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EFP 65: How To Tell You’re Winning (And What To Do Next)

Justin Cooke September 26, 2013

How To Tell If You're WinningWe’ve talked quite a bit about mistakes we’ve made and failures we’ve had. Let’s switch it up a bit this week and talk about signs of “success” in your business and look at how to capitalize on that success for even bigger wins.

When You Know You’re on the Right Track

Joe and I sit down this week to hash out some of the clear, tell-tale signs that you’re on to something. Whether it’s the fact that your sales seem “easy” or a renewed interest in your business…all “winning” can be capitalized to further improve your gains. (and store up for the lean months or when your projects are not going so well)

This is a follow-up to our episode on the Entrepreneurial Roller-Coaster and our hope is that you’ll better be able to recognize and capitalize on success in your own business.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Picking our new Marketing Apprentice!
  • Tips for starting your entrepreneurial journey
  • Sales are easy? Yep…if you’re doing it right!
  • Getting your customers fired up and making your vision a virus
  • Stacking your slow, consistent wins
  • Getting copied? Congratulations…you’ve made it!
  • We LOVE our business when it’s running smoothly!


There’s quite a bit of opportunity in expanding on your wins and we hope these insights will help you as you continue to extend your winning streaks!

What are the signs in your business that tell you you’re “winning”. What steps do you take when it’s happening? Let us know on Twitter or leave us a comment – we’d love to hear what you think!


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Speaker 1:                           Welcome to the Empire Flippers podcast. Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty 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. Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe, from Empire Flippers.

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to episode 65 of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’m your host Justin Cook and I’m here with Joe Hotmoney Magnotti. What is going on, brother?

Joe:                                        Episode number 65, brother. We just pushing them out, huh?

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, man. Every week. We missed one, but we’ve been doing pretty well. I’m pretty proud of us man for really knocking out the episodes.

Joe:                                        Yeah, October may be a little tough, there’s a lot of traveling coming up and then the holidays, but-

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, I’ll be going all of October. You’re joining me in Bangkok. We’re going to talk about that in a second. But I just want to talk about this episode a bit. We’re going to be talking about how to recognize that you’re winning and what to do about it. We’ve talked a little bit about some of the problems, some of the setbacks we’ve had. But we’ve had some successes too, and we want to be clear about how to recognize the success, and how to really capitalize on that success when you’re in it. I think this will be a great episode for anyone who’s kind of hustling up the business, they’ve got some things working, and they’re trying to determine what is working. This’ll be a great episode for you.

                                                Before we do that though, we’re going to go over our news and information. First thing is we’ve got two new iTunes reviews, buddy.

Joe:                                        Hit me up buddy.

Justin Cooke:                     First one’s from Jason B in Australia. He says, “Get on this podcast. Super [inaudible 00:01:30] advice from real and relatable guys.” Second one is from Cindy the kid, in the United States. Says, “You are in my queue. Just found you guys shortly after starting your podcast and have listened ever since.” Well thanks Cindy, thanks Jason. Really appreciate it.

                                                Next bit of information we want to talk about, is we’ve selected our marketing apprentice for Empire Flippers buddy.

Joe:                                        It’s finally done.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah man. It was a long and arduous journey, but we’ve narrowed it down to one person, and we’re happy to announce that Vincent, from, will be joining us in November here in Davao city, Philippines, and helping us knock out some business.

Joe:                                        Yes. I’m pumped to see him come out here and get things done.

Justin Cooke:                     A super sharp dude man. I think he’s going to be able to help us out a lot. I’m really looking forward to helping him learn and grow as well. I know that working with VAs and some of those things will be great challenges for him to tackle and we’ve got some exciting stuff for him planned, and for you dear listener, so it’ll be some great stuff coming up.

Joe:                                        Yeah, he’s a young guy too so I think we can really mold him and help him along his entrepreneurial journey.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. Plus he’s really aggressive too, you know what I mean? He’s really gung-ho, fired up. For being so young, man, he’s much further along than most younger guys. Definitely me when I was 19 years old. It’ll be fun to work with him for sure.

                                                Next thing we want to mention, we got a question on SpeakPipe. And if you don’t know, if you go over to our show notes, you can actually click a button and record a question, and we’ll get you on the show. But this question comes from Yashoo on SpeakPipe. Let’s have a listen.

Yashoo:                                Hey Justin and Joe, it’s Yashoo here, calling from Vancouver, Canada. I was just wondering, what kind of advice do you have for a young entrepreneur, or, more of a want-trepreneur, getting started on the online marketing field? And if there’s any kind of tips or tricks that you could help us out with. Thanks a lot. Take care.

Justin Cooke:                     Thanks so much for the question Yashoo. To get right to it, one of the things you’re going to want to do when you’re starting off is it’s easier to be distracted by lots of hype, lots of promise of quick bucks. You know, the new thing with marketing now, is to actually call out the hype and the quick bucks, and then to go ahead and deliver the hype and the get-rich-quick mythology. So, “There are so many get-rich-quick out there, we’re not like that, if you’re not willing to put the work in, don’t even bother. But here’s how you make thousand dollars an hour.” So that’s the new marketing trick. Whatever, it’s all crap, a lot of these courses are crap. And this is a problem a lot of new people do, is they buy into this course, and then that’s in a totally different direction. But I think that’s problematic, is when you buy this course and you don’t apply it, and then you buy that course and you don’t apply it, and you’re not really sure where you’re going so you’re shotgunning ideas, but you’re spending all this money in doing it.

Joe:                                        Yeah. We’ve talked about this before, but it’s so interesting that we see people email us and contact us all the time, and they say, “I’ve been studying internet marketing for two years and I’ve made 30 dollars.” It’s like, really? Maybe you shouldn’t be studying. Just do it, you know? Just go out there and try it. And I think that would be my biggest tip. Is say, go ahead and try to get the profitability as quickly as possible. I would probably use something like, just building really basic sites, maybe following our guide or using your own methodology. Or, maybe buying a site from Flipper, that’s within your price range. I think that those are great ways to get started and will get you some money in the door. Because there’s nothing more frustrating than following this course or this ebook or this methodology, and months down the line you’ve made zero.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. That’s the worst thing right? And there are probably quicker ways to the money even in building that sites, and it does take some time and money to build those out, but you’re going to get something, you’re going to get a return, and not getting anything is just depressing.

                                                To back it out a bit though, Joe’s focused on building, or buying and selling sites, and those are two legit methods. But there are plenty of others. I’d say in a more general sense, look at those in a niche that interests you. Whether that’s building, buying, selling sites like us, it’s building membership sites, if it’s info products, whatever it is that floats your boat, that you can get fired up about in your niche. And look at those that are successful in that space, and see if you’d want to model their lifestyle. If the most successful people are barely successful and there’s a lot of people in the low end, that’s not even something that- I want to be a huge winner if I enter a niche, otherwise it’s not worth it.

                                                One of the methods I really like, and it’s mentioned over at Tropical MBA’s, the rip, pivot, jam method, and they have a couple of podcasts on that. I have a blog post about it, and I’ll link to that in the show notes. But basically, it’s taking an idea that’s already working, there’s a proven market there, a profitable market, and ripping that. Pivoting would be making it unique, making it your own. And jamming is just knocking out the work and getting it done. It’s a great methodology if you’re just starting out, I definitely recommend checking that out.

                                                Last bit of news or information we want to cover is that Joe and I will be at DC Bangkok, it’s a Dynamite Circle meetup, in Bangkok. I think it’s the weekend of the October 18th, [crosstalk 00:06:30]?

Joe:                                        Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     So we’ll be doing a mastermind on Friday there, that’ll be fun. And then we’re going to be on the podcasting panel. We’re talking about this podcast, talking about you our listeners, talking about what we’ve done and what you’ve done to help make this successful. I’m really excited about being there. There are some awesome people that are going to be there. I’m really excited to meet them and hang out again.

Joe:                                        Yeah. I’m so excited to be talking about our podcast and some of the methodologies we used to make a successful podcast. Some of our tips, tricks, our strategies, that have worked out quite well for us. And, I find this medium really exciting for me. I don’t consider myself a writer. I mean I can write, of course, but I prefer this medium so much better. It’s nice to be able to sit down, have a cohost, knock out a few points, and know that 10 or 20 thousand people will listen to us a month, you know?

Justin Cooke:                     Awesome, buddy. Well let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 1:                           This, is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     We’re going to talk today all about how to recognize you’re winning, and what you need to do about it. A few weeks ago, Joe and I had a podcast episode called The Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster. We talked about the ups and downs you’ll see as you continue along your journey, and today we want to talk a little bit about how to tell that you’re on that upward climb, that things are working out for you and that it’s a good time for you to double down and really grow your business.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I think we’ve stolen some of these tactics from my poker playing days, because it’s really similar, it’s really similar when you’re sitting at the table, on one of those long six or eight hour sessions, and you’re on a good run. You’re a couple hours in, and all of a sudden you hit a good run. There are some similar ideas and similar tactics that happen to you-

Justin Cooke:                     It’s true. You want to double down. You want to continue playing when you’re on a winning streak, right? I think it’s similar with entrepreneurial pursuits.

Joe:                                        Well … I mean, hold on a-

Justin Cooke:                     Not double down, sorry, that might be the wrong word. But you want to continue to drive it forward, you want to stay at the table.

Joe:                                        Absolutely. And there is a time to cashout, and everybody has to know that, and I saw on Quora the other day, if somebody comes to you, and your business is worth a $100000 and they offer you two million, but you think it’s worth two billion, you should probably just cashout, for your two million. You know what I mean?

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s walk baby. You hit my magic number, let’s go!

Joe:                                        Yeah, same thing with poker, right? You have a number, if you hit that number you’re doing well. You have to know when to cashout a little bit.

Justin Cooke:                     So we want to talk about seven signs that we came up with that I think are relevant to this. The first, is that sales are just not that hard. Joe and I worked for a local SEO company where it was like pulling teeth to get a small to medium sized business to sign up. And a part of that was that there was an educational piece, where you had to help them understand what’s going on, and then get them to sign up. So in knowledge you have to educate them, you had to then sell them on your services and why you’re the best and why they need it.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I remember back to the mortgage days where we were on the phone selling a little, and it wasn’t as hard as that. You know what I mean? People needed mortgages, rates were low, and when the times were good-

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, a $700000 deal wasn’t as hard as a $79 a month internet package.

Joe:                                        Which is crazy to me, right? Crazy.

Justin Cooke:                     It also has to be a good product market fit. There are a lot of things that are involved. So, product market fit, making sure you have the right message, making sure you’re getting in front of the right people. There are a lot of things that go into sales. But, kind of a general rule if you’re not a sales guy, if sales are really, really difficult, it’s probably not working out for you.

Joe:                                        Yeah. Because I look back on those days of being at that local SEO company and thinking about the sales because everybody did their own little stint on sales. And I remember my month of doing it. Man was it tough.

Justin Cooke:                     It doesn’t mean either that you can’t make money. There are businesses that struggle with sales, that’s the most difficult part, and they buy their way out of it because they’re so profitable anyway. It just means it’s not a big fat win. You’re not on a winning streak there. I think the sales need to be a bit easier, and not like they just fall into your lap, or it’s that easy but, they have to be a lot easier than pulling teeth. If you’re pulling teeth there’s something wrong.

Joe:                                        Yeah. It’s going to be expensive to acquire customers if it’s pulling teeth, and that’s something you’re going to need to account for, and I’m not sure you can consider yourself winning, if you have to spend a lot of money on sales.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, the second point we want to make is that you’re going to get referrals, you’re going to see mentions of you. There’s going to be an inherent excitement with your customers about what they’re purchasing from you, what they’re fired up about.

Joe:                                        Yeah. All of this kind of stuff is momentum, right? It just perpetuates the sales process even more. People buy from you, people get happy about buying from you, they’re happy with the product, they refer other people, they mention it, and the sales process continues. So, I think that if this is happening to you, it’s definitely a sign that you’re winning in your business.

Justin Cooke:                     Here’s something that’s funny. Well, I don’t know if it’s funny, but- so I was in the Navy, years and years ago. And I left for deployment, got back about seven months later. And out of nowhere this chick Britney Spears got popular? It was amazing to me that Hit Me Baby One More Time was all over the- I was like, “What happened while I was gone? What is this madness?”

Joe:                                        Wow you’re old.

Justin Cooke:                     I know. I am getting old now. But it was crazy how fast that happened, and I was thinking to myself, “Wow, it just kind of came out of nowhere.” But the dirty little truth is, is that a lot of times it takes a long time to build up to that. It’s the band’s third or fourth album that really hits, and everyone goes, “Oh, they came out of nowhere.” Well, no. They’ve been working for eight years in the background trying to get there. And I think it’s similar here where, you start to see this momentum build up, and all of a sudden when it pops, when it hits that tipping point, you think, “Oh my god, it’s just magic.” That’s not the truth.

                                                Case in point, we’ve got the guys over at [inaudible 00:12:14]. They’re building out their brand, it’s a lifestyle, business, travel type brand, and they just launched a kick starter a couple weeks back. And they did, I think, what was it? Their kick starter minimum was 30000 and they hit that in eight hours. They hit 60000 in 24 hours. They’re getting a ton of mentions, they’re getting a ton of love. People are linking to them, mentioning them on Twitter, Facebook. And it looks like they just blew up, doesn’t it? It looks like there’s all this excitement, all these mentions and referrals, and it looks like, “Oh my god, all I’ve got to do is launch a kick starter and I’ll just kill it.”

Joe:                                        Yeah. Meanwhile, in the background, they already had a prototype, they’ve already done all the cost analysis. They’ve did the design of the bag, of the travel bag. They’ve done a lot of work into this thing.

Justin Cooke:                     These guys were hustling for months and months before- you know, how do they get press? Who do they need to contact? How do they get connected to the people that are connected so they can get some press mentions? Aside from building out the product, this travel bag, aside from that, just like the marketing aspect, was hardcore for months and months before that. You might look at that and go, “Oh, I should do a kick starter too, I’ve got a better X, Y or Z.” But there is a ton of work behind it. But here’s the key here, the point is, is that, they’re getting a ton of excitement from the customers, they’re getting mentions, they’re getting referrals, and it’s because of all the work they’ve put in. You can tell that this is a winner. They’re really onto something.

                                                Third point we want to mention is that your vision is a virus. You’ll find that your team, your employees, your partners, people in your mastermind group, will get excited because you’re so excited about it. When you tell your story, and you talk about what’s going on, you’ll feel from them that they get where you’re going, they understand. They want to help you, they want to be a part of your win.

Joe:                                        Yeah, the travel backpack guys are a great example of that.

Justin Cooke:                     I want to be a part of that! I want to help them, I want to tell other people about their cool story. If I can help them in anyway, I want to do it because I get their vision, I know what they’re doing.

Joe:                                        And that makes it not only easy to attract customers, which is obviously the most important thing, but it makes it easy to attract employees. Good employees, as well.

Justin Cooke:                     Absolutely.

Joe:                                        I bet you they’re getting offers right now, from other people that can help them design new products or improve the existing product, for free.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. And you know the funny thing is, is I don’t know man, I don’t really need a backpack. I don’t really need a backpack- their backpack looks cool, but I get where they’re going with that, I get where they’re coming from, and they’re marketing message is so on point that I know what the vision for their business is, and I want to help them out. And that’s powerful man. That means you’re absolutely killing it.

                                                Our next point we want to talk about is slow and consistent wins. Now, Joe and I, we used to say, okay, well if we get our outsourcing customer that comes along and wants to sign up, say, 80 to 100 seats with us, how would we go about fulfilling that order? And that just doesn’t happen.

Joe:                                        I’m sure it happens to the really big players in the industry.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, when they’ve got 5000 seats already.

Joe:                                        Right.

Justin Cooke:                     There’s not going to be some big win that just falls out of the sky that pulls you out, that make you profitable or makes you a big business, or something like that. It happens, just not to you, dear listener. Not to us.

Joe:                                        Yeah. Even if it did happen, you might not even be ready for it, you might not even be prepared to serve that customer correctly. I don’t think that’s a sign of winning, that’s just a sign of being really lucky. A sign of winning, a sign that your business is winning, is-

Justin Cooke:                     Well real quick while were caught on the luck, you could make your own luck. Now anyone who gets that 50 seat deal, there’s nine months of work behind it, and they have to figure out whether or not it’s even worth putting the work in to get that. But, you’re right, you’re right Joe. I totally agree with you.

Joe:                                        Yeah. But more likely is the poker analogy of, you’re sitting down, maybe you have an hour of holding steady, you’re not losing too badly, but you’re not winning much either, you’re just kind of even. And then all of a sudden you start winning, like one hand out of three, every time, and you consistently increase your stack size up the table. Same thing with your business. Your profit, your margins, your number of customers, they slowly start increasing over time.

Justin Cooke:                     You’re winning. You’re the best in your niche, so people are willing to pay more. Other competitors come to you for advice. Everything kind of comes together and you see their margins improve, your sales improve, along with the price of your product can go up. It’s amazing, it just all comes together. It’s similar with poker. I was asking you before the show, are you ever just sitting there with a small to midsize stack, and then all of a sudden just everyone goes all in and you win all their money? I mean, every once in a while, but not really.

Joe:                                        I mean, it happens, but very rarely.

Justin Cooke:                     Not really, right. Now if I took a snapshot on one of your biggest winning streaks. I took a snapshot before, and six hours after, and yeah, looks like you just had this amazing win, but it was slow wins, over time, that really built your chip stack.

Joe:                                        Yep.

Justin Cooke:                     The other point I want to mention is, you’ll notice that your competitions starts to get a little scared. And it may cause a couple of reactions from your competition. They may do something like start copying you. They see your innovations and try to add that into their product, into their business. They try and take your model and try to model themselves after you.

                                                Another thing they’ll try and do is bring you in closer, so maybe they try to partner with you, they try to bring you guys together in some synergistic way of doing business together, which is fine. And there are opportunities to come out of that, you shouldn’t necessarily turn it down but you’ll see that the competition starts making moves because they feel like they can’t keep up.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I love this one. Some level of fear from your competition is definitely a sign that you’re winning. You’re doing something right. Because otherwise, you wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar. And if you are, if they’re thinking about you, in any sort of way, shape or form, they’re trying to reach out to you, you see them try to do similar things with their products and services, that’s a good sign for you.

Justin Cooke:                     It is. And so, your competition being scared, it may get them to the point where they’re looking to work with you, they’re looking to get on board. It’s not like they just want to take you down, it’s that they want to be a piece. And this can come from someone that is way higher up than you, because they’re being defensive and they’re not being innovative anymore, they’re actually trying to copy the person that’s up and coming, that’s coming up. Or it could be from someone that is lower, that has less revenue, less of a hold on the market, and they’re trying to make the copies to try keep up. Copying is a form of flattery. But it’s actually a good sign, it means you’re still innovating, you’re the one that’s the market leader, and they’re coming after you. And if you’re- the one that you’re trying to reach is doing that, you’re in a great position to take them down.

                                                Another point we wanted to mention, and this is quite a bit more subjective, but let me talk about you actually enjoying your business. If you’re getting value out of it, you’re digging it, you’re into it, that’s a good sign from a touchy-feely approach that you’re business is doing well.

Joe:                                        I know I’ve had times where in this business, when we’ve been working on Empire Flippers, where I’ve actually gone to sleep with, like, “I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and work on my business.”

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Joe:                                        And that, I think, is really cool.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s when you know something’s good, you know you’re on the right track. And the reverse is true too, when you’re waking up and dreading it a bit, you know that either you’re starting to head on a down journey. We’ve talked about this before in the entrepreneurial rollercoaster but, when you wake up and you can’t wait to start working on your business, do it. That’s the best time for you to be knocking it out of the park.

Joe:                                        Absolutely, yeah. You really have to ride that wave high and, for all intents and purposes, double down on that momentum.

Justin Cooke:                     I said, “double down” and you were like, “[inaudible 00:20:05] not doubling down.” But yes, yes, double down on your business at that point.

                                                The last point I want to talk about is that you are the innovator, you’re the one making the changes, you’re the one driving the industry. People look to you for advice. A lot of times, in the blogging community, you’ll see other people mentioning you. A blog isn’t a business, but just as an example, they look at you as the thought leader in the niche. So they’re looking at what you’re doing, and talking about it.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I think you should always try to leverage these winning situations, but this point, and maybe competition being scared of you, are two of the points where I would say you really need to leverage these types of situations. You need to find a way to take advantage of them. Because, they don’t come along that often, and when they do, you have to find away to maximize their effects. In the case of you being the innovator and people looking to you as the thought leader in your niche, you have to find a way to make sure that continues, and to make sure that you’re making the most out of it.

Justin Cooke:                     Maybe that’s cutting a deal. Maybe it is collecting as many email addresses as you possibly can.

Joe:                                        Maybe it’s adding a new product or a service line, or maybe it’s increasing prices.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, yeah. It’s a couple of things. We talk about doubling down, let’s actually break that down and say what we mean, instead of just doubling down and growing your business. What we mean, is to raise prices, use that leverage to try to reach bigger press. If you were mentioned in … a local news article, see if you can get national news. If you were mentioned in a small tech blog, see if you can use that to leverage yourself to a bigger type blog.

                                                That’s reaching. Raise your prices, try to make more money out of it. The other thing you need to do is to protect on the down-flip. So, email address, email subscription would be an example. Collect as many email addresses that you can, so when that goes away and dies down, you see yourself peaking and heading into a dip, you can still leverage what you collected or built during that time, to get you through the lean period. Does that make sense? So you’re not only growing on the peak, you’re also trying to minimize the bottom on the next dip.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I like that, because there’s always going to be downturns, and you’re going to have to prepare for that. So, ride the waves but prepare for, maybe not the worst, but prepare for the onslaught that may be behind it.

Justin Cooke:                     Onslaught! That’s ominous buddy. So let’s talk about the onslaught a little bit. We’re going to do this really quickly, but we want to talk about three signs that you have peaked, or that you are peaking. These are a couple things that you’ll realize, “Okay, maybe I’m getting toward a limit here.”

Joe:                                        Yeah. We were discuss this before the show and [inaudible 00:22:46] are these causes, or are these signs? I don’t know. Maybe don’t look into it that much, but they are good elements that you may have peaked, and you should be thinking about ways to either prepare for the downswing, or get yourself out of that and look for another upswing.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. Pull yourself away from the brink or whatever, and try to continue going up. But, one of the signs would be, in your business, in your mindset, in your approach, you’re finding that you’re shifting from being innovative, to being defensive. So you’re no longer reaching, you’re no longer the one people look to for serious changes. Instead, being more defensive about your business, trying to take a more “protect what you have” approach, than taking a balls-to-the-wall kind of, I don’t care, I’m knocking it out of the park-

Joe:                                        Yeah, this is a tough one because I bet from an outsiders view this is really easy to pick up on, but from inside your own organization it’s tough to realize when the switch happens. When you’re on the down slide you can look back at the peak and say, “Oh, that happened,” but it’s hard to figure out when exactly it did happen. But, it’s a good point to say, I don’t know what the specific signs would be of that. Maybe there’s less initiative from the company, there’s less new things happening, they just continue to roll with current products, services, advertising. There’s no new marketing, there’s no new branding, there’s no new sales initiatives. Those kind of specifics are indications that they’re switching from an innovative position, to a defensive position. And it’s a sign of peaking.

Justin Cooke:                     I thought that a little bit after we switched from [inaudible 00:24:25] to Empire Flippers, I felt like that was a bit of a peak for us. And then, couple months later we started going into a bit of a lull. And so, at least personally, I felt a more defensive than innovative over the last few months, and I think that’s starting to change because we have some new initiatives coming up that are going to break that stretch. I’m feeling very personal about this right now. I see it. So, I’m-

Joe:                                        Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     Coming from our business was total experience here, it’s absolutely true.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I think that we’re such a small company that we see these little bumps a lot better than a larger company would.

Justin Cooke:                     Absolutely.

Joe:                                        And it’s because it’s our baby, it’s not only is our company but it drives our life. So we’re very conscious of the week to week downturns, the day to day downturns. And I think maybe we have to look at the big picture a little bit better.

Justin Cooke:                     Now another sign that you’re peaking or that you have peaked is that you’re not shipping. You’re team is not delivering, you’re not doing what you said you were going to do, your kind of backing off of new initiatives. And as an employee in a company you’ll see this too, where your company is no longer- they had these plans and they’re really trying to- it’s kind of just a sign of being defensiveness and that’s what we’re talking about. But they’re pulling back in.

Joe:                                        Yeah, plans without action is how you put it Justin before the show. I think that’s really a good way to think about it. If the marketing director lays out a plan for a new way to launch a product or service, and it’s never acted upon, that’s a sign that a company’s in trouble if-

Justin Cooke:                     And it could be other things, but this is one of many. This is definitely-

Joe:                                        If the engineers come up with a new solution to a problem, but it’s not executed on by the marketing department, it’s not sold by the sales department, that’s another indication that- why? If you have this kind of innovation going on why are you not acting [crosstalk 00:26:13]-

Justin Cooke:                     [inaudible 00:26:13] experience organizations a lot tell us what they’re doing is that they’ll stop, they’ll shut down their innovative approach, because they’re cashing in. So they’re bringing in the cash, they’re consolidating the cash, because they need that war chest. They know they need that war chest to get them through a lean period, or they’re building up to something massive. So they know, okay, well we’re going to be on a downturn anyway, let’s get rid of all the new initiatives, we’ve got this big thing coming out in a year, let’s bring in the cash and invest into this and head in that direction.

Joe:                                        Yeah, and they don’t want distractions. And I get that, but the problem is that then they say this new thing is coming in a year, oh, and it [inaudible 00:26:51] a year later, and then doesn’t happen for another six months, it’s pushed back, three months, and then they never get to that position, and that failure to ship is definitely an issue.

Justin Cooke:                     The third point we want to mention is, I know this is a pretty obvious one, but, slower sales growth. Obviously you’re selling less, you might be reaching a peak, but let’s talk about what that mans. Let’s say that you were on a particular trajectory beforehand, so your margins were improving, you increase your price, you’re still selling more. You’re going to see a period where those things start to level out. And I’d say that that’s the sales growth our- the growth had slown.

Joe:                                        Yeah, in poker you can feel it happening to you. Maybe, one in every three hands you were involved with and had a good shot to win, maybe you’re winning one out of every four, and then all of the sudden it’s like, you’re not getting involved in hands anymore, the hands that you do get involved with, it’s a struggle to win or you have to fold after putting in a lot of money. It’s that kind of thing where your margins shrink, your sales shrink, people are not talking about you, it’s hard to get referrals, it’s hard to get sales. If you’re seeing that kind of stuff it’s definitely a sign.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s put it in workout terms. Let’s say you’re lifting weights, you’re trying to improve your strength, your body mass, and better your Body Mass Index. And you hit that point where you feel like you can’t break through it, like you’ve hit some kind of glass ceiling or whatever, and a lot of people will either quit or back off, and so you can tell they’re peaking. Now, the people that can fight through it, it ends up being more of a plateau, and they do something else to break through so they can continue the trend up. I think it’s similar that it doesn’t have to necessarily be a peak where you head down if you’re smart and keep up with it, but it’s definitely something that you can watch for.

                                                In blogging terms I put it this way, and make sure it’s a trend, but in blogging terms you’ll see a blogger that was getting 60 comments, 58 comments, 42 comments, and then all of a sudden they get eight comments. They go, “Oh my god, I’m in trouble, my audience doesn’t like me anymore, they’re not paying attention to me.” No, we’re talking about a gradual trend, an actual trend line where you’re getting less engagement.

Joe:                                        Yeah, you’ve got to be careful not to look at those outliers, and think that your company is changing direction. You have to look at the overall trend. And that’s why taking a step back and doing some analysis, doing some objective analysis, spreadsheets and charts and stuff like that can be really helpful.

Justin Cooke:                     Oh, we dork out on that stuff. That’s one of the worst things you can do too is where you make this holy shit move, this freakout move, over bad data. Organizations get themselves in trouble with that all the time, where they’re making major business decisions on bad data, on things that aren’t actually happening in their business, that’s really problematic.

                                                Alright man, let’s move 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 the week actually came from Matthew Allen over at He reached out to me and he was looking to do a post and get some quotes from people regarding using secondary keyword research for bloggers. I think this is a really interesting topic, I’m really excited to see- makes out of that post, it should be out in the next week or two. But one of the things I mentioned to him is that, that’s one of our plans with the apprentice, is really honing in on some “how to” keywords that are in our niche, some definitions and very specific content, and creating pages with great onsite SEO around that subject. And I think a lot of bloggers should do this. There’s a problem in blogging, you don’t want to write for the search engines, you don’t want to have it so optimized around a particular keyword that you’re pissing off your readership.

                                                This is the approach we’re going to take, and I think it’s worth exploring, is where we target a specific keyword. Let’s just say, for example, adsense alternatives. And we optimize a page around adsense alternatives. And we don’t share this in the blog- it’s not a blog post where we send an email out to everyone talking about adsense alternatives, but it’s a page that draws in SEO traffic as we bump it up and get it ranked. So it’s a funnel in, but we don’t funnel readers to that. They can find things that will link to it throughout our content whenever we mention adsense alternatives, but it’s a page so it’s just a way to drag in that extra SEO content. So, we’re going to be doing that, definitely applying some of our secondary keyword research methodologies to it, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Joe:                                        Yeah. Matthew, by the way, great domain name, Dumb Passive Income, I like that. But yeah, I think that that strategy, Justin, is great. I think when you get up to a blog of our size, Empire Flippers, you definitely can start to do more of this hidden content creation, that doesn’t go out to your normal readership and people who just arrive at the homepage, they’re never going to see it. But there’s some value in building out the sort of under the hood content, that search engines will pick up and be able to do that. I think this is true of any blog that has a large amount of content on it.

Justin Cooke:                     You know what makes me really sad Joe?

Joe:                                        What’s that?

Justin Cooke:                     This is making me really sad, you’ve probably done it before too. Where you come across a blog, and it’s got a ton of content, there’s someone just pouring their soul out onto the web, and they’re just knocking it out. But it’s kind of all over the place, and it’s not read, commented on, there’s really nothing there. Crickets. It’s so depressing. And, there are a couple things I would recommend if you’ve been in that situation, if you’re that type of blogger where you’ve been writing all of this content and it’s not going anywhere- two things. We have a podcast on marketing strategies for non-marketers, and it has to do with geeking out and reaching out to other people in your niche and commenting on their blog and getting involved in helping people in forms, that’s an excellent strategy. And that’s the number one thing I’d recommend.

                                                The second thing would be at least make your blog search engine friendly. So, do a lot of the internal links, making sure that you’re targeting very specific keyword phrases that you’ve checked out on something like LongTailPro, Marketsamurai, whatever. But that is really optimize around those keywords, so at least, even if you’re not doing the reach out strategy, even if you hate reaching out to other people, or you’re just fearful of it or whatever, at least you’re getting some of that search engine traffic that you wouldn’t be getting otherwise man.

                                                So that’s it for episode 65 of the Empire Flippers. Thanks for being with us, we will be back with you next week, and we’ll see you soon.

Joe:                                        Bye-bye everybody.

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.


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