Missions and Marketplace Podcast
Interview with Jeremy Schoemaker
Hello everyone I’m Priest Willis and this is Missions and Marketplace podcast episode number 25. Today I’m joined by Jeremy Schoemaker also known as Shoemoney. Jeremy is a serial entrepreneur made famous by running one of the highest trafficked websites in the world Shoemoney.com and by being a pioneer in the world of internet marketing dating way back in the early 2000s. And I remember when I first got started back in the early 2000, Jeremy was a name that you would constantly hear about and I had an opportunity in 2011 to go see him speak. And then we were featured on the cover of Affiliate Summit together which was amazing. [Priest, just a really quick note. You weren’t on the cover]. Wait a minute this is just coming back. Ok actually Jeremy was on the cover speaking and I was in the audience listening but it’s almost the same thing. In any case, he was named one of the most influential persons on the Internet by Fast Company Magazine in 2010. Jeremy has been featured on all the major news and media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, A.B.C. News, Tech Crunch, The New York Times, Business Week, and many more. I just enjoyed my time speaking to Jeremy because we talked about him recently selling his business PAR for a reported $12 Million. Jeremy also talks about other businesses that he sold in the past. But what’s most inspirational about Jeremy as he talks about his life and the journey is that he talks about his struggles as well and being able to push himself to get in a mode of starting something and then becoming an entrepreneur and becoming a boss and leading businesses and ultimately selling businesses. So, I hope you enjoy this. Without further ado, here is my man Jeremy Schoemaker also known as Shoemoney.
Welcome to Missions and Marketplace podcast. Join us as we talk to business and thought leaders to discuss their passion in and outside of business and how it drives them to give and be citizens of goodwill. Let’s get started.
PW: Hey Jeremy, welcome to the show.
JS: Hey, thanks for having me Priest.
PW: Happy to have you. I’m excited to talk to you. I’ve been following your career for quite a long time – since I started in the industry in the early 2000s. I’d love to share your story with our audience here. So why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
JS: Yeah, I mean you want me to start personally or professionally?
PW: You can maybe go personally into professional.
JS: Personally, I was a complete wreck. In my mid-20s, I was extremely overweight, 400 plus pounds. I was smoking two packs cigarettes a day, I had to sleep on oxygen and had Type 2 diabetes that was getting out of control. It was horrible and then I met a girl in Des Moines where I was working and just completely changed my life. It’s been a crazy ride. I had weight loss surgery which dropped me down to about 180 and that was 13 years ago; 440 was my heaviest. It’s hard to get an accurate read on weight when you’re that big.
JS: It was definitely in that range. I got up to like 240-ish and then I got back in the gym and I’ve been around 190 to 200 for about six years or so in that range. It creeps up on you sometimes and you get back to the gym and whatever. In a lot of weight loss surgeries, they don’t work. I mean you have to make life changes. So, that’s my personal thing and then once I lost the weight, I was working at a day job, I lost my job and I built this site that is just something that I wanted to do for fun for myself. What it did is just, without giving extreme amount of back story, where you could upload any audio file and it would speed it back to correct ring tone format. This would be 2002, late 2002, and within a year this is when I lost my job because I was just working on this basically fulltime at my job.
PW: Wow. you’re in the office, you’re just tinkering away on your own mobile? [Laughs]
JS: Yeah, a 100%. I mean I got all my work done. I got that and one day I get a call from Google. They’re like “hey you have this site in the mobile space, want advertisers for that?”. They’re just “we have this product called Google AdSense and I can walk you to set it up on your site”. I was like “ok” and so she did. Within a month, I did a hundred thirty – I can never remember the amount, it’s crazy.
PW: It’s $132,000.50 or something which became your infamous check that you got, right.
JS: It did. The infamous part is interesting because one, I took a picture with it because I was like “they’re going to come take it away”. I had zero confidence that it was going to last at all.
PW: But other people were like “this dude is showing off”.
JS: I didn’t post that until almost three years after I got it. So, a lot of people don’t know the back story on that. I just took a picture because I was like “alright, if this doesn’t work I’m going to sell a ton of books on how to make money with AdSense”. [Laughs]
PW: [Laughs] And you had not heard about AdSense prior to this Google person calling you up and saying “let me walk you through setting this up”.
JS: I was explaining to people because they’re like “tell me how to make money on the Internet” and I’m like “you know I’m not going to tell you what to do but I’ll share what I do”. I always look for something that doesn’t exist but I want. And then I build it. And then the money is just a side effect of that. And then people are like “oh what can I do today to make money” and I’m like “get a job”. I mean it’s very, very rare, it depends. Affiliate marketing is different, Pay-per-click is different because there’s a steep learning curve and you’re going to lose a lot of money before you make money but that’s the price of your education. I have done this with at least five different people giving them profitable campaigns. Like, here’s key words, here’s how it works, all you have to do is do it. I’m sure a lot of people listening to this would be like “I wish you’d do that with me”. Here’s the thing; it’s that they don’t last very long. It lasts like a month and then you got to get some more keywords. You got to figure this stuff out and then they all come back to me for this. I’m like “that’s not how this works dude”.
JS: I put in work to make this thing work but as far as just to get back where it was, there’s very, very, very few people that don’t have a product. They create a blog or a site, following a particular niche on weight loss and blah, blah, blah that actually ever make money. Primarily because they’re chasing it and they don’t really care about it. They’re just in it to make money and so when money doesn’t come really quickly they give up.
PW: That’s definitely how I’ve seen it work especially as an affiliate manager when affiliates get excited about stuff. They even get to the point where they sign up for a domain name, they plug it in the network and then they quit because they lost patience on it just that fast for whatever reason. And so, you bring up a good point here where you’re just kind of creating and tinkering. Before we jumped on the call here, you’re playing around with some different stuff on Facebook and I’m like “this guy’s is always tinkering”. Which is where I think the entrepreneur technically needs to be, always tinkering. So, you started the business, you have Google ads call you up and say “hey how much traffic are you getting to be really good”? You get paid, you get this big check. I’ll make sure to show everybody the picture of the check on the blog. And it goes all over the place; everybody talks about it at conferences that I’ve been to and all that good stuff. Let’s talk about as you started to evolve as an affiliate marketer and some of the other projects that you’ve got involved in and ultimately what led you up to PAR. Even with selling other businesses and then essentially going from just an affiliate guy in your room setting up AdSense and doing all this other stuff where now you’re a boss, you’re a CEO, you have to make decisions and you’re doing all these other things. Let’s talk about the progression from an affiliate into an actual bona fide entrepreneur.
JS: It’s a really good topic and question. I don’t know. I’ve never actually been asked that specifically. From going through the phases of AdSense all the way to where I’m at now is keeping the same mindset of what out there does not exist that I want. And because I want to make it for myself, a lot of other people use it for free, and then I charge for it. A lot of people don’t understand the process and I’m not saying that’s for everyone but what I did is I went through once I made money with AdSense, I always want to figure out how things work. If I can make this Facebook thing work, I’ll dive into the code and figure it out. So Next Pimp which is the site where I had all these AdSense revenue, I knew there was a bigger play. So, I chased the money down and I was like “ok if these people can pay me this much, where are they making money”? And that led me to affiliate marketing.
JS: And so, then I got big into affiliate marketing, I got big into subscription revenue because I started a subscription thing. I got big into donations. That’s funny, right.
PW: I remember that.
JS: Just all these forms of revenue which also led me into Pay-per-click because I have real time data of people searching for ring tones on my site. So I can bid on that real-time data and create this monster list of zero-second keywords, where people are buying lists, and suggestions or whatever that came out. All those tools really…
PW: And all along the way, you’re building up an e-mail database too, right?
JS: Yeah, for sure. And along that way, I was very transparent on my blog about exactly what I was doing and exactly what I was finding out.
JS: That’s important for later here to point that out. I was talking about AdSense and all this stuff so people clearly knew what I was doing but I didn’t want to talk about it, I never mentioned the site I was making money with because it had all copyrighted content. I was very nervous if somebody actually saw how much I was making. Fast forward, to creating my own business. This was a very rough and painful experience. I can sit here and I can program. I can copy write, I can do graphics badly.
JS: And I can market. I know Pay-per-click well, I know how to drive traffic. SEO is super simple, it’s basic. I always say my SEO strategy is build something people will link to, that’s it. That’s all you do.
PW: Yeah, it is pretty much that simple. If you can get some unique, real content that people want to link to, you have SEO.
JS: Right. And I always tell people SEO is not a skill with traffic source, it’s a house of cards. Don’t focus on SEO, don’t chase SEO. If it comes great. But build something that people will freaking bookmark. I mean, people forget about that stuff, what’s wrong with you guys? I’ve always been an anti-SEO person. Look at it as a house of cards; any moment Google can pull out your freaking thing. Make something that people naturally want to come back to, that naturally gives them something of value.
PW: That is solid advice because, for those out there listening, if you weren’t involved; Panda, Penguin knocks so many businesses down. So, Jeremy is spot on with how many people I saw during the period five years ago, I can’t remember how long ago, where literally they would come out with a new algorithm change that would wipe business completely out. So, the best thing to do is start with the fundamentals of your business.
JS: And I think a key thing that people don’t understand is that a lot of people want to do something online. I’ve seen it many, many times. I’ve been involved in a lot of startups, I consult with a lot of startups and my real strong point is growth, rapid growth of the company. And this leads into the role, I knew I’m not that good a programmer. Basically, having application developers is a double-edged sword because I know what I can do in a small amount of time, but I’m digressing a bit – but then they’re good, they know what they’re doing but I’m extremely impatient. I’m like “why is this taking so long? I can jump in and do this in five minutes. I don’t understand”; which was part of my extremely, extremely frustrating experience. But the one thing I think that I’ve learned some painful lessons in building some amazing products but I never got them off the ground but I wasted some of half a million bucks was really like it was this thing I’ve come to call the runway. It’s like you’ve got this runway, especially when you’re using your own cash to fund something, you’ve got so long until you take off or crashes. The planes either takes off or crashes. People don’t understand, and this is something that’s only occurred to me in the last year, what I know now in running a company and what I learned in the PAR Program which is where I really got it down was that so many people focus on the product. And they don’t realize the product is probably the thing that matters the least.
JS: Absolutely. Okay I just started a new thing called the ShoeMoney Network – well it’s not new, it’ eight months ago. I just want to see if anyone cared. Basically, the whole premise is make your first dollar online in three minutes. So, you go in, you sign up, you share a link on Facebook, I send you a dollar real-time. The next one is like “ok this whole thing I’m going to pay you a dollar to do all these tasks”. But we need web-hosting. So, you sign up for web hosting; people to sign up for web hosting, I get a good commission. And then it’s like “ok we got to set up our email marketing from AWeber so you sign up there in a monthly thing”. And then it says “content coming soon”. That was it.
PW: So, people were jumping in because of who you were and the brand that you’ve built, the reputation and just trusting that?
JS: You know, the link they share is a link back to the network. The whole thing also got a bait in user ID for them so that anyone who comes in, if you go sign up Priest and you share the link to the network on Facebook; anyone who sees that and signs up, when they make a dollar you make a dollar. So, if they go through the whole thing, you get paid every time they get paid. So, from there it went supernova or viral. I just had this religious following of people that were not pissed at me, nobody refunded web hosting because I delivered. But, gosh I can go back forever. Almost everything I’ve done, I mean talk to the info product guys that launched these $5000 products. A lot of them do the launch, they don’t have any content. A lot of them is live training, they weren’t even content. Don’t go after that, I’m telling you.
PW: No, it’s a good point. It’s a good point.
JS: Yeah. It’s that the products don’t matter unless the marketplace is interested. I’ve seen people build such amazing things, spend a fortune on it and nobody cares, nobody wants it. Let me give another example. There’s a guy named Kevin Trudeau, who used to be…
PW: Oh yeah, Kevin. He’s in jail right now, right?
JS: I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him in years. He’s a very, very brilliant guy. He’s one of those guys that pushes the edge and there’s been a lot of regulation because of him.
JS: But he was telling me about this product he had which was to enhance your brain and make you smarter. He had his own studio, he filmed the infomercial and he ran the infomercial and he sold over a hundred thousand units at $20 a bottle. So, 2 million bucks, has no product – nothing. No product at all.
PW: It’s like the online kicks that he did. That sounds like a kickstarter. You know I meet guys, they’re startup kickstarters and they really don’t have any real product but people are…
JS: Right. Now again, one of my mantras is that I never tell people what to do, I just share my experience.
JS: All I’m trying to say is that if you look at the crockpot, there was literally eight different people that sold the crockpot until somebody figured out the right way to sell it.
JS: And that goes on and on and on and on. Back to the runway. I got this product, I’m funding it with a hundred thousand dollars and let’s say my monthly overhead is 10 thousand dollars. So, I’ve got ten months just on my monthly overhead. It’s semi-ready to launch in two months but it could use a lot more features. Here’s the thing that drives me nuts that people do; you can wait ten months until you run out of money and then you never launch it. It’s this great product you built but you’re just like “man, I’m a hundred grand down, forget it”. And I’ve done that. I’ve spent like I said half a million bucks on this one project. I was just so burned out on the application because I just kept going “oh we just need to add one more feature”. So, like I said I’m not this brilliant guy because I make products and keep their interest but then I do something like that.
JS: This is all a learning experience. This is why I love sharing what I learn is because it’s when I look back, I’m like “Aha”. But as I’m doing it, sometimes it doesn’t occur to me and I always call the price of education. For me it’s always, you know I’ve never lost money in doing this like 13, 14 years now.
PW: You never lost money, aside from what you’ve invested up front, you’ve never lost money in a business or anything like that?
JS: Combined. Yeah, I’ve had a particular entity take a loss.
PW: Yup, got it.
JS: As a whole pass through revenue to me, never lost money.
JS: I have a good track record and it’s all proportional too. I’m not going to go balls out on half a million dollars if I don’t have a lot more cash in the bank. Another thing, people see me driving stuff or whatever and they make fun of my Jeep and they’re like “oh you need to buy a Lamborghini”. I’m pretty frugal; I don’t live in an insane house. I mean it’s not an apartment but it’s some ten thousand square feet. In Nebraska, it’s like…
PW: Ten thousand square feet is not small [chuckles].
JS: No, but in Nebraska it’s not that pricey. We’ve got a giant pool and other stuff. But I don’t buy expensive sports cars. You know I’ve seen friends write fifty thousand dollars checks; I’ve seen one write a hundred thousand dollars check just to have one night at a nightclub and pay for everybody and I’m like “you’re freaking nuts”.
JS: I mean I picked up thousand-dollar bills but this just ignorant. I don’t care how much money I have, I’ll never be that guy. So, I just bought a new Corvette Z06 with the Z07 package which is my first car I’ve ever had that’s over a hundred thousand dollars. I love it. I feel good about it and it’s also because I consider myself in semi-retirement. I’m getting ready to kind of hang it up as far as new companies go and just consult.
PW: I’m just going to ask you that, are you out of affiliate marketing? Are you done with it, sort of?
JS: Yes and No. I mean I don’t pursue anything but at the same time if I see an angle on something that nobody else is doing I’ll test it.
PW: Yeah, yeah. You’d come upon it.
JS: It’s just kind of a hobby. The problem is, like with the Shoemoney Network after I sold PAR, I was like “ok, between the auction and selling all the other company exits, I want to get back to the runway thing”. Many, many, many years ago, I was told by our accountant that I can easily stop and live two times the lifestyle that I live now – never have to work again. I just invest a lot in farmland, restaurants and like the stock market. I buy a lot of gold and people are like “oh gold, you’re a dumb investor”. And I’m like “yeah, maybe. But guess what? I’ll have something someday”.
PW: [Laughs] Also you’re an investor in gold but not necessarily stocks, that’s interesting.
JS: Here’s the thing that’s probably the dumbest reason to invest ever; I don’t invest to make money. I invest so that if the US dollar goes to complete shit, I’ll have something and then it will be like you’ll come to stay with me.
JS: And the thing is that’s all. I just want security for my family. I’m not in this to make money, investment-wise. I do well with the farmland and the restaurants but as far as gold goes, it goes up and down. I don’t even look to see what it’s worth. I don’t care. I just want, like I said, if the market crashes or whatever it will not have an effect on me. But in fact, my stuff’s price will skyrocket because it will be the only form of currency. I’m getting way off.
PW: No, no, no. This is good. Because I do think they’re tied in together. You’re talking about some other things that you’re involved in outside of business that kind of keeps you going. There are a lot of people that get in the internet space that live and die by what is done on the internet. You’re making it very clear. Hey, you know, I have other things that I’m creating and doing outside of the business. I eat at farms and restaurants. I think that’s just as much motivation for entrepreneurs as anything. But you were talking about this runway as you’re selling PAR and other stuff and I want to get into you have an autobiography which lends to the fact that you like teaching so I want to talk about that too. But take us from the runway and the crashing and the taking off into your book.
JS: Okay. So, the runway is really easy. You’ve got this runway and you got a hundred thousand dollars to make something work – whether you got that from investors, I don’t care how you got it. And it could be ten thousand dollars, it’s all relative. You got this thing of a hundred thousand dollars, you got ten grand a month on overhead. By month two, you should have something pretty ready to see if there’s any interest. So, you can either spend thirty grand in traffic and know if there’s interest or you can wait all this time and then go under because you couldn’t keep up with your overhead. I’ve done both because the reason I like the first one better, which is to spend money, is because you know very quickly if it’s going to work or not. Either way, it works out the same. Either way you’re down a hundred grand but you also look at it from the time perspective. So, me, in my position, I have a couple side projects now which I just cannot help it. I told people “guys, where is this headed? Where are we buying traffic?” Because to me, number 1 is traffic, number 2 is optimization and user acquisition and number 3 is monetization. And it doesn’t cost money to get the first two down. You can buy cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap traffic from ClixSense, like NeoBux; yes they get paid to click on your ads but a dollar there will buy you a lot of traffic and you can see – I can ridiculously turn that traffic. I’m absolutely stunned. I bought NeoBux traffic to test my server because it will send you about 10 million unique visitors a month for about three grand. That’s a lot of traffic. So anyway, the point of the runway is what drives you crazy is you see people and this is where I come in and consult because I would consider my strongest, strongest suit is the rapid growth of the company – from application proven, not complete but tested proven to getting people in and then serving those people saying “is this something you would buy?”. Just really do that and then obviously traffic has to be there and once traffic is there you work on your user acquisition, whether it’s a lead or whatever. And you got to have that. If you don’t have those first two, there’s no point in focusing on making money. There’s zero point because nobody cares, nobody’s interested in what you’re selling.
PW: [Chuckles] That’s true.
JS: So, with the ShoeMoney Network, I wrote that entire thing all by myself. Not one employee knew what I was doing. It did about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, my accountant was like “where is this coming from”. He literally had no idea, none of my employees knew anything about it. And I was just busted. It took me another three weeks to make the content. It was great, it’s really probably some of the best content ever. The only reason I mentioned it was because it’s a great example of something where I wanted to see if anyone was interested. I have a good feeling they were and I know a lot of people who are listening to this have a good idea, right?
JS: It doesn’t take much to put your good idea online so that people can sign up for your good idea and say “thank you we’ll let you know when this is released”. That’s all you got to do.
PW: Hey guys, if you want to check that out you go to ShoeMoney.net. You can see exactly what he’s talking about and how you can get involved there.
JS: Yes, it’s crazy because I’ve laid out my entire… I’m a very transparent person and so it’s funny because people are like “this isn’t free because you get to buy web hosting”. And I’m like “you’re exactly right, you do”. Because how do you think I pay all these people money? And I’m like “I’ll tell you the whole business model; it’s a 100% supported by affiliate marketing”. All it is is that you pay people to actually do work. So being a CEO and all that stuff, I was very, very, very fortunate in selling AuctionAds in 2007. It was a company that I sold, I got an idea to selling the company four months later because the IP was older. But that was a company that stemmed from the same playbook. I wanted ads on my NextPimp site that I can put an affiliate, leave my own affiliate links in and look like Google AdSense because Google AdSense works so well. So, I built this thing called ShoeMoney Ads. First, I made it for myself then I made it ShoeMoney Ads and I made it available so other people could use it for free. And then I’m sitting literally at 5 AM playing cards, drunk as a rat in Las Vegas and next to me is an affiliate manager for eBay and she’s like “oh you made ShoeMoney Ads. There’s a lot of eBay people doing well with it. You should make one just around eBay and I’m sure we would so some really cool things for you”. So, we made AuctionAds and then four months later, we were at 2 million a month in revenue, 45000 active people and that’s one of my strong suit. My strong suit is really rapid growth of the company. And that’s where I consult now. Just before this, I got off a call with a guy who has an incredible product and it’s actually a product that I want. I think that it’s a very remarkable product. I have already, in my head, come up with a ten-point bullet list of just rapid growth.
PW: So, would you acquire somebody like that? Or would you just partner up with him?
JS: It really depends. I’ve got an investing page on Shoemoney.com of just how I invest. I’ve invested millions in other entities and I do have some cash in the bank, I keep 3 or 4 million available for things like this that come along – because cash is king. There is this like a local restaurant, a guy wants to buy it but didn’t have the money and couldn’t get a loan but he has all these other chains, so I bought it for a million bucks and I got 25% equity plus a payback on my loan. He’s already paid it back over two years. So, I own 25% of the restaurant which is doing fantastic. Cash is truly king. I mean people come along and I’m like “look I’m not interested in this but if I were to do it, this is what I would need”. And I’m not trying to be an asshole, it’s just this is what I would need. That’s what I needed and that’s what we agree to.
PW: There’s like a Warren Buffett in Nebraska and there is you. You two are just like doing it in Nebraska, huh?
JS: Yeah, it’s funny. If you go to notable people in Nebraska, business people, there’s like forty on there and it’s like me and Warren Buffett and then some other people. I’m just like “man this is some good company”.
PW: That’s interesting.
JS: It’s just that the whole thing of selling, literally we went from discussing selling it from this company to having it checked in the bank within a week.
JS: And that really, really spoiled me because selling the PAR Program, we’re talking eight years later. And I’ve sold six companies. I’m sorry, three more companies; two were websites and another one was a company – something like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah three companies.
PW: That’s’ why networking is so important. I mean here’s a chance encounter with you and somebody at eBay but you’re at a conference. We call our business network capital LLC and the capital is in networking with people. Ultimately, your money will come from relationships and things like that. I mean, it sounds like just an off-chance meeting that you met this person and all of a sudden.
JS: A hundred percent! You’re making great point because people are always like “hey, I want to get together and chat. I got this great idea or whatever” and I don’t have time for that shit. And people get pissed at Facebook because I’m like “listen dude, I don’t have time. I’m a thousand bucks in clarity now. I don’t have time to chat. I have employees that won’t work for free, I can’t work for free”.
JS: “But”, I always tell him this, “I’m at every major affiliate conference and I’m a very social person and you can pretty much always get an expo hall pass for free and that’s where I’m at”. I’m in the trenches with people talking to them exactly what this guy wants to do. He wants to chat around this thing, see if I think it’s a good idea. And that’s all I do at conferences. You’ll see me, everyone sees me, and I’m always in the expo hall and people ask great questions and everyone likes the answer. Because, like I said, I never tell someone what to do but I’ve done a lot and I share a similar thing that I did and the result from it. So, a lot of people can take away a lot from these experiences.
PW: Just to be clear. That’s exactly how I met Jeremy. I saw him at a conference. As a matter of fact, I went in to one of his sessions and I got in there early. He was there early setting up and I just kind of pulled him aside. Before that and after that, I haven’t bothered him I just watched his moves outside. So, there’s a lot to be said for those who want to go to conferences, and granted we met in a session, but if you want to stay out of a session sometimes your gold is just what goes on in those hallways there.
JS: I always tell people this; there’s a conference around your area, I don’t care where you’re at. You can go to it, you don’t have to pay money to go to it. If it’s your first time, don’t shell out 2, 5 grand to go to some show. Honestly, the gold is at the bar. The bar where the hotel is that’s hosting it, I usually will hold court. I mean I’ll get a big-ass table, sit down twelve people, I can tell you traffic, conversion – I never even made it to that conference. I just sat in the hotel bar all day and just all these people that I’ve know from the past or new people that want to ask me question. I’m talking like major, major guys in the industry like Andy Jenkins, John Reese, Frank Kern, John Chow, some names you might recognize.
PW: Oh, yeah.
JS: We’re a roundtable of some pretty powerful people that have done some amazing things in the industry.
PW: Oh, yeah.
JS: And so, to be able to come up and talk with us, I mean Kern my himself is ridiculously priced. He’s like fifty to a hundred grand a month to consult. We all priced ourselves pretty high just because we have to. So, it’s just like that. I mean anyone could’ve come up to us and said “hey I’m doing this, I want to do this, I want to get here”. And you just need to be prepared with the right question because I’m going to ask numbers; If you’re doing this and this and this numbers, okay what’s your conversion rate here, what’s this, what’s this. I’m going to ask a lot of questions.
PW: Jeremy, just be prepared for a no. Somebody can say no to your idea without you having to be a jerk. That should be the catalyst for you to be like “you know what, I asked Jeremy and John Chow what they thought about this idea. They gave me their feedback, not that they’re jerks, but I need to go back and just regrind this thing and tweak it a little bit”. Yeah, people need to use that opportunity for whatever comes their way, whether it’s a no or whatever it may be.
JS: I’ll say that I have never told someone I had no time, but I have told many people “dude, I got zero experience in that industry and I can’t help you”. And I say “I can come up with some random thoughts but that’s not going to help you”. But I’d usually be, “you know who does have experience? It’s that guy over there”. I don’t waste people’s time and in a lot of people it’s weird because what you think about is “dude I’m not going to tell you what I think because one thing that I know is a hundred percent always accurate in this industry is that you never know. You just don’t know”
JS: Even the ShoeMoney Network I have, there’s a lot of things that just amazed me. Things that work and things that absolutely do not work but should. That’s a big thing, I don’t ever like to tell people because I’ve never been there and done that. And that’s another thing. I say I always listen to everyone but I don’t follow anyone. I don’t like having a mentor. I listen to what everyone has to say but I do not follow anyone. People have offered to pay me ridiculous amounts of money to coach them. I’ll do consulting for companies, it’s just not me to coach somebody. Right here I guess I could do it but I just don’t feel comfortable taking ten grand a month to coach people. And my friends that do charge for it are like “dude you don’t understand. These people would ask you questions that they could find the answers for in Google in two minutes but because it comes from you, they’ll actually do it and they’ll make money from it”.
PW; Right [Laughs]
JS: It actually works. Like you go to Tony Robbins and he tells you things that you already know but because it came from him you do it.
PW: Yeah. Tony Googled it before he went up on stage. [Laughs]
JS: For sure. I’ve talked to guys that say that exact same thing that are like “dude, when I’m on the podium I’m like Googling what the hell he’s talking about. I mean, I swear to God, a lot of these guys they’re like “dude you just charge people ten grand a month to be in you mastermind program and they ask you questions it’s crazy because they can find the answer in a minute on Google but because it comes from you they actually do it”. And because they know in the next call, you’re going to say “ok did you do that”. That’s just not me, you know. I guess it would be that easy but it’s just not for me. There’s some things that you’re comfortable with, there’s some things that you’re not. I’ve definitely sold things and whatever that probably worth the best for the consumer, some people might consider not ethical or whatever – but it’s legal, so whatever.
PW: You know when I first got in the space, I remember people used to tell us “hey, I read the blog from Jeremy, they call him Shoemoney”. Everybody has an opinion one way or another about what you do but at the end of the day just what he said in the last two minutes here, it goes along with your personality. He gives real advice, it may rub some wrong but you got to take it for what it is. Look, Jeremy, I know we got to wrap up here but let me ask you a couple of quick questions. What do you feel about the state of affiliate marketing right now? You’re a guy that started when it was still relatively a baby, how do you feel on the state of it? I know you’re somewhat removed. But again, to your point, we don’t know where it’s going, right. We don’t know if it’s going mobile. But just in general, do you think we have a solid base in performance marketing or do you think it’s just all over the place and it’s hard to tell?
JS: I think it depends on the source of traffic. I think there’s an enormous opportunity, the same as it was ten years ago. And that’s because of the new stuff. Like you have to stay ahead of the curve because what will happen is, people used to do Amazon. They would bid on all these keywords for Amazon’s affiliate program. Then what happened? When Amazon learned how to do it, they kicked out all the affiliates, they reduced their commission to nothing, they reduced their cookie duration to 24 hours.
PW: That essentially made them want to leave. Yup.
JS: Right! And then now they know how to do Facebook, they know how to do Pay-per-click. The difference is there’s still a huge opportunity but you’ve got to be ahead of it – do native ads, do some unique social media marketing like with Pinterest. Pinterest and Instagram, they just opened ads on Instagram. Facebook just now opened its lead generation thing where you can put a lead-in form in your ad on Facebook. So, you’ve got to stay ahead of the curve because you have to stay ahead of the corporate money. Because eventually, what will happen is like on Facebook, you used to kill at running diet programs until the diet companies learned how to do it.
PW: That’s right.
JS: And what always happens is they hire their affiliates. So, I got friends that learned Facebook from me and then did a bunch on their own and came back to me. And that would have been the last time we saw that thing. We were spending a hundred grand a day and basically, I was funding them, they were using my credit and we split the profit. And then they got to the point where the dating company was doing this too, directly hiring them for a lot of money. And I was like “dude, go at it man. Congratulations, that’s awesome”. You got to stay ahead of it and the one thing is its very, very, very difficult and I think that’s why it’s very, very hard to find people like you that actually understand the game but know how to manage it. And that’s because there’s so many, I can’t even tell you. I’ve had many products, many affiliate program managers that just didn’t work.
JS: So, it’s very, very difficult.
PW: You’re so passionate about things and you can hear in your voice and I really want you guys that are listening to really check out his stuff. Check out his blog Shoemoney.com, ShoeMoney.net the program he was talking about earlier. How do you unplug Jeremy from all these stuffs? I mean you’re a boss, you run companies, you’re selling companies and you’re running stuff on the side and always tinkering on other things that aren’t even on the radar. How do you unplug with your family?
JS: Oh, you know it’s crazy. I spend so much time with my family and my kids. I’m a rare – I mean I think I’ve been clinically diagnosed with a little psychosis or something. I go on about 4 to 5 hours sleep at night, and I have since I was 16 years old.
PW: That’s crazy.
JS: Yeah, it’s weird. But I’ve had sleep studies and other stuff and they say my brain totally functions on 4 to 5 hours sleep at night and that’s just my body’s condition for it. Every morning I spend about an hour and a half with my kids, getting them ready for school, taking them to school. They go to school at two different times, 45 minutes apart. I eat lunch with them twice a week, I go to their school eat lunch with them. We always have family nights and I’m running around the CCD and all these cello and soccer and piano, you name it. And the thing is I don’t judge anyone. From all these other parents, there is like “God, you’re the best dad ever”. I mean you got to find what works for you and I don’t judge anyone who are like “does that work for you?”. Does that make you happy? If it does, then that’s your thing. These people are like “oh you’re doing all that stuff”. And I’m like “well, that’s what I want to do”. So many people are like “oh, I have to go to my kid’s thing”. You got to get to a point where you actually enjoy.
PW: I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as work-life balance. But if you got something, like in my case, your case, where we got this energy that works out with our spouse and our children get it, then that’s the way that works for you. If it doesn’t work for somebody else, then all the best to them. But I totally get what you’re saying. You’re a hundred percent spot-on.
JS: And right now, it’s all about the process. I have an operations person I brought in who is like, I call him my profit. He came in, we’ve been working together for a long time. He puts processes in place. We have a morning meeting, we have our customer support team, our programmers who are in Lafayette and Romania and stuff in there. It’s six hours ahead for them so we do it in the morning pretty early and ninety percent of the time I’m with my kids and muted and then I chime in when I need to. I probably actually converse about ten minutes on that call and then by eleven o’clock my job is over for the day. And all I do is I’ve got like a gecko board or just a simple report that shows me my traffic buys, where we’re at in revenue so that if something is bad I can stop the bleeding. And I’m still not good at it because I brought in this guy to do it and I gave up a tremendous amount of equity for that person because – when I first talked to you about me jumping in and doing someone’s job and being pissed that doesn’t happen when you have the right process in place. For me, that was really, really crucial. So, like I said, my day is pretty much done by 11, 12 o’clock as far as work goes and then with having a mobile phone I have my gecko board which has my key point indicators (KPIs). It basically shows me how much revenue we’re at, what’s our expense or revenue in the last 24 hours, over the last 12 hours, over the last 30 minutes – I have a general dollar-per-user. Basically, I’ve got baselines; they text me when anything is out of whack. When your day is over by 11, 12 in the morning I just bought me a Corvette, I’m just like cruising. It’s the days of smartphones and all this stuff, I pay people and I sit back. Now back in the day, it all depends on where you’re at in life and your position.
PW: Yeah. You were grinding all day to get to this point.
JS: Yeah, with two kids if I had a day job, I could still get it done but it would be a lot more complicated. But it’s all relative.
PW: It is.
JS: NextPimp was a site that did seven figures in profit every year like clockwork. AuctionAds sold for millions. When I did NextPimp, I had two jobs and I drove every Thursday – we’re going to digress. But I basically had two full-time jobs because I had a side job where I did eBay arbitrage and then I had a main job where I was a computer security engineer. And then I did my NextPimp site and I coded that out; I went to Barnes and Nobles and bought PHP books and MySQL books and I learned how to do it that way. I always say there’s people that exist and there’s people that live. I actually have this whole long analogy which I think is fairly powerful and it motivates a lot of people. The end result is that, are you going through life just existing or are you really living life? And some people just want to exist. You know it’s awesome, it’s great – If you want to sit on a cliff and you want to watch all these birds fly by aka your friends and family, and they post on Facebook their sweet-ass sports cars and vacation and how they’re buying their kid’s horses and all this shit that I get to do. You can sit and watch other people do it and exist in life or you can take a jump off the cliff and sometimes the parachute is not going to open but eventually it will.
PW: So, what can we look forward from you in the future? What are you working on? What’s something that you want the people to know about or maybe share with them? I know you have a book out, an autobiography. What’s some other stuff that you may want to talk about?
JS: Yeah, I want to write two more books. One is going to be called something like “How to Not Fuck Up Your Kids”. It’s basically going to be like, I’m going to interview a bunch of people who come from lower middle class. They’ve got a lot of money and buy things for your kids right. But I don’t want my kids – ok anyway, you can see where I’m going.
PW: Yes, I do.
JS: The other one is going to be on the work-life balance.
PW: That’s a good one.
JS: A lot of these books are really going to be probably 5% me and a lot of it is going to be content from other people. And anything it makes, I’ll either give it away or probably end up on Amazon for 99 cents and then give it all to charity.
PW: You’ve been awesome man. I can’t thank you enough for taking time out to do this with me and I really appreciate it. And you know you can reach out any time if you need something.
JS: Yeah, my pleasure.
PW: Thanks a lot. Take care.
JS: Alright. Take it easy man.
Thank you for listening to Missions and Marketplace. If you have a brand or business that you want to take online or you’re already online and looking for more exposure visit us at http://www.affiliatemission.com, the premier affiliate marketing and management agency. Also, feel free to get social with us and check our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages and share with us your story on how you’re leaving a mark on the world.
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