The Truth About Abs: How To Make $1,000,000 Per Month with Digital Products (Plus: Noah Kagan results)

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Six-pack abs sell. (Photo: San Diego Shooter)

Once or twice in the past, I have referred to “someone” who has earned $5,000,000-$10,000,000 per year with e-books and cross promotion.

For that, I should apologize, as it’s not accurate: his numbers are now closer to $1,000,000 per month, and “e-book” doesn’t begin to explain what he does. That someone is named Mike Geary. He prefers to keep a low profile, skiing powder and refining his “muse,” or automated business, to a precise science. From strategic customer service in Germany, to testing for trending, it’s all piece of a well-planned puzzle and well-oiled machine.

For the first time, this post will explain how he built his business, some of the key lessons learned, and common mistakes with digital products.

As you read, keep in mind two things:

– He is, without a doubt, considered one of the smartest online marketers and traffic buyers (a key differentiator) in the world.
– He started off knowing nothing and got there through intelligent testing.

As Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, is famous for saying: “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” Planning is valuable, but–long-term–it’s your ability to improvise and adjust that makes the difference.

Enjoy…

Enter Mike Geary

Can you describe your muse?

My “muse” (i.e. business) is composed of three main components:

  1. I sell a fitness information product called “The Truth about Six-Pack Abs,” which has sold more than 500,000 copies since 2005.
  2. I publish a fitness and health newsletter to about 680,000 subscribers (with subscribers in almost every country), and have built a large content based website that goes along with this fitness newsletter.
  3. I act as a media buyer, purchasing large amounts of traffic (mostly in the fitness/nutrition niche) that I funnel to a few select partners. This allows me to become integrated into several other large fitness and nutrition businesses (they promote my product extensively on their backend) since I act as a very large source of their overall traffic.

What is the website for your muse?

My main website, which has the sales process for my “Truth About Six Pack Abs” product, is: www.TruthAboutAbs.com

[Click here to see an affiliate landing page, click here to see the standard non-affiliate/PPC landing page]

How much revenue is your muse currently generating per month (on average)?

The business as a whole (all three components listed above) generates just shy of $1 million in revenue per month. Total revenue for last year was approximately $11 million.

While the financial freedom that this business has created has been amazing, it’s also been very rewarding to receive thousands of emails in our support center from customers who have literally changed their lives with the help of my fitness advice. I still get chills when I read a glowing email from a customer that has lost 100 lbs with my program, totally changed their confidence and energy, and just overall changed their life! So cool.

To get to this monthly revenue number, how long did it take after the idea struck?

To be honest, I was a little slow in learning marketing and building the business, so it took me about five years to get to those numbers. About two years into this venture, I was finally making about $50,000 per year with the online business. As I explained above, growth exploded once I quit my corporate job, and my earnings increased about 10x the following year. Growth in following years went to $3.6 million, then $6 million, and finally $11 million in annual revenue.

How did you decide on “Truth About Abs”?

It was simple really… A mentor told me to follow what I’m most passionate about, and that passion was fitness and nutrition. I can talk all day long about fitness and nutrition, so why not do what I love?

I initially bought an information product that was about $300 (a big investment for me at the time) from a marketer named Ryan Lee. The product was all about teaching fitness professionals how to build a more successful business, particularly online. To this day, I still give Ryan credit for being the guy that got me into this career and changed my life. Thanks, Ryan! [Ed: The product Mike is referring to is no longer available. For those interested, this course covers similar content.]

As I studied Ryan’s course, I thought about my ideas for a potential information product. Working as a personal trainer, I knew that about 90% of the questions I got from clients were always about “six pack abs” or getting a flatter stomach. I also knew that there was a load of crap out there on the internet and on TV infomercials for all sorts of garbage like ab machines, belts, and worthless pills. Finally, I’d seen a ton of bad exercise advice floating around online. That was where my initial idea for “The Truth about Six-Pack Abs” came from. Little did I know that the idea would eventually become such a phenomenal success!

What ideas did you consider but reject, and why?

As crazy as it sounds, “The Truth about Six Pack Abs” was my very first idea, and it’s been the product I’ve continued to focus on throughout the years. I haven’t strayed into other businesses or distracted myself from the product that I knew would be a best-seller. I wanted to keep my focus on one main product. With that said, I do have a couple other products that sell okay, such as my skiing fitness product (AvalancheSkiTraining.com), which I produced solely because it was a labor of love. But to this day, the “Truth about Abs” product remains my bread and butter.

How did you get started? What ultimately lead you to your current lifestyle?

I started my internet business in 2004 because I had become fed up with the time and freedom constraints that came with my old 9-5 corporate lifestyle. My main goals in designing my “new life” were:

  1. To build more time freedom into my life. I desperately wanted to design my new life with much more free time to enjoy my hobbies, friends, and family. This “time freedom” was actually a higher priority for me than the financial rewards of starting a web-based business. And this may sound funny, but I also had a goal to eventually NEVER have to wake up to an alarm again (aside from traveling). I despise waking up to an alarm!
  2. The ability to travel as much as I wanted, to anywhere in the world, with no financial or time constraints.
  3. More financial security for myself and my family.

When I set these goals back in 2004, I was basically working three jobs. I worked an engineering consulting job from 9-5 at an office. I also worked 15-20 extra hours per week as a personal trainer at a local gym, and I was attempting to build my online fitness business.

From 2004 to 2006, I made consistent but SLOW progress on my internet business. By the end of 2006, the internet business was making just as much money as my corporate job. I quit my corporate job in January 2007, and never looked back. Quitting my job at that critical point in time was the best decision I could have made as that freed up the time I needed to dedicate solely to my internet business, which started to boom in the months that followed.

Within another year, my internet business grew into a 7-figure annual business and, eventually, an 8-figure annual business in revenue.

It may have taken a few years to achieve, but I eventually successfully reached all three of those goals… time freedom, ability to travel anywhere/anytime, and financial freedom. Oh, and — except for when making flights — I haven’t had to wake up to an alarm clock in over four years now!

What does your daily/weekly routine look like? Where do you live and what does your lifestyle look like?

It has really been a dream come true. After I quit my corporate job in 2007, I moved to the mountains of Colorado and skied almost every day that next winter. I don’t ski every day anymore in the winter (I’m more picky about the ski conditions now), but I never ever miss a powder day. For those who aren’t hard core skiers: a powder day is like the holy grail of skiing. If you love skiing, you never want to miss a powder day!

In the summer, I do a lot of hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor fun. And because of my time freedom, friends and family can come out to visit me anytime in Colorado, so I love to host friends and act as a tour guide.

As for traveling, my girlfriend and I now travel at least 10-15 days every month. We’ve traveled to dozens of countries and done all sorts of fun stuff, like heli-skiing in Chile, ATVing and ziplining in Costa Rica, dry suit scuba diving in the Silfra Ravine in Iceland, and tropical scuba diving throughout the Carribean. We’ve also traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Central America, South America, and lots of islands! We plan to do more traveling through Europe and Asia soon.

When I travel, I still work on my business about 1-2 hours per day. That’s what I’ve decided personally is a good schedule to allow me to enjoy traveling and still keep up with my business. When I’m not traveling, I basically allow myself complete freedom of schedule. Some days I’ll feel like I’m “in the zone” and just work all day long, maybe 10-12 hours or more. Other days, I might only work two hours and enjoy the rest of the time doing fun outdoorsy stuff, going to a nice dinner, or golfing with friends.

What were some of the main tipping points or”A-ha!” moments? How did they come about?

In the very beginning, I had this foolish idea in my head that this flood of people would automatically rush to my website, buy my product, and I’d be a millionaire within months. Reality struck when I had a whopping 5 visitors to my site in the first month. At the time, I didn’t understand that you actually have to DRIVE traffic to your site, as people won’t just magically find you.

After about six weeks of having my site “live” and still having yet to make a single sale, I started to get discouraged and thought that this whole internet marketing thing just didn’t work. Then I had a tipping point: I got my first sale! But when I looked at the details of the sale, I noticed that the buyer was one of my mom’s good friends. I had to laugh, but at the same time, it gave me the motivation to push forward, as I saw that the website could make sales if I just produced traffic.

The next tipping point came about 18 months later when I started playing with Google Adwords, and learning how to purposely drive traffic instead of just hoping people would find the site. I’m very technically minded, and Adwords is a numbers game, so that fascinated me. Within a couple months, I started learning how to split test ads, find what converted best for my site, and get massive amounts of traffic for reasonable prices (at least reasonable enough to break even, or make a small profit on the front end). Running a massive amount of traffic on Adwords and doing lots of testing taught me how to buy traffic in other places too, beyond Google’s network.

Another big tipping point came in early 2007, when I finally put my product on the affiliate network, Clickbank. The biggest thing that I did was set my affiliate program apart from the crowd. Here’s how…

At the time, I noticed that most vendors on the Clickbank marketplace were only paying affiliates 35-50% commissions. Even the highest paying vendors were paying 55% to 60% commissions max. To some, that might seem very generous. But at the same time, we’re selling digital products, so we don’t have as many overhead costs as with a physical product and can be more generous.

I decided to be OVERLY generous with affiliates and truly set myself apart from the crowd. Instead of the normal 35-60% commissions, I set my commissions at 75% (which is the maximum percentage you can pay to affiliates in Clickbank). Immediately, this made my product more lucrative for most affiliates than other products that were paying lower commissions. I had hundreds of affiliates shift their traffic to my site instead of some of my competitors. Within a couple months, I jumped up to one of the best selling products on the entire Clickbank marketplace, out of more than 10,000 products.

[Tim postscript: As Mike mentions in the comments, this means:

“For a clarification on revenue, the way that Clickbank works is to take the processing fee and the affiliate fee out before the revenue ever flows into my account, so that $11MM ‘per year’ actually did not include gross sales numbers. With gross sales, it would be more around $20MM-$25MM per year, I’m guessing.”]

Within 6-12 months, most other top selling Clickbank vendors followed suit and switched to 75% payouts. Currently, as a vendor (product creator), if you pay affiliates any less than 75% (as that’s now the standard), it’s very hard to be competitive, because most affiliates will only promote products that pay 75% commissions.

Some vendors still have the wrong mindset and can’t stand the idea of the affiliate making more per sale than they make as the creator of their own product. That’s foolish, however, because the math is simple: would you rather get 10 sales and make $30 per sale ($300), or get 1,000 sales at $10 per sale ($10,000)? Better yet, how about 500,000 sales at only $2 per sale in profit ($1,000,000)? The answer should be obvious. The more generous you can be with affiliates and other business partners, the more sales VOLUME they can send you, especially if they’re buying traffic and incurring that cost. Plus, there’s more backend revenue potential with a higher volume of customers.

The above was a huge takeaway for me, and it led to the development of two priorities that are still at the heart of my business today:

  1. Treat my customers like gold. Without happy customers, any business will eventually die. I wanted people to get RESULTS! I don’t just want to sell them some fad or gimmick that doesn’t work.
  2. Treat my affiliates (and other business partners) like gold. Going above and beyond while being overly generous with business partners and affiliates effectively jumpstarted my business success. In fact, in additon to being one of the first vendors to pay affiliates 75% commissions, I was also one of the first vendors on the Clickbank marketplace that started to reward affiliates that sent over a certain number of sales each month with bonuses up to 85% or even 90% commissions. The additional percentage points had to be paid manually at the end of the month as a bonus.

What resources or tools did you find most helpful when you were getting started?

I remember buying lots of low priced marketing e-books about search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC marketing). Those e-books that I bought 5-6 years ago are mostly outdated now, given the techniques change so rapidly. Regardless, the benefit was that I learned how to use both SEO and PPC and stumbled onto new discoveries as I worked with both.

What were your biggest mistakes, or biggest wastes of time/money?

A couple that I can think of right off the top of my head…

I got approached once to buy an “email drop” in a list that supposedly had 5 million names. The list was apparently built through credit card surveys or something like that. I think it only cost $600 to run an ad to this list, so I thought it HAD to be a winner, and I tested it. I ended up getting 1 sale ($40) from that $600 test. Even with a list of 5 million names, that list was basically worthless since there was no relationship, and it had been built solely from credit card surveys. Compare that to a JV (joint venture) partner who has a great relationship with their list. We’ve had some affiliates get hundreds of sales from relatively small lists of maybe 10,000 emails.

I know that buying “email drops” can sometimes work (and I’ve made other successful ad buys in newsletters), but you have to know exactly how the list was built, if it’s maintained regularly, and if it has a loyal following. Otherwise, it could be a garbage list.

Another failed test was a direct mail postcard we tested. The whole campaign cost me about $30,000 to implement (postage costs, postcard creation costs, copywriting, list rental, etc). It seemed like a viable test as I had friends that had moderate success with direct mail pieces before. The postcard tried to get the user to go to a website from the postcard and purchase our fitness product. It backfired big time, as we only made back about $3,000 out of the $30,000 investment in the test. A 90% loss to the tune of $27k… No fun.

Now, I’m not saying that a postcard-to-website sales process can’t work. However, in our example, we obviously had a big missing link to the puzzle and it just didn’t produce sales. I think it’s a trickier process than someone who’s  coming to your site after clicking on a PPC ad or banner ad.

What have been your key marketing and/or manufacturing lessons learned?

I haven’t manufactured any products, so I can’t comment on that. As for marketing, my biggest lessons (as mentioned above) were being overly generous with affiliates and paying them every possible penny that I could. This is the only way to be competitive with affiliates: to be the business with the biggest payout to them. Even if you have to pay affiliates 100% of your front end revenue, at least you know that you obtained those customers without incurring a loss (which doesn’t happen with every type of advertising), and now you have the opportunity to build a long term relationship with those customers and sell them your other products in the future.

Another key marketing lesson I learned is that when buying traffic, be prepared to not make any profit on the front end. Sometimes, in order to compete with other advertisers, you need to be willing to take a small loss on your advertising spend in order to bring in lots of customers. You just need to be careful to know your backend numbers (average future revenue amount per customer) well enough to ensure that your front-end losses aren’t so steep that you can’t make back the advertising loss after a certain period of time.

Any key PR wins? Media, well-known users, or company partnerships, etc.? How did they happen?

I’ve had various radio interviews, and had content picked up by popular websites, blogs, etc. However, some of my best relationships have been companies that I’ve partnered with on media buying (think AOL, MSN, etc.) Spending a boatload of money with certain big companies, and building a long term relationship with them by advertising for years has resulted in special deals for cheaper traffic. If you think about it from the publisher’s perspective, it helps to save them administrative costs by dealing with fewer advertisers, so sometimes I’ve been able to get better deals by agreeing to large contracts upfront. Another advertiser might only buy 1-2 ads, instead of the 50 ad placements that I would buy.

Where did you register your domain (URL)?

GoDaddy.com

Where did you decide to host your domain?

I host with a company called Rackco. It was just a referral from a friend at the time, but I’ve stuck with them for years.

If you used a web designer, where did you find them?

The only thing I had “designed” was my cartoon based header graphics. Again, this was simply a referral from a friend, and the guy I used was a talented cartoon designer named Vince Palko. I’ve also heard that 99designs is a great place to get designs.

Do you have any employees?

I have customer service representatives in a few different countries and major markets. Specifically, I have one person in France, one Swiss for German translation help, an English-language affiliate support rep in Trinidad (he also handles Spanish translation), and one German-based woman who handles German affiliates. Finally, I have a webmaster who helps with site maintenance.

If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. I’ve learned so much, even from my mistakes, and everything has happened for a reason.

What are some common mistakes when buying media/traffic?

The most common mistake is not letting enough traffic flow to see true trends. Some people shut down their campaigns after only a couple hundred clicks thinking that it won’t be profitable, but they haven’t let it run long enough to see for sure. For example, a newbie might shut down their campaign after only 500 clicks and 1 sale. But what if they would have made 3 sales in the next 500 clicks, for a total of 4 sales in 1,000 clicks? Data can be pretty variable when you’re still under 1,000 clicks. I generally test an ad for at least a couple thousand clicks. However, keep in mind that I deal mostly with the fitness and nutrition niches and they require high volumes of clicks to see true data.

Another big mistake is not split testing enough variations of ads. Many advertisers give up on losing campaigns after testing only a couple ad creatives. However, I’ve found that simple modifications — such as a one word variation in a headline or a slightly different image or background color — can be the difference between a losing campaign and a profitable campaign. In some instances, I’ve used the exact same ad text combined with slightly different pictures and seen DOUBLE the click-through rate (CTR).

The last mistake is also very common: most advertisers aren’t willing to lose money to find what works. I EXPECT to lose money the first time I test a campaign. Then I tweak the ad copy, offer, etc. based on our testing results, and we see if we can restart the campaign a second time and make it profitable based on what we learned [i.e. what lost the least money, etc.] For example, if I do a $10,000 traffic buy test on a new website that we haven’t worked with before, we’ll usually only make back maybe $6,000 to $7,000 for a net loss of about $3,000. But we also usually learn that one of our ad variations performed MUCH better than the others, and we can work with that specific ad from that point forward and possibly negotiate lower rates. Sometimes we find that the numbers are too far off to work in the future, so we just decide to cut all ties with that particular website and not buy traffic from them again if they can’t offer lower rates.

Any tips for Facebook media buying? Common wastes of money or newbie screwups?

The three mistakes that I listed in the previous question apply to buying Facebook traffic, as well. I’ve found that the most important aspect of Facebook ads is the image, so it’s necessary to test at least 6-10 variations of images for each ad. The image attracts the eyeballs first, then your headline needs to finish the job and get the person to click your ad. One thing I’ve found is that images that have done well for ads on other sites may not always be effective on Facebook. Each site is unique with its style, colors, and layout, and I’ve been surprised by some images that work well on Facebook and others that don’t.

One common mistake I’ve seen with people buying ads on Facebook is paying WAY too much per click. In my experience, you almost NEVER need to pay the recommended bid amount that Facebook displays when you set up your ad. For example, I’ve set up ads where the recommended bid amount was $1.12 per click. I’d bid $0.30 cents instead, and would still be able to get large amounts of traffic (assuming that I was able to get a high enough click through rate on the ad). In order to pay a lot less than the recommended bid price per click, you need to get an above average click through rate, so it takes good ad copy, good images, and the right targeting.

If you had $5K to start media buying, what would you do right now, assuming all sites/platforms (e.g. AdWords) were available to you?

The best quality and cheapest traffic is available on Google’s content network. That’s easier said than done, as Google is currently very picky about what offers they will allow to run. In certain industries, it’s not even worth trying anymore, because Google won’t allow some types of websites to advertise at all. But if you are advertising in an industry that Google still accepts, the content network is wide open, and it’s the cheapest source of quality traffic available in most cases. It’s also one of the highest volume traffic sources available (along with Facebook), but in some industries, the Google content network can be easier to advertise profitably compared to Facebook.

Sometimes you’ll hear marketing “gurus” say that the search network is better quality traffic than the content network. This is false, as it’s industry specific. In my case, I spent over $5 million advertising on Google over the years with fitness and nutrition products, and I can say without a doubt that content network traffic is MUCH cheaper than search traffic, and converts even higher than search traffic in many cases.

What would you do if you had $20K to start media buying?

At this spend level, you can do test campaigns on nearly any major website, as most major sites require test campaigns of around $5k to $10k minimum to get started. We’re talking about big news websites, politics sites, weather sites, and major sites like Yahoo, MSN, and AOL. From my experience with media buying, testing is all that matters as it’s hard to compare CPM rates from one site to another, since placement locations, sizes, etc. are all different. For instance, I’ve had CPM campaigns that were profitable on some sites at super high rates of $6.00 CPM or more, and on other sites, a price as low as $0.50 CPM resulted in a loss. You never know how an individual site will perform until you test.

The usual steps for a media buy on a large site are:

  1. Run $5-10k test campaign (most times, initial test loses money). Smaller sites accept much lower test amounts.
  2. Optimize the ads that performed best and delete the ads that performed worst.
  3. Negotiate a lower CPM rate if the publisher can go any lower (sometimes they can, and sometimes they can’t go lower — depends what other advertisers are paying on average and how much inventory they have available).
  4. Re-launch campaign when you’re confident that you will be able to profit.

What are your recommendations for developing information products?

Sell the customers what they want, but give them what they NEED. In my market, what people want are six-pack abs exercises. But that’s not what I give them, because that’s not what they need. They need the right nutrition, the right full body training program, and the right mindset to be dedicated to their goal. Basically, I sell six pack abs, but I teach them how to live healthier and adopt a fitness lifestyle in order to lower their body fat for life.

What have you learned about price points?

It’s been really interesting to see some of the testing for pricing. We’ve tested price points for various fitness info products at $29.95, $39.95, $47.00, $67.00, $77.00, $79.00, and $97.00. I’ve found a sweet spot in the $47.00 price point for most online fitness info products that seems to maximize front end revenue and the total number of customers. Lower price points can sometimes bring in more customers on the front end, but the backend marketing plan needs to be solid in order to make up for the lower price (especially if you’re buying traffic and need that front-end revenue to come close to break even on your ad buys).

How have you tried to minimize requests for refunds?

Truthfully, I’ve just focused on producing a great quality product, which goes a long way to reduce refunds. I know that some people are dishonest and will request refunds even though they liked the product. But I feel that, overall, most people are honest and won’t take advantage of someone on purpose.

A surprisingly common scenario for requesting a refund is when people don’t understand that the program is downloadable, even though it’s spelled out on the site. They think they’re getting something in the mail, then request a refund when they don’t. It’s best to be as clear as possible to make sure people understand that this is a downloadable program. This can prevent loads of customer service requests from confused customers. Of course, if you sell a physical product, this isn’t a problem, though shipping and delivery time may be more of an issue.

How do you test for your content pages?

At this point, it’s fairly easy to test the interest in content pages. I simply come up with an idea, prepare the article, and send it to my email list of about 680,000 readers. The open rates of the email give a good representation of how interesting that topic (email subject line) was to most people.

Also, on each content page, I have the social media sharing buttons (Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon). I can guage how much people like a particular topic based on how much social media sharing occurs. I have some pages with over 40,000 Facebook likes and others with only a couple dozen likes.

Best and worst performers? Most unexpected winners or losers?

My best content pages are typically topics that surprise or shock people in some way, or clear up a confusing topic. Take note of the amount of Facebook likes, tweets, etc. on some of these pages below:

Successful example #1: “Are Whole Eggs or Egg Whites Better for You?

In this article, I surprise people with my arguments as to why egg yolks are actually the healthiest part of the egg, and anybody eating only egg whites is making a foolish decision. This is a great example of the type of information that goes against the grain and shows how people have been misinformed by the media.

Successful example #2: “The Salad Dressing You Should NEVER Eat.”

This is another good example of a content page that shocks people. Before reading this article, a lot of people had no idea that most salad dressings at the grocery store are a health disaster, full of additives like corn syrup, unhealthy soybean and canola oils, etc. People want to share articles like this.

Successful example #3: “Does Canned Food and Bottled Water Increase Your Abdominal Fat Through Hidden Chemicals?

This is another article that shocks most people, as it teaches them about a rather unknown chemical that they might be exposed to in canned foods and plastics. These types of surprising articles help people to want to share the article with their friends to help protect their health.

And now for an example of a content page that didn’t seem to work that well:

The Nutrition Benefits of Kale.”

You can see this page got less than 100 Facebook likes, compared to the examples above that have thousands, or even tens of thousands of “likes.” What’s the difference? Well, I think the main difference is that kale is just not a “sexy” topic. People already know that kale is good for you, so there’s nothing shocking in this article. Compare that to the egg yolks article, where most people think egg yolks are horrible for you, and I give an argument to show why that’s wrong. It’s more shocking and therefore something people want to share with friends.

Most common mistakes and/or easy fixes for content pages?

Assuming the content is interesting and well-written, one mistake I see is that people don’t always make it easy for people to share things on their website. For example, they might just have a Facebook like button at the top of the page, but not the bottom. I like to have sharing buttons at the top and the bottom so that people see the buttons right as they finish the article. I think it’s important to have the social media buttons at the top of the page too so that people see that the page has social proof and is popular right at the beginning.

I also think some site owners can use too many sharing buttons, even more than a dozen total. I like to use the “Big 3” (Facebook, Twitter, and Stumbleupon) to keep things uncluttered.

What’s next for you?

Honestly, I just want to continue simplifying my business more and more as time goes on.

I have plans for a couple new small projects, one of which is an upcoming healthy fat-burning recipe book that I’m working on with a co-author. Other than that, one of my main goals is to maintain my current lifestyle without getting bogged down by too many business projects. I want to continue pumping out great fitness and nutrition content that helps my readers live healthier lives.

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Related and Suggested Posts:
Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 1
Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 2
Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 3
Engineering the “Muse”: Case Studies, Volume 4

Odds and Ends: Noah Kagan competition results

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in Noah Kagan’s contest! For those who haven’t read his post, Noah made a simple offer: The reader who generated the most profit in two weeks with their new business or product would win $1,000 of AppSumo credit and RT airfare for a romantic candlelit taco dinner in Austin, Texas.

We had some truly amazing entries, and ended up having to split the prizes. Here were the results:

WINNER: Tom from RaceCrowds.com, who made $600 profit in 4 days. Tom ran a sale on his site over the weekend, using many of the tips Noah suggested in the post:

“I basically did a Motorsports version of AppSumo. I did a 50/50 split with my promotional partner and Chompon takes 10%.

Stats from Chompon.com

Total Views: 981
Total Shares: 23
Total Purchases: 6
Total Revenue: $1,350.00”

Runner-ups: Adam Nolan and Russell Ruffino from ultimatesalesfunnel.net. These two made $17,867.64 in profit… “WTF?!” Yes, they did. However, according to the rules in the post, each competing business/product had to be brand new. Their product, while new, was created four days before the contest was announced. Either way: BIG congrats, guys!

All entrants: For everyone who made an attempt at starting up their million dollar business: Be sure to check your inbox for complimentary credit to AppSumo 🙂

Posted on: November 2, 2011.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

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449 comments on “The Truth About Abs: How To Make $1,000,000 Per Month with Digital Products (Plus: Noah Kagan results)

  1. Wow! It’s a perfect deal. He feels passionate about the product, there’s demand, and everything is automated. It also shows how building up a strong muse requires persistence. No matter how few hits you get at first, how few sales, keep pushing.

    Like

  2. Many thanks Tim for an great content. You truly asked some amazing questions which result in the really profound & useful solutions. It seems like Mike can also be a huge believer in the energy of Mind-set — he refers into it a couple of times. I’d like to visit a follow-up content how he changed the mind-set of an employee to liberate into his true liberty & passion.

    Like

  3. Tim,
    Excellent interview. Mike is very generous with his time and knowledge, glad to see this content rich interview. I know Mike and he is so humble, I didn’t realize the depth of his knowledge and success until I read this.
    Happy to see him being recognized here.
    Keep up the good work Tim!
    John

    Like

  4. Tim/Mike,

    Thank you for sharing all this great info/insight! I admire your accompishments, best of luck with all future endeavors. Can’t wait to read more about them and hopefully apply them too. The service you provide is remarkable.

    Thanks again.

    Respectfully, Joe

    Like

  5. Some useful ideas in the article about media buying – thanks for that, Mike.

    The idea of selling information that’s freely available still doesn’t sit well with me (seems kind of sleazy)… maybe it’s the way it’s presented, with the bright red (and often ridiculous) headlines.

    Puzzles me why Tim would want to be associated with those types.

    Like

    • Jeff, I’m in san diego for a while now, but will be back in Vail for the winter. Let’s hit the back bowls of vail for a powder day together! I pretty much never miss a powder day in vail as long as I’m not traveling. hit up my help-desk and they route iimportant messages to me (and skiing is important!)

      Like

      • Hey mike! Thanks for the great tips. Definitely thought provoking! I just moved myself and my business to Vail (simply because that’s where I want to play for the next 6 months.) let’s grab some ‘ritas’ at Los amigos, watch people cascade down pepi’s face, and talk shop!

        Like

  6. The funny thing was that when I read this post it had like 7 comments. So I was going to log back in to comment, so Tim would know how great these post are and to keep them coming, BUT at a 137 comments Tim, I guess those numbers speak all for themselves and the people have spoken. Keep it up Tim. Or should I say, “muse it up.” Congrats on another success.

    Like

  7. You know, I just got on Clickbank just last week. Selling informational products in a purely digital format is all very new and exciting to me as all I’ve done so far is in person, live coaching (life coaching and dating coaching for Asian men) for the past 6 years.

    I’m still getting used to Clickbank, so forgive my ignorance, but I couldn’t find the affiliate option of increasing the payout to 75%? I really liked the idea as I’m thinking of doing something similar with my upcoming book “I Did It My Way: The Modern Asian Man’s Guide to Complete Social Success.”

    I like to think I have a pretty established name having been on TV and magazines, but I’m definitely on the lookout to increase the number of affiliates who want to sell products for me. Is it that you just paid out the extra 25% via PayPal? Or is there an option in Clickbank that I’ve simply overlooked?

    Thanks!
    JT Tran
    ABCs of Attraction

    Like

  8. Guys don’t doubt Geary and his traffic/revenue claims.

    Hes an absolute BOSS when it comes to buying traffic. I’ve purchased in the mid 4 figures a day for traffic on google, fb, and display buys, and just from reading his interview I can tell he knows how to spend and optimize (and on a much larger scale than most individuals).

    The most telling part was how he doesny necessarily break even on his front end spend, but because of his dollar per buyer lead, he backs out quite nicely.

    You gotta remember that not only is he one of the most successful merchants ever on CB, but hes also one of the top affiliates there too, and consistently shows up on leaderboards. You dont get there faking it.

    He knows more hands on about media buying than most gurus could hope to know, and hes a testing machine.

    Like

  9. Thanks for this great interview ! How inspiring and motivating this is.
    Real life examples are such a great support to keep up trying our projects.

    Mike was well inspired to choose this niche market with such a high demand. And it’s evergreen too !

    Like

  10. I just checked out this guy’s website and saw his shirtless pic. It is very funny to see a guy who is a self proclaimed abs expert have bad looking abs. Mike’s abs were very average looking in the pics on his site.

    Like

  11. As an affiliate for Truth Ab Six Pack Abs, it’s worth mentioning one other part of Mike’s strategy: give affiliates great tools. Mike provides a lot of advice and articles that can be repurposed to his affiliates. Too often posts about affiliate marketers revolve around a “build it and forget it” point of view which feeds into the passive lifestyle myth. Successful affiliates and publishers work hard for their money – just not on anyone else’s terms. Upfront commission percentages and a steady stream of product launches are important, but ongoing support for affiliates – especially in the area of content – is an important part of the equation. Mike excels at this and that is probably a big reason for his success.

    Like

  12. I have to say that looking at the website it is hard to believe that anyone would actually purchase a product off of it. It just looks so amature. (note I am viewing it on an iPhone)

    This has my head spinning. Do clients really respond better to sites that look like they are from 1998?

    Am I off base on this?

    Like

    • hate to say this but yes…you are very off base. that sales letter style is much uglier but it WORKS. not by a small degree either…it works usually atleast 100% better meaning ugly sales letter will double your profits.

      if he’s making the figures he is, you can assume he’s tested nearly every single element and color on that page and they are all “optimal”

      Like

  13. Hi Mike

    I just started reading your ‘Truth about abs’ ebook and am wondering: do I see big-time-Napoleon-Hill-philosophy in there (page 14-15)? 🙂 Would be too big of a coincidence if the 6 aspects you mention there don’t come from an inspiration by Hill.

    Not that I would speak from too much of experience, but no doubt that this is what more people need to understand: if you have a definite chief aim, a burning desire, a plan for your exact goals so that these can be measured, visualize this goal, believe in it and take action now: this is the recipe that many a man/woman has ‘made it’ 🙂

    I am looking forward even more now to read through your book 🙂

    Regards from Greece,
    David

    Like

  14. Hi Mike, congrats for the way you stick to your business and made it work through testing. Well done!

    I have a question for you: you say that for small advertising budgets, you would recommend running ads on the google content network. Do you mean text ads or banner ads on the content network? Also, could you give me an example of the type of copy you would use? I suspect it would be a copy that is like a question or an intriguing statement to increase CTR.

    Thanks for clarifying!

    Like

  15. Amazing stuff.
    You guys are a true inspiration – with articles like this, you can change peoples life. Its all just up for grabs!

    Like

  16. wow! lol i only want to make half of that lol

    I to have a dream of not waking up to an alarm clock, which i often don’t as i sleep over it!

    great post i can’t believe i read all of it, great information and advice. i know i am on the right track as i have made mistakes and haven’t made anything yet.

    time to get serious!

    Like

  17. great interview, i felt promoting health and fitness niche is completely over saturated and promoting such offer on CB is gonna be insane

    Like

  18. I am having trouble finding a pitch page that looks as good as mike’s. Did he design it himself? he said the hired a designer for the cartoon graphic but didn’t mention where his layout for the pitch page came from. Any thoughts?

    Like

  19. This is exactly the post I wanted to see. Tim you rock. Thanks so much for the constant inspiration.

    I’m not sure if anyone else ran into this trouble – but I felt like crap after about a week of trying to produce my information product. After feeling super successful with the testing stages of my muse, I felt like I had hit a wall.

    Tim doesn’t really make a suggestion about the amount of time you should take to create a muse because all muses are so different. But with information products, you can seriously get bogged down. The best method for me is to kick it out in 1 to 2 weeks. If you are already an expert kick out the ebook or dvd in one week. If your not an expert, do the reading in one week and then kick out the product the next week. I know that sounds like you’d have a crappy product but it’s doable and makes sure you don’t lose momentum during the production phase.

    I’m wondering what other people’s takes are on the production phase. I’m sure there are as many ways to produce as there are people. I just know that as a first timer, I would have loved to know this.

    Cheers,
    Rob Norback

    Like

    • Hey Rob,

      The easiest thing to do is pretend your in college/high-school again. Your professor gives you an assignment like:

      “You have 3 weeks to write a 100-page paper on “X” (i.e. the topic of your product), and it counts for 95% of your grade.”

      Would you just drop the class? Give up? No, you would buckle down, do your research and get it done. To create good info products, you need this kind of “do or die” mentality…and everything in Tim’s book about short deadlines is absolutely TRUE. The shorter the better. Give yourself 3 weeks, and pretend that if you don’t hit your goal, you flunk out of school. 🙂

      Russ

      Like

      • Hey Russ,

        Thanks for the really helpful feedback. The college mentality is a great way to go. Might as well use those 6 years of higher education for something. Thanks for being so helpful to the community and answering everyone’s questions.

        Cheers,
        Rob

        Like

  20. Great article!

    A big reason for his success – great ads which probably drive a lot of traffic to his websites.

    For example, the BestFoodSecrets ads (run directly by Mike Geary?) are simple, eye-catching and stand out.

    Like

  21. Mike Geary@ – Is there any chance you are going to do a training course in the near future? I’m sure there will be so many who will buy a course of yours knowing how talented you are in the field.

    Like

  22. Poor product (the pictures in the book are funny), excellent marketing, many uneducated customers. Great job. This is the way to go.

    Like

  23. Tim, I’ve gotta’ say, the continual refining of the questions you’re asking folks for these little write-ups, are just fantastic and continue to lead to more informative and actionable case studies. Keep up the great inquisitive questioning! Thanks tons, as always. Cheers, Doc

    Like

  24. Now that is what I call an epic post. Thanks a lot. I have seen the e-book on clickbank so it is even more interesting to read about its background.

    Like

  25. I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Tim and Mike for such an incredibly helpful and inspiring blog post. This is my favorite post out of all of the posts on this blog so far. Tim, you are way too generous with the information that you give us!

    Like

  26. This article is really good and inspiring. Wealth of tips! I have some similar digital products that i tried marketing through clickbank, PPC, and other avenues but just haven’t gotten the results i was looking for. Now after reading this post I realize that i may have made some major key mistakes in my approach. I definitely feel re-motivated and ready to give them another go.

    Like

  27. Hi Mike,

    Would you recommend any books to read on driving traffic to your website?
    I’m still a newbie in that area and would love to learn more, but there are too many books and I just don’t know which one is good and which one isn’t.

    Any personal recommendations regarding books, website etc. ?

    Like

  28. I was showing this lovely blog to one of my friends when I got into this post. As an affiliate myself, I know very well about “The Truth about Six-Pack Abs” But due to competition in this are never tried to promote it. I loved the interview. Just wanted to ask if you guys would like to recommend any course or book for PPC?

    Like

  29. And picture to lead the article! She looks even more fit than Mike Geary himself!! I’ve recently been thinking about physical fitness and endurance running specifically. There’s a lot of fashion involved. But being fit never goes out of style.

    Also I realized that small changes and improvements physically are due to better psychology and adjustments to the training regimen.

    But big changes are due to lifestyle.

    Like

  30. Thanks Mike and Tim!

    Love the “sell them what they want and give them what they need” point. Great to remember for the thinking of titles for blog posts as well!

    Cheers.

    Like

  31. This is the first Tim Ferris article I’ve read. Holy crap batman… do you want to add any more value? lol. This is really exciting Mike and Tim, as this is exactly what I’m getting into (I left my Health Center to do this). I’m just about to submit our first lifestyle and nutrition product on click bank. What would be your best suggestion to attract affiliates… it’s REALLY good content, and I’ve used these strategies to transform the health of 1000’s of patients. I beta tested on a list of 5000 and had 80 people sign up (my price point is $197). What can I do to get my message out there as I could be at the bottom of clickbank with zero gravity forever you know??? Sorry for all the q’s. Thanks for the feedback! This was such an inspirational article!!!

    Like

  32. I read this post in awe but it wasn’t quite as motivational as the other muse postings. I’m not sure why, other than I just think it’s because he is so incredibly successful that it doesn’t seem as realistic. In theory he does the same things we’ve all read about and are attempting to do, but what makes his product so massively successful? Is it the market he is in? Was it the timing? I don’t know.

    I do love these postings overall, and while impressive, this story almost discouraged me more than encouraged me, which is the opposite of the others I’ve read.

    Like

    • Hey Ryan, definitely don’t be discouraged… there’s massive opportunities out there right now. Remember that my business all started with a simple idea and a lot of perseverance despite many obstacles. It took a lot of hard work and several years to build up, but it was worth it! And remember that I started with nothing… I was flat broke in the beginning, and only started investing money into advertising slowly once I started making some sales through other traffic methods like seo, articles, etc.

      Once you have cash flow, you have leverage to buy more advertising, and if you’re smart, you test, tweak, and learn something with every penny that you spend on advertising. Good luck my friend!

      Like

      • Ryan – great comments and great response from you Mike.
        I
        do agree with Ryan regards to the motivational value of this case study – but I believe it isn´t the post itself. It is Mike´s GREAT responses to the comments and questions that take this post to a whole new level.

        I think I know why this post stands out as this is exactly what I am researching and working on right now.

        First of all – the post, despite the step-by-step & easy-to-follow instructions on how to create the perfect muse, Mike´s answers to all the comments shows that the price of success is hard work and determination. This is no surprise, but still something that can be easily overlooked as we search for that perfect “muse”.

        Secondly – Mike is an exceptional person. The character and determination he shows in creating his success is far beyond what most of us are capable of. I believe Mike again and again sends us the same message: do not give up, work hard, success will not come without it.

        Success requires character, and the only way to understand the characteristics of success is study of what factors encourage individuals to engage in deliberate successful practices.

        This is the truth that we very seldom talk about when it comes to entrepreneurship: For most people, work is hard enough without pushing even harder. Those extra steps that are needed to bring on success are so difficult and painful they almost never get done. That’s the way it must be. If great performance Like Mike´s were easy, it wouldn’t be rare.

        This is very clear – and the post together with the comments makes it very difficult to overlook this fact. We know do much about the behavior that produces success – just look at all the muses described by Tim.

        What is not clear in this post, or any other, is the answer to the most intriguing question of them all: where does the behavior come from that produces greatness?

        In other words: Who are you Mike? Where does your character and motivation come from?

        A not so easy question, but worth exploring.
        🙂

        Like

  33. Being half way through your book Tim, and also being interested in Mike’s product for some time, it’s great to see that the links between what you outline in your book and Mike’s business model.

    Like

  34. I like how Mike mentions the problematic mentality of product owners who have a hard time giving their affiliates the lion’s share of the profits.

    And how he single handedly pushed the standard line up to 75% comissions and beyond.

    A great article. Thanks

    Like

  35. Hi Tim

    I have to say, I’m slightly concerned about the site which was a runner-up: http://ultimatesalesfunnel.net/

    Here’s the copy from the small print at the bottom of the site:

    “All information is for entertainment purposes only. No income claims are expressed nor implied. By using this product, you agree to hold harmless PayPal, the Warrior Forum, and the site owners. The opinions expressed on this site are simply ideas, and should be treated as such.”

    Every sentence sets off an alarm bell for me…

    Like

  36. Tim,

    Let’s chat. I must be doing something wrong. Any advice on increasing gravity on ClickBank. I’m offering the 75% but received little response from affiliates.
    You can find it on CB by searching “SEO Book and Video Tutorials”

    Appreciate your time and advice.

    Zac

    Like

  37. This is a lot of great advice. I see that I have to come back and read this article again and make notes. I knew from the beginning that you don’t get an internet millionaire over night. I mean, you have to do some work first and then some more work. Many give up too early. I did not know how much lower you can bid for Facebook ads. And so much more. Thank you, for these kind of articles.

    Like

  38. Great article! The questions get right to the point. It’s nice to not have to sort through fluff to get to the good business and marketing know-how. Thanks for sharing Tim!

    Justin

    Like

  39. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for sharing SO much of your success and so in detail numbers.

    May I ask , which is the average CTR you been seeing lately on Facebook?

    I understand that is something around 0.025% based on educational resources it’s what’s known around. For me, t has been hard to stay above that and the bids required to start earning impressions are just ridiculous, almost what facebook suggests.

    But again, I am just a noob and trying out back and forward to be better.

    Would appreciate any pointers / clarification.

    Thanks

    Like

    • Lenny, if you only get 0.02% to 0.03% CTRs on facebook ads, yes, you’ll need to pay a LOT per click… around $1.00 per click in the US for low CTRs such as that.

      However, I was always able to get CTRs between 0.08% to 0.12%, and because of those high CTRs, I was able to get 20-30 cent clicks, even in the super competitive US market.

      For really niche products, like my skiing fitness product (www.AvalancheSkiTraining.com ) because I was only targeting skiing keywords, or ski resort fans, I was able to get even higher CTRs (such as 0.15% sometimes) and therefore, get clicks even cheaper… maybe 15-18 cents/click.

      In some countries, with CTRs at 0.09% or higher, I was even able to get clicks around 1-3 cents/click, although these are really low converting countries sometimes…. many times 10x lower conversions than US traffic.

      Like

      • Hello Mike,

        My name’s David and I am one of the two guys who own the site 4hwwsuccess.com where we interview people that have either made it completely to living the 4 Hour Workweek or who are on a good way. Either way, we interview people who have good info to share with the 4HWW community, which – as you surely know – is huge and hungry for info such as the one you outlined in written form above. As can be concluded from the amount of comments in short time, it’s immensly helpful for the 4HWW community to get such advice from people like you.

        The question therefore is if you’d be interested in going a bit deeper into the subject, through a video interview (skype) with me. I am sure you are a busy man, constantly thinking of new ways about how to improve your business. And exactly that’s why I have bno doubt that many 4HWW fans can benefit from this knowledge and expertise of yours — and surely would also be interested in finding out more about your 6-Pack Abs program. Please contact me at david(at)4hwwsuccess(dot)com in case interested.

        Thanks in advance for your answer!

        Best regards from Greece,
        David

        Like

      • Mike, this is a great interview. I have a question about site conversion rates. However you get your traffic, once they land on your site is when the real sales start. What kind of conversion does your site receive on average and what is your seasonal lows and highs? What factor contributed to your largest spikes in conversion? The videos? Testimonials? Email signups?

        Thanks and I wish you continued success!!!

        Like

  40. Love the article. Have products on clickbank myself, although it is software. I particularly like the fact the Mike G. took the time to reply to many of the comments.

    Also enjoyed the info on media buys.

    Great work.

    Robert

    Like

  41. Great stuff, guys. Really appreciate the time, effort and depth.

    Mike Geary, a special thanks to you! That was a lot of questions with long, thoughtful, detailed answers and I’m sure you can think of better things to do with your time. A real contribution on your part!

    Don’t understand the critical responses above … low self-esteem, maybe?

    Again, guys, many thanks!

    Like

  42. Wow. Thanks for the inspiration. This site is so helpful, to go along with the book. I’d be happy just to make 2000 dollars a month. It’s taking so long. Maybe I can improve after reading this.

    Like

  43. Wow, I heard about this guy a lot. A bunch of internet marketing forums do case studies on truthaboutabs.
    Good job, Mike.
    Although I doubt it would fairly easy to replicate success in this niche now as it got so saturated and competitive.

    Like

  44. I have to say how absolutely ridiculous it is to read so many comments from people saying how terrible the long form sales letter is, and how foolish and amateurish it is. If it was so preposterous, Mike wouldn’t be making 1M a month, riigghhhttt? It just always fascinates me ow the critics are usually the ones sitting on their couch in their mom’s basement negatively critiquing someone else who’s obviously successful and knows what he’s doing.

    As far as the selling of information products somehow being illegitimate because the information can be obtained other places for free, that’s another pretty dopey thing to say. I can read the Bible online for free too, does that make everyone who publishes a Bible a “scammer”? Virtually ANY non-fiction work is based on research and material that could be obtained elsewhere in bits and pieces given enough time. Again, these comments are clearly from people who don’t understand the attraction of assimilated information because their time and energy has little value.

    Instead of posting negative comments to make yourselves feel better or virtuous about losing, why not reflect on how you can be a winner too?

    Like

    • For what it’s worth, and at the risk of totally botching the explanation, Tony Robbins taught about modalities and syntax and people’s strategies. And that if you elicit someone’s strategy you would know how best to appeal to them.

      Giving someone whose primary modality is visual a long form letter about a physical object is probably not going to be as effective to that person as videos or pictures might be.

      I don’t know who the long form letter appeals to or why it’s so successful; sometimes they grab me and sometimes they overwhelm and turn me off. But if they result in sales better than other methods, so that’s what you do.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has found a way to develop this discernment over the internet. Testing remains the best way.

      But then, much of what Robbins teaches is adapted and amalgamated from other people’s work and he is called a scammer. 🙂

      Like

  45. Mike, Tim – great read.

    Key lessons for me are to follow what your passionate about, continue to test and remember one always has to speculate to accumulate.

    I wandered into the internet marketing / on-line info products maze last year and have to say it was a big eye opener. After reading 4-hour Work Week I knew I had to change my mindset and approach and I haven’t looked back.

    I’ve got to agree with Mike, the content network has been immense in terms of driving traffic. I went from no list (a standing start) to accumulating over 200 double opt-ins a day for almost 4 months, paying 6c a click. The quality of the traffic was amazing, people were interacting on my blog, appreciating my content and explicitly requesting more.

    When it came to launching my product to my list of over 20K it generated only a handful of sales, nowhere near my modest 2% conversion target. I couldn’t understand why, because I had almost 2% sign up to the early bird list and despite only a few sales my subscribers wanted to get their hands on the product (online video training) . Here’s MY BIG LESSON (and there were tons). It turns out, my list were mostly located in the Indian subcontinent and after surveying them it turns out over 70% didn’t have the means to transact online – not even bank accounts! So getting the right kind of traffic and the right demographic into your funnel is key.
    So I’m still testing, investing and refining my ads – landing page – offer combinations. Loving it!

    Cheers chaps
    Aled

    Like

  46. Amazing story. I see your ads (or affiliates ads) all over the internet. It’s great to see the tests you run and know that what I’m watching is a well oiled machine.

    Like

  47. Does anyone out there know the best ways to find affiliates are, other than going to seminars and developing relationships?

    What are the best strategies to find affiliates remotely? I’m assuming Mike has 100’s if not 1000’s of affiliates. How did he get them at first? Before he had the gravity that he has?

    Thanks!

    Like

  48. Thanks a lot for this post. Very inspiring and informative at the same time. Lots of great business tips to try. And, by the way these guys do speak the truth about six-pack abs, its way more about diet and full body strength training than ab exercises.

    Like

  49. What a true inspiration and how amazing that you can be so upfront and sharing with the fine details of your business. This article has given me some really good doable tips that I will be able to start straight away. I think this will be one that I come back to again and again.

    Like

  50. Great information and very insightful.
    It’s awesome to hear stories like this, it’s really helpful for direction and guidance for other people with e-books such as myself.

    Keep up the great work Tim!

    David Benjamin

    Like

  51. after four years of stumbling around trying to find the muse and being afraid of “having that conversation”, I finally feel the concrete shoes I’ve been wearing are starting to break up. Tim I may never become an NR or leave my job of 25 years at a big box store, but this past Friday was a ground breaker for my small
    poster design one man company. I’m actually getting emotional writing this, but you must know that after pounding your words into my brain I made the decision to take action and the feeling is sweet. Today I can walk into work knowing I’ve finally succeed in taking the actions and chances to change my life.thank you for that. (Ray Porter’s reading of the first addition of 4HWW was
    fantastic) Rock On

    Like

  52. As always Tim, a fantastic eye-opening post. Hopefully this will inspire all kinds of crazy action from your readers. Hope all is rocking!

    Like

  53. Hi Mike,
    I’ve started writing an information product (a first for me) based on years of consulting in the project management industry. Back then, I always had an ultimate goal/concept in mind (usually developed from client requirements) when preparing deliverables. Now that I’m writing, there is no client. Am I the client, or my potential audience?? Without a unifying concept, my writing and other decisions (e.g. website layout) can be pulled this way and that. Just wondering whether you have a clear idea/concept that ties everything together before you start?

    Like

  54. This is a fantastic look at the ins and outs of internet marketing. Not my particular area of interest in itself, but this definitely gives me some insight as to how deep you can go into affiliate sales. Thanks!

    Like

    • Stop spamming this list Zach. Your “Muse” from above with those crap watches and this “made me laugh” share the same company name. You’re the reason people don’t trust legit marketers like Mike Geary.

      Like

  55. Awesome advice on Best and worst performing [content pages]? Most unexpected winners or losers? I’m sharing this with my client tomorrow: “best content pages are typically topics that surprise or shock people in some way, or clear up a confusing topic.”

    Thanks!

    Like

  56. My biggest takeaway:

    “Sell the customers what they want, but give them what they NEED”

    I believe this is important, especially for those of you who want to sell with integrity and are (rightfully) unwilling to compromise on your ethics.

    Like

  57. $1,000,00 / $40 per sale = 25,000 downloads per month. At a 5% conversion rate (industry standard is 2%) that equals 500,000 visits to his site a month. According to Quantcast thats more traffic than menshealth.com, maxim.com, mensjournal.com & mensfitness.com get in a month combined.
    I suppose thats possible with the hundreds of thousands of ab related queries on Google a month and according to backlinkwatch.com, the thousands of inbound links to his site.

    Like

  58. Great article!

    just a quick question:

    1. My math is bad but if you are doing $11,000,000 per year at $10/profit per sale (before ad expense) …and,

    2. You make almost $1,000,000 month net that would equal almost (given your explanation of Click Bank) at $10 per sale ….100,000 sales per month.

    3. Hey I’m not negative here or disbelieving…but…you’re outselling the “Bible”…and am not even religious.

    4. I like you guys. There is more here than the most people get.

    Anyway…just asking?

    Patrick

    Like

    • Hey Patrick, you’re forgetting that my business is MUCH more than just selling my own info product. I do media buys for at least 5-6 other products, which accounts for a lot of revenue. And I also have a large newsletter list of 680,000 subscribers which features a lot of content with occasional options to purchase other fitness programs. This publishing aspect creates a good portion of my revenue as well.

      Like

  59. There’s a ton of great detail here. And I would point out that the most important principle revealed “between the lines” is that Mike Geary selected and focused on ONE idea over an extended period to become so successful.

    Like

  60. Hey Tim, not sure where to post this but I want to thank you.

    I get mad nosebleeds every year, literally every day from late October to the beginning of January (apparently my nose has its own menstrual cycle). My dad had the same problem but they cauterized his nose when he was younger to stop it…

    After reading the 4HB I started testing, and after some unsuccessful attempts it turns out 1/4 tsp. of Cayenne pepper twice a day, every other day (adding to pasta, rice, or just a glass of water), completely solved it.

    It’s been two weeks of intentionally doing things that would normally trigger it. Nothing. Nothing running down the back of the throat, nothing running down the face, nothing coming out when I sneeze, no dried blood up there… nothing.

    Literally solved a 22 year problem in a day… with natural, inexpensive, do-not-need-to-burn-the-fucking-nose, powder.

    Thanks man – winters just got awesome.

    Like

    • Congratulations, Josh! That’s awesome news. As someone who has suffered from nose bleeds as well, I’m thrilled for you 🙂

      Keep up the experimentation and pura vida,

      Tim

      Like

    • I’ve had the same problem, and I mean REALLY bad. Cauterization when I was younger didn’t help. Started taking Garlicin with Cayenne a cople of years ago (I think that’s their “Healthy Circulation Formula”) and the nosebleeds stopped. Stopped taking it, and they came back. I know that’s not directly related to 4HB, but I could write my own book about how 4HB has helped me!

      Like

    • Thanks for sharing, Josh! I also have weird nose problems in wintertime, including frequent nosebleeds. Incidentally, I started craving cayenne peppers recently. I mean, I eat the damn things by the handful. 🙂 Guess my body’s been trying to tell me something.

      Like

    • I’ve had a nosebleed problem most of my life. The big problem is the dry air. Until very recently, I grew up and lived in Reno Nevada, so I had nosebleeds year-round. Moved to Boston MA last December and was delighted to find that the humidity stopped the bleeds. With the drier cool air this fall, though, they have come back a little bit.

      I need tried Cayenne pepper, but I can share that it is the vitamin A in the peppers that are fixing the bleeding. I discovered years ago that fish oil vitamin A supplements chured my nosebleeds. Lo and behold, Cayenne peppers are packed with vitamin A. So, I just wanted to share this for everyone with nosebleeds that can’t handle the hot peppers.

      I feel I should share a cautionary note, though: vitamin A is also a blood thinner. That’s good for increasing circulation, but it also means that it’s harder to clott to stop bleeding once you start.

      Like

    • Awesome! Because while running around with a neosporin-lubed up nasal cavity is so sexy, I think this fix may be clutch.
      Thanks from the girl who just decided to live in the mountains!

      Like

    • My remedy (i had cauterization done in my teens for left nostril) is a natural salve I make using:
      beeswax, olive oil, echinacea, goldenseal, arnica, calendula and a few other herbs. Here in Salt Lake the air is so dry I get nosebleeds anytime doing anything. As long as I can keep my membranes salved I don’t have chapped lips, cheeks, nose or nosebleeds. It’s also good for abrasions and scrapes. The real benefit I think comes from the fact it has NO water or alcohol in it like just abut every other product I have found.

      Like

  61. Fascinating!
    Question: I am looking for help in setting up my PPC to drive major traffic to my fitness website. We offer weekly kick ass workouts and daily fitness and nutrition blogs all for free. We are looking for advertisers on our site. That is how we plan to make our money. But for advertisers to be interested we need tons of traffic to the site.
    I would appreciate some feedback on how to make the most of this!

    Thanks!

    Jonathan

    Like

  62. Cool interview, thanks very much. I really liked what he said about traffic. He really is an expert at media buying by the sounds of it.

    Like

  63. Excellent article as it gives clear insights about his business. What I don’t like much is that Mike tries to sell things to affiliates, meaning that if I send traffic to the truthaboutabs site, some will become affiliates and Mike will earn money from them and I won’t receive anything from that.

    That is one of the reasons why I don’t promote the site.

    Like

    • Andres, just about every product owner will sell another affiliate product in the future. That’s another reason why I pay affiliates 75% of each sale (and 90% commissions if you can do high volume), so that you can feel comfortable knowing that you made the lions share of the sale. If I didn’t make any future revenue on other affiliate products, it would be much harder to pay out affiliates such a high commission. It’s definitely more than fair, and still favors the affiliate highly.

      Like

  64. Mike and Tim, Thanks for the great content.

    What I found most inspiring is seeing myself in Mike. There IS another engineer, fitness nut in Colorado longing and thinking about how to provide more value. There is a way! Can’t wait for those powder days to come.

    -Troy

    Like

  65. Excellent interview with Mike Geary! I’ve personally struggled with trying to create my own product and strictly stick with the affiliate side of things.

    It’s interesting to read his mind set and just how hard it is to really get started with Media Buys and ppc traffic.

    Keep coming with more of these interviews, please!

    Like

  66. Tim,
    I came across this facebook advertisement of the PAGG supplement you talk about in the 4 Hour Body. The site is paggsupplement.com
    I don’t own this site, or have anything to do with it financially or otherwise, but I’m wondering if you could let me know if these pills are legit in terms of being the right dose of the ingredients that you’ve recommended in your book.
    I’m currently taking PAGG supplements you mentioned, and I think it’d be easier if it was only one pill.
    please let me know. Thanks!

    Like

  67. Thanks for sharing such a detailed interview! What would you say – is PPC unavoidable to make the “real big money”? Where would “The Truth About Abs” be without paid traffic?

    Like

  68. I’ve never heard of Mike Geary, but man he has really been successful at what he does. These interviews are always helpful in learning the steps people take to make it big.

    Like

  69. Great information. I learned a lot. I am a little surprised at his staff. I would think he would have at least a few more people but it just goes to show you that you don’t need a major staff. Start small and keep it simple and you can get somewhere. I hope to have this kind of success someday soon.

    Like

  70. Hi Tim,
    Thank you for the great interview with Mike Geary. You asked all
    the questions I wanted to know.
    Not only is this an inspiring article, but it gives a true representation
    of what most success looks like.
    It takes a lot of failures and a never give up attitude. And more importantly
    is investing in yourself to learn different marketing strategies.

    Thank you for all you have contributed to the entrepreneur industry
    Jeff Faldalen

    Like