Louie La Vella on How To Craft A Magnetic Personal Brand (So EVERYONE Wants To Work With YOU)

by John McIntyre

Guess who gave Lady Gaga her first TV interview?

This guy…

Louie La Vella, music marketing BOSS.

Louie’s works in the music industry, where he helps artists, musicians and record labels sell more music and get more fans.

What’s Louie doing on The McMethod Email Marketing Podcast if he’s a music guy?

Well, it turns out that Louie uses a lot of strategies and tactics that I use.

He’s big on personal branding and encourages his clients to ALWAYS tell an engaging story that magnetically attracts fans, customers and clients to your door. He has also produced over 40 live music events, and has worked as the Marketing Director for 5 festivals.

In other words, Louie’s been around the “marketing block” a few times and has plenty of hard-won wisdom to share.

And since he’s outside the “internet marketing bubble”, Louie brings a fresh perspective on what we can all do to grow our businesses and make more money.

The “internet marketing world” is quite small, and if you’ve been to a few conferences, you’ve probably bumped into the same people.

In many ways, it’s great. But in other ways, it’s dangerous, because it leads “intellectual in-breeding” and stale, stagnant ideas. That’s why it’s important to look outside the internet marketing industry once in a while, to get a breath of fresh air, see things in a new light, and come back with killer ideas that no one has thought of yet.

So listen in, breathe the fresh air and discover Louie’s secret strategies for building a magnetic personal brand so that EVERYONE wants to work with YOU.


In this interview with Louie La Vella, you’ll discover:

  • how to craft a personal brand that’s so magnetic and irresistible that EVERYONE wants to work with YOU
  • how Louie worked his way up the ladder in the notoriously-competitive music industry (fantastic advice here – especially if you’re looking for a career that you LOVE)
  • how to get featured in mainstream media publications like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business.com and The Huffington Post
  • how I use guest posting to generate highly-qualified leads that pay $10,000 or more per copywriting project
  • how to generate clients and customers at ANY stage of the game (I share a strategy that ANYONE can use to generate clients, whether they’re a beginner or long-time marketing consultant or copywriter)
  • how to maintain momentum once you get started on this path (if you lose momentum, it’s GAME OVER)
  • how to handle the pressure of being an entrepreneur with the serene calmness of a bomb squad veteran (if you want to play the entrepreneur game, you MUST learn to deal with pressure… the pressure to pay bills without a guaranteed salary, the pressure to perform for clients, and so on)

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 1


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO

Hey podcast listener, you’re about to discover insider tips, tricks and secrets to making more sales and converting more prospects into customers with email marketing. For more information about the email marketing podcast or the Autoresponder Guy go to dropdeadcopy.com/podcast. All right, it’s John McIntyre here, the Autoresponder Guy. I’m here with Louie La Vella. Louie is an interesting guy because he’s not really in the business. He is in the business world, but he’s not in the typical world for some of the guests I’ve had on this podcast. He’s actually in the music world, but he’s applying a lot of the concepts that we talk about here, copy writing and funnels and all of that stuff to marketing music, to helping festivals, and bands, and artists get playing at nightclubs and all this sort of thing.
I thought it would just be really interesting to hop on and have a chat about this, because I think he’s going to bring a really interesting perspective on how this stuff works. What I haven’t probably mentioned here, I don’t think, is that I’ve actually been doing some music, so it’s a topic close to my heart at this moment that’s quite interesting to me. Louie, what’s up man?
Louie: Hey, how’s it going? Thank you so much for having me on. Thanks to everybody out there in podcast land taking the time to listen. This is going to be an exciting one. I’ve been doing a lot of podcasts but I was excited about this one. I mean first of all I’m always fascinated about the internet marketing field and all aspects of it, especially because I love learning from those other industries and taking that over to mine, and like you mentioned promoting the festivals and concerts and musicians and labels, but you as a musician too. I don’t know if I’ve done, like I said, I’ve done like 60-something odd podcasts and none of them are music marketing. They’re all business and internet marketing, but it’s cool to be able to take my flavor of marketing and bridge that, but I don’t think I’ve done one where there was an actual musician or an actual music marketing one, so here we go. Now it’s even double exciting for me so thanks for having me on.
John: It’s been funny actually, because I’ve been doing this since … I grew up playing guitar. It’s been a while playing music, but started producing music about a year ago now, and one thing I’ve noticed since I’ve started to explore some of the different ways I can market the music is there’s a lot of really bad internet marketing in the music space.
Louie: Yeah. I find there’s a lot of outdated stuff. I don’t know if it’s some of the experts that have come forward that had a course a couple of years ago or articles and then they were stuck in their ways. I notice that in a lot of industries though, so you might be noticing it in music because you’re starting to learn and you’re starting to dig in, but I bet you if you go on certain forums, Facebook groups in any digital marketing you’re going to find people who were experts perhaps a few years ago or even further that are now trying to answer questions that you may know is completely off now, because things move so fast. I’m not sure if it’s because they stopped actually practicing, you know what I mean? Maybe they have a label but they’ve backed off.
I even have label friends and they are sort of scaled down. They stopped signing artists. They’re just putting out their own music which is totally cool, but they’ve also stopped really aggressively trying to figure out what’s happened, and as you know and everybody who is listening now because we’re all in that internet marketing space still, it changes really quick. Some things that are six months ago working, may not work now. I feel that that’s probably a reason why even in music marketing you’re finding outdated stuff or those kind of pieces of information that you’re thinking, “This may not work anymore. I don’t understand why he’s saying that. This is outdated.” I think it’s because they’re in the music business. I’m in the music marketing business and I know I got to use stuff constantly, have to be an early adopter especially because of festivals. Those are like 18 year olds, 17 year olds, 20 year olds, and they’re all over the new platforms.
I need to understand their user behavior, so I can update my information and my articles and my courses, because I know it has to be done. I cannot put out an evergreen that lasts three, four years. Even the ads manager on Facebook has changed its look a million times.
John: It’s so annoying.
Louie: I have a course from a year ago. I looked at one of my other courses, I’m like, “Can I regurgitate some of that stuff?” I’m like, “Crap. They changed the look of the ads manager, so going left means going right now,” and it’s just I have to redo it. That’s could be a reason why you’re finding that, but it happens in many industries.
John: Right. We can come back to that, but first let’s, well second I guess. We’ve already gotten a little bit into a bit about you. Can you give the listener just a bit more of a background, like who are you; what do you do, what’s your story?
Louie: What is my story? It’s a fascinating one. You know how everybody has their part time job when you’re in college or university. It could be bar tending, grocery store, or whatever. I was always fascinated with the entertainment industry even as like in my elementary school days. I wanted, “Mom, let’s get an agent so I can do extra work in film.” Stuff like that. I always was fascinated with entertainment, so my part-time job, I mean I did a little bit of grocery, of course, because my friends owned one or parents owned one. I started working in the nightclub and bar industry as a sub-promoter, so I went and asked some promoters can I help you bring in people. I’ll try and contact, not my friends because they’re too young to come in, but people who are you’re looking for. Give me fliers, give me whatever you need and then I’ll help.
Of course they’re always interested in adding traffic without doing the work, so it was I got in. I quickly realized, you know what, I can book my own shows. I can book my own DJs, my own bands and I can be the promoter and do my own venue, like make the deals and get out of being a sub-promoter. I did that very quickly. I was pretty young as a promoter. I remember even some places were joking that the legal age to drink in Ontario in Canada is 19 and I was like 18 year olds promoting clubs. They were like, “You can’t even legally be in here.” I got the business. I got the user behavior pretty quickly and was able to build that as a relationship style business, because that’s what entertainment is.
From there I knew I wanted to stay in entertainment and grow this into a major career, but it wasn’t going to be as a nightclub promoter. I was going to leave that within a couple of years and get into other aspects: radio, television, and now to where I am today as a consultant that works with large festivals, and concerts and record labels. I have friends that are still the nightclub promoter and they could make good money but you’re stuck to one local area. You’re at the mercy of the few clubs that are around you, whether you get into bad relationships with the club owners or they start to die out, and it’s just a struggle. I knew I didn’t want to stay in that position. I didn’t want to just be a nightclub promoter. Not to talk down the nightclub promoter at all. They have a great job, lucrative money. I wanted to do something different. That’s where I started.
I always had that longer term goal, so throughout the whole journey I had to use personal branding for myself and figure out how do I level up constantly so that I can keep growing client base, authority, so people look at me as the best promoter or marketer in the industry. It’s fascinating when you’re on Facebook and you get tagged in a completely unrelated group, when somebody is talking about music marketing or nightlife promotions and I get tagged in that. Hey, if you want to, go talk to Louie. You know what I mean? That’s great. That means I’m doing a pretty good job at branding myself as the guy in that space. It’s a journey. You have to know the long term goal and chip away at it.
John: That’s awesome. That’s really cool. One thing that’s interesting to me is you’re not a musician by the sound of it. Do you play anything?
Louie: No.
John: Do you sing? Like nothing.
Louie: I played piano because mom put me in piano lessons, but, no. I’m definitely not. The cool thing is I get the music business really well, and I have a good ear. I could probably be a great A&R rep, someone who works for a label and finds the right sound and develops the artist. I have a great ear for possibly what could be a hit, but as an actual musician, no, I don’t play guitar. I can’t sing, not that I … No. Not well enough at all. I am completely not in that art space. You guys fascinate me with the talent that you have.
John: Interesting. Okay. I think it’s really cool because a lot of people talk about going and doing what they love. Music is one of those classic things that people bring up, like what did you want to do when you were a kid. I wanted to become a rock star or something like that. It is cool seeing and, like you said, meeting people who are … There’s so many ways to do it. You can go and be an artist or you can go and do what you’re doing and do what I do, but do it just in a different industry like the music space, and there’s just so many different journeys or paths you can take which is cool.
Louie: There is. When you’re at a live show, concert and you look back at all the moving parts to that, whether it’s the agent, the manager, the sound technicians, and the venue owner. There’s a lot of moving pieces to that piece of the entertainment industry, and if you can carve out your passion and then go at it, you can make it. I mean entertainment like any business has got its walls up and it’s a tough nut to crack, so to speak, but you always hear the same stories of the never-give-up attitude and the keep moving forward, and that’s true. It’s built to stop you so that the best of the best come through, but when you have the right formulas, that adds to your hustle, and it adds to a little bit of your fire, and you can make it. You can actually get to that goal that you want to get to.
John: I think probably a good corollary to that is that a lot of people get into whatever it is. It might be the music business. It could be the digital nomad, your Four Hour Work Week thing, like whatever people want in life. Because people often think if I work really hard and I want to try this. It doesn’t work out immediately for them, a lot of people give up. You mentioned the formula there. It’s a bit like cooking. I’ve said this about copy writing before. I think you can say this about anything. Whenever you’re trying to get somewhere, like lose weight or get ripped or build a business or get a girlfriend or boyfriend, it’s really you just got to figure out the recipe and if you’re not getting the result that you want yet, the only problem is you just haven’t figured out the precise ingredients yet.
If you figure that stuff out, you’re going to get the result, and so a lot of people give up thinking that they’re just not destined to be this way or that whatever, like there’s some external thing that prevents them from being that, but it’s usually just us.
Louie: Yeah. Absolutely is, and you’re right, it’s usually the tweaking of the ingredients to the recipe. Absolutely. It’s a matter of learning the recipe or recipes. Sometimes there’s several ways to get there or a combination of a few and just learning and then testing for your own, and finding out what works, and then it almost is funny when you step back. For me I work with a lot of different clients, and you as well, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are freelancing who are listening that have several clients, and it’s really weird that sometimes we overcomplicate the recipe a lot. Because we’re having all these moving parts, but it’s cool when you start seeing successes, you’re thinking, “Man, it’s almost like it works over and over and over again because I now learned the recipe.”
When I’m promoting clubs, or I did a lot more nightclub promotion obviously back in the day and have very few, a handful of clubs that I work with now. Most of them are festivals and labels and stuff, but they would struggle and what might help, and how do we do the promotions. I would say, “Look, this is literally the formula I do all the time,” and it works again, and, “Oh, my God. How did that happen?” I’m like, “That’s just how it works. That’s the recipe.” Just like you said, you’re going to bake a pie or whatever it is, this is the recipe. You have to follow it, you know what I mean? If you have that ingredient, so if their bartenders spit in their cups or your music is no good and you’re out of tune type of thing, that’s an ingredient problem but the recipe is still going to work if you fix the ingredients or the product. It’s pretty fascinating.
Funny that you mentioned Four Hour Work Week because out of the billion podcasts I’ve been on usually ask me, “Well, what’s a book you can recommend?” I always mentioned Four Hour Work Week. I really do. I love that book, and it’s not always about, because some of the business owners are like, “Oh, yeah. You can work four hours. Good luck with that.” It’s not about an actual four hour work week. I’m sure you’ve talked about this, it was the message on figuring out your lifestyle and your perceived wealth and outsourcing things you don’t need to do on your own that are redundant tasks that somebody else could do and creating the right life design, and that’s what I got out of that book and how I’m crafting even my own life design in the entertainment industry.
John: Yeah. Much more about designing your dream life in many ways. Let’s go in a different direction now. Talking about personal branding, because I think that there’s going to be people listening to this that, like I said, I’ve sort of redone The McMethod, the website there to focus a bit more on freelance copy writers and people who want to, you know maybe they want to read the Four Hour Work Week, learn how to write copy, for example, and then go and travel the world. I live in Thailand right now. We’re talking about that. They might want to do anything else. There’s copy writers who might live in New York and want to get a cool apartment, but the point is there’s people listening, they want to learn how to write copy or they usually can, because you can learn that stuff on your own time. You just sit down, you read some books. You practice. You can get better. That’s pretty straightforward.
The hard part that people struggle with, and I think this is probably true of anyone who starts a business is how do you get clients. How do you actually, and this is where the personal brand comes in because I think that’s the thing that I ended up doing that worked for me best, was I started calling myself the Autoresponder Guy, which an autoresponder being a sequence of emails that goes out [crosstalk 00:14:03] buy stuff. I came up with that name on my own. No one called me that, but then I just started telling everyone that everyone called me that and then it became a brand or a mythology that then someone would be at a conference and a friend of theirs or someone they’re networking with would say, “I need some email copy.” They’re like, “Oh, man. You should talk to this email copy writing guy, the Autoresponder Guy.”
Even if I wasn’t the best copy writer, I was the most relevant because I’d branded, sort of positioned myself as that, and then it’s just once you’ve got that brand it seems to be very much just you need to get that out in front of as many people as possible. It’s tricky to do. I think that’s the hard thing. A lot of people struggle to understand how do I actually go about, like number one, creating whatever that brand is without being just a me-too brand because I’ve done that. It’s going to be weird if someone, it’s not going to work if someone else just copies my Autoresponder Guy thing and tries to do the same thing. There’s that step, and then there’s the how do I get it out there. You mentioned Huffington Post, but how do I get on podcasts; how do I get guest [crosstalk 00:15:00]; how do I go and get on these huge Huffington Post or entrepreneur.com, or that sort of thing. Tell me about that.
Louie: Absolutely. It’s funny because it’s me coming from the music industry and festivals and live music, it’s a similar problem. I had this conversation today with one of my clients. He’s a hiphop artist and we were talking about you need to come up with a personal brand. What is your story? Because you have great hiphop music but there is this guy beside you that also has great hiphop music, and now you’re also competing with Drake, and Chance the Rapper, and Kanye West who are hiphop artists and super famous. You need to come up with a unique story. For you, as a fantastic example, the Autoresponder Guy, there could be other people that are experts at auto responding, copy, email funnels, things like that, but you came up with a specific brand and now a story behind that.
For the most part I’d like to have clients that, again, talking musicians but this happens with any freelancer, is to sit down and be like what is your core why, like why are you doing this and what exactly is your specific niche expertise within this whole realm of internet marketing, for example, if we’re talking about your listeners. What is it that’s your specialty? There’s nothing wrong with getting some inspiration from other people. That’s okay. Not by taking their name and stuff like that, but to see, “You know what, I really like how,” whoever. Jon Loomer in Facebook ads or Chance the Rapper as a hiphop artist, I like how that guy is family-oriented and give back to the community, and kind of looking at the styles of post they make, but then you have to make that your own. You absolutely have to make it your own.
The first thing that I would do is just figure out your why. My why is definitely helping the underdog. I’m always working with the underdog festival, not the massive fest- … They’re huge because we made them huge, but not the corporate festival. You know what I mean? I love working with the indie labels and the start-up musicians. Yes. I love and would love working with the Universals and the Sonys, but that’s not where my why is to be in that corporate environment, and so that’s kind of where my push comes, and you could tell when we talked earlier about in this podcast, you know what am I selling type of thing. I’m like, “Nothing. I don’t have anything.” I got nothing to sell. If you’re a musician I have courses, but that’s not even your audience so to speak, so that’s my why and you can see that, and that’s where the brand starts.
Then you have to develop that and dig into that, and you might tweak and pivot here and there, but it really comes down to if you have that passion every day, why exactly are you doing it. Forget that you aren’t getting paid. What is the thing that is just driving you and have the most fun, and I have the most fun talking to musicians and podcasters. Like I said earlier, even off the call here, because it’s fun. It’s a lot of fun. I love doing it. I love brainstorming and talking. I’m not getting paid to do this, and I’m not going to get clients out of it. I’m sure I won’t but that’s okay because we’re having fun and it’s great, and I give back whatever knowledge I have from my industry perhaps could help somebody and that’s cool. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s my why without even getting paid. That’s what people have to figure out and then you can create a brand around that.
Now, how do you expose that? I talked earlier about getting on Huffington Post and Forbes and I was on Inc, and I’m a contributor in a whole whack of places now, and it comes from a little bit of hustle, but at the very beginning you might have some assets that you can use, whether it’s your own blog, your own video you put out. Maybe you were on a local blog or a small publication that talks about copy writing or whatever it is. Use that as leverage and start to level up. Level up into the next publication. You want to build an authority piece somewhere, so now when I got into Huffington Post and then got featured in Inc and stuff like that, I can use those articles and advertise to any potential clients: musicians, festival owners. “Hey, look, this is when I got featured in Huffington Post, and here’s an article I talked about.”
It’s not just my blog. If you can start with your blog, but start to level up. When you get other people writing about you, or even if you’re the contributor of the other magazine it looks better. It just looks better. You need to hustle and get into that position, but then you can use that to your advantage and that starts building your brand a lot further because people can see you as an authority figure. It starts to separate you from perhaps the other copy writer that doesn’t have that, or if they do at least your story might be different than theirs because, again, you go back to your core why. They read both Huffington Posts and they will lean on one or the other.
Similar to music, if I go back to that as an example. When I figured out that hiphop artists like Chance the Rapper, fine. This is the kind of post you want to make, but I could build a story around that and start with the local blog, then get up even further. Then get up into 247hiphop.com, use that to my advantage and say, “Hey, thesource.com;” this is a huge hiphop magazine, “look, he got featured in these three. Maybe you want to write a story there?” Because writers need traffic so they need a good story, not a boring pitch, but a good story. When they see other people write about it, it starts to convince them. All that helps expose their brand and get more traffic, so similar idea with any freelancer. They want to level up.
Don’t forget use the ad system, like put those featured articles in your own blog and promote to writers and contributors of Billboard or Inc, entrepreneurs, you know Entrepreneur Magazine, and Forbes, and Influencive, and business.com, and all those ones. Start using the ad system and spend only a few dollars a day because your audience will be tiny, but get those onto your blog to start with, but get those other features out in front of them. It’s going to be a little two-pronged attack: your client base, and more contributors. That’s a great way to start and get the brand rolling, and then of course you can start moving that boulder up the hill from there.
John: Right. There’s a few things there it’d be good to dig into, but I think one thing that would be good for people to understand is this leveling up concept, like no matter how small you are, like you could have no one, you don’t know anyone in, like let’s say you’re a copy writer or you’re a marketing person trying to get into it, like you could know absolutely no one. You’ve never been to a business meetup. You don’t know anyone. You could set up a website, figure out this why, figure out this brand. Don’t call yourself the Autoresponder Guy because it won’t work. Figure out a brand. Set up a website which, I mean there’s so many different ways to do that. You can make a great looking website for free in a lot of cases, and once you have that you then just need to find, like you’re not going to be able to email entrepreneur.com or Forbes.com and get on there right now, but you’re going to be able to find someone somewhere with a small enough blog that just needs content.
They’re going to either have you on the podcast which I only really recommend if you’re good at speaking and good at that sort of thing, or if you want to get good because some people are super awkward and I think it just makes them look worse. That’s something to keep in mind. I think you got to play to your personality. Someone out there is going to give you something and then once you have that one thing, you then take that and like Louie was saying you then go to something that’s a little bit bigger, and say, “Hey, look. I’ve already done this. Now let’s do this.” You can use this. I used this with a podcast. I remember starting off with it was Andre Chaperon and a bunch of internet marketing guys, and eventually when I had move up the food chain and start pitching bigger names, I’d always mention the biggest names I’d had up until that point on the podcast. They would always be one of the first lines in the pitch.
“Oh, by the way I’ve had this person, this person, and this person.” Then I’m trying to make this other person, John Carlton or Perry Marshall go, “Oh, shit. I’d better get on this podcast. It’s pretty good. Man, I’m missing out.” Then you can keep going and it just never really ends.
Louie: It absolutely works that way, and so I see user behaviors a lot in the entertainment industry. I can see how people gravitate to celebritiness and how it works and why people keep in the spotlight, and they liked my tweet. Oh my gosh. Giddy, and all giggling. You know what I mean? I can see that user behavior and that’s the same way across so many industries. It’s so funny. That’s why I love doing these podcasts because it’s just trying to to make it an eyeopener for any business. That celebrity factor on whatever level it is, people love. If you can level up and utilize any of those publications to your advantage or those kind of concepts, it works really well, and it just makes you some sort of authority.
That’s why there was the concept of, and it still works, you write a book. If you write a book, you wrote a book on it even if you’re self-published, you wrote the book on the topic and people respect that. It’s a great business card to have, which is true. It works. Now there’s a million different ways whether it’s podcasting, being a host on a podcast is great, as an expert, write your book, that kind of thing. You just try and continue to outdo your last step, because then, like you said, it’s fairly easy to create a WordPress site or Wix or whatever you want to have and have a blog. What’s the next level, or and the next guy can do that as well? Maybe I’ll utilize that blog and get on Huffington Post. Cool. Now he’s on Huffington Post. Maybe I’ll use that and get on Forbes next. You just level up, and then perhaps you can get on television.
Local news if you’re the news expert, or even if you’re on once, it’s awesome to leverage online, but will you get clients out of that? Perhaps if you have a local business, sure, like an AM station instead of a podcast. Perhaps you want to be the local expert for copy writing or at a business show. Awesome. It’s very local and very restricted audience compared to podcasting, but maybe you will use that as leverage. “Oh, I was on an AM show.” That may sound good to some people and you use that as leverage. These are all assets. I like to build these as marketing assets and keep those with you. If you speak in a room even if it’s a small room, get a couple of pictures. That’s leverage now. Wow, you’ve had a room that you got to speak to. You did a keynote or a workshop. That all adds to that authority and that personal brand, because when you’re trying to get out and get clients they’re looking at all the different assets and what makes you trustworthy/the expert in the field.
Since the internet is the great equalizer and makes the world really small, now people can hire somebody from around the world as opposed to just their local area, and who is the best in Toronto, who is the best in Minnesota or in your city, in Thailand, and now we have a global audience which is awesome, but also there’s a lot of noise and now how do we cut through that and make ourselves rise to the top.
John: On that note I think that, because I was actually thinking about this with the music the other day is that the best opportunities are usually the ones that the less competition. The easiest opportunities are going to be ones that everyone is doing just because they’re easy. They don’t take much time. You’re going to find the best return on probably your investment of time, and energy, and money if you’re spending money, on opportunities that other people either aren’t doing because it’s too hard or just haven’t thought of. In the context of the music I started to ask myself, this is a bit of a confusing question: “What do I not know that I’m not doing that if I did would be incredible?” Another way to-
Louie: Yeah. Then you just sit there and brainstorm with yourself, right?
John: Yeah. It’s weird to think about it, because like how do you figure out what you don’t know that you’re not doing, or how do you figure out what you don’t know that you don’t know. That’s the question. The fact that it’s hard, that it’s a hard question to figure out is exactly what makes the results, if you think of stuff, really really good. With content and this going on podcasts or writing guest posts and doing these things, initially it’s hard to get on Inc. It’s hard to get on Huffington Post, for example, which is why it works well. It’s hard to go and speak in front of 300 people and have a picture of all of that in the photo, because not everyone can do that.
Some of that stuff is going to come later once you’ve built up some momentum and some social proof and all of that. You’re not going to be able to come out of the gate and do that. What you can do out of the gate, and what I’ve done is you can do these guest posts, and you can guest post on a lot of different websites. All websites want content, but the trick is going and looking at the guest posts they usually get and then doing something that’s like five or ten times better. It’s longer. It’s more informative. It’s more detailed. This is a way that you can stand out from everyone else, because most people won’t go to that effort, and as an example of that, I’ve done this twice recently with ReEngager which is an e-commerce email marketing company, website that I set up.
There’s a post on Shopify which is, I mean the average blog post there must be 1,000 words or something, 1,200 words which is a longish blog post. I was like, “Well, I’ll go write something.” I was thinking I’d write two or three. I ended up writing 7,000 words. It’s very actionable. It’s not fluffy. Then I took that and then used that to get a post on the same topic on a site called Digital Marketer which is one of the biggest companies in the digital marketing space. That post became 14,000. I think it’s probably like 16 or 17,000 words actually because we extended it. What ends up happening is then now like these posts which are almost like mini-books or courses have become basically a go-to resource for people with e-commerce sites who want to learn about email marketing. They get shared around. They’re very high in Google. If you go and look up e-commerce email marketing I think the digital marketing one might even be number one.
This is something like I did it, I’ve been doing this for a while. I’m not new. This is something you could do at the very, very, very beginning of the game to stand out and separate yourself.
Louie: Like I mentioned earlier even with my career, you got to look at the long game, really. You just mentioned you’ve been doing it for a little bit, so you’ve got some fantastic posts now on high-end sites and lots of traffic, organic traffic. Somebody starting out who’s thinking, “Man, I’m not going to get on Inc.” First, bad mindset. You can get on Inc eventually, but don’t think of the immediate I’m going to send an email today; I’ll get on Inc tomorrow. Let’s level up and lets work on it. All of a sudden you look back on the past six months or a year and go, “Wow, look at all the stuff I’ve done.” Right? You got to keep chipping away and not just stopping. It has to be consistent, otherwise you stop an eighth of the way up the ladder and you move onto the next thing, and you’re never going to climb that ladder ever. It’s absolutely smart to consider the long game and celebrate the small wins otherwise you’re never going to be happy until you get to the end.
Celebrate the small wins. There’s a little blog post you were on, and they’re not little. The smaller podcasts, like just you can do them all and just keep chipping away at it. All of a sudden things start to grow and, like you mentioned, if you have a niche market then you become the guy, or one of the guys that people will start to tag you in posts. You’ll start to get that organic push and that authority push as opposed to just advertising. You want to have a blend of them all, but you have to consider the realistic goals that you want to hit, and you’ll hit those.
John: Right, and it’s probably worth mentioning too that you can’t just go and listen to this podcast then go and write some posts because this all comes back to why are you doing this, and what’s that story, but also based on all of that what are you trying to achieve here. With the e-commerce stuff I wanted to get people coming in paying a recurring fee for e-commerce email marketing services, so I’m like, “Well, go write a post on Shopify.” They got plenty of e-commerce owners there and Digital Marketer has a few as well. It was all on content: here’s how to do this. Very actionable. At the end I was like we’ll give them templates, because there’s going to be people who read all this and go, “I don’t want to do all this. This is going to take too much time. Can you just give me some templates?”
I said, “Well, if you want to download some templates, go here.” And gave them a landing page. They sign up for the landing page. The next page says, “Here’s your templates, by the way if you don’t want to screw around with these templates we can just do it all for you. Request a free consultation here or use this ROI calculator to check how much of an opportunity there is.” You need to do this. When you’re doing these posts or when you’re doing these ways of promoting yourself there needs to be some kind of funnel that points back somewhere. It’s not a matter of just writing a cool fancy post on five ways to do X. It needs to then flow into the next natural step, and then the next natural step with the goal being that they either buy something, they buy your service or buy your product.
Louie: That’s a mistake that not just, as you’re kind of bringing out, many business owners or freelancers make, but even in my industry musicians and event promoters and owners notoriously just drop posts anywhere. They might be semi-related but there’s no strategy behind them. Even an event promoter, you’re going to drop a post for your Friday night, but what is that post doing? Is it just awareness again? When you post photos of all the guys and girls that were there that week, and that’s awareness, like perhaps you need to strategize do they go for a guest list. Do you want them to send a message for a reason so that you can retarget them? There’s got to be strategy behind it all and some sort of funnel so that you got continuing traffic, continuing engagement, and people will love your brand so that it becomes easier to maintain the ads and maintain the push.
You’re absolutely right. A lot of people have their social media or their blog posts disjointed or there’s no real rhyme or reason other than, “Well I think it’ll get me traffic. They’ll come to my website and they’ll look around and perhaps I’ll get them as a client.” You need to send them through the rabbit hole or through the funnel. You have to hold their hand and bring them through somehow, so you have to strategize everything, but then it starts to work really well.
John: Exactly. I reckon it comes back to this big picture idea, that you can’t just take a piece of this like write a post or go on a podcast. You need to step back and figure out this big picture and then you put the pieces together. For the last year I found this like the most important thing, the thing that powers everything else is this question which you mentioned before, which is you’ve got to figure out why you’re doing it. I used to think, like a few years ago I thought that was really simple. Because the reason this has been such a big thing for me in the last year is because in April I ended up moving back to Thailand to do some music, and to spend most of my time working on music which has been fascinating.
I remember being in Berlin, and I don’t think I’ve fully told this story before on the podcast but I was in Berlin at the time back in, I think, April/March, April. I was working really, really hard to build a business because I thought I’m going to make all this money and then I’m going to go do a start-up maybe in Silicon Valley. At that stage, because that was one thought in my head, because I’d been to an event with some amazing people which had inspired me to do some of that stuff. Then in December, I think, so about a year ago now I stumbled onto this music thing. We can get into it if you want, but that then led into by April I’m like, “Man, I actually just want to do music.” I don’t know where it came from, but I’d been meditating and doing different exercises to try and figure this out. It’s like some part of my subconscious was like, “Yeah.” Like just that feeling that you get when you’re dancing and making music, like that is just like it’s goosebumps.
I’m thinking, “Well, do I need to go and build this business and just work all the time or is there a way that I can then come and do the music?” That was this, I guess, a really deep process of figuring out what do I want to do and why do I want to do it. Am I just building this business to make money and then get somewhere else that I’m not even sure if I want to be at, or is there a … Maybe this is part of it because I’ve been doing this for five years, and you do something for a few years and you’re all excited. Eventually you just maybe you meet that goal. I wanted to travel and I’ve done all of that, and then you got to figure out what’s next, and maybe this is me figuring out what’s next or what’s going to motivate me.
I remember there was this specific moment where I said to someone, I’m like, “I got to make all this money and then at the end of the year I’ll go make music.” He’s like, “Dude, like if you want to make the music, why not just make the music now? Like why do you need the money?” When I started asking that, it’s like I didn’t have a good answer. I thought I needed it, but it was kind of like when I actually looked at the numbers and thought about it, it’s like I don’t. There’s no obvious reason why I have to have all this extra money right now. If I want to do the music I can just go and do it.
Louie: Absolutely.
John: It’s amazing when you dig into the why, but the reason I tell a bit of that story is because it’s not something, I think, I found it’s not something you want to rush. It’s important to get deep into it to ask why are you doing whatever you’re … Why are you working at that job? Why are you dating that person? Why are you going to the gym? Asking why about everything to get at the heart of it.
Louie: Yeah. It seems like maybe it’s just how the systems are set up, whether it’s schooling and parenting and just it’s a similar system, but I think people get stuck in this is the routine and this is what’s acceptable, and what everybody else does, as opposed to like you’re discovering I don’t have to be like that. Why do I have to do this first and then that? I could enjoy the journey and this is good enough here, and still very enjoyable, actually more enjoyable maybe going this route. You’re starting to figure that out. I hear from a lot of especially like club owners or the older label, you know the millennials and they’re entitled, and they’re lazy, or they don’t want to follow the same things, and they all quit their job. I’m like, you don’t understand.
I ride the line on millennials/generation, what is it, X? What’s the next one, Y? What am I Y, X? I’m 39 now so I’m just; a millennial is below me, but riding that line.
John: Maybe X and Y. You’re the X/Y.
Louie: Yeah. X and Y.
John: I think I’m the Y/millennial.
Louie: You’re a bit younger. I could understand because I can see the user behavior when I’m marketing to millennials and younger, even generation Z, but I’m like, “You don’t understand,” to baby boomers perhaps. You guys went through this system and you suffered through perhaps jobs you didn’t even want, for the family because then I’ll retire, and now you’re complaining that retirement isn’t great, either your back hurts, you lost your money in the five crashes that have happened, and another one might happen again, and everyone else is looking at it saying, “Screw that. I’m not going to do 40 years of that. Not happy, making somebody else … ” You know what I mean? Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, but you’re working somewhere and that’s where I’m getting the, even if I’m working at a coffee place or another job. If I’m not enjoying this, I’m out.
Because I got sold a bill of goods, you know, “If you go to school you’ll get the job. If you do this, you’ll get that.” It’s just if it’s not working, it’s very quick to change. You know what I mean? It’s a very different mentality, and I don’t think that the older generations can see that, so me kind of riding the line and seeing a lot of generation Z, because I market to them and study them a lot, I can understand why. You’re right when you tell that story on just do what makes you happy. You’ll figure it out and especially if you’re an entrepreneur, then you can create money out of thin air. That’s what we do.
John: It’s interesting because I feel that you’ve got the crowd that says you got to follow your passion, and then you’ve got the crowd that says, no, don’t follow your passion. Go and just pick something and get really good at it. There’s a book called So Good They Can’t Ignore You, from Cal Newport, which is a good book, but I feel like the conversation gets confusing because I’ve noticed that as you dig into it, people mean different things when they say passion. Because passion can be I’ve got to be really excited all the time, and that sort of thing. When I think about the music, yes I love it, but there’s plenty of stuff I do that isn’t, I wouldn’t say it’s like super exciting. If I’m studying music theory, I understand it’s important to the goal. It makes me a better musician, and it’s fun and it’s enjoyable to get better in that sense, but I’m not sitting there going, “Man, this is so amazing. I can’t wait to dig into the mathematics of mu- … ” It’s not like that.
I would say that I’m passionate about the music, but then other people would be like that’s not how they would define passion, so there’s this, I think, like you said, it’s important, and this is what I, because I used to think, no, don’t follow your passion, because it’s sort of flimsy and who knows what it even is and it doesn’t really lead anywhere, and you don’t make any money. I think to be really effective at anything in life you have to have some kind of deep and maybe deep is the word there, like some kind of deep passion or deep draw or joy that attracts you to doing that thing. If you’re doing something that’s not important to you, that, again, you don’t have any reason why you want to do it, you’re just not going to follow through. You’re not going to be effective at it.
Louie: You’re going to give up, and it’s cool because I’m an entrepreneur, so I follow the same paths that entrepreneurs follow, and it’s cool when I’m trying to grow my own brand in speaking and stuff. I also understand the music side of it because I work in it, but I get how you have to be passionate otherwise you’re going to give up fast because the gigs aren’t there yet. You can have 10,000 spotify listens and get $8 in revenue or whatever it is, and so you need to have a different drive other than just money, and entrepreneurs and business owners are in that same boat where especially when you’re starting or you’re trying to figure things out, you’re doing things that you love and you think it’s going to make great money, but it takes some time sometime, and if you’re not passionate about that then it’s very quick to get discouraged.
There’s a cool bridge between entertainment and a regular entrepreneur, entrepreneurship and business owner, but you’re right if you don’t get that why down or that, and, yeah, if you’re a musician and music theory is kind of boring, but still you’re going to have a certain passion and excitement to keep you going when you have the crap happen to you and when you have no money, because of the passion. It keeps you going. It’s still in there. I think that that’s the one that people still need to figure out just so that when the money does come in might as well be there and not the other side, in something you don’t like. If you can do it, then absolutely try.
John: Right. It’s interesting with business right now and entrepreneurship because it’s so cool. It’s cool to be an entrepreneur at the moment with Silicon Valley and the start-up world and all the billionaires that are coming out of there. Everyone is building a personal brand and I meet a lot of people who have travel blogs, and it’s cool. I think this has only been a recent thing, so it’s interesting like I’ve seen people because I’ve been doing this since 2011, so five years now, and I’ve seen plenty of people come and go. They come out here to Thailand or Berlin, or they come out somewhere. They’ve got six months to figure it out and to build a business, and then they go home and they go back to their job or they go back to something and sometimes it’s because they’ve failed or because they gave up.
I have met people, I can’t remember anyone specifically right now, but I know I’ve met people who have gone, “Look, I tried it. It was good and I see why people like it, but it’s not for me. I don’t want to be an entrepreneur. I don’t want the stress of running a business, of those sorts of things.” Sometimes that’s because maybe they’re not strong enough or whatever, but sometimes I think that’s just not how they want to live and that’s totally cool. What I think people need to keep in mind as they’re trying to become a copy writer or build their business, these sorts of things is like there’s not some God given rule, or there’s not some thing where you have to be an entrepreneur, and the cool thing like or the fact that people think it’s cool, like that’s an illusion. It’s what you want to do, which might be business and might be the good things and the bad things, because there are bad things that come with it, or it might not.
Maybe you’d prefer to go and do music, like right now I’m doing both, business and music. Maybe eventually I’ll just do music, but other people might go what I really want to do is I want to write books, fiction books for kids. It’s like go and do that. Don’t go and do the business, unless there’s a why in there. I just think it’s something that I’ve thought about a lot over the last year because too many people seem to think we do things because we think we should do them.
Louie: There’s a lot of people who, like for the example, the copy writing, that doesn’t want to. It’s not that they can’t do it or they don’t have the guts to do it or anything. Maybe they just don’t want to have, like you mentioned, the stress as an entrepreneur, but they’re great copy writers, but they go get a great job at a publishing house or at a company that hires them and there’s no stress on the paycheck, but they still do what they love and there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s the passion, then that’s great. If you have a different life design where you want to travel all the time, perhaps you can find a job that does that. Maybe you can’t, so you have to do the other side of the struggle and create the life design being an entrepreneur, but there’s no like well then you have failed.
It’s the same we talked about earlier in the music business and entertainment, there’s a lot of moving parts to that. Perhaps you want to be in the music industry. Let’s say for me, I like being an entrepreneur, but I know the business side. I could probably get a job at a record label as an A&R rep or their marketing director, and work in the Universal Music building probably with no problem. That’s cool. I’ll be very happy because I’m doing still what I love and I don’t have to worry about the entrepreneurship. That’s Universal’s, you know what I mean, paycheck that comes down. That’s not what I want to do. I want to be able to work from home, travel, take the wife and kids everywhere, and create, you know hire and fire clients as I see it. That’s what I like to do, but there’s nothing wrong with going the other route.
Maybe not everybody is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Maybe you can’t teach that. Maybe it has to be in you that it’s just a brain setting and it’s, I don’t know. You could teach business. You could teach some entrepreneur knowledge perhaps, but maybe when it really comes down to the house is on fire so to speak, you’re cool with that. You know what I mean? It’s okay because you can figure it out and that’s what you thrive in, and maybe that’s just it. I don’t know.
John: There definitely seems to be, we’ll wrap it up in a second, but there definitely seems to be this, like, yeah, you can learn all the skills. You can learn how to write copy and build a website and network, and all those things are just learnable skills, but it’s almost like you’ve got to be able to … Maybe one of the fundamental things is there’s going to be months when especially when you’re getting started, like you can’t pay yourself, or maybe you lose money, or you can have months when you got one month left in the bank and you’re like, “Shit, I don’t know how I’m going to do this.”
Louie: Not only that, not only is the revenue not coming in, but you have to put out revenue to keep, because then if you stop that and you say, “Oh, well there’s no revenue. I won’t advertise this month.” That’s even worse, because now you have guaranteed probably no clients next month, so now you’re not just because you’re losing money with your rent and food and stuff, but now you’re like, “But I have to inject perhaps $2,000 in ads to get these clients coming in.” Now you’re jumping off the cliff without a parachute. There’s a lot.
John: Right, and so it’s hard. Some people are going to be able to handle that, and a lot of people aren’t, and it’s not that it’s a good thing if you can and it’s a bad thing if you can’t. I think having that value judgments, like that’s not helpful. It’s just that some people are good at it, and the people who … Like I don’t really think I’m very [inaudible 00:45:06] to be an employee because I’ve tried that and I don’t last very long before I get really lazy and demotivated and just not really enjoying it and that sort of thing. That’s not something that I choose to make happen. It just happens, and so I could fight against but it wouldn’t make me happy, and it certainly wouldn’t make the employer happy, so the best thing that I found for me is to do what I’m doing, to follow these natural urges, and so I think that it’s a bit like that.
You’ve got to figure out where do you fit, where makes the most sense for you based on what you want to do and your personality, how your brain works, and your ability to handle pressure, and all of that. None of it’s good or bad. There’s just all the stuff that’s not good for you and all the stuff that is, and go and do the stuff that is.
Louie: Yeah. Some people do both depending on where they are in their life. Some people work in a great executive position or a job for many years and decide, “Boy, I have lots of experience. I can go out and consult now. I have maybe some money, or it’s easy for me to jump into consulting now with my own business because I have the experience and I have the confidence.” Some people go the other way. They do entrepreneurialship and it’s a great run, and then they just maybe get, they just get … You know what, I don’t chase for clients, and it’s cool. I’m done staying at home. I want to go into the work environment and have coffee and joke around, and I now have all the experience too, so I can get hired, just like I just said. I can get hired by probably a record label very quickly.
It just depends what you want, and it’s like you said, not good or bad. It’s not like, “Well, you’re not an entrepreneur. You suck.” Or, “Ha ha. You work in a cubicle. Ha ha you can’t pay your bills and I get a paycheck.” It’s none of those. It’s really a matter of what you want, and that really is that millennial mentality which I would say, I don’t know if there’s baby boomers listening, but I think that’s the disconnect where boomers and maybe the older generation Y is kind of pointing down at: “Hey, that’s not right. That’s not fair.” It’s just a different mentality, and they don’t understand each other’s brains, and I think that’s kind of where that comes from. I think just deciding whatever point in your life what’s best and what makes you happy is really important.
John: I love it. Let’s wrap it off here. I think that’s a good note to end on. Before we go though, if people want to learn more about you or hit you up, send you an email, tweet you, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Louie: Absolutely. Obviously on my website I list all the podcasts I’m on, of course, and my own blog is there. That’s louielavella.com, which is L-O-U-I-E-L-A-V-E-L-L-A, and I’m absolutely all over social media, of course, and that’s all the usernames is Louie La Vella, so Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, all those fun ones. Mostly Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. Those three are the main ones I’m on all day long every five seconds, and it’s all @louielavella, of course. Yeah. Thank you so much. I really appreciate everybody listening.
John: Yeah. Thanks for coming on the show man. I’ll have links to all of that in the show notes at themcmethod.com. Louie, it’s been good man. Thanks for coming on the show.
Louie: Thank you so much.
John: Hey, everybody, thanks for listening. If you want to discover more insider tips, tricks, and secrets about driving sales with email marketing sign up for daily email tips from the Autoresponder Guy. Go to dropdeadcopy.com/podcast, sign up, confirm your email address, and I’ll send you daily emails on how to improve your email marketing and make more sales via email. You’ll find out why open rates don’t matter, and the seven letter word that underlies all effective marketing and much more.

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