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Who are you and what is your background?

Hi, I’m Maik Süter, an online entrepreneur, inspirator, and father of a boy and two girls. 

I started my online career back in 2011 with an ecommerce store in board games. It wasn’t a huge success because I didn’t know what I was doing at that time. Eventually, I got interested in selling info products and chose the health niche. 

Through random circumstances, I got in contact with the vegan lifestyle and it grabbed me from the start. I don’t have any medical degrees, but I do call myself a nutritional expert after studying all the available research on nutrition over the last 10 years.

What is your business and when did you start it?

The name of the business is Veganrevolutie (Dutch for Veganrevolution) and my wife Jessica and I started it in 2015. 

The focus has changed over the years as we gathered new knowledge about nutrition. I would say the main focus right now is to educate people on the importance of eating as many whole plants as possible to gain supreme health and longevity. And to educate people on the moral obligation we have as human beings when it comes to supporting industries that kill our planet, billions of animals, and us as well. 

We try not to preach, but to inspire people through recipes, our attitude, the way we look, and the way we live our lives. Most people don’t like to hear the harsh truths around the production of animal products, but most people have an epiphany once they experience how good plants can taste and how many of the current products they consume can be made tasty by using plants. 

Eventually, we believe people just want to enjoy amazing tasting food and our goal is to show them that it’s achievable by only eating plants. 

We published three books, we created a membership with all of our recipes, courses, and training and we offer 1-on-1 weight loss and lifestyle change coaching.

What was your professional situation right before starting the membership site? 

We had good success when we published our three books, but the revenue was always depending on whether we sold any books or not. On top of that, books are a pretty low ticket offer and you need to sell A LOT to make any decent income. At some point, I discovered James Schramko and he has been my business coach for a couple of years now. He advised me to start a membership or at least do research if there would be any market for it. So we did. We launched Plants for Power and it was quite a success. 

How did you get the idea to start this particular business?

When I went vegan back in 2015 I noticed it was still very early, but once I devoured so much scientific literature and books on the topic, I knew I was onto something. 

Especially when I started cooking very tasty recipes and when I experienced dramatic improvement in my own health, my passion started to skyrocket. The fire in me was on full blaze and I wanted to share everything I knew with the world. 

Everything came together during that time: My dream to have an online business, helping people with their health, doing good for the world, and to add a neutral and scientific view to the biased nutritional space. 

What was the major challenge you faced in starting or scaling it and how did you overcome it?

The major challenge was that I lacked business experience. This meant I had to learn everything from ‘guru’s’ online and through my own experience. 

The main issue I had looking back in hindsight, was that we didn’t have a good offer. Yes, we published three very well received books that did sell, but we started too late with a higher ticket offer. In the meantime, I was wasting time building complex funnels and figuring out how Facebook ads work. Because we only sold books, it was doomed to fail from the start, but at that time I didn’t know it. 

Eventually, we overcame it with – again – the help of James’ community. They made me realize I needed a high(er) ticket offer and at the start of 2023, I launched my 1-on-1 coaching offer. Because this offer gives me way more leverage, I’m able to focus on growing the business instead of working in the business. We have plans on creating new offers on different price ranges, so basically the same solution but at a lower cost and with less involvement of me. 

One other thing that held me back was my moral compass and my values. I don’t believe in supplements, I think they are a waste of money. But my competitors did upsell them at insane high margins and that’s how they grew their businesses. I could have done the same, but I wanted to stay true to my values. 

Another thing that didn’t resonate with me was the obsession over weight loss. Over time though, I realized that sometimes it’s ok to reel people in my ecosystem by giving them what they want (weight loss) and once they’re in, I can show them what they need (a sustainable lifestyle that will automatically take care of the overweight). 

What was growth like over the first couple of years?

Our growth was pretty stable I would say. During the first years, our yearly revenue grew with around 60% per year. Because of the nature of SEO, every year we would get more traffic as well. 

Also, I got more experienced with Facebook ads and I could advertise better. This also resulted in a bit of growth. Eventually, it was hard to scale the paid traffic, but that was because of the lack of a high ticket offer. 

What was your specific strategy for growing it and how did you implement that?

My specific strategy was paid traffic. During the start of our business, I followed a couple of Dutch and American marketers and did exactly what they said. The issue was that they mainly teached marketing, and because we didn’t have any strong offers all this marketing was not the best play at that time. 

I did learn a lot though. I learned how to build (complex) marketing funnels, I learned copywriting, email marketing and how to build websites. The way I grew my business was the standard online marketing way: send paid traffic to a piece of content (in our case a recipe) with the option for a content upgrade to capture leads. We then set up a retargeting campaign to target people that watched the recipe but didn’t optin. Then we followed up with an email sequence. This grew our list and we used the list to run campaigns and to send them to content we made, mostly recipes and articles. 

We used Frank Kern’s 4 Day Cash Machine to run our campaigns. The way this works is that you send a 4 day email promotion with very well written emails and a clear deadline. Usually, there’s a spike in sales on the first day of the campaign and the biggest spike is on the last day. This gave us predictable income and we used every birthday, Christmas, and any other special occasion to send out another campaign. 

So in summary, our main driver for growth was paid traffic. We didn’t focus on SEO that much, but because our content is so good, eventually we got picked up by Google anyway. Once we got the lead, we nurtured them with (personal) emails and eventually sent promotions their way. 

How much money is the business making now and what is the revenue mix?

First of all, this is not our only source of income so the numbers I share here are just a part of our total income. The yearly revenue of Veganrevolutie is around €36.400 ($38.400). Here’s a breakdown of the revenue mix: 44% sales of books, 32% high ticket 1-on-1 coaching, 24% Plants for Power membership.

If you were advising someone on starting a similar company today, what would you tell them is the key area to focus on and which strategy should they use to address it?

It depends on how patient you are. If you need to make money very fast, I would say go for paid ads. It’s more risky, but it could give high profits if you can get a positive ROI. 

The most important thing with this strategy is having a good high ticket offer on the backend. Always start with a high ticket offer and work your way down if you want to also offer lower ticket items. 

If you have time I would advise you to build a (personal) brand first. Connect with people, make yourself an authority in the space, help without asking for money right away. Put all your time and focus on creating amazing content on social media and/or writing articles and not yet on creating products. 

Once you have established yourself, selling takes no effort anymore. First of all, because you know your market and your audience, you know exactly what their pain is and what solution they need. And second, all your fans will buy instantly because they like and trust you. But obviously, it takes a lot of time to get to that point, so again, you need to think long term and you need to be okay with the fact that you won’t get paid for quite a while.

What’s next for you?

My wife Jessica and I are implementing that last advice as we speak. Right now we only serve the Dutch speaking market, but our long term plans are to enter the English speaking market. 

We decided to build a personal brand on YouTube first and once we are established, we can use that leverage to do all the other things we want to have: amazing products, organizing retreats, having a podcast, and working together with other influencers in the space to make the world a better place for everyone. 

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