EP 22 - Paul Baron - What are Messenger Bots: How to Use Them With Your Sales Funnel

Awesomers Authority - We'll talk to subject matter experts that talk about various topics that would be of interest to other Awesomers who are listening including, but not limited to, starting a business, running a business, best marketing ideas, sourcing in China, organizational development, tools to help your your business more profitably and much more.
Paul Baron is a 2nd generation Colorado native husband, father, and entrepreneur. He and his wife Rachelle met at their church in 2007 and married in 2010. They have a 4 year old son, Beauregard, and a 1 year old daughter Laelle.

Paul is a life-long entrepreneur, his first "business endeavor" started when he was 5 years old. He would take drawings he made to the supermarket with his mother while shopping. Finding grandmothers he would ask if they wanted the drawing, they, of course, would say yes, so he would reply, "that will be 10 cents." 

Between 5 and 30 years old some of his entrepreneurial misadventures included: shoveling driveways in the winter to make money for skiing, running a paper route. Carting lawncare equipment around town inside a Geo Metro (yes this can be done). Running scrap metal recycling routes with his uncle. Starting (and failing) a videography business. Starting (and failing) a web design business. Becoming the director of Channel Sales at a web marketing startup 1 year after being hired as a Project manager, helping the company grow from 15 employees to 100+ in under 2 years, then being fired from that job, going through a season of soul-searching and depression, and finally starting another web development firm. Finally in 2015 while starting his Web Development company (Catalyst Media Group) and working nights as a waiter he and Rachelle took the leap together to start selling physical products online leveraging Amazon and Private Label as their starting point.


Some people start one successful business after another while others fail to succeed.

On today’s episode, Steve introduces us to Paul Baron, co-founder of Physical Product Pros, a second-generation Colorado native and lifelong entrepreneur. Paul is also a sought-after consultant and many of the things that he's doing in his life today are focused on helping others. Here are more gold nuggets on today’s episode:

  • How Paul started, failed and persevered as an entrepreneur.

  • Why you should be constantly learning and be doggedly persistent.

  • What messenger bots are and how you can use it to initiate a conversation and take people through your sales funnels using predetermined yes/no answers.

So hit the play button and find out how you too can start on your entrepreneurial journey!

Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.


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1:16 (Steve introduces today’s guest, Paul Baron.)

Steve: This is the Awesomers.com podcast episode number 22 and as always you can go to Awesomers.com/22 to find relevant show notes and details. My special guest today is Paul Baron who is a second generation Colorado native. He's also a husband, father and entrepreneur. Between the ages of five and thirty, some of Paul's entrepreneurial misadventures included shoveling driveways in the winter to make money for skiing, running paper routes, carting lawn, care equipment around town inside a Geo Metro and of course this is defying the laws of physics but he did it anyway, everybody. He's also run scrap metal recycling routes with his uncle. Starting and failing in the videography business, starting and failing a web design business and as we all know it's not really failing. It's just learning and gathering data points along the way. Really great episode where Paul shares some of these beginnings and some of the things he's been able to do and put together since those not so auspicious started up moments. And I just love a good Awesomer origin story where we're able to see some of the past, see some of the struggles and then we get to see the chapter that he's on right now. And I can't wait to see his future. I know everyone will join me in welcoming Paul to the show. It's going to be a great one everybody. Welcome back to Awesomers.com podcast this is Steve Simonson and I have a special guest today Paul Baron. Paul, how are you?

Paul: I am fantastic Steve. Thanks for having me on.

Steve: Oh, I'm thrilled to have you as always. We've had a chance to catch up at some past events. I don't know I think we're in Florida or whatever and got to hear some of some of your story and some of the things you're working on. It's very inspiring and also quite helpful for other Awesomers and entrepreneurs out there. So if you could just help us set the stage today by just giving us a general overview of whom you are, what you do and the things that take most of your time today. And then we'll dive in your history in a minute.

3:16 (Paul provides a brief background.)

Paul: Yes, for sure. So general overview, married, two kids. I have a one-year-old daughter, she just turned one like a week ago and her big brother is going to be four in about a week. And I'm going to be taking him camping. So that's my biggest claim to fame I feel.

Steve: Well, I've seen those cute little things and I think your daughter was probably six months at the time I saw her. Is it your daughter who's turning one?

Paul: Yes, she just turned one. Yes she was about six months I think because that was...so eight months or so, but yes. It's crazy how time flies with them. So that's why I do what I do. My “day job” is running physical product business. So on the baby space, use them, my kids as models hopefully not abuse.

Steve: Well they're happy unknowing volunteers I'm sure.

Paul: Currently my son has started saying no picture.

Steve: Oh is that right? At 4 right, he's giving you the paparazzi shine on, ”Hey no pictures come out of here, punch in the face”.

Paul: Or talk to my agent.

Steve: I like that. So as you started putting things together and in your business, you have a number of… well at least a couple different things that you're doing. Can you help us understand your primary business and then some of the new startup things you're involved in?

Paul: Yes. I called them accidental businesses. The startup ones we… let's see. A year ago 2017, so my wife and I, my business partners Ben and Nate and Charity, Ben's wife also ASM. And so we, just as a part of that it's changed their lives. And I feel like it's one of the biggest reasons. That training helped get us to where we are. So we started promoting ASM. We started doing the relaunch last year, ASM7. We started a group called Physical Product Pros, mainly as a place to put people that had questions like our friends. So when we promoted it we said, “Hey we're going to get a commission for you signing up, but that's not why we're doing this.” We just look at that as our consulting fee”. So we gave all the bonuses. We have a little mastermind group and then we did ASM8. And all through last year I was like, this is turning into a real thing because people kept asking to get into the group that didn't send it through our affiliate link, wanting to pay. So that turned into a real business, like we incorporated in the state of Colorado earlier this year and because of doing all the mentorship regularly with Ben and Nate, we were always sharing latest tips and tricks that we were doing and started using messenger bots last year. And I had some really great success launching products, getting reviews. Ben was getting some great success, so was Nate and so we decided to start a course and that was again like earlier this year, we had a chance to go down it to Florida in March, got to talking about it there. Prior to SellerCon, so the SellerCon was April and we were just like alright let's do a course and so we did it. We're in the middle, like basically everything's done. We're tying a bow and all the modules now and I will be honest, I did not realize how hard putting a course together is. It is really time-consuming and I have so much more respect now for everybody that has ever put together course of any quality, like good quality obviously but yes. So that's been taking a lot of my time. Messenger bought University MBU which was again it sort of Ben and I were talking, you want to do of course sort of fell into our laps. We started doing it and it's going really well. We've helped a lot of people and I love that.

Steve: It's a classic example of what the E-myth Michael Gerber calls the entrepreneurial seizure right. We're like, “Hey this bolt of lightning hit me. I think it's a good one.” And then you just charge off and solve the problems as you go. And I think this is probably a lesson well learned. Everybody who looks at these courses go… you know we think to ourselves I… you know how hard this is. He records a couple videos and this and that you're done right, but the amount of work and the preparation and the planning and the secret sequencing it all of that stuff and then making it worthwhile. Right, has to be noteworthy and meaningful. All that is extraordinarily difficult especially when you have to do it on an ongoing basis. So kudos to you guys on taking that challenge.

Paul: I appreciate that and I think it’s a joked if I didn't care that anybody got results. It'd be way easier.

Steve: That's a very good point. That would make any of our jobs easier right? We just ship anything we want in a box, to people and go ahead. Good luck to you. It's a surprise right. I like that and now my understanding is as a result of the ASM that you guys also launched your own product and that you've been selling online and that something that you guys still continue on today or you wrapped up in these other things.

Paul: It's funny because that's the majority of our bread and butter that pays all the bills still and it's the best, I love it. Actually it's funny because I'm a night person. I was informed by my wife last night that I needed to stay up to one to talk to some new suppliers that were making some  connection with in Vietnam for a new product that we're launching. So it's up to three talking to them but it was a good thing. And during the production phase of MBU, I thought that I could do that like a couple hours a week, 20. Now it was like full-time and it was like 95% of my focus for the past 2 or 3 months. But now that the production is done like I said and so now I'm actually to dive back into my real... I don't mean use a fake business but like my main business.

Steve: Sure, well this is as you have multiple initiatives going, you have to allocate your time and sometimes the plates spin and okay on their own. And then you got to go back and balance them again and get the plates spinning more. So let's dive in right after the break. We're going to talk a little bit about your origin story and then talk about some of the things that are most important to you. We'll be right back after this.


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Steve: And here we are, we're back again. Can you believe it, it was that fast. We're talking with Paul Baran and this is Steve Simonson Awesomers.com podcast and we are trying to dig in to pause origin story, what makes him tick, why is he so special and how did he get here. And that's always for me, one of the most interesting parts of it because we tend to find all kinds of different patterns and all kinds of different origin stories and that's to me very inspiring. So Paul let's just start at the beginning. Where were you born?

10:42 (Paul talks about his origin story.)

Paul: So I was born in Colorado, Fort Collins. Moved around a bunch when I was a kid but grew up born and bred Colorado.

Steve: Nice and what was your first job?

Paul: Oh geez. I don't know if you want to call it a job but I guess the first thing that I did to make money was when I was five my mom actually reminded me about this. I would take drawings to the grocery store that I had made and I think I drew like candy and things as a five-year-old, as good as a five-year-old can draw and I would find grandmas. That was my target because any of the grandmas…

Steve:  You knew the demographic at five, nice, carry on.

Paul: Grandma's would buy them. So I would take them to the grandmas and I would hand them the piece of paper and I would say do you want this and they of course would say yes. Because what cute five year old giving somebody a drawing and then I would say well that'll be five cents or ten cents or whatever arbitrary number. I was Hawking my drawings for that day. So I don't know if I would call that a job but that was my first business endeavor. My first… I don't know if you kind of paper out as a job but I did that. And then my first actual job, I remember hourly getting paid. I worked at a fun Plex doing go-karts and I remember thinking the minimum wage back then was five bucks an hour.

Steve: Oh you were living in the salad days of minimum wage. I used to make three bucks an hour and back in my minimum wage day. So five bucks an hour and you're working at the Funplex. How did you find that job by the way?

Paul: My sister worked there and it was a place that we would go to drive go-karts. And so I was 15, had to hitch a ride to work with my sister and I remember thinking I can't believe in paying me five dollars every hour to be here. I was like blew my mind.

Steve: I like that. That's a good motivated lesson at that age. And at about 15, I was washing dishes in the back of a restaurant for whatever it was. Three bucks an hour, it might have even been 266 an hour because they could pay 15 year-olds less than the full adults or whatever. And I remember thinking this is a nightmare, why am i back here and they're only paying me 266 an hour. So the Funplex was a very strategically wise move is my message to you. So how about let's skip forward. We know now that you have a successful brand that you sell and move on in the online space ecommerce world and you've got some of these other businesses started. Was there a big lesson learned on the journey so far that you care to share with the AWESOMER audience out there.

Paul: Yes. Because of the position that I've put myself in being mentor too, I don't know... dozens hundreds of people. One of the things that might biggest take away through this and reflecting on my journey. It sounds super trite but you hear this all the time from stage that, “Success is not a destination, it's a journey.” And that sounds so cheesy until you're in it. And I think just because of the people that I would deem successful. I don't know. Now looking at the place that I'm at with, I don't think it's a dollar amount really. Because early on when I was getting started my goal was to do something like five grand a month or something initially and then I wanted to get to fifty. That was some arbitrary number. And so as I've gotten to these milestones, I've just realized that they're just numbers. That you're running the same business, you have the same types of issues but the people that are successful and their businesses continue to grow. Those are the ones that I would deem as successful because they're achieving whatever they've set out to accomplish. So if their goal is to stay home and be a stay-at-home dad or mom or quit their jobs or something, then they're successful in that endeavor. Those people, they are doggedly persistent and they don't quit when the chips are down and fortunately I'm like that. And I don't really like to take no for an answer. So that's good, that's a big takeaway for me to just be doggedly persistent but you have to be teachable because if you're not teachable and you're doggedly persistent you might get on to a bad idea or something that could derail your business. And because you're arrogant and you're not listening to people then you'll seek your business. So you've got to always be learning, you've got to be diagonally persistent and just don't quit when the chips are down. And that's the biggest thing that I have learned. That I just continue to tell myself every day that my success is in large part controlled by me but there are a lot of external factors. And if something happens the businesses goes down the drain, I can just start over again.

Steve: Yes, that's a really good lesson. So there's a couple things in there that are interesting in my view. The first is, persistence is critical right. Where in my view entrepreneurs in particular in the business of solving problems. So guess what, when you wake up and the are problems. That's why we exist, that's what we have to do and therefore persistence to see it through is important. But I like your little extra spin which is, don't be too set in your ways right. If you can't learn, you can't adapt then. You may just find those same challenges, those same problems over and over. And solving the problem should be a systemic long-term solution. Not just treating those symptoms over and over. Ideally that's my experience and then of course the idea that any of us would look at failure as a destination or the end point. It's like; “Ah this idea, it didn't work. So this business didn't work. So I'm out.“ It's like no, that's just another milestone that you go by and you pick it up and you do it again. It really doesn't matter that much and so I definitely support those points. I think those are very nice lessons learned. How about it was there ever a defining moment where maybe before you took the online course or was there any particular moment that you're like I've got to be an entrepreneur, I’m going to do my own thing. Anything that set yet down that path  before you became an entrepreneur.

Paul: That's sort of been a lifelong journey for me really. I feel like the people that are like you and I, entrepreneurs you're born with it and unfortunately in our culture there's not a lot of guidance to help budding entrepreneurs, find their way. And you're always pushed into, you've got to get a job and then you've got to go to college and you got to do all these things, but there's no other path for entrepreneurs. And so that was something for me, that was just always in me, like I don't know what it is, I just like doing my own thing pretty headstrong like I said. And I see that in my son.

Steve: Already, a four years old. That's why he needs an agent.

Paul: He has his plan and he wants to do his plan. And I feel like that was me, like I had my plan I wanted to do it. And for me the reason why I do his family. I want to be. I like going on missions trips and giving back and helping people and for me a great thing that I would love to do years ago when I was in school. This was probably 15 years ago, college. I had this idea that I wanted to go into third world countries help people start businesses. So that they could provide for themselves but the problem was is I had never successfully started a business. So I knew that if I was going to do that I would have to start a business and be successful in it. And then started and failed multiple different types of businesses, videography and web design and marketing and all kinds of things. So that was just early on and I think it as I grew up more, I've found out more of who I was as a person. I became more comfortable in my skin. I realized that working for somebody else was just not for me.

Steve: Yes, it definitely can be a challenge if you're wired a certain way to. Some people just don't want to take orders from other people. Honestly it could boil down to that simple... and it sounds like your son is in that category. So good luck to you. One of the things that strikes me that as we think about an entrepreneurial journey is that point of where you say maybe I'm on the right track. Was there ever kind of that best day or that aha moment where you're like hey something's working here, this is kind of cool.

Paul: Yes.

Steve: Describe that.

Paul: So I'll go back. This is probably five years ago now, six years, I can't remember. I'm terrible with dates and time. I was hired on as employee number 12 at the web development company and  it was my first big boy job, my real job. I was getting paid like 30 grand a year and coming from nothing, I really had nothing. That was the most I've ever made in my entire life. I was stoked out of my mind and so I was like okay I've got to do my best to make sure that everything that I do had value to the company. And I'm just really good at networking, that's what I do naturally. So my thing was I would always connect the dots and business A to business B and so I was moved over into becoming the director of channel sales within a year, about a year and a half after that. So I was there for like two and a half years, I was fired and it was one of those things that entrepreneur inside of me was just struggling to get out and the company was going through some growing pains and I as a business owner now I see that. Back then I just had a terrible attitude and there's all sorts of stuff going on. So I was fired over the phone and that put me into a year of... honestly I went through a period of depression trying to figure out what was going on. I knew that I wanted to do my own thing and I was sort of forced into it. I played around with different jobs throughout the time but because of my position at this web development company I had networked really well in the local community. And in the local community everybody knew me as the guy to talk to you for web design, web development and so I kept getting people coming to me asking me to do this and I was like; not development company, I hate it, I don't want to do that, but I did it. Started making money, I did it with a partner. One of my best friends and he still is my best friend but he had to support his family and get a full-time job. So he was working full time. We were working like nights and then I picked up a job waiting tables, this was in 2015.

Steve: Okay.

Paul: No I started 2014. I started this company in July. We had our son in August of that year and I think my best month ever in that business. We made eight grand or something like that. And it was just struggle the entire time because it's me and my buddy doing everything. I'm doing sales, I'm writing code and building besides and I'm working nights as a waiter and more nights doing this. I saw the opportunity for ASM through the course and that was a big aha moment because again like my entrepreneurial journey was built off. This business failed less than this business and I just learned like; okay, well this business failed. Well, why did this fail? Okay, so the videography business failed because this business failed less and so that was called Catalyst Media Group and it was making money but it just wasn't what I wanted because I was working like 70-80 hours a week. It was crazy and that was not why I went to business for myself. I went to business for myself because I wanted to had time and location, freedom. I wanted to use these skills to help teach people how to start a business and it was like torture. I hated it here and I was like this sucks because of my past experience. Helping other brands grow and build themselves. I saw the idea behind private labeling on Amazon. That was like light bulbs went off. This is brilliant, this is amazing. So I talked about it with my wife and put it on a credit card because again I'm working two jobs. Don't have any money in the bank. We prayed about it first, that's a big step if you're a person of faith, do that. Talk to your wife, she’s your significant other and pray.

Steve: Good advice for anybody paying attention, especially the significant other and then the super significant other if you're into such things.

Paul: Right, exactly. I mean you don't want to start a business without your partner supporting you because when you start a business the world is basically against you anyway and you need support. So I was extremely blessed that Rochelle had my back and she is not an entrepreneur, she's very safety driven but our business runs really smoothly together because we balance each other out. She thinks of all the... I mean she's amazing, she's the reason why we're successful. So that was 2015, we took the course in May and I was in a rush to get products live. That's another thing that I see successful people as they don't they take quick action. They take action and they take it quick. They don't wait to make sure that everything's perfect and they keep going and they perfect as they go. So we launched our first product in July 2015, incidentally it was on prime day. The very first prime date ever.

Steve: Wow!

Paul: And it just so happened to be that day. We had nine sales our first day and that was like this is real, this is happening. And you should have seen the photos we had and the brand. And the logo that I made was so bad, photos were terrible. Oh man… Copy was bad, everything was bad but people bought it.

Steve: This is actually a really good time to reflect on the fact that possibly two very important points. One is they're the so-called failure are just these learning opportunities along the way right. As long as we capture skills that's equity, we've got knowledge equity there. And he then applied it to each successive business. For me, I do the exact same thing. Any time we launch something, I think of as an iterative process or we just kind of go version one and one point one will be better at one point four will be even better and by the time we look at version three were embarrassed to version one right? As you're talking about your first listing which even got sales. Today you would never launch with that because of all your acquired skills is that fair to say?

Paul: Totally and it's funny because you really hit the nail on the head there because as a “successful online seller” now, I contend to get cotton trap. Now that we have built a solid brand, we have great products. They're amazing. That I won't release a new product unless it's amazing and that has stopped us from seizing some really great opportunities to be completely honest instead of releasing it and then iterating. I'm not saying you want to go into the market with something that's completely unproven, untested. You're gonna have exploding batteries or something, make sure that all those bases are covered but if it's like you're doing a shirt you want to make the sleeves a little longer and that's holding you back. Just do it, start it, make the sleeves longer as you go.

Steve: Yes, just go. Yes. I think that's really really good advice. Acting with a sense of urgency is something that really is what to me often separates those at the front of the pack versus those at the middle or back in the pack right? The ones really leading the race are often those who just acted with urgency. They got out of the gates as quick as they could and they improved as they went. The important point of course is you don't bet the farm right. If you have ten thousand dollars of capital, a hundred thousand dollars of capital even just a thousand of capital. You don't want to make sure that you bet the farm on something that is a complete dud but cash. Do something because that knowledge equity is just something you can't capture until you experience it. So as you put that together and how long did it take from that prime day launched in 2015 to where you felt like; wow now, this is looking like a real business.

Paul: Right. So I remember the best month that I had ever had with Catalyst, my media, my web development company was eight thousand dollars in one month. And I felt like I was living the high life. So because it's a decent amount of money, I mean five grand a year or five grand per month for a year or 60 grand nearly. So that's a decent salary that you can make. By August, we were running around eight grand a month in our physical product business. I was also still running Catalyst and working nights as a waiter. So three things that was a lot and yes I feel like we had made it then and I felt like; wow this is just great. I mean we've tapped the market on this particular product line. We've got to add a new one. And the bit of advice I could give for people that think that and think it early, don't necessarily think you’ve tapped the market because it's some weird arbitrating number. You hear my dog barking.

Steve: Yes. I think he was agreeing with you. Carry on.

Paul: You don't think you tap the market because you've reached some weird arbitrary numbers that you set for yourself. Just keep going. And so we did eight grand in August and our products are really summer seasonal. And starting in January, they we went up to like 10 or 12 and then we were like 25 and I just kept growing bigger and bigger same initial product line. We tried launching a new product in November, bought the prior year and it failed. It wasn't very good. Learned from that, learned what not to do.

Steve:  It was lucky that wasn't your first one. Honestly right? Because that's often people end up with a so so or a dud product I'm the first one. They're like; “God this doesn't even work”.

Paul: And then they quit. It's blows my head. I have so much respect for people. They get the duds first and they keep going. I have a good friend that I met the very first live event that I ever went to and we still talk all the time. We're still in our initial mastermind that we set. She lives up in Canada, so I'm gonna shout out to Sherry because she inspires me so much. Because her first four or five products were duds. Like four or five!

Steve: Yes.

Paul: She just kept going. She's so... I love it. I love people like that. And now she's killing it but if you have products that fail, those are awesome learning experiences.

Steve: Really important to understand. I think Paul is making it such a salient point that anybody who's thinking about getting into business or ecommerce or specifically starting your own brand of physical products just know that it's like going to Harvard. You're just every product, you put out there is a semester at Harvard or Oxford, pick your favorite University. You're gonna get more knowledge if you possibly imagine and the next version will be better. Whether it's the same product or a different iteration of something different whatever it is. It doesn't really matter because the knowledge is just something that compounds in interest.

Paul:  And I agree with you, that the folks who have been on that launch path where they had some struggles, they didn't have any hits, they had all duds or or even lukewarm or whatever, it's that level of persistence that really defines them as AWESOMER. So kudos to sharing anybody else who's able to continue that process as you go.

Steve: So I love this kind of journey that you've taken because it really does demonstrate. The normal thing that I see is everybody comes from so many different things. We all have to find our way to whatever makes sense for us. Not everybody's an entrepreneur but in your case it made sense for you to evolve towards being an entrepreneur. And then you put some businesses together and then ultimately now you've found some things that are gaining traction and you're leveraging those things as you go. Do you do you think at five years you'll still be selling physical products?

Paul: For sure.  It's just like you said. It's like you've cracked the code, you've got it. I was reading a couple of different blogs yesterday about what millionaire, billionaires, famous people. Mark Cuban's would do they lost it all and you just start over every single one of them. Like Warren Buffett said he just start investing again because what he's good at is investing. He knows how that works. Mark Cuban would go get a job at a bar save his money until he could afford to start a business. He would sell something. I'm good at selling, so I think in 10 years I will. I already have these crazy ideas of stuff that I want to do, that are way way bigger than Amazon. It's kind of silly but I want to change the world.

Steve: It's not silly, I think. I love that and we need more Awesomers and entrepreneurs with that attitude. That you can in fact make a positive difference in the world in all kinds of ways including your part of your original vision which you talked about helping people in other countries, start businesses. Maybe it's in the Kiva type of model for those listeners who don't know Kiva, is a micro crowdfunding kind of platform where you can do micro loans and then they aggregate those loans and help farmers across the world with very small loans. In theory it could be a hundred dollars, it could be two hundred dollars or what to help them buy crops. And they have an extraordinarily high success rate but it's a way that they have been able to help people around the world. Help themselves and I like that mentality and I appreciate the fact that you're driving your vision towards something in that concept as well.

Paul: Yes, yes. So that's ten years, that's I guess where I see myself just doing more and hopefully being able to help more people.

33:44 (Steve asks about common entrepreneurial problem and messenger bot.)

Steve: I like that. So let's switch gears and talk about a common entrepreneurial problem and that is involved with marketing trying to drive leads or deal with some of the business functions and marketing. And you've talked about your messenger bot university, can you frame that the basic problem that entrepreneurs find themselves in with regards to messenger bots? Maybe they haven't used it, maybe they don't know about them. But what  kind of a standard entrepreneurial opportunity as it relates to bots?

Paul: I think that people on either one or two categories well, I guess there's the third but mostly there could be a good chunk of people that this is the first they ever hearing about it which is completely fine because they've only been around and open to the public for about two years. And then there's another group that have heard about them but they're not doing anything with them because they find them confusing and they don't know how to implement them. And then there's a very very small group of people that have been using them and finding success with them. So we established MBU to basically help those two biggest groups figure out what messenger bots are, how they work, that they're not scary, they're not daunting and then teaching people how to use them to effectively grow and market their businesses.


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Steve: And just for everybody. Listen, we'll have in the show notes at Awesomers.com/22. This is episode 22. How you can access the links to find Paul and his offerings there. It's something that if you're not familiar with using messenger bots it's a real big opportunity. Paul can you talk about some of the the most interesting statistics and findings that people have when it with regard to bots to say verses email as an example.

Paul:  Yes, so verses email, I would say if you're getting open rates on email like 20 percent plus, that's your tail in it. We're in the middle of a launch process for Emmy we are using bots and email and we're getting open like click-through rates, like 6 percent. Like that's good click, like 6 percent click-through rates are really good with bots. It's insane actually what the difference between good and bad. On average our open rates are about 90 percent of the people that send stuff up. So for those of you listening that don't know what a bot is, a messenger bot essentially think of it like email marketing. It's a program that ties into Facebook Messenger. Facebook Messenger has about 1.2 billion active users and so just think of it like sending somebody a text message, a message to their phone so people typically open these messages within about 13 seconds of wrist receipt. So you're getting 90% people opening your message. It's way more conversational. So it's not like email not long form you're not gonna send the big ol, huge chunk. You can use them to initiate a conversation and then manually talk. You could take people through your whole sales funnels that you build with predetermined yes/no answers. And then the click-through rate, so when people are clicking those or let's say you're sending them to your website. You're telling them about a blog or new product or something. I'm seeing about like 30 to 70% thirty, depending on how engaged and active it could be upwards of eighty and ninety two and click-through rates but it's mind-blowing that a low end is thirty percent click-through. High ended for email, open rates like twenty five percent and then like good click-through as an email is like six percent.

Steve: Yes so the numbers are insanely… Just take a deep breath everybody and kind of hear those numbers. If you can meet or beat 20 percent email, you are killing it and it's common to have eighty five, ninety percent open rates on a bot flow.  Wouldn't you say Paul?

Paul: Oh yes, like it's uncommon, you're doing something wrong. If you have less than eighty percent there's something... You're blasting your list too much. They're dried up they're not the right target but if you have something lower than like eighty percent, you're doing something wrong which is very easy.

Steve: This is… in my view it's parallel to how when email first came out people liked the idea of getting email hey I hope I get an email sometime right? Now it's like a spam box that you just try to hope that you can find that picture of your grandchild or your significant other or whatever from time to time. So bots really have a massive potential and just for those who don't know. Facebook is the the leading platform this moment but Skype is working with bots and they have bots and they would love to marketize those Apple believe it or not. Even is making their messenger service, their texting service into a platform where full advertising access and all kinds of access to all Apple customers around the world. So this concept of marketing through bots and bots also mean automation. Can you talk about that a little bit Paul? The automation piece?

Paul: Yes, the automation is awesome and that's where I get super geeky. I love it because I guess a little bit of my web dev programming stuff like if-then statements. So like if this happened and this happens if this happened then this happens. So if your brain works like that, you're gonna love bots. If it doesn't we have the training in BU and there's other trainings out there too, that walk you through these flows but basically you could send people through a whole sequence of messages. Most of the time it's like you click a button, so you ask a question like hey Steve we just released a new blog on how to drink energy drinks or something would you like to see it and you can say yes or no. So the person says yes and then you send them another follow-up C message automatically that sends them to the blog. If they say no then you could still turn that into a yes, cleverly if you do. But basically that's like the gist a positive-negative response in general. You can get really clever and add third and fourth options and that sort of thing but that's like at its bare-bones simplest give people options yes/no. Depending on what they say you have another message fire.

Steve: Well, the best part for me is this concept of just thinking through the flow of talking to a customer just like you were talking to them in person. It's like Paul said hey Steve we've got this new blog about monster drinks all right, would you like to read it yes or no right? It's like yes  I'll read it right and when you click it you can set up tagging and you can set up all kinds of reference points with that customer profile so that you can market to them later based on them saying yes. If they said no and your next message to them is you can forget the energy thing in that context and just say hey how about we've got this new product for physical well-being, are you interested in that one? And they might say yes and how you tag them seems to be a huge opportunity. Is that something you see as well Paul?

Paul: Yes totally, I love tagging and in my mind sales and marketing go so hand-in-hand. And the best type of sales is selling something to someone that it solves their problem. So the people that are buying your solution they're not buying an energy drink. They're buying alertness, they're buying being able to get through the day or something maybe they're buying the flavor but they're not necessarily buying that thing. It's a problem that they're trying to solve maybe they're whatever. So in my mind marketing to people that raise their hand and say I am this person, that's where I apply those tags. And then later on down the road I could say okay well I want to send a message to the people that read the energy drink, blog or I want to send a message to the people that read the well health and wellness blog or something. It works really well for product launches specifically. You can track if people click link and then you can say hey you know Shane I wanted them to check in to see how you're liking our energy drinks. You like them? Love them? Hate them? What do you think? So then you can start to filter people out. Let's say they hated them then you can take it into a manual conversation and figure out why they hated them, how you can make your product better and then potentially get reviews and all this sort of stuff through tagging and asking for opinions. I love it.

Steve: It really is a conversational concept and that's so much different than email which is here's a message we hope you act and if you don't worry just gonna hit you with another message. I realize that in emails you can set up flows and you can set up different follow-up sequences and so forth based on their responses. But bots, it feels live it feels conversational and for me the fundamental piece is that you could put so much intelligence into it when you run an ad on Facebook for example and you say hey I've got this great new product I'm watching who wants to get a great deal on it. You can then run that directly to the bot, isn't that fair to say Paul?

Paul: Yes, so there's several different methods that you can do but basically what you'd say is either comment on this post or click the message link whatever and it'll automatically pop up in their message. You’re the bot and again there's dozens of bots out there. I mean Message Hero, Many Chat Fuel, there's another one specifically being built for Amazon sellers and I can't remember.

Steve: Sellerchatbot.com.

Paul: Seller Chatbot that's right. Paul Harvey, and he and I are gonna be talking tomorrow actually. A Seller Chatbot I mean pick your flavor, they all basically do the same thing but you say look at this post if anybody comments, send them this message or look at this post if anybody clicks the link, send them this message.

Steve: It's just a powerful thing to be able to add intelligence that is live and that the bots will automate based on these different criteria and to me the level of data that you get and the level of intimacy almost with it the customer is a highly sought after thing for marketeer. When we think I'll give you an example; you can talk to Paul Harvey when you talk to him about this tomorrow. But he was sharing a success story with me recently where a new product was being launched and they wanted to hand down some one-time use coupons for Amazon which can be cumbersome and be a pain in the Keister for those who have tried to do it including using many chat or any of the zapier kind of connections. It just can be a pain and so he was able to have a customer demonstrate and successfully use his tool where they handed out 50 coupons. And the total costs on the ads was $8 right. So think about that compared to the traditional launch concept. Also the launch concepts now have such an audience that is in my view over weighted with people who will go hijack your listing and sell the highly discounted product against you later. Those are becoming less attractive. So these kind of people who are truly interested in the product that you're advertising to, that you can disseminate a one-time-use coupon easily and inexpensively. I think by the way your results may vary but a really extraordinary opportunity is that the types of things you use it for. What methods do you use Paul for bot.

Paul: Oh well, yes. Launching products is huge, I don't recommend doing what I did in April but I launched three at the exact same time which was insane. Even for experienced sellers just do one at a time and then do the next one but anyway we got all three of those products ranking page one within two and a half weeks using only a messenger bot strategy.

Steve: Wow.

Paul: So that's one and then obviously being able, once you have those people. So you're controlling the end point, end point to endpoint, you get the customer in. They purchase and then because you've had there subscriber and you've tagged them, you can then follow up with them for a review through messenger bots. So you've got that you've got them subscribed to messenger bots. I go a step further and I also get email subscribers. So you can use messenger bots to launch products, you can use them to build an email list. If you really wanted to you can use them to get reviews, you can use them to turn cold leads and hot leads, you can just... it's just endless. I mean the way that I'm viewing this now is that not only are we increasing the sales that we have for our products but we're increasing the value of our business because we're increasing our assets that we have. So the digital assets that we have being the subscribers to our chat bot, subscribers to our email. Those things are when if you are looking to sell a business, having those digital assets will increase the value.

Steve: Yes, without question and whether or not you're looking to sell, you still want to increase your asset base right. And so why not leverage these types of solutions and it is true having button sold many businesses in my time. The larger somebody's lists are whether they're bot subscriber list or email lists or past customer lists or whatever the case may be the larger and more active. Those are the more valuable, your brand is and let's not let it be go unsaid I suppose that by having this conversation with customers you're making more of an impression, more of a relationship with those customers versus the one-off emails or the random sale on Amazon that it's a much more brand centric experience in my view. Is that something you generally agree with Paul?

Paul: 100%, because of the relational aspect and again we're in we're a baby brand, we're family brand so like 98% of our customers are moms and so having this conversation it's crazy because we've actually developed real actual friends in real life. We just got back from a two-week road trip like two weeks ago and we drove across the country and meeting up with people that were brand reps for our business. That we had met online in social media and now like it's crazy to think of this but those are the type of people that you're not just build… we're not building a business, we're building a brand,  we're not just selling products. Good case point for this so raving fans one of the methods that that we use is targeting past purchasers and we run ads specifically to them and basically offering them stuff. And just to re engage with us like almost every single one of the people that comment on those posts are like; oh I love this, I love your other, I love this thing, so I want to try this thing and that's in their head that comes to the forefront of their of their thoughts. You're putting a good experience in their minds with them liking you and so what we've seen is they start telling your friends more too. And so they've had a great experiences. They tell their friends. I feel there's so many companies providing absolutely terrible customer service. It's my goal to provide the best customer experience ever and one of the methods that we do that is with chatbots and it's it's awesome.

Steve: It really is and this is just the beginning for the Awesomers out there listening. We did start talking about this over two years ago. On a first one into beta at Facebook and and we've been working along and watching it but this is still the very nascent beginnings of this entire ecosystem of chatbots. And that there will be changes that happen over time and people go oh that's not how it was in the beginning but believe me it's still on balance, gonna be an extraordinary opportunity. It's going to be cross-platform, going to all kinds of different ways to do this and understanding for a marketing funnel that involves chatbots. It's something that I think is essential for anybody who's considering running an E-commerce based businesses and to be honest with you, anybody who's running a land-based business should be looking at it too. For them even more they can drive engagement and activity with the customer and say hey come on in and see us. Now that we've had this nice little bot chat and interaction come on down to our store or a coffee shop or whatever the case may be. So the possibilities really are endless and that's what makes me excited about the fact that you guys are helping educate people. Why people join your MBU and what result they should expect to achieve as a student and graduate perhaps of that MBU.

Paul: Yes. So right now we're heavily focused in the online space, specifically Amazon because that's the majority of our bread-and-butter partners but like you said we have plans to expand more into like service based offline brick-and-mortar type type stuff. But right now we have eight different modules where we're coming out with a ninth bonus one but basically these are just tactics that we use to accomplish an objective. So if your objective is to launch a product, we have a tactic and a strategy for that. If your objective is to get reviews on past products and we have a strategy for that and not only do we have the strategies but we give the exact copy that we use in our own businesses show you the exact funnel and so that you can either copy it into your account or you can just copy it into whatever chatbot system you're using. Because we have people that are using the seller chat bot, the Paul Harvey's building. We have people using many chat and I think we have a few people using message here. So they can expect basically kind of an A to Z of setting things up, what a chatbot is, how to start it, how to sign up, how to set it up, how to integrate it into your Facebook account, an overview of Facebook Ads, how to set up that object, and then all the meat potatoes of whatever objective it is you're trying to achieve.

Steve: Yes. So for everybody who's paying attention. If you don't know what messenger bots are, something that you think are important and you believe Paul and I, we think the future is quite bright when it comes to bots but you don't yet have enough understanding your background. This may be the foundational element that you need and it's certainly worth taking a look at. Again we'll have that in the show notes page. So everybody can find that and get connected to it. Paul as you think about the the entrepreneurs and hospitals out there in the world, what do you think holds them up for making decisions to not necessarily to engage MBU but just to kind of take that next step in their business. Have you ever thought about that? What is holding people back from taking action?

Paul: So you think, like in terms to you like fiscal investment or…

Steve: Just anything. What do you think the most common issue that they face? Is it  they lack money or they don't necessarily know that they're gonna get anything positive at all? Any speculation on that.

Paul: I think it's mindset is everything, to be completely honest. It all comes down to... it boils down to your mindset. And I had the privilege of instructing at this Austin mastermind recently and I was really blessed by, there was some couples there that were just so positive. They're not very technically savvy but man they had the right mindset and there were a couple other people in the room that where there's something they didn't like and they just allowed negativity to like boil over in their heads and they started infecting like they wanted to infect everyone else with negative it like negativity. So I think realistically it's like we get in our own way, so much like you get in your own headspace of whatever fear may stop you. There's real fears and then there's fake fears. Like real fear, don't go run into the middle of traffic in Russia you'll die. That's a real fear. Then there's fake fears that we go and we boil over into our head of like oh if I do this and then this happens and then this happens, all of a sudden you're going from starting a business to everyone getting malaria and you're losing your house and and the world catching on fire or something because you're allowing fear to stop you from something. So don't listen to those fake fears like if there's stuff that yeah stopping you from that it's mostly that your headspace, your mindset.

Steve: I definitely agree. This concept we talk about from time to time, impostor syndrome or just us putting our own barriers in place right. We self-imposed limitations and I think it was Henry Ford or somebody who said if you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. Right? So you may as well just think you can and and they get it done and I would just say to those out there myself like even though I have the capabilities and I kind of like the tech stuff. I started as a programmer as a kid. I don't have the time or inclination to deal with that stuff right. Me setting up my own bot flow it seems like an absolutely crazy idea to me not because I like the capabilities, I like the interest or time or motivation or whatever. But by having some sort of course or some sort of system that I can have one of my employees take a look at and and be trained and have a system for executing with excellence that's something that I get interested in. And so for anybody who says well I can't do it myself or I won't do it myself just know that having good quality training is part of a systemic solution to build an organization. And that's one of the reasons why I believe in these types of things because you get to accelerate your learning and your growth. So I definitely hope that people take a good look at it. Paul any final words of wisdom for our Awesomers out there. Anything you care to leave them.

57:24 (Paul’s final words of wisdom.)

Paul: Surround yourself with positive people that support you. It doesn't matter where you are in your journey, you're gonna rise to the level of your friends. And I see this all the time whenever I go travel. And I get to hang out with Awesomers in different places. I get so energized and I'm an extremely competitive person and it's not that I want to like beat people, it's just that I want to compete and I want to be with them and I want to be you know... It's like anything you can do, I can do better. So surround yourself with people that push you in a positive way and if you have people that drag you down and you can't get away from them, family members or something like that just limit the amount that you let that go into your soul.

Steve: Yes I think very important. We talked about this from time to time that the concept between Awesomers and Normies. One of the defining characteristics is that Awesomers are willing even if the risk scarce. We're willing to take those risks whereas normal ease they want to protect us from those risks and they think they're there loving and caring by saying, ”Hey that's a terrible idea, that's never going to work.” Some of it can be quite hurtful. I have to say the point is you have to you have to look past that and and just kind of go out there on your own. I think that's really really good advice Paul and I do want to take a minute and just thank you for joining and spending some time with us this afternoon. It's really been a blast. Thank you for being here.

Paul: Yes man. This is awesome. I probably can't be in person but I'm sure they're leading some event somewhere soon that I'll see you.

Steve: Yes no doubt, we will run into each other in person soon. Awesomers we will be right back after this.


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Steve: Wasn't that fun? It's always just so interesting to me to dive into some of the history and recall some of the stories that shape who we are as people on his entrepreneurs and I always appreciate Awesomers like Paul being able to come on and join us and talk about some of the things they've been able to do. Paul is a sought-after consultant and many of the things that he's doing in his life today are all focused around on helping others and of course that's a key part of our Awesomers philosophy. So kudos to Paul and we're sure pleased that he's finding success in these multiple areas that he's involved in today. Again this was episode number 22 of the Awesomers.com podcast, that's episode 22. To find relevant show details, notes, etc. linked perhaps even you can go to Awesomers.com/22 as always, Awesomers.com/22.

Well we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.