Greg is not our typical student. He already had 6 years of experience running his own online business.
Yet, his results were typically a painful hit-or-miss, even when he put a lot of effort into creating the content.
Fast forward 10 months and Greg has not only turned his online business around but he has put it on auto-pilot AND doubled his revenue while diversifying his family’s income.
Today, you’ll hear how he did it, what he’s doing now and his advice for people who are putting in a lot of effort but not getting great results from their online business.
See how this advanced student used the Champions program to refine his digital skills and future-proof his income…
Matt Raad: Hi again everyone. It’s Matt Raad, CEO and co-founder of eBusiness Institute, where we teach beginners how to earn online income in a variety of ways.
I’m really excited about today’s interview. It’s a little bit different to others we’ve done because I’ve got one of our recently graduated students, Greg.
And the reason I’m excited is that he started our course as quite an advanced student. He already had an up-and-running membership website where he sells information products.
We’re going to look at what he used to do, why he came on our course, and what he does now. There are some fantastic lessons here, even if you’re a beginner because that’s how we treat everyone when they first come on our courses.
So, welcome aboard, Greg, and thank you for coming to chat about your experiences.
Greg: Thanks so much, Matt. It’s a pleasure to be here, and I’m very humbled to be on your show today. Thank you so much.
Greg owned his online business for 6 years before joining the Champions program
Matt: Well, I’m super impressed because you just sent through your final accountability that we send to our Champions students. You can see I’ve highlighted so many things on there.
But what was really exciting was some of your experiences. Your background is interesting because you were already online before joining us.
Are you ok with mentioning what your online business is?
Greg: Yes, welcome to the dojo!
I’ve been running my online business for quite a long time, and it’s called FretDojo.
A fret is the metal bars on the guitar neck. So it’s a leading guitar education site. I’ve been running that site since 2015. I turned it into a full-time pursuit in 2017 and have been running it since then.
And I was self-taught in online marketing until I met Matt and Liz Raad. I was doing the typical things, like lots of YouTube videos which were starting to get a bit of traction.
It was a bit hit-and-miss, though. Sometimes I would create a video that would go well, but another one wouldn’t work at all, even though I put lots of effort into it.
And I also did blog posts and things like that. But it was all very unstrategic and piecemeal. And it was getting reasonable results.
But things have started to change quite dramatically since working with you guys.
Matt: They have, and of course, we’re going to talk about that too.
He needed to diversify his income to protect his young family
Matt: So, you said you started online in 2015 and joined us in 2021. You had already been online for six years.
And I remember my concern when I did my first interview call with you for the Champions program. Liz and I looked at your site and saw you’re doing really well with it. You were selling an information product in a really good niche, teaching people how to play the guitar.
But our main concern was that one is a dangerous number. And I said to you, “Mate, I’d really love to see you broaden your horizons. You’re very focused on this one website. I know you’re feeling at home on the central coast, near Sydney. And I know it’s lovely living there. But you can get very insular when working on that one site.”
My concern was for your family’s sake because you’ve got a young family. And you’re supporting your family with that one business.
My gut feeling was that you needed to broaden your horizons and secure your income for the future. You either need to own more websites or have a fuller online strategy.
And he needed to build on his existing digital skills
Matt: That was the basis on which you came onto our Champions program, wasn’t it? It is just to sit back, relax, and learn the whole digital marketing skill set.
Greg: Exactly. The main motivation was that the site was plodding along as it was, but I wasn’t doing amazingly well out of it. I was doing ok online but was getting nervous.
When I met you and Liz, the site started to dip a bit. And we had moved to the central coast after many years of living elsewhere, and living expenses are higher here. I was starting to feel the pinch, and it was time to do something about it.
I was also a bit worn out, to be honest. I was doing lots of content but not necessarily getting great results. When it came to the conversions of customers, everything was ok. But it was quite a grind, and I’ve been doing it for several years.
Greg needed to create more cash flow online
He could no longer be reliant on the income of just one small membership site…
Matt: Greg is on our Champions program, so I’ve personally coached him, as well as running weekly group lessons etc.
And part of Greg’s strategy I set for him was, “Look, just come onto the program. Pretend you’re a complete beginner, relax with it, and just have a go at everything. Take it all in and try multiple strategies. And then we’ll see where you end up at the end of the year.”
But of course, we needed to get Greg’s income up ASAP. He was feeling the pinch a bit. He had a site, but it wasn’t doing great.
So, the first thing I got Greg to focus on was to get out there and get his cash flow going.
He had to get out of his comfort zone to start his Digital Agency
Matt: One of the strategies we teach you is to build websites for local businesses.
So, Greg created his Central Coast NSW Digital Agency.
And what I admire about Greg is what he’s done. It was a real challenge for him, but he’s done every single strategy we’ve taught. Every single week, you’ve had a crack at absolutely everything.
So, Greg, I want to know what it was like for you when I said, “Greg, you got to get off your butt, get out of your beautiful guitar dojo, and be out there in the real-world meeting people.”
Greg: Well, this was the problem. When you’ve been behind a computer screen for five years typing away and doing little videos and things like that, it’s incredible. Hundreds of thousands of people can look at your stuff, but it’s still just you behind the computer in the real world.
And so, I would naturally consider myself a bit on the socially anxious side. But that was especially so back when we first met each other.
You got me to start to get out there and build some websites for people. I had to start networking, and the word networking makes me want to hide under my bed! Well, it used to anyway.
But it was clear you and Liz have taught a lot of people, and you knew what you were doing. So, I thought, “I’m just going to do what I’m told.”
He joined a local business group to find new clients
Greg: I got out there and joined a business networking group. It was incredibly difficult and awkward for me to do that.
Matt: I know it was.
Greg: But I realised after several months of practising networking weekly with this group (and working with different people) that you can really overcome this.
I think it’s more about the practice.
If you can practice networking, it just gets easier and easier. And that’s where a huge number of opportunities can come.
Interestingly, many of the conversations I’ve had with other really good businesspeople have helped improve how I run my business. Even for the guitar site, I now have different perspectives on how I run that too.
So, it is important in business to get out and meet a lot of people and have good conversations.
Matt: I’m proud of you for doing that, Greg. You did exactly what we said, and it worked out well for you.
How Greg increased his rates by 20% with every website build
As his digital skills increased, he is able to charge more. He now charges $6,000 for website builds…
Matt: So, Greg, you’re a very humble guy. But we must mention some of the numbers you’re achieving here. We don’t have to say names or anything like that, but for your last couple of SEO and website build clients, what are the numbers you’re charging now?
Greg: Initially, I did one for free for a non-profit organisation.
Matt: That’s good.
Greg: And then I ended up doing one for $1,300 for a basic website build.
I recently attended a Flippa event and met a guy there who gave me a great piece of advice. He said, every time you win a job, increase your price by 20%.
That sounded like a good idea, so I followed the advice. And just a couple of days ago, I secured a website build (a very standard website build) for $6,000. And it’s only been six to eight months into the process.
Matt: Great! So, six to eight months ago, you had no idea how to do that, and you would never have done it.
Greg: I remember my wife (who also works on the business) and I said to each other, “I don’t know if we could charge $2,000 for a website build.”
It’s funny how your perspective changes with pricing because it didn’t have that much impact when I secured the deal. I just thought to myself, “Oh yeah, ok, that’s good.” It just felt normal, which is weird, isn’t it?
Matt: Well, that’s because you’ve got the skills to do it now too. You were previously successful with a particular type of semi-passive informational website. But now your skill set has broadened.
And you see that with all the other Champions too. You notice what they’re doing and achieving and the numbers they’re getting as complete beginners.
Greg is also charging local clients a minimum of $1,000 for ongoing SEO services
Matt: Now you’re charging $6,000 for a website build. What about recurring services, like SEO? Are you doing that strategy too?
Greg: Yes, I do have a couple of ongoing SEO clients.
For the first one, I charged around $1,000 a month as an ongoing client.
And then, recently, someone approached me through my guitar site, asking for some backlinks. But I looked at her website and said, “Oh, your website would need a bit of work before I could consider backlinks. Oh, by the way, I’m a web developer, so I can help you with that!”
So, now she’s also become an SEO client, and I charge her $1,300 a month for that particular retainer.
Matt: That’s unreal.
See how money is no longer a problem for Greg
Matt: And what I want all our readers to understand is that you can learn a wide range of skills online.
Greg already had a particular skill, but you’ve secured your family’s income by implementing this now, right? I remember you saying to me earlier, “Money’s no longer a problem.”
Greg: That’s right.
What I’ve learned from the Champions program is a much more robust strategy.
And learning those marketing fundamentals that we covered early on in the course helps to understand what the market needs.
But I generally had forgotten about that stuff and hadn’t thought that way. It’s one of the crucial aspects of business, which is finding out what people want.
He earns money online by providing incredible value to people
Greg: And so, I would say that I am financially much more secure now because of the program. But also, regardless of what the focus is, whether it’s the FretDojo guitar site or the digital agency, I’ve got that robust knowledge of how to provide value to people.
I’m able to find out what people want and provide a great experience. And so, if you can provide those things to people then money would generally never be a problem, I imagine. Especially if you can provide that level of value to people.
Matt: And that’s certainly something we’ve seen within the Champions community, isn’t it?
And it’s interesting talking to you, Greg, because when you look back over the year, you wrote, “Mission Accomplished.” And you also said that to me when we spoke on a recent call. You mentioned this was mission accomplished because from your point-of-view you are now financially secure with your family.
But, from my point of view, I’m really happy because you’ve taken in all the strategies that we teach, and you’ve got this full knowledge now. So, over the next year, you can go and create the life and the lifestyle that you want.
“That’s the main outcome we want people to get out of this program. It lets you choose your own adventure with whatever you want to do with our strategies.” – Matt Raad, eBusiness Institute
How Greg went from burnt-out to thriving with running his membership site
Matt: So, cash flow came quickly for you through building websites for local businesses.
If we look at your portfolio site (semi-passive guitar lessons), you’ve also had massive success there. It’s no longer just plodding along; it’s changed dramatically over the last year.
Greg: Well, this is the ironic thing. I was a bit burnt out trying to run that site and not getting the results. I’d had enough, and I wanted to try something different. This sounds great. Yeah, let’s do some web builds and SEO for local businesses.
And it forced me to put that site on autopilot. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the time to devote to the agency builds.
Greg learned how to turn the site into a semi-passive business
Greg: There was this one piece of advice you gave me, Matt, about setting up an autoresponder sequence. Basically, once a prospect opts into my email list through some content, etc., they get one of my older posts every Friday. It’s not like I’m continually posting new content.
Actually, I haven’t posted anything to that site for a few months. The people that are coming in are just receiving content every week. And then periodically, they go through a launch sequence where they get offered one of my courses for a discounted rate etc.
And so, just that one strategy alone was piecing together what I already had. It wasn’t like I had to create heaps of new content. It instantly started to double the revenue of the website.
But also, I’m spending 1/10th of the time maintaining the site because I’m not manually trying to do an email sequence or launch a new product. I’m just recycling all the content, courses, and things that are already there.
That’s now just ticking along and feels like it’s what the internet was built for, right?
Matt: That’s right. And that’s the golden outcome of everything we teach here at eBusiness Institute. You are ultimately creating these truly semi-passive websites.
So, in your case, it certainly became much more passive because you had to go off and build websites for local businesses, and the money went up.
Strategic content planning increased his website results…
Matt: And the other thing Greg mentioned was how we teach the content strategy. Once we got to that part of the course, you effectively applied that to your existing website.
Greg: Yes, so I mentioned it before, but the content strategy I used before coming to you was very piecemeal.
It was essentially based on what I was interested in. And sometimes that would be what many other people are also interested in. But often, it wasn’t because I’m a more advanced player, but there are not a lot of advanced players on the internet. So, I’m not my ideal customer.
And so, once I started doing the SEO research, following your methods and techniques, I became much more strategic about selecting the topics. Your course helped me streamline my SEO application.
I was finding out what people were interested in and being able to assess the data. Rather than thinking that’s what people want but not necessarily knowing for sure.
I assembled a topic list and started doing posts that were much more strategic and focused on particular topics indicated in the research.
And the results have been great.
…and now one of his You Tube videos has recently hit 100,000 views!
Matt: Again, you’re being very humble there, Greg. You’ve got to mention the results because even I was surprised!
Of course, it takes time (you don’t get instant results with SEO), but what were your results after six months of implementing your new strategy?
Greg: When I started the course in September, I thought, “Let’s just give this guitar site one last crack.”
I put a lot of effort into a particular guitar lesson and did some research. I wasn’t very good at SEO then like I am now.
Matt: Was this the one you shared at the first bootcamp?
Greg: No, that was actually an earlier one. But that one’s going good too!
Matt: Got it.
Greg: Early on in the process, I spotted a topic that could be good. I thought, “I’ll just record a video about it and put a lot of effort into the editing.”
I was supposed to be studying your course, but I was madly trying to get this video edited. And when I posted it, it was just crickets. No one watched or listened to it. And I was like, “Oh, I’ve had enough of this. There’s no traffic at all!”
But then, about three weeks ago, the curve just went absolutely insane on that video. It went from basically nothing to a hundred thousand views in about two weeks. And I’ve got thousands of email subscribers from that video.
Plus his email list has grown over 16%
Greg: It was all from doing exactly what you were teaching. When you do the content, it takes time to index and for Google to work out that people are enjoying it. They might show it to three people, get some data back and say, “Yeah, they like this video.” So they’ll show it to a few more and a few more, and then it multiplies exponentially.
So, that was a really good lesson for me to be patient with SEO. And as you often said in the course, most people can’t hack the journey. You’ve got to base it on a clear strategy and then trust that it will work if you persist.
Matt: Well, I want to say a big congratulations. At a recent bootcamp, you shared how you put together some of the articles following what we teach. So, I want to thank you for sharing that too. And that’s why it’s super cool. Particularly for those students in Champions reading this interview thinking, “Go Greg, it’s happened!”
At the time of the boot camp, when you were first talking about them, everyone was super impressed. And then, six to eight months later, bammo, those articles have taken off.
And, as you said, has it grown your email list by 16% or something?
Greg: Yes, 16% in two weeks.
Matt: That’s impressive!
Greg: I’ve never seen anything like it. I was dumbfounded when I looked at the results.
These results taught Greg the value of patience when using quality SEO applications
Greg: It doesn’t matter whether it’s written or a video or whatever. But it’s important you spend a lot of time making something that’s valuable, has a unique angle, and is very high quality. Google is becoming better at noticing when things are like that.
That’s why I really like your strategy. You teach the emphasis on quality content and not just trying to gain the system but providing real quality to what you produce.
Matt: And you’ve implemented that perfectly, yet again Greg. You’re doing everything in the course perfectly.
Greg: I just do what I’m told.
Matt: And that’s why we’re here today.
Greg now has options for how he can apply his digital skills
Matt: Looking back at your journey, You’re now in this unique position. People can read this thinking, “Man, I want to be like Greg.”
You have options now and can go whichever way you want at the end of this year. And that’s something you and I have been chatting about on your strategy calls. You’re now charging $6,000 when building websites for local businesses.
So, you can keep growing that. Or you can keep it at a premium level, not have too many clients, and look after them well.
He can choose to grow his Digital Agency more, or start growing is portfolio of semi-passive websites…
Matt: What are your thoughts on your portfolio? Because you’ve got all these skills now. And FretDojo is now pretty much semi-passive, so you’re not doing much on this site.
Not putting you on the spot too much, but what are your thoughts on this next year? What do you want to do with your life? Because you’ve got options to turn this into a lifestyle business now.
Greg: Yes, exactly. Well, I think it’s funny we’ve come full circle in a way. Because initially, when I signed up for the Champions program, I was a bit over the whole guitar website thing. But I’m really excited about what’s happened with it over the past couple of months.
With any digital strategy he chooses, Greg remains focused on creating cash flow
Greg: So, I’m looking at taking the foot off the gas pedal a little with the digital agency and doubling down hard on the portfolio.
But I’ll use the cash flow from the agency to continue building out the guitar site and perhaps other portfolio websites.
You need cash flow, and you need a team. It does become onerous, just doing it all on your own. So if you have a team, you need to have cash flow.
I believe that both those strategies can work together really well. But I’d love to build that site out over the next few years. That’s something I’m really excited about.
Matt: Yes, and seriously, congratulations. I know you’re going to be successful with it. You’ve got this now, and your skillset is so much broader.
When you first came onto this course, you didn’t even know much about SEO. And now you’re also charging a lot of money for that from people within your own industry, and you’re very good at it.
You’ve mastered all the different strategies we’ve taught, and you’re good at them. And now you’ve got the options to do whatever you want.
Greg is going to continue building relationships with other passionate business owners
Matt: You are a very focused person, and I don’t want to take away your focus. But would you consider owning a few other websites as well? I think buying a couple of websites wouldn’t hurt.
Greg: Yes, I’ve dabbled in that a bit. I bought one a few months ago for a bit of a laugh. And a few little Amazon affiliate cheques are coming in the mail from that, which is awesome.
Matt: Very nice.
Greg: You had a special guest join us at one of the bootcamps. His story was very inspiring in terms of how he’s been able to scale, buy, and build many websites over time. That path appeals to me as well.
But I think with networking and in-person local events; you get a lot of benefits that aren’t just financial. I’ve met so many wonderful people and had great conversations. Especially when you meet other businesspeople because you’ve got a common interest you’re both passionate about.
People who love doing business really help your business as well. Just have conversations with people like that.
And so, I think the obvious pipe dream is to go out on a beach and have passive income etc. But it’s also great making relationships with other people. That’s an important aspect of life above money and all the other stuff.
Matt: I know it’s been particularly important for yourself, and you’ve gotten to know a lot of the other Champions. One of the outcomes for many of our Champions is having these digital skills. It’s not just about working from home.
You look like the classic computer expert in your beautiful guitar dojo. But seriously, it’s opened up other doors for you that you never expected and has also changed your outlook.
How working with local businesses has helped Greg in other areas of his life
Matt: As you said earlier, you’re a naturally shy person verging on social anxiety. And that’s perfectly normal, by the way, a lot of people experience that. But it can be helpful to realise, “Oh, wow, I’m not just locked in front of a computer screen every day. Now I’m out there participating.”
And you are so conscientious as well. I think there’s another significant benefit for you doing the digital agency thing here. You’re really going to look after people in your local community. Because you are mainly working with local business owners in your local community, aren’t you?
Greg: Yes, mainly just around the area.
Matt: And you were telling me you’re enjoying that. You’ve made some good friends through that as well. And, as I said, it gives you a different perspective on life.
Networking in the local community helped Greg out of his comfort zone
Greg: I’ve really enjoyed this course because of the challenges you set for us. You said to us we need to go out there and meet people. You called it “Goobing”, which is to get out and about.
And that was my biggest challenge for this course, just being able to muster the courage to get out there. But it was life-changing for me. With just a few little techniques I picked up at business networking groups, I could get over that. I learned how to mingle in a room and how to network.
It’s not that complicated, and it’s just practice.
I know many people are anxious about doing those sorts of things. But I remember you saying to me, “This is how you get business success. By meeting people and building relationships. So that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Matt: Yes, even when we’re online.
He is now an inspiration to other students in the Champions community
Matt: Thank you so much for sharing that, Greg. Many people in our community look to you as someone who’s already so experienced online. But there’s just so much more to it. Sometimes you need a little kick up the butt from someone like myself and get you out there.
So, I do want to say a big congratulations on all the success that you’ve had this year. And thank you for helping to inspire so many people as well, mate.
Greg: Oh, I really appreciate your kind comments, Matt. But I can’t take all the credit because I had no idea what I was doing before I started working with you guys. So, you should share a great deal of the credit.
Matt: Oh, awesome. Thanks so much for that, Greg. I’m sure our readers got a lot out of this interview and would join me in saying a special thank you to Greg.
Greg: Thanks everyone. And keep on trucking. You’ll get there. Just be persistent and don’t give up.
Are you ready to improve your digital skills or start your new journey online?
Matt: If you are interested in starting your own journey online and learning how you can replace your income, make sure you check out our free masterclass. We go through our overall strategy of buying, selling, and renovating websites.
It’s exactly what Greg is doing. You just heard his story; he’s applying these skills to his own passive website.