Turning Your Mission Into a Business
- I'm here with Ocean Robbins. And Ocean I've known for a number of years. Like I think you've been in my Mastermind, for, it's got to be like seven years now, I think. - Yeah. Just about. - Yeah.
And I've been watching you grow your business with great admiration and, you with great admiration. And so I just would love to introduce you to our audience. And can you just tell a little bit about your business? - Sure, absolutely. Well, I'm Ocean Robbins. And if my last name sounds familiar, it might be because my grandpa founded Baskin-Robbins ice cream company, and my dad, John, rather famously grew up with an ice cream cone shaped swimming pool in the backyard, and was groomed to run the company. But when he was in his early twenties, he said, "No."
And he walked away from a path that was practically paved with golden ice cream to follow his own rocky road. And he ended up moving with my mom to a little island off the coast of Canada, where they built a one room log cabin and grew most of their own food and practiced yoga and meditation for hours a day and named their kid Ocean. In time, he went on to become a best selling author writing about food and health. And one of his readers ended up being my Grandpa Irv, who wound up crediting my dad's work with saving his life, as he was practically on death's door with diabetes and heart disease and obesity and serious, serious weight issues. He, he ended up being given a copy of my dad's book by his doctor, reading it. He gave ice cream, he give up sugar, he started eating way less processed foods and animal products and way more vegetables.
He reversed all of his conditions and lived 19 more healthy years. So that's a little of the family background. Enter Ocean Robbins. I founded a nonprofit when I was 20 and actually, I'm sorry, when I was 16 and ran it for 20 years: let me restate that. And I worked with young leaders in 65 countries, focused on leadership development.
And as I traveled the globe, I kept seeing that everybody eats and that what we're eating is having this massive impact. People all over the world were eating more like Americans, and they were dying more like Americans, as waist lines were expanding and hospitals were filling up. People were getting wealthier, but they were also getting fatter and sicker. And so I decided we got to focus on this food issue more. And I ended up joining with my dad in 2012 to launch Food Revolution Network. And our mission is healthy, ethical, sustainable food for all.
And after running a nonprofit for 20 years, I really wanted to see if I could be in the social profit space, build a business that would do good, and also make a good living to support my special needs twins, to help my parents to retire with dignity, and to be able to scale our impact. In the nonprofit world, you've got to raise money and raising money and doing good projects are not necessarily connected. In fact, they kind of compete with each other for time and attention, and you can put off the best, slickest, marketing brochures in the world, but the work may not be there. But in the for-profit world, if you aren't serving people and adding value to people's lives, you're going to have a tough time running a business unless you're slimy and gross and none of us want to be that way.
So, in my experience, there's a way that, you know, if we do good work and we serve people, then they invest in us more and then we're able to scale and hire more staff and do more good work. So we've had tremendous success in the decade since we launched, we grew from initial investment of $2,000, to launch our very first Food Revolution Summit with no email list and a few volunteers helping us put together the most funky website in the world. We had 30,000 people register for that first summit and built in, brought in $200,000, and we were off to the races. So Food Revolution Network's been growing ever since, as I've learned about building a team, scaling a mission, building a suite of products, advertising campaigns, affiliate marketing, and so much else.
We now have about 30 staff, 700,000 active members in 180 countries. And you know, our mission is still the same. We want to change the way the world eats. We want to help end heart disease and reverse the diabetes and cancer and obesity epidemics. And we want to help get animals out of factory farms.
And we want to contribute to a livable future for humanity, with clean air, clean water, healthy top soil, abundant forest cover, and a stable climate. And we think we can help contribute to all of that, with food. - It is a huge mission and, and you've built a huge movement.
And I want to talk about that in just a few moments because you've put together this summit. Well, that's an understatement. You're doing this annual summit that you've been doing for years. It's absolutely, absolutely huge. But before we get there, I just wanted to talk about one of the things, well, talk about like, because I think the impact on this is extraordinary, or the impact on the world from this is extraordinary, is the work you're doing with the medical exams and what that is all about.
- Well, first a little personal anecdote. A few years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with a very dangerous form of cancer. She ended up undergoing life-altering surgeries.
We really didn't know if she was going to live, for quite some time. Thankfully, she made it; she's doing okay now. But never once in her entire medical journey did any of her doctors say a word about food, either for helping her survive chemo, for helping her recover, or for helping her prevent recurrence. This, when we know that 90% of cancers are caused by a combination of diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors: less than 10% are genetics. So in my view, for a doctor to not know about food is kind of like a firefighter not knowing about water. Food is the foundation of health.
We could prevent the majority of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and most, and Alzheimer's and most of the other major chronic ailments of our times by changing what we eat. And yet we have a medical system that practically ignores it. It treats it like an afterthought.
Occasionally a doctor will say, "Oh yeah, eat better, good luck with that." You know, and then hand the patient another prescription for pills. And all these pills come with side effects, and then you need other pills to deal with those side effects. The average senior is on 12 prescriptions annually in the United States. So we're, no wonder we keep getting fatter and sicker, cause we're not paying attention to the foundation of it all which is the food that we eat.
And so, you know, the average physician in all their years of medical school, gets less than 20 hours of coursework in nutrition. 20 hours, a couple of days, in entire medical training and most of that is focused on specific nutrient deficiencies and what they cause. They're not even focusing at all on what to eat or how to help patients eat better. And yet most of the drugs and surgeries that 20% of our GDP in the US that's going to medical system could be eliminated just by changes in diet. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, in many cases. So we are interested in changing that.
And of course we focus largely on consumer education, but we also want to educate physicians and we want to change medical school education. So we've got into this, we started asking a lot of really smart people, "Why is it that doctors aren't learning about nutrition in medical school?" And of course, some of it is the influence of Big Pharma. And some of it is, you know, the influence of the junk food industry that doesn't want people to learn about this stuff, cause it would impact their profits and there's a lot of lobbyists and so forth.
But the other piece that we have to think about is the fact that the medical schools themselves, don't actually have incentive because they teach to the test. So they want their students to graduate, right? And in order to graduate, they've got to pass certain tests that are administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners in order to get their license and become practicing physicians. So out of about 10,000 questions in the question bank, from the National Board of Medical Examiners that the medical schools use as a part of their graduation exams, how many do you think were about diet and lifestyle when we looked into this a couple years ago? Pretty much zero, out of 10,000.
So of course medical schools that teach to the test have a massive disincentive to include nutritional curricula, which is why out of all of the medical schools in the United States, only five have a single faculty member focused on nutrition, out of every medical school in the entire US. So we started looking into this and we wound up launching a campaign, calling on the MBME to include nutrition and lifestyle in their exam questions. And they essentially came back with, "Well, if you all will create some questions, then we'll look at including them." And so we worked with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine to create a question bank.
And we raised the funds for this to be able to get them to hire qualified personnel to write the questions, to add to the bank. And right now, I can tell you, just as a news flash here, the question bank is done and it's now being sent out to medical schools across the United States so that they have the option to include it in their exam questions. Next step is to get so many of them to adopt this that they become part of the mandatory portion, about a thousand of the questions are mandatory according to the NBME.
If we can get that to happen, then we'll go even further. So, phase one is getting the questions written, phase two is getting them adopted, and phase three is getting them mandatory. So we're in that journey working with American College of Lifestyle Medicine but I just want to point out what the ripples are. This is like an acupuncture point that can send out such an impact because if medical schools start to be rewarded for teaching nutrition, then of course they'll start teaching nutrition, right? And if they teach nutrition, then doctors will know about nutrition. And if doctors know about nutrition, then some of their patients will start to know about nutrition. And the entire thought about health will shift, from a disease symptom-based mentality to a prevention and wellness-based mentality.
And as we make that start to happen, we really can start to change the world. - You know, are you familiar with the idea of trim tabs? - Yes. - This reminds me of a trim tab. And for everyone out there, a trim tab is like on a huge, huge ship, like an ocean going, huge freighter, it's, turning one of those is an enormous task.
And they have a rudder, to turn, but when a ship of that magnitude has the momentum moving forward, it's difficult to even turn that rudder. And in front of that rudder is a little, it's like a little mini rudder, we call a trim tab, and it's easier to move and that allows, because of the way fluid dynamics works, that allows the entire rudder to move and turn the ship. - And this is right. - It feels like it feels like a trim tab to me. - It does. It does. - You really, you've swum upstream and you said, how can we, we're doing this education, this forward-facing education, what are about to talk about.
You've reached thousands and tens of thousands of people, huge numbers, but then you said, "Okay, there's this other side. There's the medical side, the medical industry side. And what's the turn how can we start to shift that?" - Yeah, absolutely. And another trim tab we're focusing on now is produce prescriptions. So, you know, there's a movement afoot to get doctors to be able to prescribe fruits and vegetables to their patients for certain conditions, along with drugs and surgeries, and have them reimbursed by insurance companies. And there's been some piloting done of this with Kaiser.
Tufts University has studied it and they've concluded that it is a cost effective intervention for type two diabetes and heart disease among other things. And unlike with drugs, the side effects are all good ones. You know, it's not like you're trading heart disease for cancer. It's like you're actually trading heart disease for feeling, you know, feeling you get to feel better, you know? Cause you lose weight, and you fight heart, the same dietary patterns that are good for fighting heart disease are also good for making your brain clearer and your sleep better and your sex life better and helping you have more joy and better mental function and more vitality and more peace of mind and longer life expectancy. So this is really exciting, I think, because it's such a win-win, but if we can truly establish that it's cost effective, then Medicare and the big insurance companies can start to adopt this.
And so far the evidence is very promising so we're trying to push this forward on a national level. - So yeah. Amazing. Absolutely. Yeah. Incredible. Incredible.
And I know, especially for the, the medical exam, I mean, this is a years long project you've been working on years long. Yeah. So very cool. Very cool- - Thank you. - So you are about to head into your annual what you called it way before. This is the largest event ever, in the history of the healthy food movement.
And each year when you do this summit, it's the largest because- - Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, who wrote the best, The New York Times best seller, "Fiber Fueled," told his email list last year, he said, "This is the Super Bowl of healthy food." So, you know, it is, it is the largest gathering in the history of the world of healthy food lovers I think, you know, not, not that I've been tracking since the dawn of history, but I really can't imagine, we have over 300,000 people coming in this summit.
I can't imagine that's ever happened before. - 300,000? - Yeah. Yeah. So it's a big deal, you know? And what we do is my dad, we're still working together, and he interviews 24 of the top food experts on the planet over the course of nine days, and we broadcast those for free so everybody can join in and listen for free, and I'm on live. So, so the interviews are prerecorded, it very recently. And then I'm on live between all of them kind of moderating and welcoming people and answering live questions and giving away prizes. So it creates this really interesting combination of like the extreme quality you can get when you prerecord and get all these incredibly hard to book speakers all in one place at one concentrated time.
But also that sort of live experience of watching the comments point. And we have so many fans that have been here for years. So there's people writing in like in droves about how they, their life was saved last year.
And two years ago, my husband listened to the summit and now he's reversed his diabetes. And you know, all these wonderful heartwarming stories that are just pouring in as people are learning and getting inspired, and of course spreading the word like crazy. So it's just this palpable feeling of connection, which I think, especially in times, like we're in now, to have, you know, so many people come together and feel like a place of belonging, is powerful. And, you know, we're up against the status quo, a food system that's toxic, you know? So in that context, I think for a bunch of people who are used to feeling a little bit alienated, if they think about healthy food at all, then they're outside the status quo and they can feel left out of things, to suddenly feel like, "Wow, I get a sense of belonging to this tribe," if you will, of hundreds of thousands of people all over the planet and suddenly you can feel the way this movement is growing. And it is growing. I mean, since we launched Food Revolution Network, 11 years ago, you know, sales of organic, non-GMO, fair trade, local, and plant-based foods have all skyrocketed.
I mean, we're just part of this epic transformation in the way that people are eating and thinking about food. And it's starting to get pretty darn close to mainstream. I mean, like electric cars, which have gone from like a little fringe outlier thing to super mainstream, I think we're seeing the same thing with food. I mean, I was just talking with the CEO of Nestle a little while back and he was basically saying their business is preparing for the plant-based wave.
I mean, they're planning right now to go plant-based across the entire suite of products. Burger King, in the UK, their flagship outlet in the UK, is going vegan for a month right now. They're testing it out to see what happens.
And they are considering, based on that, potentially adopting vegan restaurants, if, certainly they already had vegan options, but vegan restaurants, as a new part of their brand, which would be bizarre. You never would've thought you'd see that happening. And I'm not saying that that's going to be healthy or that I'll be eating there, but I am saying that the world's changing fast and people's interest in this topic is growing rapidly and I'd like to think we're a part of that.
- Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it just, you walk into Walmart and you look at the organic section there, which didn't exist not very long ago. And it's it's huge now. - That's right. - Yeah. It's, it's crazy.
So 300,000 people, obviously you're just gearing up. It's just going as we're recording, this is a first day where people can join it and it's a hundred percent free. And we can talk about the business model and how it all works in a little bit, because as you mentioned, this isn't a nonprofit. You're running a for-profit business that does really cool things like fund, getting health-based food and health-based questions on medical exams. In any case, so tell me, let's dig a little into, because there's, there's a lot of summits out there, but they're not done at this scale.
And there's a lot of summits in all kinds of markets, but they're not done at the scale that you're working at. So can you just talk, and I love the mix of recorded and live because record, I'm sure, knowing you Ocean, for all these years, I know that you edit those so that they're very tight and and it's not, it's not a lot of wandering around. So I know that you take so much care in everything you do.
So I know those are edited tightly, but that mix of having it live. How, how does it, like how many days is it? You got 24 experts. - Yeah. - How do you schedule it out? - So it's nine days.
So basically eight days of three interviews a day. Each is about 45 to 50 minutes long. And then I'm on for live for 10 or 15 minutes after each interview to kind of interact with the audience, answer questions, et cetera. And then we have the next one.
And it's, so it's about a three hour total broadcast each day for eight days. And then on day nine we have a finale where it's just my dad and I for an hour. And, and then I'm on a little before and after that. We have Paul McCartney welcoming us this year with welcoming words at the, to launch the summit on, on day one, which is April 23rd. And, and then we have some of the top food experts on the planet, all in the, in the roster of interviewees.
I think we have out of 24 interviewees, 19 are MDs and over half are New York Times bestselling authors. So these are real, it's really a "Who's Who" of some of the top leaders in the natural health space, who we think are truly deserving of the attention they've gotten. Now, some people get famous and write bestsellers because they come up, you know, "Eat nothing but grapefruits for 12 hours and you'll lose weight." And it's like, "Okay, cool, good for you. If that works for you, great." But there's not a lot of science to back it up, right? But there are, these are people that are based in, you know, tens of thousands of studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, and their own research.
And many of them have written dozens paper published in peer review journals. So these are really leaders, and we're trying to, to mass, bring this, the latest science to the mass audience. So the structure is free summit interviews. And then we, because it's such a big event, we kind of go further than that.
We have three recipes of the day, every day, that we publish for people who are part of it, so they can make those recipes and enjoy them. And then we have a recipe demo video. So dietician and recipe developer on our team is up there, Nicole, and she shows you how to make one of those dishes. So it's sort of like a little cooking show as well, and put all that up there and everyone can listen to the summit broadcasts live or on replay for a day afterwards. And then the next day is the next day.
And the only way to own it all for life is to get the empowerment package, which offers people the upselling and you already alluded to this, the business model. And this is really the cornerstone of how we and you operate. And I think, you've been such a trailblazer in the world on this Jeff, because you've really shown that it's possible to sell by offering incredible value to people. And then they want, they're grateful and they're indebted, and they trust you. And then they want to go further. So our whole model is based around free resources that are accessible to anybody, that are not just bait and switch they're life-changing in and of themselves.
And there's always a next step. There's always more value to offer that we can't just give away the farm. And so that next step is for a fee.
So in this case, it's lifetime access to the interviews and the transcripts, which come with a table of contents and citations for all the studies that are mentioned. So people can click a link in the transcript and go straight to the medical journal where they learn more about the study. And then they also give a couple thousand dollars worth of bonuses from our friends and partners, eBooks, and courses, and trainings, and resources. And people get all that for $67 if they upgrade right when they register or $97 during the summit, and then it goes to $197 once it's all over.
So the that's kind of our basic model. And, you know, with 300,000 people in the summit, our expectation based on previous years is 6 or 7% will purchase an empowerment package. And it winds up being $2 million launch. And that's how we're able to pay all of our 30 staff and all of our affiliate partners who get half the revenues for their own referrals and also run ads and so forth. So, you know, it's a big win-win I think, for the public, for everybody who participates, we, because of the way we position it, inviting people to get the empowerment package is always linked to supporting our mission. You know, people don't really ever complain that we're selling anything.
They actually apologize if they don't have the money to buy it. They're like, "I'm sorry, I can't support you this year; hopefully next year," you know, those are the most negative comments we get for the most part, because people are really moved and they're really grateful. And I just love that feeling that we're just getting to give, give, give, and we're also getting to run a profitable company at the same time.
- Yeah. It's one of the miracles of modern business and the way we do business is, if you have 6%, I mean, roughly 18,000, let's round it up to 20,000 people will buy from you, which is mind blowing to do that, you know, for a, still a relatively small, like your business, my business, we're still relatively small businesses to generate that number of paying clients in that timeframe is ridiculous, but it's also, that means there's 280,000 people and you've just made their lives better. - Yes! - And maybe just this much, but you've provided real value to the, well to the 300, all the full 300,000, but 280,000 without even spending a cent.
Only just giving you, you know, their email address. So you can send them the links. It's pretty breathtaking too. - Yeah, it really is. And, and even for our own business model beyond that, once somebody's on our list, you know, we, we send emails to our list basically every other day. And you know, some of those are affiliate resources from partners of ours that we think are inspiring that just scratch issues we can't scratch, that meet needs we can't meet.
And then we may receive a share of revenues if people do go on to purchase, but they're all things that we really feel good about. And, in general, they're also having high integrity and service orientation, so that that's the sort of through line of what people can expect from us and the resources we promote. And then we also have a commitment that at least half of the emails we send our list, are peer content: there's no registration, there's no offer, there's no backend. And so that's mostly on our blog where we have a, you know, a website, we publish a couple articles every week on food and health topics. And you know, now we're starting to get focused on SEO and getting ranking with Google and, you know, we have one of the top hundred thousand websites on the planet right now in terms of traffic and that's just steadily growing. So, you know, we're excited about that too, as another medium for, again, offering free resources and then inviting some of those blog readers to opt-in and join in our list and get to be part of the network with us as well.
- So before we go any further, I'm going to go to a link here. It's FoodRevolutionSummit.com. - Dot org. - Dot org. Food revol, and we'll put a link down below the video for you.
- Yeah. - FoodRevolutionSummit.org. And you can just go there and get all of this for free and feel free to watch how Ocean does this. Because one of the things, he is a very data-driven guy. How many times has he mentioned science here and studies, and that's what I love because in this topic, it's really easy to go sort of "Woo Woo," which I really don't have a big problem with, but you are so science-based.
And, and so, and one of the ways that that focus carries over is the amount of testing in your marketing that you do. So I invite you, you know, to watch the summit, go opt-in for the summit, absolutely. FoodRevolutionSummit.org, but also, you know, since we, a lot of times we talk about business and marketing in this channel, you can watch his marketing.
One of the things, so first of all, 300,000, it's ridiculous. A lot of people are watching this saying, "I can't even conceive of that." And that's why, I mean, my launch is we usually do about 60,000 opt-ins, 40,000 in the low end, 100,000 on the high end. So, you know, you're doing three times what I'm doing in a typical launch. So that's primarily partner-driven, affiliate-driven, Joint Venture driven, so all those partners are mailing their lists saying, "Check out this summit. It's awesome. You get all this incredible content, go get it."
So that's for everyone out there wondering how you do this, you spend 10 years nurturing relationships, - Yes. - with partners. - Yeah. - And you want to talk about that at all? - I mean, with affiliate relationships, I mean, it's amazing how one meaningful connection, you know, is still paying off five, 10 years later for both sides you know? And the thing I like about affiliate marketing is that's kind of a great example of "A rising tide lifts all boats." I mean, if I promote your launch and you promote my launch, we both have a stake in each other's success. We both want each other's launch to go really well, both because then the other person has a bigger list and then they can promote us again, and because obviously we get revenues if their launch converts, right? So there's a lovely symbiosis to that, which helps.
When we first started Food Revolution Network I remember a marketing expert, consultant I work with saying, "Well, who's your competition?" It was like, "You mean, our allies?" Like, I mean, "Who are you? Who's got the market share you want?" And I was like, "No, who's got the market share that we can grow with?" You know, like, "They're the people we want to work with, not position ourselves in competition to." And I think affiliate marketing creates a beautiful opportunity for that kind of win-win collaboration. And so I love that piece.
At the same time I will say we've gotten to a place where, if there's going to be 300,000 people in this summit, probably 150,000 of them will already be on our list, whether we dropped them there or an affiliate did. And then we'll maybe have another 150,000 that are new and that's of course, wonderful for list growth. But then there's also attrition all the time with 700,000 people, the there's going to be, a thousand people a day dropping off. So we have to constantly have new people coming in and the affiliate pool isn't big enough anymore to keep us growing.
It's a wonderful part of our maintenance strategy at this point, but for our list in particular, we need ads to reach new universes and new audiences. So that's our next sort of nut to crack. NFRN is the ad universe, and I don't just mean Facebook, but also Google and Bing and Yahoo and Pinterest and YouTube and so forth. So we're exploring all those channels and looking at how we have the metrics in place so that we can afford to increase our spend and know what the results are going to be. And, of course, the nice thing with ads is if you can get Evergreen funnels going, then it's just relatively easy from a team perspective. Our team, building a launch like the summit takes like a huge amount of effort.
And if you do register at FoodRevolutionSummit.org, you'll see how many details are in place. You won't see all the split tests that are going on, cause you'll only see whatever version you're served, but we run probably 50 split tests over the course of every summit. And then every year we built on all the previous year's winners.
So, so many details have been worked out with visuals and color aesthetics and colors of buy buttons and whether how we handle SMS registration and how we handle segmentation and all these things have been tested up the kazoo. And then of course we're testing new things every year, new theories and you know, as a marketer, I like to think that my intuition's pretty good and sometimes it is, but it's amazing how often I'm wrong too. And like, "Well I'm sure glad I tested! I'd rather have the data win than have my idea win, if my idea's going to lead to worst results."
So, you know, split testing is just amazing. We use a visual website optimizer there, you know, there's lots of tools out there that you can use, but yeah, it's a good opportunity to just see how do these people do this, and you know, what do they learn? Cause, obviously, it's the product of a lot of sweat, and labor, and testing. - Right. And for anyone watching, if you're, so I know a lot of the folks watching you, you have followings.
And if you're interested in promoting this, the Food Revolution Summit, I think the link was what was it? Affiliates? affiliates.foodrevolution.org It's where you can go to sign up as an affiliate and help spread the word about our work and whether you want emails, the best tool for those who have email lists, but certainly social media posts or whatever channels and resources you have. Some folks have just posted blog ads. Some people have put, you know, to put stuff on their YouTube channel. Like there's all kinds of ways that you can help spread the word about the summit using whatever medium you have. And of course you get credited for affiliate commissions and all that.
So it's a way to help; hopefully bring in some revenues for your work as well. - Yep. And you're helping, you're helping you're following. You're going to help them have healthier lives.
And so I'll put that link down below in the description as well. Can you, one of the things we, before we hit the record button, you were talking about the, how you've built these different, let's, I'm going to call them channels that affiliates can promote you. I'm sure you've got an official term for that, but it sound like a, well, first of all, a big investment of time and effort and which means money, but it also really innovative how you're doing this and giving your partners a choice of what to mail.
- Yeah. One of the challenges we ran into in the early years, we had the Food Revolution Summit and our, our partners were like, "Well, I've already sent five emails about the Food Revolution Summit to my list. I love it.
But the opens and clicks are going down and the unsubscribes are going up because people are like tired of hearing about the summit. Everyone who's interested in registering for the summit has already done so, and now the other people on the list are getting annoyed, you know, cause I keep talking about this." And we were like, "Well, how can we give people who want to spread the word more ways to do so?" So we came up this idea of what we call alternative entry points. So we have guidebooks or eBooks that are available on different topics and people can opt in for the guidebook and the summit in tandem.
So it's like we have one on heart health, one on immune health, one on guide to going plant-based, one on anti-cancer living, one on brain health, and so you can opt-in for any of those guidebooks which are free. They're like 20, 30 page guidebooks. Some of them come with recipes as well.
And they're really just super research based, impeccably documented, guides to the topic at hand, and food, how it links to those topics and food and you can opt-in to get that for free. And then you also get free access to the summit and affiliate partners will mention the summit in their copy, but their focus is on the guidebook. And so then they can have copy about the heart, or about immunity, or about cancer, whatever, and then, you know, some startling fact from the guidebook, for example, and then go opt-in to like get this free guidebook and learn all about it and you'll also get a free pass to the summit.
And so now they can send, you know, 10 emails if they want to about the summit, focusing on all the different guidebooks, seeing what their list responds to, sending a follow up to un-opens for the one that their list likes best, promoting the summit at the beginning and then again at the end close to when we go live, and it's a lovely model. And the key thing is to get it right, so that the positioning is such that, that opt-ins for the guidebook don't feel bait and switch; that now they're going to get 25 emails about a summit they didn't know anything about. So we've got to make sure that they're really partnered in the presentation and the landing page videos and so forth so they really get the totality that they're opting in for both. But the emphasis on the guidebooks gives affiliates a lot more to focus on.
And even for us, when we're promoting it, you know, we're literally going to send, I think, 22 emails about the summit between beginning to end, to our entire list of 700,000 people minus registrants. And so the guidebooks give us a lot more opportunities to promote in different and creative ways. - Yeah, that is that's super cool.
That's innovative. I love that. Can you, we've been talking since I hope, Ocean, just a couple weeks ago, I, well, I was in a discussion with a lot of entrepreneurs and, and I, and one of them mention, it's just a long story, but it came to light that almost none of them were building email lists. They were all a hundred percent dependent on social because- - Yeah. - you know, there's this feeling that emails don't work, or it's ancient technology. And I think it's clear, anyone watching at this point, you're very evidence-based, you're very numbers-based, you're testing-focused, and what do you think? Is email dead? - Not at all. Snail mail is even arguably making a bit of a comeback cause aren't seeing much.
I mean, you know, I think actually one thing that's happened that's been really good for email in recent years is spam filtering. I mean, I think that, I don't know, if you remember the days when there were Viagra ads and Bill Gates wants to give you a million dollars scams coming into your inbox every five minutes, and that's not happening anymore for the most part, cause the email service providers have gotten a lot better at cleaning all that up. So you never even see most of the spam and that actually has helped.
And then End Spam has also been good because it's required email senders to have unsubscribe links on every a single message and to honor those systems, you know? And so I think that, I know we've got internet privacy and other things coming along that will further intensify that. I think all of that means that the actual in messages you get in your inbox are ones you want to get, and therefore you're more likely to engage. Now I know all of us have a gazillion lists we're on that we're like, "How the heck did I get on there? Did I really subscribe for that? And they're still sending to me?" So it's part of my daily ritual to click unsubscribe at least twice, you know? Somehow it keeps coming. And some of those probably I didn't subscribe to honestly, they got a little over excited, but, you know, I think that in totality though, email is still a huge part of communication and is the best way to drive clicks. I mean a social media post will may reach a lot of people, but the depth of impact is much smaller. You do not control the narrative.
With an email you could say exactly what you want to say position it the way you want to position it and include that super clear link to take action and go further if people want to. And so our whole business is based around clicks really, at the end of the day, you know, that's the golden standard for, I could say we have 700,000 people on our email list. Well, who really cares? The real question is how many of them are clicking? You know, opens are a vanity metric that means little now because of the way that email service, you know, providers are handling that. So you may show high open rates, but it just means that it got delivered. In some cases it doesn't necessarily mean they actually read it, but clicks means they actually took action. And so, you know, I think we drive, I don't know, one and a half million clicks a year, or I forget the number, something like that.
And that's the number that we should be proud of I think. Those are the people that are really diving in and engaging. And if you do smart marketing that doesn't seem to have gone away at all. I mean our click rate may have dropped a little bit over the last 10 years, but that's partly a product of scale. And just having more people means that there's less, they're less our core, most passionate fans. But at the end of the day, it's just hands down the audience you can control.
And unlike, say, Google can change their algorithm and even if you've spent decades building up a massive website, it could get demolished tomorrow cause Google just changed some dials, you know? Same with social media. A lot of us built up big Facebook followings a few years ago and then Facebook just tweaked some dials and suddenly those of us who had big fan pages reached half as many people, overnight, right? Just boom. Then now you had to pay, use ads, to reach people who before you got your reach for free. So with email, you're not at the mercy of these forces.
Sure theoretically an email service provider could blacklist you, but if you're sending good content, that shouldn't happen. And so I think it's pretty powerful, as obviously you agree, and I don't think it's going anywhere. There are some younger generation folks who straight up don't use email. And so you need alternative ways as well for reaching folks.
SMS is interesting. Every time people opt in for our summit, they also have the option to, enter their text number and subscribe for text alerts. And you know, it's a small but growing part of our business, I think we now have about 150,000 people subscribed for text messages from us. So roughly a quarter of our total email base is on SMS and we send out one text message a week generally.
And a text message is worth about as much as an email in terms of click rates. So if you text a hundred thousand people, you'll get about as many clicks as you do from emailing a hundred thousand people. And it's better for show up, if you want people to show up for a webinar or a live event because it's people are more fast action takers, cause there's a 90% open rate on texts. So that's something that I think is worth exploring for folks who aren't already doing it. There's a little more or a lot more infrastructure to make it work. And some costs involved if you want it to, to do it right.
You ideally have a short code which costs some real money, maybe $5,000 a year or something. And there's some setup, but for anybody who's a mid-sized and up entrepreneur, it's totally worth it. - Yep. So can you just, I was just turning over some numbers in my head, like from when that first summit to the current summit seems like about a 10 X growth.
It roughly, maybe. - Yeah. Yeah. You're right. We went from 30,000 people in our first summit and 200,000 revenue to about 300,000 and 2 million in revenue. So yeah, 10 X.
- And you've gone from - In 11 years. - Yeah. - Yeah.
It's, which is incredible. And you've gone from a team of 30 now. You've probably started out just yourself? So what has that journey been like over 11 years of you know, yes, you'd already run the nonprofit. You already had experiences being a leader, building an organization, but this is some serious scale. What's that been like over those 10 years? - You know, it's been awesome.
It's been such a such to privilege, honestly. You know, I, I feel like every time I'm preparing for any really big launch or any new undertaking, I have this moment of just this quiet place inside and it isn't like, oh, I'm so hot. I'm so important. How do I get all pumped up and be big and important? It's actually more of a quiet humility and what goes through my heart in my quiet moments is I'm willing to be used and I'm willing to be useful. And so it's that willingness that guides me.
And I don't have anything to prove. I don't need to be a big and important person. I've made a mark on the world. I'm part of something good and important and my family's doing well. We're okay. You know, thanks, thankfully, thanks to the success of our work and the investment of so many people, we're being supported.
I'm grateful. I'm not out to be a billionaire. I'm not out to be a pompous big shot.
I want to serve. I want to help people not lose their loved ones to heart attacks. I want to help our, my kids, have a climate that that's sustainable for future generations. I want to help global food shortages not have to happen so billions don't have to starve to death in our lifetimes. And so for me, that's what motivates me.
And I don't know whether I'm going to be a drop in the bucket or something bigger. And in some ways, honestly, I don't think that's mine to decide. What is mine to decide is am I willing to cast my lots, my lot with the forces of good and healing and integrity on this planet? And I've said, "Yes, I am." And so for me, that's where it all comes from is like I'm willing and part of that means I get ego out of the way enough to actually show up for what's here for me. As a CEO of a growing company, I actually have to get out of the hero mindset or the feeling that I got to do everything or track everything, or be on top of everything, learning how to let go, learning how to find the right people that are better than I am at things takes a humility, actually, learning how to trust my team, rather than think I know better.
And then learn, there's this saying that, "In the world to come, the learners will inherit the earth, while the learned will find themselves exquisitely prepared for a world that no longer exists." And so in my experience, that's kind of like, another way of saying "Pride goeth before the fall." You know that when we think we've got it figured out, we stop learning, we stop paying attention, we stop growing, and we set ourselves up for catastrophic failure in many cases, and certainly failure to live into our true potential. So I want to keep learning and growing and asking how I can be of service and how I can be useful. Maybe that'll be on a big scale. Maybe it won't be.
And who's to say what's right or wrong or what's ultimately better. So that's really the place that I come from is humility. And then so much gratitude, you know, and every time somebody writes to us or shares with us a story, and I literally hear these almost every day of my life, about lives saved, hope restored, health restored, people feeling better, I just feel so grateful. I don't feel proud to be honest with you. I don't like, "Oh, I did this. No, we did this." I got the privilege of being able to be useful for somebody.
And that's an incredible blessing. - Amazing. FoodRevolutionSummit.org to register. If you want, if you have a following, you want to tell your following that, what was that like again? Affiliate? - Affiliates, affiliates with an S, .FoodRevolution.org, without the summit. So it's just FoodRevolution.org.
And then you can also go to FoodRevolution.org/brain for the brain guide book, /heart for the heart guidebook, /plants for the guide to going plant-based, /cancer for the cancer guidebook, and /immunity for the immunity guide book if you want to check out how those funnels are, they're very similar all of them, but you can kind of see how that works. And yeah, that's how you kind of kind of open the hood and see going on in there. Register, see the welcome, see the segmentation process.
See the welcome video. There's different versions. There's 30 different versions of our welcome video, depending on when you register and what entry point you come through, not to mention split tests. So, you know, there's a lot going on that you can't necessarily see, but you'll definitely see a lot.
And yeah, invite everyone watching to check it out and more importantly, join the movement. - Yeah. We'll put all those links down below. Thank you so much Ocean. Any last words, or comments, or? - I mean, I just want to thank you, Jeff, because you know, being a part of the, the Mastermind that you've created has been so life changing for me to have a community of peers.
I mean, I think when we started, we were about an eighth the size we are now in terms of revenues. And so there's been a lot of growth and certainly the peer support and learning from you has been critical. And really in many ways you are the father of, in my view, a certain branch of online marketing that's service based, that focuses on building funnels that serve people and inspire people. They enter their name and email, they get incredible life changing value.
And then there's products downstream for people who want to go further and deeper and that's how the business is built. And that's really what we're doing is all of our funnels have that in common. And we've got about 12 of them now. Summit is one: we've been focusing on that today cause that's kind of what we started with, but we have a lot more going on.
And it all has that sort of in its DNA. And in my view, at least from my story arc, you're the one who kind of brought that to the world in a big way and so, "Thank you, truly." - You're welcome. You're welcome. It's been fantastic to watch you do your work and I'm excited for you as you head into this summit. So everyone, go check it out. You're going to love it.
And thanks so much Ocean. - Thank you.