Online Influence and Advice from
Steve Olsher has reinvented himself many times over from catalogs to selling on Compuserve and an
Richard: Hey, what’s happening, Jesse?
Jesse: It’s a good day Richie, how about you?
Richard: I’m excited. I’m excited, I get to turn the mic on someone today. Our guest is full disclosure is a friend of mine actually do another podcast with Steve Olsher.
Jesse: So now you get to ask the difficult questions of him that…
Richard: Yeah, put him on the spot. But the thing is, I also know, we don’t have to do a lot of talking, because this guy, he’s a podcaster too, so he can talk for a long time, but you think you and I have been in the
Steve:: 93, Yeah.
Richard:: Yeah. All right, so let’s just get straight to the point, let’s bring on Steve Olsher — friend, buddy and influencer extraordinaire. How’s it going Steve?
Steve:: Good. Thanks for having me. Good to see you, yes.
Richard:: We are excited. So, you know, we talk a lot, our audience obviously is
Steve:: Would you classify that as super fun stuff?
Richard:: (Laughing) Yeah, super fun stuff, yes you’re right all the sarcasm in my, but… Why we wanted to bring you on board, actually a couple of reasons, but the main reason was, knowing that you can place an ad and, that ad can drive you traffic, that’s great, but when you have influence and you have an audience, that can live on and they’ll follow you, as you know they’ll follow you to do many things from…
Steve:: It keeps driving traffic after the ads are over.
Richard:: Ads are long gone now. So, let’s give them a little bit of a brief story, because I kind of obviously alluded to it, you’ve done
Steve:: So, if you’re asking me to go
Richard:: People did that? (Laughing)
Steve:: I know it seems so hard to believe, but yeah that was the embryonic stage of the business that we ended up launching on CompuServe’s electronic mall in 93. So, basically, what that company did is, just like to view the FTD is for flowers, where if you’re in California and your buddy closed a big deal in New York and you want to send him a bottle of, you know, champagne or something like that or in the case of flowers you want to send him a bouquet of flowers, which of course is exactly what you do to a guy, who just close to big deal in New York (laughing.) But, basically, they would use their local florist to deliver that probably well we would use local liquor stores to deliver wine and champagne and spirits etc.. So, that company, which was called Liquor by Wire ended up launching a store on CompuServe’s electronic mall in 93 and really I just looked at it from the standpoint of, it’s another vehicle for exposure. I mean, that’s really all I was looking at it as in terms of, well maybe a catalog is really expensive, I mean, to the tune of, I don’t remember off the top of my head, but between printing, and mailing, and, you know, the shipping services like everything that went into that, it was probably a buck per catalog, right, to try to mail it out.
Richard:: The original pay per click.
Steve:: The original PAYPER, right. Yeah that’s good right. So, this was just an opportunity I thought to get an equal number of people with their eyeballs on what it is that you’re doing for a heck of a lot less money. And, so, in the grocery store, like most of us at that point in time where you’re walking out the checkout, you know, the checkout aisles and you see the disks, there at the counter, you get the CompuServe’s and the AOL’s and the Prodigy’s, right. I mean, it’s those other products.
Richard:: I forgot they got the sound effects, like ding.
Steve:: And it was those, you know, those types of days, I mean, with, I’m trying to think, but I think the first modem that I had was actually not the 14 4, because I remember that was an upgrade. So, it may have been the 72 100, but modem I think it was the original
Richard:: Pornography, yeah!
Steve:: Exactly. So, he got to the point where, you know, I would be able to tell pretty much if I was trying to download a picture of a woman, I could tell pretty much by her eyebrows, if I wanted to keep letting it go line by line. So, I became quite the eyebrow aficionado at that point. But, now I don’t know the eyebrows don’t work, so we stopped that picture. But, you know, it’s funny looking back on it. It’s crazy, that we were able to do anything online, given how slow everything was. I mean, like it would literally take in of course, you know, sort of being facetious about the eyebrow thing, but reality is for us to put up some bottles of wine or abolish champagne or something like that for somebody to download a picture of it. I mean, it would take every bit of two minutes for a single image, right, of a bottle of wine to load. So, that’s how far it goes back. But I knew that I knew that this whole Internet world, whatever it was going to be, was going to be something massive, because, you know, just how else can you communicate with people across the globe, like, you couldn’t do it. There was literally no way for the average person in a room, in the middle of, in this case that was living in Chicago. There were no real ways for me to communicate with people across the globe easily and cost effectively and so, I just knew I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I knew that there was something there we had to take a look at.
Richard:: A lot of people, kind of, they knew what was coming, but what shape or form that was going to be, it was kind of like uh. And this is pre, you know.
Richard:: You got to play by their rules like.
Jesse:: Kind of like, sort of like Facebook has their walled garden now, like if they kick you out, you’re gone.
Richard:: And you obviously could. You saw a bit into the future, because this, I mean, everybody during the dotcom time, when people are, you know, getting a
Steve:: Well, 95 was the first year that we put an actual website, online. And we built Audi. We had to
Richard:: Especially to our listeners, because they can just put a snippet of code on a WordPress site to get a shopping cart.
Steve:: You know, it’s crazy, but I mean, like, literally, we had three people on our tech team who had to literally create everything from scratch, just so that somebody could click on a bottle of wine and order that by putting it into a shopping cart to then provide the billing information and the receiver information, and, you know, God forbid, the credit card information, we taking credit cards online at that point was not what it is today by any stretch, I mean, that was, like, you had to jump through some serious hoops like fill out pages, and pages, and pages, and pages for an application to get a merchant account and then integrate all of those pieces together.
Richard:: Not to mention the people that are afraid to put that card into the computer.
Steve:: Yeah, exactly.
Jesse:: And you’re selling booze too…
Steve:: Yeah, I mean it’s in the vice space. So, there were a lot of interesting hurdles that we had to get over there and a lot of obstacles in the way, but the truth is that when we launched our our first
Richard:: Who knew books would be the entry point instead of booze.
Steve:: Yeah, right. Yeah. It’s crazy what’s happened obviously over there, but those were some fun days, you know, reality is those were some fun days, that store that we launched on CompuServe electronic mall in 93, that eventually became its own standalone site in 95. That company Liquor by Wire became liquor.com, when I bought that domain in 98 and those were some interesting years, 98 through 2000 or early 2000, I mean, things were just absolutely booming.
Richard:: What did you get that for again?
Steve:: 75 hundred bucks.
Richard:: 75 hundred bucks.
Steve:: A time at the time it was a big spend. Yeah, you know, I mean we got liquor.com and bourbon.com in that same fell swoop there and 75 hundred bucks was a lot, I mean, it was one of those leaps of faith where it’s, like, Jesus, do we spend that money? I mean, like, even today as I think about 75 hundred bucks for an outlay on something like yeah you still got to stop and think about whether or not that’s something you want to do. Yes, 98, you know, it’s not really good on the inflation numbers I don’t know what the exact numbers would be, but, you know, figure it’s probably 15 to 20 k or something 20 something years ago right and in terms of today’s dollars, and that will cause you to at least pause for a moment and say: Hey, is this something that’s actually going to make sense.
Richard:: Yeah. So, wow. I mean, I know enough about you we could literally sit here and talk for days, but I don’t want to put you through that and I don’t want to put our listeners through that right now, but I’m trying to think of, so it ends up being liquor.com. You’ve moved on since then although you still do own liquor.com.
Steve:: I mean, lots of iterations since then, so March of 2000, we actually had the S1 filed and we were ready to go public. And that was the beginning of the end for Nasdaq and the markets in general at that point, right, so that was the first, that was really the first big crash, doesn’t get as much attention as the Great Recession, but what happened in the tech space was as much of a depression as I think you’ll ever see, I mean, that was Nasdaq 55 hundred at that point and within a matter of maybe a week, two weeks, three weeks, whatever it was, I think the Nasdaq was down to, like, 22 hundred points. Something like that. It was, I mean, it was a huge hit and obviously we didn’t get out we weren’t able to go public and we had brought in outside managers, they lettered Saviour’s, that Wall Street wanted to see, you know, the CEOs and CMO, CFO, CTOs, all those people. And when we couldn’t go public it just became really clear that the management that we had brought in to help bring us to this
Jesse:: A million bucks?
Steve:: 4.25, 4.25 yeah, just for the domain.
Richard:: So, now that 75 hundred dollars didn’t sound too bad.
Steve:: Pretty good. We’ll take that return all day long. But, yeah, that was interesting too, because the guy made the first few payments and then he bailed on the rest. So, I kept the money and I kept the domain.
Jesse:: So, even better.
Richard:: I’ve never asked you this, but those first few payments more than the 75 hundred?
Steve:: Oh yes, substantially more.
Richard:: Yes. So you got it back and you got the domain back.
Richard:: Yeah, good, you got paid for that domain.
Steve:: So and then some, yeah. And, so, I don’t have any day to day with it right now. But we did put together a team that runs it out of San Francisco. And so as of 2009 I’ve had that that partnership in place and, this is a team running out of San Fran interestingly enough as far as this show is concerned, would you believe, this will kill you guys. So we get about 40 million uniques to the site yearly. I want to make you think that’s daily or weekly or monthly. So that’s yearly right now. Now we’ve got one of the world’s largest databases if not the world’s largest database of bartenders and we’ve got about 4 million active subscribers right now on the site. Number one number two in any SEO search you can think of. And we don’t sell a damn thing on the site.
Richard:: Not even a damn cocktail spoon.
Steve:: Yeah, exactly. Believe me it pains me too.
Richard:: Well, it’s all right. Well, we’ll continue that conversation to see if we can.
Jesse:: We might have to go maybe some happy hour lunch here and convince you something.
Steve:: All we need is a few good listeners to throw together some cash. Let’s go get that bad boy and call it a day. All the pieces are there.
Jesse:: Just as the phone lines open.
Richard:: So, you’ve done a few other things since then and we’ll kind of fast forward, you’ve done real estate development, you’ve done multiple things and you still sell things online. It’s just not as much a widget these days. You have courses and you help people do things that online education. From the world of influence and specifically keeping in mind
Steve:: Yeah, look, I’m not going to sit here and say that you absolutely should be moving down the path of trying to build influence, I mean, there’s plenty of people like on our show beyond 8 figures where we sit down with entrepreneurs who’ve either exсited for more than 10 million or currently run 10 million dollar plus businesses. It’s amazing how many those guys just fly under the radar, right. Like they’ve got no interest in influence. Just let me just run my business let me sell my stuff and let me pocket my change and call it a day. So, for me though, because I am the brand, so to speak, where I don’t have a widget that could stand alone and be sold without me, there needs to be influence tied to that from the standpoint of being recognized of having some albeit, I’m not going to sit here and say that my level of influence is comparable with some of the folks, who I’ve run with over the years, but it’s good enough, if you will in this space, but to me we broached this earlier, to me influence is really about everything, that you can do without spending a dime and investing a dime to make something happen. So, influence to me is basically, and I had a course at one point, called Push Button Influence, right, which was all about being able to push a button and make something happen. And that to me is ultimately what it boils down to is, can you click on something on your page or, you know, in your CRM, or whatever hit send, whatever it might be hit post, you know, accessory and make something happen. And if you have that combined with a really good product, program or service, you can pretty much write your own ticket.
Richard:: Yeah. And so, to your point there you are saying, you don’t necessarily have to create the influence a lot of times, I know you had a couple of courses out there, specifically one course where you teach people to utilize other people’s influence, maybe guesting on the people shows or appearing on their show or doing some
Jesse:: Is that fitting for today’s interview, you know?
Richard:: Yeah, exactly, so. So, what would you recommend, so someone’s there, they have an
Steve:: Yeah. And I think what you’re alluding to is how do you leverage the power of other people’s platforms without having to put all the money into, you know, developing your own, which is certainly, I think a very smart approach to building influence, without having to do all the work, I mean, this is a perfect example of coming on to podcasts, right. I mean, coming on sharing your brilliance and letting, in this case you guys do all the work, right. I mean, you it’s your job to do the editing, it’s your job to do the production, it’s your job to get this episode out and for folks to actually hear it. And all I do is I just step in and I’m sharing my brilliance for a little bit. And I basically I’m riding the coattails of all of those efforts.
So, that’s definitely something that works really well, being a guest on shows, but it extends beyond that, I mean, you can certainly appear on podcasts, but you can also guest blog, I mean guest blogging is a perfect example of another way to do it, I mean, if you’ve got expertise on a particular subject, you can go to a site, well like a liquor.com, I mean, we’ve got DrinkWire, which is part of liquor.com, where folks, typically bartenders provide content and they contribute content. And it’s no different than any other platform, where people have spent an ample amount of time, creating that audience building that audience and then you step in and get the benefit of that audience. So, liquor.com through DrinkWire is very similar, but you can do something in your industry, I mean, like, in terms of
Richard:: There was a bunch of things yesterday. I mean, not to get into the political, but there were like 800 total pages or something got took down yesterday, if you were too far to the right.
Steve:: Of the right, too far to the left, yeah, I mean, if you just wake up with, you know, kind of a thorn in your sock, I’ll put it to you that way, you know, it’s like, it just it’s based on the whims of others, you just don’t want to be in a situation where your livelihood is dependent on someone else’s platform.
Richard:: Yeah. Well, in kind of to your point kind of building on that. We talk about this quite often and I talk about balancing people around, like, it’s totally OK, go, utilize other people’s platforms as much as you can, as long as you can, but at any given time when they decide to take their basketball home, you know, you got to be able to have an audience on your email list, pixel on your website, know whatever it is.
So, you’ve done a bunch of stuff. Not only do I think you’re a good person to have on the show to help talk just about influence in general, but even though there’s multiple Ecwid sites, a million plus businesses, a lot of them are just starting out. So, one of the things that you’re really good at helping people with, is just what they should be doing or what they should be focused on, or what they’re about, and the audience that they serve, would you give us a little bit of, you know, I know you’re an author as well, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you got going there and how that might be able to help them, and I know, you know, we only have you here for a little bit of time. We’ll definitely love to get you back another time, but you also have a gift for the audience. Give us a little bit of backstory on that and then let us know where they should go to check out the gift.
Steve:: Yeah. So, I mean, I believe you’re heading down the path of the whole discussion around understanding what you were what is as I call it. So, the book you’re referring to is a book called What is Your What? and discovering the what amazing thing you were born to do as a subtitle on that, but the idea here is, you know, we’re each wired to excel in very specific ways and you have a unique gift that is, well, I mean, it’s in your DNA as I like to say, it’s that which is chosen you as opposed to that which you have chosen. So, once you figure out what that gift is, the question is what’s the primary vehicle that you’re going to use to share that gift and then, lastly, who are the people that you’re most compelled to serve. And, so, it’s the combination of the gifts the vehicles the people that make up the what is your what framework. And reality is, if you can get that dialed in, especially you may not have complete clarity around what your gift is, but if you can identify a subset of the population that you’re most compelled to serve, you can identify a vehicle that you can use to then share something with them, that would be of value to them that would serve them in a powerful way. And, so, even just those two pieces alone you may back into what your gift is, but I do think that, when it comes to
Richard:: Well, either way a kind of building upon a few things you’ve said throughout this podcast one — when your leverage in other people’s influence you can also leverage other people’s knowledge, right, you now know what you want to do. You know the audience you’re compelled to serve, you like the vehicle podcasting to serve that audience, but you also know it can take a lifetime, right, to do that. And so, I know the gift that you’re going to give them is a copy of the book. So, they could take advantage of your lifetime of experience in that, but just to kind of go back to what you were alluding to there is like: Yeah, you could just take a widget. But, for the most part and this well I’ll play a little bit of devil’s advocate, for the most part there’s got to be some sort of story, or some sort of reason why they want to buy it from you, because if it’s just a widget and it’s a
So, can learn from other people’s knowledge and expedite your process, you can also leverage other people’s audience to expedite the process and you don’t have to have a fire in your belly, like this is the most important thing ever, but if you did we all know, no matter what it is, it still feels like a grind sometimes, so the more that you can make that be a piece of who you are and what you think you’re here to do, and it’s only going to make it easier.
Steve:: Yeah, and, I mean, the more money you make, the less it feels like a grind (laughing), because the money helps, you know, let’s be honest, if I’m selling a million dollars in widgets every single month and I’m pocketing, you know, 30 percent of that, I’m not feeling bad about selling widgets right now.
Richard:: Not really. The running joke I always say is money doesn’t necessarily buy you happiness, but we all know it can rent it for a while. So, do you have any other questions or thoughts or anything you are thinking about for how we can have Steve let us know where the gift is?
Jesse:: Yeah, I mean, so Steve was pretty interesting about, you know, how you built your business and, I’m thinking of four people that are just beginning, you know, like, you started before, where social media was, I mean, that’s pretty MySpace.
Steve:: Oh yeah. Right around the same time yeah. MySpace was 91ish, is 92, yes.
Jesse:: But, like now it’s time for, you know, people are just getting started. They have such a huge opportunity, where, you know, obviously your influence is better if you’re actually shaking hands and meeting people and such, but, you know, if you were starting right now, you know, would social media be a part of how you would build that influence?
Steve:: You know, it’s interesting, I can vote both ways on it, right. In terms of the, let’s be honest, if you don’t have a big budget to simply attract people to your work, somehow you’ve got to get people to know who you are, right. And so if budget is an issue, then social media I think is a very viable outbid for you, but, I mean, probably if I’m starting from scratch I’m doing one of two things, I’m either creating YouTube videos on a particular subject or I’m doing Facebook LIVE. And that those two channels, I believe it at this point, in terms of, if you have a passion or a fire for something video is the way to go.
Jesse:: Because they see your face, they know you have a passion.
Jesse:: It’s toner and you’re like: Oh, uh.
Steve:: I mean, maybe the sexiest toner in the world maybe, it’s
Jesse:: And you’re really excited about it (laughing.)
Steve:: That’s good right. That is your paper and your roll. You get even though you print on the paper and you like this idea of recycling. Man, I love that idea.
Richard:: That’s funny.
Steve:: We’ve got to grab that domain right now.
Richard:: So, basically, you’re saying video probably, because you also realize you could extract the audio out of that to see any way you want to go with it you can transcribe it. So, probably would throw Instagram into that mix too even though it’s still Facebook, but, you know, now Instagram TV and all that, but what you’re basically saying do something on video, because a lot of these people know video for their product is even better than the pictures and if picture is worth a thousand words, how much is video worth, because it’s thousands of pictures? Yeah, awesome. So, where should they go to get their gift and what is exactly given them?
Steve:: Yeah, you know, I mean, I’m leaning towards giving folks just a copy of what is your what which they can grab for free so you can grab a free copy and it’s a New York Times best selling book, but you can grab the, you can grab the entire book at your at whatisyourwhat.com just in New York. Now, don’t go to the New York Times site. Just go to whatisyourwhat.com, but we also talked a little about getting onto podcasts, you know, that’s of interest. We talk about
But, in terms of podcasting, I mean, if you wanted to get onto podcasts and we put together a directory of podcasters, which gives you all their information: their name, you name it, description, photo and even their email address, if you want to get on a podcast the ultimate directory of podcasts, podcasters features 670 leading podcasters including all their contact information. That’s another interesting funnel, right. So, we give you the preview edition of that at myultimatedirectory.com and then up sale into the entire directory. So, the free version is a shortened version and then the full version is an upsell from, there so it’s just interesting, people always ask me like: What can you sell online? And he answers Anything, you know, and so just a couple of interesting, if you’re a funnel freak out there and you wanted to see how people sell things: whatisyourwhat.com or myultimatedirectory.com are couple of examples.
Richard:: Awesome, thank you so much. Thank you for your time. Good, job Steve.
Jesse:: Yeah, Steve, that’s great. I think now people know they’re are going to be sold when they get into this funnel.
Steve:: Yeah, no surprise.
Richard:: Yeah, but you get some free stuff first, I mean, that’s the beauty of these funnels, right. You wanna give and you give first, but people will always, there’s going to be a certain percentage that are always going to want to work with you more and in that group, they’ll gladly give you the money.
Steve:: Yeah. Sweet, sounds good. Thank you.
Jesse:: All right, Steve. Pleasure having you on.
Steve:: Yeah, man.
Richard:: Yeah, that sounds good. Great interview. And remember, check out Ecwid.com/podcasts, subscribe, rate and review. Thanks, until next time. Make it happen.
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