Massive Passive Income With Ron Douglas

My next guest is a New York Times best-selling author.

Ron Douglas built a multiple-six figure income in obscure little niches using a weird list building model that gets him buyer leads without actually selling anything.

Stream this episode to find out how to cook a passive six figure income with list building.


Igor: Hi, my name is Igor Kheifets and this is the List Building Lifestyle, the only podcast
which delivers cutting edge conversion strategies from the online trenches straight to
your earbuds. Download the transcript of today’s episode and all future episodes at I also invite you to grab a free copy of “The Wealthy
List Builder’s Survival Guide” at and now
once again it’s time to claim your List Building Lifestyle.

Welcome back to another edition of the List Building Lifestyle with your host,
Igor Kheifets. I've got Ron Douglas here with me. Ron is the president of Ron
Douglas Publishing and Digital Marketing Company, established in 2001, which has
generated over $30 million in sales. He is also the New York Times best-selling
author of the America's Most Wanted Recipes cookbook series, which has sold over
1.5 million copies and been featured live on Good Morning America, Home Shopping
Network, FOX and Friends, NBC News, and in People magazine.

Ron holds an MBA in finance and investment, is a chartered financial analyst, and
has worked on Wall Street for JPMorgan and Citibank. However, in 2007 he left a
promising career in a six-figure job to work from home and spend more time with
his kids. Today, Ron enjoys helping students worldwide with his proven strategies
for building a lifestyle business that enables you to earn passive recurring

Having chatted with Ron previously, I can tell you that Ron is actually tapping
into several niches at once and he's using list building as the primary mechanism
to build his passive income businesses. Ron is heavily involved in the writing
niche, the real estate niche, the internet marketing niche and the cooking niche,
and this guy is like an octopus. He can go into any niche that he can pretty much
dream of and come in, use the exact same strategy every single time, and build it
out into a passive income that funds his lifestyle and his real estate
investments. So, Ron, welcome to List Building Lifestyle.

Ron Douglas: Hey Igor, thanks man. Great introduction. Appreciate it.

Igor Kheifets: Well, my pleasure, my pleasure. Every word of it is true, because
I've been hearing your name a lot, and I was finally fortunate enough to meet you
at Commission Expo when I was speaking last month, and I was like yes, I can
finally get Ron damn Douglas on the show, because you're like a ghost. Like you're
everywhere, but you're nowhere because you're so passive in this industry.

This is exactly what I wanted to chat with you about on the show. I wanted for you
to give us some insight into how to build a passive income business using list

Ron Douglas: Yeah. Yeah. I mean that's definitely what I've done over the years.
It's what I started out doing. List building has been the most important part of
my business. I just kind of looked at it like, you know, what's the number one way
to build a business without actually having to have a big office with a whole
bunch of employees?

You know, I left the corporate world and I just wanted to generate passive income
and I wanted to be able to generate traffic on demand and not have the huge type
of corporate headache of having this colossal responsibility, you know, that comes
with most of these businesses that you build, like client based businesses, where
you're out there trying to close new clients every day and you have to deal with
those clients and talk to them over the phone.

I'd just rather create products and send emails to promote it, send emails to
promote affiliate products, and just make a lot of money that way.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. I mean a lot of business owners, what they have is a business
where if they meet their clients on the street ... Like if they walked down the
street and actually see their client across the road, like they will not wave
their hand and kind of, you know, wave them come over here. They will be turning
their face to the opposite side and they're like oh, I hope they don't see me.

So I know exactly what you're talking about, and the way you've built your
business is way more fun, is way more leveraged, gives you way more money probably
too, and way more free time to spend with your girls. So do tell us ... Do tell us
how did you manage to build all these businesses and all these niches? What's your
secret/ What's the 80/20 of using list building to create a passive income

Ron Douglas: I think that the main thing is just offering something that people
want, doing your research, finding out what people really want, finding like
little angles to offer things that are just kind of irresistible to the person
that you want to get in your funnel.

It starts with thinking about what am I offering that I'm trying to sell, and then
what can I offer for free that's going to get that ideal person, that person that
is more than likely to buy my product once they get into my funnel? What can I
offer to attract that person?

I think early on I learned that ... I started out, as you said, in the cooking
market and I was just selling a cookbook. This was back in 2003, when I was just
selling ... I had this cooking site, selling cookbooks, and I said what do they
want that would kind of whet their appetite to get them interested in my product
and that would be kind of irresistible to them?

So they would come to my site, they would see I'm offering a cookbook for sale,
but for the people that didn't buy it I would just give them a sample, like a
sample eBook filled with recipes that they were thinking about buying but ...
They'll take that because it's free, and then that will kind of show them ... You
know, they test out these dishes, they see the recipes, they go this guy is the
real deal, and it gives me an opportunity to get them on my email list, to follow
up with them, to convince them to buy that product.

I know you teach your folks as well that most people won't buy on the first
contact with your product, right? It takes followup and it takes multiple
interactions, so you've got to give yourself the opportunity to do that.

Igor Kheifets: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean we follow up so many times. Yeah. We follow
up every single day, multiple times per day, sometimes three times a day, because
... You know, I don't know if you noticed this, but I've been noticing this, that
the marketplace and the world around us has really ... It's really speeding up,
and in order to stay on top of mind awareness for clients we have to be there
every day, several times a day. Otherwise, they just forget about us.

Ron Douglas: That's right. So I've had people email me and ask like, "Who are

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. "Why are you emailing me? Quit emailing me." I get these all
the time. I want to circle back to what you just said. So you said you started out
in the cooking space, in the cooking niche, and you had the cookbook and the
cooking site, and then to attract people you gave them a free sample, sample
recipes, and from there you upsold them into a proper big cookbook. Is that

Ron Douglas: Right. Proper cookbook, and then from there I had a membership site
where I would send them ... I had this thing called the Cookbook of the Week Club.
I would send them a new cooking eBook every week. These were mostly resale rights
eBooks. That's one of the things I used to increase the average customer value of
my sales funnel, by having that recurring income, which enabled me to advertise a
little bit more.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. Absolutely. So I mean there's only a few ways to increase the
profitability of a business. Either you sell more often or you sell more products
at a higher price tag on every exposure, or you just kind of build a deeper
funnel, right?

So what you're saying is you started out with a single cookbook, but then you went
ahead and you created the weekly offer, which allowed your most passionate
customers to come in and buy again and again and again. Of course this also
creates the feel good effect, because people who love buying cookbooks, that's
what they do. It's kind of like people who love buying cars or people who love
buying, like me, Apple products. I got the MacBook, the iPhone and everything
else. So every time I buy something from Apple I feel really good for a couple of
days. It's like my heroin, you know?

Ron Douglas: Yeah. Yeah. Someone once said that you want to keep selling until
they stop buying, right? So-

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. Exactly. It really takes a while to figure that out, and I'm
really ... It's really interesting to me and I'm really curious, how did you kind
of accepted that? Maybe it has something to do with your past in the finance
space? But a lot of people that I talk to, they come in and they're really
apologetic about selling.

Ron Douglas: Yeah. I think that dates back ... I really got started in business
and got introduced to a lot of this business stuff through MLM actually. I used to
do Amway. I used to do Click Star. I used to do Cutco, selling knives. I've done
Excel Telecommunications. I've probable done a dozen different MLM programs, and I
learned a lot about sales and persuasion doing that, by failing. It was just not
my thing.

I was really looking for something that didn't depend on other people taking
action for you to earn money. MLM is like that, right? You got to recruit people,
they have to be successful, they have to actually do something or you don't make
any money.

So that's what attracted me to online marketing, is because I could make money by
sharing the value that I offer directly instead of depending on other people going
out and recruiting. So I think that whole being exposed to that got me involved in

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. I know what you mean when you say that MLM, it has such a
high churn and burn rate primarily because people don't take action. I was just
actually having a call with someone earlier today and I asked them, "So you have a
team," and they have a pretty substantial team, like I think they're making around
$250,000 a month, so their team is huge.

I'm like how many times every single day do you run into an issue where you sign
people up and then two days later you either see them drop off or you need to have
that conversation, it's like, "Oh, it's not working." "All right, so how many
people did you talk to?" It's like, "Oh, I just pitched this to my mom and she
said no."

Ron Douglas: So therefore it's not working. Right?

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. So you shifted your business to something that does not
require for your customers to quote-unquote take action for you to continuously
make money?

Ron Douglas: Exactly. That's exactly the point. I wasn't great at sales either.
I'm not like a big salesman, but I'm pretty good at copy, I'm pretty good at
writing emails. I'm pretty good at written sales. And I got really good at
webinars later on, but initially I wasn't really good at selling to people,
especially face-to-face, so the internet kind of ... It leveled the playing field.
It enabled me to do what I do best and not do what I do worst.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah, focus on your strengths. That's one of the things that Dan
Sullivan teaches, just find what you're really, really good at and just invest 90%
of your energy into that one thing.

Ron Douglas: Yeah. What does he call that? Unique ability?

Igor Kheifets: Yes, the unique ability. That's right. For me it's definitely not
webinars at this point, but selling in print is a common theme I hear. The more I
interview people, the more I interview successful people like yourself, and the
more I observe my own life and what made me successful, the ability to move people
to action using the written word, or if you do it over a webinar I'm guessing you
can just say that it's something you've written prior to that and you just read it
out ... A lot of times it's like that.

The ability of most people using the printed word is, in my opinion, one of the
single-most important skills that you can learn and acquire. This is a learnable
skill, by the way, as an internet marketer.

Ron Douglas: Oh, for sure. For sure. I mean the internet is all about content and
all about relationships and convincing people that your product is something
that's really going to help them, so the more you know about copywriting and
influence and persuasion, the better off you're going to be, the better your
business is going to do, because at the end of the day, right, you can get as much
traffic as you can get, but if it's not converting, if it doesn't produce sales,
if you're not convincing, if you're not persuasive, if you're not painting the
best picture of your offer as possible to your perspective customers, then it
doesn't matter how much traffic you get, right?

But one little tweak in your conversion rate can produce a lot more money from
your existing traffic, so I tell people that before you start going out and
getting solo ads, getting traffic, buying Facebook ads, you got to have your
conversions nailed down. So if there's one thing I would learn first, is the power
of the written word and how to persuade people.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. Absolutely. I remember we were chatting about this before we
got on the call. It's like you're a Facebook guy. I mean there's no reason to hide
it. I mean you're not a big fan of solo ads, are you?

Ron Douglas: I'm a fan of solo ads that work. I actually sell solo ads. I don't
know if you knew that? I sell solo ads. I've been selling solo ads probably about
seven years, but to my cooking email list. So a lot of the top guys on ClickBank
for instance, in the fitness category, they pay me for solo ads.

But I also buy solo ads in that niche because it works, but I buy ... The ads that
I buy, they don't call them solo ads, right? They call them dedicated email drops.
They call them different things, but solo ad is kind of like a thing that internet
marketers came up with.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. Because dedicated email drops are things that go way back,
like 20 years back. It's just you couldn't get a guarantee on the clicks, and it
was a little bit different back then.

Ron Douglas: Yeah. Well now you can. You can get a guarantee on the amount of
clicks. It's all negotiable. One of the people I use is Flatiron Media. They have
a lot of publications in different niches that people can use, but they have a
minimum of 2,500 usually to ... You know, it's big traffic. They have email lists
that go into the millions.

Igor Kheifets: Oh, nice. Can you repeat their name once again for our listeners
and myself? I'll just write it down. Ron Douglas: Flatiron, like an ironing board,
Flatiron Media.

Igor Kheifets: Flatiron Media? All right. Cool. I'll reach out to them and see
what we can do. Do they have any make money online traffic?

Ron Douglas: They claim to now. I mean they didn't before, but a guy actually hit
me up the other day asking me if I wanted to buy some ads from them. He said he
had some make money online similar type offers that he's ran before that's worked
out, so I'm going to test it out. I haven't fully tested it out yet.

But I mean a lot of times with make money online it's such an open topic you can
position it to attract an evergreen type of market, because everybody secretly
wants to work from home, secretly wants to make a second income in their spare
time. It's all about the way you position it.

But if you just come at them like, you know, be a webmaster, that type of talk,
set up your own blog and be a webmaster and drive traffic, then no, it wouldn't
work for an evergreen market. But if you come at them like have a second income
working from home, here's a simple way to do it, then yeah, that would appeal to
that type of market as well.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. It's kind of like everybody wanting to drive a car to get
around faster, but if you start talking to people about engines and gearboxes and
oil changes and tire pressure, like 99% of them just check out, but there's going
to be like 1% car enthusiasts that are absolutely thrilled to talk about that

It's kind of like ... You know, earlier we chatted about how you said one of your
niches, what you're doing is you're intertwining the make money online with that
niche by simply ... Like by a simple reframe of the offer itself, which I think is
brilliant. It's just such a smart use of an existing large audience you already
have, and you have access to that audience for free, to make more money.

Ron Douglas: Right. For sure. So if you think about make money online, the things
that apply to make money online, which is traffic, which is having a product,
which is promoting other people's products, different things that apply to the
make money online market, they also apply to other markets.

You might have real estate agents who want to learn how to get more exposure for
their listings, so they may need social media marketing. They may need how to
build an audience online, how to generate traffic, how to do paid ads. All the
same things that apply to how to make money online, you could niche it out to
different markets. They need the same thing. You just have to be able to talk
their language a bit and not talk about ... All the internet marketing language,
like EPCs and CPCs and click through rates and all that stuff.

Don't hit them over the head with that at first. Save that for your actual course.
You attract them with simple simplified things that appeal to them for what
they're trying to do.

Igor Kheifets: Nice. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I bet you I'm guilty of the mistake you
just mentioned of overwhelming people with words like EPCs and click through rates
and stuff like that. I noticed that recently one of the offers I was positioning
to the marketplace, I bombed, because I think I overwhelmed the crap out of the
people in the audience. I really did not consider the fact that most people, they
just cannot register those things until you slowly bring them up to speed through
your paid product.

When you sell it, when you market it, it has to be simplified to a point where
you'd be like if I share this with my grandmother, will she understand what I'm
talking about?

Ron Douglas: Right. Sometimes you assume that everybody knows what you know, but
when you've been doing it as long as we've done it and you're just engrossed in
this stuff, then you know a lot more than the average person, the average person
on your email list for sure. So it's like you said, dumb down your message a bit.
I wouldn't say dumb it down. I would just say simplify it. Simplify it so that
they can understand it, and ease them into all the industry jargon and

I learned that a lot on ... I learned a lot about that by doing webinars. I used
to have a webinar where I thought I was a smart guy and I used to try to show them
all the smart things I know, all these like secret little tactics and things. I
would just lose people, because they would start to say, "Okay, that works for you
because you're you, but that's too complex. That's too complicated. I could never
do what you do."

You have to give people the impression when your marketing that they can actually
succeed with what you're teaching. Because it doesn't matter what you've
accomplished or how great you are or how smart you are. They will admire you, but
they might not buy if they can't see themselves doing it themselves.

That's one of the things I do at webinars. I use webinars as a big list building
opportunity as well. So if you have a presentation like a webinar where you can
command a high ticket offer at the end of that webinar, then you know your average
customer value is going to be high and you know you could run paid traffic.

It might not work as well with solo ads though, as we were talking about earlier,
but webinars are great for me, especially with joint ventures and especially with
Facebook ads, for building a list.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. I mean what you're saying is so true, because when it comes
to information marketing and to any market where we're talking about
self-education, which internet marketing is a big part of that market, as well as
losing weight and self-help and dating and all that stuff, it's really important
to recognize there's really two big objections besides, of course, the classic
like time and money, which are mostly bullshit, but there's really two big

The first one, will this work? Like does this really work? Of course we can
overcome this objection by showing results, that it's working for us and maybe for
other people. But the other one, which is so much more powerful and so much more
dangerous to the sales process, is will this work for me? The prospect wonders
that whole damn time, and it's really difficult to overcome it sometimes,
especially if you appear in their world as this genius in a way, right?

To a lot of other people, like if I ... If all I say to them about you for
example, Ron ... If all I say, "This guy has a real estate business, a cooking
business, a business where he educates writers. He's also teaching other people
how to make money online," immediately the perception is oh, my God, has he got an
IQ of 200 or something? Like how does this guy do it?

So we always have to downplay and bring it back ... Tell the stories of who we
are, where we come from, and how we acquired the success we did. Because by
demystifying that success we allow the people to see and recognize that hey, I can
do it too. I mean he was born in, I don't know, whatever like ... Michigan or
whatever, and he came from a neighborhood that was like two blocks away from where
I grew up. How come he's got this success and I don't?

That's really the big motivator when it comes to moving people into action on
something like a make money online product.

Ron Douglas: Yeah. That is exactly right. And if you're looking for content for
your email followup sequences or to putting an eBook or report, those type of
stories work really well because they have that two-fold type of benefit. First of
all they let people get to know you, know, like and trust you, but more
importantly they let people get to see your journey and get to see that you didn't
always start out as this big superman. You were kind of like in the same shoes
that they were in, but here's how you figured it out. Here's how you went from
where they were to getting to success. That is especially inspiring for a lot of
people. Pardon my dog in the background.

Igor Kheifets: It's all good. You're working from home. You're living the dream.
We appreciate it. I mean sometimes it's the most annoying thing ever when I sit
down to record a podcast and my neighbor turns on his Mustang that's got these
crazy exhausts on it that my walls are quite literally vibrating from the noise of
his engine. It's just crazy. Yeah, that's the downside of working from home.
People just don't, you know, appreciate that we're trying to record a high-quality
podcast. Got to put up a sign or something.

All right. So, Ron, I know you have a free gift for the list builders. Do you mind
sharing with us what that gift is?

Ron Douglas: Yes. Yes. That gift is we're doing a free training that we're going
to present to you guys that shows you how to set up a sales funnel for list
building. The way that I'm doing it is getting tremendous results, and it starts
by building a customer list, right? So it's using free plus shipping offers. Free
plus shipping means you have a free product that you ship out to them in exchange
for their email, in exchange for them paying for the shipping

I find that that works really well, because it's something tangible that people
can use. So I'm going to be doing this training, so you have the link for it,
right? I'm going to show people how to do it.

Igor Kheifets: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. The link is, R-O-N. But I
just want to say something. I can already hear the voices coming from the
distance, Ron, it's like, "What? A physical product? I don't even have a digital
product. How am I supposed to get a physical product?"

Ron Douglas: Right. If you have a digital product, you have a physical product. If
you can buy a digital product, buy the rights to a digital product, you can have a
physical product. All physical product is is just shippable media, right? You
could put it on a CD using a service called Kunaki, which is one we use, or using
a service like, and they will actually ship it out for you, both of those

So it's just ... All it really is is downloading the orders and then uploading it
into their system or integrating it into their system, setting it up where their
system is integrated with your payment process, so their orders ship out
automatically and the customers pay for the shipping.

One of the things you should know is when everybody is doing something and
everybody is avoiding something, that's probably the thing you should be doing as
well. As you should be doing what everybody else is avoiding just to stand out and
be different. So if people are afraid to turn their free lead magnet items into a
shippable item to increase the value of it, then maybe that's the thing you should
focus on doing, right, just to stand out and be different.

I do it because what happens is those leads that you get, you know that they're
leads that have a credit card, you know that they're valid leads, you know that
they're really interested because they're willing to pay for the small shipping
charge, and you know that you can get them right into your funnel.

Usually a typical list building funnel will be you have your lead magnet, you have
your squeeze page. It's a downloadable eBook or a downloadable course or something
like that. So after they enter their name and email, they go to another page where
you try to convince them to buy a one-time offer. But what were they there for?
They were there just to get that free item, so most of the people are not going to
take that one-time offer. You really have to bend over backwards to get them to
take that one-time offer, so your convergence on that is going to be low, and if
they don't take that one-time offer they're not going to be in your sales funnel,
so you can't sell them other products.

The difference is with the free plus shipping type of layout you could take that
same lead magnet, put it on a flash drive, put it on a CD, make it printable
report that goes out, however you want to do it, charge people for the shipping.
Now you know they have a credit card, you know they're paying for the shipping,
they have their credit card out, they have their payment ... They're in the
payment process. Then you could sell them additional items just as a one click
upsell while they're in the payment process rather than trying to convince to go
from free, completely free, to buying something.

Igor Kheifets: Nice. Now that's pretty cool. If you don't mind me asking, what is
the payment process that you're using?

Ron Douglas: I use ThriveCart. I use [ZaZa 00:27:05]. I mean any type of shopping
cart does that.

Igor Kheifets: All right. So both ThriveCart and ZaZa are one click upsales

Ron Douglas: Yep.

Igor Kheifets: All right. Nice. Nice. We're using Stripe and PayPal. I wonder if
Stripe allows one click upsales? But I guess we'll figure it out, because the free
plus shipping model sounds really exciting. Once we're done here, I'm probably
going to go myself and check out our free training.

I mean it's really truly brilliant, because you're giving away a freebie while
building a customer list, and then getting them into a buyers sheet, and then
you're presenting a one-time offer, which at this point is, you know, I'm guessing
convergence on that can be crazy. What is your bad funnel conversion for a
one-time offer on the free plus shipping?

Ron Douglas: A bad funnel for the one-time offer, something like ... Well, you
usually get about 38 to 40% of the people who are paying for the shipping and
handling. Then you'll usually get about up to 20% of those people actually buying
the upsell afterwards. So worse case scenario, maybe 10% of those people might buy
the upsell afterwards.

But you have to be congruent, right? So the thing that you're giving as the free
plus shipping item that they're paying for the shipping for should be congruent
with the first upsell, and it should enhance what they're already getting, and
that'll give you the best chance of them wanting to get it.

Igor Kheifets: Absolutely. Wow. Okay. Well, I'm excited. So, guys, get the free
training. Go to Okay, go ahead right now and attend the free
workshop. It's real exciting stuff. Ron, thank you so much for spending some time
with us today and educating us about how you're building these passive income
businesses. It makes a lot of sense now. If you're systematizing that, doing the
free plus shipping model, you can pretty much come into any niche with that model,
which is fricking fantastic.

Ron Douglas: Yeah, for sure. I look forward to teaching you guys the rest of that
system and how it works. We're just kind of scratching the surface right now, but
we're going to get into it in detail. Thank you for having me on.

Igor Kheifets: Our pleasure. Our pleasure. Thank you very much. List builders, you
heard me. Go to Go ahead, attend the free training. It's
going to blow you away. I'm already pumped up. I'm [inaudible 00:29:29] my seat
right now, so I'm going to go ahead once we're done here and listen to that. Until
next time we chat, have a good one.

Thank you for listening to The List Building Lifestyle. Make sure to subscribe on
iTunes or Google Play to never miss an episode, because who knows? Just one
conversion tactic we share on the show might double your list and double your
business. Download the transcript of today's episode and all future episodes at And don't forget to claim your complimentary copy
of The Wealthy List Builders Survival Guide at .
This is Igor Kheifets, and until next time we talk, have a good one.

Who Is Igor Kheifets

Igor Kheifets is the 3rd highest-earning super-affiliate in the internet marketing niche.

Igor’s 2-step system has helped him consistently rank as the highest-earning and the highest-converting (measured in commissions earned per click) for industry’s leading vendors including but not limited to Matt Bacak, John Crestani and Anthony Morrison.

Igor boiled down success in affiliate marketing to a set of predictable easy steps anyone can take to generate commissions.


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