Jeff Walker Interview: How to get started with launching
I’ve got something a little different for you today on the Chill and Prosper podcast.
I have a very special guest on the show - someone I really admire and one of my mentors, Jeff Walker.
We got together to do an episode about launching because so many people try and tell me that launching is DEAD, and I know that is simply not true.
I’ve been able to help so many people and make a lot of money by using online launches to grow my business. So I’m bringing you this new interview with the guy who invented launches and who I follow to stay up to date with what’s working in launching today.
In this episode, you'll learn:
- How Jeff got started with launching 25 years ago
- Why storytelling is the secret to nailing a launch
- How to make your marketing cut-through the noise of a competitive industry
- How I still use Jeff’s Product Launch Formula in our launches
I know we’ve been talking a lot about launching at the moment, but today’s episode is a chance to hear more about Jeff’s story and get sneak peak at what he’ll be sharing in his upcoming Live Launch Masterclass.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend Jeff will be hosting live classes to teach you how to launch, which type of launch is right for you and what’s possible for your business when you learn the step-by-step process.
This is going to take away the complexity, overwhelm and fear around launches and get you set up for a great 2023.
This is honestly some of the BEST free training available - well over 10 hours of live teaching straight from the guy who invented online product launches.
Click here to register for the Live Launch Masterclass
CLICK HERE TO READ ↓
Speaker 2: Hey there, friends, it's Denise here, and today's episode of Chill and Prosper is a little bit different. I have a very special guest, Jeff Walker, [00:00:30] and we got together to do an interview about launching because so many people try and tell me that launching is over. Launching is dead, launching doesn't work anymore. And I know that's not the truth at all. I have helped so many people, I've made so much money with online launches and Jeff is the guy to help us to do that. So I hope you enjoy this very special interview with Jeff Walker. Take it away.
Speaker 3: [00:01:00] Hey guys, it's Denise here and I have an amazing guest on today to talk about launching. Um, it is the fabulous Jeff Walker, who is the granddaddy, the king of launching. Hi Jeff.
Speaker 4: Hey, how you doing Denise?
Speaker 3: I am so good. It's so good to talk to you. And as I showed you before, I have, um, my Durango mark from when, um, my husband Mark came over to visit you, um, where you live and yeah, [00:01:30] he had such a great time visiting you, talking about business and launching.
Speaker 4: Yeah, it was great having him out here. I mean, it was awesome. Awesome.
Speaker 3: So how did you get started talking about launching? Where, when did that first come up for you as like, this is gonna be my thing?
Speaker 4: It's funny, Denise, cuz I think I spent, um, probably about six or seven years doing launches before I even started calling them launches. Uh, you know, those familiar with my, well, no, they're probably not familiar with my story. [00:02:00] I started as a stay at home dad and that was back in the nineties. Um, I was, it wasn't like I sold my.com for $30 million and we, it was just my wife graduated from grad school, she got a job. I was in the corporate world. Things were not going well for me in the corporate world. I left that job, uh, to stay home, to raise my, my son, who was a year old at the time. And then a couple years later, or three years later, we had a, uh, uh, my daughter. So then I was home with a couple kids and, [00:02:30] um, it times were tough and I was looking for some type of change in my life, some way to help contribute to the family.
Speaker 4: We were, we were just squeaking by on one salary, my wife's salary. And, um, I started publishing an email newsletter about the stock market. Even though I had no credentials, it was just something I'd studied and I knew about. And I, I gradually built up an email list for a free, this free email newsletter that I was publishing. And at some point I'm [00:03:00] like, I, you know, maybe I can sell these folks something. I had several hundred people getting this newsletter, but I was scared to ask for the order. Um, I was scared. I thought if I, if I asked 'em for money, if I made an offer to them, they wouldn't like me anymore. And I didn't know how to do it. I, I didn't know how to sell. I didn't know how to market. I had no experience with that whatsoever. Uh, so I started to romance them even though I'd been giving them a free newsletter.
Speaker 4: I started turning, went to this massive romance [00:03:30] bone where I gave them more and more and more value and that, and then eventually I felt good enough about asking for the order. And, uh, I sent, this was in 1997 when I actually did that first launch. And back then I, we couldn't take credit cards over on the internet because it was like really complicated to do something like that. So I, I sent them an email and I said, If you want to get this, this upgraded version of this newsletter, print this out, put [00:04:00] a check in the mail and send it to me. And, uh, crazily enough, it, a few of them did. And I I did that, that first launch was, uh, for $1,650. And this is something, Yeah. You know, everyone's got a different framework. That's huge. Yeah. Everyone's a different for money.
Speaker 4: So some people are like, whatever, I, I mean, it's $1,650 wouldn't get me very excited. For me, I was just about doing back flips. Um, my, you know, my whole goal at that time was if I could make $10,000 [00:04:30] in a year, it would change our family's fortune. Absolutely. In a few days I'd made $1,650. And I mean, I'd built up to it for a long time. So it wasn't like, just like that. But at that point I had this thought that, well, if I, if I did this once, I can do it again and I can do it again and I can do it again and I might even get better at it. And, and that's what happened. And, um, I'm gonna make a long story short, and this is gonna sound like it happened overnight, but it [00:05:00] did, and it took me years to figure this stuff out.
Speaker 4: But I gradually got better and better. And then the second launch did $6,000, which was an astronomical launch. Oh my God. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah's probably the only time in my life I've done four x on a launch over the prior launch. But, um, eventually about, I don't know, it was in 1998, I did the launch that brought my wife Mary home, that where she was able, we were able to start talking about her quitting her job and being, [00:05:30] working with me to build us full time. And then 98, that was a $34,000 launch. Wow. And then, uh, she then Mary is home with me and, and helping me with the kids and help me with the business. And, and a few years, it, it was, I think it was 2000 I did, we wanted to buy a home and we needed a down payment. So I did another launch that did over a hundred thousand dollars in a week.
Speaker 4: And it just kept on growing. And then in 2005, I started teaching people how to do [00:06:00] this. I went, I went to a marketing conference, actually it was in oh three. And I realized that other people weren't doing these types of launches at that point. I, I assumed everyone was doing what I was doing, but no one was. And so I started teaching it in 2005 and that's when things just took off. And, um, it, it's been insane since, since then. My student, I've been teaching continually since 2005, how to, how to do these launches and, and by a launch it's like where we [00:06:30] design you, you, you design your marketing so you deliver a lot of value before you even ask for the order. So people are incredibly excited. You build up a lot of momentum. You, you, you've built up a lot of excitement and anticipation for the launch. So then your marketing almost feels like education and entertainment instead of where p few people feel like they're being sold.
Speaker 3: Absolutely. And okay, I've gotta, I gotta ask you cuz this is really, um, cuz it's unusual for the dad [00:07:00] to, to be the stay at home parent, right? It still is today, let alone then. So when Mark came into my business, he was, um, he was really reluctant to do it for a while because he was almost saying, What, what am I gonna tell people that I do for a living? You know, like when we're at a barbecue and someone says, What do you do? Like, he was like, What am I gonna tell people? Because even, you know, back, which was only four or five years ago, [00:07:30] it was like, eh, So was that unusual? Like, were people just sort of saying like, you're the state home dad? Like, what?
Speaker 4: It was incredibly weird because that was in it that, and it wasn't a brief thing for me. It was like from 1990 until Mary quit her job in, in the summer of 99. So it was, it was weird. Um, people, it made people even uncomfortable being around me and around us and we had a hard time having [00:08:00] friends and, and yeah, no, it was, it was just weird.
Speaker 3: I mean, even now Mark's like, there's no change table in the dad's restroom. Like there's no, you know, nuts years and years later. But the other thing that caught my attention there is, um, when my business started making money, I would say to Mark, I think, you know, why don't you quit your job? You can do whatever you want. I wasn't saying come and work with me. But, [00:08:30] um, he was so reluctant to do it because he just thought it was a fluke. You know, especially when you do those launches and you have these kind of big bits of money. And so I remember him saying, Well, when your business is making, you know, 250,000 and then 500,000. And then he was like, Well, when your business is making a million, cuz that felt so like huge. And so I was like, I'm gonna do it. And then it, you know, when I did a million, he was still like, But I don't know if this is sustainable [00:09:00] <laugh>, you know, Was your wife a little bit like that? Like, yeah, okay, cool. You've done it once. Okay, you've done it twice. Okay, you've done it three times. But I don't know, or was she just really excited to, you know, to quit her job?
Speaker 4: She was, uh, I think Mary, so it was like, so 97, It's funny, I had that goal and I think so much of this ties into the work you do, but I had that goal in 97 of $10,000 in a year, and that's about almost exactly what we hit was $10,000 in that year. [00:09:30] And then my next goal was to make more than Mary was making. And, and in 98 is when I, I just barely exceeded what she was making at that time, which, you know, I think was $60,000 or something like that. I, I can't remember the exact number. And, but at that point we're like, Oh, that's pretty interesting. And so we decided Mary would go halftime, She would, she would cut it back to half time. We'd still get health insurance, We'd still, you [00:10:00] know, and we weren't spending a cent of the money that I was making.
Speaker 4: So all that a hundred percent was going into savings, didn't spend a cent. Um, that at one point in 98, we, for the first time in our lives, we bought some furniture. We bought a couch and, and, uh, four kitchen chairs. That was the first time we met, spent money in furniture and, um, but otherwise saving everything. And, but she tried to go halftime and she was an engineer, so I mean, she had a good job. And [00:10:30] the people at her company said, Sure, you can go halftime. But we learned that halftime meant their payer half as much, but they still expected her to work just as much. And so after about six months of that, and then the business was continuing to grow and you know, 98 was over a hundred thousand and 99 was clearly trending toward 200,000, which was insane money for us at the time. And we were like, she was just ready to be done. She was, she was ready. And, [00:11:00] you know, as soon as she came home and started helping me out, all of the stuff started to grow. You know, it was like I wasn't doing customer service and I wasn't doing the admin and I wasn't doing the accounting. So, Yeah.
Speaker 3: So when you started, um, I mean the technology has changed so, so, so much, you know, and it's funny that you got started with people sending you checks in the post. Um, my first e product was 2004 and it was an ebook. I couldn't even [00:11:30] sell that myself because the file was so big back then. You couldn't just email it to people. There was no Dropbox, there was no, you know, easy way to do it. So I had to go through, you know, like an ebook broker, even as a self-published person. And then my 2009, that was my first kind of group program lodge. I had one person on that. I was very proud. But even then, like I had to use a Typepad blog, one password for everybody. [00:12:00] Um, so difficult doing the technology. So I mean, you would've seen things shift and change so much. And I think almost people now, it feels like you're saying to people, you know, when I was a kid I had to walk in snow to school <laugh>.
Speaker 4: Yeah.
Speaker 3: But it kind of is true. You kind of go, Oh my God, you can just drag and drop your course thing. You can, you can use your phone and have better quality videos than, than we did for decades. [00:12:30] It's so easy. Like what was the hardest thing for you in like actually doing the technology of your launch and delivery?
Speaker 4: Yeah, I, I think the hardest thing was, was the initial setting up credit cards, figuring out how to get credit card payments. That was, it was just really rugged. That was hard. Um, building a webpage, it's like that used to have to do that. You used to have to build webpages. And
Speaker 3: I had, and literally I remember googling how [00:13:00] to center a photo in HTML <laugh>.
Speaker 4: It was unbelievable. Yeah, absolutely crazy. Yeah.
Speaker 3: And who did that? Did you do that?
Speaker 4: I, yeah, I, I fumbled my way through. I remember that putting a photo on a webpage and I just wanted to put a graph of the stock market and a webpage. I remember driving to the local Best Buy, which is like, you know what, an electronic store, I don't know if you have them, but driving there and looking at all the software on the shelves and finding some software that was [00:13:30] about like how to, you know, create, uh, an image. And it was like then drove home, spend like a week figuring out how to put that. Yeah.
Speaker 3: Literally it was so hard. <laugh> And the bandwidths too. I remember like, you would have like, you know, 20 extra people visit your webpage and the whole thing would just die. Yeah.
Speaker 4: It was so hard. It was crazy. I mean, it, it, it was, but the, the, the, the flip [00:14:00] side was that people were forgiving when things went wrong. You know, they didn't expect perfection back then, but Yeah, no worries.
Speaker 3: Exactly. So obviously things have shifted and changed so much, and we know that it doesn't matter what the format's gonna be in the future, in 10 years time, we, we'll be hologram, you know, our pre-launch sequence into people's lounge rooms, right? It's, that's where it's, that's where it's going. Right. But the storytelling piece, especially of pl f [00:14:30] that's timeless, right? Like forever will be telling stories, helping people with solve problems.
Speaker 4: Absolutely. You know, I remember one video it, when I first saw my first online video, and I started to get worried because I was like on my, this clearly if I put on my, you know, just like you, you said, like with holograms and VR and all that stuff, that's all coming and we can sit and get scared about it, but the reality is there's gonna be tools [00:15:00] that make it all easy to do. So I was scared about video, but I didn't need to be because it all became super easy. You know, I mean, it, it, we all are walking around with the best video camera ever in our pockets, and we can upload it directly to YouTube. And so the tools will be there if someone wants to be online in business, what you have to be good at is the actual putting together an offer that people will, will, will value, and then being able [00:15:30] to communicate the value of that offer.
Speaker 4: And, um, the, i I think the way to cut through the noise of the marketing in the industry, you know, whatever, no matter what niche or market you're in, no what language or country you're in, the competition is crazy. And it's only gotten crazier in the last two years. And the way to cut through that is with great marketing. And you don't have to be an amazing salesperson [00:16:00] because these days, authenticity and congruency win and being able to put together a great offer that serves your people wins and being able to tell the story, really what you're telling, you're telling the story of your prospect's future really is what you're doing. Um, the whatever you're selling is you're selling a transformation in their lives. You're actually going, you're either gonna take away pain or [00:16:30] give them more pleasure no matter what. It comes down to one of those two things.
Speaker 4: And so you're, you're selling a transformation, whether it's a better, a better golf swing or a better relationship with their loved one or losing weight or a greater income or better investing, or that they can have a meditation practice or they can speak another language. You're offering a transformation to them. And at the end of the [00:17:00] day, it's really, I like to think about you're telling the story of their future yourself, and you're doing it in a fun way and non boring way. And that will, will always cut through the noise and attract the people, the, the right people to you. So yeah, stories are, are are, they're, they're, they're how humans have communicated since the beginning of time.
Speaker 3: I have to tell you, I really feel like I needed to hear that today, <laugh>. I really did. [00:17:30] No, I'm not even, because it's so much work putting together a launch. Like it's so much work. And when we're recording this, I'm like in it, right? And so that's why I'm like feeling like, oh, cause I sometimes you forget that it is about that transformation, especially since the thing that, that I've noticed since I've been launching is how much people think that social media is the, is the thing, you know, it's like, how many views on TikTok can I get? How many views on Instagram can [00:18:00] I get? And that's where people start to feel like there's so much noise because we feel like that's the business of entertaining people for clicks and to remember. And it's so good that you said that because like we're, we're in the real messy bit of putting together all of the logistics of a launch and it's like, it's a slog <laugh> it is.
Speaker 3: And then to remember like, oh, it's not about the slog, it's about the transformation. Um, and I have to [00:18:30] tell you my emotion. You're gonna laugh and cry at this and I will absolutely submit a case study for you, right? So, um, <laugh>, so you obviously, you know, um, Kendall Summerhawk who, um, is, you know, one of my great mentors, so I'm certified in her secret money archetypes method. And um, there's eight archetypes and it's all about money archetypes. So the first time I launched, um, a course around that, it was just me as [00:19:00] Denise sitting and talking to each of the archetypes. And this time I had the great idea to do eight different launch paths, um, one for each archetype. So you, oh my god, Jeff, I'm gonna cry. It's so hard. So, you know, you do the three, three videos and then a fourth video.
Speaker 3: So I decided to do a fourth video, but for every archetype, Jeff, so that's four times eight. And I did a separate set. So a very styled set. So [00:19:30] for example, one of the archetypes is the nurturer. So there's like a full set, there's cookies and cake and tea behind me. There's every archetype had a specific mug. I needed four outfits for each archetype, plus doing the course videos. So I ended up with 50 different outfits. Um, it was <laugh>, it's so much one. And then putting the course together, there's only like six lessons, but that's [00:20:00] six times eight. So my web designer is like freaking out because of course I've gone, you know, I'll, I'll try and make the lessons very similar on the page, but I've had to say to her, Well, let's do one of the archetypes first because then we can duplicate them.
Speaker 3: But if we duplicate them too early and I've spotted a mistake, we have to change it in eight different places. <laugh> and then poor Mark Mark's putting together all the emails, having to do it times eight, Jeff. Right? [00:20:30] So now that I've gone through that and I've done it all with lf, like I've literally, when I wrote the scripts, I went back to the material. I was like, What's in each video? But of course then I had to duplicate that eight times because even the way that I did the, you know, I was like, you know, hi accumulator, I'm so happy to see you. But then the nurturer was like, Hi nurturer. It's so wonderful to have Olivia <laugh>. I had to go and like change all the bits [00:21:00] and I'm so thankful I had PLF to just to go back to and go, What's in this video? What's in the next video? What goes in the email? What goes in the next email? And every time I kept on like trying to go outside the premises of that, I'd be like, Hang on, let's go back to pl f what does Jeff say to do? So I'm super grateful for that. But also, I don't think any of your students have ever done eight launches in one before.
Speaker 4: No, [00:21:30] no, no. A few, like, I, I did one once, you know, we, I sort of have like more like four or five, what we call avatars different. You know, it's, it's the person who is, doesn't have a business going at all. They're just starting out. They just, ah, boy, I'd love to have, be able to teach this online. I'd love to have an online business or someone who already has a business or someone who's a coach or a consultant, um, or someone who's an artist of some [00:22:00] sort or someone who just wants to do launches for other people. And so I got like those five, but I would just do a separate like intro, like a one minute intro speaking to them and that, that, that made it complicated enough. So yeah, no, you get the hero award for
Speaker 3: It makes me, it was so much fun, Jeff, honestly, like I really, when I was in that costume with the set, and I'll send you photos of it cuz it's, I was really proud of it, but I, I spent literally two months [00:22:30] going to thrift stores buying things on marketplace, you know, like even the rings, you know, like for the connector, I've got a heart ring, I've got like a BFF necklace for the nurturers. When I interviewed my nurturer group, every single person had a cat come into their video when I was interviewing them. So I had like a cat mug, I had a little cat necklace, I had, you know, earrings that had little hearts on them. Um, it [00:23:00] was so much fun, but I really felt when I sat in that set, I felt that energy and I felt so connected to them. And then I would take off that costume and jump into the next one and I was, I felt like a different person again. And um, but you know what? I've seen all your videos. You get to just wear a shirt, man, that's not fair.
Speaker 4: <laugh> guys have it easier. Guys have it so much easier.
Speaker 3: You get up, you can just put a bit of gel in your hair, put on a blue t-shirt and you're [00:23:30] like, Hey guys. So I really, I really put myself in that and even Mark, I was like, Mark, um, you need to go get a hundred dollars. You need to go get to this lady's house and you need to pick up something. He's like, What am I picking up? I'm like, don't ask any questions, It's for the celebrity set. Let's not talk about. So I think, um, we were all a little traumatized I think by that experience, but PLF made it so much easier. So thank seriously, thank you. And um, I can't wait [00:24:00] to send you all the photos for that for um, cuz I'd love to be a case study for a pl f cuz as you know, we, Mark and I have, um, you know, we've used PLF for many years now.
Speaker 3: We're such a advocate of your program. Obviously we're an affiliate and a partner. And, um, and for those of you who are watching, Jeff has a new video series out, if you go to denise dt.com/p l s as in product launch formula, um, we'll have all of the links, um, there. And of course we do a [00:24:30] bo a bonus as well if you go on and decide to purchase pl f through our link after the free video series. But honestly, Jeff gives so much value in that free video series. Um, every year people just say thank you and they've just blown away by how much you do and your, you know, your videos are just so informative and you just give so much away, which is role modeling what the program is, right, is the give, give, give, give value, and then you make an offer a really easy, and I've never seen anything from you that's [00:25:00] sleazy or, um, you know, anything that I would, that is a red flag for me. And that's why we, we are, um, you know, such committed partners with working with you because we know that you're always gonna give good advice and give it good advice to our community too. So thank you.
Speaker 4: Yeah. Well you're welcome. No, it's been great partnering with you over the years. Um, love we just have and all your folks come in and it's, you know, their whole process is super interactive and so we get to hear from all your [00:25:30] raving fans and all of our comments. So it's been great.
Speaker 3: Well, I love seeing, um, our lucky be community in your group for sure. And I, it just makes me so happy when I see them, um, share their successes, say thank you. And again, everybody that is a go-to denise dt.com/ps and thank you to my wonderful guest, Jeff Walker. Thanks, Jeff.
Speaker 4: You're welcome.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to Chill and Prosper.
About the Show
Chill and Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.
Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.
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