EFP 131: Crush Your Competition

Justin Cooke

March 27, 2015

When most people think about how they’re going to crush the competition, they’re envisioning a zero-sum game.

If you’re going to win, someone else has to lose.

Why Win-Win can Earn You a Whole Lot More

Today, we’re seeing that flipped on its head. In many industries, companies are looking at more ways they can work with their competition. Not so that they can give their competition a leg up, but because it helps grow their own business.

In today’s episode, we’ll cover five thoughts we have on a new-and-improved way to crush your competition.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week:

  • Know Your Competitors
  • Moat Around The Castle
  • Co-opetition Can Be Key
  • Comparisons Can Work, But Blue Oceans Are Better
  • Your Competition May Change As You Grow

Mentions:


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Spread the Love:

“Where else are your customers spending their money? That’s your competition.” – Joe – Tweet This!

“Provide value to your customers that doesn’t scale well or isn’t easily implemented.” – Justin – Tweet This!

“Don’t do any business with competitors that you don’t respect.” – Justin – Tweet This!

“Cooperating competitors can drive or own a market.” – Justin – Tweet This!

So – which of these tactics are you most familiar with? Which do you work with for purchased sites? Let us know in the comments!

 

Justin:                   Welcome to the Empire Podcast Episode 131.

                                If you don’t think you have competitors, you’re either being really naïve, or in a really bad niche. Today we’ll look at various strategies you can use to crush your competition. We’ll also share specific examples from our business. You can find the show notes and all links discussed in this episode at empireflippers.com/crush.

                                All right. Let’s do this.

Speaker  2:          Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs? Want to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire? You are not alone. From San Diego to Tokyo, New York to Bangkok. Join thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who are prioritizing wealth and personal freedom over the oppression of an office cubicle.

                                Check out the Empire podcast…and now your hosts, Justin and Joe.

Justin:                   When most people think of crushing the competition, they envision a zero sum game. Their competitor has to lose for them to win, but that’s not always true, Joe.

                                In our business, we’ve been looking for ways that we can both compete with our competitors, but also work with our competitors to grow the pie bigger, and to make the industry larger overall. I think there’s a lot of opportunity there, and other business as well.

Joe:                        Yeah, I definitely love that analogy of making the pie bigger so everyone’s slice gets a little bit bigger. It’s so true in most industries, and working with your competitors to have that happen, they initially might be a little resistant to, but something you can definitely work on.

Justin:                   I think most think that you have to take a secretive or kind of a distrustful approach, and I think that’s common on the website, broker space, and online marketing space. I think that’s very common. There are few people out there that work with this kind of abundance mindset. I think there’s more opportunity for that. I think that’s the new way of doing business, and get some real opportunities.

                                Now, one of the things that you need to consider is, would you be better working with a competitor to make both of you stronger, or going at them directly? What’s better for your business? Who cares about them, right? How can you make your business bigger? Is it working with them, or going against them? That’s something you need to consider when you’re trying to figure out your strategy.

Joe:                        Yeah, definitely something that you want to consider. It’s not always going to be working with them. It may be not working with that particular competitor, there might be another competitor that it works out better with.

Justin:                   Of course this episode isn’t going to cover all different scenarios, and your exact type of business. You could be a big player with small competitors, you can be one of those small competitors, you can be in a situation where your industry’s fragmented, and even though we can’t account for all of them, I hope that you get some insightful tips in this episode that will help you crush your competition.

                                All right, man. Time to pay the bills with your featured listing of the week. What do you got for us, buddy?

Joe:                        We’re talking about listing 40148. It’s a home and garden site, it’s in the bathroom shower niche, all about bathroom showers. I did some monetize with Amazon affiliate program, has very little monthly expenses, but it’s almost netting 10 thousand dollars a month, and we have it listed for just under 200 thousand dollars. So, it’s a huge site. It definitely has a good deal of content on it, it gets almost 40 thousand page views a month. If you are looking for something to be that income replacement, this is the site for you. I think it could be something where you could be an Amazon killer. Especially if you’re the kind of person that can optimize the Amazon affiliate program.

Justin:                   One of the things I really like about this site is, I know the creators. I know the people who created this site, and are selling it. I actually met up with them in Sheng Mai, and they listed this site quite a few months ago, and we’ve seen it continue to climb in income. So it keeps going up, keeps getting better, and so you have a track record. Not only did they have a track record before they listed with us, it’s continued to go up. They’re patient, they listed early, they weren’t planning to sell, and honestly if they don’t sell, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, they can hang on to it. I think there’s a real opportunity here. There is a seller interview up for this, so if you want to check out the seller interview you can check it out in the show notes, or just check out listing 40148.

Joe:                        Yeah, I definitely think, too, if you look at the piano over the last year, it’s pretty amazing growth they had, but it’s extremely steady in terms of the upward climb, and I think it’s only going to continue to get better.

Justin:                   All right, man. Let’s dig into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker  2:          Now for the heart of this week’s episode.

Justin:                   The topic this week is Crush Your Competition. We have five main points that we really want to cover. The first being Know Your Competitors. If you don’t know who your competitors are, you don’t know where you stand in terms of the competition, who’s up an coming, who’s already established, and you don’t know how to differentiate yourself.

Speaker  2:          Yeah, it’s always strange to me that somebody thinks that they don’t have any competitors. I’ve seen this before, and I’m very surprised. You see it a lot in the SaaS business. Where somebody says “nobody else is doing this exact thing,” right?

Justin:                   Yeah, I think the people who think they have no competitors are misunderstanding what a competitor is, and they’re looking for direct competitors. Someone who is directly competing with them in the space. One of these they can do, is consider parallel industries. Where are your target customer? Where’s there target avatar spending their money, and why is it not going to them today? Taking us for an example, even if there weren’t any other website brokers or market places, we’d still be competing for money from people. They put a lot of money into things like Prosper, Lending Club, etc. We’re competing for those dollars. Why are they not investing it in websites and online businesses, and why are they investing it over there?

Joe:                        I think that’s a great way to think about it. Where would the money be going if you weren’t there? Do they have a better option than you right now? Maybe it doesn’t do the exact thing, but if it accomplishes the same goal, it might be difficult to compete with them, or they are at least our competitor.

Justin:                   So, if you don’t know who your competitors are, you want to find out a bit more about them, and there are various ways you can do this, one of them is keyword, research right? Again, it goes back to this niche sites, right? If you started looking at keywords people are searching for in that space or in that industry, you can start to see who’s ranking forward, who’s getting talked about, and start to make a list of your competition.

                                You can also ask your customers or potential customers. Who else have they gone with? Who else have they bought from? Who else have they worked with? Start to figure it out that way.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean to think keyword research thing, we always come back to the basics of online business, it’s amazing how often that tool set comes up.

Justin:                   I think it’s a really good idea to find ways to connect with your competitors, and you can do this through twitter, you can do it through blog comments, even cold e-mail. You can do interviews, or interview them, or potentially do guests posts, but you want to start connecting with your competition, especially the ones who you can see yourself being aligned with, or similar values, these types of things because there’s a ton of our opportunity that we’re going to talk about a little later.

Joe:                        I’m impressed at how often blog comments, and cold e-mails work. We have a little bit of an audience obviously, so it helps that when I cold e-mail somebody, but even someone e-mails us that we don’t know anything about them, and they have very little audience, or very little social presence, I pay attention. I do get back to them. You can reach out, you can start these kind of relationships and these sort of conversations right from the beginning.

Justin:                   When you’re looking to differentiate yourself from the competition, one of these you can do is start to look at your target customer. How does your target customer differentiate from the target customer of your competition? Are you going after higher value, the more sophisticated audience? What’s the difference between your customer situation and their customer situation?

                                Another think you look at is, what are they doing well? Are they really effective at paid traffic? Are they really effective at content marketing? Are they great at making connections in doing the speaking circuit? You can look at where you have them beat. What are your areas of strength? What are your weaknesses, and how can you capitalize on what’s really going well? And start to catch up to them in the areas that you’re a bit weaker.

Joe:                        Yeah, what do you think our areas of weakness are?

Justin:                   I’d say our areas of weakness are paid traffic, we haven’t been terribly effective at that although we’re trying to catch up. I think that in terms of events, and industry stuff, we’re not doing a great job there. We’ve done a couple and kind of our lifestyle business niche, we’re somewhat well known, but not so well known in the more traditional online crowd in the U.S. That’s not our crown right now, so we haven’t done a great job there.

Joe:                        I definitely agree to that sort of face to face convention crowd. They don’t know us well at all, and I think there’s a huge market there that we’re missing.

Justin:                   Yeah. Talking about examples for our competition, I can point to guys like, F International, who we’re creeping up on in terms of the type of sites, and the size of sites that we’re selling. Quite like Brokerage, who F International is being creeping up on into the high six figures, low seven figures. Then sites like Flippa or companies like Flippa, where I think done a really good job in terms of taking their more established sites and giving them an option to sell with us.

                                We at least partially compete with competitors like, We Saw Your Site, and also as I mentioned before companies like, Prosper, Lending Club. Companies like Realty Shares, companies like, Wealth Front, because we’re competing for the dollars that customers are spending with those companies.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’ve talked to people on the phone before, and we talked about financing, and I’d show them some of the peer to peer lending places, and they’re like, “Oh, I can be an investor there, too?” I’m like “Oh, I guess I just talked myself out of a sell,” But it’s interesting if you talk about that kind of stuff with your customers, they might go elsewhere, they might move their dollars elsewhere.

Justin:                   That’s fine, though. I mean because you’re the person that’s sharing this information with them, you’re the resource for them that’s been helpful, and they’re going to come back to you. They’re going to tell other people about you based on their experience. I’m not so worried about sharing the competition or letting people know what other people are doing. I think it’s bad move on the part of our competitors, or the listener’s competitors when they’re too secretive. When they don’t share that information, it makes them look bad.

Joe:                        Every time we have done it, it’s always worked out for us. I don’t have a good argument against being transparent like that.

Justin:                   You want to, though because it feels weird, right?

Joe:                        It does.

Justin:                   It does.

Joe:                        There was an example today, where we were talking about that and a certain deal that we were doing, and you were just right with the full transparency that we gave to the depositors, and to the seller, it worked out in the end, and the deal dug for a little bit less money, but everybody’s very happy. The guy that I was talking about on the phone who-

Justin:                   You know, Joe, let’s unpack that. I think that was a pretty interesting scenario.

Joe:                        So here’s the thing. We had an issue because, and this is an aside, and I hope our listeners forgive us, but we had an issue where there was a site selling, for, let’s just say it was about, a little over 10 thousand dollars. An offer was made that was below list, and the seller was going to accept it, and the site was repriced, and it was well below the offer that was made. We were debating, what do we do? Do we go back to the deposit that made the offer and tell them, “Look, hey, you bought it.” Or do we tell them, “Hey, it’s actually repriced for this lower amount than you offered.”

                                It was weird because we have a responsibility to the seller, to make sure we’re getting them good value, but we also have a responsibility to be transparent and open with our buyers. The decision we made was to contact the seller and say, “Look, here’s the deal, it’s repriced, we’re going to explain to the buyers, the situation, if you don’t want to sell it that price, that’s fine, you can let us know, we’ll tell the buyers, and if you are willing to sell that price, we’ll tell the buyers, but we have to be open about it.” The seller was completely understanding. We went back to the depositors and telling them exactly what happened and said, “If you want to buy it, it’s new, repriced, a lower price, you can purchase it.” I think it was pretty interesting, but it was a sticky kind of odd situation that we hadn’t found ourselves in, but whenever we find ourselves in those situations, if we just say “Okay, lets be as transparent with everyone as possible, let’s be really open about it, and things will work out.”

Joe:                       

Joe:                        Yeah, really has done it. I think a lot of people just have the old mindset of really keeping things private, really keep things under wraps and things will work out for you, but I think that’s not the new paradigm of business going forward. It just doesn’t work.

Justin:                   So, the second point we want to bring up is, You Need to Build a Moat Around the Castle. I think the best way to do this, or one of the ways to do this that we like, is you can’t shy away from the harder path, or the road less traveled. What that means is, everyone’s kind of looking for the easy way in business. They’re looking for the quick wins, they’re looking for the quicker paths to success, and if you can do the things that take more time, effort, and energy to build your business and make that successful, it’s a lot harder for someone else to come along and try to navigate and do that work. They don’t want to. People are looking for shortcuts. In fact, they may attribute your success to shortcuts that you didn’t actually take.

Joe:                        Yeah, I guess somebody could say, “Transparency, isn’t that the form of a drawbridge? Isn’t that just laying the groundwork for somebody to get over the moat?” But that’s not what we’re really talking about here. We’re talking bout more of the way that the business is crafted from the ground up.

Justin:                   One of the ways to think about this is, to look at the value that you can provide your customers that doesn’t scale well, or isn’t easily implemented. In our case, it may be a content marketing strategy. It takes a lot of time, love, and energy to put into it. In your case, it may be handwritten thank you notes to your customers, but there are ways you can put a lot more effort and energy into, that your large competitors just won’t be able to compete with at a lower level, and your smaller competitors don’t want to take the time or hassle to do.

Joe:                        A perfect example of this is us, giving our schedule link to over four thousand people, just a segment of our list, and doing a whole bunch of phone calls in the last few weeks. Flippa just couldn’t do that. They’re just not nimble enough to do that kind of thing, and I think that’s an amazing advantage that we have over them, and we’re able to take that and do it right away.

Justin:                   Yeah, and it’s important to retain that nimbleness as you grow. It’s easy when you’re just starting out. Easy as those handwritten notes, easy to do those things, but number one, you want to make sure you implement those kind of real high touch things early on, because if you don’t do it early on, it’s very unlikely that you’re going to do it later because you get busy, and you think you’ve moved past it, like, “Oh, I don’t need to do that.” But if you do it early on, you can keep them, and as you get bigger, it’s harder to retain nimbleness. One of the ways you can do that is to give some atomicity to different departments in your group, to individuals to make decisions, and to make change. So, you want a bit of the entrepreneurial spirit in all of your team members, and in all of your employees so they have the freedom of flexibility to make change within your organization that’s effective.

                                Another thing you can do is find ways to bring in some of the new competitors to your industry, bring them in to your castle to strengthen your defenses, and one of the ways you can do this is through acquisitions. If there are new competitors popping up, you can buy them out. You can buy their websites, you can buy them out. You can also hire people. Say a new broker pops up, we really like what he’s doing, he’s got a nice list of buyers we could bring him on to the team. You can set up affiliate deals where you can make more sense for them to sell your product than to try and create it on their own. That’s a whole lot of hassle as I said before, everyone wants to come out the easier route, so if you can give them a big enough piece to where they don’t have to deal with operational pressure, and they can just sell your product, that’s an easy thing for them. You can also form partnerships, especially for someone that is at your level or may be getting bigger than you, maybe you guys can team up together and work together to take on the other competition.

Joe:                        I love the affiliate part of this point. I think it’s something that everybody should take a hard, close look at. Even those sort of non traditional affiliate related businesses. There are huge market places out there for this kind of thing and affiliates that are willing to definitely tout the latest and greatest of products. Any products. Whether it be physical, informational, services, that kind of stuff. There’s a big, big market for affiliate marketing, and you can make a lot of money on it. Now, you have to be careful with it, but I think it could be a way to definitely increase revenue, and strengthen your company overall.

Justin:                   All right, Joe. Let’s look at some examples from our business in terms of our moat around our castle. The first thing that comes to mind is our audience and deal flow. Someone wants to create a website brokerage today, right? They don’t have the years of building audience, building a huge list of buyers and sellers and have the continuous deals coming through on a daily and weekly basis that we do. That’s a really hard thing to compete with out of the gate. If someones just wants to create a brokerage today, unless they already have that baked in, they’re going to spend years trying to build that up.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons why I love getting into this business, and I saw it as something that we should do exclusively. All the other businesses we have, from the outsourcing business, the theme business, the plug in businesses, it was so easy to barrier for entry for other competitors was just so easy, because we hadn’t marketed those other businesses correctly, and we had done that in the beginning with Empire Flippers very well. So it was a sweet spot for us.

Justin:                   Yeah, let’s talk about that, buddy. I think about if we had kind of the audience, and the marketing strategy with our outsourcing company that we have with Empire Flippers. Our outsourcing company could have been massive, and that’s looking back, that’s really what we’ve should have done. Could you imagine, buddy, if we had done this in the mortgage business? Oh, my God, we’d have made so much money, it would have been insane.

Joe:                        Yeah, it’s funny that we had to just fail a few times in order to figure this piece out, but if it’s one thing you can take away from this podcast, please, it’s to make sure your marketing is set up in a certain way that anyone else who gets into the same market as you, can’t just capture your audience that easily. They’d have to start from the beginning.

Justin:                   Yeah, if your entire marketing strategy is based on AdWords or something, I think that’s dangerous. It’s really easy for someone else to pop in there, and boost the cost of the keywords that you’re targeting if that’s your only strategy. Some of the things we have done are examples, we’ve don’t content marketing, we have podcast and we’ve offered personalized service that other places just don’t provide. I think that kind of rounds out our moat around the castle and gives a good example of kind of where we’re at. Let’s talk our third point. Our third point is Coopertition Can be Key.

                                Getting several of your competitors teamed up together with you can be much more powerful than any of those competitors are individually including yourself. So, example is one plus one, plus one equals ten. The idea is that if combined, you guys represent fair share of the market, or a significant position. There’s now an us versus them approach, and you have a much larger us.

Joe:                        Yeah, this really is an effective strategy if done correctly. It absolutely can be used to make you the foundation of a bigger thing going forward. These competitors and you could grow something that becomes bigger than yourselves.

Justin:                   One of the key points I think to look at if your considering this approach with your competitors is don’t do any business with competitors that you don’t respect. If you don’t like their position in the market, if you are not on the same page with some key points or key strategies, don’t align yourself with that particular group, or that particular competitor, that’s going to be a bad idea moving forward. You want to find people that are aligned with your interests that you see the market in a similar way, so that’s much easier to work together.

                                You always want to play long ball when you’re making deals. You may have some competition that are looking for short term gains, they’re looking for short term cash, and if you can keep your eyes on the prize in terms of a long term strategy, you can kind of build that out and take advantage of their short term needs.

Joe:                        Yeah, I was going to say that we could take advantage of someone that’s always looking short term. I have to say the other thing is you have to be really concerned with people that are always short term thinkers. I’m not sure how in bed you want to get with those kind people.

Justin:                   Yeah, if they’re only that way, and especially if they’re trying to take advantage of you, then that’s probably not someone that is aligned with kind of your way of thinking.

                                I think important to remember, though, that cooperating competitors can drive or own a market, and if you’re able to own the market, you’re in a much, much better position.

                                An example with us is that we want to be clear, we don’t own the market. We’d love to. That would be fantastic for us, but we don’t. Ways that we’re trying to do that, is we’re aligning ourselves with people we think are interesting and have similar values. For example, H. Chapman, we’ve had him on the podcast twice. He represents buyers on quite a few of the deals we have done. We have Thomas over there at F International, we’ve done business with, we’ve sent them deals before. So, aligning yourselves with people that you share similar goals, or see the market similarly I think is valuable and helps you drive the market forward.

                                Our fourth point. Comparisons Can Work, but Blue Oceans are Better.

                                Now this strategy works best when there’s one main leader in the niche, and you’re looking to siphon off some of their business, get some of their existing customers, get some of that cash that’s going to them. You can set yourself up in a comparison role to them. So here’s where they’re at, and here’s how I compete, right? We’re better here, here, and here. This is why you should go with us verus them, that kind of thing. You’ll see this a lot, when software companies, SaaS businesses, where they say, “Look at our competition, and look where we are.” A lot of times they do that, not just to show kind of how they differentiate from that other company, but it’s also a positioning move. They may be really small, and if this small kind of scrappy start up can compare themselves to Zendesk or Help Scout. It’s just like having them next to them makes you think, “Oh, well they’re similar.” See the differences.

Joe:                        Yeah, that’s an interesting way to put it. If you compare and contrast you with your competitor, then automatically you’re put in that same league as that competitor. Even if you’re failing in some areas.

Justin:                   Other people are going to talk about you as being a competitor. They may even say why you’re a worse competitor, but they’re that much larger than you just being in the ballgame is an important point, right?

Joe:                        Hey, that’s something we should do. How come we don’t have a comparison chart of Flippa versus Empire Flippers on our site?

Justin:                   Well, let’s talk about that, buddy. Comparisons can work, but blue oceans are better.

                                You’re not likely to become bigger than competition when you’re comparing yourselves to them. That’s just the way that it works. If you’re setting yourself up, or your company up as a comparison to another, especially if they’re larger than you, you’re going to constantly lag behind that competitor. In terms of our strategy, that’s not something we wanted to do. We didn’t want to lag Flippa, we wanted to move beyond them. We had to switch our strategy and message, and our marketing.

                                One of the things that’s used to do this, how can you take your current offer, and either twist it or tweak it and apply it to a different market or a different class of customer? One of the ways we’ve done this, we’ve always kind of set ourselves up against Flippa, and in terms of that we’ve told sellers, “Look, you’re going to get a higher multiple.” That’s not necessarily true, it’s close. You get a higher multiple overall when you compare to Flippa, but that’s only because there’s so many not so good deals in there that go for really low multiples. When you compare ourselves to Flippa, we’re going to get better multiples. Now, when you start comparing ourselves to brokers. It depends. Some of the brokers get much higher multiples because they’re selling million dollar, two million, five million dollar businesses, because the larger companies are higher. When we start comparing ourselves to brokers, we now have an opportunity on the buy side. If we’re on the smaller sites comparing ourselves to Flippa, and we say “Hey, sellers can make more money selling with us.” There’s always a downside to that. Buyers have to spend more money with us. And on the flip side, if we’re comparing ourselves to brokers doing million dollar deals. Now buyers can see us as discounted because we have lower multiples than they do.

                                So the fifth point I wanted to mention is that Your Competition May Change as You Grow. It’s important I think to keep an eye on your competitors. Keep an eye on those who drop out, right? They go out of business, or get a acquired by someone. Look for the new competition that’s up and coming. If you can keep a pulse in the market, you’ll know when you can acquire up and coming competitors, you’ll know when you can bring a new competitor under your wing, and do a partnership or affiliate deal with them. You’ll know who’s acquiring other businesses in your space. Maybe there’s an opportunity for you to be acquired, or for you to pull a similar strategy, it’s just good to keep a pulse in the market.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think that this is so important. Making sure that you’re really on top of your market on an ongoing basis will help any surprises from just coming up and just submarining you. That’s why pulling your competition closely for the guys that do business like you, going to industry events, that kind of thing, it’s extremely important, and well worth your money.

Justin:                   As you grow, your customer or target avatar may change, and that change is going to cause your competition to change. It used to be, and example would be we used to target, or we used to compete with Flippa, I would say, right? So our target market versus the Flippa customer, was different than it is today, because now we’re targeting I think more sophisticated buyers, buyers with more cash, or more experience, and we’re targeting broker’s customers. I think now we’re starting to move in to the phase where we’re targeting investors, we’re targeting people looking for websites as an asset class. I think that brings about different competitors that we’ve had, both when we were doing Flippa type deals, and just website brokering type deals as well.

Joe:                        Absolutely, and talking to people on the phone, they just want to look for someplace to put their money, that’s a very aggressive in terms of our why, and there’s a lot of places out there to do that. You have to start talking that language when you talk to those customers and look for those types of competitors. Definitely make sure to be doing that as your business evolves and things change.

Justin:                   All right, buddy. Enough about that, we’ve covered the five parts, I hope that was helpful. Let’s do some news and updates.

Speaker  2:          You’ve been listening to the Empire podcast. Now, some news and updates.

Justin:                   First thing man, we’re having a really good month here in March. You and I were talking a little earlier today, man, and we’re talking about where we’re at for the month, it’s getting towards the end. Based on that conversation, I found out we have 433 thousand dollars in the bank, man. We are crushing it in March. We’re looking to break 500 thousand in these last few days, this last week or so. This is by far going to be our best month ever. I’m really excited about that.

Joe:                        Yeah, after a horrible February, I’d say we definitely needed it, and doing all these phone calls, and interacting with all these customers on a low level I think had big push. We’re going to get close to 500 or mucher, if we’re going to be able to do it, but these last few days of the month, we’ll see. Hopefully, my birthday’s coming up, so it’ll be a great birthday present to break 500 thousand.

Justin:                   Yeah, buddy. We also go the new apprentice in town, man. Andrew’s in town, we’re getting him connected, I know you set up an e-mail, and slack, and all the access that he needs. I’m out of town right now, so I haven’t even met him since he’s been in town. How is he coming up to speed, man, how’s it going?

Joe:                        Yeah, obviously he’s brand new, he just got out here a couple of days ago, but I’ve been sitting with him every day, we’ve been doing some training. Those of you who interact with us on a daily level through our Zendesk. We’ll start to see him taking over some tickets soon, and I expect by mid to late April to really be handing a lot of our day to day tasks in terms of customer service, in terms of listings, and that sort of thing over to him.

Justin:                   You paid for an office.

Joe:                        Yeah, that’s kind of a funny thing. We just paid for an office here in Saigon. We’re having the new apprentice, Mike needed a nice quiet place to work from as well, you’re coming back into town next week. I think it would be advantageous for the four of us to be in the same room together. I found a place for less than 500 dollars for the month, has great internet, little smoking area for you, and Mike, and great air conditioning, good desks, nice chairs, what else do you need?

Justin:                   Nice, buddy. All right, lets do some listener shouts, also known as the indulgent ego boosting social proof segment on twitter. Greg Newnan said, “Empire Flippers, thanks for facilitating another website sale for No Hat Digital, you guys are fantastic service for the IM industry.” Hey, Greg, thanks for trusting us to sell your site once again, man.

Joe:                        Yeah, I really appreciate that, Greg. We’re looking to sell your next site soon

Justin:                   We’ve got Chris Hughes said “The guys from Empire Flippers didn’t do a great job interview, when you’re speaking with a 50 billion dollar man, shut up and let him talk.” I don’t know Chris. That was based on an interview I did with Dan Payne I did a couple episodes ago. I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t know, man. It’s our show, if I want talk to him a little bit, I want to ask my questions, I’m going to get into it with him, that’s it.

Joe:                        I love that interview. I don’t know what Chris is talking about there. I thought you did a great job, and it was fun, it was interactive, you kept him on point, you challenged him a few times, and it was great.

Justin:                   Our buddy, Joel Runyon said, “What happens to my listing fee if you don’t sell the site?” The listing fee, for anyone looking to sell, is refundable up until the point where we actually list it on the market place. If we don’t approve it for whatever reason, if you change your mind, for whatever reason, we’ll refund you the listing fee. Once we actually list that site for sale, that listing fee is no longer refundable. It’s not that big of a deal, because we do sell 90 plus percent of the sites that we list. Most the time they sell, most of the time it’s not even an issue. There’s been a couple times where the listing fee obviously went to waste, there was quite a bit of work on our part, and we did get some interested parties, so, yeah, it’s a loss once we list the site.

Joe:                        Yeah, it’s happened so few times, I really don’t see it as big of an issue, but Joel, thank you for bringing it up, but we definitely have to keep that fee once we marketed your site, even if we were unable to sell it.

Justin:                   Also, if you’re a dynamite circle member, you get a to list for free, so that’s an offer we have inside the dynamite circle. All Day FBA said, “Very interesting service you provide, got some potential ideas for you. What is the best way to reach you directly?” You can reach out to us all the time, anytime, info@empireflippers.com. I get notified, our team gets notified. If it’s something they can answer, they’ll get back to you. If not, they’ll send it over to me so I can respond.

                                I’ve got a couple of blog comments, buddy. We got a nice mention over on Digital Hat Blog, we were listed as one of six places you can buy and sell websites. I appreciate the mention there.

                                Again, I’m talking about Greg Newnan over there at the No Hat Digital team, mentioned us on the guest post over at [inaudible 00:30:52] about investing in online properties, a link to that in the show notes.

                                There was an interesting thread, Joe, on Black Hat World, asking if we’re a scam. I think the opp asked in a very honest way, was just kind of curious that some site can earn as much as they do. I think he’s in one of those positions where he’s built sites maybe made 200 bucks a month. He doesn’t understand how similar sites can be earning 2 thousand dollars a month and it kind of shocked him a little bit.

Joe:                        Yeah, I saw that, too, Justin. I thought it was a very interesting threat. I thought you approached the answer quite well. Sites do make this kind of money in just Ad Sense or Amazon affiliate money, yeah. We’re drilling down on it, we’re looking at the traffic, we’re looking at the revenue and I’m sure that these people are not lying.

Justin:                   [inaudible 00:31:37] the thread and they were totally supporting [inaudible 00:31:41] So, I really appreciate that. I think the cynic in me says, “Okay, yeah, well some of the sites earn that much money, but they’re not going to last, right?” They’re not going to last beyond the next Google update, they’re not going to last forever, they’re not going to do this, that, and the other. It’s true some of them aren’t going to, absolutely. A lot of them do. The reason we know that, because buyers come back to us, we have not quite, but almost half of our buyers are repeat buyers, and some of them have been buying with us for years. It’s unlikely they would continue to sell, if the sites weren’t getting a return.

                                We also got a nice mention over from Glen Viperchill, gave us a mention on his blog post. That’s nice to see him blogging. He says to get the podcasts started again. So he’s actually someone I’d really like to get on our podcast as a guest, he’s a really sharp guy when it comes to SEL, he’s built quite the audience, quite the online business, and I’d love to talk to him.

Joe:                        Yeah, I have to check that out, that’s really cool of Glen to mention us, and if he is getting back into the podcasting gig, would love to have him on the show.

Justin:                   That’s it for episode 131 of the Empire podcast, thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/crush, and make sure to follow us on twitter at @empireflippers. See yeah next week

Joe:                        Bye-bye everybody.

Speaker  2:          Hope you enjoyed this episode of Empire podcast with Justin and Joe. Hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com. Thanks for listening.


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Discussion
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  1. Jeff says:

    Great episode guys. I’m currently working on launching a productized service for google analytics reporting and you helped me think about possible competition in a different way.

    Also, I thought Justin’s interview with Dan was great. Without Justin’s input at times I feel like Dan may have veered off on a tangent, as he definitely seemed passionate about certain topics (i.e guthrie castle).

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