Each week we bring a member from our Flip Your Life Community for a one on one call with us, this week we have Pete Miller who has been in the insurance business for over 25 years.
We go over ways Pete can protect his website from hackers – the possibilities of how spammers will try and log into your forum, add comments onto your pages, the importance of having software to protect your access and the need to encrypt your passwords that are long with unique characters and are not easy to guess.
Learn what we suggest to get traffic to your website.
We give Pete two ideas on how he can kickstart his growth and get more traffic to his website.
If you’re just starting a membership site your initial draw is content.
You can’t rely on the community in the beginning, but rely on the content and your ability to start conversations and answer questions.
We talk through some concepts to help you be successful with your membership site when you only have a handful of members
You will learn
- What does it mean to protect your website?
- How to make sure your Identity isn’t stolen.
- Where to get encrypted passwords.
- Update Your Plugins.
- How to get traffic to your website.
- Getting started with the membership site.
- How to run a membership site with only a few members.
- Using ads in the beginning of your membership site.
Links and resources mentioned in today’s show
- Flip Your Life Community
- Pete’s Website
- Podcast Series 1 on Identity Theft & Getting Hacked
- Podcast Series 2 on Identity Theft & Getting Hacked
- Podcast Series 3 on Identity Theft & Getting Hacked
- Last Pass – Protect Your Passwords
- Ninja Firewall
Enjoy the podcast; we hope it inspires you to explore what’s possible for your family!
Click here to leave us an iTunes review and subscribe to the show! We may read yours on the air!
Can’t Miss Moments
Each week Jocelyn and I share moments that we might have missed if we had not started our online business. We hope these moments inspire you to see the possibilities and freedom online business could provide for your family.
So, this week, we had Isaac’s last swim meet of the year and this was a new thing for us. We had never done competitive swimming before and it was kind of a trying year at times because it’s a lot to ask of a six and seven-year-old to be at practice like three days a week. But we made it through and he improved tremendously over the season, we are just so proud of him, he is proud of himself and we are looking forward to the next season.
You can connect with S&J on social media too!
Thanks again for listening to the show! If you liked it, make sure you share it with your friends and family! Our goal is to help as many families as possible change their lives through online business. Help us by sharing the show!
If you have comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post. See y’all next week!
Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below!
JOCELYN: Hey y’all! On today’s podcast, we help Pete start a membership community for insurance professionals.
Welcome to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts, Shane and Jocelyn Sams. Join us, each week, as we teach you how to flip your lifestyle upside-down, by selling stuff online. Are you ready for something different? All right, let’s get started.
SHANE: What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast; it is great to be back with you again this week. For those of you who may be new to the show, the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast is a little different than other podcasts you may listen to; each week we bring a member of our Flip Your Life community on and we give them a live, consulting call on the air and then we share it with all of you who are listening today, so that we can help you take your online business to the next level just like we help our members. Today we are really excited to welcome to the show, Pete Miller; Pete, welcome to the podcast.
PETE: Thanks for having me guys, really appreciate it.
JOCELYN: Yeah, we are very excited to talk to you today and figure out what’s going on with you online. First of all, tell us a little bit about you and your website.
PETE: Yup, so I’ve been in the insurance business for about 25 years, and I own an employee benefits agency. We deal primarily with employers, helping them set up group benefits plans, health, life, disability, dental, that type of thing. We also do some work in the voluntary benefits world, helping some of the individual employees pick and choose from supplemental products that they can get for themselves and so yeah, I’ve been trying to find a way to – as you might have heard, there’s been a lot of changes in the employee benefits world, particularly around health insurance with a lot of legislation and price changes and things like that, so trying to find a way that we can diversify the business a little bit and maybe scale it a little better with something that doesn’t take quite as much manpower to manage over the course of time.
SHANE: I actually know a lot about it, I am actually a licensed life, health, property and casualty insurance agent.
PETE: Oh so you know my world.
SHANE: Yeah, well my dad, he’s an entrepreneur, he’s got four agencies here in Kentucky and he’s been in insurance, you know, 30-something years. So, I actually grew up in the insurance business. Hitting home today.
PETE: Very good.
SHANE: Feeling close to home. So, let me ask you a little bit about this, now your website is disalesforum.com and it looks like the main goal of your online business is going to be to help other insurance agents to sell more disability insurance and make more money, is that kind of what we are looking at here?
PETE: It’s exactly what we are looking at. So, I started my career with a disability insurance carrier and I know it’s hard to believe that insurance can be exciting to somebody, but of the stuff that I deal with, the disability insurance is my favorite and I have kind of found some unique ways to sell individual disability insurance in an employer setting, and I thought it would be great if I could help other people do the same thing.
SHANE: Yeah, we used to do that – so are you like – we used to have insurance through the school system; are you like the people they bring in as an employer, like you are the guy we would sit down once a year and you would explain, like here’s all your things, oh by the way you need disability insurance, this is what it covers and stuff like that, that is kind of what you do?
PETE: That’s kind of it, yup.
SHANE: Okay, awesome and we are going to help other people do that better then?
PETE: Right, correct.
JOCELYN: All right, that sounds good. So, let’s start talking about what you need some help with.
PETE: Well, there’s a lot of things that I need help with, particularly around this website. I guess I’ll start with a couple of questions off the top of my head; you know, I’ve been listening to you guys for several months now, and I’ve heard you say a couple of different times that, you know, one of the things that you have to do is protect your site, and I guess maybe I’ve never understood what exactly that means, so maybe you could tell me what does it mean to protect your site, what am I protecting it from and how do I do it.
SHANE: So now, do you mean protection from a security standpoint or to protect your content – where only people who pay for it can get to it?
PETE: I’ve always been under the impression that what you mean, and I’m kind of going off on some other podcast that I’ve listened to, but I’ve been under the impression that you are protecting it from a security perspective just kind of thinking back towards the time you guys had the issue with the – that you talked about on the podcast.
SHANE: Okay, now for those of you who are not – may not have been around when this happened to us, back about six months ago, we had a major hack that pretty much – and an identity theft situation, where people got through some security loopholes in our systems and basically shut down our websites, and kind of attacked our financial records and things like that and we do have a three-podcast series and a webinar on that and we will link to all of those in the show notes. But just in general, the biggest thing that you got to protect from the back end of your website is access to everything. So, passwords are the key here, of course, usernames and passwords, we use LastPass and we use encrypted passwords that are like 15 digits long on all the things that we have. There’s no way to remember all of those passwords, so you have to have some kind of password encryption or vault service and LastPass is what we use for our website and we’ll actually link to that in the show notes as well. And basically you just don’t want anyone to be able to access any of your money at any time. Those are the two big areas where people are going to attack you. If they are going to hack you, they are going to go through your WordPress dashboard and if they are going to do anything financial, you don’t ever want them to have access to your money. So, even in our team, like none of our VAs ever have any access to any kind of paid accounts; PayPal, banks, anything like that. We are the only people that can get to our money and then we use encrypted passwords and long, multi-digit passwords that use numbers, characters, exclamation points, anything you can think of, upper case, lower case, anything like that to keep people out. If you do that and you are updating your plugins correctly, you know, one of the biggest security risks is when a plugin updates and that little red dot that says, “You’ve got three updates” sits on your plugins and people would just totally ignore that. You can’t do that because the only reason – they are not updating the plugin just to make them better, they are updating them because some hacker broke into WordPress through their plugin and they had to put a security measure in. So, if you just do your basic due diligence, you don’t have to have any huge, special things in place that are going to stop, you know, all the hackers from getting in. We do have – I think there’s a plugin we have called Ninja Firewall, that just gives us a little bit more protection from brute force attacks, that’s where people constantly just type in – they figure out your username and they just keep typing in different passwords with algorithms to try and break into your system. So, that can lock out people’s IP addresses that are trying to do that, but basically if you’ve got your plugins updated, really, really secure encrypted passwords, you probably don’t have to worry about this too much.
PETE: Follow-up question for you Shane, if I could, when I first set up the forum on this website, I got dozens and dozens of –-
PETE: Yeah, people that said we are signing up to get the newsletter and what-not with all these email addresses where all these crazy things that didn’t look real.
SHANE: For sure, yeah, that does happen, because what people do is, like they send out robots, kind of like what Google does when Google crawls the website, trying to find all the information, those are called ‘bots’ and spammers can do the same thing to try to get a username – like if they find a website where they can login and create a user, what they want to do is, they want to do that and their algorithm logs in and creates spam comments that have links to bad things or and that can happen to bbPress, in your WordPress comments, anywhere; you’ll find it all the time. Even on like Facebook comments, where they have them on the bottom of websites sometimes, where people use Facebook to login to the commenting system, well, they’ll just create these fake accounts and they’ll go as many places as they can on the internet and they’ll just say, ‘Hey this is a great comment. Click this link below to make 5000 dollars a month’ or whatever and people click those and of course they get down to the scammer’s bad systems. So, that is going to happen any time you are using any system online to allow people to create a username and login. There are ways to protect it, like for example, in bbPress, if you put a pay wall of some kind in between that person that is public and the actual forum itself, using Paid Member Pro or iMember360, some kind of software that is designed to say, “You give me money, I’ll give you a username and password” that eliminates – like we don’t get spam in any of our membership sites because you can’t access it until you’ve given us some money. When you have a free forum or a free, public commenting system with no protection, then the little robot can make a username and password, login and spam you up, but as soon as you start charging for that forum, they are not going to be able to do that because they have not went through the protocols of ‘give me money and then create your username and password’. You can also use different things to protect all of your comments like Captcha, you can download plugins that will make people pick the right picture or type in the solution to a math problem and that will eliminate all that as well, but the best way to keep spam out of your forum is to charge for it. As soon as you start doing that, spam cannot get past that barrier.
PETE: Thank you.
JOCELYN: All right, let’s move in to our next question.
PETE: Yeah, so I think I may well be on the more of a beginning part of this journey than a lot of the people that you got in your community, one of the biggest questions I have is, how do I get traffic to the site, with paid advertising or organically; I’ve done – I think I’ve shared with you on email over time, I had another website a while ago, that was more of a local thing, and took a really long time to grow that organically. How can I make this happen faster than slow I guess is the question?
JOCELYN: Well, I like how you are already talking about paid advertising or paid traffic, because that is definitely the fastest way to get traffic; you certainly need to do both. I like to take in organic reach strategy and try to find keywords that people are interested in my space and write about those and have relevant lead magnets on each of those to hopefully get people’s emails and get them into your sales funnel, but then it’s also important to do that paid advertising and that is going to get you out there even quicker, it’s going to get people on to your email list, into your sales funnel, that much faster and it’s just going to help to really ramp this thing up in a way that you won’t have to wait forever to make it happen.
SHANE: Yeah, we always tell people you have two resources that you can spend, it’s time or money; you know what I mean? So, you just have to evaluate, in your life, like what would you rather spend to get the traffic? Do you want to spend a ton of time and grow it organically, which has still got to be part of the equation because even when you spend money on ads, you got to send them somewhere, but if you are willing to go ahead and invest into the advertising to get people there, then it is going to happen a lot quicker. Now, how do you do that? You have some high-quality content, you got that one thing that you can send people to that’s free, that’s where you drive the paid traffic to, and in your case, I think you are going to have to do a little playing around with keywords to figure out exactly who you are going to target. I mean, I’m sure you can target insurance agents somehow within Facebook or on Google, you may need to look for groups where the right kind of agents – ’cause there’s a thousand different ways to make money selling insurance, you know what I mean?
SHANE: So, you got to avoid – you are probably not looking for the property and casualty guy, you are looking for the guy who is selling the life, the health and things like that; hey, how can in increase my sales 10% or what if I just sold all my existing customers disability or I’ve got these employers that bring me in, how can I sell more disability to ramp up my income and then you are going to have to write content that maybe speaks towards the pain point. The pain point here is, I want to make more money from my insurance agency, I want to make more sales, disability insurance is also kind of an up-sell because the people you’re selling it to are getting their life and health, and so you are like, “Go ahead and get the disability” you know what I’m saying?
SHANE: So, like you know, that’s the language you are going to be speaking when you are creating this content and the ads, is you know, how to make ten percent more money off your insurance business, life and health or whatever or using disability to you know make 10000 more dollars next year. That’s the kind of language that you are going to be using and you are going to drive that to an article where you’ve written about the pros and the positives of why disability insurance can really increase your revenue as an insurance agent. And then like Jocelyn said, then you have a lead magnet related to that content and once they sign up for the lead magnet, you can market to them to get into your community and your program. Okay?
PETE: Got it.
SHANE: So that’s what we got to figure out; I’m guessing that you are – I don’t know what platform will be best for you, but Jocelyn, don’t you think like maybe to start at somewhere like LinkedIn that’s more professional ’cause these are insurance agents, you know, I mean Facebook is always the number one place to go to, but –
JOCELYN: It’s definitely a possibility; I think that you need to look and just see – look at some key players in your space and see where people are following them at. If a lot of people are following them on LinkedIn, than that is probably a good indication that’s where your audience is. If a lot of people are following people on Twitter that are in your space, then maybe you need to go there. So just look around and see where people are going.
SHANE: Yeah, I guarantee you that there are plenty of “gurus” that teach people how to sell more insurance in general, like, there’s – just like in real estate, there’s tons of books about selling more real estate, there’s probably really key authors that you could go figure out just by going to the bookstore and seeing who has written books about this, and then go find them online. The goal is always to – in any kind of advertising strategy is find out where your people are. You know, why does – it’s like where do people advertise. Why does Doritos and beer advertise on the Super Bowl? You know why? Because the people who sit around and watch sports are eating Doritos and drinking beer while they are doing it. Where are your people? Where are their eyeballs? Where are their attention? Go find that and follow the cookie-crumbs to that trail and then once you find them, you’ll know who to target with your add strategy.
PETE: Okay, I’m with you.
SHANE: Awesome, all right, we got time for more questions, what else you got?
PETE: All right, next question is, this kind of seems tricky to me, but maybe it’s making it harder than it needs to be, so my ultimate goal is to have a membership community, a paid membership community and it seems to me that you have to have somebody in the community to get people to join the community and –
SHANE: Chicken and the egg.
PETE: Yeah, right? So, how do you get that first group of 10 or 20 people to join when there’s not a lot of conversation going on in there? And I know I’ve asked you this question in the forum and a guy that I know is doing a similar thing with life insurance, and he basically made his community free for the first six months kind of to get folks to join and then he started to charge after that, but you had emphatically told me that that’s a bad idea.
PETE: So how do you get the first few in there, I guess is my – the biggest question I have.
SHANE: Any community and any membership, and we’ve helped dozens and dozens of people set up successful memberships, we’ve done this multiple times, over and over again. It always starts with content. The content draws people in and eventually the community is what makes them stay. So, here’s how this works, like the genesis, we’ve probably never talked about this on air, this is a great question; it always works with ‘I’ve got this amazing content that shows you how to do something’ and you sell it like this: “Not only that, I will personally be there to walk beside you through this journey.” That’s how all communities start, with great information and a leader. Pete Miller is the leader of this disability insurance community, so that’s how you sell it when there’s no community to sell yet. Yeah, you have a forum that exists where a community can bloom, but right now, you’ve got to be like, “I have this system that will definitely help you make more money. I’ve done it for 25 years, I’m the expert. I am Pete Miller, I will grab your hand and I will lead you to the Promised Land.” So, you don’t sell the community at first, you sell the community exists, but you are really selling, “I’ll walk you through it, I’ll hold your hand, I’m here to help you, I’ll personally in the forum every day to answer your questions.” It’s not necessarily a community at first as much as it is ‘Pete is here to help me go through his content.’ So, as you sell it that way, now you don’t have to worry about selling the community and how much chatter there is or anything like that. You are going to create the chatter, you are going to talk, you are going to start threads, you are going to answer questions, and it will build and snowball as you get more people into your content. If you sell a hundred of these, right, and you get 100 people in here into your program, the conversation will start and then it becomes, “I’m Pete Miller, I’m the leader, I’ll help you, I’ll sell you, here’s my stuff” and we’ve got a host of people around you to walk this journey together. So that’s a process, that’s where it starts at; you leading them, you selling them the content and then building the community membership.
JOCELYN: And there’s a variety of ways to do this; a lot of times people do a beta membership, so if it’s something brand new that you are offering, you can offer it at say a lower price, maybe you offer additional bonuses to people who are early adopters, you just find some way to incentivize early adopters to come in and to start talking and just to make the community full and vibrant.
SHANE: It doesn’t take that much; you know, 20 people will really get the conversation going and the beautiful thing about the memberships and the subscription systems that we teach is that it’s a forum-based system. Even your content lives in the forums, so everyone that ever comes through and comments on a video that you are teaching, that conversation exists forever even if that person leaves that community. So, if you get 20 people in, everything they say is there forever. If you get 20 more people in, everything they say is there forever. There is eventually a tipping point where anyone comes in looks around and goes, “Whoa, there is a lot of conversation here” because it never goes away. It’s not like a Facebook feed that disappears. You know, you say something and then it goes away, it just kind of gets pushed down the list. Forums exist forever, the search bar is always there, so people can go search for old comments, old questions, old conversations, and all of a sudden you’ve got a community. But you got to sell it at first, like you are the leader, you are there for them and the content, and once they come for the content, they’ll stay for the leadership and the community.
JOCELYN: That’s up to you to get the conversation going. You can’t just expect people to come in and start talking; you are going to give them some conversation-starters. For us, we have – in our other communities, we have a virtual assistant who goes in and puts a conversation starter in each week. Now in my education business, a lot of people don’t comment on it, but sometimes people do.
SHANE: And that’s there forever once they do comment on it, you know?
JOCELYN: Yeah, you just need to be there to delete them.
PETE: When you guys – and I don’t know which of the communities you started first, I kind of have the sense that the communities started after you already had a bunch of followers for each of the different practices. So, for some of the other folks in the community that have maybe started with the membership model is that the basis for the product, what does it take to get the first couple and how long does it take, how much time do you have to spend with the –
SHANE: I’ll tell you when we start – the US History Teachers site had started from zero.
SHANE: And here’s what brought people in; great content that solved their problem, that was the first thing that 100% brought people in there ’cause that’s why people joined okay and then we just ran ads to that great content and we said, this is what exists inside here and this is why you are going to come in; oh by the way, this is set up in a way where all these teachers from all over the country teaching history can share lessons with you. You can ask for resources, you can do these things like that, but what really sold them was the content that solved their problem, the content that started their thing. If you don’t have followers, you have you and content, so you can still lead people that come and you can still create the content. Flipped Lifestyle, when we first started the actual course, and mastermind that became the Flipped Lifestyle community, we had not a huge following at the time, you know what I’m saying?
SHANE: But we had a very, very strategic with the few people that were following us and we got 20 people to come into the fold and they kind of became the seed for later, and we did what did not scale when we had those 20 people. We talked to them personally, we spent way more time than we could ever possibly spend now with those people to help them get to the next level, to get through our course to answer questions because the first 10 to 20 people are your seed, that’s when you can spend more time to ask questions. What should we create, what did we not create, what did we not think of, and you only need about 5-10-20 people and all of a sudden that starts to snowball because you get all of the questions and all that information out of the way. So here’s how you get the first people: you create a great ad that goes to a great free piece of content, or a webinar or that gets people on to your email list, and then you sell them that you will personally help them make more money with disability insurance. You will do that with the content that you create and then when you get them in there, you’ll spend a lot of time with those people helping them succeed, you’ll get a few testimonials and then you’ll go back out into the world with ‘Oh now I’ve got a community with 20 posts in it; now I’ve got questions that I need, I’ve added a couple of things, and I’ve got two testimonials from the first 20 guys’. So then it just – you do it again and you get 40 people and then you do it again and you just keep doing it until it snowballs.
PETE: That’s awesome, thanks so much.
SHANE: Awesome, well, great conversation day; I love talking to another insurance agent, I know a lot of people out there aren’t gonna probably get that, but you know, my brother is an insurance agent, dad’s an insurance agent, pretty awesome man and I think you got a great thing here. Any coaching thing like this where you’ve got the chops of 25 years of experience, is probably going to be something that you can turn into an online business for sure.
JOCELYN: All right Pete, I’m glad we were able to answer some of your questions today, so thanks so much for coming on the show.
PETE: Thanks for having me; I really appreciate it.
SHANE: Another awesome call with one of our Flip Your Life community members; to learn more about our Flip Your Life community, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife and we can help you with your online business today.
JOCELYN: All right, next we are going to move into our Can’t-Miss Moment segment of the show and these are moments that we were able to experience recently that we might have missed if we were still working at our regular, nine-to-five jobs. This week’s Can’t-Miss Moment is Isaac’s final swim meet. So, this week, we had Isaac’s last swim meet of the year and this was a new thing for us. We had never done competitive swimming before and it was kind of a trying year at times because it’s a lot to ask of a six and seven-year-old to be at practice like three days a week. But we made it through and he improved tremendously over the season, we are just so proud of him, he is proud of himself and we are looking forward to the next season.
SHANE: And Isaac lowered all of his times by like five or six seconds; he got all of his best times on all of his races in his last meet, so that was really fulfilling to see that all the energy and effort and money and time that we put into the sport this year really paid off for him and in his improvements. And I got to just you know start reflecting back on the entire season in swimming on the way back from his final meet, you know, I kind of mentioned to Jocelyn, we probably would not even be in this sport if it wasn’t for online business. It takes a lot of time, there is a ton of travel, it takes 30 minutes for us just to get Isaac to his swim practice, the facility that he goes to, it’s a really expensive sport just because you have to go, there’s a lot of hotel, staying overnight and things like that and I know we would not have had the time to compete and to participate in competitive swimming if we were both still teaching because I would be in practice in the weight room and Jocelyn might be working in the library and there is no way that we could possibly get him to practice every day. So, I’m just really thankful that we had the ability to provide this opportunity for Isaac. He has found a sport that he loves, and he really identifies himself now as a swimmer, he calls himself ‘The swimmer’ so like, it’s just amazing that our online business has given us the opportunity to do this for him. Before we sign off, we would like to close every one of our shows with a verse from the Bible. Today’s Bible verse comes from Colossians 3:23 and the Bible says, “Whatever you do, work hard as if working for the Lord and not for men.” Remember guys, everything in your life, there is a bigger picture at stake. You don’t have to please anyone, just go out there and use the talents and use the abilities that God has given you. Get out there and use it to change the world and make something happen in your own life. That’s all the time we have for this week, as always guys, thanks for listening to the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast and until next time, get out there, take action, do whatever it takes to flip your life, we’ll see you then.