Marketing is a game, and Jeremy Schoemaker takes risks, and reaps the rewards. After starting several online businesses, and selling most of them in under a year, he has learned through trial and error how to run a successful business, and stand out in a crowd, even in a competitive market. He’s a serial entrepreneur who has founded 15 companies, including the massively successful ShoeMoney Media. We discuss how risks create wealth, the keys to creating viral content, and why you should give useful content away for free.
Hello, and welcome to Marketing Speak! I’m your host Stephan Spencer and I have the distinct pleasure of having on the show today, Jeremy Schoemaker a.k.a ShoeMoney. He is a big internet celebrity and an internet entrepreneur. If you haven’t heard about Jeremy or ShoeMoney, you must’ve been living under a rock. He’s the author of Nothing’s Changed But My Change: The ShoeMoney Story. He’s the founder and CEO of ShoeMoney Media. He’s a super blogger, a super affiliate, a serial entrepreneur with 15 different companies, I believe. He’s the founder of Elite Retreat, which I’ve spoken at multiple times. It is a super exclusive and amazing internet conference/seminar. Some of his businesses have included NextPimp, AuctionAds, PAR Program, and of course, his blog, ShoeMoney.com, which is a major internet site that gets a lot of traffic and a lot of buzz. Welcome, Jeremy!
Thanks, Stephan! My man! Thanks for having me on the show, man! It’s good talking to you.
Yeah, it’s good to talk with you! I mean, we’ve been buddies for a long time. It’s, maybe, I don’t know, it’s been years and years. Maybe it’s been a decade by now!
It’s been a decade!
And you have just done such incredible things! Just see what you’ve built and it’s just mind-blowing. There’s a whole bunch of stuff we didn’t even mention in the bio like the ShoeMoney System and other info products that you’ve created, your podcast, and video cast-and yeah, just doing some incredible, incredible stuff! Why don’t we start off with, if you could just share a bit about, what is the thing that put you on the map that made you a major internet celebrity? I know what it is-a lot of a lot a lot of folks do-but just quickly, if you could, give us the two-minute version of how you became internet-famous?
Yup, for sure! I mean, The ShoeMoney Playbook is really about building something that I see is needed in the marketplace and I only realized it now looking back but then it’s a matter of letting people use it for free and then the money will come. Money is just a side effect of building something cool. So, it’s really like you mentioned my big home run with that brought as far media attention and attention in period was my Google AdSense check for $134,000, which I was on unemployment and actually cashed that check with an unemployment check accompanying that and that was my last month on unemployment. That came about through a site you mentioned called NextPimp, and also I had the blog back then as well. The blog originally started because I was sharing all the revenue, tips, tricks, and tactics that I was learning and to share that with people in so it started to get traction and this was after AdSense. I learned affiliate marketing, I learned SEO a little bit, I learned donation subscription revenue, and I would share that with my audience and, again, just giving away free value and that blog grew between the AdSense check-obviously, that was crazy because that was the last month they ever-I had no idea they were going to do this-sent out paper checks for over $10,000. Now, they only do wires. Other people have obviously made more but can’t cash a check so that was the big thing that put me on the map.
Yeah, and that was incredible social proof. I mean, the internet went crazy for that and then you got all these haters coming out of the woodwork accusing you of…
Yeah, fake check or Photoshopped and all that.
Until Google had me speak on panels.
It was like, “Uh, yeah, that’s real!”
You’ve done joint ventures, affiliate deals, and whole network deals. I mean, you’re a great business partner and a strategic partner for folks. What would be some of the ways that you have built really amazing products, businesses, launches, events, and what-have-you with other folks and creating amazing stuff?
Right. I think the biggest key is knowing what you’re in-it took me a long time-like, all of my education. I barely graduated high school. I don’t have an MBA or any of that. I don’t know that any college really helps you for what I do. However, with that said, you constantly learn what you’re good at and what you’re not and it took me a while to actually recognize that and have discussions with very smart people. I think, it’s a couple things-one is, my motto was kind of like, I don’t follow anyone but I listen to everyone, especially if you’ve got experience. What I’m getting at is, I think, the key when forming a business relationship is: What value do they bring to the table and what value do you need? A couple of times, I’ve done a business deal because I’ve brought in people who are superstars in the industry-only, it was kind of like, finding a good friend, hiring them, and then trying to find a job for them, right? It was very similar thing. I brought in people to do a company but I didn’t need them for the roles I actually needed. For me, I know I need a CEO. I have to have one. I’m horrible at managing people. I will do anything-I’ll overpay my employees, I’ll do everything you’re not supposed to do as a CEO, and that’s just the way I’m wired. I know I’m very good at marketing, I’m very good at outside-the-box marketing for very little expense, and other things like monetization of a product or product creation and boosting it. Everything I’ve done gets incredible and launches very quickly. Most of the companies I’ve had that sold-most of them are under a year or just over a year like in the case of the PAR program. I mean, AuctionAds is my biggest windfall but I had a very key partner in the beginning in Patrick Gavin. A lot of people would know that Patrick Gavin was the CEO of that company until Text Link Ads got bought and then, he exited out of there. Talk about a great guy! I mean, he had equity, he had everything, and he was just like, “Oh, you, guys! It’s fine, it’s fine!” I told him that I’ll take care of him and when AuctionAds sold, I had a check for him, he burned it, and he ripped it up. He said, “You’re a man of your word,” and I said, “You’re nuts!” I think, the key thing-to answer your question-is just to recognize what you’re good at what you’re not and then, look for the key people to fill as well. It sounds so simple but it’s a mistake that I see all the time. I think, BlueGlass was that or these guys just thought, “Hey, we’re superstars. We’ve all got clients. Let’s form a company together!” I love all those guys. I wrote about it when they merged. I said, “I really, really hope this works out otherwise, when you go to a conference, it’s going to be like, being around 12 of your ex-girlfriends. It’s going to be really freaking weird.” Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and at conferences, it sucks because none of those guys are ever in the same place. I mean, I saw you at an event in Chicago and you’re the only person I knew at the whole SEO show. What happened to this industry? All the crews separated and stuff. Anyway, that’s a long and aggressive answer to your question but hopefully, I answered it.
Yeah. So, you mentioned AuctionAds-can you say, publicly, how much it sold for?
I believe the term I can say is, millions.
That’s what I was told when it sold. There’s been more details that have come out about that because it’s been going on ten years ago-not named by me but there’s various places you can find figures.
But you can talk about some of the businesses you’ve sold? Like, you sold, I guess, six of them?
Like, PAR Program.
Yeah, the PAR Program-I can disclose that.
Yeah, so that was what? Twelve million?
Twelve million, right.
Yeah. Stock and Cash?
Yup. That was a very complicated deal. I mean, of course, the company that purchased it put out this press release “Twelve million,” and then my wife was like, “Hey, hey, hey!” because our colleagues saw it and they were like, “Yeah, congratulations on the $12-million dollars,” and she was like, “The what?!” She’s like, “I know we got some money in the bank but we don’t have $12-million dollars!” and I didn’t. The valuation of that sale was based on the company that bought it was a billion-dollar company and it was based on stock in that company, which they’ll probably go public in the next year or they’ll sell. They’ve already been offered a significant amount and stuff like that. I don’t want to disclose too much about their business because I, frankly, don’t know. I hear things and obviously, as a shareholder, I know things but so it was stock-and this is the thing too-this is why you also, a lot of times in TechCrunch or whatever, you never see sells for-you can see sells for 200-million but it doesn’t say dollars, right? This was a similar thing. Sold for 12-million-it was a good amount of cash but heavy on stock. Also, the other part of it, the valuation was all of the clients we currently had, we had licensing rights for the platform and we got all the revenue from those clients so, none of the expense and all of the revenue because they just won-they were our biggest client and they didn’t want anything to do with clients. Nothing. They just wanted to use the platform for all of their businesses, which would have cost them more than the cash they gave me in probably like, two or three years.
Hmm. That’s a cool deal.
So very complicated deal but I continued to get money from our previous clients and continue to work with them. I mean, just on that alone plus the other stuff. These deals are complicated a lot of times. I was very spoiled by the AuctionAds deal because that went from, literally, on a Monday with them approaching me about wanting to sell or wanting to buy it and the company that bought it was 30% owner, and so, basically, when Patrick Gavin stepped aside, they took over his equity. For that role, they gave me like, a $10-million line of credit because we were floating like, $2-3 million a month. By the fourth month, we had gotten up to $2-3 million a month in revenue but I was floating like, 60 days. I was floating like, $4-5 million and it’s a lot of freaking money I didn’t have at the time-it was on their credit line so yeah, whatever. They approached me and said, “What would it take to buy out your 70% ownership?” and so, I named a figure. It was kind of funny because that figure was actually a lot a lot less than what I got for it because I just threw out a number. They said, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah!” Well, then, luckily for me, eBay offered a higher figure and then, they had first right to match so that went back and forth a bit so luckily for me, that happened because otherwise, I would have gotten significantly less than what I end up getting. That deal spoiled me very much in selling a company because it went from a Monday with brief discussions to literally, two weeks later-between the back and forth with eBay, quick term, and then me flying to New York City and signing the deal, which was probably a ten-day process. I had the million in my bank account within ten days from the first conversation.
Who does that? In four months after starting this thing!
It was nuts, man! It was totally crazy! The cool thing was, it allowed me-and this is why I’m a horrible CEO-two employees in the company at that time, one I gave millions of dollars to, and the other one, well, I made him a millionaire as well. It was very cool to be able to do that. Now, my wife said, “What are you doing?” My accountant and my lawyer are also like, “What are you doing? You were paying him an hourly salary of $16 an hour!” But that’s the thing-like I said before, I believe in doing what’s right. Those employees put in as much work as I did-if not more-so I felt that that was fair.
Wow, that’s amazing! I mean, that’s really generous. It’s unusual.
I’d do it again! I don’t regret.
Yeah. So, one of the things that you mentioned a few minutes ago was that, you’ve really mastered the art of outside-the-box marketing for a little bit of money and not just going crazy with the brand-building, ad budgets, and so forth but being really smart and really surgical with your marketing tactics and strategies. Could you elaborate?
Yeah, for sure. AuctionAds is probably the best one because I had a ten-point playbook for that. That was actually all me, very little employees, where I had a clear path. PAR Program and other things like that have kind of got off to experiences where I learned what I’m not good at so AuctionAds was the best example because I basically had a ten-point playbook, which I only got to about four before I sold it but the first one is making a big splash, getting on TechCrunch, and getting on all these sites so everyone knows you’re out there. The next step is really leveraging that second tier of your friends and luckily for me, I have a lot of friends in the industry. You may or may not if you’re launching that kind of company. Anyone can go on TechCrunch. That is not a difficult thing. I’ve seen a lot of very small companies that launch get on TechCrunch, especially if you do an exclusive with them because when you sell or if you sell or if you do whatever, they want to say that it was first reported by TechCrunch. The second part is, you can write to a lot of bloggers and what-not. I was fortunate that I had people in the industry who talked about it when it launched. This other one is market penetration but actually, before that is, some form of viral components to this. Viral has gotten a little twisted. I refer to viral as something, really anything, that can grow without spending any money and just implementing things that can achieve that. With AuctionAds, the special thing that we did was-so, all of the ads, which looked very similar to AdSense, basically at the bottom they said, “Ads by AuctionAds” but if you ran that, Stephan, on your site and someone’s like, “Oh, Stephan’s running this. What is this?” and they clicked on the “Ads by AuctionAds” and they signed up, you got 3% of whoever saw that or whoever came. Now, we had an affiliate program in itself, which paid 10% so that was kind of a key game-changer. We also put $5 in anyone’s account who would put the code on their site-just put the code on your site, we’ll put five bucks in your account, and of course, the minimum, which are always ten, but if someone could make five, they could make ten, okay? Not that big a deal. It didn’t take that long. Those things were key motivators to get people to do it so I can throw the sites up there, you have Google AdSense down and you’ve made a quarter, but if you throw this up there now you’ve got five bucks instantly all through this other stuff. The other thing that I did-I mean, I can go for a bit but when I talk about market penetration and not everyone is going to have the cash flow to do this but it’s kind of all relative. In the industry I was in, I, obviously, wanted people to run it so I went to Mike Arrington and I said, “I don’t know how much you’re making a month with Google AdSense right now but I’ll pay you 10% more to run AuctionAds,” and as soon as we did that-we did that for one month-Mashable ran it and ReadWriteWeb ran it just because of that. I went to the biggest UFC mixed martial arts site and did the same thing. I went to the biggest car blogging site. Just getting the biggest one and everyone else followed suit. That was a kind of a gut feeling I had but it proves proven very quickly. There’s a there’s a lot of those that since then, you’ve seen duplicated. I think, one of the biggest ones was that, I was willing to do what others are not and that’s kind of like another one of my things, which is legally, ethically, and morally whatever. I’m willing to do what others are not willing to do and in that particular situation, I took no cut of what our publishers were making so they did very, very well. On average, people made-I mean, there’s endless case studies of people making more than Google AdSense because with your average sign up to eBay, you get like, five bucks and we were at $22 and I passed every bit of that on to the publisher. If you referred people, that didn’t come out of yours, that came out of my pocket. I was about $300,000 in debt when I sold that company.
Wow! You took a risk there but of course, you built something that had momentum and a huge hockey stick of growth.
Well, I knew we could take a cut any time as well. Like I said, the thing I’d love to do and this goes back to whether it’s NextPimp, my blog, or any of these other things that I’ve ever done were all things that I looked and it was like, “Gosh! I wish that existed!” And then I would build it, I would solve that problem, and then offer it for free. That’s one of the biggest rewards for me and the money is just the side effect. I know people look at it and they’re like, “Yeah, it’s easy to say!” but no, it’s true. When I made NextPimp, I worked my ass off on that for free just to build cool stuff for other people and then, other people followed. It’s my same strategy with SEO and you know this. I’ve always been the SEO’s bullshit guy and all that stuff but my SEO strategy always has been and still is that, build something that people want to link to and everything will take care of itself.
Mm-hmm. What you’ve really mastered creating stuff that has viral appeal and you bake the virality right into the product just like if you look at the very early days of the internet and Hotmail became so huge because they baked in the virality right into the product. The bottom of each email that got sent out has like, “Get your free web-based email at Hotmail.com.” It spread like wildfire and you did the similar sort of thing with AuctionAds and having people click on the ad box to sign up for the program when they start seeing the ads and saying, “Wow, maybe this is making more money for this publisher than AdSense otherwise, they wouldn’t be using it!”
Right, and that’s the biggest thing that a lot of companies come to me all the time. They’ll say, “Well, we need affiliates, we need affiliates, we need affiliates! Can you consult with us and get the super? We just want the super affiliates!” Yeah, you and everyone else! Then, they tell me about how great their product is and stuff. But, anyway, the point of this, which really has nothing to do with my answer was-but we can talk about that later-I’m the king of digression!
I’ll keep you on track, don’t worry!
The real point is, complacency. I ran Google AdSense. This is a great example on NextPimp. Now, it’s because a Google AdSense person called me and I was a very technical person but she insisted on walking me through placing those ads on my site because I’ll be honest, I don’t know if would have ever done it. It sounds crazy. I’m getting hundred thousand a day and so, she walked me through it and this complacency thing or lazy. Affiliates are lazy, website-builders are lazy-I had no idea I’d make that kind of money. I was like, “So, how much that makes?” and she’s like, “I don’t know but we have a lot of advertisers and blah-blah-blah,” and she’s like, “Let me just walk you through it! Now, if it wasn’t for her saying that, I don’t know what we’ve ever done. I would like to say I did but I don’t know. Again, she’s overcoming my laziness. One day, I got a call from this company called, AzoogleAds, and they said, “Oh, you got this mobile site, we’ve got mobile offers that are being advertised on AdSense for your site!” Like, our other publishers are doing really well buying ads and buying what’s appearing through Google AdSense but you’re not getting the lines or the revenue because they’re making money, AdSense is taking their cut, and all this stuff and I was like, “Okay,” and then, again, and I said, “Okay, well, you know, I’m doing well with AdSense,” I’m complacent. It’s guaranteed revenue and this is something that I realized all along, and I said, “Why would I risk losing money?” and this was before AuctionAds. This was in 2005 and I was very newbie to making money on the internet and I didn’t know what affiliate marketing was. However, I knew one thing: “Why would I risk losing money to make you money? You have no risk here. All the risk is on me,” and she said, “I guarantee you’ll make more than whatever you’re making through Google AdSense and we’ll put that in writing,” and I said, “Deal!” and I didn’t only make more, I doubled my money and it just went up from there. Again, complacency. That’s the thing I learned and every time I learned, it led to other things so that’s one of the reasons why I did that with AuctionAds. It’s because once people saw-my whole thing was money and that brought me into affiliate marketing and, again, I’m sharing that on my blog and I didn’t take any sponsor or any advertisements on ShoeMoney.com. I didn’t even have an email list. The email list started about early 2008. At the end of 2007, I had my first ad and I always thought, “I’m too cool to have an ad,” and that was funny because that was the peak of the blog. It was right when I sold AuctionAds-I mean, man, the ringtone affiliate offers were just hot and heavy from 2007-2009. You could make a fortune and I did pretty well. Basically, it’s just complacency and that’s the biggest thing-people just became complacent. Whether you’re trying to get affiliates or just pretty much anything you do, you’ve got to give these people an incentive and that also comes with the viral aspect of things, people referring their friends, and seeing that social proof is a lot of times the incentive. Giving people $5 to make an account even though your minimum payout is $10-that’s an incentive to get rid or overcome these people’s complacency and laziness.
Yeah. What are some of the best kind of like arbitrage-type deals that you’ve done or arbitrage-based businesses that you’ve set up because at least, back in the day, you could make a pile of money just being the middleman driving traffic somewhere else and paying less for it. Is that still a thing now? If you’re able to share any kind of stories around making gobs of cash on this arbitrage, it would be really interesting.
Yeah, for sure! So, arbitrage for those listening, a lot of people don’t understand the definition-it’s the profit from a market imbalance. A lot of people think like, “Oh, I lost money trying to arbitrage!” Well, yeah, I guess, technically, you did but I mean, arbitrage is the profit from a market imbalance and there’s always a market imbalance-always. You’re the middleman between two companies. I mean, I’ve got a friend who trades natural gas and all he does is, he calculates “X needs gas, X sells gas,” the price to transport gas from him to him is this much, “Okay, we’ll make money on this deal.” Now, that translates everywhere to the internet. It doesn’t matter what-there was one point in time, you could buy traffic for Microsoft when they had Bing-well, back then, it was called the adCenter, especially when they first launched it-you could pay a nickel per click, send it to a page that was heavy-strong on AdSense, and make fifty cents per click. So, you’ve got now, one-in-ten chance. You paid a nickel to make fifty-it depends on the vertical. I mean, you could absolutely kill it. I discovered that and I ran out of credit cards. I mean, I ran out of credit cards, I was hitting my mom, “Hey, mom! Let me spend your credit card. I guarantee we’ll make money! I did it with Aaron Wall-ask him about it and he’s written about it!” I was like, “Aaron, dude, give me your credit card. We’ll split the profit!” and so, I made-I don’t remember but I want to say $5,000 in a couple of days. Cool, I’m maxing out his credit card! I did it with Neil Patel and I was calling everyone like, “Hey, mom and dad, give me your credit card.” It’s so funny how many people wouldn’t. I mean, I don’t know if I would have back then but I’m like, “Look, I’ve got all this fucking money. I’ll put my house up!” I’m telling you, there’s a ton of money to be made here and I told my wife because she was like, “Well, you’re so obsessive!” and I’m like, “Honey, I barely graduated high school. There is a money tree in our backyard and it will rain money for as long as I want to shake it, scoop it up, and put it there but it’s always not going to be there,” and that’s very true in arbitrage because one successful thing-it’s always going to be there-but other people are going to see what you’re doing eventually and then it’s not going to be there. I’ve done it online-offline to the point of buying things on Dell.com. I still do it for fun because I’ve got a neighbor kid who I was telling how to do it and then I was just like, “I’ll freaking show you!” and I’ll show him exactly how to do it and he still is lazy and I’m like, “Okay, well, don’t ever talk to me about money again!” I see that a lot but I mean, really, to answer your question is, arbitrage is everywhere at any time. I’m not currently engaging in that. I mean, fully, I guess, as an affiliate, you’re always engaged in arbitrage because you’re always the middleman. One thing I did and I do this not for the money but to show people that if you get off your ass, here’s a recipe to make money. I’m going to risk my money and I’m going to write a guide on exactly how I did it. The more value to me is giving value to other people. It comes back ten-fold. I offered, “Hey, let’s split the profit on this!” and they don’t want to have it-they just want $50. They waited in line, I rolled in when the store opened at eight o’clock, and they’ve been up all night. They pitched their tent, they were drinking in the tent, but whatever, I don’t care. They were all up, I bring them all McDonalds, and I’m at the front of the line. We rolled in under the “rich uncle”, who buys them all new iPhones so they didn’t mess up their contracts, I paid for them and I learned a lot of things during that. I profited from six iPhones-I wrote about it and I need to do a final write-up. I’ve written guides on it but I need to do what I learned last time. I profited without doing anything on six phones, I profited $2,000 plus, I got my phone free and I did it wrong. I learned a lot from what I did wrong-that’s straight, crazy arbitrage and the best part about it is, there’s no risk. There’s absolutely no risk and if you could just afford one-guess what? You get a 14-day return policy. If it doesn’t work? Okay, set your price on eBay. If it doesn’t work? Take it back! There’s no risk to you. So, then, the next year I did it, I realized that what I did wrong-and maybe, I’m going too much of this but quickly, I’ll get to the point-is that they come out always on a Friday and the thing that I did wrong was that, one-I realized this the first time that iPhones come unlocked now. There’s no locking. You can buy it from Verizon when you can use it on any carrier and it doesn’t matter. Well, by putting “unlocked” in the description in the title, you can get 10-20% more just on that alone. Then, by putting “Next day air” like, they get it on Saturday, they sold for 30% more. That’s why they’re paying more. So, I screwed up and I did like a three-day auction with some of these things and people don’t want to wait. I mean, yes, I still made $200-300 minimum per iPhone and then the second time or the third time I did it, I followed this exact playbook. I doubled my money on two of them-like, straight, double my money, paid $1,000 and got $2,000 back, and that was because, if you buy it by noon, I will ship it overnight delivery and you’ll it by Saturday morning-that’s what these people who have money but don’t want to wait want.Arbitrage is the profit from a market imbalance and there’s always a market imbalance-always. Click To Tweet
So, anyway, arbitrage exists everywhere around us. Most of the time, it’s completely risk-free. I’ve done this with Dell computers where I’ve bought them and then sold them locally-and again, I didn’t do this for me to make money, I bought it for you to make money. Because I get asked every day, “How do I make money?” It’s like, okay, I’ve written 20 guides on how to do it. That’s the biggest risk freeway. I mean, it’s always going to be an education but unlike the internet, if you do those things, it’s completely risk-free. A lot of times on the internet, there’s risk with cash, but for me, I call it the “cost of education.”
Mm-hmm. So, speaking of education, you’ve created playbooks, you’ve created info products like the ShoeMoney System, what is the best, most, and current info product that you would recommend our listeners to check out?
Oh, that’s a good question! It’s been a while since the truly groundbreaking ones. Russell Brunson has ClickFunnels. Ryan Deiss has-I mean, the ones, there’s none of them for sale right now but there will be. I mean, Ryan Deiss has The Invisible Selling Machine-I want to say that was the thing. That is an excellent, excellent product that I go back to all the time. Frank Kern’s Mass Control-good forever. I mean, that thing is such an amazing info. It really depends on what you want to do. The one thing you don’t want to do is spend $2,000 or $5,000 and don’t even have a website. That’s something that frustrates me a lot. It frustrates me a lot because I have in the ShoeMoney System, I covered everything A-Z. You had a section in there!
I had experts in there. I had all these videos-over a hundred hours of videos. Unfortunately, 3% of people never log in more than twice. Okay, that’s unfortunate but it was $200 a month to start with and then, over the years, it dropped down. I’ve sold about 50,000 units of that on Udemy and other things for various price points-sometimes $5 and I think it was in Udemy for $2,000 for a while. As far as recommending things, I think, if you’re just getting started and even if you have $50 a month at StackThatMoney forums-Great resource! At one point in time, DigitalPoint and all these other places were great resources and now, it’s just overrun by a bunch of trolls and a bunch of people who have no clue and no experience whereas, StackThatMoney is really guys who have money, who are spending money, and yeah, there are new people but I’m in there answering questions because I can answer question there and not get trolled on forever. Not that I care about that but it’s annoying because I’ll answer a question and then, the thread will instantly shift away from the question and what I answered it to all about me. And that happens on a lot of public forums whereas, in this, it is the people who really do want to learn and it’s not your riff-raff so you answer someone’s question and if anything, the discussion to answer that question continues or people say, “Thanks,” or whatever. There’s a ton of guys in there like me who have real experience in the answer we give. I would recommend not buying any product but rather, going into forums, having conversations, you get the best free advice, and instead of money, they’ve got a ton of guides like current walkthrough guides on how to do X.
Right, and would you recommend that listeners read your book Nothing’s Changed But My Change? Would that be a good starting point for them?
The book is really about me and the crazy life journey and I think, it is good and maybe similar like, maybe they haven’t done all the crazy stuff I’ve done but as far as anxiety disorder, it’s very, very common in this industry because people are just so obsessive. Affiliates-they can’t let go of things. Just various things. I think that reading biographies of those that ever written them are very enlightening on like, “Okay, that’s why this guy does this,” it kind of makes you into who you are because a lot of time, people just think, “Okay, I’m that guy who can do that,” and you are! I mean, we’re all human beings. We’re all like this but we’re all wired differently. A lot of people are just making money on the internet or doing things on there-it’s not for everyone and, I mean, believe me, I’ve given campaigns-and this is a straight-up true story. The guy made $100,000- $150,000 in one month. I gave him my keywords. I gave him everything. He did it for about three months and then came to me for more keywords. He didn’t want to do any work himself. I told him, “Okay, you know what? I gave it to you.” That’s my problem too-it’s that, I think, by just giving things to people, it’s going to inspire them. I would think like money will motivate people and that’s why I’m a horrible, horrible CEO. When I brought in the guy who’s now my CEO, the first thing he did was can two people who I’ve known I should’ve canned many years ago but I just couldn’t do it because I’ve become personal friends with a lot of my employees. I’ll pay their bills, I’ll buy them washers and dryers if they need it or whatever, and when they don’t work out, I leave them dry. Anyway, this is a long answer and some of it has nothing to do with that. There’s opportunity all around so if you really want to make money online, I have something and I really don’t want to pitch this but it’s called ShoeMoney.com. If you’re just getting started, if you hit me up and just e-mail me: [email protected], I will help you because there is a way. I do make money with it but I will help you and I will circumvent that. I mean, it is a great training course from A to Z. It covers getting your site online, implementing everything, social media tie-ends, and everything. By the time you’re done, you’ve got a great site, which has social marketing integrations, got email integration, and I’ll tell you how to make a funnel so you’ve got the three core building blocks to make money online. I’ll teach you how to write product reviews. I’ll even give you $5 of my money to spend on Facebook advertising. Again, there’s a hook at the beginning to make money for me and it’s basically, you need web-hosting. As of right now, I’m the biggest affiliate in all the web-hosting industry. I’m doing about 3,000 leads a month to web-hosting. I’ve heard that the company that we were previously using, BlueHost, we were accounting for about 20% of their monthly sign-ups.
But I don’t know that for a fact. That came from a different affiliate who used them as well. Now, we both switched to a new one, which I don’t know if I will say the name because I hate naming the names of the companies because I don’t know yet and I know they’re probably going to listen to this. They’ll be like, “Why didn’t you say us? We’ll give you a percentage,” and I’ll be like, “Because I haven’t worked long enough with you yet to recommend you to people.” That’s the thing, I’ve come to learn the web-hosting industry very well. I’ve tested every affiliate program for the web-hosting companies and when you’re driving the amount of volume work that we’re driving, it’s a lot.
Yeah. So, ShoeMoney.com-that’s a very generous offer to just have people e-mail you directly.
I recommend that you, listeners, check out Jeremy’s book, Nothing’s Changed But My Change, and write an Amazon review if you like it. I don’t know if you guys knew this but Jeremy also wrote the foreword to my book, Social Ecommerce. I got three books but one of them, he wrote the foreword for so, Jeremy, do you want to, maybe, share a little bit about some of the stuff you’ve written in the foreword-I think, in particular, the “Win free business cards for life” contest as a case study. It might be a fun one to share with our listeners.
Yeah, that was a huge opportunity that was a win for everyone. I mean, obviously, for you, as an agency, you’re servicing a client awesomely-if that’s a word, and for the company with business cards that wanted awareness and wanted to build their consumer-based brand whereas, and all this stuff, to come to me and your idea of “Design my Business Card,” that was crazy. I mean, it was great for them because they got all these exposure and all these stuff from people. They got to show off their platforms. I mean, it was a brilliant idea that you came up with and that’s why I wanted to make sure to put that in there because, again, I don’t like to talk about theory or whatever. I like to talk from experience and I had a great experience of you doing what you talk about but unfortunately, a lot of people out there don’t actually know what they’re talking about. They’re just selling, which I could go off on a tangent on that. I mean, with this, it was an incredible experience. For me, it brought out a ton of exposure. For that company, I know there was a ton because-for people who don’t know, basically, Stephan came up with this idea. He came to me and said, “Hey, I’ve got this client. I want to do this thing. I think it’s very inventive and all this.” We want people to make business cards for you, and the winner will get this great deal, and you’ll get business cards for life. Which, I still use those business cards. Even though I don’t have that phone, I just cross out but I love those cards. They’re awesome. They look like a credit card with “ShoeMoney” all over them. It was really good because it brought all the designers and then those designers went to all of their friends and were like, “Hey, vote for me in this contest!” Well, guess what? Their friends were designers so their friends would submit designs and it just got this massive viral circle going. It was really ahead of its time because there wasn’t that outlets of social media that there are now but it still did so well from a social media perspective. Just the viral way that you architected, it was really ahead of its time.
Yup. Well, you know what they say: “Find a need and fill it.” I remember you complaining about your previous business card that it was just not that remarkable. Your logo, which is like a Superman S-logo with the dollar sign, you love that. I mean, that’s actually on the bottom of your pool.
But the rest of the card was just not remarkable so I thought, why not have an amazing design created by crowdsourcing? The designers were getting a lot of buzz for my client at the time, OvernightPrints.com. They went from nowhere for the term “business cards” in Google-you’d never find them in the search results-all the way to number two, which was a huge outcome for them. A funny story about this, I only had one contact at the company. He was the guy who ran the internet marketing, SEO, and so forth. This was such a home run that he got offered a job that he couldn’t refuse and was making a pile more money somewhere else. We had nobody else at the company who knew who we were. We ended up getting a “Dear John” letter saying that our contracts canceled and they did no SEO for years after that but they continued to stay highly-ranked for business cards because of that one campaign that I came up with. What a way to get rewarded huh? For your success!
Yeah, wow! You should have told me, I would have deleted them!
No, it’s all good. It’s all good! But it’s a great story and it’s in the foreword in Social Ecommerce so listeners, check out that book too. It’s a great starting point if you’re looking for strategies for Facebook, instagram, Twitter, all the different social sites, and even chapters dedicated to different types of businesses like affiliate marketers, multi-level marketing, digital products, physical products, events, and books-if you’re an author.
Can I just add to that-just quick?
With me, nothing’s quick pretty much. However, on that subject, you clearly did that-you’ve done it many times, you know what you’re talking about, and that’s why people should listen to you because you’re not telling them what to do, you’re sharing what you did, what you learned from it, and all of those stuff. That’s kind of my motto on what I try to do and it’s called The Gestalt Protocol, which is I never tell somebody what’s due but I will share with them an experience. No matter how many degrees of separation it is, even if it’s got nothing to do in their industry, I know what they’re getting at and I’ll share an experience with them. They can take from that what they want and make it their own between their products or whatever. What drives me nuts in this world today of, “Hey, look at me, I’m a guru!” on Twitter, Facebook, and all this stuff is all of these guys-and I could name some very large people who you’re probably friends with, Stephan, and respect a lot, I would like to rip them a bit but I won’t on this-have never done what they are advising people to do. I’ve known businesses who have paid a lot of money because this guy’s basically a Facebook or Twitter celebrity and made a couple guest appearances on some shows-and okay, let me just say-Gary Vaynerchuk, I’m just going to say it, okay?
I like him a lot. He is a Mastermind on wine. The most incredible person I know. His parents have a multi, multi-million dollar wine company and they have a lot of money. They paid him to go on Ellen and all this other stuff. He’s personality is awesome. He is an entertainer, okay? He’s an incredible entertainer and an incredible guy of knowledge, but the social media part came about because he is this guy-and this is the reason why I’m not super big on him right now: I’ve known two companies. They paid a lot of money to him, he made a lot of promises, and didn’t deliver. A lot of it is because he doesn’t know anything about selling something on the internet. I mean, he grew up in a very wealthy family. He claims to have taken it to the next level and all this stuff. I’ve heard sales from that company have declined since his stardom has risen. I mean, this could be controversial but it’s just fact. That’s the thing that drives me nuts. These guys invest and I shake my head because a lot of these guys you know and I know and they are friends. We have these local VC events here in Lincoln, Nebraska and they’ll drop these guys’ names that you and I know extremely well. I’m like, “What’s that guy?” and they’re like, “Oh, he’s a guru! A ninja or whatever!” and I’m like, “Yeah, I know him!” and they’re like, “No, we know him!” and I’m like, “No, I know him know him like, passed-out-on-the-floor-of-a-strip-club know him!” They just worship him and I’m like, “Yeah!” and I start to go into something and I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to shut up because I’m hating on my friend,” but I’m sitting there like, I can’t believe you guys are taking business advice from this guy who has basically, a lot of family wealth, has never had success in any company he has ever done but for some reason, because he says some smart shit on Twitter, you are making business decisions based on that. I don’t know. I follow everyone-I’m sorry, I listen to everyone, I don’t follow anyone.
Yeah. So, the bottom line here is, you’re telling our listeners that they need to go after a mentor, a coach, or somebody they’re going to learn from who walks the talk and not just talks the talk?
Yeah! And that’s why, whenever I do something with someone, I always get references. I don’t care if it’s an affiliate and I don’t care who it is. If you’re talking this talk, I want to see financials. Show me what you did for X and what they did. I do that all the time whether there’s people who are trying to sell me services like, SEO services. I’m on retainer on two companies right now. They pay me a monthly fee. One of them is a very large brand, they pay me to sit-in on meetings with affiliate networks and with SEO companies because I ask the right questions. They’ve got their own internal affiliate guru who’s managing their program, they’ve got their own internal SEO guru, and that’s great and stuff but they hire these companies and I ask the questions that matter and I make sure that the stuff in the contract covers their ass. That’s the thing. For companies out there, it’s tough to find a lot of good SEO people but it’s better to find SEO people to advice you if you’re going to hire an SEO person. In my opinion, Stephan has a lot more experience in that area. However, that’s just what I’ve found. These companies are saying, “We want affiliates! We want affiliates!” and I’m like, “Yeah!” Can I talk for a second on this?
Go for it!
I’m sorry! I think this is important. People care too much about the product and think that affiliates give a crap. In internet marketing and affiliate marketing, which affiliate marketing drives more revenues to companies than anything else and it’s huge for a business. In my opinion, it made Amazon, it made Zappos, and it made that big travel site-it made those sites! Amazon affiliate marketing-who didn’t you know that had an Amazon affiliate marketing site at one point in time?
I still make good money from Amazon-from posts I made many, many years ago. I still get rips on Amazon. A lot of people did cookie stuffing on Amazon. I had people I heard did it. I know, Stephan didn’t do it. I know for a fact Stephan did not do it.
Of course not!
He’s got the white gloves on all the time.
Squeaky clean, pearly white hat. Always.
I’ve walked the line a lot. But, anyway, Amazon had the technology where you could literally, white label your own amazon store then everyone did back in the day. Everyone did that. So, anyway, affiliate marketing is huge. The thing that drives me nuts is-and I’m dealing with this supplement company now-and they are a huge brand of supplement company. They’re like, “We’ll pay you a month, blah-blah-blah,” and I’m like, “Okay, what you guys don’t realize is, nobody cares that your products are all-natural. No affiliates care at all. You’re going to get 10% commission-you’re going up against these sketchy, free trial, and rebills monthly that will only cost you nothing-it’s free! Free plus shipping!” They pay $5 for shipping, they rebill, and affiliates are making $60 all day-look in your affiliate network. You can make $60 for getting someone on a free trial. That’s your competition. Good luck with that! I try to-like, “Yeah, but affiliates will care our products are all-natural,” and I’m like, “Yeah, you should go to an affiliate thing. Go with that and see how many sign-ups you get because I can tell you, the affiliates that will drive you a huge amount of volume, you do not want because they will sell your product from somebody who’s been on both sides.” I can tell you that people will misrepresent your brand. The super affiliates that can drive a ton of revenue, they’ll make fake news articles, which I don’t have a problem with my stuff for the most part, because the people will judge the quality of the product and I give refunds, but the thing is that, you better have a merchant’s account set up for chargebacks because its common when you start doing volume like that. You start processing a quarter million dollars a day in product transactions-I mean, you’re going to have a sizable amount of the population that is just dumb and is going to do chargebacks. I, all the time, with ShoeMoney-and we don’t sell you directly a product. We have affiliates, we have some sponsors, and stuff like that but I have people write to me that are like, “You sold me this $850 hosting package!” and I’m like, “It’s $5 a month! How the freaking crap did you buy this huge thing?” and it’s because they went through and they selected all of the stuff and then they play dumb. It drives me nuts! There’s some people, I’ve come to realize, you just can’t help. You just can’t help them!
Well, I think the thing is, people need to not only be taught how to fish instead of having the fishing for them but they also need to feel like they’ve earned it, and they’ve had a part in building the thing or that it’s even their idea, and you’re just helping them to see that it’s their idea but it’s actually yours.
Did I tell you what I’m doing in this new thing?
Where I’m paying people? So, with the ShoeMoney.com thing, you signed up for an account, I pay you a dollar in real time through PayPal within three minutes. You think I’m joking-I’m not even going to tell you what I do but just look at it. It’s, literally, within three minutes, I will send you a dollar in real time through PayPal. Okay, then, I get into the web-hosting part. If you sign up for web-hosting, I pay you for everything you do so you install a plugin, I send you a dollar; you install a theme, I send you a dollar; you install this, or you make a Facebook page; you do all this all the way through so it’s like giving people that instant gratification to keep them driving forward and it has worked very well. We just crossed our 400,000th member-we’ve got 260,000 in the United States alone-and it’s crazy! There’s a huge viral component to it and people love it. People absolutely love it and it’s great! Now, I’m not making a killing on it because it’s like everything I’ve ever done. I haven’t focused on monetization. I know it’s there but I know I’ve got 400,000 people I can ask. It’s crazy because I’ve done this like surveys and people are just nuts about it so that’s, again, what you were going off of the whole point of instant gratification. Like I said, I came up with this because I was sitting down talking to John Reese and we’re talking about the lack of consumption when you sell high-dollar ticket products so like, let’s see, some things are $2,000 while some are $5,000, and people don’t use this but you see, these are the same people who buy a product you sold last year for $2,000 or your friend’s product and it’s like, what are these people doing? They’ll buy $2,000-$3,000 products all day but when the time comes to actually do any work or gamble $50 on AdSense, they won’t do it. That’s where the concept for this all came up. Reese and I were talking about the feeling you got when you made your first dollar on the internet. To me, that was more exciting than my first million. It’s crazy but it’s true. You put a dollar in people’s hands and they did work and they got the pay-off and you keep doing it? I can show and I have stats on how well that works. And then, people walk away from something of real value. “Can you refund web-hosting?” Of course! You can keep all the money I paid you. If you think that’s where it’s at-of course, you can do that. Fortunately, and I hope people do it and I’ve been able to maintain it and grow it-like I said, I have not profited from this company. I’ll be the first person to tell you that-well, I’ll be the only one to tell you that. I mean, this is another thing where I believe that giving people true value in a dirty ass space of making money online and giving people true value is-I mean, we have a Facebook app where people can share the levels as they progress, which about 40% of our new people come referred via our members, which is a great viral component. However, the whole concept of “Make your first dollar online in three minutes” is very powerful.
And I’ve been taken to the cleaners a couple times on that.
So, circling back here-and I know we need to wrap up here shortly-but circling back to this idea of people getting snookered by bad SEO’s and that you almost need an SEO expert to help you hire an SEO, I actually created-I don’t know if you know this-the SEO Hiring Blueprintand the SEO BS Detector so…
Oh, you’ve got to give me that!
Oh, both of them are awesome! The BS Detector is a bunch of questions that you can slip into the interview process to see if they’re full of BS when they’re talking about all of their knowledge, techniques, and everything. You just slip these into the interview process because I’ve given, in the document, what the real answer is and it’s so easy to spot the charlatans with this. Then, the Hiring Blueprint is just a process to go through to look at different things in their social media, in their marketing, and so forth to see and also just the interviewing process, screening, and so forth. I put a riddle into my job adverts and you can do the same thing when you’re looking to hire a contractor or an employee and you’re putting out adverts for contractors and so forth. Simply add a riddle to the job ad and it increases the signal to noise ratio like crazy so those two documents, I think, are going to be helpful to our listeners if you’ve got that problem that we were just talking about.
Do you give them away or do you charge for them?
No, I give them away.
Oh, brother! Those are such value but you’re in the same boat as me, man. You believe it comes back.
Yup! Absolutely! All right so, last thing I want to mention here and then we’ll wrap up is that Jeremy, you’ve agreed to be on my other podcast called, Get Yourself Optimized, and you’re going to share on that your story of transformation because we didn’t even touch on that but it’s an incredible journey that you went on where you were not just broke but you were also hundreds of pounds overweight.
And you completely shifted everything. We got to hear that story and get some life lessons for our own transformations from that so I’m going to have you back on Get Yourself Optimized for that.
I look forward to it!
Thank you so much, Jeremy, for sharing your stories and your unedited wisdom and how it is. Thanks!
All right! Well, thanks so much, Stephan, for having me on. I look forward to listening to it!
All right, guys, catch you on the next episode!
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About Jeremy Schoemaker
Jeremy Schoemaker a.k.a ShoeMoney is a super blogger, affiliate, and an entrepreneur with 15 different companies under his belt. He’s the author of Nothing’s Changed But My Change: The ShoeMoney Story. He’s the founder and CEO of ShoeMoney Media, and the founder of Elite Retreat.
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