Living in the basement of a bar in Canada, Toby Black went from being a broke, homeless, no future musician to stumbling into the amazing world of entrepreneurship. You could say Toby’s story is one that is from bar rags to riches. In a relatively short period of time, he and his wife, Layla, went from basement in a bar to seven figures with webinars, investing into various types of training including sales, webinars, communication and storytelling. Once webinars started to take off, they moved their focus to doing webinars because he says there’s nothing like it. Toby shares his knowledge to inspire people to create the life they want. He gives some tips on how you can improve your webinars, what you can do with webinars, and what you can sell with webinars.
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From Bar Rags To Riches With Webinars with Toby Black
I’m excited about having our guest on the show, Toby Black, who went from living in the basement of a bar to generating more than seven figures online exclusively through using webinars to sell his products and services. I couldn’t think of a better guest to have on our initial show than Toby because of his story. If you’re out there wondering how you could make webinars work for your business and for your life, this is going to be the best episode for you to get started with. Let’s get into the show.
Toby, welcome. I’m glad to have you.
Joel, thanks very much for having me. I appreciate it. This is Toby Black and our online brand is always my wife, Layla, so it’s Toby & Layla Black, but she’s up dealing with our minions. We got a three-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old, and then another one on the way. We’re crazy people. You may have seen Layla and my story before. Eight years ago, we’re living in the basement of a bar in Canada. This is no fabrication. This is no network marketing exaggeration talk here. This is legitimate. We lived in the basement of a bar. We didn’t have a shower. We didn’t have windows. I had to borrow a shower every other day, going from being this broke, homeless, no future musician to stumbling into the amazing world of being an entrepreneur. Reading Rich Dad Poor Dad reluctantly and ended up reading that about twenty times in a space of a month or so.
In a relatively short period of time and within a year, going from the basement of the bar to a six-figure income and then to a seven-figure income a little less than a year afterward. Doing it primarily by a video. Once webinars started to take off and Google Hangouts started to take off, we moved our focus to do webinars because there’s nothing like it. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m definitely going to give some insights, some stuff that we’ve learned along the way. Layla and I have invested well over seven figures over the past few years into sales, training, webinars, communication, storytelling, all these different things.
I’m definitely here to be an open book and share whatever I can to hopefully give you a nugget or tidbit or inspiration or something that sparks that one thing that allows you to go and create that life you want. We truly are one webinar away. We’re always one ad away, you literally are and figuratively are one webinar away from changing your complete life whatever your goal is. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be awesome. I’m a Scotsman who is somewhat of a pirate sometimes.
You said you started with a video, then you transitioned to webinars, so give us some insight on what was the idea, what was the spark, what was the dream, the inspiration when you were living in that bar? Tell us a little bit about the beginning of Toby & Layla and tell us what happened from there. What transpired?
When I’m talking about these strategies that we used in the story that we went on and our success, I want you to understand and I want you to fully get that everything that we did was fueled by this crazy unwavering passion and belief that we are somewhat homeless. Our life has no future. We are burning the ships and taking the island mentality. There was no plan B or plan C. There was no back door, there was no nothing. If that doesn’t work, we’re going to be struggling to live in the basement of a bar, maybe homeless for the rest of my life. That is nuts. Enough is enough.
That fueled us to then go and do crazy things. If you listen to most of your friends and family and the people surrounding you, what did they say? “You’re going to do some internet thing? You’re going to start your own business? You’re going to be an entrepreneur?” You get looked at, laughed at and forgotten about because nine times out of ten, they’re judging you because they want to do it themselves, but they don’t have the courage.
Think about when I’m talking about what Layla and I did strategy-wise. It came from a place of we are burning the ships and taking the island because there’s no other way out. We attacked video marketing, webinars, and copywriting. We attacked all these strategies and training and skill sets that we needed to learn with the way that it’s this or nothing. There was never an, “I’ll try and learn webinars.” There was never an, “I’ll try and learn video.” There was never an, “I’ll give this Facebook thing a shot and see how it does.” That vocabulary never even come into our head. Those thoughts never raised through our mind. We never googled those thoughts because we made sure that it was this and this was the way that was going to lead us to the XYZ result we wanted.
Layla and I first got into this industry through door-to-door network marketing where I would go to coffee shops. I would meet people at their places of business. I would do home parties. I would be on the call for four, five, six hours a day, calling hundreds of people into a juice company. It was Layla and I’s my first exposure to this wonderful world of being a self-made entrepreneur. I grew up in Scotland and the UK and my mom and dad had owned their own restaurant for 38 years and before that, they had owned some other businesses. I grew up in a household that I never saw jobs. I didn’t even know what a job was. I saw the other people had jobs. Friends of mine, their mom and dad had jobs, but for me, our world was if you want to have a car, a house, a nice thing, you go out and you create something to sell, to make money to have that.
Growing up around that entrepreneurial environment, it gave me this different way of upbringing. Layla, she’s on the complete opposite side of that. Her mom and dad worked hard and in corporations and jobs their entire life. I’m not saying one is right, one is wrong by any means. I’m saying those are the different comparisons. When we got together, and we saw this network marketing deal, this world, that was my view of it that yes, I know this works 100%. Layla believed that she could do it, but she had this entire atmosphere of people that this was brand new and what do we do with brand new things? We judge them, we tear them down, and we somewhat deny them from coming into our life because we’re scared to change.
We got started in network marketing, we’re hounding the phone, and we’re doing all these crazy things dressed up in suits. It wasn’t our personality, it wasn’t who we were. We got a little bit of success. I think our biggest check was like $300 and we had put a $1,000 and that we had borrowed from numerous people. They told us, “Why wasn’t it matching up?” Never were we discouraged, never were we going to quit. Never will we going to say, “We tried this, this wasn’t going to work. We were going to make it work no matter what.”You got to have a quality product, but at the end of the day, it's mostly about the vehicle. Click To Tweet
A large portion of that has to do with, we made sure that we filled our head up and our ecosystem up with people that were not only in the industry, but we’re also living the lifestyle that we wanted. It was easy for us to see, feel, and believe the success because we chose to follow those people on social media, to listen to their audios, to listen to their tapes. Starting the network marketing and then we luckily found the internet. We were living in Tampa, Florida. We were going to an event in Orlando and we were getting ready to go. We put on the computer and as you surf around the internet, searching for a dream, wasting time, whatever you want to call it, this funny little video of this nerdy guy popped up who turned out to be Norbert Orlewicz.
He is one of our closest friends in this industry and made a lot of money and helped a lot of people make a lot of money by showing them how to build network marketing on the internet. This video popped up, this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this and this guy I feel he’s talking directly to me. He’s listing off all the problems I’m going through in my network marketing business, like having duds that I’m talking to, people not showing up to my home parties and never making enough money to survive. I followed the rabbit hole of his video which turned out to be a sales funnel, which I didn’t know. We borrowed my dad’s credit card and he allowed us to buy this system that was $47 a month. He said, “You can borrow my credit card as long as you pay it back within the credit card cycle bills,” so he doesn’t get charged.
We’re always talking about burning the ships and taking the island mentality. If we don’t make that money back, my dad’s going to be pissed and he won’t allow us to continue to do it, so we better go to work and make it happen. When you’re open to receiving what the universe will give you, you are actively engaged in the game. We saw that video and we ended up meeting that same person, Norbert Orlewicz. We had no idea he was going to be at this event in Orlando, but it so happened that his system, we’re partnering with the people that we were involved within a network marketing business. From there, every night, we stuck our face on a computer, learned, took action, talked on the computer for ten, twelve, four, sixteen-hour days, not showering, forgetting to eat. It was all or nothing. From there, we started to learn about copywriting, direct response marketing, video. Facebook was our first love, still is.
We do a time marketing on Facebook and then from there when webinars came out and Google Hangouts came out, it made perfect sense. If you think about it, all sales is a communication between two people where the transfer of beliefs happened. Even in the thousands and thousands of years ago when they were trading and bartering, some person had milk, or some person had some food, and this other person has some steel or a tool and they didn’t exchange money. They exchanged something that was of equal value to each other in a trade. That’s why when I attack anything in our business, I never got uncomfortable with sales. I never get uncomfortable about money because all it says was a transfer of value. I had something that they wanted that could help them.
I wanted what they had, and we communicate until we found that common ground to make it happen. Webinars were the perfect storm because you can have twenty minutes, 30 minutes, an hour-long, two-hour long recorded presentation, which you’re taking someone from a stranger who may have never seen you before. You’re educating them, inspiring them. You’re giving them these stories and allows them to move down the path of least resistance to trust you to then go ahead and buy from you. When we started webinars, that’s when we started to see our sponsoring 30, 40 reps a week becoming the number one recruiter in different companies, earning these silly paychecks. Going on these crazy trips all paid for by a webinar and it couldn’t have happened without the internet, belief, and webinars, too.
I loved what you said about the whole concept of sales where we talked about the transfer of services and transfer of value. It’s the same thing that I talk about when I discuss with people that all this is an exchange. Some people view it as, as they’re going into battle. It’s like, “I need to get them to buy my stuff.” When you do that, you’re immediately going to put up some reservations from whoever you’re trying to get them to buy from.
They’re going to try and protect their value because if you feel like you won when you have gotten the sale, they’re going to try and defend and protect whatever they’ve got, which is their money or whatever you’re transferring. Webinars are an online method of communication and you explained it very well. Let me ask you, you said you started out with a video. As I think you started out with network marketing or selling, what was the first product that you sold online?
The first thing that we were doing online was used to be called MonaVie, it was a network marketing company, a juice company. They were selling liquid heaven in a bowl. Looking back, it’s pretty ridiculous, but that’s the beautiful thing about network marketing. You’ve got to have a quality product, but it’s mostly about the vehicle. It’s mostly at the business modeled to give someone a life that they couldn’t have. If they’re a postal worker or if they’re a part-time employee, you work in somewhere, but they have these aspirations, these dreams to live bigger to live free, they’re not getting there on a job. Let’s be realistic. They have another vehicle to get there. For us, we were selling something that was consumable, very vanity-rich product, but they couldn’t get their hands on it. They couldn’t see it first.
For us, to sell a product where they couldn’t get their hands on it, they couldn’t test drive it, they couldn’t taste test at first unless it was in person. We had to get good at communicating what the benefit’s going to be, the life that they’ll have when they have this business in this juice and whatnot. For us, that was a good learning curve because we had to dive deep into the psychology of buying and selling, to sell this bottle of juice to someone over the internet. It was a juice company that we started out with. That was our first network marketing company, and then we moved to a coins company that was located in Tampa, golden silver coins. After that, we sold some video email software, which was an Indian-based company called MyVideoTalk.The possibilities are endless. Click To Tweet
We did a weight loss product with ViSalus. This whole entire journey, the fastest way for us to build, the fastest way for our team to build the fastest way for all of us to make money, and change our life was leveraging webinars. If you can promote a webinar for five to six days solid and do it as best as you possibly can with as much hunger and as much traffic as possible, you can end up with one, two, three, four, five, 600, 1,000, 1,500 people on your webinar. Think about how long you take to do that. If you’re in network marketing and you’re hammering the phone and you’re building your business like that.
Even if you’re a traditional brick and mortar business owner and you’re building your business ones and twos on the phone, think about how more leverage and how bigger and quicker you could build it when you’re able to have a “virtual room” of 500, 1,000, 1,200 people at once. Having that daily or every other day, every third day, and then put on autopilot. The possibilities are endless. That’s why we’re seeing guys and girls doing a million a week, doing a million every three days, unbelievable numbers that five years ago were ludicrous. Because of automated webinars and the positioning with technology, Facebook, and other traffic sources, it is a reality that legitimately one person can go from one week knowing nothing to a couple of weeks or a month later end up with their first $10,000 day or $100,000 a week.
Tell us about the first webinar that you did when you realized like, “This is something that I need to pay attention to.” What was that first a-ha moment that you had with webinars?
We did many webinars where no one came or one or two people came, our family or friends to check out what are these ideas doing? We didn’t get discouraged. We were honing our craft. If anyone’s tried to learn a different language or learn an instrument, get fit, quit smoking, or anything that’s given you challenges in your life, you don’t get it right away. Some things come easier than others, but if you want that end goal, you’re going to have to be willing to shovel the crap in order to get there. We did manual webinars where no one attended.
We did many of webinars that we thought we’re doing them right. We didn’t hit record and we didn’t go live or people couldn’t hear our audio or couldn’t hear a video. We did plenty of webinars where there were people on, but there was no interaction. It was consistently honing our craft until one webinar we sponsored seven people. If you think about that in whatever business you’re in, if you go from never making a sale online to then from one hour and 30-minute webinar selling 37 items of your products for 37 clients into your business, that’s a big eye-opener.
That’s a huge revolutionary quantum leap to feel like, “If I can do this without knowing what I’m doing, imagine what I’ll be able to achieve when I fine tune the process, what I’m saying, how I say it, how I get people on.” We moved from up here in Canada, we went down to Florida. My parents were living in Florida at the time. They were going through some terrible financial stuff that was happening in Florida, back in 2008, 2009 and whatnot financially. We moved down there to get jobs and help them out and luckily, we didn’t end up getting jobs, we got into this industry.
I remember sitting at the end, we didn’t have a computer desk, we had Layla’s old laptop that had to have a fan at the bottom of it, so it wouldn’t overheat and shut off. It had to be plugged in at all times. We’re perched on the edge of the bed hammering away on this webinar and we’re able to make $2,700 or whatever for selling those 37 clients into our business. If I made $2,700 for 37 clients now, I would shoot myself. That’s what it was in the beginning and that’s what we’re selling at the time. As your value grows, make sure your price tag goes too. It was so eye-opening. No matter the circumstances that we’re in, no matter the environment that we’re in, as long as we have value to provide and we’re willing to take a risk and go on a webinar and share it, people are going to be receptive of it. People are going to buy, and it would change our lives. That was the first one that we knocked out of the park where we’re like, “This platform could be everything for us.”
We’ve used Google Hangouts since then when those were huge. We did a six-figure Google Hangouts, which was around 45 minutes long. From there, we’ve been able to build numerous businesses from social media, content marketing and having a webinar and to the seven figures over the years. In my opinion is the fastest way to get someone to trust you because of the storytelling, the positioning, and the length. They are stuck to you sharing something on the screen.
You go from 37 sales making about $2,700. That was when we first got that a-ha moment like, “There’s something here.” This has been the most impactful way to convert new prospects into buyers. Then you said you had a 45-minute Google Hangout that generated six figures in revenue. You go from $2,700 to $135,000.
All profit, not revenue. That’s with marketing costs are taken off. Everything else paid out.The fastest way to get someone to trust you is through storytelling, positioning, and the length. Click To Tweet
This is now your process. You’re nailing it down. You’re understanding what people want to hear on webinars. You’re connecting them, you’re building the bond, you’re building the trust, and you’re building the story. Let’s fast forward and I want to talk about the different varieties of product that you can sell in a webinar. You can do network marketing, so you can do low ticket stuff. You can do high ticket stuff. What types of products are you guys selling in your business with webinars?
We have our own personal products like our Facebook and social media training that gets put for an automated webinar system. My wife has a women’s community where she has a membership site and then some other products attached to that. That is run by a brief seventeen-minute recorded live webinar. We have a travel membership which is a high ticket offer around $5,000 that pays $3,000 commission. It’s a direct sales offer that’s run 100% on automated webinar, which is an hour and 25 minutes, or an hour and twenty minutes, or an hour and eighteen minutes. It’s pretty lengthy and that’s the first exposure. We’re seeing amazing results because of the messaging and the positioning and the targeting on Facebook. This is someone coming into a webinar that’s not even ours. It’s two friends of ours that are doing the webinar and it’s converting like crazy.
We have a recorded video funnel that we have for my parents who have a traditional business in Florida. Facebook lives are like webinars because you can position them in the exact same way. You can shoot a piece of content that is value packed, ask questions, it engages with people, it engages with the audience that is there and then you have them on your fan page recorded and then you can use those as an ad. It’s like a webinar built in already. We’re using a lot of Facebook Live stuff for my friend’s band who’s touring all across Canada. They’re signed to Sony and some other little side passion project of our local business and whatnot. We’re using the exact same model, script, and procedure that we used on a webinar condensing it down to a seven, twelve, and 30-minute Facebook live and having everything inside of Facebook which is doing some crazy results with that.
When you say something is converting well, I always like to measure sales versus the registrations. Do you have any idea of what those numbers are? Are we talking about 2% conversion from registrations? Are we talking 5%, 10%?
It’s 6% from registrations. Gary Vaynerchuk and all these different entrepreneurs that are hounding us to be more passionate and embrace the grind, that’s great. I’ve got kiddos. When we were pregnant with our first baby Beatrice years ago, we didn’t do anything for a year. Our business was set up in the way income depth a little bit, not too much. We’re still able to rake and multiple six figures that year because of automation and webinars. We launched this travel business in October and we set things in place. When the holidays came around, we took the food off, but we were able to without any tweaking to the landing page, without any tweaking to the webinar and letting it run with a simple, almost copy and paste, follow-up sequence in place. It’s been able to do 6% from lead to sale and closing around one in thirteen applications, one in eleven applications. We’re purchasing a $5,000 sale.
You’re doing an automated webinar and at the end of the webinar you’re saying, “Apply to this program.” You fill out information about the application and then you schedule a call with a sales guy or sales team or saleswoman. They pick up the phone and then that’s when they sell them on the $5,000 product.
We have a process that we have financing bill into our offer, so if someone doesn’t qualify for the financing in the application, it redirects them to another video which is a down sale. They go through the application if they have the credit score that doesn’t match the financing. If they choose to do financing, they’ll get kicked and reverted over to another seventeen minutes live webinar. At the end, they’ll have another person call them. For every point of entry and then the application, there’s a person that calls them. I personally trained Denise, who is absolutely phenomenal. I’m training her to be my little Jordan Belfort on the phone. If someone doesn’t qualify right away, then they’re given an offer, which is a $2,000 instead of the $5,000.
I love the automated high-ticket webinar. In my own business, we were doing an automated webinar every fifteen minutes, which was at the end of the 45-minute presentations to, “Apply to work with me on some coaching offers.” I’d have my sales guy follow up with them and we’re generating for every application that came through, we’re generating about $2,000 in revenue. It was an $8,000 or $9,000 offer. We did some serious qualifications on the webinar. We’d say this is how much it is. “Apply and if you’re a good fit, we’ll call you.” We had a high close rate, but because they were super qualified.
Your automated webinar does not have to be complicated. I love what you did when you redirected them to down sells. That’s perfect when you get to the point that you’re at, where you’ve got the experience, you’ve got the seven or eight years of experience. You know that not everyone’s going to be qualified for this higher-end offer so I’m going to redirect them to a lower ticket offer. Even if you didn’t redirect them, you’d still be making thousands and thousands of dollars for each application or for that webinar.
I’d have to look at the numbers to see what we made per application. It’s the beauty of automation. If you have a webinar that does its job, that gives people enough value and enough trust for them to part with their hard-earned money. You have the sales process that they either sign up right away or you have someone that will close the sale. All our job is to do make sure that we’re keeping that funnel filled. All I have to do is go to Facebook and make sure our ads are converting it within our key metrics. If they’re not starting new campaigns, which takes 30 minutes to 40 minutes a couple times a week to do as long as you have your messaging right. To the readers of this blog, if you don’t know how to fill that webinar up, you need to go and buy a high-end course that teaches you exactly how to do it. You need to go and figure out for yourself putting in the hours how to do it or go and pay someone to do for you.As your value grows, make sure your price tag grows, too. Click To Tweet
Paying someone to do it for you is going to be a big price tag, but if you don’t have people coming for the webinar, there’s no point in having it at all. It’s not about Facebook, it’s not about Google, and it’s not about the platform, the little tweaks on the platform. Placing an ad on Facebook and placing an ad on Google primarily it’s the same function. A couple of different tweaks that you have to do, but it’s primarily the same mechanics. It’s the messaging in what you are saying, who you are targeting, that’s everything.
No matter what media you’re buying, what traffic you’re generating, it doesn’t matter what the platform. If you studied your audience and you know what keeps them awake at night, what frustrates them, what raises their blood pressure, what makes them happy, what turns them on, and you know how to talk to them correctly. You can be the worst technical person in the world. You can hire someone else to place your ads for you. As long as you know what keeps them up at night and how to message to them, you’ll end up filling your webinar each and every time and getting these incredible results.
Messaging is everything. A lot of people have this hesitation when webinars are saying, “I’m not a good presenter or I’m not good on camera.” I’ve had personal clients where I’ve written webinars for them before and they were very dull monotone, they talked like this. That was some of my best performing work. I knew that I wrote a kickass webinar script for those people and they ended up doing $105,000 in seven days from new sales on a $1,000-offer direct sale on the webinar. They were not energetic, they weren’t exciting on the webinar, but their message was spot on. It was dialed in, we knew exactly what they wanted. We gave them everything they wanted.
We went over some awesome stuff. You took us through where you and Layla’s business and where you got started from the basement in the bar. Starting out in network marketing, you discovered the internet, which was awesome. You leverage the power of the internet to eventually move towards webinars. Your first successful webinar was 37 sales. You did about $2,700. You did a 45-minute Google Hangout where it was $135,000 in pure profit and it’s been onward and upward from there.
You’ve shared some amazing tips with us. Hopefully, that gives our audience inspiration. You sell travel products on webinars, you sell network marketing products on webinars and everything in between. There’s a lot of opportunity with what you can do with webinars. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us what you’re doing now? Where can we send people to follow more about you?
If you’re on this webinar or on this podcast thinking you’re going to get the entire package of how to build the business that you want, you’re not. You’re going to get one thing you may be going to get two things that open up this pathway in your head that pushes you to go down the rabbit hole to master this thing. That’s all it is. No matter if you choose webinars, be it through social media, no matter what platform or what channel you decide that you’re going to build your business from, even if you don’t even have a business yet, you can create one from something that you love or you’re passionate about.Be more passionate and embrace the grind. Click To Tweet
You have a skill set or become an affiliate marketer and promote someone else’s products. Whatever it is you decide to get into, please attack it with the mentality that you’re burning the ships and you’re taking the island. Attack it with the mentality that there’s no other way around this. If you do not do this, then there’s nothing else. Notice the difference in how you act, how you think and how you produce in your life when you have that mentality. It’s dramatically different than someone who tries, dabbles, and thinks about maybes, hopes, wishes. It’s completely different. If you want to get connected with Layla and I come to our fan page. That’s our hub of everything, we share lives, we share videos, different things that we’re doing in the day, products that we have going on, projects that we’re working on, and different training that we’ve come across.
All you’ve got to do is go to Facebook, Toby & Layla Black or go to CopyThisProcess.com and you’ll find everything that we do and how we do it. Hopefully, you can come and learn with us. We’re always open for a chat every day we get hit up on the fan page or people saying, “I can’t believe you replied.” I know the biggest names in this industry and outside of our industry. Make it a priority to connect with everybody individually because you never know who’s going to be your next huge client. You never know who’s going to be that next superstar. You never know who they know in their connections. If you want to reach out and chat, you’re more than welcome. It may take us a couple of days to reply, but we’re definitely on it.
I want to thank you, Toby. You shared a lot of great information and gave people hope, inspiration, and direction for how they can do this stuff with webinars on their own. Thank you so much. For my audience, I want to thank you for tuning in. We had a lot of great information, a lot of great content, and I hope you found value from this. We’ll see you in the next episode.
Thanks so much for being here. We hope you enjoyed this episode and we look forward to giving you the next one. You can also follow and watch the behind the scenes look at how I’m personally launching a brand new six and seven-figure product from scratch at SoldWithWebinars.com/TV. If you’d like to come hang out with other fellow experts, join our Facebook group at SoldWithWebinars.com/Experts. Join us next time and I’ll see you there.