This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Tom Libelt. Tom is the founder of Smart Brand Marketing, a company that focuses specifically on helping people better sell their online courses.
Tom has had a very interesting life that basically made him an entrepreneur from the time he could walk and talk. He was born in communist Poland. By 7 years old, he was laying on the back seat of a car smuggling liquor into the country and his job was to cry and scream if immigration stopped them and wanted to check. At 9, he started helping his dad push products at soccer stadiums in eastern Europe. As he says, “He was hustled a few times by Russians and learned his lessons.”
At 11, his family was able to escape communism and make it to the U.S. Tom became an entrepreneur because his family had to use entrepreneurship to survive. He then took those skills and used them succeed in a number of business ventures proving he’s a true Misfit Entrepreneur.
Tom has always had drive toward two different things, music and business. Early on, he focused more on music. He was creating his own music and working as an engineer, but was also working on businesses, etc. He’s tried a lot of things – retail, online businesses, selling products, etc.
He knew how to sell, but wasn’t sure why he knew. He worked from everyone from Nestle to Metlife to learn the art of selling.
Lessons from run-ins with Russians?
- When he was younger, he would sell VCRs and video tapes to make good money because they were illegal. He and his dad would move them.
- He learned hard lessons like when he got conned by Russians selling him soccer balls with no rubber inside.
- Or in trying to sell comic books and create value
- He also learned how to have a poker face and utilize human behavior and psychology.
- In studying human behavior, Tom learned to focus on the things that don’t change.
What is it that doesn’t change? What can you teach us about how to sell?
- The drives, emotions, and whys don’t change for people. Health, wealth, happiness, etc.
- Selling is basically a transfer of emotions.
- You have to tap into people’s imaginations and let them bring their emotions into it.
At the 11:30 mark, Tom talks about selling online today….
- The way you sell doesn’t change – even in a changing world.
- First, you need to meet people where they are and on the level they are thinking. Empathy and understanding is key.
- Feel, felt, found.
- Stories sell and you need to use them to connect.
- Selling in person is easier because you can see the other person, their emotions and reactions. When selling online, you have to anticipate these reactions and have the answers and solutions baked into to your promotion.
Where is it that most course sellers breakdown? What don’t they do that prevent them from making money?
The main thing is the simplest thing – Does this course make sense and is there a compelling reason to buy it?
- It has to easily show it’s value in how it’s presented.
- You must be very clear and easy to understand on how you can truly help solve a problem.
- As an example, some of the easiest courses to sell are for things like a test to get a job and there is a very short time frame such as a Series 6 license or selling life insurance. In order to get the job, they need to pass the test and maybe have a month to do so.
- And the pitch becomes, “I will help you pass this test in the timeframe you need so you can (insert emotional need such as make more money, but the car, get the girl, etc.)
- Some of the most successful courses are prepping for tests or certifications.
- Tom does not work with courses on abundance or manifestation because he doesn’t believe in them and thus won’t work with them out of integrity.
How do you help someone create an online course in 14 hours?
- Making the course isn’t the most important thing. 80% of success is marketing.
- But having a good system to create a course can make it easy and able to do quickly.
- Keeping it simple and basic is easiest way.
- From A-B, it is about a 14 hour process.
- Focus on the simple steps you need to bring your course to fruition – you can always make it better as time goes on.
How do you market it and make upwards of $30,000 on a course?
- First, focus on the messaging.
- Even if you have 500-1000 of an audience, you have enough.
- You then take messaging after seeing the results from the audience, you then “rack the shotgun” and try across all platforms. Everything from Facebook to Quora.
- Based on the results, you then just keep narrowing in to see the best place to sell the most and focus.
- And focus on one course at a time, don’t try to do multiple courses at once and market them.
Can you give an example of how you market on different platforms?
- Pull marketing
- Get people interested to come to them (sales page, etc.)
- Using case studies, social proof, and sharing unique processes.
- You need to do 2 things: The right audience and the right product, but also a 3rd thing – education. You need to educate people to have them like you.
- You have to make the connection as to why the course creator is the right person to learn from.
At the 31 min mark, Tom talks about the challenges of being successful with courses.
What are some of the best entrepreneur lessons you learned from the music business?
- In music, it about knowing the right people – a lot of gatekeepers. It was lesson in how important it is to build your network well.
- For most, it is a short career, so you have to be setting yourself up for life after music and as entrepreneurs, we need to be setting our business up the market changes that come our way.
- Do it your way. Hold your ground.
- Don’t try to copy other exactly the way they are as you will be a crappy copy of them. Craft your own style.
At the 39 min mark, Tom talks about why meeting his heroes was such a disappointment and lessons learned from working with “stars…”
- You don’t’ always get to do what you like. Professionals get in and get it done – regardless of how they feel or how things are going.
- Lauren Hill left the studio because the “grapes were soggy on the table…”
- TI was someone who came in and was lesser known at the time. He was all business and got it done.
- You can see someone’s career trajectory by how the operate in the studio. Are they focused, serious, ready, and go to work or do they mess around, waste time, etc.
“Don’t be the person who needs special slippers and McDonald’s from 34th Avenue to record a track…”
You started a coffee shop in Atlanta, but don’t drink coffee? How did that work out?
- We all have our impulsive buys. This was Tom’s.
- He was in a place where he was deciding to do next and wanted to buy a business.
- He sold within 6 months.
Any favorite place you’ve lived around the world?
- Japan is amazing in a lot of ways.
- Very nice, organized, great culture, etc.
- But at times, it is too rigid and too organized.
- Thailand is exactly the opposite – it’s the wild west.
- Splitting time is good.
- Standard of living is different where you are.
- One issue with digital nomads is that because things are less expensive, many times they coast and end up not being able to go back because they don’t make as much from coasting and have lost their edge.
Best Quote: “Don’t be the person who needs special slippers and McDonald’s from 34th Avenue to record a track…”
Tom's Misfit 3:
- Do your thing in your own way. Own your success.
- Nothing lasts forever. Past performance doesn’t indicate future results. Don’t rest on your laurels.
- Have your own opinion and stick to your guns.
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