#625 WP-Tonic Interview Show: From WordPress Consultant To WordPress Plugin Entrepreneur

From WordPress Consultant To WordPress Plugin Entrepreneur With Special Guests Spencer Forman Founder & CEO of LaunchFlows

With Special Guests. Spencer Forman Founder & CEO of LaunchFlows
Spencer comes back on the show this time to discuss what he has learned connected to the launch of the LaunchFlows WooCommerce shopping cart customization plugin. How he changed his own attitude to lifetime deals connected to marketing a WordPress plugin. Also, you can get a fantastic lifetime deal on LaunchFlows 30% off only offered on the WP-Tonic website here: https://www.wp-tonic.com/newsletter/

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Castos: https://castos.com/

LaunchFlows: https://launchflows.com/

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Jonathan Denwood: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic interview show. This is episode 625 we got a returning friend of the show panelists on the round table show. He was on a few weeks ago, but we decided to have him bite because we’re going to be talking to Spencer Forman about his experiences with launch flows. What he has learned about marketing a plugin. It should be a great show. I’m going to spend Spencer quickly introduce himself. Plus my co-host Steven. So over to you, Spencer, would you like to quickly introduce yourself?

Spencer Forman: Hello, Hello. It’s Spencer Forman and today I’m from launch flows.com sometimes from WP launchify.com but are related.

Steven Sauder: Pulling out the different passport-Jonathan Denwood: And I got my great co-host, Steven. Steven, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers.

Steven Sauder: Yes Steven Sauder from zip fish.io.

Jonathan Denwood: And if you really want to support the show listeners and viewers tell your friends about WP tonic and the podcast. That’s how this show grows by word of mouth. It’s like a rash it just grows. So tell your friends, and that will be great. We really appreciate it if you do that. Also, I’m going to talk quickly about our major sponsor, that’s Castos. I was with another company about nine months ago. I’ve been with them for about four years. Castos came on my Radar, I decided to jump ship, paid out of pocket. It was getting increasingly expensive to run a successful podcast on the previous platform. They had an increasing rate of charge. Castos has a flat rate, it’s really very affordable from the start. And as you get more successful, you’re not penalized. It’s also got a great interface. Great support Matt Medeiros from the Matt report is now their director of sales and customer experience a really experienced individual in podcasting and Word Press. So if you’re looking to get into podcasts and you should either for yourself or for your clients go and have a look at Castos.

Also, if you go to WP tonic newsletters, there’s a special deal or near exclusively for the WP tribe for the first six months, you get it for half price it is an amazing offer. So let’s go straight into it. So you spent so you to get into the plugin you’ve been there before, but, this was, slightly new I feel launch flows. What did you want to achieve initially? Obviously, you wanted to make money and be successful, but I can’t remember how long the launch flows have been going. And have you achieved the level of success that you thought you could with it? Let’s start off with there

Spencer Forman: Every time I think am out they keep pulling me back in. So it started out like everything else as an entrepreneur, the number one rule that I’ve taught people, I follow it myself. I can’t escape. Its gravity is found the pain, solve the pain, teach how to solve the pain, make a product out of the solution for the pain, that model-

Steven Sauder: And become a billionaire.

Spencer Forman: Eventually, maybe, but along the way, I’m not so sure these days whether being a billionaire is what it’s cut out to be. You end up on that show like WP tonic round table under the radar, covering your needs, making a livelihood that is absolutely more than possible. I can attest to that from clients and my own personal experience. So from that standpoint, the pain that existed was this in this space that I’ve been an expert in for the last 15 years or so. Woo commerce has played a role at least for the last 12 or so, that has been around needing more than a home Depot shopping experience.

So whether you’re doing things for free or you’re selling things, everybody needs to onboard their potential users and so forth. And maybe they’re going to be paying customers. Woo commerce has an amazing array of capabilities, but it’s set up out of the box and still to this day, defaults to being like the home Depot, which is a far different experience than what you get let’s say, when you go on and even in Amazon or whether you go to some smaller shop. One is like wander the aisles and hope for, where to find something out of a trillion skews and then maybe go back 80 times.

Jonathan Denwood: I just can’t go there every time somebody drags me there I just go Oh my God, sorry.

Spencer Forman:. I mean, I used to build houses. I built 50 custom homes and I used to spend most days at home Depot and it was even for myself like mind-numbing. Now compare that to the experience where you get on most websites today or an Amazon where you can just type in a search immediately go to the product, go click. I bought some headsets. I swear to God. I woke up at four in the morning the other day I wanted to know about these. These are the kind of headsets that are like, induction. They don’t go in your ear, ordered them at four in the morning. They arrived by nine o’clock the next morning that’s a modern sales funnel and woo commerce has the capability to achieve that but only with an additional helper plug-in. now that was the origin of the problem. And that was first revealed in fairness by, Adam Preiser and Sujay Pawar over at their combination cart flows. I got involved because Sujay invited me to get involved with promoting and teaching marketing, using cart flows.

We were just talking about this before the show, pioneers in the space of extending Woo-commerce into solving that pain, which is sales funnels. I immediately fell in love with their product, but I immediately found problems with it because their product involves making a full framework and doing a lot of stuff, which listen, they’re incredibly talented people and it’s a great product, but it was heavier than I thought it should be. I immediately brought it to Sujay’s attention. We had a professional disagreement, which way to go. So in the fall of 2019, I decided to make the plugin that I thought cart flows should be obviously confusing people a lot on purpose. I called it to launch flows because there was another term like carts and launches and [inaudible] and there’s click funnels and funnels flows launch, blah, blah, blah.

Okay. So that’s the origin of the story. And it started around the fall of 2019. We onboarded several hundred people initially for the first versions and like, anything else, what are we now like two years later, maybe. Two years later and now, now it has grown proportional to the the development and proportional to the other things. I think it’s a terrific success for what I’m doing because I use this as onboarding to my consultancy, the people who want and need what I’m offering here, even truthfully with cart flows, don’t work in a vacuum. They get all these plugins and then they need help or they need expert advice on what to do with them. So, having a bunch of tools in your garage sounds awesome. I’m one of those guys, but if you don’t actually know how to build stuff with that, it doesn’t really help me at all.

And so that’s where we’re at today, which is we’ve proven the plugin it’s in version 3.53 its feature set is amazing. And we also discovered this year, we’ll talk about lifetime deals, pricing models, how customers want to use your products, frameworks versus not because I’ve learned a hell of a lot about how the software world is involved in Word Press.

Jonathan Denwood: Think I want to throw it over to Steve, do you think there’s kind of, plugin platforms that you can set up your plugin and they deal with all the sales and there’s platforms out there free one of them that the name escapes me. Do you think it’s easier to launch a plugin now than it used to be? In some ways.

Spencer Forman: are you asking me or Steven?

Jonathan Denwood: That’s you.

Spencer Forman: I think it’s, well, here’s my answer. The business opportunities that exist now have been now amplified times a hundred. Here’s why up until Gutenberg up until the recent react and the rest of it. We had a pretty steady, but slowly growing mass of plugins, but there were the gorillas in the room all the time. And so you had opportunities, but people were focused on stuff that there have already been 10 years of backlog and politics and everything. So now they put Gutenberg in and then the whole page builder thing gets stirred up and now you got react involved. And now you’ve got capabilities that weren’t there before. It’s like somebody took a snow globe to Word Press and shook it up and now everything is open to possibilities.

So the opportunities are the most exciting part. You don’t have to be, a Yoast size plugin with millions of users. You could go in as a single developer and solve a minuscule pain point and make a legitimate livelihood at it. But it has to be very specific and you have to be good at marketing because that’s the part that’s changed with the AI and the other. We’re talking about the cost of Facebook ads. You can’t just rely on having like, wow, it’s a pretty flower and a blank field. Now it’s like 10 million flowers and you have to stand above on some particular purpose and reason and be very crafty about it.

Jonathan Denwood: Over to you, Steven.

Steven Sauder: So, before we dive into like the pricing model and marketing and sell hand and all of that stuff, I think something that has always intrigued me about launch flows versus other plugin developers that I’ve talked to is a lot of people talk about their free plugin and the repository the official Word Press repository and leading to sales. And that was like a key element of their marketing and sales strategy. You at least from what I know haven’t embraced that at all. Why? And how do you,- it just feels like everyone’s saying like, this is how you do it. Why did you choose a different direction and how does that work when you do choose that different direction?

Spencer Forman: It’s interesting, but the point, and thank you for asking the question. That’s a very insightful question. The thing is one has to be true to themselves. Okay. We talked about that on the show. No, I mean that’s a really second-level question and I appreciate that you have to be true to yourself. Okay. I’m 72 years old. Like we talk about regularly and I can’t act like one of these kids, these 22-year-olds anymore. As a result, I have to rely upon my strengths and the things that maybe would be my weakness. I’m really in good shape and I take care of myself, but I look really ridiculous wearing one of those haircuts or something like 20-year-old wear. And I’d look really ridiculous as an old man trying to market my services and expertise as like a 20-year-old.

So what I’ve chosen to do is the leverage that capability. I had a model that I taught for many years, called the birdie on the hippos back model, which is essentially you find a community where there’s already an audience. You ingratiate yourself to that audience, like a birdie who lands on a hippo’s back is allowed to pick all the bugs off and eat all at once the hippo, not only tolerates it, it welcomes it because it makes the hippo feel good. And in this case, you find that audience where you could come in with a pain point and maybe it’s an extension of an existing plugin, or maybe it’s, fixing a pain that everybody has with the platform because you can get to the API or something. And that’s what I’ve done because I get two benefits from that. First of all, I have traditionally spent $0 on advertising anything because my biggest problem is that my niches are so specialized that I’m better off just going to the communities where the pain is, in a very agile way, just like immediately hacking together a solution and seeing how many people will give me the money for it. Kind of like, Hey, I’m going to make hotdogs for lunch at work anybody wants to give me money?

And I think that’s a model that for many people can work, but it requires one unique characteristic. You have to be a carnival barker. And that’s kind of me. Some people are like that. I mean, Noah Kagan, I used to play chess with, and he’s well known, but Noah Kagan was the original carnival, Barker. And you can see his history is not that dissimilar, even though he’s a third my age or two-thirds my age. He has this whole origin story of being at Facebook and they kicked his out of Facebook. But then he went on to do AppSumo the way he wanted to do it, which is very much what I’m talking about, where they would hack together videos. Then they hack together deals. Then they hacked together this and it works.

Jonathan Denwood: Just off-topic, I’m really surprised that he hasn’t been sued because the reason I say that in a public podcast that he did, he admitted that he drove in his Tesla automatically when he was actually on a computer.

Steven Sauder: I don’t know. Maybe it’s a story that’s hard to prove in a court of law.

Jonathan Denwood: He basically admitted to doing that on a public podcast.

Spencer Forman: You remember the time you admitted to, getting rid of your first wife, but we don’t talk about that. Anyway, so the point is that there are certain well-known people, Frank Kern who is still buzzing around Facebook ads these days. I don’t know, you don’t see them too much. The guy who started WPMU, his name is escaping me for a second. There’s a couple of characters out there that I like to relate to myself. And I can appreciate that from a marketing standpoint, it works. Russell Brunson is the king of all Kings, but he did it his way. And he was, like, look what he’s built from that. The product’s not so great that the promise is amazing. And so that just proves the point is that we oftentimes overbuild the solution. I mean, frankly, most people need like a butter knife and then they buy a 20 piece, hex toolkit, or something like that.

Jonathan Denwood: We need to go for a break. We’ll be back in a few moments with this great chat, with a great Word Press entrepreneur Spencer Forman. We’ll be back in a few moments. Folks,

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s we’re coming back we’ve got a friend of the show. Well, to say that-

Spencer Forman: James Farmer. I had a dull moment there. James James is very controversial in a good way.

Jonathan Denwood: It’s difficult to have people from Australia on your podcast because they always want you to change the time that you’re doing it because every time they go on a podcast it’s like three o’clock in the morning for them.

Jonathan Denwood: So, we’re coming back. We’ve had a great conversation already. Back over to you, Steven.

Steven Sauder: And so, no, [Inaudible 17:59 ] the Word Press repository. But then you also did a lifetime deal. Did you use AppSumo to do a lifetime deal?

Spencer Forman: Yeah. So that’s an interesting story. So by the way we talked about it on The WP tonic show. I did as a goof to see if I could do it because for lots of reasons, get a plugin in the repository. And the plugin is called fixed, Gutenberg, and it makes it it’s still in there and it still works. It makes Gutenberg look more like classic because I still I’m better at Gutenberg, but I’m amazed at like, nobody thought it was a good idea to put space between all the metadata boxes, but in any event,-

Steven Sauder: How many installs do you have on that one?

Spencer Forman: That’s a good question. I am dunno. Let’s say, hold on.

Steven Sauder: It’s probably like a million.

Spencer Forman: I mean, it’s probably you, me and-

Steven Sauder: I definitely installed it and played around with it for a while. It was great. Spencer Forman: There are. Wow, I’ve got, what’s funny. This is probably all you guys. There are three, five-star reviews and fewer than 10 active installations, active installations.[Interposed Talking19:04 ] It’s climbing the charts. But the point was, it was a goof because I wanted to see what the process was like. I mean, I need to be able to experience things, to speak honestly about them. I think that’s a legitimate press tool and somebody who’s a recommended expert. I need to really use this stuff. But in so far as, the lifetime deal, what happened was it was actually through some friends here on the show. So Vito or Andrew were discussing that there are certain instances where they’ve found lifetime deals are very advantageous.

And as a person who’s made my livelihood as being an expert on marketing and psychology strategy and so forth. At first, I was a little resistant. In fact, I came out and said, I don’t think you’re right. I think there are very few times that a business should ever offer a lifetime deal unless they’re either just starting out or they’re in a fire sale. But they did open my eyes up enough. And that’s one of the things I’ve always admitted to is that I’m a very, strong-willed very strong personality, but when I do get, sometimes-

Jonathan Denwood: You don’t say, Spencer

Spencer Forman: I know right It’s so weird. I don’t, here’s the reason why I’m willing to say I’m wrong. There’s nothing worse to me than being wrong, factually, and sticking with that. So it’s less hurtful to my ego to be wrong, give credit that somebody proved me wrong, and be right to remain stubbornly wrong. Like many people do in politics and stuff like that. Okay. So in this case, they turned me on to it and I started digging and I actually found, it was interesting.

There are three plugins that we’re solving this problem. There’s maybe more of woo commerce being more of a sales funnel tool than home Depot. Cart flows, launch flows. And then Damon Jete and his wife had an amazing kind of rough around the edges plugin called, Woo funnels that they saw the opportunity and they went full throttle on making theirs into a competitor. So it’s fair to say there’s maybe one or two weird other ones, but those are the three main competitors. Those two are frameworks mind’s not, but to the point, that when it came to selling it, I decided that if those guys are going to go for throwing everything, plus the kitchen sink into this huge framework and 16 different page builders being supported with templates. It’s like, I’m going to let them burn themselves out. Not that they’re going to, because they’re both selling, I know very large, large quantities of deals.

I decided it’s me, myself, and I. I’m going the other way. And I’m going down on price and more value, more simplicity, easier to use. So I’m going to Swiss army knife, where they’re going to the Tesla Gig factory. And that was a perfect match for lifetime deals because I discovered this entire universe on Facebook of hustlers. And I mean hustlers in a sort of good way that they have 6,000 people in their community that will buy anything, presented to them as long as it has the word LTD at the end of it. And so I tested the waters. I took launch flows, which was originally launched as a- By the way launch is original, I rewarded all my early adopters by first it was 97 and I said, it’s going to go up in price. Then it was 1.49, then 1.97, but eventually a single year of unlimited sites was $300 per year.

I said, screw it. We’re doing an LTD. It was 1.99 for an unlimited site’s lifetime. I made the deal with this partner. We split the revenue in a way that was favorable to me. I still got my baseline. He launched it properly and sold nearly half a grand users. I mean like hundreds and hundreds of people now, I don’t know whether any of these people needed it or wanted it, but I put a special few conditions in there because I saw what other lifetime deals went wrong. And I said this to Vito and Andrew, I said, it’s lifetime updates, automatically lifetime access to the plugin. As long as the plugin is needed on this planet, it’s two years of support. And I got all this pushback and I said, Hey- [Inaudible 23:33 ] if you can’t figure this plugging out in two minutes, you sure as heck, aren’t going to wait more than two years to ask me about it. And you know what? I pushed back on it. Like I’m known to do. And it’s sold amazingly well.

Now, how is that helpful for me? It’s helpful for me because I like to increase my number of users tremendously, even though they’re only one-time people now I have a larger base of people who are using the product. And now what’s happening is the two side benefits. One is I’m seeing all the other things that I’m doing now that are available. Like we could talk about why I chose Gutenberg first, recently, thank you, Sally [inaudible24:11 ] rhymes with a catch. Or it could be that, now I have a base of users into whom I can sell new stuff or new services or whatever, because remember what I had said originally for me, the strategy of a plugin was an entree to my expertise. It was better than a sales funnel, better than Facebook ads, better than anything else because there’s a distinctive difference.

If you go out and you’re an expert, and then you make a product, somehow people look at you differently. Like Spence, the consultant is different than Spence, oh, launch flows. That’s the plugin. And he’s got a team and whatever they perceive, it’s still like the same entrepreneur in a closet.

Steven Sauder: Do you feel like it’s similar to like a speaker who writes a book like speakers, a speaker, they write a book and now they’ve gone to the next step.

Spencer Forman: It’s like a hat that means nothing except to the people who perceive it. And it’s just like in like glasses on glasses off. I’m the same guy. Look, I’m smart. Spence look I am the casual, carefree Spence, that’s all it is.

Jonathan Denwood: I am amazed that you got pushed back but I shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be, amazed about anything.

Spencer Forman: Because people ask questions like, are you not going to be around in two years? I said, yes, I’ll be around the plugin will update. I am like Get your questions in early.

Jonathan Denwood: So what are you going to do when their two years run out Are you going to offer them they can buy an extension.

Spencer Forman: We’re all going to be living on the Mars colony founded by Elon Musk because the planet will be underwater by then. But if I am still here, here’s the point I’m well-known. And I pointed this out to them, go to the Facebook group for free, ask a question and you know what happens? I answer your question with a full-blown tutorial video, better than any other Word Press author anyway, why? Because my point of launch flows is to sell my consultancy expertise and somebody sees that and they go Spence. You’re the guy I’ve been waiting for.

So I said to them, you, here’s a point to make you’ve ever seen plugin or theme authors. And I can’t blame them because they’re not in the same advantageous English as a first language position, but you’ve seen people make amazing plugins they don’t give their name. They don’t give a picture of themselves. They don’t talk on the video. And it’s like, do you want to spend hundreds of dollars buying from somebody that’s like an anonymous robot? I mean, that’s the difference? I’m saying, it’s like, you could sell like water that you froze in your freezer. If you found people that are thirsty on the side of the highway, it costs you nothing, but you’re delivering a pain solution, which is where we started at. That doesn’t require all this fancy stuff. And that’s the stuff that Noah Kagan understood. And Frank Kern understood. And James Farmer understood. And Ron Popeil understood. And that’s what I’ve lived my entrepreneurial life.

Jonathan Denwood: We need to wrap up the podcast part of the show. I’m gonna, ask Spencer about the bonus content, which, you will only be able to view on the WP tonic mastermind, Facebook group page. So you need to go over there and join it. And you’ll be able to watch the extension of this interview on there exclusively.

Spencer Forman: By the way. I want to commend you this week because I think Steven and I both appreciate that you didn’t cut off in the middle of a question and answer, but Steven must totally got used to it so it didn’t even register with him he’s got so used to it. So if you want to watch and listen to the bonus conversation, the first question I’m going to be asking Spencer is why he hasn’t gone at on AppSumo. Was he talking with the AppSumo people? If he was, what was his experience? That’d be the first question, but we’d be delving in a lot more about his experiences about launching a successful plugin in the Word Press community So Spencer How can people find out more about you and what you’re up to Spencer?

Spencer Forman: I mean, the easiest way would go to you can email help@launchflows.com. You can go to launchflows.com, do a free trial, full-blown launch site. The plugin has a 30 day refund. So no excuses there. And you can also go to the Facebook group, on, facebook.com/groups/lunch flows and join for free, where there’s a ton of content and training and active member questions that are probably relevant to what you’re doing.

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. And I want to point out, a tribe that, Spencer through launch flows has been really generous to the tribe. If you go to WP tonic newsletter, on that page is a special offer. A third off the lifetime deal.

Spencer Forman: Yeah 1/3 off. Remember, I just mentioned it’s $300 lifetime for your audience. Nobody else has this deal right now, As this is being broadcast 1.99-lifetime unlimited sites 2 years support, but unlimited lifetime updates, and so forth, and you get a 30-day money-back guarantee. I’ve seen several people when you last broadcast come in and they specifically said, I’m a fan of WP tonic. And John sent me over and I appreciate that.

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. So go over to the WP-Tonic newsletter and click the button. Then you’ll be able to get that special deal. Thank you so much, Spencer, for your support of the WP tonic show and the tribe. So Steven, how can people find out more about you?

Steven Sauder: Head over to zipfish.io to run a speed test? See how much faster you’re site could be.

Jonathan Denwood: yes, they are the Kings of Word Press speed and hosting so you want to go over there.

Spencer Forman: we recommend Zipfish IO inside of lunch flows to, for anybody who’s-

Jonathan Denwood: Do you recommend WP-Tonic when it comes to?

Spencer Forman: We do that’s a different business, but we do recommend WP tonic for anybody who needs hands-on help from an expert team, for sure. [Interposed talking 30:21] specifically. Yeah. But even for other things, John, you and I, we can say to people, you and I have known each other, you were originally in my one WD community way back when, and since that time, I find it very comfortable that you have a very specific niche that is really in your expertise.

Jonathan Denwood: Education is there for the education entrepreneur.

Jonathan Denwood: And it’s the same thing we’re just talking about, which is that you have a unique set of skills like zip fish has a unique set of capabilities for hosting for speed and otherwise that you don’t have to be the solution for everybody on a planet of seven and a half billion people. You have to have a very small niche because then you’re the best at that particular thing.

Jonathan Denwood: That’s totally true. We will be back next week with another great interview and another great guest, but remember go over to the WP tonic mastermind, Facebook group and watch the bonus video we” be back next week bye

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