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May
02
2019
HOW TO RUN A PROFITABLE MEETUP GROUP WITH CARLOS ALVAREZ

How To Run A Profitable MeetUp Group With Carlos Alvarez

“I’ve tried to start some marketing meetups like you’ve been super successful at. And I just found them like challenging to get going.”

00:01 Introduction: Welcome to the digital marketing secrets show with Carlos A. Vazquez where we share actionable strategies and tactics to grow businesses no matter what industry you’re in. Now your host, Carlos A Vazquez.

00:17 Carlos Vazquez: This is live. Okay. Let’s you know this how I’m being recorded. What’s up tokayo? Good morning, good afternoon, man. Depending on whenever somebody is listening to us or know what’s up my brother?

00:26 Carlos Alvarez: What’s going on man?!

00:28 Vazquez: Long time, no see, man, I see you lurking actually you don’t lurk. You actually like and you join Facebook lives. You went to rock.

00:35 Alvarez: I share

00:36 Vazquez: I get emails from you so you’re still active and I don’t know how you still do it and I know my day is full of activity but I don’t think I do as much as you do and yet you still manage to keep at least it appears that you’re keeping up with everything, so…

00:50 Alvarez: I still hear a lot of good things about the where’s the place at that? Uh, the, the beer and wine place that you still doing at one or no,

00:57 Vazquez: The, uh, so which one, there’s there’s business?

01:00 Alvarez: Yeah, no, they’re all over. It seems like you’re doing everything within the

01:04 Vazquez: Business, we work. Um, what else? Uh Oh,

01:08 Alvarez: There’s one more. It was like a meeting room and it was super chill. I was getting like amazing feedback from it.

01:12 Vazquez: Total wine?

01:12 Alvarez: A wine total wine? Yes.

01:14 Vazquez: Have you gone, have you done a total wine one yet?

01:16 Alvarez: I haven’t been just because the baby’s born and all that there, but I’ve been dying to go and, but I’ve heard great feedback about it.

01:23 Vazquez: Listen, total wine they have and so the one right Pembroke pines, the one next to my house, you have to do that one. And the reason why is because it seats a hundred people.

01:32 Alvarez: That’s my question.

01:33 Vazquez: Absolutely free. You just have to book in advance and it’s during the week, which is the part that sucks because when I run a meetup, I run it. I, you know my regular time, it starts at six o’clock six 30 ends at eight eight 30 but the traffic for rush hour, no way. No one was going to make it. So if you could find maybe your group would be more inclined to.

01:55 Alvarez: Right.

01:55 Vazquez: My group is not the same. My, my group is more like, they’re entrepreneurs that just want to want to just get their feet or get started. Oh. And they’re probably working somewhere else. Your group is like, they’re like fans as they’re, they’re die hard. They’re going to make this work. So alright, so I’m glad you came on board because

02:15 Alvarez: I’m honored to be here..

02:16 Vazquez: Dude, you, you, um, not only have you been running the Amazon Wizards, um, meetup, you have the Facebook group and then you actually, between you and me it was, it was a race between either you or me who’s going to be the meetup organizer and I lost like by a landslide. You were the one I ended up taking over it and now that I think about it, I’m glad that I didn’t get it because that’s after seeing all the work. So maybe I got lucky.

02:42 Alvarez: I think you did when, when they told me in the last call, they were like, look, I’m going to be honest. It’s between you and somebody else. This person’s amazing. They coordinate meetups, speak English, speaks Spanish, everything I said. And he goes, he shares a name with you. I’m like, and I, and I, I told them who you are. I’m like, is it this person? Said yeah, I was like, well, you’re going to do good either way. In fact, the person I would be contacting for any kind of help would be him. So…

03:04 Vazquez: Which you did.

03:06 Alvarez: Yes.

03:06 Vazquez: And then when you said it was on Friday, I was like, ah, I can’t do Fridays, man.

03:10 Alvarez: Yeah. Friday’s trips to New York midday stuff meeting. It’s actually a big time investment, but it’s, it’s rewarding.

03:17 Vazquez: It’s um, so I mean, dude. Alright, let’s just jump right in, man.

03:23 Alvarez: Okay.

03:23 Vazquez: How did you, first of all, when did you get into marketing and then how did it all start for you?

03:29 Alvarez: Um, for me it started, I’d say almost 13 years ago, I’m holding down a whole bunch of different jobs, AC tech, delivering subs, selling cigars, just all that. I had a really expensive ex-girlfriend and I was just trying to like connect the dots and get stuff. And I started selling some stuff on Ebay and I got hooked on the process.

03:46  Alvarez: And little by little as the, the, the revenues generated from Ebay started coming in. I started cutting my other jobs thinking, you know, if I had more time I could make more. And I, I my, my friends and family saw this and they wanted to be supportive and they’re like, wow, he’s going to like be an entrepreneur. This is great. First in the family.

04:03 Alvarez: So they got some money together and they gave it to me to start, it was $81,000 and I immediately went on Alibaba. I thought it was the only one at the time that knew about Alibaba by the way. So it was like hoarding information. I didn’t want anyone to know and I placed an order for these like adult novelty products, which I don’t even think I should mention here on the show and I was going to sell them on Ebay and be the next Bill Gates is what I was thinking.

04:24 Alvarez: And I sent the money to this guy and he ripped me off for everything, every penny. I lost everything. And in more so than losing the money. It was the, everyone’s look like everyone was looking at me now like, wow, this person’s gonna succeed, first going to succeed. And I didn’t want that other look to come back.

04:39 Alvarez: Like, oh, a little bit of it again. You know, so I did everything I can. I went to go selling some of my stuff and try to get some seed money to start again. Um, so that I don’t take up a whole episode talking about this. I, a person in front of me and align, I went to go suit, sell to them I reptiles and they, and they had, we’re buying like $25 for 50 live worms, some insects.

04:59 Alvarez: So I wind up starting to breed insects and sell them online. And nearly two years later, um, I wind up getting bought out in that company for, uh, what I find to be a ridiculous amount of money. And I just never, I never looked back. Well, during that time to answer the question, my, you know, my, my ex girlfriend, she was really into these networking events and everything and I was in this weird awkward space because we’re talking about over a decade ago and selling on Amazon, selling online.

05:30 Alvarez: That was seen as something kind of juvenile, something as a hobby or pastime not a career. So I, I was in a weird spot as far as letting people know like what do I do? So it was weird and then she was just completely humiliated that, you know, her, her boyfriend was not only selling online with selling insects, so she just said she made up everything, you know, logistics coordinator and all this stuff.

05:52 Alvarez: So then as I started getting good though, other people would come to me for help and I’d help them for free. It wasn’t even like a structured agency type thing. And somebody said, you’re such an amazing marketer. And I was like, that sounds like such a legit name. Like that’s a legit title of what you do. Like that’s respectable. I’ve heard, I saw somebody dressed really nice ones and he said he was a marketer.

06:11 Alvarez: And then when I looked into what it actually meant, I realized this is what I do. Like this is what makes me tick and I love this. This is like my first love. So that’s when I kind of realized that was the case.

06:24 Vazquez: Got it. So, that’s that’s pretty interesting because it seems like you became a marketer by accident or you were a marketer, the fate was based, your fate was to become a marketer. You just didn’t know that it was called marketer.

06:39 Alvarez: Absolutely.

06:39 Vazquez: As a, as a matter of fact, I think not even marketers realize they’re marketers until they really look at the definition because even my wife, she tells people I’m a marketer and people still don’t understand what a marketer does because marketing is a wide array, like a full spectrum of, of different areas. Like what you do is not the same thing that I do, but we’re still under the marketing umbrella, and…

07:05 Alvarez: You amaze on what you do with the ecommerce, email stuff and your funnel stuff is like other levels.

07:09 Vazquez: Thanks man. Well, I don’t have your, I don’t have your freaking, uh, insight on selling ecommerce and what you do. I started with Ebay, um, by accident as well. Uh, and Amazon was, well this was back in 1990, I want to say 1998, 1999. Ebay was really kicking off and um, I’m not gonna mention how I was acquiring equipment, but however, I was able to sell it on Ebay much quickly and I was like, wow, I’m making money and I don’t have to go anywhere.

07:36 Vazquez: I had a friend of mine that he had a stolen downtown and he was selling the kinds of equipment and he taught me the ways, he’s the one that showed me the ropes and Amazon was just basically just booked for books and I was always going to Barnes and nobles. I was going to books and books and I was just, I think Amazon’s going to be big. I think Amazon’s going to, once they start selling other things, I think they’re going to be unstoppable.

07:57  Vazquez: And I’m not, like I say I’m a prophet or anything, but at least I, I, I pride myself on me able to see things before it happens when it comes to technology. And Ebay, thank God is still around. Um, Ebay still hasn’t funded the right competitor because Amazon doesn’t do exactly the same thing. I mean, yeah, you could still use per use of, but the Ebay process is not the same as Amazon. And what, what brought you to, to Amazon specifically? What, I mean you were doing Ebay but then you decided to go on Amazon.

08:28 Alvarez: That’s a good question. Again, I guess in this one it was also kind of an accident. I was doing what I felt was really well on Ebay, meaning, uh, at the time I was putting, you know, over over a hundred thousand in my pocket, which was to me like an amount of money that, that time that I thought I would never see in my life.

08:47 Alvarez: Like even if you coupled together a few years. And so I thought I was balling and then one of the, one of the techniques I had on Ebay at the time was I was just flooding it with auctions and the auctions would drive a lot more eyeballs to my store and actually Ryan Deiss mentioned something in his, uh, in one of his like execution plans or something. It had to do with um, getting ahold of B2B clients by putting up bulk auctions or bulk sales of stuff on Ebay and being able to target those people.

09:16 Alvarez: And I was doing something like that, uh, before, before hearing it from, uh, Ryan Deiss. But um, that’s what I was doing. And then because I had so many auctions, Amazon strategy at the time, although to this day they claim this, that, that, that it wasn’t, is they were reaching out on the buyer-seller message boards. So all of us like high level auction sellers saying, hey, check out this FBA thing we have and check out Amazon.

09:39 Alvarez: At the time, I was just like, I’m going to, I’m already making what I feel is a little bit of margin. I’m going to pay to ship something to your fulfillment center and then you’re going to ship it. I’m not going to be left with any money. So they were just so annoying. And following up that I said, you know what? They think they can sell stuff. Let me start sending them my stuff that I can’t sell on Ebay. I overbought, things changed and I sent it and it would sell out in the same day. And we’re talking about, you know, a few thousand items selling in the same day.

10:12 Vazquez: Wow.

10:13 Alvarez: Just random items. And these items were dead on the only other platform I knew to sell on. So it really got my attention.

10:20 Vazquez: Got It, got it. Well, I, I haven’t ever tried to sell on Amazon and apparently you’ve, you’ve been able to make your name, you’re, you’ve, you’ve built a brand around the Amazon fulfill FBA process and here in Miami you actually have a major, how big is your meetup group now?

10:36 Vazquez: Uh, we’re the largest Amazon seller meetup group in the United States and we are the second largest in the world by July. It looks like just for the amount of new people that are coming in and the amount of groups that we’ll have will be the largest Amazon seller meetup group in the world.

10:50 Vazquez: Wow. Wow. So you, you, and did you, how did you get the idea to do this on meetup?

10:58 Alvarez: I used to, I used to meet with a few friends that we started selling about the same time and it was more of a Starbucks like get together each week and it really just got to the same. It got to the point where, um, it was just telling the same war stories over and over and we were just like, let, let’s get some fresh insights and fresh blood in here. And we just, I’ve always been a big, you know, meetup organizer, you know, coffee meetups, book meetups, entrepreneur.

11:24 Alvarez: I’ve tried to start some marketing meetups like you’ve been super successful at. And I just found them like challenging to get going. But. uh, meet ups always been my, even for product launching, um, building audiences and people that IRL in real life, it’s been something I love and I see that most of my competitors are just let me, let me be on nothing against social media or being online or digital, but let me just do this.

11:46 Alvarez: And they kind of just right off in real life and I was like, let me see that as an opportunity and let’s do it. So the meetup group was born. I started it. It was going to be a once a month meet up group. We were going to meet at the closest Starbucks to my house so that when no one showed, it wasn’t like really out of my way.

12:04 Alvarez: At first meetup four people showed. The next few one person, nobody. But I made sure every event too, take pictures, do a quick little video letting people know what we would have went over, not make anybody like shamed into, not going, but letting them know how I understand it’s a Saturday, life gets in the way and let them know what’s coming next so that they can get involved and not waste their Saturday. Cause I was really like, that’s really important. Um, and now a small meetup for us is about 60 people per event. Um, we have an excess of a hundred per event sometimes and we meet nine times a month, so.

12:44 Vazquez: Okay. So I’m glad you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re bringing, you’re bringing out the metrics because I’m still, I, I’ve gone ahead and decided, let me just focus on days are more convenient for me just like you, you know, and, and Saturday hasn’t been a thought yet because it’s like, that means I’m just working on, on basically you’re working on a Saturday, however, I know you don’t do every Saturday, right? I mean you have, but you do it like you’re the one who runs it?

13:13 Alvarez: Saturday is like the, the, the, the, the center like the heart, the Mecca if you will. I’m there. I’m there almost every Saturday. The one that I just sort of step out on sometimes is the mid Tuesday one and sometimes the Monday one just if you know something with now, now that my son’s born, it’s a trying to find that work life balance as an entrepreneur and be a good husband and be a great dad. So I’m trying to figure that out.

13:37 Vazquez: How long have you been doing the meetups?

13:39 Alvarez: Uh, our three year anniversary will be in July of this year.

13:42 Vazquez: Wow. So you’ve got the largest one in the, just the, the first largest in the states. The second one worldwide.

13:49 Alvarez: Yeah. We hit the largest in the United States mark at about right under two years.

13:55 Vazquez: Wow, man. That’s amazing bro. Congrats. I that’s, it’s an exciting metric. It’s exciting to see other people sharing some type of passion with you. Everyone as a marketer, I know we all feel like little like little in our silos that we’re geeks all on our own. No one’s ever going through the same crap to work going through, always alone, the experience, but then to be in a room full of other people that are going through basically the same exact feeling.

14:20 Vazquez: There’s something exciting about this. It’s like when we go to traffic and conversion summit in San Diego, we’re a bunch of geeks and we see each other on Facebook, but the fact that this is like a high school reunion, like experience, you get to do it every Saturday. So that’s Kinda cool man.

14:34 Vazquez: I mean, I do my meetups once a month and I get the same people coming by and, and I, I have to share mostly the same knowledge from before because it’s like what I’m teaching is still new to a bunch of people and yet, you know, it’s one, one month I’ll have a hundred, the next month I have 20 the next one and I have four.

14:53 Vazquez: So it’s never been one consistent amount of people and to be able to, to stick it through and just stay tough. You’re, it’s paying off for you, man. I mean, right now Amazon is hot. Amazon’s in $1 trillion as far as generating cashflow for the company and they’re willing to share with everyone else.

15:13 Vazquez: And so how do you plan the whole meetup? Like what’s you’re trying to do? Work, life balanced\. And as a, as a startup meetup person, what did you have to do first or better yet? Better yet. Yeah. Yeah. What did you do first and then you realized it wasn’t working this way and then you started making changes?

15:31 Alvarez: Um, the, the first thing I did wrong, and it’s something that I normally pride myself on is, you know, when somebody asked me like, what’s your, you know, what sort of Thor’s hammer in your business? Like what’s your, your, your, your superpower and not, not to get the orders and all that there. And My, my superpower is my wife, like my wife, my partner, like that’s, I, I bounce things off of her and it’s even amazing that she’s not a marketer and she hates Amazon. And like a total opposite.

15:57 Alvarez: But that’s my, that’s my super power there. So what I normally do for anything is I’m like, Babe, I got this idea. And she’s like, oh my God, but I didn’t do that with the meetup because I really, I really thought at the beginning, no one was going to be interested. And I started getting it going and I’m only telling like, babe headed to a meetup.

16:19 Alvarez: And it was kind of like, you know, you’re gone all day and it’s a Saturday. Like, like something’s weird here. Like, you know, so the, the first mess up I did was, was that, and it wasn’t, you know, bringing my partner into

16:33 Vazquez: Not communicating.

16:34 Alvarez: Yes.

16:35 Vazquez: Alright, gotcha.

16:35 Alvarez: Go ahead.

16:38 Vazquez: You were just saying I’m out and that’s it.

16:40 Alvarez: Right, yeah. They pay it off to a meet up like, and it kind of sound like I was going to go, I’m just going to go, you know, raise some remote control cars and like, you know, just be at home, do your thing and it’s, that’s not like us. So my wife’s my, my rock. So I, when I, when this meetup started picking up a little bit, so the, and by that I mean we had nine or 10 members that came each event and this is once a month.

17:00  Alvarez: And the only thing, the only question they had was when can we do this weekly? Like, you know, between, between each event, I have so many things going on in my business, so many like, ideas I want to share or like just entrepreneurial brainstorms that I want to share and it’s like I cannot wait for the next one.

17:20  Alvarez: And I said, you know what, if I’m going to do a weekly, I need my wife on board first and I’m going to have to create a Facebook group now so that we can communicate between hand and I need someone to kind of moderate it because I don’t have that kind of time. So they were like, oh, me, like I will, I will. And I’m like, you’re telling me this, it’s a free meetup. We run a free meetup group so there’s no pay here, but I need to be on you like you were getting paid.

17:44 Alvarez: So that weird balance, I’m sure you go through it in yours and you go through a lot of people and little by little I’ve built together an amazing team. Um, so, so my first to answer that really long answered sip. My first big mistake was not checking on our check, communicating with my wife and explaining to her that this is, this is, yes, this is a passion to me. This is something like geeking out on star wars, but it also is business..

18:11 Vazquez: Right..

18:12 Alvarez: I get a lot from, from members and they’re like, you know, you’re doing this, there’s no come to the back of the room at the end. There’s no buy this expensive course or you and your stuff like that makes me even more concerned. Like what is it that you’re getting out of this? So I need, I needed to figure that out because at the amount of time that it was taking, this is a weekly, one thing is doing something for free and giving a lot of value in the other is having the balance between, there should be some ROI here.

18:40 Alvarez: Um, so I decided I wanted to create the, a massive annual event and I want it to be, I was imagining it like the, you know, three, five days at the beach at a hotel and workshops and um, I guess something like traffic and conversion. But for my industry, like more for Amazon, Shopify, Ebay, and I also wanted to put a book out and eventually a course and I needed a base of people to do that. So, so that was sort of, and I just love it. Like if you’re there at my meetups, you’ve been there, you spoke before, like I Geek out on this. It’s one of the only things I know a lot about and I love it. So that’s my why..

19:16 Vazquez: Go, so when I went to your meetup, man, I, you, so here’s how I, I started my meetup and it was basically I got to come up with content. I’ve got to come up with content and talk to people because people want to learn something. They don’t want to feel like they’re wasting their time. And I would create this long, not a long presentation, but for me it’s like sitting down to create a presentation.

19:38 Vazquez: It’s a, it’s a, it’s not easy for me. It’s like I’d rather just talk on the fly, grab a dry erase board and start talking, but to sit down and create a slide show and come up with a plan. I always procrastinate and wait till the end and just crush it out towards you and I get the job done. It’s like when I went to school, but when I saw you do your meetup, I was inspired by it by, because I saw basically a new model.

20:00 Vazquez: Where I am like, let’s just talk about what’s working now, let’s talk about what questions do you have and I’m going to share my answers and have other people just talk about it and it worked really well for you and once I worked, really well for me. But then the other time it’s like, okay, what are we talking about today?

20:15 Vazquez: So coming up with the themes was one of the toughest things that I’ve ever experienced because I feel like I’m talking about the same thing over and over again and I’m getting repeat people coming, I don’t want to lose them. That gets, it’s, it’s already an honor that half of people show up. To lose people because I’m talking about the same thing, have you found that balanced yet?

20:35 Alvarez: Yes. First of all, I have to say how happy I am to hear what you said in the beginning because I can say this to you because we’re friends. I don’t, I, I’d go home sometimes after our meetups or something and I haven’t talked to my wife about it. I knew this is talking to someone.

20:47 Alvarez: It’s like bouncing off a wall because I’m talking marketing, I’m talking like digital marketing tactics and she can tell that I’m just like alive and, and she’s just like, aren’t we going to bed yet? Like, have you fed the dogs? And she wasn’t there, but I said, babe, you have to see this way. This guy presents his slides, his, his, everything. Like he’s, I’m so technologically challenged. When it comes to that, that seeing you do it was almost, it was exciting and then it was also almost demoralizing.

21:13 Alvarez: As I said, there’s no way I’m going to be able to put this kind of stuff together. So to hear that it was a stress for you and you didn’t just wake up and do this magical stuff, it actually makes me feel good. Then the structure for my content was a huge one. In the beginning, I would get a lot of people and then some people would just stop coming and having to reach out to them personally because it, with a meetup it works better in person sending a poll. People don’t interact too much.

21:38 Vazquez: Right.

21:38 Alvarez: And I talked to them and they’d say, look like your your your teaching stuff and it’s amazing, but you taught me that three months ago at a meetup and I’ve mastered it and I’m thankful for it. Like I’m seeing growth in my business but I need more.

21:53 Alvarez: And I said, okay, I need feedback from the group and I needed to structure my, the structure of my group is not how now is not how it was before. We used to just, we’d sit down and it would be this like A.M.A, ask me anything, open topic. And I’d be like, okay, let’s talk. And people didn’t want to talk. I’d break the ice about the things I’m most passionate about. And then we do that for the whole time.

22:16 Alvarez: So we’re now, what we have is we begin each event with a beginner hour and that, that, that’s a time for the beginners to come. And it’s also a time for the veterans are the ones that feel they’re not there to come in later, but no, when you know their hour is coming. And I always encourage the beginners to stay, even though some of the stuff might be over their head because they’re going to get there and they’re going to get there fast and that, that helped amazing.

22:42 Alvarez: The second one was the content. Like you said, you know, we’re up to nine events per month. There’s no repeats. So that’s, you know, a hundred event over a hundred events per year.

22:55 Vazquez: That’s insane man.

22:56 Alvarez: Right? And no repeats. So I’ve always been really strong with virtual assistants. I over 50 businesses, 242 virtual assistants I have. And I just, I got to the point where I got a virtual assistant and I’m like, you know what I need, I need someone to do research. I’m familiar with how to train this. And I get a Trello board and I fill it to begin with. I fill it with all of the blogs in my industry that I’m like, these are reputable, you know, I’m a fan of steal like an artist, like not reinventing the wheel, not plagiarism either. You know what I mean? But like

23:29 Vazquez: Modeling.

23:30 Alvarez: Yeah. Well, yes, I like it. Modeling. That’s a marketer’s term for sure. Modeling yeah I love modeling. So I filled this Trello list with, you know, I had her fill this Trello lists with all the blog topics that they had for last two years. And then I looked at those topics. Mind you, these are written to be catchy.

23:51 Alvarez: They’re written for SEO purposes. And I’m just like, I look at them and then I dragged them over to another list that says, I want to do an event on this and which, which, which means a lot of things means, first of all, we need to change this title because we don’t want to plagiarize we, we just want a model.

24:06 Alvarez: And, and then, and then I tell them, I want you to find eight supporting articles on the web to support this topic and cite them. Plus, I want you to do four bullet points for each one of those articles. So, and have that in a single Trello card when you’ve done it, drag it to ready to be announced.

24:27 Alvarez: And now I just have, I mean, I have the next, I have four years worth of meetups right now that I could announce. Um, and then I have somebody else that goes in and creates presentations on them because I don’t, I don’t have that art like you two like a talent to, to, to build out a PowerPoint presentation.

24:43 Vazquez: Dude, you, you’ve got like a whole system for this. This is amazing. And, and which, which explains why you’re, you’re one of the top meetup groups out there because you put your putting in the work and, and I know I’ve put in the work, I have not even done an inch of what you’ve done at all. Like I’ve been driving this entire bus all by myself. I’ve had some people kind of helped me here and there. Like Fernando, you know, Fernando

25:07 Alvarez: Yeah, he helps me out

25:09 Vazquez: He helps me out. But this isn’t his thing. It’s just more like, hey man, whenever you need something I’ll just, I’ll talk about whatever you want to talk about and that’s cool and all. But that’s not what it needs you, you need to basically treat this like an entire business because this is, in my opinion, this is the testing platform to see if the product can come out of this.

25:26 Alvarez: Yes

25:26 Vazquez: Because after you see the demand and the excitement and what, it’s kinda like what you said, what now? I already mastered this. How can I take this to the next level? And that’s the product that we’re basically creating out of what people are saying. So you can’t just, Oh, I would have a meetup and we’re going to talk about digital marketing.

25:44 Vazquez: No, it’s gotta be, what, what’s, what’s popular right now? What’s generating enough traffic? Let’s talk about it and let’s see if we can create a product out of it based off of what people say and the fact that you’re running so many freaking meetups, man, you get to really speed up that research process because you get to test the field. So then what will you do the pole at the event, at the meetup, how do you do that?

26:06 Alvarez: Well, after every event, in addition to the meetup, so you have a beginner hour, then a topic of the week after that, every single one, it’s, it’s, it’s mandatory. And this one is getting bigger than even the events. And that is, we have a networking slash mastermind. You gotta throw the word mastermind. Everyone’s like using it. So it’s like a networking slash masterminding event, which is we’re having, you know, $5 burgers and beers.

26:28 Alvarez: And I let people know like, look, you don’t even have to buy food. Like come here, have the bread. And pesto like whatever, and we hang out and now we talk about everything. I used that opportunity to pull people to the side. They’re like, what do you think? Like don’t, don’t tell me what I want to hear it. Don’t you ask me and I joke around, like, look, I just had a blue line and like I’m going to be able to read you like tell me like what’s up.

26:47 Alvarez: And I put them at ease and they tell me like, I’d like to see this or I’d like to see that. Some of the stuff is just, it’s like, yeah, I’d love to do that, but to pull that off it would need to be a paid event and that’s something I don’t want to do. And then other stuff, it’s like that’s, that’s, that’s genius. Like that makes sense. While one of the ones is people said, I’m only in town, we have people that drive down from Orlando twice a month to come to this event and we’re in Miami, which is not huge. We have someone that comes down from Tampa every other month

27:14 Vazquez: That’s a [inaudible] you can listen to an entire book twice.

27:17 Alvarez: Yes. Some people told me, they said listen, and the Facebook group was, as of Amazon, there’s a lot of people that we want to attend. We keep seeing you post about this stuff, but can you record it again here we call them, I’m not techie and I’m just like recorded. Oh my God. Like the audio and the video and how does this connect and we finally, we finally figured it out.

27:36 Alvarez: And so now six of the nine events per year recorded and now it’s, you know, this week it goes live on a membership site. People can access all the recordings, like all of that stuff. So you can come to the meetup for free, you can watch it live for free, but it goes away in 24 hours. Like an IG story or you can pay to get access to, you know, the, the, the whole library of videos. And that took over two and a half years to get there.

28:01 Vazquez: Wow. Dude, that is amazing. You created the meetup when I, I don’t know if you’ve went through this and I think you kind of did based off your story, but when I started the meetup, you know I did it because digital marker wanted to get, get, get the ball rolling, but we were, we would actually, the number one meetup in the entire country as far as a digital marketer was concerned.

28:21 Vazquez: But because the other ones weren’t as successful, they pulled the plug and they handed our meetups back to us cause I built that meet up from the ground up and when I started the meetup, I had no idea what was going to happen with it. I, in fact, I still don’t know exactly what’s what’s supposed to come from it. What I do know is that it’s a testing ground to see what the demand says. But as far as when I started it there, I didn’t know. I wasn’t expecting an ROI. I wasn’t expecting anything other than, let’s see what happens. Did you go through something like that too? Or…

28:52 Alvarez: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. In the beginning before I started needing, before I realized this is, this has become, uh, I hate to use the word movement, but my group has just gotten, before I got there it was like, yeah, like what? I had no idea why I’m doing this and I just knew that I wish something like this had existed when I started and I, and here’s another one. It sounds, it sounds weird to say, I’ve never said that. I’m going to say it like first time right here on the podcast.

29:19 Alvarez: I mean it sounds weird, but I started the pot when I started the meetup. It was just that whatever I had never taught. I had never done a presentation. I had never done an event on a podcast, anything like that. And when I got there, obviously terrified even with four people to start talking.

29:35 Alvarez: But when I got there in the group started growing and I kept going, there was, uh, there was almost like a high, there was this like power, a power trip sounds ugly, but it was almost like this power and I, and it took me a while to figure this out and it was like, I love teaching. Like, I don’t know, that makes me a horrible person, but like I love it. Like I get a high from it and, and I was chasing that. Uh, I think I’m still chasing that

29:59 Vazquez: Man, I’m on the, I’m, I’m glad you said that. I’m on that same tip. My wife, when we first started talking, I remember we were talking on the phone and she, she’s, she’s an attorney so she’s, she’s, she’s a high-caliber educated person. In fact, I don’t know how I got, I got, I don’t know how I managed to convince her to marry me, put it that way.

30:21 Alvarez: That’s a whole other podcast.

30:23 Vazquez: One of the, one of the things that she asked me, if babe, you’re watching it as I’m sure you remember this, she asked me what is it I want to do and I’m, I said, I don’t know what it is I want to do, but I all I know is I want to stand in front of people and motivate and excite people to do something different or do something for good.

30:40 Vazquez: And she says, well, you need to figure out what that is. I’m like, I don’t know what that is, but that’s what I want to do. She said, so when, when I, when people ask me, what is it you do? What should I tell them? That’s what she asked me. I said, well, tell them, I’m an entrepreneur. She goes, entrepreneur, that’s just a fancy way of saying unemployed. I’m like, well, I don’t know what else to tell you because I don’t know what it is that I want to do.

31:00 Vazquez: I, I, I’m good at this marketing stuff. I’m good at building these websites and I’ve had some success to a great, but you need a job that can really pay bills. And we can’t do it with what you’re doing now. And I just knew, my gut was telling me I want to stand in front of people and teach and inspire, and I want people to look back at me and say, I learned that from Carlos io.

31:23 Vazquez: What I learned to Carlos, what he shared with us, and I’m not there yet, but I’ve had little moments where I get these emails that, Carlos man, I finally see a a Latino that’s being inspirational and successful and I’m thinking, Bro, if you really know the truth, I’m not as inspirational as successful. I’m actually like I’m, I’m stressing out of just the basics on demand.

31:46 Vazquez: I got to pay the mortgage and I’ve got money coming in, but where’s the next paycheck coming? I’m still living kind of paycheck to paycheck because it comes, there’s a large sums that come in and then there’s one sound like on the floor. So I know, I know the feeling, but if there’s anything that I’ve learned is that I don’t have to get paid as long as I’m standing in front of people and teaching and inspiring.

32:09 Vazquez: I do get that high. I know what it feels like and it’s exciting and every time, now, every time I do a meetup and I stand in front of a crowd, I get the high. I’m excited at day. It’s hard for me to go to sleep at night, which is why I decided to do Thursdays instead of Wednesdays because I have to work on Thursday because Friday I like to take a break and

32:28 Vazquez: When I don’t do my meetups, I lose it and I forget the about the high. I forget about how exciting it was until I do it again and like I tried it. I like this, I’m enjoying it. This is what it’s all about, but then I forget about it. I’m like, I’m trying to do the meetup. This one. Yeah, I should do it.

32:43 Vazquez: That’s why. That’s why I post the next meetup after the first, the one I just had, so that way I can keep that energy going because if I don’t, I’m not going to be as excited to write the copy for the next meetup. It’s just I haven’t had that. I haven’t figured out how to come up with the content for the next one. But I’m going to use, I’m striving some ideas from you man cause I, that’s, it’s a, it’s a clever idea.

33:05 Alvarez: You’re modeling, you’re modeling.

33:06 Vazquez: I’m going to model the idea. So,

33:08 Alvarez: What, what you said there at the end bill was, was, was something that I found out too was that in with as far as meetup.com and I, this should apply almost anywhere is when I have an event at a bare minimum, the next event is already announced. Like I need something to be able to connect them on to the next thing. And so that, that helped a lot.

33:28 Vazquez: Got It. So then you do, how long are your meetups?

33:31 Alvarez: The Saturday events? All the Saturday events are pretty much from, they begin officially at 1:00 PM and then from one to two is the beginner hour. Two to 3:30 PM is the topic of the week. And then from 3:30 to 7, we’re networking and masterminding. So that’s about six hours. And then the Monday events, um, our 6:30 to 8 and then from 8 to about 11, we want the same thing. Networking in mastermind, so from eight. So yeah, there are four to six hours each.

34:03 Vazquez: That’s insane. I, and, and, and I can understand why you bunch your wife on board because there’s just no way my wife would ever let me do that if she wasn’t involved. It’s not that you don’t trust, it’s just that she wants to be a part of my, my life too and I want her to be a part of my life and I, you know, we got the kids just like you. So that is another nugget. Like if you really want to be successful at something like this, you don’t want to exclude your partner.

34:29 Vazquez: You want to bring them in somehow. Some way. My wife loves planning. Um, she loves doing events. She’s the one helping me with the MiamiMarketer intensive. Like she’s a part of the event thing, event planning.

34:38 Vazquez: And if it wasn’t for her being a part of it, I don’t think she’d be as, as motivated, she’s motivated to talk to people to set up the venue, talked to about the food, get the audio visual stuff. And I, all they got to do is just basically build, do what I do, just show it and build a brand. So, so you’ve got the beginner hour, I like the beginner hour, so then you have the topic of the week. Is that what it is?

35:02 Alvarez: Yeah. Topic of the week could be a, could be a guest speaker. It could be a specific topic that says whether it’s intermediate or advanced. Um, it could be open topic, which is just like bring your questions. Uh, we have, there’s a thing called arbitrage within, uh, within Amazon, which is not really my thing, but it consists of, you know, finding deals online, like in target and stuff, getting them at a discount and flipping them online or in the retail stores.

35:27 Alvarez: But that’s, that’s a really good starting point for a lot of sellers. So what we do is we have like a wizards in the wild. Uh, Amazon arbitrage field trip and we meet up at the stores and like a hundred people walking until I, [inaudible] us, but they’re close target and we’re teaching people in the field how to scan, um, why it’s a deal, why it’s not so that one.

35:46 Alvarez: And then we have our trade shows. Anytime there’s a relatively close event that’s like a trade show or a conference. Um, I try to get people to go, um, one that I’ve held off on for a while, but that I was doing a lot is I would, I would look out and identify meetup groups that we’re providing a lot of value and that I felt would like my group would get a lot out of it.

36:08 Alvarez: And your group was the group I found. I would, I would bring my group when you’d have your events. Only reason I haven’t done it in a little bit as the baby being born. And um, my wife will say that’s technically not your meetups, so you don’t have to go.

36:22 Vazquez: Got you, man. No, I appreciate that dude. And that’s how I learned about you. You, you in BNI, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of BNI or worse. One of the things I’ll be nice called givers gain and givers gain had basically the, the, the more you give, the more you end up gaining without, without even trying. So you’ve done that, you’ve done that for me, which is why I’ve always said, you know what, whenever you asked me to go be a part of it, but that hesitation, I’ll go ahead and be a part of your meetup and help out.

36:49 Vazquez: Um, so here’s what I’m going to take away from this and that is that I’m going to, I’m going to publish this podcast. I’m going to put it on video. I’ll hopefully I’ll get to do it today because I have some time, but, well, I’m going to announce it to my meetup because I know that a lot of people in my meetup group, they are people that are trying to grow their businesses obviously.

37:10 Vazquez: And meetup is one of those places where people just don’t, it’s in my opinion, it’s on tap and the ones that are trying to tap into it, they’re not doing it right because they’re just, they think that they post it and people will come and that’s it. And when nobody shows up, they get, they get demoralize they get, you know what? Forget about this. They lost the money they spent on the meet because meetup is not free. You have to pay for it if you’re right and they give up.

37:34 Vazquez: But I want to share with everyone, look, this is the journey of your specific journey. I’ve had a similar journey but not as successful as yours, but you what you have that I definitely don’t have is that consistency is like 60 people. Plus you have the topics. I don’t have the time and energy to do.

37:51 Vazquez: However, I do have people I think want to jump on it. I do have a team that I believe would like to help me run this and get the word out. Spread, spread, spread, spread the message. I don’t want to be the face. I just, I just want to start the conversation. That’s all I want to do.

38:09 Alvarez: Right.

38:10 Vazquez: That’s what I’m going to take from this entire thing. Now let’s get down to, you don’t have to tell me specific numbers. But, how much of a financial or what kind of impact has this had on your career or business or all of it? Everything.

38:25 Alvarez: Okay. Um, the meetup groups. Um, let’s see. I, I would say every event. I get, and there’s nine events per month. I get, one, and I have, I’m 100% free. They’re like pitch free sales free zones. Um, I go out of my way to say you don’t bring business cards. We have one event per month where you can bring business cards and it’s encouraged. Um, just so it doesn’t turn into like a, like a flea market.

38:53 Alvarez: And, and that is every event, nine times per month. I’d say I get one or two people after the event say, Hey, can we set something up? Um, so we can talk, you know, I want more handholding. I’d like to hire you. Um, I noticed that the email that you may email us from is that bluebird marketing solutions. So like you do this and, and I’m like, absolutely. Um, and I would say at least one per event turns into a paying client on, on how I work as really like a recurring monthly.

39:23 Alvarez: So if you just, I mean, the average is anywhere. Let’s just put the average at a, you know, without, depending on what they want. Obviously this can sway a lot, but say a thousand or 1500 recurring per month. So adding an additional minimum of $6,000 a month in recurring revenue.

39:42 Vazquez: Wow. So it, it’s a free event, but it is, you end up getting something out of it and it’s longterm.

39:47 Alvarez: Oh, absolutely.

39:49 Vazquez: It’s compound, almost

39:51 Alvarez: Oh yes

39:51 Vazquez: One person ends up being maybe average, maybe three months, maybe five or six months, and then you’re adding one person every week. That’s amazing.

39:59 Alvarez: I would say just from the meetup groups in just annual revenue, uh, paying clients and my clients stay for a while, so I have to believe that they’re happy. And then I ask and they still come to the events to which works good. Word of mouth is king.

40:13 Alvarez: And you know, I’m in one end of the table at bonefish networking and somebody is like, you gotta talk to him. I’m working with him. Like, you have to do this, that, that, that’s better than anything I can do.

40:22 Vazquez: Right.

40:23 Alvarez: Um, I would say last year was a little over 200,000 in revenues, just from one that I can direct 100% to the meetup group.

40:33 Vazquez: Wow.

40:34 Alvarez: There’s more that I could say. So and so recommended a friend who doesn’t have time to come out on Saturdays. He got kids that go here, it’ll do basketball or whatever. And I’ve gotten some of that. Um, and then I’ve gotten on speaking engagements, you know, um, you know, I tad, you know, Miami Bay Side Foundation, Small Business Association, um, and, and that stuff that way, but directly from the meetup, uh, around 200k a year.

40:58 Vazquez: Okay. Dude, that’s mind blowing. And it, it’s, it’s exactly what I was saying, giver’s gain. You were giving all this information, you didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. You were passionate about it. And now the reward seem to be coming in. So, and

41:12 Alvarez: Yes

41:12 Vazquez: You’re good. You’re good at what you do. You’re actually helping people out. And you’ve, in my opinion, I believe you would, you would have been weeded out by now if you are not somebody that was actually good. You know what I mean? So do that. That’s, I mean, I know we could keep on for, for a long time we could talk about venue

41:30 Alvarez: It’s not even the physical plans. That’s not even the physical

41:33 Vazquez: Everything. I, it was this one I just wanted to be the meetup conversation starter. And you’re in the meetup in, in the Facebook group where I’m gonna, I’m gonna post this video.

41:44 Vazquez: However, um, for this one person that’s listening and watching this video right now, um, come into the group because if you want to ask questions and just start your own meetup, what better place to do that than to talk into inside of the group? So invite your friends to your friend, your meetup group, to the group, whatever you want.

42:02 Vazquez: I’m going to publish this out because I, I am, dude. I am so happy you came by. I’m so happy you shared us information. I learned so much and I have my own meetup and it did. That just proves, just because you’ve achieve something doesn’t mean you know everything and you’ve taught me so much and you just haven’t, you just have a new baby. Right. And you just had a baby like a year ago. Two years ago, right?

42:24 Alvarez: Yeah, not and my wife is, um, 10 weeks pregnant right now. So..

42:28 Vazquez: Oh my, dude. Dude, aren’t you busy enough already as it is like,

42:30 Alvarez: I know, I know.

42:33 Vazquez: I got three boys and they’ve already grown. I’m not interested in having new kids bro. I’m done. I don’t have time.

42:39 Alvarez: I think we’ll be there after this one.

42:41 Vazquez: Thank you so much, man. I’m going to post this up. I’m so excited. I’m going to post this up ASAP. I really appreciate everything, man. Thank you for coming by. Is there anything else you want to share? Anything

42:50 Alvarez: No, no, anytime. I mean you’re, you’re, you’re one of those brilliant marketers I know. I got to say that because you seem too humbled to say it. And, uh, you’re a great friend. I love your meetups. And anytime that you feel like I can add value on your show, like you just, just let me know.

43:06 Vazquez: Thank you man. How else can people find you, man?

43:08 Alvarez: I’m on Facebook. The easiest way would be the wizards of Amazon Facebook group and on Instagram at wizards of Amazon. If you wanted to find the meetups, the China trips, we do the online seller cruise, all that stuff. The easiest way now is just download the wizards of Amazon App, which is we had to do an APP. There was way too many. We do way too many things. I mean the China sourcing trip twice a year, online seller cruise, um, the different trade shows in the US, uh, Entrepreneurs Book Club.

43:36 Alvarez: Um, the events, it’s too much. Just send people to a million links. So let’s just like go here. Don’t judge me on the aesthetics of the APP, but everything you need is going to be there

43:46 Vazquez: Because the job done.

43:47 Alvarez: That’s the best way to do it. Or or text the word Amazon to 69922

43:50 Vazquez: Wow. Dude, you just a machine.

43:53 Alvarez: That one I learned from you. So..

43:57 Vazquez: Alright, my brother, thank you for coming by, man. I talk to you soon.

44:01 Closing: Thanks for listening to the digital marketing secrets show with Carlos A. Vazquez. Want to join the exclusive digital marketing community? Of course, you do! Make sure to visit us at MiamiMarketer.com/growth for more info. See you soon!

 

author: Carlos Vazquez