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EFP 50: Personal Business Philosophy And Goals

Justin Cooke June 6, 2013

Wowza…we’ve shipped 50 episodes!

Joe and I wanted to sit down and get a bit more personal in this episode, discussing some of the differences we have when it comes to our business philosophy relating to risk, strengths/weaknesses, and work/life balance.

The Philosophies of a Successful Business and Business Ownership

Each one of the points we address in this show have (at one time or another) been responsible for some serious strife or disagreements between the two of us. Listening back to the show, though, I think they also highlight some of the benefits of having a business partner to keep you on your toes.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As


“There is SOME point where you have to pull out the nuclear codes!” – Justin – Click To Tweet!

“Unless you can turn it into something that’s a working prototype, it doesn’t matter what your ideas are.” – Justin – Click To Tweet!

“It’s so much more truthful when you tell me about your failures AND your successes” – Joe – Click To Tweet!

“If you have something that’s working, just make money and shut your mouth. Yeah, screw that.” – Justin – Click To Tweet!

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Superman / Kryptonite – How we view our personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Thorns in our entrepreneurial sides
  • Knowing when to hold ’em / fold ’em
  • Scotch And Spreadsheets – Maintaining a work/life balance
  • School of hard knocks and some lessons learned
  • Our business is growing up? What do we want to be…


  • iTunes Reviews – A bunch of new 5-star reviews…thank you so much!
  • Spencer’s Copied Site – An interesting post on Niche Pursuits regarding someone copying his public niche site (and what he’s doing about it)
  • – SEOMoz changes their name, cleans up their UI, and gets into the Content Marketing Analytics game!

Which business philosophies of ours do you share? What traits do you think are complimentary/helpful for business partners? Let us know on Twitter or feel free to speak your mind in the comments below!


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Speaker 1:                           Welcome to the Empire Flippers podcast. Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty of ideas but are short on substance? Worried that eBook you bought for $17.95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you long for? Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of niche profits, without the bullshit.

Speaker 1:                           Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe, from Empire Flippers.

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to episode 50 of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’m your host, Justin Cooke, and I’m here with Joe “Hot Money” Magnotti. What is going on, buddy?

Joe Magnotti:                    Episode Number 50!

Justin Cooke:                     Big Five Zero. So we’ve got a great episode lined up. This week, we’re gonna be talking a little bit about business strategies, philosophies, and where we come from as far as our approach to business, to be a little more personal than we’ve done. But we know we’ve had 49 episodes previously where we were talking more about kind of how we go about doing business. Let’s talk a little bit more about how we view business.

Joe Magnotti:                    We’ve come a long way, baby.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, it’s been a long time. Before that, let’s do updates, news and info. First thing, we’ve got a bunch of new iTunes reviews, buddy.

Joe Magnotti:                    Do they qualify for the contest?

Justin Cooke:                     No, that’s done as of June 1st, so we will be announcing the winner of the niche site giveaway in our next income report, which should be due out next week, so stay tuned, and we’ll mention it in the podcast or the next podcast as well.

Joe Magnotti:                    Cool.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s go over the reviews really quick. We’ve got King of the Castle, “Thank you, Justin and Joe, for consistently putting out awesome and actionable content.” We’ve got Ace Chapman, appreciate it. He says, “Business rockstar status.” He’s a business broker, actually, I came across him. We’ve done business with them in the past, but I saw that he was selling, buying and selling a bunch of businesses on a different website.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I actually sent a lot of his businesses to a friend of mine to see if he was interested in any of them.

Justin Cooke:                     We got Nick in Taiwan, “Highly recommend this podcast. We’re really enjoying the Empire Flippers podcast.” We’ve got DBO Enterprises, “Love this show. A must listen to.” We’ve got a bunch from the UK and Australia as well that are qualified for the drawing, so [inaudible 00:01:55] like Mark Burgess said, “A must-listen for business.” Alexander: “Don’t read this. Just download now.” That’s sweet, buddy.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I love that.

Justin Cooke:                     Love the podcast reviews. That’s really cool. Next we want to talk a little bit about Spencer’s “Copied Site” over at Niche Pursuits. You read about this, right?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, actually I thought it was a really well-written article. He caught me with the headline and got me to click through and got me to read on, and it’s funny, you know. I was thinking, “Wow, he got knocked down. The rankings are a negative SEO or [inaudible 00:02:27] kind of stuff, but, I mean, I think the gist of his argument was, “Don’t panic.” You know when this kind of thing happens, and you slip from number one to number two, it may not be long-term. It may be only short-term, and you should focus more on the long-tail traffic and building your site out.

Justin Cooke:                     Not terribly surprising when you do a public niche site case study, either, that someone’s gonna come after you. I mean, it’s kinda like, “Okay, yeah, that happened. We kind of all expected that,” as did he, I’m sure.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. And I love the idea of focusing on the positive aspects of it.

Justin Cooke:                     We should back up a minute! So here’s basically the deal. Someone came along, took a ton of his content, took tables off of his niche site, copied, almost everything word-for-word and detail for detail and then actually is outranking him. Took over the number one spot for his primary keyword, and that’s-

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. Built a bunch of low-value links and maybe even did some negative SEO to his site.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. So then he wrote about the whole experience basically talking about what happens. It’s definitely an interesting post, and we’ll link to it in the show notes, but it’s something you’re gonna want to take a look at, definitely.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. And I think that the idea of going after the site that comes up second or first, ended up beating you, going after them and trying to go to war, that’s just not a valid strategy, and that’s the great thing about Spencer’s article, I think, is he says, “Look, I’m going to continue building up content for my own site, good content or building other niche sites that have that use a similar philosophy. I’m not going to bother contacting this guy trying to put DCM, or whatever, complaints against him to bring down copyrighted material. I’m just not gonna go that way.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, DCMA complaints. Now, let’s say that someone took out LongTailPro somehow, and they took out his niche sites, and they took out this. There is some point where you pull out the nuclear codes, but yeah, someone outranking you on a public niche site case study, that probably doesn’t qualify, right?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, and I think the spirit of it, too, is that when you’re building niche sites, you’re going to have to expect some of this to happen. Even if you do have some of them in secret, I would move on and try to build more niche sites.

Justin Cooke:                     Look, there’s someone ranked on the first page for a term right now that you are trying to overtake, right? You’re going to drop them down a spot too, and that’s just the way things work within niche sites. Anyway, let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 1:                           This is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     So Joe and I want to take this episode to dig into some of our business philosophies and share with you where we’re coming from when it comes to business and our approach to business.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, we’ve been doing it for a while. It’s been 50 episodes. We’ve been doing business for a while together. I think we have some nuggets of gold to share here.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. And some of the things, I think we share, and some of them, we don’t, but we really have six points we wanted to cover, and it’d be interesting to hear. I would like to see your comments and your emails or thoughts about what you think and what you relate to and where you stand. The first point is your Superman versus your Kryptonite: what are your individual strengths and weaknesses as you see them? What do you think, Joe? What are some of the strengths that you carried a business, are carrying our business?

Joe Magnotti:                    For me, I think it’s persistence. I really don’t give up. I really am consistent with what I’m going to do every day. I stick to a schedule and make sure things get done. I’m well organized and I think that persistence really pays off and if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, that’s a very important quality, and it’s a hard quality to have because a lot of times it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives or the idea phase or lots of other things and not move forward on the tasks and the work that needs to be done, pushing the company forward. But you as the leader are expected to do that.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, I’d say one of my strengths would probably be the ability to take an idea to actually taking action on making it happen. The idea guy, I think his weak [inaudible 00:06:22] position, but the idea-to-action guy I think is useful, because ideas are shit, and unless you can actually turn it into something that is a working, living prototype or has wheels in motion, it doesn’t really matter what your ideas are. Right. And so I think one of my strengths is actually taking it from, you know, this kind of lofty idea or goal to actually having it started right now. I’d say as weaknesses, the followup is funny, but one of my weaknesses is that the day after day drudge, the long-term work on established processes is really boring for me. I can’t stick with it that long. It’s so nice that we have a team, and that’s where I rely, on our team here in the Philippines is to do that work for me, because there’s absolutely no way I could do it. I just couldn’t do it.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, and I think that’s where we complement each other as well is that I help a lot with that day-to-day and look to you to get more of the idea stuff going, the juices going. For me, and this may sound a little bit like a cop-out, but it’s not, some of my Kryptonite really is the persistence and the follow-through. When I’m focused on that day-to-day, I don’t take a second to step back and look at the big picture sometimes. And that’s where I look to you to do that for me. We’re having this planning meeting coming up later in the week and say, “Hey Joe, put the tasks aside for a second. Let’s try to look at the long-term vision.”

Justin Cooke:                     It’s so funny because the last couple of weeks, I’d say, this last week, I’ve just been crappy, dude. Like the last three days of the week I just couldn’t get stuff done the way I want to, and actually even the last two weeks has been slow. But last three days of this last week were just horrible. And I think part of that is we’ve a little complacent, but put off some of the strategy and goals for our business, like we’re not really driving the ship anywhere. It’s just kind of adrift, and that’s not great.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. I think we had that vision of Empire Flippers in February, and that was a revolutionary vision, and then we acted upon that, and that’s kept us busy until now. But yeah, we have to move on to the next phase.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, exactly. So we need to be, it’d be great to sit down and talk about that and see where we’re heading.

Justin Cooke:                     Next point we want to cover is the thorn in your entrepreneurial side. What bugs you? What’s the bee in your bonnet, Joe?

Joe Magnotti:                    You mean besides the 14-point emails that I’m supposed to answer for free?

Justin Cooke:                     Aside from that buddy, what else?

Joe Magnotti:                    ,Yeah, I would say inconsistency from someone that says they’re going to do something. So if someone tells me or I’m paying them to do a job and they say I’m going to do x, y, or z, and they don’t follow through on that, man, that just strikes my soul, especially when it’s not something that’s that hard. You know what I mean? Like if you have someone that’s supposed to show up at 2:00 PM and work on something with you, and they don’t show up at all and there’s no excuse or they give an excuse and it’s always … They’re always putting it off, that just really sticks it to me, and I just don’t have time for people like that anymore.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. People will stop ,communicating with you and they just kind of fall off the wagon, fall off the ship, and you don’t know where they’re at, what they’re doing.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. That, for me, is a big pet peeve. I can’t take the lack of follow-through, lack of community, the telling me that, “Yeah, this is what I’m going to do for you, Joe. This is how much you’re gonna pay me.” Everything looks good. It’s a great plan. And then just no execution.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. So pet peeve of mine, and this is switching gears a little bit, but I hate MLMs, man, I hate them. I don’t like MLMs, so I don’t think they’re good business. I don’t think they’re good for people. And I’ll tell you what I really hate … In the Philippines, it’s the worst, right? If you want to mess with a bored housewife or some guy who’s got a job in the Midwest and is working his job, whatever, and he does this on the side, that’s fine. But you’re gonna start scamming Filipinos here and making them pay crazy amounts of money to join your tribe and then tell them, promise them riches. And these are people that are struggling to afford anything, and you rip them off, man, I have some deep hatred for you. You’re a bad person.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. There’s a special place for you in Hell.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, it’s horrible.

Joe Magnotti:                    It really is. And Amway is becoming pretty huge here. And one of my close Filipino friends is a member, and he’s always trying to sell these vitamins. And I’m trying to explain to him the numbers, like, you realize how many packets of vitamins you’d have to sell in order to really make any money. All the majority of the income that you’re earning is going up your downline, you know, or up your upline, whatever it’s called. Yeah. It’s just ridiculous. I can’t believe … They should pass a law. They should make it illegal here in the Philippines.

Justin Cooke:                     The other thing that bothers me are the people that are making outlandish claims about their business, and everything’s always positive. Do you know what I mean? You know these people.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     Everything’s positive, right? Everything is sunshine and PayPal payments, and they are just, “Oh my God, this good thing happened. Look at this. Great thing happened to me the other day.” Nothing’s negative. Right. And that’s just bullshit. Man, I don’t know where you’re coming from. We’re not on the same page.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. It feels so much more truthful when you tell me about your struggles and your failures along with your successes.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, because then it’s, “Okay. I see how that one worked. I see where you didn’t head down that path because that didn’t work.” It’s just much more honest and, and the people that make outlandish claims about the money they’re making or how quickly they can get something as opposed to others, it’s insulting to the people that are really grinding it out and making a business work. I know this is a pet peeve of yours too, because you’re nodding your head, but it’s just so frustrating because everyone else was struggling and grinding it out and really trying to drive their business. And you’re just like, “I’ll just throw together a 20,000 a month profit stream in two months. Not a big deal.” You’re an asshole.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. I mean it’s amazing to me that … you hit the nail on the head there, insulting. When some guy comes up to me and says, “I’m selling $100,000 watches on the Internet, and I make so much money,” but then he doesn’t have enough money for the taxi ride home, kind of says to me you think I’m stupid.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah you’re treating me like an asshole, but you’re actually the asshole. If you’re listening to this, I don’t know, you’re in your car, earbuds, working out, or whatever, let’s just make an agreement. Let’s just not do business with people like that. Let’s just not give them money. Let’s not partner with those guys. You were just … No. I’m doing no business with you. I’m done. You can move on to the next schmuck because I ain’t doing it, right. He’s laughing at me cause I’m pretty intense about this.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. Well, I agree. I’ll be the first one to sign the petition.

Justin Cooke:                     All right, so our next point, let’s talk about “know when to hold them and know when to fold them.” This is about risk. So your tolerance for risk, what you think are safe risk, risky risk. Let’s get into it, Joe. What’s your risk level?

Joe Magnotti:                    You know, I played professional poker for about nine months. I did okay. Obviously I’m not still playing so I couldn’t have been doing that well, but-

Justin Cooke:                     “I was killing it every hand. I won based on the last one, oh, every day it was fantastic. I made a bunch of money!”

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. So I mean I did okay. So in my personal life I’ve been probably a lot more risky than most people have. I mean, I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast after college, and I moved out to the Philippines. I’ve done some pretty risky things, but I would say in my business life and monetarily, I tend to be quite conservative. I’m a saver. I probably overestimate the amount of savings needed. I tend to think that projects need to pay for themselves, you know? And I tend to be conservative on ROIs and estimates and spreadsheets and stuff like that. So for me, my risk tolerance is pretty low because I don’t want to be in a situation where I was too risky, gave it all away and like would be kicking myself. That to me is the worst situation.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s funny, I’d beat you up about this a little bit about your risk factor and I wish you were more risky in in certain regards. But the truth is that, you are a relatively risky … you do some things. Anyone who’s out here, moved halfway around the world and is building their own business, you have some risk level that’s probably higher than most people’s, but I think it’s lower compared to mine, which I definitely lean toward the more risky side. I’m willing to take much deeper risks for the big wins because I want the big win. Do you know what I mean? We’ve argued over this a bit, like the smaller, more profitable wins versus I’m having some … I’d like to have some irons in the fire for big long-term wins.

Justin Cooke:                     And I think we’re doing that a bit with our brand, with Empire Flippers and stuff. We’re doing it through that. But I’d like to do it with some of our profit streams too. And I think, as you feel more confident with our risk factors and diversification in the other areas of our business, we’ll have more opportunities to do that. I’ll push you until we eventually get to the point where you’re okay with it.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. And I think as long as we had that buffer, I’m okay with that. But at a certain level you have to say, “Why? Why are we taking that risk? Are we taking that risk just to make a little bit more money when we have an already proven process or somebody else’s proven process that we could invest that money in and turn around, yeah, a smaller percentage but it’s very, very reliable?” It’s hard for me to turn that down.

Justin Cooke:                     But it comes into doing something cool, like really cool, really big, really interesting. Do you know what I mean? Making small, not small, but having different profit streams that are profitable, that are lower risk and lower reward is cool and that pays the bills. And that gets us where we need to be personally, but to actually build something bigger and amazing is, I dunno. And that’s something I’ll continue to fight you on as we continue to grow our business. And I think I’ll have a better case the further along we go.

Joe Magnotti:                    Absolutely. And because it will be more and more successes under our belt, so it be harder and harder for me to say, “Oh, I don’t think that’s gonna work.”

Justin Cooke:                     So our next point, “Scotch and spreadsheets.” So we’re going to talk a little bit about life and business balance. What do you think about that, Joe, as far as balancing life and business?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I think for me one of the biggest things that I’ve been able to take advantage of in the Philippines is something I talk about all the time, is the life-work balance. You can pay people to help assist you in a lot of places in your life. Your workouts: I have a boxing coach, I had my own little basketball league. My cooking: I have a healthy cook at home. I have a maid, as well as you do. But I think it’s important to have hobbies and entertainment away from work. If you’re spending 13, 14 hours a day working and eight hours sleeping, that doesn’t leave much room for your entertainment, and you need to expand your brain in other ways, or you’re gonna be a really boring guy to hang out with.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, I agree with you. I think as I get older, I’m more into the balance. When I was younger, I was all about, “Okay, let’s work, let’s knock it out, let’s just do nothing but work and build this shit out.” But it’s changed a little bit. I think I’m toning down on that a bit. I still have a bit more of that than you do and I think it’s just maybe our space ’cause it’s like … I got a question for you. Actually this is interesting because we’ve talked about this. When our business is not going so well, right, we’ve taken some hits or whatever, or when your business is expanding, and it’s growing and doing really well, what do think is a better time to double down?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. It would always be a better time to double down when you were expanding and growing and doing well.

Justin Cooke:                     Wouldn’t it? But I’ve always been the kind of guy that, when you’re taking hits and things aren’t going well, you need to double down and then when you’re expanding, you’re … I’m like, “Well, you can’t always double down.” I think when you’re expanding, it’s better to really knock it out because your highs will be higher. Do you know what I mean?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I hear what you’re saying, but at the same time, getting back to a life-work balance. You know, in the four-hour workweek, way before the four-hour workweek, I was a mini-retirement fan. I used to say, “I can work for a year and then take three months off and then come back and work for year.” I’m not sure how sustainable that really is, and as I get older, I’m finding that limiting my number of hours working and dedicating more time to myself is important. And disconnecting and following my hobbies and my interests and developing hobbies and interests that I never knew. Trying new things that I might not like or might like.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s funny that the effect of positive effect that can have on your business because you bring new ideas to it, right? Because now you have-

Joe Magnotti:                    You feel energized.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, and you’re hanging out with different people, you have new ideas that come to you that are way outside of your sphere, outside of your business interests that you can bring to business.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, but the problem with the mini-retirement plan is that, I think, you lose that consistency that we’ve talked about before, and you have to restart that consistency, and it takes a long time to generate that again. So that’s why I think you do have to have balance. If you just try to do nine months on, three months off, nine months on, three months off, you’re going to wind up floating to the six months on, six months off, and the six months on are not going to be very good six months.

Justin Cooke:                     Maybe. I think that’s personality driven though, a bit. So I think that, for your personality, that having a more consistent schedule may be better whereas I know other people, I think I’m a little more in this camp, I do well with some consistency too. But other people need like a break that renews fresh ideas, gets them out of their head space a little bit and gets them back into it. So depending on the kind of person you are, you need to look at whether mini retirements are better or a more flexible, somewhat maintained schedule might be better for you.

Joe Magnotti:                    Know this, that things might change over time.

Justin Cooke:                     You’re never all one way or, yeah, that’s-

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, you can start off being in mini retirement person when you’re younger and then turn out to be a more consistent worker with availability for play every day kind of person that I’ve really become now, and that’s kind of what I dedicate my life to.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. And you’ve bounced back and forth for sure. Our next point I want to talk about is the school of hard knocks. What are some of the lessons you think you’ve learned, let’s say, over the last three, five, seven years in business that you think would benefit others?

Joe Magnotti:                    I think we can go back even further than that. You know, there was a time at which I thought sales was just something I would never be able to do. I was an engineer, couldn’t really talk to people, wouldn’t be able to sell them on the phone, and then I met a mentor that taught me how to sell on the phone and taught me a skill that I’d be able to use for the rest of my life. And I think what that taught me is, never say that something’s impossible. Just like building a brand and what we’ve done with Empire Flippers. I think that was something that I didn’t really think would be possible for two guys that didn’t know a lot about marketing and sales, but we did it. The thing with that, the best lesson that I think I’ve learned from doing business, myself, is that … don’t say it’s impossible to learn to do something.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s so funny, Joe, because anyone who knows you, right, I know you, our friends know you, whatever. And they would say, “Oh my god, you as a sales guy sounds ridiculous.” Right? It’s true. But I know you. I was with you when you were doing sales, and you did it, you learned the format, you were able to muscle through it because you were diligent and learning. Right? And so yeah, I think it’s weak for someone to say, “I’m just not good at this. I can’t do it because I’m not good at that.”

Joe Magnotti:                    And I have to say I didn’t love it. I burned out on it pretty quickly, but I made some good money. And I think it goes to show you, that if you do have to do something, almost anything, you can learn it, you can adapt to it, you can do it for a short period of time until you figure out the next thing.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. I think, for me, one of the best lessons that we’ve learned is through marketing [inaudible 00:22:18] and Empire Flippers, it’s amazing how well people connect to what you’re doing. And us being on an island here, right, and being so far removed from everyone, but still being able to maintain those connections with people and build that up opens so many new opportunities for our business. And we talked about this. Years and years ago, we would have never taken this approach, never taken this approach in a million years. And if we could have done anything sooner, it had been so smart. I think back, think back, Joe, to 2009, and if we just started with our journey and moving to the Philippines and-

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, if there was one thing I can tell my former self, it would be to start a brand, start the blog. I mean if we had done that in 2009, instead of 2011, where would we be today?

Justin Cooke:                     Connect with people where we started outsourcing company. Right? And we could have like, you know, talked about how the big brands and how they’re missing it, all the big call centers and stuff and made more connections with other outsourcing companies here in the Philippines and kind of brought them in. And I think it would have been really understanding if we were taking that approach a lot earlier.

Joe Magnotti:                    I mean, if you think about the pathetic blog that we had at, if that-

Justin Cooke:                     That’s horrible!

Joe Magnotti:                    If that attracted the leads that it attracted, what would a good blog have attracted?

Justin Cooke:                     It’s a little embarrassing, honestly, looking back on it and thinking about it, it was just like … yeah, it was just no good. No good. It was kind of like faux corporate site, right? We didn’t put pricing on there, ’cause we figured, “Oh, we’ll just have them contact us, and …” Yeah, man, ugly. Build a brand. Put yourself out there. Make connections in your history. I learned that, and I’ll never go back. It’s like night and day as far as how I view the business world.

Joe Magnotti:                    And you know what, if you make mistakes with the brand, make mistakes with the pricing, or make mistakes with customers. Talk about that. And people are really interested in that at every level, at the highest level and at the lowest level. And it makes you more interesting as, as someone to do business with.

Justin Cooke:                     You get help, and other people in your industry hear it, and they want to talk to you about it or give you advice because you are being so open. It’s amazing at how much that’s opened up and, and what, I really love, Joe, is, I love when like the old school business guys come to us confused and discombobulated saying, “What the hell are you guys doing? Why are you sharing income reports? You’re ridiculous. You’re sharing like the problems you’ve had with customers, and that’s outrageous. I would never do that. Oh, if you have something that’s working, just make money and shut your mouth.” Right? That’s what they say, “Make money and shut your mouth. Don’t share it.” And yeah, that’s been a big learning experience for us, and it’s been a great one I’d have to say.

Justin Cooke:                     Next point I want to get into, and this is our last point, is when I grow up. So when our business grows up, where do we see ourselves in two years, four years, six years, over the next 10 years. Where do you see our business going, Joe, from your perspective?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, number one, I’d love to be more diversified than I am right now. I want to have my fingers in more pots. I think we’re doing that well. We have some great clients in the outsourcing side that are medium-sized clients that pay good money for the labor that we do. We are simply middle-manning for them, but we provide a great service, and they’re very happy with what we do. I’d like to increase that side of the business, as well as increase our own products and services. You know, the marketplace, I think, is very valuable at Empire Flippers, the other productized services. If we can get into more productized services, that will simply diversify our three prong attack, right? We have clients on outsourcing, we have productized services, and we have a marketplace where we can buy and sell our own sites and other people’s sites. So I love that. I would love to see us have a… in six years, I hope we have a staff of 200 people. I get that envy when I go to Chris Ducker and look at his place. I do because I think, and I know people say I’m wrong, but I still believe that having a large staff enables you to get projects done that you normally would not be able to.

Justin Cooke:                     It does. It comes with its own hassles, but I agree with you. I think having a lot of people on your team allows you to do some interesting stuff. And some of our staff will be from the US or from the UK or from Australia that we’ve brought out here to run stuff, right, too. So it’s, you know, Filipinos, it’s a mix: experts and Filipinos working for us. I see what you’re saying with the team, but it’s funny how you measure success, right? I think we’ve tried this before. I think that’s a measurement for you, is having a larger team, the bigger team you have. I mean, we’ve worked for a company that had a bunch of people that wasn’t [inaudible 00:26:52] a ton of profit per person, and that was actually a bad problem for them. They weren’t able to get an investment and it caused them issues. It was also terrible time for investments, but …

Justin Cooke:                     It’s not always good. But I agree with you that we could get a lot more done. The things you mentioned, so as far as long-term vision, or when our business grows up, I think are things that we’re doing now. And so you’re talking about expanding the three areas. We make money, right? We make money, [inaudible 00:27:16] outsourcing clients, our productized services, and our marketplace, right? Selling our own sites and the sites of others. To get 200 people, I mean, yeah, we’d have to be building a hell of a lot of sites with that many people and obviously clients. I think that there’s things we can do outside of that though. And I think we’ve been a little weak as far as community. So Empire Flippers, other flippers, right. They can comment and stuff and then go to our Facebook page. But I think providing a platform for connection, I think, for other site builders and stuff would be good. I’d like to see us head in that direction and hopefully maybe by the end of this year and maybe into next.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, I think expanding the marketplace. I think getting into maybe potentially software projects, which I’m not sure that it’s a decided win for us. I’m not sure we’re really software guys, but I’d like to dig into it a little more. I think we do have some software ideas that can be great. I’d like to get more into content marketing and other areas, so more into the outsourcing side of things, I think, would be pretty cool.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. And I think we really should go back to building some outsourcing content on Empire Flippers and attract the medium-size companies that spend money.

Justin Cooke:                     I mean they’re out there. They are looking for it, and I think we could attract them, but I’m not sure exactly how.

Justin Cooke:                     I’d like to do some, ’cause we’ve scaled up the niche sites for sure, but I like to go after verticals maybe, and go after obviously larger sites, sell other people’s larger sites. I think that would be interesting. Get into the eCommerce game a little bit, I think, would be interesting. I mean these types of things, I think, are things we can do. Thinking about running an eCommerce site, Joe, a lot of times it’s personnel intensive, right, so it requires a customer support. They requires agents working for you, and that’s something we’re all over.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, it’s perfect for an outsourcing company to run an eCommerce site, absolutely.

Justin Cooke:                     I think in the next couple of years those are things we should be doing. We should be heading down those avenues for sure, getting more into different types of businesses other than just AdSense or MediaNow, whatever type sites would be, it would be good for us. I’d like to see us heading that direction. I think acquisition targets, buying up smaller outsourcing companies as we continue to grow and taking that on for ourselves would be really interesting, really interesting stuff for us. Especially like Filipino-run call centers that maybe don’t have the best relationship with their clients. You know, we could come in there and as Americans, it would be much easier for us to up the ante with the clients. Right? We could go in there and say, “Okay, you have six people, we want to get that to 15 people. How do we do that?” You know, maybe where the Filipino run call center’s not great at that sort of account management.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. So I think there’s a lot of opportunity for us, man. We got a little ways to go, but let’s get it into our tips, tricks, and our plans for the future.

Speaker 1:                           You’re listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe.

Justin Cooke:                     So our tip for you this week is actually one of the, I’m pretty sure we’ve mentioned this before, but it’s SEOmoz is now, buddy.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, threw off my last pass. I couldn’t figure out what was broken, couldn’t figure out the password and then realized, wow, the domain name has changed.

Justin Cooke:                     Anyway. Here’s the deal, and I’ll warn you, if you’re just getting started off, you really don’t need, it’s not a requirement. It’s 100 bucks a month, so it’s not the cheapest tool in the world, but it does a lot of things. One of the things that it does for us is with keyword research, so it helps us, it’s one of the metrics we use to judge the competition or the first page to see if we think we can get the site ranked.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, the SEOmoz score or I guess the Moz score now, so that’s a really good score that’s helpful in combination with the keyword competitive score from LongTailPro. It allows you to kind of automatically evaluate a key word. You still may have to look at it manually, but you can kind of say if they’re both below 40 it’s going to be a pretty easy one there, right?

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. We put the Moz score in with the LongTailPro KC score and you can make a pretty good determination from there. The other thing it does is campaign management and tracking. So if you have a larger site that you want to track several keywords for and get some detailed analytics, it’s great for that. The other thing, and the thing I think that’s really changing with Moz is the content management ROI tools. So aside from just having a much sexier UI, it’s also going to be able to track the effectiveness of your content ROI. Funny enough, this is something that Dan over at [Informally 00:31:44] was looking to do, and I just got the email from him that he’s dropping that, so he’s no longer going to be pursuing that. I think it kind of makes sense if you got the guys over at SEOmoz heading down that path because they’re going to kill it, right?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. So was that part of their Beta?

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, so they’re running a Beta right now, but they’re going to roll it out to anyone who is a SEOmoz pro subscriber. So if you’re not a SEOmoz pro subscriber, you’re going to get it soon enough. I applied to the Beta, so we’ll probably be in there pretty soon, but they’re going to roll it out. It’s going to be their premium product for 100 bucks a month, so definitely worth taking a look at.

Justin Cooke:                     Alright, that’s it for episode 50 of the Empire Flippers podcast. Thanks for being with us and check us out on Twitter @EmpireFlippers and we’ll see you next week.

Joe Magnotti:                    Thank you, everybody, for staying tuned to 50 episodes!

Speaker 1:                           You’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up for more. That’s Thanks for listening.


  • Todd says:

    Nice to see you guys hit 50. I look forward to 100. You guys are the real deal and your integrity shows. Could not agree more about MLM and sketchy-boastful entrepreneurs. . Keep up the good work. Also, your e-commerce ambitions should be a slam dunk.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Todd…appreciate it!

      I think we’re going to slowly start testing through the eCommerce stuff through the end of the year, but will put more effort and focus into the plan through 2014…if we can hold off that long! 🙂

  • Hi Guys

    I find your internal debates on the post cast are really valuable. These conflicts are very normal and so far you seem to have resolved them to a point where no damage is being done to the relationship.

    I also find it interesting as i share Both of your personalities ! yikes.. The more Conservative process driven (comes from having been a manufacturing engineer and manager) through to the “fuck it lets do it – its going to be ok”

    If i can add anything to your conversation, it would be to say that Joe’s money buffer need is very wise. Life has taught us that down turns happen so fast in any business that a buffer is very valuable. Maybe the way to deal with the exuberant aspirations is to plan them out. Set dates to test the idea and then go forward with them or kill off the idea. i.e. like normal physical product development.

    And of course you now have the benefit of the master mind group to sound off against..

    Best of luck for the rest of the year

    BTW I think the Go large is very much the way to go ..

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Steve…

      Joe and I have known each other a really long time and are usually able to work out arguments/disagreements. I have to say, though, that it can be frustrating/tiring for both of us. Things are good right now, but there are recurring issues that always seem to pop up! Definitely more like a marriage than you might think…

      In our last strategy meeting, Joe’s been tasked with a savings goal to put away investment cash for next year. That meets both of our goals…putting more cash in the bank overall, but giving ourselves a budget to expand as well. Should be interesting!

  • Vagabond Lifestyles says:

    I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost 40 years and this podcast is one of the best I heard about business philosophies

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Wow…that’s awesome! (if a little surprising, hehe)

      What about the episode really resonated with you?

      • Vagabond Lifestyles says:

        We live in a business environment where experts want to frame everything like a cookbook (follow the recipe and you will succeed) and just listening to the two of you with two completely different points of view you are able to make thinks happen. There is no one way to the end game, its all about pushing forward, tweaking and adapting.

  • Mike says:

    Hey guys I have a month and a half old site which I was able to rank #2 after it was dancing in google for a week. Anyways the ranking was then stable for couple weeks and generating decent revenue. However now that ranking has dropped to 204! Have you guys ever experienced this and what do you think may have caused this? I haven’t been doing much link building since I had already ranked but I’m trying that now. What link building methods would you recommend for building quality links in 2013?

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Mike,

      There are a few options/reasons here. I’m listing them from their ability to fix, easy to hard.

      1. Temporary hit – Waiting a few days/weeks may have the site bounce back up without any effort on your part. We’ve seen this in some instances…

      2. Too many ads/links above the fold. We haven’t dealt with this but know others that have. Try removing some ads/links if you’re top-heavy and wait 3-4 weeks to see if that makes a difference.

      3. Tanked site – Your site may have tanked due to bad links/linkbuilding or over-optimization on-site. Check to see your anchor text on the links (is it too high on exact match?) and consider building more links to round-out your link profile. Consider toning down your on-site keyword targeting, using less exact match anchors for internal links, etc.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks a lot! I think it was number 2 so I’ve taken out any excessive ads, we’ll see what happens next.

  • Quinton Hamp says:

    Great listen! Looking forward to hearing your strategy for the rest of 2013! I know I’m pretty impressed with ECommerce myself so far. You guys should really look at becoming the next Hayneedle . Then you could have a legit reason for all of those extra employees.

    Oh wait, that is my business strategy! 😉

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Hey Quinton!

      Joe and I just had a strategy meeting last night where we talked a bit about eCommerce. At this point, we’re looking to “buy our way in” to the space in 2014, I think. We’d rather skip the learning curve of starting from scratch and see what we can do if we pick up a few sites and expand them from there.

      We have the team here to support it and I think it’s a good space for us to be in. 🙂

      • Hi Justin,

        eCommerce is a very interesting space i feel. the opportunists to drop ship, amazon or and develop your own products as Dan & Ian have done is a very attractive long term business model.

        Whilst i cant stop myself KW researching niches 🙁 I’m focus now on eCommerce type stores. different challenges but a better long term path. I hope 🙂

        • Justin Cooke says:

          I agree, Steve.

          Joe and I were discussing it a bit last night. Here’s a good acquisition target for us:

          Earning $2K – $5K/month in profit, but bogged down with US payroll (1-2 people) We can immediately cu costs and boost profit. Hopefully we can get seller financing and put just a bit upfront. We can then then reap the improved profits for 4-6 months and flip the site (or hold, depending)

          We have the low-cost support agents…I think this could be a really strong move for us.

    • Hi, Hayneedle is surely a good goal to aim for 🙂 lets hope they are profitable 🙂

  • JakubHanke says:

    The link doesn’t work for me. Not buffering, and when trying to save – it saves just 10kb html document

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