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Terminal Value

The Right Tech Stack to Grow your Business with Jennie Wright


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The Right Tech Stack to Grow your Business with Jennie Wright

Janine Bacani


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We have Jennie Wright with us today and what we’re going to be talking about is the right tech stack to grow your business. And that’s not right like as in spelled the same as your name, but right as in spelled the correct way to spell right. And because tech stack is actually a tricky part of a lot of businesses because my background is in finance and in the technology industry and I’ve spent a fair amount of time in It as well, principally doing program management. But even so, you think, okay, big tech companies, they have their tech stack, right? And it’s like not necessarily. A lot of times what they have is they have money to be able to pay for over the times when they screw up their tech staff by just hiring more people and say, okay, well, this thing that we were going to automate, we’re just going to do it manually now. But as a small business, we don’t really have that option. And then of course, any of us who have been who have ever served ads for a different tech solution have seen all in one solution, which Jennie has an allergic aversion too. If you’re on the video, you can actually see her wincing in the sides of her mouth. You can see her skin starting to crawl right now with disdain for all in one solution. But anyway, Jennie, enough of my exaggerated metaphors. Please introduce yourself and tell us where your all in one revulsion came from and how you got to really building the right tech stack for growing your business. 

Thank you for that awesome introduction, Doug. I really appreciate it. So I’m Jennie Wright. I’m a growth strategist in list build and lead generation expert. My job is to help people grow their businesses as well as do it effectively with proper list building techniques and lead generation. So my massive conversion to all in one system comes from my own personal experience as well as my experience of helping hundreds of clients with the same problem. So a couple of years ago, pre pandemic, I wanted to run a brand new online course and my launch strategy was to run a five day challenge with a bunch of webinars. And there’s a really well known woman female entrepreneur in my space who was touting up and down that Kajabi was the way to go. Now, if you haven’t heard about Kajabi, Kajabi is an all in one solution. It has landing pages, affiliate email, you can build your website on It products, et cetera. And this person was saying this was like the best gift ever. And you know what? I kind of fell for the hype a little bit. 

Hang on, I’m going to use my powers of extra sensory perception and guess that she was a Kajabi affiliate.

Shocker. 

I’m just that good. 

But the weird part of it is that that person who shall remain nameless in this conversation, only uses Kajabi for her courses. And I found out later that she does not use Kajabi for anything else. But that’s a different part of the story. So I went all in with the Kool-Aid. I got Kajabi. Kajabi, by the way, is not cheap. And I set up my landing pages for my course to do that, and then my sales page to sell my program. And my course had it all set up, ready to go. So now I’m promoting this challenge, and I’m promoting it like crazy. And I am one of those people that goes full in for promo. I did, and I think I was live for my promo for three weeks. I did 53 Facebook Live during that three week period. I was going crazy, right? And I’m also a builder. I build funnels for a living, and conversions are my bread and butter. So I was finding a Kajabi that the opt in rate for this challenge that I was hosting was about 14%. And that’s okay, but not okay for me. So I was really frustrated because I’m like, you know what, when I build on other platforms, I usually get 35, 40, sometimes even more. Why can’t I get it with Kajabi? And what I found was just trying to wrap this up as quickly as I can, is when you work with something that’s an all in one builder, they have landing pages and everything that I told you about before, but they’re not experts at the one thing. They’re not niche in their SAS systems as a service. That the one thing is the thing. They do incredibly well. They have to do five or six things at an okay level. I took the exact same copy, the exact same graphics, the exact same layout from this landing page in Kajabi. And I threw it up on a different builder, a builder that only deals basically with landing pages, sales pages and things like that. And my conversion rate in the same day, because I did it in a day, went from 14% running the exact same traffic to Kajabi, to sending it to this new page builder, and it went to 58% to it wow. Within 2 hours. Well, that’s amazing. Huge difference. And again, same graphics, same copy, same layout. The differences were that the page builder that I was using allowed me to have more versatility in the way that I was building out the page. I could add drop shadow and I could do parallax, I could do really cool hero images, proper space thing, all this kind of stuff. And Kajabi limits you to that.

 I’m again, also going to use my powers of perception. I think I know what page builder you’re talking about. I’m not going to promote it because I’m not affiliate of it. Well, I could be an affiliate if I really wanted to, but I don’t have enough traffic. Going to be one but that’s not the point of the conversation.

Sure. Again, we’re not trying to tout a certain particular product here, but when I get into the conversation more about building out your tech stack, we can talk about that. But anyways, yes. So this is the thing with all in one builders, and there’s lots of them out there. There’s Go high level, there’s Kajabi, there’s Kartara, there’s a whole bunch of them out there and there’s a whole bunch to help you also do other things like build summits and things like that. The issue that I find as somebody who’s been doing this for ten years or almost ten years, is that all in one is a master of none and they don’t do anything 100% proficiently. And when you’re building out your business and you want to scale and evolve and do everything, you must have the right tech stack to make that happen. And you must be willing to change horses to something different when the need arises. You have to have that. Nimbleness and as entrepreneurs, we’re not stuck with the red tape of going to HR and asking for this or going to Admin and asking for PO and going through any sort of conversations with the higher ups. We are the higher ups.

 I’d like to add one thing onto your list, and that is

 you must have the willingness to try, fail and pivot.

Because one of the things that I’ve seen a lot of times is you’ll have somebody who gets something together that works at about a B minus level and I wish it will say it’s working, I’m not messing with it. 

It’s so scary. I’m going to drop a name. I was with Aweber for 6 years and it was running at a B minus level. It was wonderful for what it did. It scared the crap out of me to leave because I had to learn something new, but it wasn’t allowing me to scale the way that I wanted to. I need certain things in my business that AWeber at the time was just not offering. Maybe they offer it now, but I wasn’t willing to wait two or three, four more years until I got there. The other thing with tax acts that I want to recommend that people think about is if you get in on something that is beta a lot of runway until they get to perfection, you’re going to pay for that, right? So you’re going to pay like if somebody says, hey, I’ve got a great beta deal for you, it’s only $49, $49 a month and we’re bringing stuff on as we go, that’s awesome. However, you’re going to run into issues because it’s beta and they haven’t fixed all the bugs, right? So you might want to go and send an email to your list and on that particular day you can’t send an email to your list because there’s a bug, right? So that’s another thing to consider. It doesn’t mean that you have to spend a gazillion dollars on the best sass out there. It just means you need to find your amazing tech stack. So I have ideas, but that’s life. And the right tech stack universally allows for growth. It’s like buying your kids shoes with enough room for them to grow into the right wiggle room with the toe so that they can grow into it a little bit or the pants a little long so that after a couple of months they’re not looking like they’re standing in caprice. So it’s the same thing with your tech stack.

You have to allow for some room to grow but you don’t want all the bells and whistles that you don’t need and you don’t need to pay for, but you need enough so that there’s that ability to grow and that’s a really important thing to look at. 

Yeah, well, one of the things at least that I’ve observed and I’m partly living through right now is you’re coming to grips with the fact that you will eventually need to link some of these things together. And something like Zapier is usually now of course I haven’t gone all in on it yet, but I have admitted, okay, I’m going to have to link some of this stuff together because I could all do another name drop here. So you take something like say, HubSpot amazing CRM page builder. Okay. And if you want it to be any better than pretty rotten, it’s really expensive automation. Really awesome, really pretty good. Not as good as someone as something like I keep one of the same fusions off but now it’s called keep.

You just called confusionsoft. Confusion, exactly. Everybody know what it is?

 Yes, precisely. Yes. But it has automation, has automation functionality. Which if you want it to. For example, there was one time where I was working on automating some outbound. It sort of worked. I think for the sort of working part it would have cost me an extra $500 a month. And if I wanted to get the stuff to where I could actually do things in sequences where I could mass track and all that, it was like north of $1,600 a month. And so in a lot of cases you have to say, okay, I have to figure out as far as contact tracking, conversation tracking. HubSpot is amazing and you can get an outstanding functionality for free. But if you want to go outside of that shell, it gets really expensive really fast.

 It absolutely does. And that’s why HubSpot is really good at what they do. But not everybody needs HubSpot, at least at the level. The $1,600 a month level. 

Yeah, precisely. You have to burn a lot of revenue in order to justify that. 

Absolutely. And that’s where you have to take a look at your tech stock. This is where every quarter I review my tech stack. What do I have that I need? What do I have that I don’t? What can be shut down, closed? What do I have coming up? Like right now I’m preparing to go into promotion for an online summit. I need affiliate software. I didn’t need to have an affiliate software running for the past two or three months because I wasn’t running a summit. So that’s been sitting dormant. Now I can open that back up again and I can go from paying basically nothing a month to paying a small fee per month to have things like that. So you review your check stock because it’s funny enough, a lot of people end up having a bit of dead weight with the check stacks that they don’t need. And that 20 30 $40 a month added up. It adds up. I mean, it does add up. And it doesn’t matter where your business is at. It doesn’t matter if you have 10,000 people on your list or like one of my clients that has 160,000 people on their list. The costs matter. And something that we have to look at with tech stacks that I think is really, really important is to make sure that it’s currently functioning for where you are and functioning for where you will be. And this is part of your overall business planning and strategy to look at what you’re doing in your business. As an example, I’ll give you one thrive Cart. Have you heard of thrivecart?

 I have not. I’m sure. Okay. I’ve heard of it. Let me put it this way. The name rings a bell. If you ask me what they did, I could not answer the question. So yesish.

 So Thrive Card is exactly what it is. It’s a card. So it’s a Cart software. And this is the original. This is how it started. It was meant to be able to help you set up Cart. And it integrated with a lot of things, and it’s the direct API integration versus Zapier or Zapier, depending on how you want to say it. So one of the things about Thrivecar is it has a one time purchase price, and it has for years. If you go to the website, it’s hilarious because it says this is going to change soon, but it hasn’t. We’ve added on some really good products in the past couple of years. They have an affiliate system and now they’ve got a learning system. You can build a course and things like that. But with the thing with Revecard is you pay for a one time fee, it’s 400 and change us. So for a brand bank and entrepreneur, that’s a challenge. For somebody who’s been a little bit more in the business, that’s not so hard, but you have to think about it. So most people, when they pay for an affiliate or a Cart system, they’re paying 30, 40, 50, sometimes $80 a month. Times twelve. So Thrivecart, this is where we’re not comparing apples to apples. And I’m not saying Thrive Card is necessarily a great fit. 400 plus dollars a year for Thrive Cart versus 50, 60, $78 a month. You have to look at the economics and see what fits. This is where that tech stack knowledge comes in. And if you’re not good at tech stacking, if you’re not good at figuring this out, this is a really good conversation to ask your VA, your OBM, ask them what they use and what they enjoy and what fits for them and what they’re really comfortable using. And a lot of these things have free trials. Always recommend using the free trial because you have to use it. So as an example, Active Campaign, which is an email marketing software, 14 day free trial. When I moved from AWeber to ActiveCampaign, I wasn’t used to the UI, I didn’t understand it, and I almost didn’t end up staying with it because it’s different. So that’s why those 14 day or twelve day or whatever a day free trial is so important that you can get used to the UI and see if it fits. So that’s another consideration for people to think about.

 And one other thing that I would say too, which I think a lot of people will do intuitively, but it’s still worth calling out, is to understand that there are a lot of free tools out there that you can use that can circumvent the need to have a tech solution at all. For example, one of my three most frequently used free tools are number one would be Slack, because whenever I’m communicating with VAS, they just use Slack. Because then I just have the app up on my phone and when a notification comes up, I can just okay, all right, there we go. Because basically what I do is I finale the communications that I really care about into a small number of Slack channels. So then it helps filter out the noise. You can do that for free if you want to have better retention, all that other kind of stuff, sure. But it has a forever free version that is very functional. Another one that I absolutely love is Trello. Trello is probably my favorite project management software because it is so, gold aren’t simple, it is just so ridiculously simple. It is so easy to use. And so then what I do is when I’m on boarding Bas, I’ll invite them to a board, I’ll send them a Slack chat, I’ll send them Slack. And then what I do is I’ll sign the tasks. I’ll say, hey, I’m going to send you a task in Trello. If you have any questions about it, I try to make it as self explanatory as possible, then just ping me in Slack and I’ll walk you through it. And then, which gets me to my third favorite tool, which is this is going to seem really weird, but Google Drive, because it’s like, okay, everybody uses Google Drive. Well, what I do is I use Google Drive as the place where I have a standard operating procedure repository. So I just have a set of folders where when there’s a repetitive task, I just write a simple SOP in the Google Doc and then put it up there, link to it from the Trello task and say, okay, this is the SOP you for the process. When we change something, just bill me for the time, go back, change the SOP. That way if I need to rotate bas, then I have something to go off of versus having one person who knows the weird way that I do everything and nothing’s documented, which incidentally, is a lesson that I took out of corporate. Because you think if there’s somebody who’s good at documenting stuff, it’d be corporates. And it’s funny, they’re really good at documenting things that aren’t done anymore. There’s usually a lot of documentation for processes, for old processes that aren’t done anymore. But as far but when things evolve quickly, that tends to not get documented, or if it does, it gets documented poorly, usually because the documentation is over anal retentive. So what I try to do is I try to say, okay, what is a very simple way that you can do this kind of thing? Another thing that’s really good is if you just do like say screen captures and then put it on like say an unlisted or private YouTube or private YouTube, so then it’s not going to show up in a search, but you could very easily link to it if somebody needs to see what you’re doing. And you can do a voiceover. Simple, simple kind of stuff. And by the way, these tools are all free. All free. So don’t overlook the free stuff.

Totally. I use free stuff all the time. I use Loom for screen capture. It’s totally free. You have to delete some of the videos at the end, but who cares? Which is great. I use slack. I can’t stand trello. I don’t know how you use it, it drives me insane. But I use Asana and I am a Google Drive person myself, even though I paid for a dropbox. But that’s where I keep a lot of other stuff. Got you. You come from the finance background, right? Correct. Well, I come from the communications and investor relations background who work very closely with finance. Right. SOPs are a thing and I have a whole folder of SOPs and every time I do something, I make my SAP just like you, so that it’s easy to find later and I update them and things like that. So I totally agree. Don’t overlook the free stuff. I’m just an advocate for not using free as a crippling thing of oh my God, I have to use free and then not using it. Like an example MailChimp. You can quickly outgrow MailChimp and correct. This is where I would say free MailChimp is probably not where you wanna keep your email list. At some point you wanna upgrade and have something. That’s a bit of a solution. 

Well, I know, yeah, yeah, because the thing is that just about all the mailers. Whether you’re talking about like, say, MailChimp, AWeber, active campaign, mail, light, whatever, they’re all very good mailers. They’re, generally speaking, very poor CRMs. So in other words, if you’re doing something that is going to be more involved than a send out message, click Buy, then you’re probably going to want to have some kind of CRM because your transaction will involve follow up. And if you lose track of your messages, then you’re going to have a whole bunch of follow up that just falls at the bottom of your bucket. 

I totally agree with that. 

All right, well, I may have to follow up with you offline to find out why you hate trello so badly.

 I’m a list person, right? And it’s visually like a list. I’m a list person. And that’s just trello with all the boards and the sliding stuff. I I that find can’t find anything. So I guess it’s just the way different people interact, I guess. 

Got you okay. Yeah, I completely see that. Okay, well, let’s see. I think we’ve been talking about putting the tech stack together. What would you say is probably the most counterintuitive part of building a good tech stack for your business? 

The most counterintuitive part is thinking the shiny object syndrome. Oh, I need to have this and I need to have that, and I need to have this big shiny thing, this beautiful thing when you actually don’t. So there has to be a gatekeeper. If you can’t be your own gatekeeper, somebody else needs to be your gatekeeper. Like a business besty, somebody you mastermind with your partner, whoever it is, to be able to say, do you really need this? Is it a need or want? I think that’s a really big thing because people tend to add all these things and there’s so many great deals like, oh my gosh, for only $30, I can get this. This is great. I’ll never use it. I have six or seven of those somewhere. From went on a little buying spree a couple of years ago. Like a quiz software. I’ve never touched it. A video building software that would make promotional videos for me. Never touched it. It was one of those like, lifetime offers because I got stuck into that app sumo lifetime offers stuff. So that’s a big problem that people fall into. The other thing that they fall into, which is also a big problem when it comes to these tech stacks, is they absolutely don’t review them, which we talked about a little bit earlier, but they go off of what other people say is the best thing. And sometimes those people don’t have your best interest at heart because they might be an affiliate. So be careful. Right. 

Software solutions. Okay, this again will feel very obvious when I say it, but you have to remember that in order for a software suite to pay an affiliate, they have to bill you more than they would if they didn’t pay an affiliate. Absolutely. Now, if the values are the values that you met, you might not care about it, but just understand anything that has an affiliate program is going to be more expensive than something would be without an affiliate program in theory. Now, on the other hand, they need to acquire customers some way. Sometimes it’s less expensive to acquire them via affiliates than via direct marketing and ads. Still, just understand that a part of what you are paying is going to the affiliate. Now, I don’t necessarily care about that. It’s not like, oh, that’s those rotten people, that’s just how the world works. But just understand that’s how the math comes out.

 Well, I mean, you’re definitely not a whole bunch of I’m going to affiliate a whole bunch of software. However, I’m an affiliate of it because I’ve tested it and it works. I’m definitely not going to be one of those people that says, oh, you should go and try Trello personally because I don’t use Trello. I’m not going to be an affiliate for their software. I know they were free thing. I was just using it as an example. So when you’re looking up software, one thing is that I like to put a post out on whatever social channel I’m on that my people are in. I’m thinking of changing up to X. What’s your favorite and why? And don’t ask for links, just put like no links, please. Just what’s your favorite and why? Because if not, you’re going to get a boatload of links and I’ve gotten a million of them. That’s a really good way to see what people do because some people are like, try this, try this. The other thing is to Google as an example, we’re talking about affiliate software, best affiliate software, 2022. Okay? And then look for articles that are not coming from the first software itself because they often write their own blocks. But secondly, other sources that don’t seem to be I would say partial would be a good way to put it. So you have to do a little bit of research and that’s an important piece of this whole thing. And also be willing to walk away. So you have to be willing to try something. Try out the UI, the user interface. If you like it, great. If you don’t like it, walk away. Because if you can’t do it and you’re not going to use it, then you’re paying for something that’s not going to get used. And if your VA can’t use it or anything like that, what’s the point of having it? So spend some time on this tech stack stuff. 

Well, and I think I’ll reiterate a point before is have the mental willingness to bumble through a few stop starts and pivots because the thing is that you are not going to get to the right tech stack for your business, for, let’s just even say the next three years on the first try. You probably won’t get there on the 10th try. But what you want to do is ideally, what you want to do is I would say

 the only thing you really need to worry about is just try not to make the same mistake twice.

So it’s like as you’re going through Tweaking stuff, just try not to go backwards. And so once you figure out something that doesn’t work, move on from it because you will find something that does eventually. I agree with you. All right, so I think we had a great conversation today. What would you say are one to two kind of last nuggets that people could take home from today’s chat?

 I could come up with five, but I will limit myself to one or two. 

Five is fine.

 No, I think the main thing that people need to think about is the use for now and the use for six months in the future to a year in the future when they’re looking at building out that scalability and what they actually need. And again, it’s that shiny object syndrome that people fall into that can cost you a lot of money, gives you something that has features that you’re never going to use, need or want, and then you have to eventually go, crap, this wasn’t the thing for me. And you have to find another solution. So that’s one thing for sure. The other thing is the review. You don’t have to be like me. You don’t have to review it on a quarterly basis, but I do recommend that you review at least twice a year. And especially look at it. One, how much are you paying? Two, what other deals are out there? Do you have any times I’ve saved money, but just contacting user support and saying, hey, you know what? I noticed that you’ve got a really cool deal going on for brand new people. I’ve been with you guys for five years. Is there anything you guys can do for me? And they’ll be like, oh, we’ll throw in two, three months for free. And I’m like, awesome. So there’s things that you can do to help reduce your costs. Reviewing to see if you’re in the right package. So as an example, let’s just say that you had 10,000 people on your list, and then you got rid of a whole bunch of unsubscribes, and now you’re paying for space on an email marketing software that you don’t need, right? So maybe you could drop down a level, save yourself $30 a month by doing so, and then when you’re ready to, you can up level again. So reviewing that is really important. And then the last thing I would say is being open, like you said, to make a mistake, go, oh, well, this sucked.

Find something new and change direction, if need be, to find the right thing. Don’t stay with something. Just because you did it, you have to be willing to get rid of it and find the right fit.

 Yeah. And there’s one more that I depend that with, and that is while you’re going through this process, and this is the mistake that I’ve made as well. While you’re going through this process, be willing to pay more to stay on a month to month as opposed to locking in for a whole year for 20% off.

 Oh my gosh. Yes. Hands down. Don’t do the year thing if you’re just trying it out. I’ve seen so many people do that and they’re locked into something they can’t stand for twelve months. 

Yeah, exactly. And of course, it’s a live and learn type of thing. You’re like, oh, well, I can save so much until you’re sure that this is one of your building pieces. Just month to month that a few dollars is not going to get. The flexibility is more important.

Agreed. Totally.

All right, well, Jennie, I really appreciate your time today. Let everybody know where they can find where they can get a hold of you. Let us know your website and what are your most active socials.

I’m very active on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. So come find me there. You can also find me on LinkedIn, but I am not as active there. You can also find me on I have two websites. One is for my podcast systemtothrive.com as well as jenniewright.com Depending on when you go to it, whenever you’ve heard this episode, it may or may not look nice. Just anticipate the fact that the website will look nice eventually. I’m working on it.

 Love it. That is JennieWright.com. We’ll put it in the show notes also. 

Thank you.

 All right, Jennie, you have a wonderful day. 

You too. Thanks so much. I appreciate it. 

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