Resources for Buying and Selling Online Businesses

How to Leverage Your Assets and Boost Profit – Without IP

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Bob SerlingBob Serling is a 30-year marketing and licensing veteran and the Founder of LicensingLab. Through his innovative perspective on marketing and licensing, Bob has helped thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs turn pre-existing assets into 6-figure profit centers.

During Bob’s storied career, he has licensed a skateboard toy featuring branding from Tony Hawk and six other skateboard brands, as well as the most popular assessment software in the online trading industry, a number of insurance products, and so much more.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Bob Serling explains his transition from computer programming to direct response copywriting to professional licensing
  • How Bob generates winning marketing and licensing ideas
  • The key to protecting your ideas and products from knock-offs without an IP
  • Bob discusses the importance of documenting your designs in order to establish yourself as the originator of an idea
  • Bob’s tips for seeking out large companies that are interested in licensing
  • How to reverse engineer a path to your goal—and make a large profit along the way
  • The secret to revolutionizing your revenue streams (hint: it’s not about increasing your web traffic!)
  • What is “profit cloning” and how can you use it to your benefit as an inventor or licensor?
  • Bob talks about his popular licensing ebook, The Licensing Solution

In this episode…

Are you looking for a tried and true way to increase your company’s revenue? Or, do you want to know how to protect your ideas and products—without an IP? If so, this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast is for you.

Bob Serling is a marketing and licensing veteran with more than 30 years of experience under his belt. Throughout his storied career, Bob has learned a number of strategies for protecting your ideas, products, and designs, all without an IP. According to Bob, it starts with documentation. By leaving an organized paper trail for your designs, you can protect your ideas and products from intellectual theft or cheap knock-offs. This will help you decrease your risk and exponentially increase the value of your business.

In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Joe Valley sits down with Bob Serling, the Founder of LicensingLab, to discuss the secrets to leveraging your assets, boosting your revenue, and protecting your products. Listen in as Bob talks about the keys to crafting profitable marketing campaigns, establishing yourself as the originator of an idea or product, and revolutionizing your revenue streams. Stay tuned!

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Quiet Light Brokerage, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.

There is no wrong reason for selling your business. However, there is a right time and a right way. The team of leading entrepreneurs at Quiet Light Brokerage wants to help you discover the right time and strategy for selling your business. By providing trustworthy advice, effective strategies, and honest valuations, your Quiet Light advisor isn’t your every-day broker—they’re your partner and friend through every phase of the exit planning process.

If you’re new to the prospect of buying and selling, Quiet Light Brokerage is here to support you. Their plethora of top-notch resources will provide everything you need to know about when and how to buy or sell an online business. Quiet Light offers high-quality videos, articles, podcasts, and guides to help you make the best decision for your online business.

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:07

Hi, folks, it’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals.

Joe Valley 0:29

Hey folks, Joe Valley here from the Quiet Light Podcast. Thanks for joining once again. And as always, this podcast is sponsored by Quiet Light Brokerage, an internet business, m&a firm, brokerage firm, whatever you want to call us, we’re all entrepreneurs that have built, bought and sold our own online businesses. And now we’re advisors as well. I personally sold close to 100 million in total transactions in the last eight years. And honestly, I thought that was a big number. And I was kind of impressed with myself. Until recently, Walker and Brian are about to close a $20 million transaction Brad has one that he’s negotiating two offers on, that’s just under 25. So that hundred million will be dwarfed pretty quickly, when they join the team actually, they said Joe Valley’s got a target on his back, meaning they were gonna overtake me and they’re gonna do that very quickly. And I’m just one of 11 folks here, guys. We’re here to help. First and foremost, we’ve all built bought and sold again, we’re entrepreneurs first but we’re here to help you either learn about buying a business or exiting your business. So reach out to us at check out our listings, get a free valuation odds are your business is your most valuable asset. And you don’t really know what it’s worth. Speaking of worth, I’ve got Bob Serling on the podcast here today, Bob, thank you for joining. Thanks for having me, Joe. Very, very impressive resume folks. Bob is the Founder of LicensingLabs. Let me just drop some names like Tony Hawk, Microsoft developer, Vince insurance products that he’s licensed that he doesn’t even know all that much about insurance. He’s a lifelong marketer, excuse me marketer goes back to get this some of you might not know what it is but direct mail. Yes, direct mail. Understood when I said I was in the in the radio, DR Business he understood that DR. meant direct response and, and got it. This is a man with wisdom and experience. Bob, thank you for joining the Quiet Light Podcast. Appreciate it.

Bob Serling 2:33

Great to be here. Joe. Thanks so much for that intro.

Joe Valley 2:36

I always like to throw out the fact that when I’ve got another guest with a little bit of gray hair that I’ve got, I’ve got to throw that out there. For those not watching. It’s experienced, right?

Bob Serling 2:49

I guess so. Yeah.

Joe Valley 2:50

Yeah. It’s something along those lines. Give us a little bit more of your backstory because you’re you you develop this this product that the Tony Hawk’s company or the company that sponsored him or work with him? license, you’ve got a ton of experience with courses in online marketing a bunch of different things. But how did it really all start in the entrepreneurial world for you?

Bob Serling 3:13

It actually started with a job that I hated. And I did not go to college. I didn’t like school, I barely got through high school. And so for the first five or six years, after barely making it through high school, I just bombed around the country and goofed off and had a good time and had a bunch of odd jobs and eventually landed out in in West Hollywood, and took up with a bunch of guys who we basically kept I job so we could go body surfing every day. And that that was our main goal in life. And then Believe it or not, there’s still a lot of people in Southern California who lived that way. Fortunately, I broke the pattern when I was in my mid 20s. But so what happened was, I just ended up taking the first job I could get and it was totally by accident. A friend of mine said, Hey, I’m learning to program computers. Do you want to learn pays really well? I said, Sure. Why not? Just, you know, somebody would have said, Do you want to learn to climb to the top of redwoods and pick pine cones for a living? I would have said yes to that too. I didn’t have a lot of direction. Anyway, I started doing that. And after a while I ended up working as a programming manager at a very large bank out here on the west coast. And it was really boring. I hated almost every minute of it. And part of what I had to do was trained programmers. And in those days, all the big companies use IBM mainframes. And their manuals were so dense and so difficult to understand that it was hard for me to train the team. So I started taking sections of the manuals, and just rewriting them and make putting them into normal English and throwing in a little humor here and there. And somehow, the bank’s PR department got ahold of that of one of my manuals and said, Do you want to write a press release for us? And I said, Sure, what suppressor? They gave me some press releases some samples, and I wrote one and it did well, then they said, Do you want to write an ad for us for our credit cards? I said, Yeah, I’ll do that. And so from there, then I started, I figured, well, if I’m going to do this, I better learn about it. So I bought a book and it was called How to write a great advertisement by Victor Schwab brilliant book, still, I think, had more more effect and affected my career in my life more than probably any other business book I read. So from there, I decided, well, I hate managing computer programmers. I’m going to be an advertising copywriter. So long story short, I put an ad in a little advert advertising magazine. You may remember Adweek from the okay. That’s how copywriters found jobs. And my neighbor who worked for a big ad agency said, You can’t do that. You don’t have experience. You don’t have a book of all these pieces you’ve written I said, Well, I’m going to try it. I’ll invest 100 bucks and see. So I realized that I understood finance, from having done these big systems for banks, and I understood technology. And this evolution, this was the early 90s, the evolution into technology was just starting to grow. So I ran a little ad. And it basically offered my services as a copywriter for technical and financial programs. So the first and I thought, cabled great, I’ll do these things. So the first job I got from that was writing an ad for a big restaurant chain. They just liked how I worded my ad. And so from there, I just kept growing in. So Viktor Schwab’s book was about writing direct response ads. And I just took off, and I started doing that. But coming back to when I was working in the software industry. The thing that IBM did that was absolutely brilliant was that you could not buy their software, you couldn’t buy their manuals or their training, it was all license. So when you wanted to train a team of, say, 10 programmers, it was $3,000 per programmer, and this goes back to the 90s. The 3000 was probably equivalent to maybe 20,000. Now, what you got for that 3000 was a videotape. And you had access to it for a week to sit those programmers down in a room and have them watch the video and that was the training and that was a license. And then you had to send it back. And every copy of the videos that IBM had were all mark, and they tracked everything. You couldn’t duplicate it, you couldn’t steal it. So I went, Wow, this is a great model. All their do, they create this training once, and they license it over and over and over and over. So when I went back to copywriting, I thought, Well, once again, I like marketing, but I kind of dislike copywriting because I’m on my own all the time. And I can do it well, but it’s kind of boring and labor intensive. What if I take my best ads and my best sales letters and my best space ads, and I just license them to companies. And then I customize them. It’ll take me about no more than an hour to customize any piece. Instead of a week to two weeks to write one. I charge them a smaller amount plus a licensing fee which is a share of the profits. They the benefit to them is they get something that’s proven, rather than having to be a pioneer and and test something that’s likely to fail and they only pay when it really works. So that model worked really well. And then I started building it out from there. And then I wrote a program on how to do that a training course. And then I licensed that course out. And then I just kept licensing from there. And then eventually, I moved into professional licensing, which really means inventing products and services, and licensing them to big companies. And so like you said, I did a toy skateboard, that I licensed to a big toy company that had a license with Tony Hawk and all these other major skateboarders. And they licensed my model, they put all those pro skateboarders, logos on it sold all over the world. And then I did some some other stuff back to the software industry. And then I had a friend in the insurance industry, and she asked me to take a look at a product for her. And I don’t understand insurance, but she understood marketing. So she said, This is what people need, this is the problem they need to solve. And that’s really what licensing and deal making and, and strategizing is, is solving problems. So I was able to solve that problem for her.

Joe Valley 11:22

And that is, isn’t that what advertising is with your with your ad copy as you, you know, you identify the problem, your product or service is the solution.

Bob Serling 11:32

And that’s what that’s what it should be. But when you see a lot of the advertising that’s out there, and it’s just terrible, or people create advertising to begin with, and find it doesn’t work. It’s because they aren’t looking for something creative, something different, a different positioning, a different mechanism. They’re just copying everybody else. Like right now, in the online marketing industry. The big thing is these five day challenges, but everybody’s challenge looks just like everyone else’s. And these are supposed to be the leaders of the industry that creative. Yeah, and the creative pioneers, but it’s all neat to stuff. But your question is as a student, and that’s what good marketing is. And that’s what good business is solving your customers problems and digging deeper to really understand and empathize with your customers. So you can get them to talk about problems that are much deeper than just the surface stuff that most people talk about. And when you can hit on that when you get get at the heart of that, then you can really create monumental product services and marketing.

Joe Valley 12:53

So your typical client in the you know, with LicensingLab, what you do. We’re not talking, you know, small dollars here when it comes to licensing, which is you know, you’re an inventor of the skateboard and you’re earning money off of the Tony Hawk licensed brand. There. Were in that particular case, you’re talking some pretty serious delis, for instance. I mean, if I came to you, my wife had created a particular bedwetting product and tried to patent it and we failed, she failed on the patent. It didn’t work. But at one point, we’re thinking, let’s just license that out, versus doing all the marketing itself. What are your recommendations? And I mean, you’ve got some experience in this area Do you think that people should be? I think the answer’s no, I think I know they just go into all the effort of manufacturing the product and then trying to licensing How did you come up with a concept an idea of what’s the process you think someone should go with in that situation? Well,

Bob Serling 13:56

the process is similar. The way you apply the process is different industry by industry. But essentially, and this is my own bias. I never manufacture anything. Good. So I always wanted in number one, I never number two, I never create a new product. I always improve an existing product that’s selling well. Why? Number one, I don’t have to patent it. I don’t have to go through that the company’s already patented.

Joe Valley 14:26

Right. Now is the client that you improve or just found a

Bob Serling 14:31

skateboard toy I did. Yeah, the toy already existed, right? I didn’t invent the toy itself. I invented an attachment that went on the toy that made it more fun to use. But I knew that that toy was selling something like eight to $10 million worth a year. See, I don’t want to be a pioneer, because the Pioneer is the guy who gets the arrows in the back more often. No.

Joe Valley 15:01

So yes, get Let me ask you a silly I totally agree there. But this is a silly or novice question. But you are not protected with IP, you’re developing that attachment that goes on this toy. What’s to prevent the owner of that toy when you approach them with this attachment and say, Hey, you want to license this, to just knock you off and do it themselves? If there’s no IP?

Bob Serling 15:22

Well, number, there’s three things. And the main thing is you have to know who you’re working with. And the big toy companies, the big insurance companies, the big pet companies, nice people, to just let I have a ball working with them. They’re just like you and me. They’re fun to talk to. They’re interesting. They have great ideas. So that’s number one. And they’re honest, number two, and paying you a 5%. royalty, they’d be stupid to steal from you. Because if they get caught stealing from you, number one, it’s going to cost them so much more in money. And then with social media, the reputation will be trashed. And if they steal it from you, if I come to a company and they look at an idea, they go, wow, this is really good. We never thought of this, we can add an extra $8 million in sales to our 12 million in sales of this product. They’re dumb not to pay me the 5% and then show me five other products they have and say what can you do for these?

Joe Valley 16:30

Is it let’s talk about the stealing fart for a minute this depart for a minute this is there’s there’s three things you said here. This is number two. And this is really interesting and timely because of that whole bedwetting product itself. You don’t own any IP. It’s just an idea. The there’s, from a legal standpoint, if they decided to do this on their own, is it stealing? Or is it just underhanded.

Bob Serling 16:57

You don’t own IP in that you don’t have it copyrighted trademarked or patented, right? But you keep a track record of the fact that you developed at and you showed it to them. So when you go to the music industry, there’s always these lawsuits where people come in and say, Oh, this artist stole this part of the tune from me.

Joe Valley 17:25

Okay, excellent point,

Bob Serling 17:26

you have the track record.

Joe Valley 17:28

And that holds up in court. In this case, you’ve presented this product. Hopefully you’ll never get into court. Yes, it is just a small set of words.

Bob Serling 17:37

You know, if if it’s mean, little one man, inventing shop? Well, I’ve got two assistants, so three person and venting shop versus you know, megalith industries, this billion dollar company that’s swatting me like a fly, I’m going to, and I’ve got this track record, which I’ve kept. I’ve kept a record of all my emails, my phone calls, and anything else. I’m gonna win 999 times out of 100 if it goes to court, but it doesn’t go to court, the other and the other part of it is almost every major business these days. Product businesses that is solicit ideas from outside product developers, and they’ll even sign a nondisclosure agreement with you online. That’s the other thing you can get. I don’t I don’t even ask. And I’m not saying people shouldn’t ask for a nondisclosure agreement. But I don’t ask for

Joe Valley 18:44

this is stunning, honestly. So you know, most people think you’ve got to have that design patent utility pad something along the lines there to protect yourself. I was having coffee with a friend of mine that owns a product innovation company. And you know, I had shared this bedwetting product with him and the design and all this other stuff. To see about manufacturing and having, you know, an entrepreneur do it when you know, either somebody that’s maybe either built or sold their own business require light and then and then off because I don’t want to be in the business. I right. I’m in the m&a world, I feel like it’s conflict for me. And he said to me the other day, like well, you know, could How about so and so because I had referred somebody to him doing it and we’ll pay you a we’ll just pay you a licensing percentage and I thought, Gosh, he doesn’t even have to, well, you know, am I am I am I should I get that? Do I deserve that? Is he just being nice? And what you’re saying is, you know, there is you know, he’s obviously being nice.

Bob Serling 19:52

But there’s no there’s just something you can prove yourself now. Wow. You are going to manufacturer they You do want to get all that protection in place. Because you may, there may come a time where you have to protect your idea against other companies knocking you off. But with me when I’m licensing a product to a big corporation, if someone knocks them off, they’re the one that defends the patent, not me,

Joe Valley 20:24

or the lack of patent. In this case, you don’t have a patent if somebody

Bob Serling 20:26

I don’t, but their product was already patented the original product is. The other thing is there’s a lot of industries, where certain products are not even patentable, novelty products, and most of them aren’t patentable, the majority of toys, they don’t bother to patent because the shelf now puzzles and games are different shelf life on puzzles and games are from five to 50 years, the shelf life on toys is from 12 to 24 months. Right now, the patent office is backed up about four years to issue a patent. That’s crazy. Oh, it makes no sense to file for a patent on a toy, when it only has a two year shelf life. And your patent won’t even issue for four years. So if you go to most toy stores just go in a Walmart or a Target or a local toy store and pick up the toys, you’ll see that 90% of them are not patented.

Joe Valley 21:28

Now I’m going to move on to the third thing of the three. But if you’re like me, you probably forgot what it was already. But to recall, there was two or three things

Bob Serling 21:37

in regards to that answer, or what the what the third thing was, yeah, yeah, it was what I already mentioned was that kind of got this track record, you’ve got a paper trail. So you can prove that you’re the originator of an idea.

Joe Valley 21:53

I love the idea of not not needing that needing that IP, you’ve got the originator of the idea. I just had no idea that it was defensible in a court of law. And I also love the honestly the fact that you don’t have to manufacturer, too many people go out in the develop the product that go manufactured and then they try to sell it versus what some folks have done. As I mentioned before we started recording. We’ve had many, many Shark Tank folks through the quiet light process and a few on the podcast and one of them talked about, you know creating the ad copy first and putting the ad copy out there and you know some shape or form that’s trackable, and they click to get to the, to the buy to the cart and and then you say it’s not available. Just a few podcast episodes ago, I had Roy Morejon from Enventys Partners down in Charlotte on the podcast, and Roy. Roy’s done over a $300 million in Kickstarter campaigns for products where they just develop the concept and idea not necessarily, you know, with IP on

Bob Serling 23:04

it, but they are my chair just gave.

Joe Valley 23:07

Yeah, for those for those that are watching, that would have been great. There was a little clicker wide open there just like it was

Bob Serling 23:15

gonna be great. If I went all the way

Joe Valley 23:19

down at events, they do sort of what the beginnings of what you’re talking about, they determine whether or not that product has interest to the public or not with a Kickstarter campaign. And then and only then do they go out to the manufacturers. And the difference here is that at this stage, instead of going and having the product manufacturer, they could seek out a large company that would be interested in licensing, how do you do that part of it, I guess, is where I’m going here.

Bob Serling 23:48

Um, well, again, I really advise that people invest in an industry that they either either know, through previous work experience, or they have passionate about. So I invent in three different industries and toys, household goods, and pet products. Because those are the things I like, those are the things I find fun, I don’t. So when we talked before the claw, I mentioned that I had co invented this very advanced software testing suite. And I did it mainly because it was with a friend of mine who was a brilliant professor at the Graduate School of Education at UCLA, but I didn’t enjoy it. You know, it just wasn’t much fun because I didn’t care that much about it. We made a lot of money from it. But I was glad when we sold and in that case he had the full patents, I was glad when we sold the patents and it was over. So, but the thing is if you invent products to license, and you can license services to and that’s a whole different trail we could go down. But when you invest in, in an industry that you know, and like, it’s pretty easy to find, you get to know real quickly who’s good and who isn’t. Who’s trustworthy and who isn’t. And on nearly every website for any company that’s valued at 500 million or more, if you scroll to the bottom, you’re going to see something that says, inventors relations, or have a product for us. And and you can submit through that. Or if you’re smarter, you’ll find the correct person either through LinkedIn, or other paid services, Hoover’s, and others where you can find that exact person, their email and their phone number and go directly to them. So it’s not hard to do. The fact is, most major corporations, there’s an estimate that in almost every industry, and I’m talking just about physical products right now, no more than 50% of the products you see on a store shelf or on Amazon, were invented by that company itself, they were licensed from an outside developer. And it can be an individual developer like me, or it can be teams or big development companies that do nothing but that. But the fact is, they’re looking for ideas, and they make that contact information available on their websites.

Joe Valley 26:49

That’s fascinating. You know, it just makes sense, as you’re saying it, but prior to that, it never would have occurred to me, just to look at the bottom of the page or find a way to reach out to them directly. Because just like, you know, when we sell a business, and they have two or three manufacturers, but one isn’t the bulk of their product development, and let’s say they’re all in China, the buyers often say, well, do they have a contract with that manufacturer? And we say, well, 99% of the time, there’s no contract with a Chinese manufacturer, well, where’s the protection, the protection is in that that manufacturer is in the business to manufacture products. For people like you, they need you as much as you need them. It’s fascinating how that actually translate here to the big corporations doing 500 million or more in revenue they need the inventors of the product developers and whatnot, just as much as you know, we need them to, you know, put those shell products on by the very, very much. So that’s terrific. Fascinating. Is there a particular Is there a particular reason why you choose that 500 million mark is is there a certain size company that you try to focus on when you bring them a product innovation or idea or design that you want to license?

Bob Serling 28:03

Yeah, well, basically, the bigger the better. Except I’ll usually skip. So I mean, let’s say theoretically, there are $20 billion companies in a given industry, okay, say it’s pet products, I’m not going to deal with number one and number two, because they, there’s, there’s more arrogance, there’s more comfort there. Oh, we don’t need a lot of new stuff. We know what we’re doing. Well, maybe they do. But three years ago, Canon cameras was the number one maker of professional and what’s called prosumer, no high end consumer cameras, they controlled something like, I think it was like 72% of the market. That was three years ago. And they were arrogant. They didn’t need to listen to their customers, they’re now down to about 35 40% because Sony and Nikon beat the crap out of them. So I don’t go to the top two, I go to number three, four and five. But the more money they’re making the better because the more likely they are to license from you. And the more likely they are to bring your product to market quickly. And if I can create an improvement for a product that’s already selling $20 million worth, and know that my improvement will sell another $10 million worth. I’m going to make a lot more money than if I improve a product for a smaller company that’s selling a million dollars worth. And they’re only going to sell another $300,000 worth with my improvement. So

Joe Valley 29:50

there’s a lot of math and logic there. But you know, folks, the the key underlying message if you’re not getting it here is that there’s a way to improve reverse engineer a path to your goal. In this case, Bob’s not physically manufacturing the product. And he, he doesn’t have a college degree, yet he’s wildly successful. And he’s working with companies that are doing nearly a half a billion or more in revenue, because then he now knows that they need him, because he’s a developer inventor, to reverse engineering that path, not to be afraid to reach out to those folks, because they need you just as much as they as you need them.

Bob Serling 30:31

Yeah. And that’s the thing that there’s always, almost always in whatever you do, there’s a more direct route to things than you might think of. So in fact, if, if we want to flip this if you want it, if if I can take over control of the discussion here, and I’ll flip this a little to how, because not everybody’s an inventor, not everybody’s a licensor. But how do you use licensing in your business, to make more money with licensing than you make from your core products. And again, it’s flipping the way you look at things. And then just for a second, I haven’t invented a course. And it’s called reverse inventing, it’s how do you reverse the process. But for people who have product businesses or service businesses, or e-commerce businesses, the flip, and you and I talked about this pre call, the flip is that in most industries, if you ask people what they want, the number one thing they want, is more traffic. If they’re a little more sophisticated marketing, they say, I want a funnel that converts better. And on and on and on. And so they end up chasing traffic tricks and traffic hacks and funnel hacks, and technology tricks and hacks. But every day. In fact, Perry Marshall, who is probably the leading authority on Google AdWords, in the last two months, and one came out today, Perry has published bulletins about massive changes to Google ads that are going to flatten your results, yet, people are still chasing those things. So what I tell them is, again, reverse it, look at turn that lens around, where’s the real value in your business? It’s not through new traffic, and not that you don’t need new traffic. But if you shift the focus, most companies are focused about 80 to 90%, on new traffic and conversion, that the real money for a company is in making more sales to their existing list. And, as I had mentioned, when we talked earlier, Harvard Business Review released this study. That said, making sales to the people who are already on your list is as much as 25 times easier than converting new traffic to a sale. And it’s as much as 90 times 90% more profitable, why we’re not spending all the time and money on that traffic, fewer than you’re lucky if you can get 2% of the traffic, you pay for to convert. And when you do that, you’re investing enormous amounts of time and money. That means 98% of the money you invest in traffic is down the drain immediately.

Joe Valley 33:52

So it goes to owning the customer list very, very much. Exactly.

Bob Serling 33:57

So I work with with companies, and I help them use use licensing and creative thinking to get the most out of their list. And so I’ve got clients who are making 180% more from their secondary products by working their list properly than they are from their main products. And then the best example and this is not mine, but this is brilliant. There’s a company, I believe, well, they’re in the Midwest, I think it’s Springfield, Ohio, they’re called Springfield remanufacturing company, and they buy blown up engines of large equipment, tractors, backhoes, all that kinds of stuff. They remanufacture it and they sell them cheaper than buying a new engine. They do $14 million a year in business. building out blown up engines pretty good. They do 200 and $20 million in business by leveraging the assets that they already have, and turning those assets. So they’ve taken all the skills they’ve gained. And they’ve created spin off companies and training programs. They train other companies and procurement management and metal treatment in accounting systems for manufacturing, i t systems for manufacturing, marketing systems for manufacturing, and they sell and, and train in those areas all over the world. And as they said, 14 million from their core product 200 and 20 million, by understanding the assets they already have, that they’re overlooked, they were overlooking and doing nothing with. And every company can do that. Every company, even as we’re looking at companies that we work with, often again, in the in the I guess it’s getting up to sub $25 million in total value.

Joe Valley 36:07

You know, we’ve got folks that have bootstrapped an e-commerce business, or a SaaS business and there are 2, 3, 4 years in, they’ve got assets that you can help them look at, and how to create money from those assets, that are not just driving more traffic and other you know,

Bob Serling 36:26

sell more, and the greatest asset you have is always your list. But let’s talk about some other not so obvious. If you have a really great e-commerce, or SaaS company, why not clone it, create a second company with a different name, and use a different emotional appeal in your copy to sell the same thing. Now. Number one, it’s really easy to do. Number two, it’s very profitable. I’ll give you two examples. I have one client who has a giant blank, let me talk about. So I have one client who sells Baker supplies online. It’s an e-commerce company. It’s baking tins and rolling pins and all these equipment. They do really well they for a fairly small company, I think they do about 4 million a year in sales. So what but one, so I what we did with them was we spun that off into a second company that was looking for small businesses, small bakeries and things and caterers and companies like that, that wanted to buy those things in bulk, not onesies, twosies. And so we created a second company, I call it profit cloning, we clone their company with a different appeal. So instead of appealing to the individual Baker, this is more to the smaller businesses, the you know, like the the wedding halls and the meeting halls and smaller bakeries. Just by doing that within the first week, their profits nearly doubled. And they’ve maintained that for I think it’s almost four years now.

Joe Valley 38:25

It’s interesting, it’s actually doing it in a more thorough effective way that sends a better message to that end customer versus a little link at the bottom of the website website that says buy in bulk orders.

Bob Serling 38:36

And and so here’s another one that’s kind of interesting. I had a client, and he’s a former engineer, and he came up with a day trading formula, which he engineered and improved and it’s very safe and very effective. So he started making that available and was doing well. It was selling a couple million dollars a year worth of it. But he was really frustrated because other companies were as he was selling 2 million other companies were selling six to 10 million a year with a very emotional appeal of, you know, get rich overnight with day trading. Yeah, but there’s also a lot of risk. His whole thing was, there’s no risk in my method. You’re going to build wealth slowly not get rich quick. So it said it’s just so frustrating that they’re taking all these customers from me. So great. Let’s use profit cloning, create a second site, hire a copywriter to take your exact copy, but rewrite it with a real emotional appeal. Instead of the logical appeal you use and sell the exact same product. no different. At first I asked him would would your product work for that quick buck trade as well. He said absolutely. I said well then we don’t even have to change the product. Or the name. So he did that he brought it up, within a month hit increases profits by 40%. It then grew over the year to about 60%. This is eight years later, and they still like clockwork without thinking about it, make 60% more profit than they ever would have before. That’s a huge margin. That’s one thing.

Joe Valley 40:26

I like the idea of profit cloning, you know, instead of reinventing the wheel each time, take what you’ve got, and duplicate it with a different unique message to maybe a slightly different customer. That’s very interesting. Yeah. Yeah. One that you wouldn’t have captured before with the existing messaging. And that’ll go all goes back to your copywriter days, doesn’t it? Well, yeah,

Bob Serling 40:49

that everything kind of inner inner weaves together.

Joe Valley 40:55

It sure does. So we’re running a little bit short on time. Tell me more about real quickly reverse inventing and what the course is all about? Because that sounds fantastic.

Bob Serling 41:03

Okay, actually. I we could, um, but I think, I think if your audiences are mainly people who are building businesses, and want to add more value to their business licensing, like, yeah, inventing is tougher, I mean, first of all, even when you place an invention, you’re not going to see your royalties for two to three years, right? That’s how long it takes to get shelf space. And not that many people. inventing is a bigger step further away than just developing your business, I think what would really be a value to your listeners, would be to, would be if I fall off my chair again. But to talk about ways to really utilize their list to add a lot more profit to their business with very little effort, and often do it almost on autopilot. And when you do it, it’s at 100% profit margin.

Joe Valley 42:10

I think it’s a brilliant idea, because they should already own that list and can just maximize the value of it. What How do they find you online? What’s the best website they go to

Bob Serling 42:20

go to And the homepage, there is a forum where you can get my free e-book called The Licensing Solution. And it shows you 11 different ways, some of which we talked about today, to take the assets you already have and turn them into six figure profit centers, most of which is passive income. That’s the best way to find me and get more information because I do it myself with my

Joe Valley 42:53

my wife’s bedwetting products there. Now that I know that I can actually license it out real quickly. For those that are thinking Well, yeah, but how much you had said 5% a little while ago is that a rough

Bob Serling 43:07

the pretty standard. In most industries, it’s usually from three to 9% 9%, you’re only going to get that if you have a really long track record of success, or if you’re a celebrity. So on the Tony Hawk skateboard, I got, I think I got 4% the company got about 16%, Tony Hawk, Dec 25%. And the other scape personalities got the rest of it. So it all depends on the situation. But for practical purposes, 5% is a good number to use.

Joe Valley 43:52

Good Good, good, simple math there, folks, take the list that you do have and make some money out of it. you’ve developed these assets that are sitting there and you’re focused on driving traffic and top line revenue, you’ve already got some assets that you can maximize profit on, according to Harvard Business Review. 90% more profitable than the existing products that you sell, go to check out the Ebook, definitely download it. There’s 11 things there that Bob’s talked about a little bit here touched on on the podcast, Bob Serling, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. Look forward to having you back on the podcast again soon.

Bob Serling 44:30

Thanks for having me, Joe. I really appreciate it.

Outro 44:35

Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast subject or guest, email us at [email protected] Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

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