider. They might consider a podcast as a form of traffic and/or revenue or some videos or a blog or a book. But we’re not here to discuss forums.

James:            We did discuss it once before, and I remember saying it’s kind of like having a child. Like you’ve got a bit of responsibility there on the upkeep.

Tim:                 Correct.

James:            And it’s not for everybody. And I’ve seen plenty of people fail with it. But you could go back and listen to our old episode if you want to find out more about it. But I think it’s a good business model for both of us because we like to nurture that relationship, we like the community and we’re prepared to focus on that for the long haul.

Tim:                 Yeah, totally. So which bring us to a discussion that we are going to have for this episode, which was, originally we were going to talk about how to set up and optimize the ultimate product page on your website. And let’s talk about that, whether you should or you shouldn’t, and if you shouldn’t, then what do you do? Do you not create products, or you put them elsewhere? So I remember a discussion you and I had two or so years ago, Jimmy, where product creation… In fact, we’ve got an episode on product creation, one of the earlier episodes of Freedom Ocean, where you did talk about like they’re good, but you can also spend a whole lot of time making a product, and maybe sell a few thousand dollars’ worth, and is it really worth it?

James:            Yep. So that’s something where I started off with single products and then had lots and lots of products and then eventually I got to a streamlined sort of phase where A) I had templates where I could create a product easily every single month. And that was basically building a slide deck, running a webinar from my community, recording it, chopping it into little pieces. Back then, I would put it on its own domain and sell it individually and then upsell the community. Then I thought, you know what? I’ve got a huge percentage of my sales are just one-time products and they’re not going to the next level. So I thought, what if I just remove them? And I tipped them all into one place. And I tipped them all into my community, which is now at SuperFastBusiness.com, the membership is there now. All my products are in just one place. And I found it so much easier. Now I can just create something and drop it in there. And I’ve even started running weekly mastermind calls and recording those. I’m effectively creating some information that’s recorded every single week, that will sustain and grow and nurture and educate that community.

Tim:                 And are those mastermind calls outside of Silver Circle, or are they just a free call that you were doing?

James:            They’re a one-hour call where I go through the top topics that we talk about inside the community, and we have a… it’s an open format. All the members can come to that live.

Tim:                 Oh, OK, so it’s exclusive to members.

James:            Exclusive to members.

Tim:                 Right.

James:            And it’s continual content creation. But I’m not worried about them having to package it, name it, set it up outside and sell it. Now it’s like, come and join the community. In fact, I’ve even changed the access from monthly to quarterly billing because there’s so much good information there, the minimum start is three months at a time. And that’s really helping retention and engagement because people are more invested in their own future, so they really get into it more.

Tim:                 Yeah, that’s interesting. Any downside you’ve noticed to going quarterly?

James:            No, I haven’t seen any change in conversions. I’ve seen one or two sales inquiries sort of nibbling and “Oh, I’d just like to try it for a month,” but they’re not our customer, really. That’s not my speed. You’re either in or you’re out. And the people who are in, they’re so in. I went to a local meetup last night, there was 26 people. Such a good community. And these people are – you know, they’re committed. They’re interested in themselves and developing. I love taking a position. Now I don’t have a $7 or $11 product that – I’m not interested in all the noise and confusion that that makes. So you could go to a lot of effort to sell a lot of little products, and I know when I was selling products in some forums on specials, I was selling oodles of products for like $7. Well you know what I do now, Timbo? I give it away. I give away my products. I give away Own The Racecourse. I give away Wealthification. I do three podcasts every week. I make videos every few days. So I give away more stuff than most people sell, and guess what’s happening? I’ve got people sharing it, retweeting it, telling other people. Getting up to just under 400 opt-ins in a single day at times, when people talk about it and share it, and it goes a little bit viral. I think that’s giving me a lot more customers to promote my quarterly community to than if I was selling single products.

Tim:                 One of the tricks to giving away stuff is obviously having a clear call to action, because if you give away stuff for the sake of giving it away, you know, there’s not necessarily a strong commercial outcome to that. So do you have a specific strategy for including a call to action? What is it, is it like a slide at the end with an email opt-in, or… What is it, a specific ask that you share verbally? What do you do?

James:            Well, certainly on podcasts, guest appearances, they always give you the opportunity to let people know about your site, and I’ve now enhanced that with what they’re going to get. I let them know they’re going to be able to download a seven-part series or complete paid product for free. So it’s really compelling. So I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any piece of content I’ve put out there where I don’t mention where they can go and get more. Like I’ve already mentioned in this particular show, but it’s not like a pushy thing. It’s just natural curiosity – people will want to go and get more stuff.

The other thing is, when they do get the free course, on every single post it will have a call to action, “This is an example of what you’ll find inside the community. You can go and get more stuff there,” and it links to the sales page. And a percentage of those will join.

Tim:                 Yeah, you know, it’s good. I mean we were talking earlier about the fact that you know, you didn’t like sell… Well, you didn’t say you didn’t like selling, this was before we started recording, but you’re not as good at selling as you are at marketing, which is kind of how I feel about me. I reckon you’re good at selling, and you just seed stuff in as you go. Yesterday, I did quite a big job last year and I rang the client to just see how they were and just check in for the start of this year, and I said, “Did you get any feedback?” And they said, “Yeah, yeah, it was fantastic feedback, but someone said you sold yourself too much.” What was her particular words? “Self-promoted too much?” One person out of many, but I always take that feedback, you know? Wear it on my sleeve, heart on my sleeve type of thing. And I think, you know, when I hear that, I think, “Oh, geez, really, did I?” Because I hate that. I hate sort of overtly selling. It’s a skill. There’s no doubt.

James:            I think it’s a skill. I think the best sales are undetectable.

Tim:                 I agree.

James:            It’s like when a comedian, a good comedian makes you laugh. You’re not realizing that he’s constructed that and manipulated your thoughts to end up at that conclusion. You’re just enjoying it. It’s fun. And some of the greatest salespeople, whether they’re ethical or not, the biggest persuaders in history are very good at constructing that environment where people are all willing to go for it.

Tim:                 So, Jimmy, are you saying that, forget the idea of creating products to sell, but create products and whack them inside, in our case, a forum?

James:            But that is a product, Timbo, so…

Tim:                 Well, it is. A forum’s a product.

James:            Slash service. It’s a coaching service, it’s an info product, you could sort of tar it with both brushes. But I think… Here’s what I tell people, especially students that come to me. I say the first thing you need to do is have something that people can go to and buy. You have to have your offer. Otherwise it’s pointless. People who are doing podcasts and not making money, they don’t have an offer. People who are blogging as creative geniuses with amazing word structures and that but don’t have anything to sell, they’re just like unpaid volunteer entertainers. So I think you should have something to sell. That involves having an offer, and that will involve a page where you tell people about the offer and ask them to do something. And whether it’s asking them to call you, whether it’s asking them to pay online right now, it doesn’t matter. Whether it’s an e-commerce thing, or you’re sending them to an affiliate offer, you need to have your offer first, then you construct your entire funnel and marketing around that. So the most visited page other than the home page of my site is my products page, and that’s exactly where I want people. I want them on my products page to find out how I can serve them better and solve their problems. So start with your offer, and that will involve a page. So we probably should talk about offer. The other part’s really just a discussion around the best strategy, whether you want a multi-product suite, whether you want a single focused product and all-in-one, that’s really up to you to decide based on who your customers are, what your competition’s doing, where you feel your strengths are. And this will work whether you’re a service or an info-product marketer or an affiliate. Even if you’re a speaker and you want to get on a platform, your offer should be the result that you would like to have happen.

Tim:                 Just before you move on from that, your offer should be the result that you want to have happen.

James:            Yeah. So if you love keynote speaking and you want to get paid ten grand a gig, then all you want to do is construct the offer that results in that and then back-fill that with traffic.

Tim:                 Flesh that out a bit more for us.

James:            So you’d have a page that is going to compel people to book you for the speaking gig. You might be an entertainer, you could be a plate spinner. It doesn’t matter. But if the result you want is for someone to give you $10,000 to speak at their event then you create the offer that compels people to do that, using sales copy and some of the basic elements that should be on a product offer page or a service offer page. Which is sort of going to cover who are you, why should they trust you, what are you actually doing, who is this for, who is it not for, has anyone else booked you or had a good result, is there any recourse if you don’t do what you say you’ll do, can I trust this site, can you clearly explain to me exactly what result I could expect after hiring you, how do I order you, what’s the process… And if you can sort of cover most of those things, you’re going to make it easier for someone to identify that you’re the right solution for them.

Tim:                 Is that…That’s almost a website, Jimmy. But you’re suggesting that’s on a page?

James:            Well, that’s the sort of elements that are going to be… need to happen for someone to be able to book you.

Tim:                 Cool. OK, so go back then, you’re going to talk about your products page?

James:            Yes. So my products page, I got some help from Peep Laja, and he’s a conversions expert. And what he sort of suggested is I use a problem solver approach, which is helping people identify with their problem. And the products page that I’m running has been highly effective for conversions. Most of my students have adapted it with great success, and it’s simply… If you want to see an example of it, it’s on SuperFastBusiness.com. But when people get there, it just prompts to select the best option. And there’s three main streams people could take, because they feed into the three main products or services that I have. And one is, “I want to increase my online business profits,” and that leads to my community or my mastermind. The other one is, “Help me with my website,” that leads to website development. And the other one is “I need more traffic to my website,” and that leads to our SEO business. And so people will click on the one that solves their problem, and they’ll end up at the offering that is most suitable for them.

Tim:                 Right. And that’s where you go into the detail of that offering.

James:            And then there’s a few ways you can stage people once they arrive at your offering. You don’t have to send them straight to a checkout page. We actually have a couple of steps usually in between. For example, if they’re going to go to my mastermind, they’re going to watch a small documentary which positions me as an expert. It has a testimonial from a very successful student. And then they click the Next button, where they get told more about the program, who it’s for, what the qualifiers are, and they’ll have access to testimonials from more students. And then they get told how to apply. And then they apply to me, and then if I approve then they go to a checkout page. So that’s the process for a mastermind that I use.

If it’s a service site, quite often we send people to a compare chart where they can select the right package and then click through onto the package where it summarizes what they get, what we need to get started, how the reporting works, what we don’t do. And it gives them a notice that we still reserve the right to not proceed if we don’t think it’s appropriate.

Tim:                 You’re removing a lot of fear. I spoke to, interviewed actually, the owner of Milan Direct today, Australia’s biggest online furniture retailer. And we just talked about all the things… So he sells furniture completely online, nowhere else. And just all those things you need to do online on a website, on a dedicated webpage to remove fear in order to make that buying process comfortable.

James:            And we’re on the same path?

Tim:                 Yeah.

James:            Because all my business is sold online.

Tim:                 Yeah.

James:            And we’ve sold millions of dollars worth of services and information products. And I’m not a sales copywriter, and I haven’t hired one. And I’m not doing launches or anything crazy or hypey, and I don’t have a lot of paid campaigns, and I’m not using affiliates. I’m really just laying out what it is. And the thing that’s working for me is that I’m building so much trust and relationship with the front end, with all these podcasts and free courses. They’ve given so much exposure to me before they get to that checkout. Now one step we usually have, instead of putting the order on the page, we actually click through to the next, to the checkout. And that’s where we tag people who are known to us, i.e. I already have their email address. We tag them, and then we follow them up if they don’t buy, and that’s called a shopping cart abandonment sequence. And that’s powerful stuff. That’s going to add 20 to 30 percent to your sales.

Tim:                 Yeah, right. So that sequence goes, if they don’t buy, then you follow them up with, what, additional offers, or you ask questions as to why they didn’t, what you could have done better?

James:            You could do all of those things. Mostly it’s just a nine-word email which is something like, subject line would be, “Are you still interested?” And then it would say, “Hi Tim, recently you were looking at a website, wondered if you still needed one, that link again is here.” And you’re linked back to the page they were on when they left.

Tim:                 “Why the hell didn’t you buy?”

James:            (Laughs) Well, and then you put, “P.S., I reply to emails personally.” And I do get people saying, “Hi James, I’m just waiting to get sign-off from the boss, and I’m ready to go ahead tomorrow.” Or, “I was just wondering if you do blah, blah, blah…” Which I reply back and say… and sometimes you get “Hey, is this really you, or is this your VA?” And I’m like, “It’s really me.” They go, “Wow, that’s so cool, thank you.”

Tim:                 I got one yesterday from a very funny guy. He’d sent me an email two days ago, saying, “I want to join your forum, Timbo, but I don’t want to give you my credit card details and I’m not interested in hooking up to a recurring monthly payment via PayPal.” He said, “What can you do for me?” And he kind of put it in quite fun terms. So I went back to him with a bit of a fun email as well, and then he’d come back and go… Exactly what you said. He goes, “That’s not you.” If I could find the email quickly I would, but it was like, “That’s not you. You’ve got someone doing that. But boy, if it is, I’m impressed.”

James:            (Laughs)

Tim:                 We just ended up going back and forth, and he’s now a member of the Small Business Big Marketing forum, which was interesting. Because of that kind of personalized interaction, I’m sure he just immediately developed trust. And he’d already had some, because he approached me. But you know, he very quickly thought, “Well this is real.” And I think there’s a lesson there for anyone selling online. I come across people, Jimmy, and I reckon you would to, that think that, “Oh, I can sell online and I can hide behind that online brand that I’m going to create, and I won’t need to talk to people.” You know? But I think that’s fraught with danger. I think the more you kind of do make yourself accessible, the better. And I think that’s particularly true if you are going to go down the path of using podcasting or video as traffic channels. Because those two channels are really good at building personal brand. And I also see people over-branding themselves, and they all of a sudden think they shouldn’t be accessible. Do you ever see that?

James:            Yeah. Well, people assume that I have no time available and I’m very busy.

Tim:                 Yeah, isn’t that just like the…

James:            But seriously, I just – I’m about to go for a surf, and I’ve got no other appointments for the whole day. Sure, I’m busy.

Tim:                 There is just this assumption that…

James:            They know that I value my time, and they don’t want to waste it, which is super courteous. I also think you’re right, and I think it’s going to be harder for people to hide, because the more you want to step up there to the plate, put yourself out there, the more people can see that you’re backing yourself. Like if they go and look up on whois – I don’t bother with privacy protection on my sites these days. I’m happy for people to look up that it’s my business. On my contact page of SuperFastBusiness.com, I have an address, I’ve got the ABN number, I’ve got my phone number, I’ve got my social media contacts, like not hiding. My sales sites all have a phone number on them. And way back when I was an affiliate, I had my Skype number. It was like, “Call me now.” And people would ring. And they’d go, “Uh, just checking – is this office still right?” And I’m, “Yup.” And then they’d go, “OK, I’m buying now.” And the order would come straight through. So if you can put phone numbers on a product page, you make it easier for people to contact you, then you’ll get more sales. And we have live chat, but we don’t turn it on. We let people create a ticket that pushes into our support system, and almost all of them end up in orders, because they’re at the point of purchasing and they have a question. Make it easy for someone. So we have this little Leave a Message tab where they can just punch in their name and email address and ask their question and then we answer it, and then they buy.

Tim:                 So, just to be clear here, because I’ve got a discussion happening at the moment around live chat, and… So you’ve got live chat, you don’t have it turned on, but you have the Leave a Message function there. Is there a reason you don’t have it turned on?

James:            Yeah, I don’t want my team to have to make answers on the fly. I’d rather they research it and answer it correctly and that it’s not creating too much expectation.

Tim:                 Yep. Yeah, OK. Is there any particular live chat software? What’s your preferred, is it Live Chat, or…?

James:            Apparently Zendesk now has a live chat feature, so that might be worth trying. But the one that I use that integrates with Zendesk is LiveChat Inc.

Tim:                 Yeah.

James:            And I’ve been very, very happy with that. And it can also do triggers, like prompt someone if they stay on a certain page for too long or something. It’ll say, “Hey, do you need a hand, Tim? Would you like to ask a question?” That sort of stuff.

Tim:                 It’s a nice little add-on. Again, removes fear.

James:            Yeah. Absolutely. And you want to be accessible, if you can. And obviously a lot of my support’s going to my helpdesk team, and then they flick me the ones that they can’t deal with. But I’m also getting high-level sales inquiries. If someone’s wanting to buy something, I’m not going to hold them back. So most of my sales happen in the inbox, if it can’t happen automatically.

Tim:                 Cool. Well, I reckon that’s pretty clear, Jimmy.

James:            Yeah.

Tim:                 What’s the headline for this episode?

James:            Well, this is about product strategy, I suppose. It’s approaching how you want to put up your products, whether you want lots of little ones, one big one, whether you have services or you’re an affiliate, even. Some of the elements you might want to consider to include. So it’s all about products.

Tim:                 Actually, too, a point I was going to make earlier is when creating products, you talked about recording your webinars, and… We’ve touched on this, but we’re making content all the time, guys, and you’ve just got to have that radar on. I was approached last week by a lady in Zimbabwe, who has an event management business – just a tiny little business. And she’d found me. She’d been doing some searches on Google around branding workshops. She found me, she hit me up and asked if I’d mentor her. When I saw the Zimbabwe email Jimmy, I did kind of – it didn’t go into the spam box, which I thought was interesting. So I pursued it. I ended up doing a coaching call with her, just a free coaching call with her this week, and just as we started, I thought, you know what, I’m not sure where this is going to go. I don’t know whether she’s for real, or whether… you know, I don’t know, but I’m going to record it. And I did record it. And personally was really pleased with the advice. You know, sometimes, you’re in that, you’re in a really good zone. I was in a really good zone, and gave her some great advice. She was very grateful for it. So I recorded that, and I’m actually going to put it out as an episode on Small Business Big Marketing. But I’m going to continue that mentoring relationship with her, and she’s given me permission to record each session and I’m going to put that inside my forum, so that forum members can also provide her some marketing mentoring.

James:            Nice. And also you can record calls that you do with you know, even sales inquiries, if it’s automatically coming through to Skype for example. What you can do is then pass it on to your team to take some notes to form the basis of FAQs that you want to publish or some video ideas.

Tim:                 Yep. Yeah, there’s content everywhere, isn’t there?

James:            Oh, yeah. We’re going to run out of hard drive space.

Tim:                 Oh, we are?

James:            I keep pushing up against… I just create more content than I know what to do with, sometimes. But luckily I have a team to help me pass it out the back line.

Tim:                 I created a whole lot of videos while I was in Italy. I haven’t done anything with them, yet. That’s a classic. You know, again, had the system while I was over there to film them, but I’ve come back and haven’t actually put them together, done the edit.

James:            Well, I’m now at the point where I can palm off video as well. So all these podcasts are edited by someone else other than me, and other than you, which is wonderful. We just record, we hit stop, drag it into Dropbox, boom, it’s done. The next thing is videos, and that’s been the holy grail for me. If I can have videos edited, I am just away.

Tim:                 For me, it was more the size, the size of the files.

James:            It was. I was restricted by my Internet connection. Which is funny, when my team’s in another country that’s not known for infrastructure. And the second restriction was hardware, which I’ve been able to rectify, so we now have the same hardware and same software, which makes it interchangeable. It’s like, just, pshoow! Templates and everything can just be completely exported and imported.

Tim:                 What do you mean, hardware? Would you expand on that?

James:            Well, we’ve gone from Windows to Mac, so we can now use ScreenFlow.

Tim:                 What hardware was stopping you from having some kind of video production flow?

James:            Well, I had my templates all set up in ScreenFlow, and my editor has been using Adobe and Windows stuff. But now that she’s got Mac, and she has ScreenFlow, I can just save my templates and export them and she can import them and work with them, same with my Keynote instead of PowerPoint. And she can edit the same way that I edit.

Tim:                 Nice. Yeah, that’s great, mate. Well, Jimmy, it’s 44 degrees where I am at the moment…

James:            You need to get a swim.

Tim:                 I need to get a swim. You need to get a surf.

James:            Well, if I do it will be my second one for the day.

Tim:                 Nice.

James:            It’s big today, too.

Tim:                 Is it?

James:            Yeah.

Tim:                 Might be too big for a little bloke like you.

James:            Well, I got out there. I’ve been a little bit cheeky. I’ve been getting free lessons every day.

Tim:                 How?

James:            I wait till the surf school drags their boards out the front, and then I just go and blend in and I’m listening to the instructors.

Tim:                 You are… I’ve never ever associated the word tightass with you. But that is tightass.

James:            It’s not tightass. You know, I should pay for season pass, but I’m literally getting instruction every single day, secondhand. There’s no roped off area in the surf for the public versus the school. They have to share it, so you know, if I can hear the instructor, I can hear the instructor. It’s just good timing, that’s all, Timbo.

Tim:                 Always a coincidence you’re on the same wave as the instructor and the best student. You should get a – maybe the next step for your video marketing is a GoPro on the front of the board.

James:            I’ve got a GoPro. I’m just not good enough to get anything worth – well, maybe some good crashes. I’ve also got an instructor’s hat. And now little kids are asking me if they should catch this wave or not, and I say, “Yeah, go for it. Start paddling.”

Tim:                 What’s the instructor’s hat about? That like these blokes you see wearing FBI T-shirts, or you know, Police written across their…

James:            It must be like a work safety practice, but they all have hats, and I’ve found a very similar hat. So I just blend in nicely.

Tim:                 Did you find it on the beach? Or you went and bought one?

James:            No, just at the surf store here, they’ve got surf hats, you know? They have a little strap under the chin and….like you can sit out there in the bright, harsh sun, and it’s quite comfortable because you got an SPF factor of 50. You know I don’t have flowing manes of hair like you.

Tim:                 No, you don’t. You’re a fair-weathered friend. But mate, you’ve got to get some photos. I mean, this is gold. You’re sitting there, sort of just off to the side of the surf school…

James:            Well, sometimes right in the thick of it, right in the middle.

Tim:                 Right in the thick of it. You’ve got the instructor’s hat on… Oh, this is gold.

James:            I’ve had a similar board, it’s about similar length, and it’s all one color just like theirs, so they have to look twice to make sure that you know, that I’m not one of the students or the instructors. A little bit confusing.

Tim:                 I love it.

James:            It’s a lot of fun.

Tim:                 Well, good on you. Good on you, it’s a nice healthy thing to do.

James:            Well, it’s the only sport I can think of where you come out cleaner than when you go in.

Tim:                 (Laughs) It’s actually… I had this chat with my boys the other day about you know, following their dreams and choosing something they really love in life to follow, and they said to me, “What would you do if you could have your time over?” Like I’m about to bloody, you know, kick the bucket. But I said I would love to be a professional surfer. I think that would be an amazing life.

James:            That’s pretty much what I’m doing now, but I’m at the very foothills of that. I actually had the same conversation with my son, yesterday, actually. And I said, “If you could do anything you want, what would you?” And he said, “Well, I would sleep in ‘til midday, then I would go off to a gig and I’d rock out a rock gig ‘til late in the night then party all night. I said, you know, “What’s stopping you? Go for it. What do you need to do that?” He goes, “We need an audience, we need a following, we need to put out more recorded tracks, we need to play at gigs.” And I said, well, “Go and do all that.” So he’s making it all happen. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s just like, why do all the crap in the middle that you don’t want to do?

Tim:                 Especially at that young age. I mean, such a great opportunity to just really lean into something that you truly love. And that might change, going forward.

James:            I love that he’s like 18, he goes, “I really wish I’d just gone with the guitar a lot earlier because I could be really shredding a seven-string by now.” You know, like dude, you’ve been playing for a few years now and you’re not too bad. Yeah, he wishes he probably took it up at four or five. Lucky for me, John Carlton discovered him and said, “Go and get this kid a guitar and stop wasting time on the PlayStation.”

Tim:                 Yeah, yeah, yeah, well there’s plenty of that. In fact, I think one of my kids is on it right now. Bloody time-wasting thing.

James:            No, no, man, I’m on PlayStation. Fantastic.

Tim:                 Oh, you? You’re a fiend. You are a fiend. What are you playing?

James:            Call of Duty and Battlefield.

Tim:                 Come on, mate, grow up.

James:            No, no, man, it’s really good. You’ve got to concentrate, and you’ve got to refine motor skills…

Tim:                 Do Sudoku. You’ve got to concentrate on Sudoku as well. Go for a drive. You’ve got to concentrate, driving.

James:            I do that, too. I’m an all-rounder.

Tim:                 We are absolutely rattling on. Listeners, this is the FreedomOcean show. That has been James Schramko over there. I am Timbo Reid. We together do this on a semi-regular basis, and we will see you next episode 71, where we will in between now and then decide what we are going to talk about, and promise to get specific. If you want us to cover a particular online marketing topic, then head over to FreedomOcean.com, and you can contact us immediately. There’s also some goodies there that you can download to get your online marketing underway. Past episodes of this show, transcripts of all the episodes, etc. etc. So, yeah, we’d love to kind of get some topics that you want us to cover, so hit us up. Enough of that, Jimmy, have a great surf, mate, I’ll see you next time.

James:            Beautiful. Thanks, mate.

Tim:                 Peace out.

James:            See you.


  1. I think the file is cutting the podcast out at 12 minutes in, would love to hear the rest!

  2. I also had trouble with the file… from what I heard I can’t believe James literally dropped a dad joke and Timbo let it go through to the keeper!

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