Sara Blakely is a self-made Billionaire, Spanx Founder, which is women clothing brand (per Wikipedia: “American underwear maker focusing on shaping briefs and leggings“.)
Sara Blakely, and her husband Jesse Itzler, are two super successful entrepreneurs in their own right.
Sara is known for founding Spanx in 2000 and turning it into a billion-dollar brand, while Jesse is known for his rapping, producing, and several business ventures (his net worth, reportedly, 200 million, separate to Sara whose net worth is reportedly 1.1 billion dollars).
Sara Blakely will be the focus of this blog and I will, amongst other things, quote powerful tips from her that will help you with your own business ambitions tremendously. I will give real illustrations on how I take what she says and how this translates to the real world of business.
I will take quotes from Sara Blakely like this and show how I applied it in business.
In this blog you can expect to learn:
- Influencer Marketing genius (courtesy of Sara Blakely, pre-Instagram and pre-social media!)
- How to learn from a 2 minutes video and execute a business plan that will make you money for years to come
- How to create content for multiple channels thanks to a 2 minutes video ad of someone else without even buying the course
- How to become a referral partner (also known as an affiliate) for almost any product or service and potentially make money by promoting it
- How I apply quotes from Sara Blakely and other mentors in my business and thus am able to help other people start and scale their own online business.
There are three reasons for this blog:
(a) To help you transition from the consumer to the producer mindset, i.e. not just reading a quote and seeing it is nice but actually show the connection to putting it into use in business.
(b) To drive traffic to my website through leveraging “Sara Blakely” name as a searchable keyword – and by doing so, provide value to new visitors, (and my existing audience).
(c) To promote Sara Blakely course from Masterclass as an affiliate and potentially earn a commission.
Everyone who follows me, know I’m a huge fan of Grant Cardone, and Elena Cardone his wife. But second to them, I would say Sara and Jesse are followed closely. As well as Patrick Bet-David, Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and some others. I learn from them all – and they all mentor me through their books, video interviews, documentaries, and Shark Tank.
What makes Sara Blakely unique, in my opinion, is she’s totally wild and authentic. All you got to do is go to her husband Jesse’s Instagram account, Sara’s Instagram account, and Spanx’s Instagram account.
In late 2019, Sara joined forces with the Masterclass brand and published a course on entrepreneurship. Masterclass is a company I have lots of respect for – they pick world-class professionals in different fields and shoot super high-quality and concise training courses on these topics from basketball, to tennis, to audio-mixing, movie directing, cooking, singing, acting, and so much more.
They have carved themselves a very dominant position in the eLearning industry and built a very strong fortress.
Another competitor is going to have to do some serious work to try and compete with the level of quality courses they have created, and the calibre of the teachers.
For example, I cannot think of another self-made Billionaire doing a training course on ANYTHING.
Masterlcass Ad: Sara Blakely Teaches Entrepreneurship Course
When I saw the Masterclass Ad from Sara, my light bulb went off over and over and over from what she said. And I learned so much for the ad alone. It strengthened so many truths in my mind.
The reason for this blog is to open your eyes and help you transition from a consumer viewpoint, to a product viewpoint, and teach you the importance of focusing on being a learning and implementation machine.
Other people see Sara’s ad, they love Sara, or they want to start some retail brand, so click the ad, watch the video, exit out, get re-targeted on Facebook and Instagram again, see Sara again, watch the ad again, click again, buy the course. Start the course, maybe finish the course, maybe forget about it. That is MOST PEOPLE. I am positive.
This is what happened when I saw the ad.
See the ad and listen to Sara. Have 4 light bulbs from things she said. Click the link and listen to what she had to say a few more times. Take notes of what she said.
Go to the Masterclass website and find their affiliate program. Follow up with the affiliate program to get approved.
While waiting for the approval, go on Google Keyword Planner and found that her name is searched between 10,000 and 100,000 per month on Google, and 34,000 on YouTube and has relatively low competition.
I went on Facebook, and naturally, got re-targeted, and so I stopped on the feed and went ahead and did a training video based on the ad, the content of the ad, the powerful teaching from here, and how this can be applied. You can watch the video now right here. Watch it here and now. You gonna learn so much from it.
From the video, I explain about how I am going to get approved for the affiliate program (which I since did as shown above), write a blog (this one), create infographic quotes for my social media for LinkedIn, Instagram and Facbeook and use this to generate traffic for my website and affiliate offer.
Here is the first Instagram quote that will go up the moment this blog is published.
And lastly, knowing that Jesse, Sara, and Spanx are active on social media, I know that there is a chance that if I post my Infographics on my Instagram posts and stories and tag them, that they might see it, share it, and thus give me and my brand exposure.
Everything I do in business, I do my best to be extremely strategic and intentional.
And hopefully, from this video and blog so far, you will be more aware of this for yourself and do the same in your business.
Sara Blakely is an Influencer Marketing Genius:
Before I. share with you the various quotes from Sara, let me share with you the genius of Sara Blakely in utilizing Influencer Marketing BEFORE social media was born.
Before “Social Media”, it was just “Media”. Television, Radio, Newspaper, Magazines.
Now you may know of Influencer Marketing as Instagram influencers, people with a large following, getting some gifts in the mail and posting it on their story.
You see models with 100K+ following posting photos of themselves wearing clothes and tagging the brand, for example.
You see this with apps, video games, sports brands, clothing brands, non-profits, and so much more. This marketing is separate to paid advertising on Instagram directly. This is a marketing relationship between the influencer and a brand.
Based on the little research I have done, Sara started Spanx in 2000 and was selling fax machines door to door. Sara founded Spanx as a frustrated consumer. She wanted to wear underwear under white pants to a party without the panty line showing.
She sent a box of the product to Oprah Winfrey, got her attention, and had Spanx promoted on national TV and endorsed by Oprah. In 2001, Sara made a deal with QVC (stands for Quality, Value, Convenience, which is a leading TV sales network of consumer products).
Below is a screenshot from Wikipedia.
QVC = QVC is the name of an American broadcast television network and channel that offers the viewer a televised, in-home shopping experience. The acronym stands for Quality Value Convenience. Again, this is a public endorsement.
This is Influencer Marketing at its finest – pre-Instagram.
Marketing genius, Sara Blakely. GENIUS.
What business should you start?
One of the biggest questions people have are “what business should I start?”
“What niche should I choose and focus on?”
“Who is my target audience?”
“Who is my ideal customer?”
If you pay attention closely to the Masterclass Ad with Sara, she answered ALL these questions with ONE powerful sentence in the ad. And I quote:
She came up with the idea by solving a problem she had experienced personally. She was the customer!
As a consumer, she had a problem. So she figured out a way to solve it.
This is powerful because when you do that, you understand your ideal customer intimately – YOU.
Be willing to start small
The next quote from Sara Blakely’s ad is so powerful:
You saw it above in the infographic already.
You heard of the phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, right? Well, who said it and what was meant by it is not as well known. The second half of that sentence is often omitted.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.”John Heywood
I wanted to take a moment and diverge a bit to show how I am applying these teachings in my business. This is key to apply what Sara Blakely said. “Be willing to start small”.
In my coaching business, that phrase from Sara Blakely translates to focus on getting ONE CLIENT and just worry about that ONE CLIENT. More on that in a moment.
Additionally, I was too, a frustrated consumer looking for legitimate ways to make money online.
You see, when I started my journey as an entrepreneur I simply wanted to make a living, i.e. make money. I did not have a job, couldn’t get a job, had no qualifications, never went to high-school, and had to figure out a way to make money and survive.
So I resorted to YouTube to figure out a career path. My findings were summarized in a recent email to my client, who was, in fact, my VERY FIRST coaching client!
Since she was my earliest client, she did not get the most value out of my knowledge and experience simply due to the fact that I was still figuring things out at the time. Since I figured it out since, I outlined my findings to her an email. This was in response to her emailing me “happy new year”.
Here is the email:
Well, I woke up in the middle of the night to see your email, and it reminded me of a fact.
You were the VERY FIRST PERSON to pay me for my coaching.
As you know I was previously working for another company, as a contractor, on a commission-only basis. And yes I made money from commissions.
However, every client I got at the time, I did not, in fact, get paid to work with me personally.
So when I had to start from scratch in June 2018, I was 55K in debt as a result of the said company being shut down, losing my investment, and having no income stream.
I got a 9 to 5 job in a company I really wanted to work in and figured it is a great opportunity to see how long it takes me to “side hustle” in my 9 to 5 and replace my income so I can quit.
This experiment started in June 2018.
My strategy was to create an online course, do affiliate marketing, and do coaching for free in exchange for people using my affiliate links and building residual income.
I started off with affiliate marketing and made money there and have commissions (all concurrent to working a 9 to 5 job).
Meantime, I was studying a lot of books and figuring out how this “make money online” really works. I knew I was good with people, so decided to really focus on the coaching also, but saw how offering free coaching was completely no viable and unproductive. So I offered my coaching services for $100 to start with.
You were the very first person to respond to that and say “YES”.
I remembered that last night when I woke up in the middle of the night and saw your happy new years email.
I decided I’m going to give you something in return for having that faith in me.
From that day you paid me to now, it has been just over a year, and I can tell you I have grown massively in my business. I know soooo much more it is not even funny.
And I wanted to share this with you in extreme detail so you can also find success.
At the time I was 55K in debt, just got a 9 to 5 job (and struggling with it), while staying up late and having late nights and long weekends trying to figure out how to make money as a side hustle.
My philosophy has evolved since that time in that affiliate marketing is just a piece of making money online, a great piece, but only a piece. The real value and the real secret in making money online is by providing a real SERVICE to people.
If you look up on Google “what does freelance job mean?” this is what you will get:
“A Basic Definition. Essentially, a freelance job is one where a person works for themselves, rather than for a company. While freelancers do take on contract work for companies and organizations, they are ultimately self-employed.”
When I say freelancing, I mean Copywriting, Website Design, Graphic Design, Funnel Design, Managing Social Media pages, programming/coding/developing, running paid advertising campaigns on Youtube, Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc. These are all digital marketing-related skills. These are what is referred to as “high-income skills”. If you have an expertise of some sort, you can also do coaching or consulting (but too many pretenders out there, I do not recommend this as a focus, do this as an addition to a real digital marketing related skill).
You always need to have at least TWO high-income skills to be successful.
The first high-income skill, is any of the above options. Take your pick, and focus on it and get great at it.
The second high-income skill, is something that no matter who you are, you need to be good at. That high-income skill is called SALES.
Because it does not matter how good of a graphic designer you are. There are lots of them out there. There will always be someone who will charge less than you. So the skill you must ALSO have is the ability to SELL.
Grant Cardone talks about sales in the Millionaire Booklet, chapter “Who’s Got My Money?”.
And he says: “Make a list of who has your money, the money you want, and figure out what you can exchange with them. Whether you have a service, a product, or an idea, the question to ask yourself is always: “Who’s got my money?” You don’t need to make money, you need to connect with those who’ve already collected money, who have money, and exchange what you have (skills and knowledge) with what they have (money).”
And he later he says in that same chapter: “Billionaire Mark Cuban was quoted saying, “The most important thing you must learn about any business is sales.” Sales made simple is, “Who’s got my money?”
So this is high-income skill number 2.
(reminder: At the time when we first had our coaching call, this wasn’t yet something I figured out yet. But with time, that’s the conclusion I came to.)
Once you have a high-income skill, any skill, the first step is to do exactly that step from the millionaire booklet. Find someone you can exchange that skill or service with.
This is exactly what I tell all my clients now. Go get that FIRST CLIENT.
Important note: Do not wait to be a master at it. Just know how to do it and go find that first client and make them your “guinea pig” or your “practice”. Give them an offer that they cannot refuse like so cheap or even free. Make it a no-brainer for them to take a bet on you. You’ll get better with time.
But the absolute key here is to GET YOUR FIRST CLIENT.
I evolved this concept, so once you have that first client, this is the formula:
(a) Over-deliver to that client. Do an unbelievable job. Do as many revisions as possible. Make it that you give 10X better service or product than what you were paid to do. Care so much about that one job like your business depends on it – because the truth is – it does depend on it.
(b) When the job is done, ask for a testimonial or a review. It can be on video or it can just be on your Facebook page or Google Reviews. But ask for it. People will gladly give it if you do an incredible job. Websites like Fiverr, Upwork, iWriter, and so on, make this process extremely easy and automated.
(c) When the job is done, maintain the relationship with that customer! This is where people really mess it up. You already have a relationship, you already know them, they know you, they know you do a good job. What else can you help them with? This is the upsell.
In the marketing world, upsells are a grossly misunderstood concept. People think upsell happens immediately after purchase. You but a $7 eBook, and immediately after you go to a second page that says “wait! your order is not complete” and they try and sell you a $97 course, and after they buy or not buy, there is another upsell, and so on. This is a very limited view of this idea of upselling.
You build their website, let’s say, for $50 and did a great job. They love it. They got a bargain, awesome. Now, how are they collecting email addresses? Do they have email marketing set up for their website? Maybe they need and want that too? Maybe you can manage their email marketing for them?
Or maybe they want to get advertising on Google for their website and you can help them with that?
Now the natural thing is to think that you don’t know how to do that. And probably that’s true. This is where you start outsourcing and creating partnerships. Who in your circle do you know and trust who knows how to do Google Advertising. Go and connect with them and give them a referral and pocket a little commission. Or go on Udemy, buy a $20 course on Google Ads, and tell that business owner that you will run their Ads on results-based only so you can gain experience. Be upfront with them. They should know it is your first project. Your honesty and transparency will shine through.
This concept, of getting that upsell or the second sale, is also covered in a book by Grant Cardone called SELL OR BE SOLD.
The two key chapters about this are “SECOND MONEY” and “YOU ARE IN THE PEOPLE BUSINESS”.
(d) The next step for the freelancer, regardless of whether you got more work in step c, is to ask for a referral. Get a referral from that client. They already gave you a review. They know you do a good job. Ask if they know anyone. Tell them you give a 10% referral fee, or even more. In my business, I give as much as a 50% referral fee!
(e) Now you either get a referral (your second client) or you go and find that second client yourself.
Where do you find clients in the first place?
The answer is YOUR OWN CIRCLE.
Ask your friends and family, tell them what you are doing, and ask them to think of anyone who might need a job done using that high-income skill. This is called “WARM TRAFFIC”. Start with your warm audience. If you can’t sell your warm audience, you’ll never sell a cold audience.
This is not your “MLM-type” asking your friends and family to buy. It is asking if they or someone they know need your service. Even if you do that first service for free. Do it free to boost your confidence in doing it. And ask for a review/testimonial.
As you get better, you can start charging something or charging more. I always believe you should charge something, even if it is minuscule.
While you’re following these steps, you can start doing similar prospecting on Facebook groups. Join Facebook groups and find people who are looking for your service. Start making connections. This sentence alone deserves a full training and course on its own. It is a science and an art. But the short story on that course is simply finding Facebook groups with potential customers, make connections, find out who they are and what they need, and if appropriate, you can offer your service.
And of course, whenever you get a customer you do steps ‘a to e’ above.
Do this consistently for enough months and you will end up with more confidence, better skills, more clients base, more testimonials, more money, and more success.
Grant Cardone says in his Millionaire Booklet: “An idea plus hard work multiplied over long periods of time plus discipline will always equal success.”
This is how you apply this sentence in your business to be able to truly “make money online”.
With the above formula, as you gain more traction, more customers, you do need a website, you do want special media presence, and you want to showcase your work and build your brand.
I have this on my website eranbucai.com, LinkedIn and Facebook Page, which I strongly recommend you study in detail and see exactly how I apply everything I am telling you above. You’ll see my testimonials front and center. To the point where the website and social media presence do a lot of the selling for me. Not 100% but it helps tremendously.
Getting your own website and funnel is absolutely key as fast as possible. Because your more serious clients will absolutely want to see a website and without that online presence you will truly struggle to charge what you are worth or charge higher prices period.
So that’s the formula – and every person can do it and it does not cost an arm and a leg.
So considering my entire process is dependent on getting that FIRST CLIENT, I wanted to tell you all this considering you were that first coaching client.
As a thank you for trusting me at the time, when I still have very little to show for my skills, and had practically no brand recognition, I wanted to give you LIFETIME access to EranFunnels.
This is basically a full website/funnel hosting and builder that lets you build unlimited pages, unlimited funnels, take payments, and so on. It has everything you need to build your online presence.
You will see that I currently sell this for $1000 on my EranFunnels marketplace/store.
I am giving you lifetime access for a single domain for free. The admin login details are coming to you in a separate email.
Usually, people sign up and get a few links to get them started:
Getting started instructions: https://eranfunnels.com/onboarding
Help/support, whenever you are stuck, and any tutorials on how to use the software: https://eranfunnels.com/help
Partner program, so you can start your own freelance agency: https://eranfunnels.com/partners
Go ahead and make good use of it for your own side hustle / online business.
If you have any questions let me know.
I am doing this for a few reasons:
(a) You were the first coaching client and I wanted to give back.
(b) I am documenting this “giving back” process so people can see how to continue and build relationships in business. “You are in the people business”. This is an educational piece.
(c) I want to let people know, and show them, that when they buy from me, when they invest me with, they are not just buying another product or service, they are betting on a horse that is going to win and help them win as well.
You might wonder, where I am at with my business since June 2018. I will probably save that to another email or blog or something. But in short:
I have 17K left in debt (down from 55K).
Took me 8 months to replace my 9 to 5 job with my online business income.
I am not promoting any specific company, I have my own clients, my own products, my own services and my own brand.
I still do make money from affiliate marketing.
I still make money as a freelancer, doing copywriting jobs sometimes, and mainly website/funnel design.
My full living expenses are covered through passive income.
Everything I talked about in this email I created extensive training for and I am selling it as my coaching service called $1/day coaching course.
So again, thank you so much for your happy new years’ email, and thank you soooo much for being that first person that was willing to exchange money with me for my personal coaching business.
[Quick correction/update from Eran: As of June 2020, I am debt-free!]
How to make a living from your passion
As an expansion of Sara Blakely saying, “I started Spanx as a frustrated consumer”, I see that as something that can help you find out what you are passionate about and possibly, actually make a living from it.
Don’t get me wrong, I think “following your passion” is over-rated.
You need to follow the money so you can be free to follow your passions. Your goal in pursuing money is not actually money – it is time. You can be rich but so consumed in your company that you are time-poor. That’s not very intelligent. You want to have money simply so you can buy your time back.
I do think there is a nice balance between the two – follow your money vs following your passion – where you have a chance to do both at the same time!
That’s how I figured it out for myself:
Find problems you personally experience in your own life that you are passionate about solving and solve them!
Then, go and promote and sell those solutions!
The bigger the problem, the more people you can help solve that problem, the more money you will make. It is so simple.
And as things evolved, I ran into common problems trying to make money online, which I have systematically resolved for myself, but now am helping others with these solutions. I understand my ideal customer intimately because that was ME just a short while ago.
The solutions to the problems I experienced are exactly what I aim to figure out, promote, and sell, every single day.
Before I dive into examples of how I applied these in my business, let me introduce to you the next quote from Sara Blakely:
For example, considering my formula above works with the freelancing and high-income skill (and yes it does work), here are roadblocks that I still had to solve and how I resolved them, i.e. “make it, sell it, build awareness.”
How to start a freelance agency without financial risk and no technical skills?
Well, I figured out how to let people refer me clients to build funnels/websites and I get the lead, call the lead, quote the deal, close the lead, and deliver the service.
You can expect roughly a 25% commission for any full-price sale just for giving me a referral (each deal is quote differently).
How to create your online business (website, sales funnel, etc) without high overheads, and for $25/month?
Most funnel builders are just too pricey for newbies.
ClickFunnels is $97/month starting price. And still requires an email autoresponder on top.
Kartra is $99/month starting price.
Lead Pages is $79/month for similar functionality (although they have cheaper plans with fewer features). And still requires an email autoresponder on top.
I solve that with EranFunnels for a price of $25/month for everything that ClickFunnels offer you at their $97/month plan. Integrate that with MailerLite to start with and you can have 1000 subscribers for free to start with on top. (Although I do recommend if someone can afford it, go with GetResponse, which is $15/month).
How do I learn how to make money without investing thousands on coaching and training?
I’m not a fan of the “high-ticket coaching” industry. You can say I am even against it. That won’t be far from the truth. There is time and place for it, but not for my target audience which is NEWBIES. People just getting started. When you are in the beginning stages your education costs are simple.
Buy the book DOT COM SECRETS by Russell Brunson (skip the upsells)
Buy the book EXPERT SECRETS by Russell Brunson (skip the upsells)
Buy the book MILLIONAIRE BOOKLET by Grant Cardone
Do my $1/day coaching course preview section for free.
Yes, I am biased, but my coaching decent, but more importantly my follow-up and support are exceptional. And I do not plan on having any sort of high-ticket coaching introduced to my business anytime soon on my timeline and plans of my business. The only transition I foresee is to a membership structure (which may reduce the price even), and the 1-on-1 calls may be done in a group setting.
Summary – Stop listening, start observing and implementing:
I think this blog is best summarized by a mindset shift that every human needs to have if they want to succeed online and in business.
Stop consuming content as a consumer.
Listen and observe and figure out how to implement and happy things in your business – and most importantly take action with these observations.
[Eran is an online entrepreneur who lives off passive income thanks for several online businesses, EranFunnels.com, SmoothCourses.com, and his affiliate marketing efforts and online courses. You can follow my journey on Instagram and YouTube]