How To Build A Successful BootStrap Startup Business
#1 -Veena maybe you can tell us how you got involved in the world of WordPress and then started DigitalAccessPass.com?
#2 – What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced connected to growing your plugin businesses?
#3 – Do you see some real opportunities in the WordPress marketplace in the next couple of years?
#4 – What are some of your own views connected to Gutenberg and full website editing?
#5 – If you go back to a time machine at the beginning of your career, what key advice would you give yourself?
#6 – Are there any books, websites, or online recourses that have helped you in your business development that you like to share with the audience?
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Welcome to the WP-Tonic This Week in WordPress and SaaS podcast, where Jonathan Denwood interviews the leading experts in WordPress, eLearning, and online marketing to help WordPress professionals launch their own SaaS.
Welcome back, folks, to WP-Tonic. This Week in WordPress and SaaS. Got a fantastic guest. You’ve just got me as your host. Kirk was engaged with something else this week, but he will be back next week. I got Veena Prashanth I probably totally butchered her name again, but I do that regularly, don’t I, listeners? So I’m going to let her introduce herself. And she is the founder of Digital Access Pass and another great plugin called Smart quiz builder. Had many years in the WordPress space. I think it’s going to be a great conversation. So, can you introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
[00:01:02.640] – Veena Prashanth
Sure. Thank you so much for having me, Jonathan. So yeah, my name is Veena Prashanth. I’m the co-founder, actually, of Digital Access Pass, which is a membership plugin for WordPress. And I’m also the creator of Smart quiz builder. And I think that’s how you found me. And yeah, I have been doing this for a long time now. We launched DAP, which is a membership plugin back in 2008. And it’s a super, very powerful membership plugin. We have come a long way since we launched. It was one of the first membership plugins. And Smart quiz builder, actually, I launched during the COVID time, 2020. And I can’t believe it’s just two years old because it can do so much. And it’s probably… It is the most affordable plug-in in terms of how much it can do for that price. So it is very, very feature rich. I’m very proud of Smart quiz builder and how many people it’s helping. Thousands of people use SQB for their quizzes, marketing quizzes, educational quizzes, and all sorts of things. That was fantastic.
We’re going to be talking about your journey in WordPress, and the things you’ve learned in trying to build a successful business in the WordPress space. It should be a great conversation. Before we go into the meat and potatoes of the main conversation, I’ve got a couple of quick messages from our major sponsors. We’ll be back in a few moments, folks. Are you looking for ways to make your content more engaging? Sensei LMS by Automatic is the original.
[00:02:42.580] – Veena Prashanth
[00:02:42.960] – Jonathan Denwood
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[00:02:53.120] – Veena Prashanth
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[00:02:57.620] – Veena Prashanth
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[00:03:03.040] – Veena Prashanth
[00:03:03.540] – Jonathan Denwood
Give Sensei a try today. Hi there, folks. It’s Jonathan Denwood here, and I want to tell you about one of our great sponsors, and that’s Zolo. Com. If you got a WordPress website, membership website, and you’re looking to link it with a great financial management package, Zolo can provide this solution. So all your bookkeeping needs are done through Zolo. If you need new inbox email functionality and you don’t want to pay the high charges that Google will charge you, Zolo offers a great email inbox platform. They’ve got over 50 apps and services that all integrate fantastic with WordPress at great value levels, and they almost always offer a fully functioning free product as well. So it’s just amazing value. Also, if you’re a WordPress developer or agency owner, Zolo are looking for great partnerships in the WordPress space. To get all this information, all you have to do, folks, is just go over to Zolo. Com and they have the product that you’re looking for. Thank you so much, Zolo, for supporting WP Tonic and the Machine Membership Shows. It’s much appreciated. We’re coming back. Like I said, we haven’t got Kirk, so you’re going to have to pull up with me listening and viewers, but you can’t always get what you want, can you?
[00:04:50.360] – Jonathan Denwood
But I also like to point out that if you’re looking for some great recommendations and some great deals from our sponsors, we’ve got these on a specific page on the WP Tonic website with some great recommendations for all the leading plug ins that you might be looking for. You can get all this by going over to WP Tonic deals. So this goes straight into it. So maybe you can give us how you got into the world of WordPress and how you got started in the development of Digital Access Pass.
[00:05:35.420] – Veena Prashanth
Sure. I was working for AT&T in 2000. I was starting 2000, and we launched DAP in 2008. I was doing really well. It was a really good, high paying job, and I was one of the directors of the company at AT&T, and everything was going great. But one of my biggest skills is my ability to execute and do things really quick and implement ideas really quickly. When you work for someone else, you’re limited in how much you can do and how fast you can do it. A lso, I am a techy marketer. Once you start growing in a company, when you work for someone else, then the things I was doing, I wasn’t really enjoying it much because I was doing a lot of people management work, but I wanted to do other things. I knew too much to be working for someone else. And so by 2007, I was ready to be my own boss. And I had so many ideas. I knew I could make a bigger impact and help a lot more people than I was able to do while working for someone else. And they were not weighing at my speed. So I was ready to do other things.
[00:06:56.150] – Veena Prashanth
And my husband, who is the co founder of the as well. He was taking a few courses at that time and membership, part of a few memberships. Everything was so limited back in 2007, 2005, 2006, 2007, around that time that there was no good way to do content dripping and no way to do proper content production or create a member’s area. Everything was really hard. The only membership option back then was like a member. It was not a WordPress solution. WordPress at that time was already the most popular CMS, and it was not just for bloggers anymore. We were ready to do our own thing and it seemed like the right time to work on a membership plug in because we saw a real need for it in the marketplace. t hat’s how we decided to start that and WordPress was the obvious choice. I still had my full time job in 2008 and he still had his full time job. So by 2009, I decided to quit and go all in on this thing. And within the first three months of my quitting, we tripled our profits. It really picked up. And since then, we have not looked back.
[00:08:28.200] – Veena Prashanth
Year later, my husband quit and we were in New York at that time and we decided to move to San Diego because we were not working for anyone else anymore. So yes, so 2010, we moved to San Diego. And since then I have launched a whole bunch of things. 2010, I launched an Upsal plug in for PayPal, which was I think one of the first one click Upsale plugins for PayPal back at that time. There was no other way to do Upsales with PayPal. It was a very basic plugin, but it was one of the first of its kind. And then 2012, 2013, around that time, I launched Wicked Kool plugins from where we offered several different plugins, seven or eight plugins altogether. We launched from there, all four marketers, business owners trying to grow their business. Each one was a very unique type of plugin. Then I launched Smart Paycard. I actually wrote a book about Upsale back in 2014. It was one of Amazon best selling books. But at that time, I had created a shopping cart plugin for WordPress, but it wasn’t very advanced. When I was writing the book, at that time with whatever knowledge I had, I wish I could create…
[00:09:49.640] – Veena Prashanth
I wish there was a shopping cart plug in that could do all of the things that I wanted it to do as I was writing the book and I got so many new ideas as I was doing the research, then I created a plug in called Smart Paycard. Smart Paycard is a shopping cart plugin for WordPress and it’s made for our membership plugin, DAP. But it’s one of the easiest and the most powerful shopping cart plugins for WordPress. Only thing is that it’s made for DAB. It doesn’t work with other membership plugins. Then in 2020 is when I decided to launch Smart quiz builder, which is one of our most popular plugins. In two years, we have come a long way. And the reason I created Smart quiz builder, again, it’s all WordPress based, all our plugins, most of our work, everything we do is all WordPress based. The reason I created it was because I wanted a way to read the mind of the people that come to my site, get insights and figure out what are the prospects that come to my site, what are they really thinking, what are we missing, what are their biggest challenges, what are their can we do to help them better?
[00:11:01.630] – Veena Prashanth
Where did they find me? So many questions that we have and what better way to get answers to the questions we have than the people for whom we are creating these solutions? So I wanted to get these insights and use it on my own website. Like on DAP, I wanted to use a quiz and I wanted it to not feel like people are filling out a static form to give me those answers. I wanted it to be an interactive quiz where whoever was answering those questions, the people that were on my side, they didn’t feel like they were opting into something. It was just to help them figure out if that was the right solution for them. Also for me to get the answers in terms of what are they actually looking for? Do they already have a membership site? If yes, what are their biggest challenges? What is it that they need help with the most? What specific features are they looking for? And stuff like that. So that was the main reason I created Smart quiz builder. And also we had added LMS feature in DAP. Dap is a membership plug in. That’s what it was first when we launched, but we have come a long way since then.
[00:12:09.820] – Veena Prashanth
Now DAP is a fullfledged membership platform. It can do a lot more than memberships. You can do your freebies, lead magnets, you can do one off products, you can do digital downloads, you can do online courses and challenges. So we have a built in LMS now in DAP. And so I wanted to add, and it’s a very unique type of LMS because I have created all of this, added all of these features based on my own experiences in terms of what was lacking and things I couldn’t do. We wanted a way for our users to be able to add quizzes, like assessments and personality quizzes and other quizzes, surveys and all that stuff to their lessons. I didn’t want to add the ability to do quizzes directly in that because I wanted to build a full fledged quiz plugin that could do everything. So that’s why I created Smart quiz builder. Obviously, it integrates with DAB, but it is not just for DAP. It’s for anyone that has wanting to do… If you want to do marketing or quizzes, all types of quizzes, personality quizzes, calculators, polls, surveys, assessments, coding quizzes, it can do it all.
[00:13:23.780] – Jonathan Denwood
Thanks for that. I was intrigued. You were saying you started this with your husband when you both had full time jobs, but when you gave up on your employment and became a full time entrepreneur running this, plus your husband, that’s when you saw some tremendous growth. Yes. Why did that make such a big difference? Were there particular areas where you could spend more time, which you couldn’t do when you were in employment. Maybe you can give some outline what you feel, reflecting back, why that made such a big difference.
[00:14:10.070] – Veena Prashanth
Definitely. You have to go all in. And that’s first of all, you have to be really… It’s not easy to sustain a business unless you’re doing stuff that you’re really passionate about. There are new plugins and new software products people release all the time, but it does not last that long because it’s hard to sustain passion. It’s hard to sustain your, be consistent and also really want to support your customers and really want to see them do well with your products and really want to improve your product and sustain that for a long period of time. I think that’s the main thing when you… Whether you’re doing plugins or SaaS, whatever it is that you’re doing, you have to have that. So I knew I had that already. And I did not want to just quit my job fully before really figured out because this was the first time we were entering. This was back in 2008. And so it gave us enough time to do it part time to really see if there was a market for this and if you were good at this thing. And then once I quit my job and I decided to do this full time and later my husband did the same, there was no looking back.
[00:15:25.800] – Veena Prashanth
I mean, we had so much time on our hand and it was our baby. It was so much easier to work full time on this and go all in on making this the best membership platform.
[00:15:42.160] – Jonathan Denwood
Does your husband do the development or do you have to do you have to.
[00:15:45.890] – Veena Prashanth
Do the development? Initially, yeah. When we started, we did for a while and then now I don’t because I have a team and it’s not… If I’m too busy doing the coding work myself, then I won’t have the time to really learn about the challenges and the problems and interact with the users. I do a lot of other things. I have a membership site from where I offer trainings and courses and coaching and all that stuff. I still do some because I love coding, but not a whole lot because I have a team now. So all the coding, testing, all that stuff, they do, but I just guide them and they do most of the work.
[00:16:29.040] – Jonathan Denwood
So you’ve got a lot of you’ve kept in the WordPress area, so you’ve got a lot of experience. What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in this journey? And maybe you can give some insights about how you overcome them because I think that would be really helpful to people listening to this interview.
[00:16:54.300] – Veena Prashanth
That’s a great question. One of the biggest challenge, I would say, is what’s actually a great thing about WordPress can also be a thing that causes a lot of problems for login creators. That thing is freedom because WordPress gives you all the freedom to do whatever you want. It’s not restrictive. You can install whatever plugins you want. You can install whatever theme you want. You can do whatever you want. You can grow and scale your business because you have all the freedom. But what it also means is that people sometimes go crazy with it. When you log into the sites, you will see that they have like 70, 80 different plug ins, and they don’t even know why they have those plugins, and they are all active and they are like, Why is my site so slow? Why do I keep running into security issues? But that’s because WordPress gives you the freedom, but you got to be responsible with it because the more plug ins you install, more plug ins that are active on your site is going to definitely affect performance because all of these plug ins use resources. Same thing with security because if you’re using plug ins that are free or not well maintained, or you don’t upgrade to the latest versions of the plug ins, you are going to run into problems.
[00:18:12.560] – Veena Prashanth
That’s why people that use WordPress sites, if you don’t have security plug in installed and you are not very responsible with it, you can end up having problems. That’s been a big challenge. The other thing about for plugin creators is that the conflicts. Because people will have all sorts of plugins and team and all kinds of things on their side. It also means that when we have to co exist with other plugins and we have to be very careful because we don’t know what they might do in terms of who are coding or whatever that might affect us. Because we really care about our customers, we are known for support. So what happens is when you are so good with support, whenever there is a problem, people reach out to you, even though they have 15, 20 other plug ins. And so trust is a big part of running a WordPress site. That’s what I tell people that use WordPress is that because WordPress is a self hosted platform. Saas is a hosted solution. When you use WordPress, you got to use plug ins that you really trust from people that you trust. Because if you don’t, then it’s going to be hard to support you since and I know that people use plug ins where the support is not good, so they have run into challenges.
[00:19:36.930] – Veena Prashanth
They have this past experiences that’s not so good with some of the plugin creators. So when there’s a problem, they are like, WordPress is not for me. So I think as plugin creators, we got to be more responsible and really create focus on user experience and make it really easy for our users to use our platform and really support them well. And the challenge is that you have to, as a WordPress user, I think you should be using plugins. I think you should be using products that you really trust from people that you trust and make sure that they are actually keeping their products up to date. Not something they worked on three years ago, four years ago. You don’t want to use that in WordPress. Things constantly change. So you have to make sure that you are buying stuff from people that have a reputation for support. Tech support is so important, especially with the membership site. So features is one thing, but support is as important, if not more important.
[00:20:38.450] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah. I would say that. I’m just presuming this. Like I said, even I put that question to you. You’ve kept your feet in the WordPress area. Have you been tempted because of some of the things you’ve just outlined, have you been tempted to build a SaaS solution yourself, or have you thought that and discussed that with your husband, but you’ve decided to keep in WordPress?
[00:21:12.180] – Veena Prashanth
Definitely thought about it because when I launched Smart quiz builder and I did an AppSumo launch, and there were a lot of people on AppSumo that are used to SaaS platforms, not as much to WordPress. So there were a lot of people saying, Could you please create a SaaS solution? I would definitely buy if it was SaaS. And there were so many people that bought Smart quiz builder just because they wanted to use SQB, and they installed WordPress because they loved SQB so much, they wanted to use SQB. And there’s an embed code feature in SQB where you can install it on any site, even if it’s not WordPress. But you still need a WordPress site to install the plugin and to set up your quizzes. So we have thought about it. But I really believe in using your own product and doing stuff that you really believe in. So in my case, I don’t see myself as someone who will use SaaS for my membership or for my quizzes because I’m so used to the freedom that I have and the ability to grow and scale, you’re not going to have that with SaaS.
[00:22:20.120] – Veena Prashanth
Saas is great if you are completely non technical and you only have two things you want to do. I just want to do an online course and I really don’t see myself doing other things. Great. You can use the SaaS platform for that. But if you have big dreams and you want to really grow your business, especially a membership site, and you want to do not just online courses, but a whole bunch of things. You want to offer memberships, you want to offer digital products, you want to offer ebooks. You want to do a whole bunch of things using your membership platform and not just courses and offered your courses in many different ways as part of your membership as a one off product and stuff like that. It’s not easy to do it using a SaaS platform. It’s easy when you run a SaaS platform for yourself because then you don’t have to deal with all these plug and conflicts and different people doing different things. P robably easier as a creator, but as a user, I can see myself using a SaaS platform to run my business because I’ll be limited in my ability to grow and scale my business if I was using SaaS.
[00:23:26.860] – Veena Prashanth
So I don’t see myself doing it myself. So I’m not going to say never. It thinks might change in future. But so far, WordPress has worked out great for us and so we plan on staying with WordPress.
[00:23:41.720] – Jonathan Denwood
So you’ve been very successful during your husband in the word press space. But the past couple of years with Guttenberg, with seems to be still increase in market share. But with Guttenberg, with the rise of elevator page builders in general, with full site editing with Guttenberg, we seem to be in a very volatile, changing environment. I get the impression it’s changing. We went through a period where there wasn’t fundamental changes in WordPress for about four or five years. But the past couple of years, because of Göteberg and other factors, the market seems to be changing quite rapidly. First of all, would you agree with that? And I’m sure you’ve been thinking this yourself. Do you think that there are new opportunities in the WordPress space?
[00:24:53.900] – Veena Prashanth
I think WordPress space will always have opportunities. There are people that will always want to use WordPress. I don’t think WordPress is going anywhere. I was just reading a blog a few weeks ago on HubSpot where it mentioned that 43.2 % or so of websites on the internet, they are all WordPress based. A nother stat was like, it has been the fastest growing CMS for 12 years straight. WordPress is going to be there for a long time as far as full site editing or gotten work. I’m no expert on that topic. I think it launched what, in 2018 or so, Guttenberg, 2018, December or so. They have made so many improvements to it. Classic Editor, that’s what they had before. It was hard to transition actually from Classic Editor because we were used to be using the page builders and we were just doing fine. But so it was initially it was hard to use Guttenberg. And then over the years, they have made so many updates to it, so much better now. I still use page builder. In my case, I still use Thrive architect, which is my page builder. Elementor. There’s so many good page builders.
[00:26:20.780] – Veena Prashanth
I still think that you need it if you are running a fullfledged membership sites where it’s a big business, your whole business is centered on your membership platform. You need to be able to create sales page, and opt in page, and landing page, and homepage, and whatever. So all those things much easier to create using page builders. And there are so many great page builders out there. It’s harder to do it with. But if you’re just doing blog, then you could definitely, Gartnerburg, and use full page editing and stuff like that. You have a lot of options.
[00:26:56.780] – Jonathan Denwood
Thanks for that. I think we’re going for our break. It’s been a fair discussion so far. I’ve not had to do much work. You’ve been great insights. Thank you so much for giving us so much information. We’ll be back in a few moments. I’ve got a couple more messages from some of our great sponsors. Be back in a second. Hey, it’s Benz from launchflows. Com. If you’ve been looking for a fast and easy way to create powerful sales funnels on WordPress, then look no further than Launchflows. In just minutes, you can easily create instant registration, upsell, downsell, order bumps, one click checkouts, one time offers, custom thank you pages, and best of all, no coding is required. For as little as $50 per year, you can own and control your entire sales funnel machine with Launch Flows. Get your copy today. This podcast episode is brought to you by Lifter LMS.
[00:27:59.080] – Veena Prashanth
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[00:28:01.160] – Jonathan Denwood
System solution for WordPress. If you or your client are creating any online course, training based membership website, or any type of eLearning project, Lifter LMS is the most secure, stable, well supported solution on the market. Go to Lifter LMS. Com and save 20 % at checkout with coupon code podcast 20. That’s podcast 20. Enjoy the rest of your show. We’re coming back. We have had a great discussion. Before we go on for the rest of this interview, I just want to point out if you are looking for a great host that specializing in learning management systems and community websites. Great hosting, a great library of plug ins, great support for you, the developer, or for your client. Have a look at what WP Tonic’s got to offer. We’re looking for some great agency freelance developer partners. To get all the information, just go over to WP Tonic partners, WP Tonic partners and Join the Tribe. So let’s go on a bit further. I think we touched on Guttenberg in the first half of the show. So I’m not going to ask you specifically about Guttenberg, but I’ve got another question that is linked to the first half.
[00:29:38.490] – Jonathan Denwood
So how do you build? How do you think you attract new clients? Well, I’ll say that. What might be a more interesting question? Because obviously you had a lot of success with digital access pass, and then you developed Smart quiz builder. Why did you decide to do an offer on at Zoom and do a lifetime deal there? Because I understand when some people do it, because they’re trying to get some money in to cover their development costs in a way. I would imagine that you weren’t in that position. So I’m only guessing this, but I’m surmising that you did this for more marketing reasons, exposure reasons than anything. So I’m talking for you. So maybe you can give us some more insight about how much did you have to think about it before you decided to do that with Asuma?
[00:30:56.560] – Veena Prashanth
So it’s actually a great question. I was and you’re right. The reason I did an app launch was 100 % for new leads. And that was the main reason. It had nothing to do with anything else. I wanted new people to find us. That’s exactly what AppSumo allowed us to do. I’m so grateful for that. I did the launch. I did not have to think too much about it. I launched Smart quiz builder in 2020 August, and then we did an internal launch with our existing users, and it did really well. It had a very good all the basic features and quizzes and stuff like that. I could see that I started using it myself. I could see the impact it had in terms of people coming to the DAB site and answering the questions that I had in my quiz and me getting so much insights and really understand what our users are looking for and where they are finding us and stuff like that, which I wouldn’t have had otherwise. And I figured that really a lot more people needed to see this. And I was pretty late into the quiz game. Quizzes, quiz platforms. There were so many quiz platforms when I launched SQB, but still SQB is very unique in what it does.
[00:32:29.340] – Veena Prashanth
So competition is actually good because it helped me do stuff in Smart quiz builder that’s different and unique and build it based on what I was learning and things that were missing. And so I wanted more people to see it. That really was the reason I did an app so much. And even though giving a lifetime license away, I won’t do it for that. Because DAB is a subscription. We sell membership. So you have to… It’s a monthly subscription or annual subscription. We don’t offer lifetime on our side. We just do once a year for Black Friday. But Smart quiz builder, I was selling it for a one time fee. It wasn’t a subscription. So it made sense to do the lifetime with Smart quiz builder. I’m almost using Smart quiz builder as a lead magnet to attract people. And so many people actually convert it because they had no idea about DAB. So many people that are that were on apps, they did not know about that when they bought SQB and they came into my world and then they were like, Oh, my God, you have this amazing membership platform. I didn’t know about this.
[00:33:41.990] – Veena Prashanth
I didn’t know you could do everything from this membership all in one membership platform. So so many people actually signed up for DAB. They had no idea about DAB and they wouldn’t have found about DAB if I had not done the AppSumo launch. So no regrets. I’m really happy I did it on app. I almost used SQB as my lead magnet to get people to learn about DAB or my other products, especially DAB.
[00:34:02.880] – Jonathan Denwood
Makes sense. So have you got any insights about if anybody that’s listening to this interview and they’re thinking of doing a launch on AppSumo, have you got any tips or advice that you could give them about making that choice about utilizing that?
[00:34:28.970] – Veena Prashanth
I would say that if you have one main product and that’s your only product, then you really need to think before you do a lifetime because you’re going to cheapen your product by just giving it away for lifetime license at a much cheaper rate than what… You really have to evaluate based on the amount of work that goes into creation of the plugin and the expenses and how much work you have to do to support the people that sign up. You have to be able to support them. It’s not just about getting a whole bunch of people buy it. And if it’s support intensive, like membership plugins are, I would not recommend doing an optimal launch. But if it is really a lightweight plugin, doesn’t require that much support and you sell it for one time fee, then you will get great exposure if you do AppSumo launch. I really loved working with them and they reached out to me multiple times. In fact, they asked me for DAP as well but decided not to do DAP with them. But they loved SQB. Once I reached out to them about SQB, they loved it. They did a select campaign for SQB and then they did a special promotion.
[00:35:38.140] – Veena Prashanth
It was one of the top 10 plug ins or top 11 plug ins in 2022. Apsomo’s top 11 plug ins. That was amazing.
[00:35:50.720] – Jonathan Denwood
Like you indicated in the first half, the quiz is a duality, obviously. There are some very large SaaS solutions. Also, you got some established WordPress solutions. You got the established learning management systems like LearnDash, Liftit, LMS, Tutor. They all have quizzes at their core. With Liftit LMS, you’re dealing with a product that’s free, that has the quiz functionality, but aimed at a very different market to where your one is. And then you got all the SaaS. Did you have to spend a lot of time weighing up? Is it too competitive or is there still a lot of opportunities here? Did you have to think about it for quite a while until you made your decision that you were going to go for it in that particular sector?
[00:36:56.660] – Veena Prashanth
Are you talking about Smart quiz builder or the LMS feature?
[00:37:00.520] – Jonathan Denwood
That’s a very good question actually, because I was waffling. But I was talking about Smart quiz builder.
[00:37:05.560] – Veena Prashanth
No, I don’t overthink anything. I don’t, because I know that I’m different and my ideas are different, whether it’s my online courses, challenges. I recently launched a newsletter challenge, email newsletter challenge for my users. I know there are so many free content on newsletter, and there’s so many courses, and there are so many more established people that have done courses and challenges and trainings on newsletter. But I know that when I do mine is going to be different. I have my people that love my content and my experiences and the stuff I’m going to do is always going to… No one can match that because I am my own person and the thoughts and the ideas and the strategies I have the way I think is never going to be the same as someone else’s thought process. So if you look at Smart quiz builder and what we have built and how it is designed and the features we have, it’s very different than all other quiz platforms. The basic idea is that you can create different types of quizzes, but if you just create a quiz that just looks like a whole bunch of questions, you’re not going to get people to convert.
[00:38:15.740] – Veena Prashanth
So the whole thing for us has been user experience, making it easy to use. And that’s still a work in progress. I’m always thinking user experience more than ever. And the last couple of years, prioritizing user experience over everything and making it easy for people. Because WordPress, one of the things is it’s hard to use. So I don’t want my plug in to be that. I want people to have a really good experience and easy experience and be able to build quizzes quickly. Also, the main thing about a quiz is that it has to stand out. Because you don’t want it to look like a form. If you have a static form on your side and you’re getting people to sign up, click here to sign up, sign up for my newsletter, no one is going to sign up. People are not just going to give you their name and email. But if your whole quiz is about making them feel good about themselves, discover something about themselves that they didn’t know about, or test themselves in a specific area, there are so many things you can do, but you can do it in an attractive way where your quiz stands out and they are going to look and you’ll be able to stop the scroll and get them to answer the questions.
[00:39:21.860] – Veena Prashanth
That’s my main thing. You go to our DAP site, you will see we have a quiz right there at the top. So I do what I say. I use the quizzes. I use all my own products to run all of my sites. All my membership sites are powered by DAP. All my courses and challenges are powered by DAP’s LMS, and all my quizzes are powered by SQB. All my gamification stuff are powered by my gamification plugin. Everything that I do, I use my own products, so I know exactly what we are lacking. If you don’t use your own products, you’ll never be able to… Yeah, you can get feedback from other people, but you need to really use your product as a plugin creator or a software product creator to make it the best it can be. I knew that there are a lot of great platforms such as type form, for example. There’s so much you can learn from the good things other people are doing. I’ll give you an example. Next week, we are launching Interactive Video Feature in SQB. It’s so amazing. It’s so amazing. I feel like our competitors, they are going to use this because they are going to want to use it.
[00:40:22.900] – Veena Prashanth
It’s going to really change the way you do marketing because personalized videos and your quiz where you have the split screen and on the left side, instead of just having a whole bunch of text, t ake this quiz. They can see your face playing in the background and left side split screen. You are on the left side. On the right side, you have your Take this quiz. But when they click the play button, they can hear you speak about it and let them know why they should take that quiz. What’s in it for them? It’s all about them. Why should they take the quiz? What’s the benefit for them? Explain to them. It doesn’t have to be a long video, short video. Explain to them. And then when they click on the quiz questions, you can have video based questions, interactive videos. Explain the question to them, not in words, but through your video, not just in text. Same thing with opt in and let them know why they should opt in. What’s in it for them? What’s the gift they get at the end? And outcome. You can send them to different outcomes based on their answers and segment them based on their answers.
[00:41:27.340] – Veena Prashanth
And each outcome, you can have a personalized video because you know what outcome they landed on. You know when they land on that outcome based on their answers. You can let them know, I know you picked this answer, which means this is what you need. This is how we can help you with whatever it is that you need. So you can create personalized videos like this and 6, 7, 10 second long videos, really easy to create, upload it to your site using Smart Quiz Builder’s new interactive video feature, and it’s going to make such a huge difference. I can’t wait to use it on my own Dev site and on SQB.
[00:41:59.820] – Jonathan Denwood
Site. oh, thanks for that. So I’m originally from England, the outskirts of London, so I always watched Dr. Who and The Tardis, the time machine. So if you had your own personal time Machine and you could go back to the early days of digital access pass, and you could give yourself, mentor yourself and give what would you say to yourself if you could do that? Are there any key things that you know now that you could tell yourself in 208 that would have been helpful?
[00:42:43.100] – Veena Prashanth
Yeah, definitely. Great question. What I would tell myself is, don’t try to make everyone happy. It’s not your job to make everyone happy. And don’t get sidetracked by people saying, not wanting to lose the customer makes us do weird things, especially in the beginning. That’s what we did a lot where we did not want to say no. We did not know how to say no. I did not know how to say no. If someone would request a feature, I didn’t want to come across as rude by saying, No, sorry, we don’t support it. So trying to accommodate everyone, we were building the system with a whole bunch of haphazard things that did not align with our goals, our plans for our business. And we kept on getting sidetracked and not keeping the main thing, the main thing. So if I were to go back, I would not do that. I would not make that mistake. I do so good now with prioritizing and staying focused and understanding what’s important, what’s not. People, sometimes when they request features, they will almost make you feel guilty because they will say like, I can’t believe your product does not have this feature.
[00:43:54.140] – Veena Prashanth
Everybody else has it. That’s one common way of making you feel guilty and like, Okay. And then another thing they say is, I need this feature, but it’s not just for me, but a lot of people will benefit from this. It’s like, if they need something, they will make it about, It’s not for me, but there’s so many people. Your business can grow so much if you do this because so many people will benefit from this. You really need to be a good judge of what makes sense, what does not. Feedback is very important. Obviously, you’ve got to listen to your customers and do the right thing by them because if you’re not improving your product, then you’re not keeping your promise. So it’s important to listen to feedback, but it’s also important to prioritize and not just blindly implement whatever it is that people are telling you, because if you do, you’re going to build a system that’s not good for anyone, not for you, not for your customers. So I would not make that mistake. We added a whole bunch of features in DAB, which we are slowly removing a ton of it.
[00:44:53.460] – Veena Prashanth
We have already removed. No one cares about those features except that one person that requested it. So you have to do the right thing for most of your customers and your business, keeping in mind what’s your main goal, what exactly is your end game, and not just keep getting sidetracked and distracted because you don’t want to lose that one customer.
[00:45:11.560] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, I can understand that. So to finish, I think it’s been a great interview, even though my total inability to pronounce your name. No problem. But I don’t take it personally because for somebody that… This is my almost 755th interview. My ability not to do the basic requirement of interview.
[00:45:35.740] – Veena Prashanth
My last name is hard to pronounce, so.
[00:45:37.650] – Jonathan Denwood
It’s not your fault. No, it’s my total inability, but there we go. My listeners and viewers and my guests have been very compassionate towards me. But it’s been a great interview. So let’s finish off. So are there any books, websites, YouTube personalities? What have I influenced? Are there any business influences or individuals that when you see that they’ve written something or they’re on a podcast or something that you think, I’ve got to listen to that because I always get some knowledge and I learn something. Are there any people that you follow that you would like to share with the audience?
[00:46:23.800] – Veena Prashanth
Yes. I observe things very closely in general. So I get my inspiration from a lot of places every single day. I get new ideas. No matter what website I go to, I seem to get an idea from it. What can I do? For example, if I’m just scrolling through my Facebook feed and I see an ad, I have no interest in what they are selling, but I look at the headline, I look at the sub headline, I look at the text, I’ll click on it, I land on their site, and then I’ll see this thing pop up from the left side that says, This person just bought this thing. This person just signed up for this thing. That’s how I got an idea to do my plug in called Show Sales Proof, where you can display real time sales, proof of real time sales through a pop up. So I get new ideas from everywhere. I was on Twitter, I’m a big basketball fan. So during the trade season, trade deadline, a couple of months ago… No, not a couple of months ago, actually February. I was on Twitter and I saw this tweet from the athletic where it said something about Kyrie Irving and there was this possibility of him joining the Lakers.
[00:47:36.490] – Veena Prashanth
I’m a Lakers fan. So I was curious what that news was about. And that was the teaser content on Twitter. So when I clicked on the tweet, I landed on the athletic, the page where they had the post. And as I wanted to read it, I started scrolling, it locked it and there was a message that popped up from the bottom corner of the screen and it blocked half the screen and it says, This content is only for the paid subscribers. Here’s how you can unlock access to it. It’s called what we call a sneak peek feature. And we already have this feature in DAB. But the way they had implemented it, I love the way they had implemented it. So I got a new idea in terms of, This looks even better than what we have. The way we had implemented it was we have an in page sneak peek where you have your blog post and you want to display teaser content, you can use the more tag, the Read More tag, and you can restrict access. You can show the teaser content up to the Read More and the rest of the content is locked up.
[00:48:41.360] – Veena Prashanth
So when they go to the post, they try to access it. If it’s locked up by that, then they’re going to see a message, Sorry, this content is only available to paid subscribers or logged in members. Here’s how you can unlock access. But that was in page. It just locks up the rest of the content. So that’s what we had before. But as soon as I saw it, I was like, This looks really amazing. I think our users need to be able to do something similar. It’s going to really help them. But then you do a paid newsletter. I was working on my newsletter challenge at that time as well. I was working on the content for that. I said, We have to do it. Same day, talk to my team. And two days later, we actually released that feature. Now we do it exactly like what the athletic is doing. And even better because our users can do it. And there’s a lot more customization options. So you can show this pop up style sneak peek where you go to the site and you access the blog post. You have protected it in depth and said, This is my content.
[00:49:32.090] – Veena Prashanth
It’s only available to these people that have purchased this product from me or signed up for my newsletter subscription. No one else can get to it. You can create your post, add the teaser content, and then say, After this, anyone that tries to access it will see this message, and that message can be fully customized. So I get my inspiration from everywhere. So it’s not one specific thing. As far as people, I listen to podcast. I’m very interested in marketing podcast. That’s another passion other than coding stuff. I’m really interested in learning new ways to market my products and creating new ways for our users to be able to market their products. That was one of the reasons I created Smart quiz builder. So, yeah, so Amy PortoField, I listen to her podcast a lot and Jenna Kutcher. So there are a lot of people with marketing podcast that I listen to.
[00:50:24.720] – Jonathan Denwood
That’s fantastic. So if people want to learn more about you and your company, what are the best ways to get that knowledge? What are the best? Is it to go to the digital excesspass. Com or do you have your own blog and your own personal website?
[00:50:41.000] – Veena Prashanth
Yeah, I have. Actually, we have multiple websites. Digitalaccesspass. Com, if you are looking to start a membership site, want to learn about membership sites, or have questions about it, go there. And if you are looking for quizzes and marketing quizzes, educational quizzes, all kinds of quizzes. Another thing actually you can do with SQB, which I forgot to mention is you can have it generate PDF reports automatically customize and personalize PDF reports. Another unique feature SQB has, and that’s amazing because now you can productize your quizzes because you can get it to create your lead magnet on the fly because you can create these PDF reports automatically without having to create them manually. Sqb will automatically create the PDF based on the answers to the questions. So it’s pretty amazing. So you can go to the Smart quiz builder site you can if you want to sign up for that. Or I have a lot of courses and challenges, training, freebies, and all that stuff that I offer from a membership site called membership site challenge. Com. It’s a site actually I launched in August. Before that, I had a different site, but now I’m moving all of my courses, training, and freebies, everything to this site.
[00:51:56.540] – Veena Prashanth
So I have already launched three challenges, very popular. One is a membership site challenge, a 14-day membership challenge. If you want to learn all about setting up and launching your membership site, that’s what that does. There’s a list-building challenge, another very popular challenge. It’s a 14-day challenge as well. All of my challenges are like courses, so you can take them anytime you want. Just log in, sign up, log in, access the lessons, and do it at your own pace. I recently launched, and last week actually, I launched my newsletter challenge. It’s a seven-day challenge and it’s currently going on. Today is actually day three.
[00:52:30.200] – Jonathan Denwood
All right, fantastic. I’ll make sure that’s all in the show notes. I’ll go and have a look myself. I really enjoyed our discussion. Hopefully, you will agree to come back later on in the year or something, because I think we’ve had a really fantastic conversation. We’re going to end it now, folks. If you want to support the show, please leave a review on iTunes. That really encourages people, encourages iTunes to show us to new people.
Or go to the WP-Tonic YouTube channel, where you’ll see all the interviews, plus the membership machine show, which I do weekly with Spenser Forum. It’s a great resource. Go and subscribe to that. That really helps. We will be back next week with another fabulous guest, and another great interview, plus Kirk will be back. So it will be managed much better. We’ll see you next week, folks. Bye. Hey, thanks for listening. We really do appreciate it. Why not visit the Mastermind Facebook group? And also to keep up with the latest news, click WP. Tonic. Com newsletter. We’ll see you next time.
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