How do you build a loyal and dedicated health community? With transparency. Mitch Russo’s guest today is Logan Christopher, the CEO of Lost Empire Herbs. Logan discusses with Mitch how he’s passionate about herbal supplements because he uses them himself. He outsources lab testing to ensure safety and performance. Logan even shares lab results online for everyone to see! Tune in and become a transparent tribe leader.
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Improving Your Health Using Herbs With Logan Christopher
My guest is a business expert who happens to run what I would call an unconventional company. He sells herbs but much more than that, because he leads a tribe of unconventional thinkers who have decided to rely on natural substances instead of drugs to heal and sustain themselves. Over the years, he’s built this company but more importantly, he’s built a group of people who love what he does, love what he says, and leads these folks to better health.
Welcome, Logan Christopher, to the show.
Thank you for having me, Mitch.
It’s my pleasure. Our readers don’t know this but you and I have been friends for some time. I’ve always admired what you’ve done in the business. More importantly, you’ve built an incredible tribe of followers of people who love what you do and gained so much from understanding how you do things, particularly as you blazed new grounds, formulations, and you share that with your community. I want to tell you, readers, that Logan made me a special concoction once. He brought it to a meeting and it was a combination of Macallan Scotch and ginseng. It was awesome. It had a beautiful effect. It didn’t make me sleepy at all. It helped me stay alert but still have that beautiful buzz from the little bit of that scotch. Anyway, Logan, let’s go back to the beginning. I want to hear all about how this started for you.
The word unconventional fits for me in pretty much everything that I do. The way I see it in many cases is average sucks. I do things differently than most. For the herb business, how I got into this was I have another business called Legendary Strength. I started as a personal trainer and went on into the online world, focusing on doing unconventional things like handstands, bending horseshoes, and ripping decks of cards in half. I was focused on how I could perform well at this stuff. I’m not naturally a stronger athletic guy. I was the proverbial 98-pound weakling growing up in high school. When I got bit by this bug, I want to become strong. I was seeking secret weapons.Take back control of your health into your own hands. Click To Tweet
This led me into the study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, hypnosis and all other things. That also led me into diving deep into nutrition and that, in turn, led to herbalism. In the first case, I tried some cordyceps mushroom and cordyceps fungus. This is something that Olympic-level athletes have been using in different places across the world. People had phenomenal effects. I tried it and I noticed the benefit in my workouts so I was hooked immediately. I was working on this and as I said, “It was my secret weapons,” but then my older brother came to me. He was having some great results with some herbs as well. He’s like, “If I find a supplier of this, do you want to start a business?” He went out and found this supplier. I was like, “I’ll throw up a website. I’ll get started with this.” In the beginning, it was a wave that we could acquire great quality herbs for ourselves. One of the things I think is important in leading the tribe is that, first and foremost, like I, in my own customer, helps me have that leadership from the front position.
It’s more than herbs because a lot of what I’ve seen on your website is you’re instructing people, you’re teaching people, and you’re sharing your formulas in your concoctions. I love that you do that. It’s not like it’s a big secret but let’s get back to the tribe part of it. You started the business and started selling stuff, but when did you realize that people were following you and wanted more of you than the product, if you know what I mean?
It began from the beginning and it snowballed there. When you and I are talking about herbs here, the average person that is reading is like, “Are we talking about cannabis? Are we talking about oregano? What are we talking about here?” In this case, neither of those. My original study was in Chinese Medicine, then I learned about ayurvedic. There are also many different schools of Western herbalism schools all across the world. The idea was to take these herbs that could help people. To do that, you have to learn about the herbs in the first place. I’ve always seen myself as a teacher. It’s a matter of that. I don’t want to give a person a fish in the case of an herb because it’s like, “Here’s the capsules, powders, potions and whatnot.” To get good results from it, you have to learn how does this gets integrated into your life. What are you looking for? How do you experiment with these herbs? These different aspects take this more into a lifestyle thing, not buying some random supplement off the shelf and popping a few pills.
That is what I do. It’s what a lot of people do. I read something on the internet and I go, “This one will give me more energy or this one will help make my hair grow,” which I’m always trying to do. Finally, I buy this stuff. It’s funny, I’ve got to tell you. Sometimes I buy this stuff. It arrives and I forgot why I bought it. I said, “I must have wanted it,” so I take it anyway, then I don’t notice what happened.
My opinion in being in this field and interacting with people is most supplements are taken on faith. It may be faith in the science that someone is presenting to you. The average person doesn’t know how to judge science one way or another or faith in the marketing language that gives you that science or whatnot. Faith is not necessarily a bad thing but what I’d like to focus on and what we tried to achieve with our herbs is we want people to feel a benefit from doing so. If you take most things out there, the faith is in that stuff, but do you notice any difference in you? If you don’t, then maybe it’s doing something in the background or it’s not a sure sign but if we can give that impact, as I said earlier with the cordyceps mushroom, I noticed it affected my workout. That’s what you’re trying to deliver to our people and we stand behind that where some herbs are more of this like feelable difference than other ones, but we have a money-back guarantee on everything because I’m harping on this all the time. You got to try different things and find what works for you.
What would you say the core mission of your tribe is?
It is to get people to take more of the control of their health back into their own hands. Culturally at large, we have gone through a period of people advocating their health to a doctor. This has to do with specialization, reduction, and a lot of stuff that I could go on for hours on and there are legitimate reasons for doing this right. We’re focused on ourselves, whatever else we have to do. There are so many things we can do in life to put this out there to the supposedly expert. It can work out. It works out until it doesn’t but if we want health, it is your own health. The doctor can recommend something but if you don’t take it on and do it yourself, it’s not even going to work in so many problems.
The chronic health issues that we have these days are going higher and the doctors, unfortunately, are not great with chronic issues. Acute things, great. You get my arm ripped off, take me to a hospital, pump me full of drugs, and get that reattached. Acute trauma in Western medicine is phenomenal at chronic issues less and less. We have these other healing systems that have more holistic models. I’m trying to get people to start taking a bit more of that responsibility and learning more about health. The way I see our herbs is the tip of the spear. I want to start like how do you bring more nature back into people’s lives? If you can go out and spend an hour in the woods, do that every day. That would be phenomenal for your health. They call it forest bathing and all that but many people are busy. They are not getting enough sleep. All the basics are wrong, so if we can give them some herbs in the capsule, something super convenient and easy to take, maybe that’s the first step of these twenty other steps you want to take as well. That’s the mission.
There must have been a point in time when here you are, you’re starting to offer these herbs based on your own experience. Did you, at some point, realize was it earlier in the building of the business or later that people were following you, not just buying your stuff? When did that occur?
I’d say one pivotal moment for me was, I don’t remember the exact individual or even the exact testimony, but he used the words, “You guys changed my life.” Normally, it’s this much of a health transformation. These days, we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of these stories, but I remember that first one coming through. For me, I was focused on performance, “How can I get the 1% more thing?” Seeing that dramatic of an impact where a person’s health went from 10% to 90%, that, for me, was huge. That’s when I realized, “There was more responsibility on my shoulders with this stuff that I was leading people in a way that could deliver these results.”
You bring something up that’s cool. That is that you decided to take responsibility here. I haven’t heard that before. I love the fact that you mentioned it. Once you had that realization, what changed?Transparency helps build tribe loyalty. Click To Tweet
We started focusing more and that became the clean articulation of the mission that we wanted to change 100,000 people’s lives. How do you measure that? It became a whole and still an ongoing conversation. What does it look like to change someone’s lives can be cataloged testimonial showing these transformations? A whole bunch of inherent difficulties in that as far as what we can say and what we can’t say and all that too. For us, it became like focusing on how do we get this out to a wider audience? How do we touch more people’s lives knowing that maybe 1 out of 10 or something, we’ll get a dramatic impact like that? It focused me and my whole team on where we wanted to go with this.
Taking responsibility raised the level of the mission. Wouldn’t you say? It’s like, “It’s not like we’re selling stuff. We’re on a mission here.”
It’s that old Spider-Man quote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” or it flipped around. It works both ways, “With great responsibility comes great power.” Either way, it’s a feedback loop between the two where you realize that, “I want to have more power, so let me be more responsible about the actions I take and how that pervades into the community as well through a business or otherwise.”
That ties right back into the fact of communication and how you communicate. Describe the systems that you used or the methods that you used to communicate with your members.
I’d say the strongest thing for us is email marketing. Almost daily, email is going out that is talking about one aspect or another. A lot of times, it is more urban-focused but we look at the bigger picture of the lifestyle and all these different aspects of health. Since education is such an important component, I have plenty I can say on the topic and I certainly do. We use this, although email is mostly as a broadcast mechanism. One-to-many people looking at the replies that come back from these messages is crucial. Oftentimes, they’re doing things like surveys or asking questions to get more feedback coming in because if one customer asks a great question that I haven’t covered before, then I’ll cover that question. I’ll put an email out, a blog post together, or an article that dives down deep and then we have that as a resource, so when the twenty other people ask that same question, we can point it to them.
You have been doing this for how many years at this point?
We started the company in 2012.
How big is your tribe? How big would you say the people who follow you? I don’t mean customers because I’m sure there are plenty of those, but the people who follow you.
I would say in the realm of probably a couple thousand to a few thousand.
Other than the fact that you offer the products, what would you say is the biggest benefit you delivered to your members?The more feedback we receive, the better we can serve our customers. Click To Tweet
The thing that helps us stand apart is the education I was talking about. Good service. We’ve always strived to deliver great customer service and experience as well. No one is perfect on this, but it’s the same thing. We’re trying to look at the feedback, improve those systems further. The great herbs and especially be transparent about that. The supplement industry as a whole could be improved. Let’s put it that way. There aren’t a lot of shady operators, all stuff out there. One of the biggest things that we do that I’m surprised more companies don’t is we do third-party, independent lab testing on all of our stuff. It is what it says it is. It’s free from harmful bacteria. The heavy metal is looking at that and making sure they don’t cross certain thresholds.
We have more stringent standards than government agencies on that. We post these lab results online for our customers to see because this is something that we were asked about often. As we went along, we tightened up our controls and we’ve got better systems involved in that. Unfortunately, that is expensive to do this lab work to outsource it to another thing. In some ways, it’s not surprising that more companies aren’t doing it but because we stand behind all of our products and we’re transparent about what we’re doing, this is something that helps build that tribe’s loyalty.
We talk a lot about the benefits you bring to the membership other than the fact that some will buy your products. What benefits do they bring to you as the tribal leader?
I’d say that the feedback mechanism is one of the most useful things because when you understand that a person’s comment, whether positive or negative, is a signal, if you have a positive thing and a whole bunch of people are doing or saying the same thing, can we double down on that? Can we do that even better? If it’s a negative signal like a complaint. Why did this happen? What are our systems that led to this? Is there a way we can plug it in to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Making sure as a leader, this becomes harder at scale.
The bigger the organization grows, the more often that these signals are getting lost between the frontline workers. Making sure that the signal can get up the hierarchy to the people in charge that we can make those changes. This is still a work in progress and developing those systems that we can make sure that feedback gets through. I’d say that’s one of the most useful things because, in the end, the purpose of what we’re doing here is to serve our customers. The better we can do that is going to be based on the more feedback we receive and how quickly we can implement that.
A lot of people who are reading this right now might have the idea of maybe creating a tribe of their own. This is a question that I know what your answer would be, but I would like your advice. Would you recommend that people have a product to sell before they create a tribe, or should they create the tribe first and then offer a product? Which one of those would you choose?
I would say you could go either way, but I think having something to sell first is going to be more useful. The reason I say this is that you want to look at people’s behaviors. If they’re buying something, that’s different than someone is saying they would want to buy something. You could go the other way too because if you can build that tribe first, you can once again get that feedback from them as far as what should your first product be. That could make a case either way. I like to look at things from a systems viewpoint so there’s a feedback loop between these two. The more you have a track, the better your product can be. The better your product, the greater you can build a tribe around it. It’s going to reinforce each other.
That’s a good answer too because it’s a difficult question, particularly if you’re sitting here and you’re thinking, “I’m passionate about healthcare. I’m passionate about children’s issues.” In that case, it’s a social thing, build your tribe, and then you’ll find a way to get support from your tribe as the tribe grows. Let’s get a little bit more granular here. You said earlier that you market with email. I’m sure you also market with social media and maybe even other things as well. What type of services or software do you use to manage the tribe and the community?
That is continually evolving as well. Technology is the great thing for allowing this all to happen and a constant headache. Our main website runs on WooCommerce on WordPress. It’s a great eCommerce platform. It does take some technical work because of all the different plugins and everything that are involved with that. We’re not as strong on social media as I would like to be. I’ve never had great success with social media. They also don’t like us like advertising on Facebook. We’ve had many ad accounts banned that we stopped trying at some point. There are many different platforms. Some were used to use Infusionsoft. Now, we’re using Sendlane. We’re working with a new affiliate management software. It’s a Frankenstein monster of things that pick together at this point unfortunately.
They all are. Everything is. Mine is the same as we have both been members of different masterminds together. You always hear this. This what everybody talks about even when there are these platforms like Kartra, Infusionsoft, or ClickFunnels. Even then, they don’t seem to work well enough for everybody or most people as successful as they are, so you still have to find your own tools.Many people get trapped by this idea of perfectionism, but more important is to just get something out there. Click To Tweet
I will say have on Legendary Strength that is a much simpler business. I moved from quite a few different software platforms onto Kartra. It was a big endeavor but that has paid off well. I’m quite happy with Kartra as a result.
When I first signed up for the lifetime deal on Kartra, it was unusable. It got to the point now where I see a lot of people are having a lot of success with it. I’m glad to know that. Let’s talk about helping others here. If you were to give advice to somebody else who is very passionate about a mission and considered building a tribe, what advice would you give them at this stage?
Realize it’s probably going to take a lot longer and be a lot harder than you think it will from the outset, that’s for sure. Getting started is the main thing because when we’re working on ideas, we can work forever on that and keeping that stage. Many people get trapped by this idea of perfectionism but more important is to get something out there, whether that is the first product, a podcast, or a Facebook group, whatever it is to build the tribe. Get it out there and get started. That’s going to give you the feedback. The feedback is going to let you know whether this is something to keep moving forward with or maybe it’s a dud and you’ve got to move on to something else as well. Ultimately, tribe feedback is one of the most useful things out there. You can’t get that. You can do surveys or whatnot. You can do something that can be very useful, but getting started with something as quickly as possible to either succeed or fail forward and move on to the next thing, trial and error, and get things going better.
I was reflecting on an interview I listened to with Eben Pagan. He created a brand many years ago on dating. David DeAngelo, I think, was the name. One of the things that he did, which I had made a note of and remembered is he started by writing a manifesto and publishing it. I don’t think he realized how much impact that one act had on jump-starting his community which were single men and some single women to up-level their dating game, which is what his whole thing was about. What do you think of a manifesto as a way to start?
A manifesto can be useful because it helps to identify that tribe. What is a manifesto? A manifesto is a principle or belief that is going to get people that are reading it. To either say this is me or this is not. It’s going to resonate with them or it’s not. A manifesto is something that should be relatively short. It doesn’t need to be a huge document that triggered something related to my ideas. In this day and age, everyone is busy. We all have more podcasts than we can listen to. When you are looking to help people out and deliver that product as much as you can to simplify things down for yourself and for them, the idea of this minimum viable product is tremendously useful. We can keep adding bells and whistles and the mission created can expand as much as we can, especially in this day and age, streamlining is so much of what we do. I think what a manifesto is at its heart is it’s those beliefs and principles streamlined down to something quite succinct.
Logan, I understand that you do have something that you’d like to offer as a free gift to those who are reading this. Tell us a little more about that.
We have on this idea of people getting results with the herbs and being able to feel a difference if that is something that piqued your interest at all. This spans a range of different things. I got started with herbs focused on my strength, training and endurance. There are some great herbs for athletics. There are also great herbs for helping you sleep better, reducing stress levels, giving you mental focus and concentration for business or whatever else. For sexual performance, all these different categories, there are herbs that will help you with that. If you want to explore more of this angle, we have a book or eBook on the topic of what I like to call Performance Herbalism. Performance in these different areas and how the herbs can help support you as well.
Logan, it was a pleasure catching up with you, chatting with you, and hearing all about your mission. I would encourage you, go check out what Logan has to offer. It’s going to be very valuable, I’m sure. Thank you again, Logan. I appreciate your time.
Thank you so much, Mitch. These were some great questions to get me thinking about stuff I hadn’t thought about, at least in a long time. Thank you.